My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Monday—I suppose it is impossible for any Congressional bill to be put into language which the people can understand! It will be difficult for the average worker to understand the legal language of the Taft-Hartley labor bill passed by Congress last week.

In many ways I think labor leaders have themselves to blame for some of their present difficulties—John L. Lewis chief among them, because the people as a whole have come to dread what he can do to our economy. And there are certain union rules which irk the people and which I do not think really help organized labor. These regulations have made the relations between the public and the unions increasingly unsympathetic, and should have been studied and corrected long ago.

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The Congress of Industrial Organizations should have got rid of Communist leaders wherever they existed. The people of this country are more than willing to try to work with the Russians if they recognize on the part of the Russians a willingness to work side by side with other forms of governments and ways of life. However, the constant activity of American Communists, who evidently get their financial support as well as their political direction from Russia, creates suspicion and antagonism here and in some other countries as well.

If the Russian Government still hopes for world revolution brought about by representatives in other countries guided from Russia, it cannot be honest in trying to work cooperatively with other governments as they now exist. I am more than willing to believe that circumstances may modify the way of life and the forms of existing governments in many countries in the years to come, but the changes must come from the free will of the people, not from infiltration of ideas through the influence of outside governments. This is why union leaders known to be Communists should not have been allowed in our labor movement.

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Nevertheless, the Taft-Hartley bill is a bad bill, even in its final modified form. I think it will make the work of the National Labor Relations Board practically impossible, and it opens a wide field of labor activities to federal injunctions. I see nothing gained by taking the Conciliation Service out of the Department of Labor. It seems to me that this bill is weighted in favor of the employer. For instance, the bill requires the NLRB to obtain federal injunctions against certain union practices, but there is no provision that the board obtain injunctions against employer practices.

I have not room here to go into this bill in detail, but analyses of it are available and people should study it. I was in complete accord with the labor-reform suggestions made in the President's message, but this bill goes so far beyond that and is so weighted in favor of the employer that I feel that, if it becomes law, it will affect adversely the lives of many people.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL