My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

HYDE PARK, Sunday—We come again to Labor Day in a period in our history when labor, politically, is becoming one of the most important factors in our national life.

This is a presidential election year and both major political parties are doing their best to hold the organized labor vote. The Republicans have been out of office, so they probably will point out that anything labor dislikes lies at the door of the Democrats. They probably will add that if they were in power labor would have nothing to complain about. Their promise probably will be that if returned to power, everything that touches labor will be fairly and equitably adjusted.

Both AFL and CIO leaders, however, will find it hard to forget the Taft-Hartley Law. And though they may not have always seen eye to eye with President Truman and his policies, they certainly are going to find, when they weigh the records of the Republican and the Democratic parties, that the latter has brought labor more solid gains in the past 10 years than it ever achieved in any other similar length of time.

How will the men who make up the organized labor groups in the country face up to this situation?

They do not like to be told how to vote. In fact, the wise labor leader rarely tells the members of his organization how to vote. He tries to establish in his union an educational system to present its members facts on legislation that affects the interests of labor, and also the record of the various candidates' attitudes and actions as regards labor questions.

In 1946, I felt that this education had not been very well done. Therefore, labor was confused and to a great degree stayed away from the polls, which is, of course, the easiest way for reactionary candidates to gain office.

PNews, EPHP, 6 September 1948