Fringe Benefits and Wage Stabilization

November 19, 1951

Report Outline
Prince Benefits in Wage Control Struggle
Pension and Welfare Plans in Industry
Productivity and Other Special Benefits

Prince Benefits in Wage Control Struggle

New Steel Demands; C.I.O. Protests on Wage Policy

Demands for wage increases in the nation's steel industry, in excess of what can be granted under the formula laid down by the Wage Stabilization Board, present the most serious challenge yet offered to the government's efforts to hold inflation in check on the side of labor costs. Although there is leeway under the W.S.B. formula for a steel wage increase of no more than five cents an hour, the wage policy committee of the United Steel workers made it clear, at the close of a meeting at Atlantic City on Nov. 15, that the union would seek an unspecified but substantially larger increase. Existing labor contracts in the steel industry expire on Dec. 31. Failure to reach by that date an agreement which the W.S.B. will sanction may precipitate an industry-wide strike.

Refusal of the steelworkers to be bound by stabilization formulas in drawing up their new demands was foreshadowed at the C.I.O. convention in New York the first week in November. Despite pleas for moderation voiced by Economic Stabilization Administrator Johnston, Price Stabilizer DiSalle, and other administration spokesmen, the convention on Nov. 7 unanimously adopted a resolution declaring that it would “never submit to discriminatory wage freezes or unfair policies of any other kind which will threaten the standard of living and the hard-won collective bargaining advances of free American labor.” On the same day C.I.O. President Murray, who is president also of the United Steelworkers, said his union would “endure all hazards to produce for our people a little more bread and butter and clothing and medicine and better homes to live in.” And he warned that “It may be that the workers will be forced into strike situations through no fault of their own.”

Murray denounced recent amendments to the Defense Production Act which permitted increases in prices and profits while wages were still held down. “The working population of America,” he declared, “is in no mood to accept a one-sided, discriminatory form of regulation that operates solely against those who work for a living.” It was evident from the remarks of Murray and other C.I.O. speakers that failure to impose more effective price controls has convinced labor that the principle of “equality of sacrifice in the defense mobilization program,” called for by President Truman on Labor Day, has been abandoned. Hence the incipient C.I.O. rebellion on wage control.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cost of Living and Wages
Apr. 17, 2020  Inequality in America
Sep. 08, 2017  Universal Basic Income
Apr. 08, 2016  Future of the Middle Class
Apr. 18, 2014  Wealth and Inequality
Jan. 24, 2014  Minimum Wage
Jun. 19, 2009  Rethinking Retirement
Mar. 06, 2009  Middle-Class Squeeze
Mar. 14, 2008  Gender Pay Gap
Dec. 16, 2005  Minimum Wage
Sep. 27, 2002  Living-Wage Movement
Apr. 17, 1998  Income Inequality
Oct. 27, 1978  Wage-Price Controls
Jun. 16, 1978  Military Pay and Benefits
Mar. 23, 1966  Rising Cost of Living
Oct. 25, 1961  Price-Wage Restraints in National Emergencies
Jun. 21, 1961  Wage Policy in Recovery
Jun. 11, 1958  Prices and Wages in the Recession
Sep. 18, 1957  Control of Living Costs
Nov. 02, 1955  Wages, Prices, Profits
Jan. 26, 1954  Minimum Wage Raise
Jan. 02, 1954  Cost of Living
Jan. 21, 1953  Guaranteed Annual Wage
Dec. 17, 1952  Future of Price and Wage Controls
Nov. 19, 1951  Fringe Benefits and Wage Stabilization
Dec. 06, 1950  Wage Control
Jun. 13, 1949  Wages in Deflation
Jun. 04, 1947  Guarantees of Wages and Employment
Oct. 29, 1946  Decontrol of Wages
Dec. 01, 1945  Minimum Wages
Sep. 29, 1945  Wage Policy
Oct. 27, 1944  Wage Security
May 17, 1943  Incentive Wage Payments
Aug. 25, 1941  Prices, Profits, and Wage Control
Apr. 28, 1941  Wartime Changes in the Cost of Living
Sep. 21, 1940  Two Years of the Wage-Hour Law
Nov. 01, 1938  Industry and Labor Under the Wage-Hour Act
Jan. 20, 1938  Wage Rates and Workers' Incomes
Apr. 11, 1935  The Cost of Living in the United States
Sep. 01, 1930  Wages and the Cost of Living
May 24, 1930  The Anthracite Wage Agreement
Feb. 20, 1925  Measure of Recovery in Profits and Wages Since 1920–21 Depression
Employee Benefits
Labor Standards and Practices
Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security