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January 07, 1943 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1943-01-07

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Fifty-Third Year
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--*. .

The Colossus totters

The Forty-Hour Week
Benjamin L. Masse, Associate Editor, in America, a Catholic Review of the Week

Member, Associated Collegiate Press, 1942-43
National Advertising Service, Inc.
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Editorial Staff
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Editorials published in The Michtgan Daily'
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and represent the views of the writers only..

HE only issue in the fight over
the 40-hour week is this: Will
the suspension of the overtime pro-
visions of the Fair Labor Standards
Act contribute more to our war
effort than will their retention?
The reasons advanced for ex-
tending the basic work week to 48
hours are chiefly two: The longer
work week will (1) mitigate the
danger of inflation; and (2) help
notably to relieve the manpower
Stabilization of wages and sala-
ries, rationing of scarce commodi-
ties, extension of price ceilings to
cover farm products, higher taxes
and increased insistence on the war
bond campaign, seem to have given
us, at least for the immediate fu-
ture, insurance against inflation.
We can concentrate on the argu-
ment that a longer work week will
relieve the manpower shortage.
The law, it is contended, was
passed in 1938 to cope with a situa-
tion which no longer exists. At that
time, the problem confronting the
country was widespread uneniploy-
ment. But now the circumstances
have utterly changed. It is no long-
er a question of spreading a limited
amount of work; it is a question of
finding enough men and women to
fill the new jobs.
Claims of Opponents
Under these circumstances, the
opponents of the 40-hour week in-
sist, to continue to enforce legisla-
tion designed to spread work is
absurd. If the work week were ex-
tended to 48 hours, our dwindling
labor force would be multiplied
(equivalent to adding about 3,500,-
000 more workers), and hundreds
of thousands of men and women
would be free to transfer from ci-
vilian to war industries.
Before we consider the answers
to this argument, three points must
be clarified.
1. Most war workers, according
to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
are at their jobs far longer than
40 hours a week.
2. Many non-war industries are,
however, working only 40 hours,
and even less than that. In Sep-
tember, the average hours worked
in millinery were 33.9; in men's
clothing, 34.5; in women's cloth-
ing, 34.3; in cigars and cigarettes,
38.3; in boots and shoes, 35.9; in
bituminous coal, 35. Nevertheless,
the average week in all non-war
industry was just a fraction short
of 40 hours..
3. Organized labor joins its cri-
tics in agreeing that we are not

making full use of our present labor
force, and that the 48-hour week
should be made universal. It dis-
agrees only on the question of pay-
ment for overtime. Since very many
war workers, and many workers in
civilian industry as well, are now
receiving overtime payments, the
move to suspend the Wage and
Hour Act is a move not to length-
en hours, but to cut wages.
Adds Little to Costs
Now, on with the debate. The
negative has the floor, and we shall
consider their chief arguments in
1.'. Overtime payments, in most
cases, are not blocking a longer
work week. While some firms are
unable to pay overtime rates and
continue, at -the same time, to sell
at a profit under present price ceil-
ings, these firms are not typical.
Furthermore, some labor econo-
mists claim that the overtime pre-
mium for a 48-hour week increases
unit labor costs in many industries
by only one-twelfth (others say
one-eighth), and that this increase
is more than nullified by the fact
that fixed charges and overhead
are not augmented by the added
production. The reason many non-
war industries are still working
40 hours a week or less is not the
Wage and Hour Act, but a short-
age of materials.
2. The retention of overtime
payments, far from being a hin-
drance to the transfer of workers
from civilian to war industries, is
an effective and orderly way of
bringing this about. The magnetic
attraction of overtime and fat-
ter pay envelope are daily indcing
many workers to switch to war
plants. Those who resist this at-
traction are probably restrained by
very solid reasons, frequently of a
family nature, and could be led to
make a change only by force.
Would Wreck Contracts
3. To do away at this time with
overtime provisions would destroy
the delicate balance between wages
and prices, achieved, let it be re-
membered, only after months of
laborious effort. The budgets of
all workers now enjoying overtime
would be badly upset, and this
would probably lead to widespread
demands for higher hourly rates of
pay. Thos, when labor leaders
and management ought to be con-
centrating their full energies on
stepping up production, they would

be forced to spend days and weeks
drawing up new agreements.
And worse still, most war con-
tracts now in force make. allow-
ances for overtime payments. it
these payments were abandoned,
every one of these contracts would
have to be renegotiated--another
arduous and time-consuming job.
4. The drive to emasculate the
Fair Labor Standards Act is an iI
logical approach to the manpower
problem. This act is a highly im-
portant piece of, legislation, a mile-.
stone in the social history of the
United States. The suspension of
such a law ought to be proposed
only as a last, unwelcome resort,
after all other means have failed.
And labor charges that other reans
have not failed.
Nelson Opposes Cha
Consequently, workers are in-
clined to see in the movement not
so much an honest attempt to solve
the manpower shortage, as an at-
tack, cleverly wrapped in the Aner-
ican flag, on the social gains of the
past decade. And these suspicions
do not make for- good morale.
This seems to be the position of
the President, and of many close to
the war-production effort. Donald
Nelson said:
"To abolish the 40-hour week law
would not, in my opinion, brink
any greater production or more
sustained effort in war industry.
I believe that such action would
have a harmful effect on war pro-
duction. If we now abolish the 40-
hour week by law, we do not gain
one hour of additional work in our
war industries, but, naturally; rVe
create a widespread demand for
increases in 'wage rates, throw the
entire wage structure out of adjust-
ment and remove an important in-
centive for labor to shift from fond
essential industries intowar-pro-
duction jobs."

Public Criticism Of
Government Unjustified
AERICA has long been known for its sense of
humor and one of its most prominent writers,
Sinclair Lewis, once spent an evening here in
Hill Auditorium telling us that this country's
"Oh yeah" attitude will be its salvation. Unfor-
tunately, the "oh yeah" attitude is still very
much in evidence, and its current prevalence
was brought out in last week's Gallup Poll sur-
vey of this Nation's criticisms of the war effort.
We have a right to criticize our government,
and this right must be exercised even further
in wartime. If Mr. Gallup had found a public
aversion to the pre-war isolationists now flying
the banners of "no need for gas rationing," if
this poll had shown Americans to be up in
arms about our coddling of such characters
as Darlan and Franco, we would feel that the
right of criticism is being used in the most
salutary fashion.
But what did Mr. Gallup discover? Well, his
reporters went out and came back with tales of
a strong sentiment against governmental "lack
of foresight" especially in the case of rationing.
This lack of foresight, of course, compares un-
favorably with the vision and clairvoyance shown
by that too-numerous segment' of the general
public that laid away for rainy days to such a
degree that rationing-with all of' its evils and
inenveniences-was hastily instituted to nullify
the effects of their hoarding.
SECOND CRITICISM reported by Mr. Gallup
was"government bureaucracy and ineffi-
ciency," a complaint that seems to have stayed
in style since the last "efficient" government
went out with the Hoover Cities in 1932. The
public's complaint about bureaucracy, of course,
is based on the Washington correspondents'
tales of thousands of people filling hundreds of
offices in the capital. Needless to say, this war
is no backyard brawl and you cannot expect
"while-you-wait" service on forms and requests
when the forms and requests run into the mil-
Bertie McCormick is the most obnoxious critic
of government inefficiency, but we see little
eydence of any constructive suggestions from
him or his followers. They only take their line
because we are fighting a war they do not like
for principles they do not like and they are doing
their best to hamper it.
Mr. Gallup's poll lists as the third criticism
government indulgence toward labor unions-
another segment of public opinion that has
been nurtured by an antagonistic anti-labor
press. The number of man-days lost by strikes
ples into insignificance before the total effort
of American labor and this anti-labor senti-
ment might have been changed slightly if
American newspapers had been equally liberal
with theIr two-inch banners on such "patri-
oi'" industrial firms as the Anaconda Wire
and Cable Company.
F OURTHon the howl list turned in by Mr.
Gallup is "sugar-coating" of war news by
the government and lack of information about
the war. The American people are now ready to
take it on the chin, according to Mr. Gallup, and
they want their bad news straight. They have
already forgotten that a luxury-loving America
would have been floored by a full report of the

Relations With Bolivia
Hurt By Boal's Action
WORD has arrived in Waschington that all is
not well with our good neighbor policy in
South America.
According to Ernesto Galarza, chief of the
labor and social information division of the
Pan-American Union, Pierre Boal, the United
States ambassador to Bolivia has discouraged
the adoption of a labor code aimed at raising
wages and somewhat improving working condi-
tions in the tin mines of that country. Since the
United States is the chief purchaser of Bolivian
tin, the adoption of such a code would naturally
result in a price raise.
Galarza, in a letter to Undersecretary of State
Sumner Welles, charges that "In the conversa-
tions Ambassador Boal did not venture to give
instructions to President Penaranda, but it is
clear that the Ambassador's observations were
intended to diminish the prospects of. passage
of the labor code. The Ambassador clearly agreed
with the position of the large mine operators
that the new code would ifipose disagreeable
administrative expenses on the companies; that
it was desirable not to pay earned wages on time
in order to compel the workers to remain on the
job; that the enactment of the code would com-
pel the companies to demand higher prices from
the United States Government for tin and other
essential materials; that collective bargaining
would be detrimental rather than helpful to pro-
DESPITE THE FACT that Ambassador Boal
cabled Secretary of State Cordell Hull that
he has not engaged in any acts or utterances
which could be construed at all as an attempt to
influence the labor plans and proposals and pro-
grams that were pending in Bolivia, it is evident
that something must have happened to bring
forth such serious charges from Galarza.
Whether due to interference 'of the United
States ambassador or not, the labor code was
refused and the natives continued to labor
long hours under the worst conditions possi-
ble, earning from 20 to 30 cents a day. How-
ever, the refusal of the government to adopt
the code met resistance from the miners who
struck. Violence ensued, bloodshed and the
jailing of the labor leaders followed.
Such intereference on the part of the United
States, if the charges are true, cannot be con-
demned too severely. But even if Ambassador
Boal has not intrefered with the Bolivian labor
policy in any way, matters are not helped greatly.
It seems utterly inconsistent to practice good
neighbor policy on the surface, sending good-will
envoys back and forth, while economically alien-
ating the people of the country.
BY taking advantage of such opportunities as
the betterment of conditions in the Bolivian
tin mines the United States can show the world
that it is really back of its post-war promises,
and that it is really interested in helping the
other United Nations. By paying a higher price
for its tin, the United States could help to bring
about the economic betterment of the Bolivian
miners, a result that would be appreciated -by
all of the democratic peoples of South America
and Central America.
It is true that such action might bring a clamor
from waste-hunting senators, but in true - divi-'
dends it would repay the United States. The
Iepth of a good feeling inspired by exchanging
notion pictures and lecturers, rarely reaches to
the neomJP of a c~onry. Hwvr dirct act.ion

WASHINGTON-When WPBoss Donald Nel-
son stood up in press conference and flatly
denied there was any conflict between civilians
and the Army over war production, he probably
did not know that the Army had just issued a
most interesting brochure describing in detail
the civilian-military conflict over war production.
Donald Nelson, however, was not the only
man who didn't know about it. Simultaneously,
Secretary of War Stimson was asked at his
press conference whether a booklet had been
issued telling why the Army should run war
production. Mr. Stimson denied there was such
a booklet.
Moreover, Major Gen. Alexander Surles, his
efficient press chief, leaned over his shoulder
and reinforced that denial. Undoubtedly they
did not knowabout the booklet.
Nevertheless, it does exist. And it is a care-
fully prepared document of 22 pages, giving a
minute analysis as to why the Army should
run war production.
As to why the Army should issue such a trea-
tise without the knowledge of Army Press Rela-
tion,s or the Secretary of War, or particularly
Elmer Davis's Office of War Information, may
require some explaining. Under a direct White
House ruling, all public statements must clear
through Elmer Davis. The excuse in this case
may be that the Army's booklet is intended for
limited circulation-though it has found its way
into the hands of a limited number of news-
CHIEF TARGET of the Army's lobbying booklet
is the Tolan-Pepper Bill which would reor-
ganize and revitalize the War Production Board,
giving it by law powers over the Army, some of
which the WPB now seeks through directives.
"Resurgence of proposals to take procurement
of weapons away from the Armed Forces," says
the Army's booklet, "is traceable to the disloca-
tions which war makes inevitable. The hope is
that somehow someone other than the Army and
Navy could do the job better. Then all business
men, large and small, efficient and inefficient,
would be able to continue undisturbed. In short,
the movement for a new control is a phase of
"business as usual," although we are engaged in
unusual war business."
This paragraph is one which particularly irks
senators who have investigated the Army's new
booklet. For on Capitol Hill the sponsors of
the Tolan-Pepper bill are accused of being the
chief enemies of "business as usual," have pro-
posed going much further than the Army in re-
shaping industry to war needs.
ANOTHER PARAGRAPH which interests in-
quisitive senators reads:
"There is a morale factor in continuing pro-
duction under the armed forces. The Army and
Navy 'E' symbolizes the direct relationship be-
tween every working man and the fighting
forces. No civilian procurement officials could
obtain the same measure of support" .
Congressional probers point out 'that unfor-
tunately the Army-Navy 'E' has now lost some
of its distinction since awarded to several com-
panies later indicted by the Justice Department
for war frauds.

(Continued from Page 3)

I'd Rathaer Be Right

NEW YORK-The State Depart- n
ment is in a curious dilemma, from f
which no man can rescue it.
It has just published a White Book, t
to prove that it made every possible v
concession to the aggressors for ten'
years to preserve the peace.c
With an air of pride that isa
strange, under the circumstances,t
the Department tells in detail how t
it sold oil to Japan to save the
peace, proposed arrangements to1
Hitler, wrote letters to Mussolini.I
(And opened and closed the Burma i
Road like an accordion, and' sold
steel to Ii Duce in 1940; you know1
the details.) y
It would have been a wonderful
book, if the peace had been saved byS
all of this. Unfortunately, the last
chapter says: Somehow it didn't
So'the book becomes a kind of let- i
ter to the isolationists, saying, well,
we failed, but look here, we did every-t
thing you could have wanted us to1
do. The Department did, in fact,
almost everything it could have done
had it been staffed from cellar to roofJ
by isolationists.
THE BOOK, therefore, crushes. the
isolationists. It says to them, inI
effect: We followed your policy; your
desire to conciliate was no greater
than our desire to conciliate; and it
was all no good.
That excuses the State Department
so far as isolationists are concerned.
Perhaps, politically, right now, that
is a good and important thing to do;
I think it is.
But what does the White House
do as regards the more important
quarrel between the State Depart-
ment and those of us who were not
isolationists, those of us who
thought we should not sell steel
and oil to Japan, those who thought
it was impossible to make deals
with aggression, those who warned
solemnly that conciliation would
not work? It won't work, we said,
if von want our exact words.

main job was to find an answer to
Hitler, an answer to the Axis. To
"answer the isolationists," that is,
to make the great political point
which the White Book makes, it was
necessary to adopt isolationist and
conciliatory policies toward the Axis,t
and to have them ' fail. That is a
high price to pay to prove that some-
body was wrong.
That is why the State Department's
pride in its new publication is so
hard to understand, for failure sighs
in every paragraph of it. In order to
prove so devastatingly that isolation
was wrong, the State Department
had to do what was wrong. The
White Book says the Department did
what was wrong. The Department
has dealt a blow to the forces behind
a policy of conciliation in this coun-
try, only at the heavy cost of proving '
it had adopted that policy. And so
the Department is inextricably en-
tangled with the very forces it be-
lieves it is answering.
MR. HULL'S sincere desire for
peace breathes through every bit
of the White Book. War guilt is
clearly laid upon the Axis. We had
no desire for war, or for aggrandize-
ment at the expense of other coun-
tries. All this is unquestionable, and
the very fact that so great an ulti-
mate failure could have been scored
by a man of Mr. Hull's moral stature
tells us, again, how important it is,
in our time, to make the correct po-
litical decisions. Clarity, not honesty,
is the issue.
Our morality had a# choice be-
tween trying to buy the peace, or
to stop the Axis. It chose, un-
clearly, to buy. So the amazing
final statement that comes out of
the White Book is that we would
have been willing to do next to
nothing about the existence and
even the depredations of the Axis,
if it had let us alone. What more
could any isolationist say?
That the world did not allow that
policy to succeed, is just another in-

Karg-Elert, Franck, Copland and Wi-
dor. The. public is cordially invited.
Exhibition, College of Architecture
and Design: The American Acadeiny
n Rome Prize Competition drawings
n Architecture for the problem -"A
Supply and Maintenance Depot for
he U.S. Army Air Corps" ai'e being
shown in the third floor exhibition
room, Architecture Building. Open
daily through January 7; 9 to 5; ex-
cept Sunday. The public is invited.
Exhibition, University Museums:
"Animals on our Fighting Fronts-i.
Birds". Sixty-five birds collected from
various countries which are now con-
sidered as war zones, such as N6*
Guinea, Solomon Islands, Africa,
England, etc. This particular series
wvill be exhibited until January Ai .
First floor rotunda, University Mu-
seums. Open daily 8-5; Sunday 2 to
5. The public is invited.
Events Today
Varsity Glee Club will meet tonight
at 7:30 concerning the spring term.
Get in touch with Repola, Saulson, or
Professor Mattern if you cannot at-
tend. Music will again be issued;
bring deposit. Clubt picture will be
taken on Sunday at3:00' p.m. F'dl
dress, blue ribbons.
House Presidents Meeting at v:O09
p.m. today in the grand Rapids Room
of the League. Attendance'compil-
sory. If you cannot come, send a re-
liable representative.
La Sociedad Hispanica will meet in
the League tonight at 8:66. The movie
"Buenos Dias, Carmelita" will be
shown. No admission charge. MeMl-
bers, patrons and others 'interested
are invited.
Freshman Discussion Group: The
second of a series 'of lectures 'for
freshmen will take place at ane Hall
tonight at 8:00 when the Revered
Mr. Pickerill ,will speak on "In4-
vidualism and Campus Life". Ann
MacMillan, '44, will discuss the 'bear-
ing that sorority life has on the prob-
lem. All freshmen are invited.
Seminar: The Just and Durable
Peace Seminar will meet tonight at
8:00 at Lane Hall, rather than last
night as previously announced.
Michigan Dames.Child Study g o1lp
will meet tonight at 8:00 at the home
of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Maxwell; 920

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