DECEMBER 7, 1946
NEW YORK, Friday—Even the United Mine Workers, which is said to be a fairly rich union, must be a little appalled at the size of the fine imposed upon it for contempt of court.
Much as one dislikes having injunctions used against labor, no one can feel much sympathy with John L. Lewis, and to my surprise, I have even been getting a considerable number of critical letters from the mining areas. Families of the miners bitterly complain about the tactics which have brought them more trouble and discomfort. The time between strikes has been too short. They see no way of doing without Mr. Lewis, but they begin to feel that he is more of a burden than they can carry. If that feeling should grow, there will come a day when his following will melt away—and a general without an army cannot win battles.
In the meantime, all the fines in the world will not produce coal. The people here and abroad need coal. No group can long set up their own interests above the interests of great masses of people and find their point of view sustained. Gradually the backing, no matter how general it may be at the start, melts away.
Mr. Lewis may have decided to carry this through because he thinks he can win, but what I fear is that Labor as a whole will find itself involved in his defeat. Day by day he is plunging more people into unemployment, he is retarding recovery in the world, and the rising tide of misery is going to reach even to him someday.
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Do you ever have days when everything seems to go wrong? I arrived at my office in the Pennsylvania Hotel at five minutes before 9 yesterday morning and decided to sign my mail before going to our delegation meeting there. I arrived at the meeting ten minutes late and found that Sen. Austin had to leave at 9:30! Our meeting therefore was over very quickly, and when I returned to my office, I was told we had to be out at Lake Success by 10:30. I had arranged to go out there with a friend but could not reach him to tell him I had to start earlier, so all my plans with him went awry!
Arriving at Lake Success, we hurried to find our committee room, but all of them were empty. Back in the delegates' lounge, we searched the schedule board and found that Committee 3 would not meet until the afternoon. Our staff had failed to notify us, I suppose, because most of them had attended Sen. and Mrs. Austin's party the previous evening, and it takes a little while in the morning to catch up.
I wondered for a minute what to do, for to spend three hours in transportation takes quite a bit out of one's day. However, I decided that, if I could get home and get my Christmas list, I might do some final shopping. And so, back I journeyed to New York City and did accomplish something before we left again for Lake Success at 2:15.
In the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Flynn entertained some of the members who serve with me on Committee 3, and we all enjoyed being able to meet without having any of our usual agenda to discuss.