JUNE 9, 1955
NEW YORK—On June 6 Thomas Mann celebrated his 80th birthday in Kilchberg, Switzerland, and even though I am a few days late I would like to join in good wishes to a man who has done much to shape the thinking of people. In a pre-birthday interview he stated he was disappointed over the way cultural and moral standards had failed to keep pace with technological progress. And his warning may be one of the things we should pay heed to at the present time.
Two major occurrences of the past few days are certainly causes for rejoicing.
One is the settlement between the United Auto Workers union and the Ford Motor Co. The settlement benefits not only the Ford Company and the union, but it benefits the country as a whole since a strike of such magnitude would have cost the nation, according to one of our newspapers, a loss of $35,000,000 a day.
It is said that 140,500 people would have been involved and direct pay to these people was $2,690,000 dollars. Ford suppliers would have lost a daily business of $12,400,000 for each working day the strike lasted. The Ford Company would have lost production of 10,000 of its three makes of automobiles, as well as tractors and trucks, each day, which, at a conservative average cost for each vehicle of $2,000, would have meant a production loss of $20,000,000 a day.
It is impossible to figure what this would have meant in loss in purchasing power and sales to workers by merchants, not to speak of the 7,000 company dealers and their employees or the costs to the transportation companies used by the strikers on ordinary working days.
The waves of a strike of this magnitude go out and cover not only the whole area but many different areas throughout the whole country. So, there is cause for real rejoicing that company officials and UAW president, Walter Reuther, could come to an agreement. Now the hope one must hold is that General Motors and the union will come to an early agreement.
As things are today, it is not just the central companies that are affected in a major strike, for when business reaches out as does the automobile business the entire nation feels the effect of a shutdown.
The other cause for rejoicing is that the Supreme Court voided Dr. John R. Peters' ouster by the loyalty board. This vindicates and clears Dr. Peters, and many people who have been his warm friends for a long time will rejoice with him that this has come to pass.
On the other hand, the constitutional question of whether anyone has a right to face his accusers in a Congressional committee investigation has not been settled and one must hope that in time the Supreme Court will take up this very important matter. It seems to be one of the absolute necessities at the present time when investigations are an ordinary matter, and unless it is established that one can face one's accusers many innocent people may continue to suffer.