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Union Leaders Protest
Rulings of Price Board

Government’s Latest Aid to the Profiteers Shows
Need for Renewed Union Wage Fight

(31 August 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 35, 31 August 1946, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Price Decontrol Board’s rulings have given another stiff jolt to the trade union leaders’ policy of dependence on the capitalist government to prevent price rises. The government’s latest aid to the profiteers and price-gougers has posed squarely the need of renewed struggle for higher wages.

CIO leaders, who had concentrated all their efforts to get a “roll-back” of prices, were compelled to denounce the Decontrol Board’s rulings.

Philip Murray, CIO President, charged on August 21 that the Decontrol Board’s decisions mean freeing 50 per cent of all food prices from any regulation. The Board, he said, has given a free hand to “speculators, greedy for profits, to push prices up.”

John Thornton, Chairman of the CIO Cost-of-Living Committee, said that failure of the three-man. Decontrol Board of bankers and businessmen to reinstitute price ceilings for dairy products and grains will bring “greater inflation to the American people.”

“Soaring grain prices,” he said, “will pull up the price of all products dependent on grain, such as flour, pork, milk and similar products.”

Policy Bankrupt

It is clear from the CIO leaders’ own admissions that their policy of relying on the Big Business government to “control” prices is bankrupt.

Yet, neither they nor the AFL leaders propose any real campaign of union action to win higher wges to protect the workers’ standard of living from soaring prices.

The CIO leaders pay lip service to the “need for immediate wage increases.” They propose nothing to win pay raises but an appeal to Truman to call another farcical labor-employer conference.

As for the AFL tops, their policy is best shown by the recent radio statement of Robert J. Watt, AFL representative on the National Wage Stabilization board. Watt called on American workers – his statement is published approvingly in the AFL Weekly News Service, August 6 – “to tighten their belts and work harder than ever before.”

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