Wednesday, January 16, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 16, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that despite intensified Government efforts to avert the meatpackers strike, which included offers to raise price ceilings, the strike of 268,000 AFL and CIO union members had become effective. The major companies responded that the Government proposal would only cover 4 cents of the 25 cents per hour demanded as a pay raise.

It was feared that if the strike were to continue for a week to ten days, producing a severe meat shortage, a large black market would result, dwarfing those of the war. Available meat supplies would last only two to three days and a severe shortage would begin within a week. Prior to the beginning of the strike, meat had returned nearly to normal consumption levels following war's end for the first time since 1942.

The White House indicated that the President might appoint a fact-finding board to try to resolve the meatpackers strike.

Meanwhile, the President expressed optimism that the dispute giving rise to the threatened steel strike, postponed until January 21, would be resolved before the deadline.

In Frankfurt, the Army announced that no further mass demonstrations would be permitted by American soldiers without the permission of the military commanders.

Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel told the joint Congressional committee investigating the Pearl Harbor attack that he had received letters from the public threatening him with death since public disclosures through the Roberts Commission Report in early 1942 which had laid blame for the inadequate preparation at his and General Walter Short's doorsteps. He had written Admiral Harold Stark a letter of protest at such disclosures without affording him a proper hearing. He was placed on indefinite leave in February, 1942 by Admiral Stark and then in May, decided, in light of the request made by General Short to retire from the Army, that he would retire from the Navy.

At Nuremberg, not covered on the page, the prosecutors presented evidence against defendant Martin Bormann, being tried in absentia, in the form of an order he issued directing that all downed Allied airmen be put to death.

The Iranian delegate to the United Nations Assembly in London stated that Iran would appeal immediately to the Security Council regarding the situation with Russia providing protection for the Azerbaijan Insurgents in northern Iran. The Security Council was scheduled to hold its first meeting the following day. Russia and the other four permanent members each possessed unilateral veto power. Iran intended to assert Russia's violation of Chapter 1, Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the U.N. Charter, which reads: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." It was expected that the matter would be the first serious test for the Security Council, and would be a thorny problem for Soviet chief delegate Andrei Vishinsky.

The death toll in the coal mine explosion of the previous day in Welch, W. Va., reached fourteen as 273 miners were rescued alive. Forty-one others, including five women and children in a school building more than 300 yards from the mine, were injured. The fact that the explosion had blown vertically rather than horizontally, usually the case in such explosions, had resulted in fewer deaths and injuries.

Hal Boyle, on the road from Manila to Batangas, tells of the sights along the way, naked children and the gathering of the rice crop by the Filipino men and women, as the carabao lay about lazily observing.

A photograph appears of anxious G.I.'s in Manila Bay waiting to board the carrier Yorktown for home, so determined to make ship that they were being hoisted up in the cargo nets at the rate of 800 men per hour.

On the editorial page, "Invitation to Violence" discusses a bill introduced by North Carolina Senator Josiah W. Bailey to abolish the National Labor Relations Board and outlaw the closed shop.

The piece finds the proposal to be one which would only in the end incite violence, not promote the open shop, giving workers the empty right to form unions without the concomitant right effectively to bargain collectively. Prior to the Wagner Act, it reminds, companies had hired professional strike-breakers, as after World War I in 1919. Over four million workers in that year had gone on strike, including the coal miners, steel workers, and railroad workers. The miners wanted a six-hour day and a 60 percent increase in wages. Injunctions to end strikes went unheeded. The open shop at the time only contributed to strike fever and physical violence ensued, as armed scabs were brought in to cross picket lines. There had been a violent clash in Charlotte at the time.

The Senator's plan would only restore this chaotic situation in labor-management relations. And there was a "short, sharp depression" in 1920 which followed, destroying the wave of prosperity which could have carried the country through reconversion.

"It was peace, certainly, but, then a graveyard is the most peaceful spot on earth."

"The Symphony Society" tells of the quiet but successful effort to obtain contributions in the form of memberships for $5 apiece to the North Carolina Symphony Society, entitling the member to attend all twenty concerts to be performed across the state during the season.

"One-Sided Argument" finds the Durham conference on the minimum wage, with the AFL, CIO, and Southern Conference of Human Welfare presenting the argument for the proposed 65-cent wage, to be presenting only one side of the issue. It was true, says the piece, that the average worker, as contended at the conference, ought be able to buy a dozen eggs on an hour's pay, but it was also hoped that inflation would once again reduce spiraling prices.

It was also true that a guaranteed subsistence wage did not remove incentive for the worker, because there was always the incentive to earn more than the minimum wage.

But it was not correct for workers to assert that anyone who could not pay 65 cents per hour should not be in business or that the textile, tobacco, and furniture industries in North Carolina could afford to pay 62.5 percent more in minimum wages without raising prices.

The piece wishes that, instead of such one-sided presentations, labor and industry would begin to present their arguments to the public so that intelligent decisions could be made on the issue of the minimum wage and how far it could be permanently raised in periods of full peacetime production.

Drew Pearson discusses the meeting in Washington on Saturday between Philip Murray of CIO and Ben Fairless, president of U.S. Steel, with Office of Reconversion director John W. Snyder, presidential labor adviser John Steelman, and Secretary of Labor Lewis Schwellenbach, attempting to resolve the impasse in the steel wage dispute to avoid a strike then set to begin Monday, January 14. Mr. Fairless and Mr. Murray had been unimpressed with the three "S-men" of the Government and drove around together for awhile after the meeting mocking their ineptitude.

The meeting began with U.S. Steel's assertion that, without a price hike it could not afford a wage increase of more than the previously offered 15 cents. CIO countered that it had already reduced its demand from 25 cents to 19.5 cents, but also pointed out that a year-long dispute before the War Labor Board over a five-cent increase was still pending and likely to be awarded the steel workers, thus asking Mr. Fairless to add that increase to meet the CIO's lowered wage demand. Mr. Murray agreed to knock off two cents of the five cents in the process. Mr. Fairless, however, refused the counter-offer.

Mr. Snyder sought to obtain Mr. Murray's acquiescence but to no avail. After two hours of haggling, the three S-men went to see the President and then invited Mr. Fairless to join them. Mr. Truman prevailed upon the steel industry to relent, that the Administration was being generous in affording a $4 per ton increase in steel prices to allow the wage increase. Mr. Fairless stated that he had no authorization from the other large steel companies to go higher than 15 cents but would talk to them, needed until Wednesday to provide an answer.

Then the President met with Mr. Murray who told him that he could not settle the matter unless the steel industry made a reasonable offer, and that if the dispute were settled, then all of the other pending strikes and the automotive strike would be settled, as Big Steel set the tone for big business.

Marquis Childs comments on the notion of maintaining a peacetime Army being antithetical to American tradition and that, nevertheless, a balance needed to be struck between having an adequate force to police occupation areas and the extravagant demands of some of the Army brass for occupation of areas in far-flung corners of the world. But there was no need effectively to punish the brass by producing widespread demotions and loss of power, prestige, and salary accrued during the war, inevitable in reduction of the size of the Army.

He contrasts the American ideal with that of Russia where all males at 17 years of age were conscripted for three to seven years of military service. Marshal Georgi Zhukov had told General Eisenhower, shortly before the latter left Europe to become chief of staff of the Army in Washington, that Americans were too peace-loving.

Samuel Grafton notes the differences in approaches between the Soviets, Americans and British in electing a President of the General Assembly of the U.N. in London. The Russians had obtained the support of the Americans for the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Trygve Lie, and the Russians had sought a vote by acclamation when no others were placed in nomination. The Americans had sat silently when the Russians asked for a second of the nomination because the delegation believed it would violate the protocol for secret balloting. Once the second was obtained from Poland, Denmark, and the Ukraine, the British objected to a vote by acclamation, having favored, but not placed formally in nomination, the Belgian Foreign Minister, Paul-Henri Spaak. Eventually, the latter was elected, though the Americans made it clear that they had voted for Mr. Lie.

Mr. Grafton believes a novelist could best explore these different approaches, unafraid of the differences and recognizing that they could become attributes in building a workable world peace organization in time.

A letter to the editor from the president of the Charlotte Wholesale Lumber Club pleads for release of ceiling restrictions on the lumber industry to encourage production and availability of lumber, presently, the author contends, being obtained only at high prices through the black market. Doing so, he argues, would enable builders to relieve the housing shortage.

Dorothy Thompson warns that the demonstrations in Manila, Paris, and Frankfurt of American G.I.'s were not merely expressions of free speech but danger signals that the underlying frustrations prompting the demonstrations could undermine the ability to create a viable peacetime Army. The primary problem lay in stratification of the Army, too many privileges for officers and not enough equality for the enlisted men.

She also warns that the Soviets were happy to find isolationism reappearing in the United States, that those Americans who believed that Soviet encouragement of locating the U.N. headquarters in the United States equated to pursuit of an internationalist approach in the post-war were misinterpreting the Russian stance. The Russians, she asserts, wanted to keep the U.N. as far as possible from the Soviet sphere of influence in Eurasia and create a united nations organization in that sphere dominated by the Soviets.

She concludes that it was safe to assume that universal military training in America had been shelved and that therefore it would be necessary to establish an Army attractive enough for volunteers to people the occupation forces, that the only way to achieve that goal was to offer a program of equality of opportunity to men of all social backgrounds and education, provide good pay and regular furloughs. Even so, it would prove a difficult task, "[f]or when the uniform of a country ceases to be a high distinction, few wish to wear it."

And, the cartoon formerly known as "Side Glances" makes a pretty fair prediction at the battle lines for the coming summer.

But, zug gornisht...

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.