Commentary Magazine

The Outlook for Labor Under Eisenhower:
The Organized Need to Be Reorganized

For organized labor, the election of Eisenhower marked the end of an era—more so perhaps than for any other section of the population. A. H. RASKIN here suggests that deep changes had already taken place under Truman in the relations of labor leaders, both to their rank and file and to the public, which the election returns only confirmed. So long as prosperity reigns, all may be well, but what if our economy runs into serious trouble? 




Even before the Eisenhower sweep, signs were plentiful that American unions faced the unpleasant necessity of reevaluating their basic functions and thinking through their relationship with the whole public and their own rank and file.

Thinking has never been the strong suit of American labor. Even less so now that unions have grown fat following a road charted seventy years ago by Samuel Gompers and turned into a high-speed highway half a century later by Franklin D. Roosevelt. So long as union leaders could deliver more money and more security to their members on a regular basis, there was little disposition to worry about anything further off than the next contract negotiation. This has been particularly true in a period when jobs were plentiful, prosperity general, and the federal government friendly.

Unions, to be sure, always knew exactly what was wrong with every other section of our population. They had plenty of advice to offer industry, farmers, Congress, the White House, Russia, England, France, Germany, Spain, Argentina, or what have you. But the same critical intelligence that volunteered solutions for everybody else’s problems was seldom applied to their own. Unions were content with the way they were managing their own affairs, and there was reason to believe their members were content, too.



Few jobs offer the same assurance of lifetime tenure as union presidencies. No corporation head could be as certain of reelection to his post year after year as the man who sat opposite him at the bargaining table. In international unions with hundreds of thousands of dues-payers, and in local unions that numbered their members in dozens, there was the same tendency on the part of the rank and file to keep the same men in office perpetually. Even when a leader passed his Biblical three-score-and-ten, he could—and usually did—hang on to his job.

That was not the only measure of the extent to which unions held the allegiance of their rank and file. Even more significant was the response of workers in National Labor Relations Board voting, in which they were asked to decide whether unions were to be authorized to bargain for union shops. This voting requirement was established by the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947. The sponsors of that law made no secret of their conviction that the union shop was a device foisted upon workers by union bosses in order to shackle them to unions and force them into economic and political subservience on pain of losing their jobs. Given the right to express their own views on such an arrangement, upright American workers would have no part of the union shop; that was the reasoning of the labor law’s authors.

They were proved almost completely wrong. Instead of rejecting the union shop, workers voted overwhelmingly for it. In balloting involving thousands, those who voted to require everyone to hold a union card in order to hold a job ran to 90 per cent or better. In many places the union shop got a vote of more than 99 per cent. The results were so discomfiting to those who had expected to expose the unpopularity of union “serfdom” that they dropped the voting requirement from the law, and left the union-shop issue for direct resolution through collective bargaining without sounding out the rank and file.

Unions were able to take additional solace from the solidity of the front they offered in major or minor strikes. No matter how abstruse the point of controversy, or how stubbornly prolonged the battle, most unions could count on their members to stay away from work—with little or no complaint— until the leadership gave the signal to return. What is more, the advice of the high command was almost always decisive in the acceptance or rejection of a settlement proposal, even when the vote was taken by secret ballot under impartial auspices.

None of these idyllic conditions has changed in any significant degree. Death is still the main route out of union office; the few officials who retire earlier usually do so with an honorary title and an increase in pay. Workers are still willing to surrender some of their own freedom to make their unions strong, and strikes are still potent enough to make it unusual for employers to try to break them. Why, then, is it important for American labor to overcome its distaste for serious thought and do a little rechecking on where it is going and how it hopes to get there?

Part of the answer—but by no means the largest part—lies in the arrival of a “businessman’s government” in the White House and Congress. Labor’s political strategists have submitted a mass of comforting statistics to show that the great bulk of union members strung along with their leaders in voting for the Democrats. Actually, the voting figures indicate wholesale defections in most key industrial centers; the more candid union chiefs concede there is little carryover into politics of the economic loyalty workers feel toward their unions.

What accounts for this gulf between leaders and those who refuse to be led? It is a compound of property-mindedness on the part of a rank and file that takes full employment for granted; a continuing inability on the part of unions to identify themselves with the total welfare in a way that carries conviction even among their own members; a distrust of the political sagacity of union leaders based in large measure on their bumbling approach to the Taft-Hartley Act; and a puzzlement about what there was in the Democratic record of recent years that entitled it to labor support.



Group memories tend to be short. The depression that forced millions on public relief and swept the New Deal into power is twenty years behind us. The factory worker or building mechanic, with his pay check of $85 to $125 a week, has more income, more security, and more leisure time than most white-collar employees. The line between workers and the middle class grows less and less sharp. Despite the uncertainties of a semi-war economy, we are falling into a roseate economic daydream comparable to that which drugged the country in the 20’s, when William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, spoke over the radio under the sponsorship of a Wall Street investment house and every worker dreamed of becoming a millionaire.

In this kind of environment, concern about high taxes and high prices tends to overshadow consideration of the extent to which government policies have helped push up wages and strengthen unions. The “mess in Washington” and the issue of Communist penetration of government agencies were as persuasive in influencing labor votes as the votes of women, farmers, and other sections of the electorate.

In a real sense, there was nothing new in this divergence between the rank and file and the upper echelons of labor. The worker, in his role as citizen, has always been swayed by considerations that have nothing to do with his union button. He is not inclined to swallow the idea that what labor thinks is good for it is necessarily good for the country, any more than he is to accept the same idea when applied to industry.

This spirit of political independence has grown stronger as unions grew bigger and more bureaucratic, with workers given a steadily declining voice in the determination of the wages and conditions under which they work. Industry-wide bargaining has inescapably reduced—indeed, virtually wiped out—the worker’s direct influence over his conditions of labor. He is an automaton responding to the will of absentee officials whose authority over him is far greater than any his employer is able to exercise. Even in smaller unions that negotiate on a local basis, the worker is likely to feel constrained to vote “yes” because he lacks the possibility or courage to speak out when in disagreement with his leaders.

When he gets into the polling booth in a municipal, state, or national election, the worker is on his own. If the union’s officially stated political outlook corresponds with his own, all well and good—if not, it will be ignored. For all the stridency with which they set forth their views, union heads have not been able to persuade their members that they know any more about how the country should be governed than the members themselves.



One powerful factor in the political skepticism of the union rank and file has been the uncompromising fight waged by all branches of labor against the Taft-Hartley Act. Yet most union members refused from the outset to believe that the law was vicious in all its provisions or that it spelled doom for the union movement. Five years of experience in which the big unions got bigger, fattened their treasuries, and expanded their economic power, did nothing to make their members think otherwise.

They were little swayed by the argument that the full damage would not be felt until the country went into a financial tailspin and employers had an incentive for picking fights with labor, or until a Republican administration took over and really used the law against labor. What was clear was that, by their insistence on outright repeal, labor’s lobbyists were making it impossible for their friends in Congress at least to eliminate piecemeal many of the most anti-union provisions. As early as 1949 Senator Taft was ready to sponsor a long list of amendments almost all of which would have eased the restrictions the Act put on union practices, or at least speeded up the processes carried over from the old Wagner Act for the protection of unions. These amendments died because the White House, acting at labor’s behest, insisted on repeal or nothing. The Republican-Dixiecrat coalition in Congress made the answer nothing, to the vast relief of many pro-labor Congressmen who felt the Taft-Hartley Act contained much that was worth keeping, and thus had no appetite for a record vote on repeal.

In any event, it was too much to expect that workers who had been told in 1948 that the sure way to get rid of the Taft law was to elect President Truman and a Democratic Congress, would be profoundly moved by the same issue when it came up again four years later, with absolutely no progress toward repeal having been made in the interim. This was only one of a long list of disappointments with the Democratic record.

The New Deal really flourished in F.D.R.’s first two terms. When he retired Dr. New Deal in favor of Dr. Win-the-War, the momentum of social legislation slackened, and Harry Truman never succeeded in restoring it. Outside the international field, labor found almost nothing to applaud in the record of the Democratic-controlled Congresses. It became increasingly hard to find any concrete basis for assuming the stability of the economy to depend on the preservation of Democratic rule, and many workers latched onto the idea that it was “time for a change.” The fact that their own leaders had tried hard to get the Democratic presidential nomination for Ike in 1948 helped fortify the notion that the change would not be a disastrous one for the man whose weekly pay envelope was the only passport to the good life.



How correct this judgment was no one can be sure this early in the Eisenhower era. On balance, it is probably accurate to say that the President has made a more conscientious effort to be fair and friendly in his dealings with organized labor than labor has made to give him a reasonable chance to demonstrate the sincerity of his good intentions.

Eisenhower appointed an AFL union president as Secretary of Labor and instructed him to set up an advisory committee consisting of representatives of labor, industry, and the public to suggest ideas for Taft-Hartley revision. The labor representatives lost no time in demanding that the advisory committee be turned into a legislative body in which decisions would be made by majority vote. This torpedoed the project. The representatives of industry, convinced that labor would gang up with the representatives of the public to keep them in the minority, refused to participate unless the committee acted as a sounding board only, with Secretary Durkin and the President free to adopt whatever of its ideas sounded good to them for inclusion in the administration’s own recommendations to Congress.

In the Congressional hearings on changes in the Taft-Hartley Act, union spokesmen have reverted to the all-or-nothing theme that proved so unpopular even when their supposed friends were in power. This represented a baffling change of tactics, since both the AFL and the CIO had declared immediately after the election that they realized it was childish to keep talking about repeal in the light of the GOP sweep.

In keeping with this changed attitude, union leaders conducted private talks with top-ranking Republicans in Congress and the White House, and everyone got the impression that some real collective bargaining was going on designed to hammer out a program that would kill some of the clauses labor found most repugnant and make the law more equitable all around. Instead, George Meany, the AFL’s new president, and Walter P. Reuther, his opposite number in the CIO, went before Congress with a list of amendments so extensive that they left nothing of the original law but its name.

It is true that industry exhibited little more statesmanship in its own Congressional testimony. After a campaign in which their watchword had been less government meddling in labor-management relations, the spokesmen for major industrial groups flooded Congress with suggestions for making the law even harsher and for increasing the long list of interferences with bargaining it already contains. Both the National Association of Manufacturers and the United States Chamber of Commerce called for the abolition of industry-wide bargaining. In effect, this project for chopping up big unions into little ones is so doubtful in both its philosophical and economic implications that most industrial-relations experts on the management side frankly admit they do not feel it should be carried out. And some industries find it such an advantage to do their bargaining on an industry-wide basis that the Chamber of Commerce representative before the House Labor Committee felt it necessary to retract some of his own denunciations of the destructive and monopolistic consequences of such bargaining. Wherever both sides wanted to proceed on an industry-wide basis, he proposed that Congress give the green light.

Labor’s inability to exhibit more flexibility in its approach to Taft-Hartley revision put the freeze on the apparent willingness of the White House to meet labor halfway in trying to achieve a more perfect law. Eisenhower is no expert in union matters; he proceeds on the general theory that labor and management can get on well together if they want to get on, and that government should interfere as little as possible in the process. The reluctance of labor to help him draw up a moderate program may cause the President to throw the entire problem in Congress lap. In any event, this is bound to strengthen the hand of the Republican extremists who feel the only thing wrong with the law is that it is not tough enough. Most observers are beginning to abandon hope that anything will be done in the present session of Congress to make it better, and some are afraid that it may be made worse.



The mishandling of the Taft-Hartley issue focuses attention on a much larger issue—the necessity for labor to decide what its relations with government are going to be. For twenty years, in peace and war, in depression and boom, the government has been the dominant element in many of the most crucial situations affecting union welfare. The CIO was a child of the Wagner Act and its key unions relied on the White House for major support whenever they got into trouble. The AFL, since few of its unions negotiate on a national basis, was less dependent, but by no means free.

Yet even with Harry Truman, who liked to assure labor it had no better friend anywhere, it became increasingly evident in recent years that unions would be well-advised to cut the umbilical cord and handle their relations with industry without reliance on the White House. The 1952 steel strike, the longest and costliest in the country’s history, was in large measure a product of government bungling that stifled any real attempt at collective bargaining and was in the end as harmful to the union as to the industry. The railroad unions, which began depending on government even before Franklin Roosevelt took office, finally reached the disillusion point in their two-year tug of war over federal operation of the transportation system and federal dictation of contract terms.

The concentration of economic strength now in the hands of American industry and unions is bound to create situations in which a strike will force the government to step in to protect the national welfare, but the number of such situations is likely to be minimal if the national interest becomes the sole yardstick for intervention. Even the eight-week shutdown of the steel industry in a period of high-level military production failed to produce any really acute crisis. In the past, the tendency has been to jump in and then discover later that it would have been better to stay out.

On the record, the new administration is committed to the notion that it should keep its nose out of labor-management relations. Both sides have given this policy their fervent endorsement. But whether this hands-off policy will stand the test of a knockdown struggle in any pivotal industry remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen how loyally labor and management will cling to their own professed desire to settle things on their own.

The administration is putting its faith in “preventive mediation,” a device that has been tried with varying degrees of success ever since the first union and the first employer found that they could talk more satisfactorily to a third party than they could to one another. How well mediation works depends in part on the ingenuity and tact of the mediator, but even the most adroit one can do little when the contending parties are determined not to agree.

Two factors seem to threaten rough going for the Eisenhower effort to cut down strikes by getting mediators in early. One is that the man best qualified to make the policy work is being dropped as director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. He is David L. Cole, himself a Republican and by all odds the best man available for the job. But he has fallen afoul of Senator H. Alexander Smith, chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, and for reasons that defy rational analysis. Mr. Cole’s removal will not only be a loss to the effectiveness of the Service but a blow to the morale of those who remain.

The other difficulty is that the stress the administration has put on mediation is being interpreted in the field as a mandate for the assignment of a federal mediator as soon as labor and management file the sixty-day notice of contract expiration that is mandatory under the Taft-Hartley Act if a union is to be free to strike when its contract runs out. But putting a mediator on the scene before the bargaining gets under way, and before the parties are able to make any real assessment of the chances for independent agreement, is assigning him to the status of another piece of furniture. Timing is the essence of successful mediation, and timing goes out the window when the mediator has to step in before he is wanted.

The serious pressure for getting the White House back into direct involvement is likely to come when and if a strike occurs that shuts down a basic industry and throws several hundred thousand workers out of work. Some unions have not even waited for such a situation. The CIO Textile Workers Union, faced with demands for wage cuts from Northern textile manufacturers, have asked the President to declare that he is opposed to any reduction in pay standards. The CIO itself has let it be known that it would like to have a pipeline into the White House in the form of a presidential aide specially versed in labor’s problems. It stoutly denies that what it is after is a labor-fixer, but it is hard to see how the job could avoid becoming that in a situation labor considered critical.



But labor’s relations with government involve much more fundamental considerations than the mechanics for handling industrial disputes. Most important of all is the course the government will follow in maintaining full employment and a high standard of prosperity when defense production begins tapering off toward the end of this year. The drop in military expenditures will not be a precipitate one unless Republican budget-choppers change present schedules, but it is obvious that it is time to begin planning for keeping jobs and payrolls high when the cut does make itself felt in a substantial way.

The President has made a reassuring move toward such planning by appointing Professor Arthur F. Burns of Columbia University his chief economic advisor. Dr. Burns profoundly senses the importance of finding ways to control the business cycle instead of letting it control us; but his ideas are going to need effective labor support if they are to have any chance of prevailing against the “give business its head” forces in Congress. The President has shown a deplorable lack of willingness to provide constructive leadership in his relations with the legislative branch, and in this matter his disinclination may be heightened by his basic desire to restore the pre-New Deal principles of laissez-faire.

To be politically and practically effective in this all-important field, labor will have to go in for a comprehensive overhauling of its collective bargaining policies and its relations with the public. It is hard to exaggerate the extent to which popular feeling has swung away from labor in recent years. At the very time that union members were tending to become more and more middle class in their standards of value, the middle class was becoming increasingly hostile to union progress.

One obvious reason for this development was the extent to which unions allowed themselves to become the “fall guys” in the inflationary process. It became standard practice in the postwar period for employers to blame higher prices on higher wages, and unions, far from battling energetically against this exaggeration of the role of wages in raising living costs, often became the chief lobbyists in Washington for federal authority to pierce price ceilings—seeing in this a way of winning increased pay for their members.



In general there has been an unhappy gap between protestation and performance in union expressions of devotion to the common good. For all the eloquence of a Meany or a Reuther in declaring that unions are not a selfish special interest and that their welfare is bound up with the advancement of the total community, the record of readiness to make specific sacrifices in the larger interest of the whole public is not an impressive one. Utility unions fight the spread of public power projects because they feel they can bargain better with private enterprise; building service unions team up with landlords to lobby for the elimination of rent controls; maritime unions press a “ship American” drive, while their parent organizations clamor for government to do more to stimulate foreign industry.

Labor’s tendency to forget broader considerations when they conflict with its own immediate interests (and labor certainly has no monopoly in this respect) has been conspicuously reflected in its attitude toward the mobilization of America’s resources for the cold war and the actual fighting in Korea. American unions have seen from the start the necessity for combatting the Soviet threat with all the energies we can muster. Unfortunately, this recognition has been accompanied by few acts on labor’s part that reflect a real sense of urgency about the whole problem, especially where any sacrifices are entailed.

Labor cannot escape its full share of responsibility for the collapse of wage and price controls. Unions were just as zealous as industry in punching holes in the government’s anti-inflation program. Each group took refuge in the easy excuse that the other fellow was getting away with murder, and there was nothing for it but to commit murder, too. Happily, and neither side can take any bows for the fact, the process did not turn from murder into collective suicide.

In the early stages of the defense build-up, when diversion of critical materials to war industries and the sound decision of the military authorities to put up new defense plants in places remote from our big industrial centers were causing some temporary dislocation of civilian employment, particularly in Detroit, union leaders howled about the “bungling” in Washington. Far from complaining about the government’s failure to do anything substantial about the decentralization of industry as a protection against atomic attack, labor has consistently teamed up with the business-as-usual forces to put more and more work into communities that are already excessively vulnerable because of their concentration of heavy manufacture.

There are other elements of union practice that have cost labor the public’s confidence. Slowness in dealing with the problem of racket infiltration has been one, although there are signs that the long period of apathy is at an end. The AFL, in which corruption has been more of a problem than the CIO, has called for a clean-up in its affiliated unions. Unfortunately, the Federation still shows little vigor in applying this new policy. Its tendency is to move in only after the public prosecutors or crime investigators have already taken the lid off a cesspool, instead of seizing the initiative itself.1



If labor is going to repair its relations with the rest of the public, it must make sure that it is running a solid organization of its own. The relationship between union leaders and union members has been undergoing a subtle change and cleavages may be developing that do not yet show in union elections or strike votes. The old notion that the union president ought to live on a scale roughly like that of the men he represents was ditched long ago. Now salaries of as much as $50,000 to $75,000 a year go to the heads of international unions, supplemented by generous expense accounts. Three AFL vice-presidents live in Florida homes built for them with union funds; the union-bought Cadillac is the standard conveyance for labor officials from business agents up; the head of one big union is a millionaire real estate operator.

It is only fair to point out that even the biggest union salaries and expense accounts are peanuts by comparison with the pay taken home on the management side. Bringing union officials salaries up to a level of modest luxury is not only a warranted recognition of the responsibility that goes with running a giant union; it also acts to protect union leaders against bribes, gifts, or favors from the employers quarter. But too often the higher salaries, the routine and security of union office, have the effect of making union leaders slothful and alienating them from the problems of the men for whom they speak. This is especially apt to be true where a comfortable relation exists between the managers who speak for industry and the managers who speak for labor. The large number of unionists who are wont to gripe publicly about the shortcomings of their leaders indicates the need for an effort on the latter’s part to draw closer again to the rank and file.

This is not the sole reason for believing that one of labor’s most urgent tasks is to reorganize the organized. The real rush of people who came into the labor movement because they wanted to come in ended at least ten years ago. Since then total union membership has stood still at a level of about 15,000,000. This is less than one-third of our non-agricultural work force. The well-established unions have grown in membership, but much of it has been attributable to the operation of union shop and other compulsory membership requirements. Relatively few of the people who entered unions during World War II and in the period since the war have any real understanding of what unions are all about. They think of the union as an instrument for delivering them a regular raise in pay and for talking up in their behalf if they get in trouble with the boss. That is the beginning and end of it.

Surprisingly enough, unions have made almost no independent effort to build their own beachheads of middle-class support through the intensive organization of white-collar workers. Apart from the American Newspaper Guild, the entertainment unions, and a scattering of organization among

store clerks, there is little union strength in this huge sector. The old Communist-dominated United Office and Professional Workers has largely disappeared, and there is little interest in either the AFL or CIO in doing anything to build a more wholesome replacement. A few years ago the AFL had almost solid representation in such Wall Street pillars as the Stock and Curb Exchanges, but this organization faded after an unsuccessful strike, and its erstwhile leader went off to try his hand at promoting labor-management harmony as a federal mediator in Cleveland.



Part of the reeducation task confronting organized labor lies in the necessity of broadening union horizons to encompass new services to member and to community, and part in a revision of bargaining objectives. Long exposure to government economic controls has rusted the bargaining apparatus; it has also brought a great increase in the use of mechanical mileposts for establishing whether wages should go up or down. Now labor is casting about for ways to banish the slide rule from the negotiating table and get back to the old unscientific basis of fixing wages through an economic free-for-all. Unless some sensible ground rules are set up, this can prove a costly and destructive process for the rest of us.

Cost-of-living escalator provisions have lost their popularity with labor now that the consumer price index shows signs of leveling off, but they will speedily return to favor if the elimination of controls or a worsening of the international picture causes a sharp new rise in prices. Industry has resisted general application of the General Motors idea of giving workers an annual pay rise of 2 or 2½ per cent to compensate for the over-all rise in the nation’s productivity, but the idea gets into most major contracts, directly or indirectly, and operates to insure a steady rise of 4 or 5 cents a year in hourly wages. The trouble with both the cost-of-living and the productivity approach from labor’s point of view is that even when it operates to pull wages up, it tends to make the entire process too automatic and thus to diminish the importance of the union in its members eyes.

This is especially disturbing because there are already too many factors that bind the worker closer to his company than to his union. Union seniority programs have had the effect of giving workers a bigger stake in their jobs the longer they stay on the payroll of the same employer. Now, especially in the mass production industries, pension and welfare benefits are contingent on the worker’s survival as an employee and the company’s survival as a profitable enterprise. Here again is a relation that makes it urgent that labor see to it that we do not slide into a depression that shakes millions loose from their jobs, their seniority, and an important chunk of their security against the hazards of old age and ill health.

To achieve a continued rise in living standards and in employment opportunities, labor will have to shoulder a twofold responsibility. It will have to cooperate with industry in assuring the most efficient performance of our fantastically productive industrial machine. That entails not only a greater receptivity to improvements in machinery and the scrapping of outmoded equipment, but also a more diligent mutual effort to curb strikes by voluntary means. The inescapable effect of strikes of the frequency, scope, and duration of those the country underwent in 1946, 1949, and again last year, is to reduce the size of the economic pie to be cut up, and thus destroy the basis for improved living standards by fighting over how they should be apportioned.

But stepping up production is only half the task. The other and equally important assignment for labor is to come up with plans for improving our system of distribution to guarantee that the market will not become glutted with goods people could use but cannot afford to buy. On the ability to avoid such a calamity, especially when we stop diverting 15 per cent or more of our total effort into military equipment, depends our whole effort to convince the rest of the world that we know how to use freedom for the benefit of all the people.



The area in which the real battle is likely to be fought lies in labor’s effort to obtain a larger voice in the distribution of the fruits of our economy. That is why it is so imperative for labor to convince the government and the people, who in the ultimate sense are the government, that it really puts the interests of the community first. There is reason to hope that labor, however much bloated with the years of prosperity and White House favor, will be equal to this challenge. In George Meany and Walter Reuther, the AFL and CIO have vigorous new leaders. It is up to them and their associates to produce a program that will restore public faith in the wisdom and social-mindedness of our unions.

To do it they will have to shake off the complacency that comes with high employment, high wages, and convincing indications that the new administration has no ax out for labor. The ideas of Samuel Gompers and the business unionists of his generation have never been more firmly entrenched. What’s more, these ideas are paying off more handsomely than ever. It is hard to feel that there is any necessity for thinking under such circumstances, but if the painful effort is put off too long the chance for a constructive effort to bulwark our economic security may be lost. Unions have come a long way since 1881; it is time their thinking caught up with the responsibility that has been forced upon them.




1 Labor's insecurity in its post-election relations with industry and the government is heightened by the unresolved warfare between the AFL and the CIO and the internal conflicts that have beset the CIO since the deaths of Philip Murray and Allan S. Haywood. No one holds much real hope for organic unity between the two major branches of organized labor in the measurable future, and there is a strong chance that some of the key AFL affiliates or John L. Lewis's United Mine Workers will seek to capitalize on the divisions within the CIO. The AFL Teamsters, under the aggressive leadership of Dave Beck, already have taken over one large Minneapolis local from the CIO Electrical Workers, and the million-member United Steelworkers is restive over taking second place to Walter Reuther in the CIO. These tensions do not provide an ideal environment for constructive thought or sound action.

About the Author

Pin It on Pinterest

Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
for full access to
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
Don't have a log in?
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.