FEBRUARY 28, 1946
NEW YORK, Wednesday—Everyone living in this city awoke this morning with a sense of relief. They might so easily have awakened to a city tied up by a transit strike with every chance that, with the subways being run by inexperienced people, there might have been some serious accidents. That threat has been removed, and I hope that, as citizens, we will all take a real interest in the special transit committee which the mayor promised to appoint.
This committee will be charged with a very great responsibility. The public has an obligation to the workers in an essential industry—to see to it that their legitimate grievances are given a fair hearing and that a just decision is reached as soon as possible.
Long delays over decisions, while the worker goes on working under conditions that he feels are unjust, take away his sense of obligation towards the public. This sense of obligation is required of public-utility workers, for they provide things that are really essential to the life of the citizens as a whole, but in return the public has a real obligation to see that the worker does not suffer injustice and is not expected to give more than he receives.
I think full credit should be given to CIO president Philip Murray and to Michael J. Quill, president of the Transport Workers Union, for their willingness to compromise in the present situation. They have shown a regard for the public and a statesmanlike understanding of what a transit strike would mean to the people of this great city and to the work which they do. One may hope that this augurs a better future in the whole field of labor relations and that the same amount of understanding can be shown by union leaders and management as a whole.
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I am happy to see that the United Nations Organization has found, at Hunter College's Bronx branch, a meeting place for the Security Council when it meets in New York in March. The difficulties that we create over housing UNO's groups are really quite funny!
There are a certain number of people, of course, who would rather not have the international organization's headquarters in this country. They still have not accepted the fact that we have a share in international affairs which we cannot escape. Or else they fear that, since we are going to house this organization, we may be expected to take more financial responsibility than would be our share if UNO had its permanent home somewhere else.
I think it would be wise for us to make clear that our resources are available to UNO for rehabilitation purposes as far as they will go and that we are willing to make them go as far as possible—but only if we see results which mean peace in the future and increased well-being for the peoples of the world. It is essential, however, that we face the fact that our resources can be made to stretch, without deprivation to ourselves, if we will learn to waste far less than we have in the past and to forego some of the luxuries which we have grown to consider necessities.
As to the question of a permanent home for UNO, there are some things to be considered which I would like to bring to your attention tomorrow.