Waning Force of Labor's No-Strike Pledge
The binding force of the no-strike pledge given by organized labor for the duration of the war will be severely tested after the termination of hostilities with Germany. It has been estimated that 30 to 40 per cent of the plants now engaged in war work will be released for the manufacture of civilian goods when the war in Europe comes to a close; workers in these plants may well feel that the no-strike pledge does not cover production of ordinary goods not essential to prosecution of the war. Strong minorities in several major unions have already urged abrogation of the pledge—at least in non-war production—on the ground that management is not keeping its side of the bargain and that the War Labor Board is not giving adequate protection to labor's rights.
President Green of the American Federation of Labor has pledged continued observance of the no-strike agreement “until the American flag floats over the ramparts of Berlin and Tokyo.” President Murray of the C. I. O. has reaffirmed the agreement for the entire duration of the war and the last national convention of the C. I. 0., in November, 1943, declared “without any qualifications or conditions that for the duration of the war there must not be any strike or stoppage of work.” Nevertheless, the national leaders of organized labor may have difficulty in holding union members to the no-strike pledge in industries which have ceased to produce munitions of war—and successful strikes in nonessential industries would undoubtedly aggravate labor unrest in industries still engaged in war production.
Temptations to Renewed Use of Strike Weapon
The prospect that the President will shortly authorize an upward revision in wage ceilings imposed by the Little Steel formula suggests that organized labor will soon have a new basis for demanding increased wage rates. Additional impetus to strikes would be given by & more generous War Labor Board wage policy if management proved reluctant, in the face of anticipated costs of reconversion, to accede to wage demands. George Meany, A. F. of L. member of the W. L. E., said, Sept. 26, that unless wage increases were granted and administered while the board was still in firm control of Industrial relations, the question of wages would be decided by economic force: “Strikes, strife, and economic chaos will result.”