AUGUST 12, 1947
CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, N. B., Monday—The Taft-Hartley Labor Act does not seem to be having such smooth sailing. I saw the other day that a legal aide of the National Labor Relations Board had resigned because he said it was impossible to work under the act, and I have seen repeatedly in the papers that labor unions were simply bypassing the NLRB because they felt it would take so long for any action and that it was a useless piece of machinery.
I see that President Truman has appointed Cyrus Stuart Ching, a Republican, to head the new Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. This is the agency created by the Taft-Hartley Act to take the place of the U. S. Conciliation Service which has functioned previously in the Labor Department. On August 22nd, this new agency will start working independently.
The object will be to prevent stoppages of work in labor-management disputes. I surmise that was the object of the old U. S. Conciliation Service, and I suppose it was taken out of the Labor Department in order to weaken that department. It will be interesting to see the record that the new independent agency achieves during the next few months. Certainly Mr. Ching, who is 71, should have plenty of experience, since he has been director of industrial and public relations for the United States Rubber Company since 1929.
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The head of this new agency is responsible only to President Truman. The personnel of the Conciliation Service is transferred to it, but Mr. Ching has the right to make any changes he wishes. The Senate has to confirm his appointment in their next session, but confirmation is regarded as almost certain.
Anyone who has listened to the way labor feels about the provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act will feel a little sorry for Mr. Ching, I think. If you are going to bring about conciliation, you naturally hope for people on both sides of a question who are ready to be conciliated. At the present time, I would hardly feel that the labor groups were in a receptive mood.
If a dispute is not settled in conference between the two parties, the new agency may require both of them to "participate fully and promptly" in such meetings as may be undertaken by the Mediation and Conciliation Service, but just getting them around a table isn't going to mean that a solution to the trouble will be found. Instead of congratulating you, Mr. Ching, I offer my best wishes but also my deepest sympathy.