Kentucky News-Bulletin/April 5, 1942
NEW YORK, April 4.—What I have been trying to say is that this war is not the exclusive task of the New Deal wing of the Democratic Party end the factory hand and the union bosses. This war is everybody’s and that group of professionals who are persistently and falsely referred to as labor, meaning the political bosses of the two big groups of unions, deserve no special consideration or credit for refraining from sabotage in the form of conspiratorial strikes.
The commuter on the 5:15 whose kid is at the war and who faces the loss of his job or business, his home and all his possessions and savings represents a much finer type of patriotism than the swollen frauds who presume to speak for American labor. If this war had to be fought and worked and paid for only by those who are kiver-to-kiver New Dealers and voluntary members of the unions as distinguished from the poor devils who have been driven into the unions in the great man-hunt of the last eight years, you wouldn’t have two divisions of soldiers nor enough equipment for those few. Your corps of officers would be a lot of lazy, stupid, political bums and the war would be repudiated by the majority of the people.
Truce Vanished Quickly
THE whole nation, with no exceptions worth bothering about, accepted the war as a fight for life after Pearl Harbor and the assumption was that in the face of the common enemy we would suspend for the duration the domestic social and political program of the national government. The country was stunned for a few silent hours and then rallied around the President as Americans.
But the truce didn’t last long. We soon heard recriminations against business and big industry, but all counter-criticism of the unions for strikes which retarded and tied up production was denounced in Washington. Mrs. R had to put in her two cents’ worth with the observation which she had heard somewhere else that we had lost more manpower through illness and accidents than by strikes, which was a silly irrelevancy and just what was to be expected of her. Accidents and illness aren’t preventable. Strikes are intentional. Unions boasted of lending money to the Government out of their enormous ill-gotten usuries, but they were not giving Old Sam the money or even giving him the use of it. They were renting it to Old Sam on the soundest security on earth at interest, but if the stockholders of a big company ask a reasonable return for turning their plant to a war task they in their aggregate artificial person as a soulless corporation are named as profiteers and even fifth columnists.
But, although the Administration has had few good words to say for business and industry, which are the life of this country, not one word has been said against the unions’ attitude in this. The unions could do no wrong, and the fact has constantly been suppressed that hundreds of thousands of workers would repudiate their membership if they could do so and recapture the millions of dollars stolen from them by the professional man-hunters with the connivance of their government.
Unions Not Loyal to Leaders
MOST of American labor is not unionized and a majority of those who are would quit their unions today if they could. Given a chance, they would have smashed those leaders who jerked them out of the plants on strikes before and even after Pearl Harbor, and the President has no need to kowtow to the unioneers to get the best out of them. He need only appeal direct to the American workers, who would annihilate any boss unioneer who tried to use them as his political power.
The workers in the American Federation of Labor are not loyal to Bill Green as against their relatives and friends at the war, and Lewis and Murray, on the CIO side, are only impersonal meaningless figures to most of the workers in their group; otherwise the unions would not require the checkoff and the closed shop to compel the payment of dues and observance of discipline.
Henry Ford is one of the greatest industrialists the world has ever seen. Walter Reuther of the CIO Auto Workers is a young retired workman of fighting age turned to union politics and gang action, but Reuther has the respect of the Government while Ford who put this nation and others on wheels is still called an enemy of labor, although he has granted the closed shop and the checkoff in a deliberate design to make the people sick of unionism.
The bitter fact is that the whole American people in all economic grades, in fighting an array of terrible foreign military foes who threaten to enslave and partition this country, are never allowed to forget that they are being used to create a new internal force governed by a few personalities who are contributing to the war, which plans to inherit the government after the war is won.