FEBRUARY 9, 1951
HYDE PARK, Thursday—It is a great comfort to have the railroad strike come to an end. But just having a temporary acquiescence on the part of the railroad switchmen is not really settling the question. Unless we immediately go to work on solving their difficulties these men will continue to feel that they are working under unfair conditions, and that is never healthy for any industry or any country.
Members of the railroad unions have always shown a great sense of responsibility. Railroads are so vitally necessary to the life of the country that frequently people have felt they might be considered a public service and be removed from private ownership. The argument, however, that under private ownership the railroads are better managed and better run than they would be under public ownership and the fact that over the years employers and employees have had a very peaceful relationship has tipped the balance in favor of private ownership.
When it was revealed that the strike prevented supplies from reaching United Nations forces and especially U.S. troops, there immediately set in a feeling of resentment against the strikers. All of this, however, added up to a return of the workers on a present temporary basis. It did not provide a permanent solution, with thoughtful consideration given to the actual hardships the workers have suffered.
Someone told me that this particular situation had been brought to the attention of the highest authorities two years ago. Yet, nothing was settled. This makes me wonder whether there is enough representation in government today of organized labor.
Charles E. Wilson is certainly a very able man and the country is grateful that he is willing to undertake the arduous task the President has given him. Nevertheless, no man, however able he is, can know all occupations and the feelings of all groups of people.
Therefore, it is wise for any large-scale operation, such as now is being undertaken, to have representatives of as many of the groups affected actually taking part in the discussion of how difficulties are to be met and what solutions can be worked out. This is the only fair and just way to all concerned.
I am constantly reading in the press the names of industrial leaders who are coming to the help of our nation at this time. However, I think it is important that they have associated with them the strongest representatives they can find from the different labor groups in the country and some of the agricultural leaders as well.
While I am talking about representation in this highly complicated area of the management of our economy and our working manpower, I wonder if also there should not be representation of women and of youth. Both groups are vitally affected in their daily lives by whatever is done in the ordering of our economy.