Cabinet Meeting Minutes, June 7, 1946. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings I.
CABINET MEETING, FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 1946
1. Discussion of the Case Bill.
Stated that he has been studying the Case Bill carefully and asked for the viewpoints of Cabinet members.
ATTORNEY GENERAL CLARK
The Case Bill can be divided into two parts (1) The first five sections deal with arbitration and conciliation. (2) The last part deals with labor policy and punitive provisions. Punitive provisions attempt to put activities of unions under closer control. That prevents secondary boycotts and jurisdictional strikes. Makes it illegal welfare funds to which employers contribute where funds administered and controlled by the unions. Supervisory employees (foremen according to NLRB are not supervisory) would be precluded from union membership.)
With reference to the collective bargaining contracts: In some states it is practically impossible to bring suit against a union for breach of contract. The Case Bill provides that such suits may be brought in federal courts. The act does not attach responsibility to the individual, only to the funds of the union. (1) The Attorney General believes that the act will encourage quickie strikes. Instead of saying we will strike next week, union will strike right now. This would preclude the operation of mediation machinery. (2) All this bill does is superimpose a 5 man board over the Conciliation Service which has been effective since 1913. The Conciliation Service has settled an average of ten strikes a day since the reconversion period. (3) This Bill provides a sledge hammer for mediation which will not make for mediation. (4) The only new provision will be a cooling—off period. (5) This bill takes out from under the Secretary of Labor all responsibility for the operation of the board. The only control by the President will be the appointment of the board members. (6) Anti- trust provisions will place an untold burden on the Department of Justice. (7) It has taken 50 years experience and 10 years application of the Sherman Act and the Department still can't tell what is a de facto violation of such act by business. Think how this will apply if the whole labor field was covered. There would be thousands of triple damage suits. (8) The Bill will not quiet labor but will fan up additional unrest. (9) Thinks the President's proposals to Congress, if passed, will be a more successful program. (10) Thinks the joint committee recommendation by the President to study labor legislation required to meet the strike situation should direct its activities to remedial legislation rather than punitive legislation.
The Attorney General stated that it was interesting to him to have had an invitation to appear before the democratic members of the House Rules Committee to discuss this bill. He stated that two of them indicated that they had not even read the bill but nevertheless these two are advocating its passage.
Secretary of Labor agrees with the Attorney General's position with respect to the conciliation service. The President does not like the prospect of the bill which brings about the repeal of the Norris-LaGuardia Act. He recalled that there has been no deliberate consideration of the bill in either the House or the Senate. The legislation was not considered by a House Committee or a Senate Committee. It was drawn on the floor and in the House a discussion consisted only of one hour and forty minutes.
SECRETARY OF THE NAVY FORRESTAL
If the President decides to veto the bill he might identify the parts which are good but say that they should be considered in a dispassionate way. There are five or six points in the bill which are good. He believes that if the President would make such comment it would be reassuring to businessmen.
UNDER SECRETARY OF TREASURY MAX GARDNER
The necessity for a long term study of labor problems should be reaffirmed. This would serve notice that this bill has been revised hastily but that the administration is going to determine that this country will have a labor policy which is fair.
SECRETARY OF WAR PATTERSON
Thinks it might be unwise to criticize Congress for a lack of consideration of this bill. Congress would throw back the same argument that the President is guilty of the same thing in seeking emergency legislation, in connection with the railroad strike. Agreed with Gardner that notice should be served to both sides. However, the President's decision with respect to this bill should be on the merits of this bill and not based on the failures of Congress.
UNDER SECRETARY OF INTERIOR OSCAR CHAPMAN
98% are in accord with the Attorney General in analysis and conclusions. He believes that the suggestion made by Max Gardner should be emphasized.
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE ANDERSON
Nothing to add.
UNDER SECRETARY OF COMMERCE SCHINDLER
Believes the opportunity presents itself to (1) Bring out the good points in the Bill (2) Label the bad points (3) Present vigorous statement on the need for a long range labor study. He thinks that both groups would approve such a message.
Agrees with statements of other members. Believes that Congress should be urged to act on President's proposals.