The Charlotte News

Friday, February 11, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Dave Clark sounds off in the letters to the editor of this date, regarding an alleged misrepresentation of the law and Dave's stance on it, contained in "Is It Rebellion?", February 6. Dave appeared confused over what the editorial had said of the law; it simply said that the Wagner Act recognized the right of collective bargaining by employees, as it does under Section 7, and further that it prohibits an employer, once a sanctioned election for a union is held, from refusing to recognize that union representative in collective bargaining and from discrimination in hiring or firing because of union membership, as further enunciated in Section 8 of the Act.

Section 7 states:

"Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 8(a)(3)."

Section 8(a)(3) and (5) state:

"It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer--

"(3) by discrimination in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization: Provided, That nothing in this Act [subchapter], or in any other statute of the United States, shall preclude an employer from making an agreement with a labor organization (not established, maintained, or assisted by any action defined in section 8(a) of this Act [in this subsection] as an unfair labor practice) to require as a condition of employment membership therein on or after the thirtieth day following the beginning of such employment or the effective date of such agreement, whichever is the later, (i) if such labor organization is the representative of the employees as provided in section 9(a) [section 159(a) of this title], in the appropriate collective-bargaining unit covered by such agreement when made, and (ii) unless following an election held as provided in section 9(e) [section 159(e) of this title] within one year preceding the effective date of such agreement, the Board shall have certified that at least a majority of the employees eligible to vote in such election have voted to rescind the authority of such labor organization to make such an agreement: Provided further, That no employer shall justify any discrimination against an employee for non-membership in a labor organization (A) if he has reasonable grounds for believing that such membership was not available to the employee on the same terms and conditions generally applicable to other members, or (B) if he has reasonable grounds for believing that membership was denied or terminated for reasons other than the failure of the employee to tender the periodic dues and the initiation fees uniformly required as a condition of acquiring or retaining membership... [Emphasis added.]

"(5) to refuse to bargain collectively with the representatives of his employees, subject to the provisions of section 9(a) [regarding elections by employees of their representative union]."

Thus, Dave appeared to have trouble with this language somehow, or the language of the editorial itself, which was entirely consistent with the above. Dave apparently took the editorial to be speaking of a requirement under the Act that an employer accept a contract for wages and hours pursuant to collective bargaining, as he merely disputes that the employer was required to sign such an agreement. But the editorial was only discussing the election of the collective bargaining representative and the requirement of the Act that the employer recognize in all collective bargaining negotiations that union representative, once duly elected. That was the contract of which the editorial obviously spoke, a contract to be represented in collective bargaining, not one pursuant to collective bargaining itself. The distinction is not subtle, but Dave seems to have missed the point in a way Miss Emily Litella would have readily understood.

Anyway, perhaps this misunderstanding was what set Dave to believing that the editors at The News were speaking Russian behind closed doors, the dialect of which he ascribed to having been learnt at the Red University of North Carolina (even if Cash did go to Wake Forest instead, and for the very reason, no doubt, that he did not want to turn out Red by attending the University). Had Dave read the editorial and the Act a little more closely, perhaps he would not have been seeing red everywhere, even in his unawares.

Dorothy Thompson's piece, in conjunction with "Beard and the Ships", below, presents the question for the times: was the steady military build-up of the major nations of the world, combined with ever increasing pressure in the United States toward trade embargoes against belligerents, heading the country inexorably to war, or were these policies genuinely doing what was supposed, preventing it? Ms. Thompson's assertion of the belief that if Great Britain were bombed, public opinion would kick the country into high gear for joining a war in Europe, would, of course, prove itself to be ill-founded. The country, for better or worse, was simply not prepared to fight again on foreign shores unless and until there was a direct attack on its territory.

And, speaking of the world's oldest profession in "Problem With No Answer", we might as well exercise the opportunity to speak on the world's second oldest: The Presidential election, especially on the Democratic side, is turning into a real barn-burner of the type we haven't witnessed since 1960, maybe even since 1860. It may well only be decided at a brokered convention amid cigar smoke in the back corridors, as in days of old, even if the cigar smoke probably won't be tolerated this time around. And there is plenty of color in the thing, too, even on the ordinarily dull as down-to-business dullpate Republican side, even if the outcome there is foreordained at this point.

We actually find each of the four remaining candidates likable, each probably well enough qualified to be President, each cut out of the best fabric of individuality which the country has to offer, even if we lean toward one over the others in terms of policy. Just which one that is, we do not intend to disclose right now. But, in the true fashion of political speech, we decided to exert three or four paragraphs here to utilize a few words to say precisely more or less nothing more than that it is all very interesting at this stage, fast and furious, topsy-turvy, the way we like it.

One thing appears clear: for the first time since 1960, after a string of sitting or ex-governors and former or sitting Vice-Presidents in the interim being elevated to the Oval Office, we are going to have a sitting United States Senator become President. But hold: Governor Huckabee believes, he says, in miracles. Well, any man in middle age who can lose 100 pounds without dying from the disorder ought to believe in miracles. But, in this case, we suspect that if any miracle is forthcoming, it will be one a little less grandiose than the nomination for the Presidency. But, nevertheless, it was good that he lost the weight, for the last time we had a truly fat, that is to say corpulent, President was William Howard Taft, elected 100 years ago. They've all been relatively skinny since.

In any event, it is exciting, and God only knows that the country could again use some good old-fashioned barn-burning excitement out of its traditional political theater, to replace the continuing morbid drone in basso continuo out of the aftermath of 2001. So deadly serious we have become as a country that we are growing ever more deadly by the day.

And, no, we did not, by implication, compare the four remaining candidates to prostitutes. And, even if we did, we don't intend to apologize for it. If you are offended, write to Dave. He could use the company, probably.

Incidentally, the solution which Ripley came up with for his puzzler of yesterday is, we think, overly distal in relationship, much too abstruse for our well-being and comfortability regarding that which is produce of something else; for, no matter what anyone says, oil does not come from the soil, but from deep down in the shale. (How about a five-letter word which, after dropping a letter, becomes something of an origin opposite in direction?) The solution we had envisioned was simply "lady"--not that "lady" is, in our lexicon, considered a four-letter word, mind you; but, nevertheless, it works out, just as perforce golden girls and lads all must, as long as the product isn't such on the doorstep, that is, as that described below of the four letters--of two or three of like kind we have unfortunately come across in our time. (We had thought, too, of "dame", but that is again a bit too abstruse for our well-being and comfortability.)


In Philadelphia, they are thinking about using an old graveyard as site for a low-cost housing project. By the way, whatever came of that idea of converting the abandoned and neglected graveyard behind the First Presbyterian Church into an uptown park, with restrooms and shaded benches for the strangers within our gates?

High Price of Navigation*

The Federal Power Commission has up and decided that of the $52,183,890 cost of the gigantic dam at Bonneville in the Pacific Northwest, $11,682,400 should be charged up to power development. This leaves $40,501,490 which must be charged up to something, and since Bonneville is a combination power and navigation project, navigation will have to be IT.

After Bonneville, with its great twin dams and its locks that lift vessels 50 feet, is completed, and after channels have been deepened, ocean going freighters will be able to go 50 miles further up the Columbia. This, as one can figure out in a jiffy, comes to nearly a million a mile, which to our mind is a pretty stiff price to pay for navigability. To offset this, of course, electric power in the territory will be beautifully cheap--so cheap, in fact, that it's a wonder private power companies don't catch on the to this trick of using a 21-inch yardstick.

Tell It Not in Union

This World War Veteran Ladd who gave Grady Cole such a frightful ten minutes (or was it ten years, Grady?) by marching him at pistol-point while bystanders feared to lift a finger, has been turned back into the keeping of his relatives. Everybody understands, of course, that the poor fellow is mentally abnormal (no offense, cap'n, sir, if you please) and that he probably had no slight idea of what he was doing or why. But, Heavens above!

By the terms of the law, it is an assault merely to point a pistol at a person. Whether in this instance it was wittingly or unwittingly, the fact remains that an assault has been committed (we hope that fellow doesn't take The News) and that for a few minutes the life of a human being hung precariously on a quirk in the processes of an abnormal cerebrum. It would have been the most ironic of fates for Grady to have died for some imaginary offense that he had not even given.

It seems to us--well, it seems to us, as it must seem to Grady himself: that the authorities are taking grave chances on a repetition of the nightmare, with a worse awakening, if they do not put this poor fellow (nice man, really) where he can do no harm should the mood come upon him again.

Forty Years From Now

It is quite nice and altogether appropriate that when Wiley Langley gets his, the first, farm-ownership loan, a celebration should be held. It's going to take place tomorrow on a farm near Jasper, Alabama, and the new Senator Lister Hill will be there to make a speech and mend some fences (but not Wiley Langley's), as will Dr. W. W. Alexander, Farm Security Administrator, to hand over a check for $3,000 to enable the tenant to become his own landlord, monarch of 180 acres; a check for $900 for new buildings and repairs; and a check for $400 to cover debts which creditors were persuaded to reduce from $1,082.

Indeed, it's a pity that old Tom Jefferson can't be there, for in old Tom's time ownership in the soil was the reason for and the bulwark of democracy. But old Tom, while he might have cheered along with the rest when Wiley Langley took over title to the acres he had farmed as tenant, would have been realistic enough to make a mental reservation. He would have wanted, in short, to see the end of this experiment.

And the end is a long time off. Wiley Langley, 58 and father of twelve, will never see the culmination of his own venture. Forty years is the amortization period, and at 58, 40 years is far beyond man's expectancy. And Wiley starts out with a considerable encumbrance on his farm, necessitating annual interest and principal payments, to begin with, of some $300 a year, plus taxes. Many farmers never see $300 a year in cash.

But more power to Wiley and, after him, to his brood. They are modern pioneers, hewing new homes out of mortgages and wrestling the soil from a wilderness of installment payments.

Beard and the Ships

There is one witness of the many to appear before a Congressional committee in opposition to the $800,000,000 naval expansion proposed by the President whose presence interests us. Dr. Charles A. Beard can be dismissed neither as a cloudy sentimentalist nor as a partisan, nor yet as a provincial from the corn country. Few living men, indeed, have a better knowledge of the history of the nation and of international affairs in our time than the author of "The Development of Modern Europe," "The Rise of American Civilization," and "Whither Mankind." And few have shown a greater capacity for analyzing that knowledge with cool realism.

Yet he told the Congressional committee that the naval program did not make sense as a purely defensive measure, that he was convinced that it was intended as the implement of a new foreign policy, under which we, in company with Britain, would undertake a "quarantine" of Japan and the fascist powers, and that such a policy was perfectly certain not to prevent war but to bring it on.

Ourselves we still lean to the opposite view, still don't believe the President means to fight unless he has to, and that to be strong is the best way to avoid war. All the same, coming from Dr. Beard, the opinion he expresses plainly deserves to be thought over carefully.

Problem With No Answer

Judge Redd's exhortation yesterday for a clean-up of vice conditions was thoroughly understandable, as well as his heated denunciation of the dime-taxi drivers and hotel proprietors who act as solicitors for the trade. All men despise such. Nevertheless, any realistic discussion of prostitution is bound to pose questions most difficult to answer.

It is not for nothing that they call this the oldest profession. It has been practiced since time was, and there never has been, anywhere, a wholly satisfactory solution of the problems it presents. For one thing, by its very nature it defies regulation; and for another, there is a considerable difference of opinion as to just what kind of regulation should be attempted. Methods vary astoundingly according to geography and temperament of peoples, but prostitution goes on.

Our approach to regulation here is about as it is in any Southern city. Periodically, we harry the prostitutes, running them in and taking the worst of them out of circulation for awhile. We drive them into shadier surroundings without frankly segregating them, and of late there has been, in connection with a frontal attack upon venereal diseases, a disposition to pounce upon the diseased members of the trade, not for reasons of public morality so much as for reasons of public health.

And it may quite well be that this is about as good a way as any. It is a compromise between the extremes of outright prohibition, which would be futile, and legalization, which would be offensive. For, in any case, there always will be prostitutes.

Boycotting the Farmer

The South Carolina Legislature passed a joint resolution this week calling on Congress to prohibit in toto the importation of textile goods from Japan.

Well, we don't confess to any burning love for Japan, either. The blood comes up in our heads, too, when we look at those pictures of Chinese babies after bombs have got through with them, and when we read about the Panays and the Allisons.

We know, moreover, that it would be perfectly swell for the cotton mills of South Carolina if Congress would do what the Legislature proposes, for Japanese competition in our markets is one of their bad headaches.

But what about those cotton farmers, who make up about half the population of South Carolina? In the first nine months of 1937, Japan sold us $152,527,000 worth of goods and bought from us goods valued at $353,501,000--in which the single greatest item was: cotton. So important was that item, indeed, that she ranked as the sixth best customer of the South Carolina cotton farmer and the cotton farmers of the South at large. Well, and is the South Carolina cotton farmer in position to lose a customer like that? And do you think, that Japan, boycotted from the sale of the very item, textiles, which she has most largely used in paying for that cotton, is going to keep on buying it? Eh?

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