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THE MICHIGAN DAILY
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OUR REPORTER FINDS HE'S INTERESTED IN SPITE OF HIMSELF
Sunday, March 25, 1956 THE MICHIGAN DAILY
By DAVID NEWMAN
EEZ!" I thought, my pulse
beating in time to The Victors,
"I'm going to my very first SGC
meeting." I clutched my box
lunch to my chest and mounted
the steps of the Union, proudly
entering throught the front door.
Of course this was a special
meeting. The Great Issue of De-
ferred Sorority Rushing was the
topic and interest ran high. Wise
men had told me that a large
crowd would be in attendance,
ready to shout "Hosannah!" and/
or cry "Havoc!" at the final de-
"The sororities will be there en
masse," I was told, "and excite-
ment will be raging." So I figured
I'd go see what was upsetting all
these girls. Maybe I'd learn
something about SGC while I was
The shindig began in a large
room on the third floor. As I ap-
proached a large crowd was al-
ready forming, although it was a
mere handful compared to what
would later stream in.
A HA! I espied a cluster of sorori-
ty girls in a corner, no doubt
saying Important Things about,
the issue so dear to their hearts.
I knew they were affiliates because
each displayed a golden pin gleam-
ing on their frontage. Carefully
I managed to join their confab sur-
reptitously. In the manner of
"Pygmalion's" Henry Higgens, I
waited to hear what these women
would say amongst themselves
about Spring rushing.
A tall blond leanedsover to whis-
per to her colleagues. "Can you
smoke here?" she asked anxiously.
"Golly," said her friend, "I
"Did you hear who's going out
with Ronny now?" said a third,
fingering the lapel of her white
blazer jacket. She mentioned a
name I could not catch.
"My Gawd, no!" screamed the
tall blonde and the entire group
Well, I figured, maybe they're
playing it cautious because I'm
around. So I walked away and
left them to continue their dis-
cussion of the vital problem.
BACK in my seat again, I lit a
cigarette just to conform and
awaited the appearance of the
They bounded in like so many
young gazelles and I noted, to my
surprise, that they did not appear
in funny costumes or carry blown
up pig bladders to flail each other
in the manner ' of good comics.
The head fellow rapped loudly on
the table and called the meeting
to order and nobody applauded.
"Egads!" I said to myself, "They're
playing it straight!"
The folks kept coming and soon
a new row of chairs was placed
in front of mine and I was no'
longer at ringside. "Think they'll
have to move to the ballroom?"
asked a man who found himself
seated on my lap.
"It sure is filling up," said a
strange girl sitting underneath my
THEN the big show began and,
in spite of myself, I started
getting interest. No kidding.
There was talk and talk, and the
mob swayed with whoever spoke.
The SGC people spoke and then
for about an hour people from the
floor put in their two cents. Their
two cents were pretty interesting
for the most part, although the;
large cast was a little confusing.
By the time the final vote was
cast it was past midnight and the
woman were feeling pretty daring
about being allowed to stay up and
wait for Santa Claus to arrive.
When it became clear that Spring
rushing had made the grade
screams and moans were heard
from all corners.
Then came the back slapping,
the hand shaking, the fist shaking,
the teeth-clenching and the head
nodding that mark the post-mor-
tem of any big decision. Meeting
was recessed and everybody dis-
persed for points hither and yon..
THEN ALL was quiet and all
were gone, thp SGC folk came
back to .finish the meeting. A few
smaller matters were left on the
agenda and they had to be attend-'
ed to. But the change was start-
ling. The ballroom was now a
gigantic empty place where min-
utes before it had been compar-
able to the Black Hole of Calcut-
ta. Empty chairs were scattered'
everywhere, cigarette butts and'
coke bottles littered the dance
floor, and the voices of the dele-;
gates now echoed in the vastness
of the empty hall.1
There was a change in these
star performers, too. The pres-
sure was off and they could relax.
The meeting was going into its
fifth hour-almost as good as
"Gone With the Wind." They
slouched in their official chairs
now and opened coat buttons.
As the final few minutes of the
meeting ticked off there was a
little horseplay around the table,
a few jokes, and much sighing. It
had been a big night for everyone
and these eighteen people, plus
their hard-working secretary, had
borne the brunt of it.
They came through admirably
and all of a sudden I realized that
I was won over. Now how do you
like that? Here I was actually
interested in the Student Govern-
ment. Five hours earlier, I'd never
believed it was possible.
"Meeting adjourned," said the
president and everyone got up to
go. I dragged my tired body out
of the ballroom, tripping on a
coke bottle on the way out.
I suppose I should have stuck
around to watch the janitors clean
the place up. That must have
Merger Created a Labor Symn
Not an Economic and Political P
IN ELECTION YEAR, A LOOK AT AN IMPORTANT VOTING C
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The coat is detailed with lapped seams and hooked center F
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BERUD SORT (ens nd ades)..... 7.5 .r. i,
By WILLIAM HABER
Professor of Economics
]70THE surprise of most experts, the
American Federation of Labor and the
Congress of Industrial Organizations have
merged. The headline writers now desig-
nate the merged group as the "giant labor
federation"; others call attention to the
increased danger of labor monopoly
threatening the freedom of our competi-
tive economy. Many see the threat of
political control by organized labor's 17
to 18 million members.
These fears suggest that with labor's
coming-of-age, an increasing number of
critical questions are being asked about
the merger, labor power and labor poli-
THE ACTUAL MERGER of the A.F.L.
and C.I.O. surprised many students of
labor organizations in the United States.
While the logic of the merger was long
apparent, the conflicting jurisdictional
claims of the rival unions appeared to be
The eighty-five year history of the
A.F.L. seemed to confirm the belief that
competitive jurisdictional issues between
the unions associated with the C.I.O. and
those with the A.F.L. would have to be
resolved before a genuine merger could
Rival union claims for jurisdiction and
for members, have in the past not been
easily resolved. Quite the contrary, these
claims have been stubbornly defended
and compromises have been difficult to
achieve. In addition, the personal politi-
cal fate of some union leaders was also at
That the merger took place without a
settlement of conflicting claims suggests
that the real problem of unity of Ameri-
can organized labor is still to be achieved.
What took place is, in fact, only an amal-
gamation of the two top federations.
Had true labor unity been insisted upon,
at this time, there would probably have
been no merger. The merger took place
only because the power structure of Amer-
ican labor organizations was not dis-
The real centers of economic power
in the American labor movement were
never located in the A.F.L. or in the
These federations have performed an
important coordinating role-they have
acted as spokesmen for organized labor.
They have represented the national unions
in legislative and lobbying activities. The
real seat of power was always located in
the affiliated national organizations. It is
these unions who carry on collective bar-
gaining, control the more than 77,000 local
labor unions, and often sway the economic
fortunes of major industries.
Effective unity among American Trade
unions cannot be achieved only by a.
merger at the top. When the rival unions
in our major areas of economic activities
consolidate, the objectives of a merger
will be achieved.
rival unions now members of the same
federation, will be subjected to greater
moral suasion to settle their difference
without open warfare.
It is well to remember, however, that
the affiliated unions consider them-
selves as sovereign and autonomous.
In their major activities they are not
subject to direction or control of the
National Federation. Even expulsion from,
the Federation usually fails to carry any
sort of sanction which adversely affects
was before the merger, a voluntary
association of its autonomous unions.
It is not a great trust. It cannot call
strikes. It does not carry on collective
bargaining. Its 15 million members
represent a symbol and not a group
subject to direction and control.
This should not suggest that the merger
is without significance. The new A.F.L.-
C.I.O. represents the largest single organi-
zation of citizens in the United States.
Its very size is bound to encourage the
that the n
to be an
to an rnd
that such a
who may a
what is go
its views a
cal party u
by an activ
is in this a
level of em
to big labr
that we ar
appears to n
In brief, i
tance of th
has been ve
the economic position of the expelled
John Lewis's United Mine Workers, for
example, has not been a member of the
A.F.L. for many years and is not now a
member of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Other unions,
at one time or another, have resigned or
been suspended without apparent ill ef-
fects on their fortunes.'
Thus, the mere coupling of the names
A.F.L. and C.I.O. and theR combining of
their membership may create a psycho-
logical sort of unity enhancing the status
and sense of importance of the trade
union movement. It does not, however,
create a potent labor federation. The
new federation has no power in an eco-
nomic sense. The power centers remain
in the national unions where they have
The Federation still remains, as it
affiliated unions and give them a new
sense of importance and bigness.
The new Federation may also be in a
position to provide moral support and to
give technical assistance. In time it may
succeed in organizing employees not now
members of labor unions, thus increasing
the membership of the affiliated unions.
HE DANGER OF organization depends
upon one's point of view. To those who
consider unions and collective bargaining
an evil, perhaps a necessary evil, any.
enlargement of organized labor's pres-
tige and position is undesirable.
Those who consider trade unions as
essential and desirable institution in our
private enterprise economy see in the
merger potential public good.
For one thing, it should reduce irritat-
ing and often costly inter-union contro-
versies. Competition, for members, position
BE SURE, the merger of the A.F.L.
and the C.I.O. Is likely to mitigate
Jurisdictional rivalries among many of
the unions. The "no raiding pact," work
ed out some years before the -merger was
accomplished, may avoid the more trou-