The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 7, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Detroit that the giants of labor and industry would square off this date on a union's most ambitious demand since the organizing days, regarding a guaranteed annual wage, with the principals being General Motors, the nation's largest industrial firm, and Walter Reuther's 1.5 million-member UAW, the nation's largest union. They were scheduled to meet in the General Motors Building in midtown Detroit to begin formal bargaining on a new contract, with the fortunes of some 350,000 G.M. employees across the country immediately at stake, but with significance going far beyond those employees, as a guaranteed wage plan at G.M. could set a pattern for the entire auto industry and possibly much of the other heavy industry in the country, and thus have a large impact on the nation's economy. The current five-year cost-of-living contract between G.M. and the UAW would expire on May 29 and three days later, a similar agreement covering 140,000 Ford Motor Co. employees would expire. The UAW planned to concentrate its guaranteed wage effort on those two large firms, with the negotiations with Ford slated to begin on Tuesday. Detroit labor circles believed that Ford would be chosen, were it necessary to go on strike because the union could not afford a long strike at G.M., cutting off roughly one-third of its dues and costing countless millions in strike benefits. Neither G.M. nor Ford had commented directly on the guaranteed wage demand, but G.M. officials had hinted their opposition by emphasizing the regularity of employment in their plants for years. The UAW was seeking 40 hours of pay for an employee who worked any part of a week and a guarantee that the employee would be receive enough to "maintain his living standards" during any week in which he was laid off completely. The guarantee would cover 52 weeks for workers with seniority and would dovetail with state unemployment compensation. Other union demands included a wage increase of about five cents per hour, an increase in the present five-cent hourly "productivity" factor, improvements in health and pension plans, and other benefits. The current wage in the auto industry was about $2.10 per hour.

In New York, an official of the Textile Workers Union of America predicted a near unanimous vote to strike against 40 Northern textile mills employing about 40,000 persons. A union official said that the Northern mills had made a "shocking and incredible" demand that their employees accept a 10-cent per hour reduction in wages and fringe benefits. Present contracts covering the cotton-rayon workers would expire on April 15. The union official estimated that present average wages were $1.35 per hour and said that the workers had not received an increase in pay since 1951 and had a pay cut of 8.5 cents per hour in 1952. The union wanted the old contract renewed without change. The union official described as "pure poppycock" the contention of the Northern mills that they needed lower payroll costs to meet Southern competition, stating that the average wages on a job-by-job basis were no higher in the North than in the South.

In Charleston, W. Va., a strike of 2,525 Atlantic Greyhound bus drivers and other bus company employees this date had idled the Southeastern transportation system serving ten states, affecting 725 drivers and 1,800 other employees, after the Motor Coach Employees Union had set a deadline of midnight for meeting its demands for increased pay and a contract equal to those for drivers of other Greyhound systems, demands which were not met by the company.

The Charlotte area drivers had joined the strike, but L. A. Love, president of the Charlotte Union Bus Terminal, expressed confidence that the Trailways Carriers serving Charlotte would provide adequate service for all passenger traffic originating from Charlotte, and that extra buses would be operated as needed. No need to worry… Catch your Trailways and leave the driving to them. Arrive at your destination 500 miles away five days later, no worse the wear, maybe a little dirty and feeling not so good, but when you're a Fugitive...

In Algeria, 22 independence-seeking rebels had been killed and 44 taken prisoner in three clashes with Foreign Legion troops in the southeastern section of the country during the previous two days, according to French authorities.

Early spring storms hit the Southeast this date, following the previous day's damaging wind and rainstorms in Texas and other Southern areas. Northern Alabama was hit by rain and hail, with tornadic winds in some areas. Torrential rains had fallen at Birmingham and other northern Alabama towns, with no serious injuries reported. Tornadoes and severe windstorms, which struck a 5,000-square mile area of north central Texas the previous day, had killed one man and injured 27 others, with crop and property damage estimated in the millions of dollars. Losses to cattle and sheep in violent blizzards, which had virtually paralyzed Wyoming and Montana earlier in the week, were estimated at 1.2 million dollars by the Wyoming agriculture commissioner. Warming continued over the area west of the Rockies and along the Eastern Seaboard this date.

In Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said this date that there was no truth to reports that Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth, was scheduled to marry Group Capt. Peter Townsend, a commoner who was previously divorced. He said that the rumors were a "most offensive" newspaper stunt, to which most of the London newspapers had not been party. The two had been linked romantically for more than two years and the rumors began to circulate after she had returned to London from a Caribbean tour the previous month.

In Gainesville, Fla., a woman and her new husband had broken down during all-night questioning by police and confessed that they had bought and smuggled to a convict a tiny pistol which he had used the prior Monday to kill an assistant prison superintendent and wound two guards during an escape attempt. The prosecutor said that the woman had taken the gun, secreted in her girdle, to her former husband, a convicted bank robber imprisoned at Raiford, the prior February 20. A prison matron had searched the woman, but apparently not very well, and there was a custom at the prison of permitting relatives and friends to mingle freely with prisoners in an enclosed yard on Sunday afternoons. The man charged with aiding and abetting the escape attempt was a racetrack exercise person from Miami, whose love for the woman had led him to purchase the pistol in a Miami store, indicating that he wanted to do everything possible to win and keep her love.

Near Mayodan, N.C., the body of a 70-year old retired Winston-Salem café worker was recovered from a pond the previous night, after being missing from his home since Monday. A fisherman had found clothing on the bank, which was identified as belonging to the man, and dragging operations were conducted by the Winston-Salem Rescue Squad. There was no indication as to cause of death.

In Charlotte, a construction worker and his wife had died during the morning at Memorial Hospital within five hours of each other, with the deaths being attributed to "undetermined causes". The coroner said that an autopsy was being performed. City police were investigating the deaths during the afternoon to determine if there was anything unusual. A staff physician at the hospital had said that there was preliminary indication that the couple had been drinking a poison.

In Raleigh, a House Judiciary Committee acted this date to put dealers of "goof balls" and "yellow jackets" out of business, unanimously approving a bill to provide stern punishment for illegal traffic in barbiturate drugs, making it illegal to deliver barbiturates except on prescription, to refill prescriptions except on a doctor's order, and to possess barbiturates except by prescription or from a doctor. The measure had been amended to make a first offense a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, two years in prison, or both, and a second offense, a felony punishable by a term of up to ten years in prison and a fine in the discretion of the judge. A hearing on the bill several weeks earlier had heard testimony that "goof balls" were being sold to high school children in the state by drug peddlers.

In Paris, the French News Agency said this date that police had arrested a man they believed had been "needling" asparagus sold near the site of the U.S. airbase in Morocco. Thus far, there had been no report of the needled asparagus falling into American hands. It had turned up at Sidi Simane, after the first needle was reportedly spotted by a European woman who pricked her finger while preparing asparagus for cooking. Examining the rest of the bunch, she found a needle in each stalk. Police then began investigating in the local market and seized several bunches of asparagus with needles in them. Takes all kinds… And it's not even Halloween.

In Charlotte, Gordon Berg, nationally-known authority on United Appeal and Community Chest operations, had been appointed executive director of the United Community Services of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and would begin his duties on May 15.

On the editorial page, "Proposed Tax on Real Estate Unfair" finds the proposed state tax on real estate transfers to be neither fair nor reasonable, and not in the public interest. A resolution before the City Council the previous day had condemned it, approved unanimously.

Traditionally, taxation of real estate had been the principal source of revenue for the operation of city and county governments, and state and Federal governments had generally refrained from any taxation of real property. Local governing bodies did not want poaching to begin.

It posits that there were other reasons for opposition to the measure, that the tax would be levied against the seller, but would be passed on inevitably to the buyer as part of the purchase price, making it harder for low income people to purchase homes, in direct contradiction to the traditional policy of the Federal Government encouraging home ownership. It would also make North Carolina real estate less attractive to industry considering relocation to the state, at a time when the state was vigorously seeking to attract new businesses and diversify its industries.

It indicates that thus far, the Charlotte Board of Realtors, the Savings & Loan League, the Home Builders Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association had been the organizations engaged in opposition to the measure, and it urges that it was time for the average citizen to join the chorus.

"Dixie Shrugs off an Economic Chain" tells of a Federal judge having ruled invalid the nationwide setting of minimum wages for textile mills engaged in Government contracts.

It finds that the Government's policy had been wrong in principle, as it had no business compelling plants to set wage scales higher than the going rate for their particular region and higher than scales which prevailed for competing firms not engaged in Government contracts. The wage scales for the South, where the cost of living was lower than in the North, had been unrealistic. But New England had been watching its textile business flee southward since World War II and it needed to halt it, and one method was through the requirement of minimum wages regarding Government contracts.

It posits that if Southern mills could produce textiles more efficiently and cheaply than Northern mills, they should be allowed to do so without Government interference, and that New England could serve their interests better by learning to turn out better products with greater efficiency. There was a wage gap between the two regions, but it was slowly closing because of the operation of natural economic forces, the way it should be.

An ontological question arises as to whether the wage gap in the making of unawares was, in some manner, responsible for the 18.5-minute gap caused by Rose Mary Woods in Dick's tape.

"Old Machinery in Need of Repair" tells of the City Council deciding the previous day to support State Representative Clyde Shreve's home rule bill. Mayor Philip Van Every planned to be in Raleigh the following day to speak for the bill. The proposed bill was permissive and would require amendment to the State Constitution, but would clear the way for adoption of home rule charters, perhaps relieving the General Assembly of the necessity of passing hundreds of local, private and special acts every biennial session. Most of the bills before the Legislature fell into that category and resulted in wasted time, energy and tax money.

It indicates that the system was in bad need of repair and that the Assembly should delay no longer in getting to work on doing so.

"The Price & How It Got That Way" indicates that the City Council had informally endorsed the proposed amendment the previous day which would eliminate detailed delineation of tax levies on Charlotte's printed tax bills, speeding up the preparation of forms. When some opposition had arisen from one member of the Council, it was decided that the tax breakdown could be included on a separate slip and inserted in the envelopes along with the tax bills.

It suggests that the detailed breakdown should be spelled out in definite language and should not be left to chance or the whims of some future Council.

"A Question of Who Is in Charge" indicates that there was support growing in several quarters for both an airport authority and a water authority locally, and that both, given a free hand, might work miracles in their respective fields. But it remains opposed to independent commissions not accountable to the authority of the City Council. Sometimes such commissions worked fine, but sometimes they did not, and it posits that the wiser course was to retain control so that if they did not work out satisfactorily, the voters could do something about it.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "The Diplomacy of Fishing", indicates that it was the time of the year for fishing and was also the time of year when diplomats were stirred to convene international conferences, from which they often returned with empty creels. A fisherman, it suggests, could explain his bad luck, and statesmen often used the same diplomatic reasoning to explain their lack of a catch. Yet, despite the similarities, there was a great difference, in that diplomats were only people, while fishermen were a race apart. It suggests that a fisherman on the Volga was little different from a fisherman on the Mississippi tributaries or a Japanese with his cormorant off Hokkaido. Each had a purpose in common, to catch fish, while the purpose of the diplomat was to keep other diplomats from catching fish.

It suggests that maybe the answer was to turn fishermen into diplomats, or make all diplomats into fishermen, "even though they'd talk not only of their catch but brag about how big was the crisis that got away."

Drew Pearson indicates that when Armand Hammer had acquired Campobello, the old homestead of FDR, he had also acquired some of the late President's prized possessions. It had been the summer home in Nova Scotia where FDR's mother had taken her family for years and where the late President was stricken with polio in summer, 1921, after he dove into cold Canadian water following an exhausting set of tennis. One of the late President's most prized possessions at the place had been a sloop which he sailed through Nova Scotia's waters as a young man. It was how he had first acquired his nautical experience which he later used as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Josephus Daniels during the Wilson Administration. FDR had cherished the sloop and kept it long after his illness and his Presidential duties had made it impossible for him to sail it. When Mr. Hammer bought the Campobello estate from Elliott Roosevelt, he had given the sloop to Congressman James Roosevelt. Congressman Roosevelt then offered it to the Secretary of the Navy, Charles Thomas, as a gift to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, to aid the midshipmen in their training and as a sentimental remembrance of FDR. But the Navy, which FDR had loved and had helped to build to become the most powerful navy in the world, had turned down the gift. Secretary Thomas had not even bothered to reply to the offer personally, but sent word through an aide that the sloop would cost $600 to repair and the economy-minded Administration could not afford the money.

Colleagues of the oldest bachelor in the Senate, Theodore Green, 87, of Rhode Island, were kidding him about his "newest love", the widow of deceased Senator Carter Glass of Virginia. Senator Green still walked three miles to work every morning, but complained that doctors wanted him to quit wrestling, once his favorite form of exercise.

Another great walker, Mr. Pearson notes, was Justice William O. Douglas, who walked about 15 to 20 miles every Sunday.

E. H. Landsberg, chief of the Climatic Services Division of the National Weather Bureau, discusses the question whether the climate was changing and answers succinctly that it was. (Don't tell any Trump supporters about this piece or they will swear it is fake news from 1955.) He says that how much it was changing was subject to question and why it was changing had not been broached to any degree.

He indicates that large-scale changes of climate were an historical fact, that evidence from the eons of geological evolution showed that present polar regions once held tropical vegetation and fauna, while in other eras, places in southern latitudes had been covered by ice, and that it was between those two extremes that the climate of the earth vacillated during time intervals measured in millions of years. The middle latitudes were just emerging from the last glaciation which had its peak between 10,000 and 20,000 years earlier.

During the period of only a few decades, changes in the climate were small, too small to be noticed.

Since the beginning of systematic weather observations, meteorologists had been analyzing the records to search for the slow changes. In the U.S., a few of those records went back to the end of the 18th Century, while some stations in Europe had uninterrupted observations for a few decades longer. But the early years of the observations suffered from lack of standardization in equipment and in some instances, the places of observations were shifted several times. Even if a station stayed in the same town or city, because of microclimatic differences, a change of only 100 feet in elevation in the exposure of the instruments would constitute a serious break in the continuity of records.

The most serious problem was the slow, insidious change caused by the growth of the city and by the increased industrialization thereof, producing man-made climate, which in some instances was masking the naturally occurring changes. Most of the long-term meteorological records had been kept in cities.

The change in climate brought about by the shift from natural forests and fields to stone and asphalt, by the heat produced from furnaces, motor vehicles, and the metabolism of the mass of people, and also, by smoke pollution, was quite noticeable. In most cities, a temperature rise of at least between one and two degrees could be attributed during the winter to those artificial causes. For natural changes, other data had to be examined.

For the previous 50 or 60 years, that latter data came from localities which had remained essentially untouched by the influences of modern living, in remote observatories and weather stations. That story was interesting but not sensational. Comparing the mean temperatures of the previous two or three decades with those of the 19th Century, a rising trend was detected in almost all localities in the moderate latitudes of the Northern hemisphere, averaging about two degrees, most of it during the winter months. There was also a decrease in snow cover indicated in the records. For example, in the eastern U.S., there were fewer winds from the north and more from the west. Cloudiness had also increased. Those changes were possibly caused by faster circulation of the air in some areas of the middle latitudes.

In marginal areas toward the Arctic, there were more spectacular changes exhibited, with warming in those areas causing hardier plants and trees to establish themselves in areas which previously had been snow-covered or was tundra. Such plant advances occurred northward in Siberia, Lapland and Labrador. At the same time, there had been a slow retreat of glaciers during the previous half century. In Scandinavia, where careful observations had been maintained, glaciers had shrunk as much as several thousand feet. In the same areas, the line of permanent snow in the mountains had moved several hundred feet upward.

That warming trend, which had been quite rapid in the 1930's, had slowed a little, but there was no sign of a reversal. Meteorologists did not know whether it was part of a long periodic fluctuation or whether the earth was completely slipping out of the ice age and back to the tropical conditions in which once the coal-forming forests flourished. Historical records showed fluctuations over the previous thousand years in which irregular periods of warmth and cold alternated. There was no doubt that the northern latitudes enjoyed relatively mild conditions at the time of the early Norse settlement of Greenland and their exploratory trips toward Vineland, which later became Massachusetts. That had been followed by the "little ice age" starting around 1600, and since about 1900, the warming he had just discussed had taken place.

Regarding precipitation, the other weather element vital to human pursuits, the year-to-year changes were quite violent, in some regions it being not unusual to have in one year only two-thirds of the average rainfall, with the following year having 30 or even 50 percent more than average. Such short-term fluctuations caused the long-term trends to be all but lost. While it was possible to distinguish temperature trends over a 30-year period, rainfall fluctuations from year to year were too disparate to permit discovery of trends within a human lifetime. Over periods of a century or more, some ideas about trends in precipitation could be developed, but there was a lack of reliable observations in most of the world during that long-term period and thus it might require waiting a few more decades before answers would become available.

He summarizes by indicating that there were climatic changes during a lifetime, that during the previous few decades in the region of the U.S., there had been a slight warming trend, that in marginal areas, that trend had been more noticeable and had led to expansion of plant cover in areas where snow and ice were receding. But scientists did not know whether that was part of a larger cycle, and the year-to-year fluctuations of weather were much larger than the long-term trends. Research to resolve the riddles was continuing and, with patience, the answers would be forthcoming.

Marquis Childs indicates that the split between the President and the principal members of the Republican Party in Congress was widening into a kind of great divide which threatened to engulf vital parts of the Administration's legislative program. Yet, the President was looking the other way.

The division was especially sharp on foreign policy. Republicans had opposed the Democrats' proposed $20 individual tax reduction, also opposed by the Administration. But on several issues of foreign policy, Republicans were abandoning the President, without apparent concern for what their defection might mean to him, the party or the country. Of the 47 Republicans in the Senate, 18 had opposed the President's position on almost every question of foreign policy. Of that number, 12 were implacable foes of almost everything the President stood for on domestic and foreign policies. Among those 12 were Senators William Jenner, John W. Bricker, George Malone and Joseph McCarthy. Each had been re-elected in 1952 thanks in no small part to the popularity of General Eisenhower at the head of the ticket, and yet it was largely the result of their obstructionism that the President found himself faced now with an embarrassing choice of whether to repudiate those of his party who had placed roadblocks in the way of his proposals and to try to consolidate his supporters with the aid of aroused public opinion. If he did not do that, he could very likely suffer damaging defeats, with obvious political ramifications for 1956.

He might be able to run above his party as a "kind of constitutional monarch speaking the homely truths that Americans expect to hear from their public men." But that formula would be strained in many instances. In Wisconsin, for example, Senator Alexander Wiley would be up for re-election, with a record of loyalty to the President at least equal to that of any other Senate Republican. That appeared to be why the party organization in that state was determined to substitute for Senator Wiley a candidate in the primary satisfactory to the ultra-nationalist McCarthy wing of the party. Mr. Childs suggests that it would be a strange way to repay Senator Wiley's loyalty to the Administration's program. If the McCarthy-approved candidate were to be elected, the President would have no right to expect any loyalty from anyone.

In Illinois, Senator Everett Dirksen would also be running for re-election, and if he received the approval of the President, it would be in spite of his opposition to most of the Administration's measures regarding foreign policy.

A letter writer from Hamlet indicates that judging by the complacent tone of an editorial appearing March 31 regarding the state law relative to segregation, the editorialist had to be a Yankee. He finds it a shame on the Legislature for having a do-nothing policy. He agrees wholeheartedly with the State Representative cited by the editorial, who had vehemently opposed the measure. "The insult supreme was flung in the face of the South by the North and, cowards that we are, we take it lying down." "What the North failed to accomplish a hundred years ago, thanks to our brave forefathers and the Ku Klux Klan, they are still trying." He finds that their aim then and at present was to destroy the South economically and "biologically, lock, stock and barrel by reducing us to an inferior nation of half-breeds to be exploited at will. And we, like a generation of worms, must meekly accept it? God forbid!"

You're just a goddamned nut, aren't you? Oh yeah, you probably served your country and all that, just like those nut brothers in Money, Mississippi, about whom the nation will be hearing in a few months. But that doesn't give you the right to trample the Constitution and set yourself up as dictator for everyone else, now does it?

A letter writer finds the section "Week-End Market Place" in the April 2 edition of the newspaper to have been one of the best ideas his realty company had experienced in their 50 years in business. He says that his staff had put forth a lot of thought and hard work in making the section attractive and he feels sure that it would create great interest in the real estate market, compliments the advertising staff on a job well done.

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