The New Administration & Organized Labor
THE AIR OF EXPECTANCY that has surrounded the beginnings of the Kennedy administration has a decided piquancy for organized labor. For eight years the unions have longed for a friend in the White House; harassed by the renewed recalcitrance of management and apprehensive over the economic downturn, they worked very hard to elect John F. Kennedy, whose bona fides as a friend of labor are exemplary. But the fruits of victory are not always of an unmixed sweetness. The alliance between organized labor and the new administration is an uneasy one indeed.
For the last four or five years, the unions have been floundering in a morass of self-pity and frustration. It was not possible, they argued, to increase their membership when the National Labor Relations Board was loaded against labor; when union resolutions welcoming the Supreme Court decision on school desegregation hampered their activities in the South; and when white collar workers were being scared off by the exposures of the Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field, headed by Senator John F. McClellan. But whatever the causes, the blunt fact was that the high expectations of great activity and even greater achievements raised by the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1955 were never realized.
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