Election 1944: Address by Dewey in Pittsburgh (10-20-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 20, 1944)


Speaks here at 9:00 p.m. –
Dewey: White-collar men forgotten

Crowds greet nominee on arrival in city
By Kermit McFarland

Governor Thomas E. Dewey, the Republican presidential candidate, here to bid for Pennsylvania’s 35 “crucial” electoral votes, announced this afternoon that he would devote part of his speech tonight to the problems of white-collar workers.

Mr. Dewey said the white-collar worker has become the “forgotten man.”

The Republican candidate will speak in Hunt Armory, East Liberty at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Governor Dewey’s Hunt Armory speech will be broadcast locally by KDKA at 9:00 p.m.

Labor’s rights cited

Mr. Dewey said:

The white-collar worker in the United States has slowly become the forgotten man. He is caught between two fires.

I intend to discuss the manner in which the New Deal has left the white-collar workers in a defenseless position while it has made collective bargaining into political bargaining and undermined the rights of labor.

The Governor announced his plans for his speech at a press conference held in the Urban Room of the William Penn Hotel immediately after he arrived there.

To elaborate on point

Asked what “two fires” he believed had trapped white-collar workers, the Governor said he preferred to “let it stand that way,” for the moment, because he would be elaborating on that point in his Hunt Armory speech.

Arriving for the press conference a few minutes behind the scheduled time, Mr. Dewey gazed around the room and exclaimed, “My, we’re getting very fancy in the rooms where we have our press conferences.”

Hails Philippines invasion

Somebody told him about Gen. MacArthur’s invasion of the Philippines. “Has that been confirmed?” he asked. Told that it had, he said: “That’s magnificent news.”

Mr. Dewey, in answer to an inquiry as to whether he will deliver a campaign speech in Ohio, said no new plans for the campaign have been developed beyond those already announced.

“What’s the answer to the white-collar worker’s problems?” a reporter queried.

“Like most everything else, a change of administrations,” he replied.

GOP trend claimed

Commenting on President Roosevelt’s decision to take the stump in the closing days of the campaign an evident departure from his original statement that he would not campaign “in the usual sense,” Mr. Dewey said:

The natural inference from that is that Mr. Roosevelt is trying to reverse a trend which now has become so strong that it indicates a Republican victory in November.

Mr. Dewey’s special train was met at the Pennsylvania Station by Governor Edward Martin and a delegation of state officials, candidates and party leaders.

Mr. Dewey made an unscheduled appearance before the Women’s Republican Luncheon Club at which Louis Bromfield, the author, was the principal speaker. Mr. Dewey told the women that there has never been a political campaign in which the issues had been “so vital.” His brief talk summarized some of the policies he previously has been enunciating in his campaign speeches.

After the press conference, he retired to his suite on the eleventh floor of the hotel for lunch and a series of conferences. He said his speech still was unfinished and that part of the afternoon would be given over to this task.

Among the conferences scheduled for the afternoon were meetings with a delegation of Negro backers and with a committee of labor union officials who are supporting the Republican candidate.

Atherton on program

Republican Headquarters has announced that Waren Atherton, former national commander of the American Legion, will speak on the Dewey program at the Armory, Mr. Atherton has taken an assignment as director of veterans’ activities for the Republican National Committee.

Mr. Atherton’s speech will precede that of Governor Dewey.

Mr. Dewey’s special train left Albany last night for Pittsburgh after the Governor issued a statement promising that American public opinion will “fully support” the State Department’s warning to Germany that it will have to pay the full price for any last-ditch terrorist activities against subjugated peoples.

Delegations coming in

Pennsylvania Republicans have planned a tumultuous reception at tonight’s rally for their presidential candidate.

Delegations from 20 counties are expected to swell the crowd at the Armory, which seats around 8,000.

A motorcade made up of Republicans from the Carnegie section, including Collier and South Fayette Townships, will parade into the city with torchlights and noisemakers. Special interurban cars have been scheduled from Charleroi and Washington.

Mr. Dewey will not stage a formal parade to Hunt Armory. His route from the hotel to the auditorium will not be disclosed in advance. He will go directly from the Armory to his special train for the return trip to Albany.


‘Hi, Tom,’ ‘Attaboy, Tom’ greet Dewey on parade

Procession moves at rapid rate, and many who sought to see visitor are disappointed
By Gilbert Love

Dewey changes plans; avoid wreck delay

If he had not made a last-minute change in plans, Governor Thomas E. Dewey would have been delayed today in his arrival in Pittsburgh by a train wreck – a much less serious one than that which caused him so much trouble in his tour of the West Coast.

Traffic on the Pittsburgh division of the Pennsylvania was tied up several hours today by a freight wreck near Altoona. No one was hurt. The change in plans kept Governor Dewey off that line today. He came by way of Buffalo and Youngstown instead.

Thomas E. Dewey received an enthusiastic welcome in Pittsburgh today.

The crowds that lined the streets as he was driven from Pennsylvania Station to the William Penn Hotel were much larger and more vociferous than on his first visit, in July.

There would have been more spectators if the procession had not moved so rapidly.

It sped through the Triangle at such a clip that persons in buildings adjoining the route, hearing the roar of the motorcycle escort, got to the street in time to see only the last cars of the motorcade whiz by.

“Where is he?” asked many a spectator who pushed through the crowd.

“He’s gone.”

Smiling and hatless

But those who had waited at the curbs, and moved out into the streets as the procession approached, got a glimpse of the candidate, smiling and hatless, riding in an open car with Mrs. Dewey.

You could follow the route of the parade by the wave of cheers that ran through the Triangle.

Shouts of encouragement for the presidential contender rose above the general clamor – “Hi, Tom!” “Attaboy, Tom.”

During the candidate’s appearance here in July, before he had actually begun to campaign, most persons on the streets merely applauded, with some shouting f more formal “Hooray for Dewey!”

Welcomed by Martin

Mr. Dewey’s special train arrived at Pennsylvania Station a few minutes after noon. Governor and Mrs. Edward Martin boarded his private car and welcomed him to Pennsylvania.

The official party walked through a cheering crowd at the station to the rotunda, where a red-coated band played “Hail to the Chief” and war songs while the motorcade formed.

Then, leaving the band behind, the procession swung into an aisle formed by men, women and children, many of whom waved cardboard pennants bearing the words “Welcome Governor Dewey.”

Streets crowded

The aisle of humanity thinned out, but continued down Liberty Avenue.

Fifth Avenue was black with humanity – office workers out to lunch, clerks who deserted their counters, and persons who had come Downtown especially to see the candidate.

Many persons raced from Liberty to Fifth to seek to get a second look, but their efforts were foiled by the speed of the motorcade.

Commenting on the latter, Safety Director George E. A. Fairley said that the traffic inspector generally sets the speed of a parade, but pointed out that in this case the motorcycle escort of city police was preceded by state troopers.


Address by New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey
October 20, 1944, 9:00 p.m. EWT

Broadcast from Hunt Armory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


I am happy to come to Pennsylvania again and report that a great upsurge is sweeping the country. Everywhere, from coast to coast, the American people are coming to the decision that it’s time for a change.

Republicans are confident of winning. Democrats, who deeply resent the kidnaping of their part by the Communists and the Political Action Committee, are also confident of winning – with us. Together with independents, they are fed up with 12 years of quarreling, waste and decay. They agree that 16 years would be intolerable. They want a fresh and vigorous government with faith in the future of America.

That’s why it’s time for a change.

In 26 Republican states, having two-thirds of our population, our people have found that we can have good progressive government without wrangling, waste and confusion. We have learned that we can change state administrations and greatly strengthen our unity for war and our capacity to hasten victory. With our great military command continued, a similar change in civilian Washington will speed total victory and will also speed our work for a just and lasting peace.

In the same way, a change of administration offers the only future to the working people of America. The slogan of the New Deal is: “Back to normalcy with ten million unemployed.” That’s where we still were in 1940, after seven years of the New Deal. But we Americans are not going backward.

When the war is won, a tremendous job will just begin. No one man and no single group will be able to hold all the forces released by war in constructive channels. Every group in our population – agriculture, business, labor and government – will have to pull together.

Can this great effort be led by an administration which is both worn out and torn to shreds by internal dissensions? Can it be done by a president who has warred with a Congress of his own party year after year until that Congress is in open rebellion?

Let me recall to you what happened at the end of the last war under another tired administration. 1919 brought soup kitchens into our cities – not for the helpless – but for returning soldier. In the best organized communities, it took a returning soldier an average of two and a half months to find a job. While that veteran walked the streets, this nation was shaken by its first general strike. The same year brought the great steel strike, the meat-packing strike, the lockout in the building trades. Making the strife more bitter were the assaults of the Democratic Attorney General, A. Mitchel Palmer, on union halls and civil liberties. This nation was so torn by cleavage and insecurity that it was in that year 1919 that the Communist Party of the USA was organized, dedicated to revolution.

Improved labor relations and advances for the working people of the country came only with good times. Labor leaders joined with a Republican Congress to establish the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor. They helped a Republican administration set up the Railway Labor Act, which is today still the model law in employer-employee relations. Under Republican administrations came legislation against child labor, limitation of interstate distribution of the products of prison labor, laws for payment of prevailing rates of pay on government jobs, and the anti-injunction bill of rights for labor.

This program was a part of the social trend which has continued since the Social Security Law, the Wage and Hour Law and the National Labor Relations Act. There is no reason why our social trend should not continue. There is no reason except one – the New Deal – tired out and too long in office. It distrusts the people. It treats the social gains of the 1930s as its private property.

The New Deal sits by the fireside and gazes back on its long-lost youth with happy contemplation, It hopes to spend its declining days clipping coupons on its political investments of the 1930s. It wants to hold office forever in stalemated idleness. I say that social gains are not the property of any party. They are the property of the people of the United States and no party can exploit them for its political profit. Good laws are necessary but they are not enough. Social progress needs vigorous protection and promotion all the time. It needs the nourishment of competent, free government.

Let’s look at what has happened to the right of collective bargaining under one-man government. The New Deal has posed for years as the friend of labor. But today it has turned collective bargaining into political bargaining.

Take just one example. In the autumn of 1942, the 1,100,000 non-operating railroad employes and then the 350,000 operating workers requested a wage increase to meet the higher living costs. Since 1926, the machinery of the law always had worked successfully in such matters. And it started to operate properly this time, with the regular hearings before the national mediation emergency boards.

But, the grasping hand of one-man rule reached in and set itself above the law. Mr. Roosevelt’s Economic Stabilization Director Vinson completely destroyed the effectiveness of the Railway Labor Act by setting aside the recommendation of the mediation board for an increase of eight cents an hour. Desperate, the railway workers of the nation decided to walk out, if necessary, by a vote of 97.7 percent.

For six months last year, while uncertainty and tension increased, Mr. Roosevelt did nothing but wage a war of nerves against the railway workers. Finally, he decided the stage was set for making political capital. He called the union leaders to the White House. They met there four times. Mr. Roosevelt demanded that he, instead of the legally established mediation board, be selected as the final arbitrator. Three presidents of railway brotherhoods declared, and I quote: “The whole thing had all the earmarks of a political setup.”

The tension rose higher. Finally, Mr. Roosevelt seized the railroads to forestall a national disaster which he himself had prepared. After he did that, he graciously gave the very wage increase to which the railway workers had been entitled for over a year.

The comment of the three brotherhood leaders was, and I quote: “The trouble was that the administration was not content to follow the law.”

“We are firmly convinced,” they said, “that if the administration had kept its hands off and had permitted the rail unions to proceed under the Railway Labor Act, we could have reached a satisfactory settlement with our employers without stopping work for a single day and without causing the slightest bitterness.”

“But the administration did not do that. It insisted on changing rules in the middle of the game.”

Now, political power wasn’t the only profit in this case. There was political cash, too – for one of the New Deal city bosses. The railway brotherhoods had to be represented by special legal counsel because the proceedings were obviously of a very special sort. And who do you suppose was the lawyer? An attorney eminent in labor law? An authority on railroad economics? Not under the New Deal.

With legal process out the window by act of Mr. Roosevelt, the railway workers were forced to hire someone who knew his way up the backstairs of the White House. So, the railway brotherhoods had to hire Mr. Roosevelt’s third-term national chairman – that eminent authority in Belgian paving blocks, Boss Flynn of the Bronx. This was the man who once appointed the notorious gangster and gunman, Dutch Schultz, as a deputy sheriff of the Bronx. And did Mr. Roosevelt’s political manager lend his aid for nothing? The price of his services for the railroad workers was $25,000.

That sort of business must come to an end in this country. Political bosses and one-man government must not be allowed to keep a strangle-hold on the rights of our working people. I believe with all my heart in collective bargaining and it must again be free collective bargaining. It must be bargaining for the rights of working people and not for the profit of political bosses.

Now, playing with the rights of labor for political power and political cash is bad enough. But there is something even more dangerous in what the New Deal is doing. Here are the words of Robert J. Watt, one of the top officials of the American Federation of Labor. He says:

Even as we fight for the survival of our basic freedoms, we find that the democratic process in many ways is being hogtied and rendered subordinate to the dictum of a one-man boss…

Just a week ago at a public forum in New York, this same labor leader said: “Government intervention has already strangled collective bargaining to death.”

And to this, Railway Brotherhood President David B. Robertson said: “I should like to say amen to that.”

But collective bargain is only one of the casualties of the rights of the workers under the New Deal. Look at what has happened to the white-collar worker.

A friend of mine is an employee in a publishing house. He asked his employer for a raise and the employer agreed. But then the trouble began. The employer filed an application with the appropriate government bureau.

Seven weeks went by and then what? More information was requested. Two months later, the request was turned down. Three months more until an appeal was heard. Another month for a decision that the appeal had been denied. Three and a half months of further delay waiting word that a further appeal to Washington had been turned down. On the last appeal, four months later, the word was finally handed down: “OK. You can have half as much as you asked.”

Thus, more than 15 months after the original request, the New Deal settled the case by the old kangaroo court method of splitting the difference. If the request had no merit in the first place, a denial would be fair and proper. But when it’s right all the time, 15 months delay and three appeals to get justice are inexcusable. It is the same all through the New Deal. It has been the same with millions of other white-collar workers and factory workers all over the country. That’s why it’s time for a change.

It is time to face the fact that the New Deal is a bankrupt organization, living only to extend its powers over the daily lives of our people. It did some good things in its youth, but now it seeks to live on its past. In this great national campaign, my opponent has not offered to the people of this country even the pretense of a program for the future. He tells the working men and women of America to trust him, to do as they are told and ask no questions. That is the end result under one-man government, always. It is the inevitable end of a philosophy which sees no real future for America. It is the result of a viewpoint that can see nothing ahead but a repetition of its own peacetime failures – a return after the war to unemployment, with leaf raking and doles.

I am sure America will never submit to that dreary prospect. We are going forward to swift, total victory over our enemies abroad. We are going to take the lead in building a world organization for lasting peace, and here at home, we are going to establish a government which will make possible a vigorous productive economy with jobs and opportunity for all.

Only thus can we maintain social progress and make secure the rights of free labor.

With the full backing of our party, Governor Bricker and I stand committed to a program that will insure to American labor the guarantee of free collective bargaining through the National Labor Relations Act, and with freedom from government dictation.

We stand committed to the proposition that America can and must have both economic security and personal freedom. That program we shall begin to put into effect next January 20.

We shall appoint an active, able Secretary of Labor from the ranks of labor.

We shall abolish wasteful, quarrelsome and competing agencies which are strangling collective bargaining.

We shall establish the Fair Employment Practices Committee as a permanent service.

We shall put back into the Department of Labor the functions that belong in the Department of Labor.

We shall do away with special privilege for one group of American workers over another group. °

We shall see to it that every working man and woman stands equally in the Department of Labor and that the department exists to serve, and not to rule, the working men and women of America.

We shall work for a broader Social Security Act to include those not now covered. Old-age and survivors’ insurance is now denied to 20 million of our people. All those who have been left without protection under the New Deal must be included. Public employees who are not now protected by existing systems should, also, be included.

We shall work to widen the provisions of unemployment insurance to include the groups now unprotected.

To all these things we are pledged.

These things government can and should do. But they alone are not enough. We can have a free labor movement and make social progress only within the framework of a society that encourages enterprise – that provides opportunity for all – that is productive and growing.

To that end we are pledged to remove from the backs of American farmers and businessmen the hordes of bungling bureaucrats and the load of red tape and regulations under which they have staggered so many years.

Necessary regulation of industry and finance will encourage, not discourage freedom and opportunity. It must be administered by men who believe in the enterprise system and who know that the personal and political freedom of the average American citizen is more important than increased power for a government bureau.

We must have a government that wants every American to succeed, a government that will make possible full employment with an ever-increasing standard of living for every man and woman who works for a living.

Above all, we must have an administration that will restore unity to our country. That means a government with teamwork in its own ranks – a government that works in harmony with Congress – a government that has equal respect for the rights of agriculture, labor and business, and for every race, creed and color.

The years that lie ahead will be largely peacetime years. They will bring great problems and great opportunities. Let us determine now that we shall work together in unity as free Americans under an administration that believes in the future of America.

Tonight, brave men on far off battlefronts are fighting and dying for our country. If we are to be worthy of their sacrifices, we must strengthen freedom here at home. That we will do and with God’s help, we will build a future fit for heroes – a land of equal opportunity for all.

The Pittsburgh Press (October 21, 1944)


Rail union paid Flynn $25,000, Dewey claims

Fee is for pay boost Roosevelt granted
By Kermit McFarland

Governor Thomas E. Dewey, the Republican candidate for President, came to Pittsburgh last night to charge that Edward J. Flynn, friend of President Roosevelt and third-term Democratic National Chairman, received a $25,000 legal fee for representing the railroad brotherhoods when Mr. Roosevelt granted them a wage increase of eight cents an hour.

This was the most spectacular angle in a labor speech Mr. Dewey delivered at an audience estimated at 12,000 which jammed Hunt Armory, despite a downpour of rain, to hear the Republican candidate in a major bid for Pennsylvania’s 35 electoral votes.

‘What happened?’

Mr. Dewey, to the hilarious applause of his audience, went into meticulous detail in describing the manner in which the railroad wage, increase came about.

When the controversy began, he said, the mediation laws which apply to railroad unions were operating successfully.

“But what happened?” he asked.

He answered that by saving Economic Stabilization Director Fred M. Vinson “destroyed the effectiveness of the Railway Labor Act by setting aside the recommendation of the mediation board for an increase of eight cents an hour.”

‘Uncertainty and tension’

Then, he charged, after the railroad workers had threatened a strike, “the grasping hand of one-man rule reached in and set itself above the law.”

While uncertainty and tension increased, Mr. Roosevelt did nothing but wage a war of nerves against the railway workers. Finally, he decided the stage was set for making political capital… Finally, Mr. Roosevelt seized the railroads to forestall a national disaster which he himself had prepared. After he did that, he graciously gave the very wage increase to which the railway workers had been entitled for over a year.

Then he charged that the railroad unions “had to be represented by special legal counsel” and that Mr. Flynn was the attorney they “had” to hire.

“The price of his services to the railroad workers,” Mr. Dewey alleged, “was $25,000.”


“That sort of business,” he went on, “must come to an end in this country.”

Mr. Dewey, whose half-hour speech was interrupted 24 times by noisy applause, promised his listeners that if he is elected, he stands committed to a program “that will ensure to American labor the guarantee of free collective bargaining through the National Labor Relations Act, and with freedom from government dictation.”

The Republican candidate’s speech not only was a straight-out bid for the labor vote in this industrial area, but also an appeal to the “white collars.”

15 months delay

He cited the case of a white-collar worker whose employer proposed to give him a pay raise.

He said:

More than 15 months after the original request, the New Deal settled the case by the old kangaroo court method of splitting the difference.

He said the New Deal is a “bankrupt organization” and that Mr. Roosevelt “has not offered to the people of this country even the pretense of a program for the future.”

Mr. Dewey said Democrats “resent the kidnaping of their party by the Communists and the Political Action Committee” and that a change in the Washington government “will speed total victory and will also speed our work for a just and lasting peace.”

One-man rule

He charged the New Deal “distrusts the people” and claims the social gains of the 1930s “as its private property.”

He accused the Roosevelt administration of “playing with the rights of labor for political power and political cash” and charged that the President is attempting to establish “one-man rule” over working men and women.

Mr. Dewey said that “playing with the rights of labor for political power and political cash is bad enough,” but “there is something even more dangerous in what the New Deal is doing.”

He then quoted Robert J. Watt, an AFL official, as saying:

Even as we fight for the survival of basic freedoms, we find that the democratic process in many ways is being hog-tied and rendered subordinate to the dictum of a one-man boss…

His pledges

The candidate reiterated pledges to appoint a Secretary of Labor from “the ranks of labor,” to abolish agencies he said are “strangling collective bargaining,” to establish the Fair Employment Practices Committee on a permanent basis, to give the Labor Department greater authority, to do away with “special privilege" and to expand unemployment insurance to all groups, including 20 million he said now are denied old-age and survivors’ insurance.

Mr. Dewey had a responsive crowd for his speech, which was carefully staged.

The audience not only gave him a prolonged ovation on his initial appearance, but, besides the applause, frequently required him to pause by breaking out with boos for “my opponent” and for “Boss Flynn of the Bronx” and laughs and yells of encouragement.

Some partisan kept hollering, “You tell ‘em, Tom!”

Plea for Davis

Mr. Dewey was introduced by Governor Edward Martin who also received a roaring ovation when he entered the hall on a carefully-timed arrival under the escort of a squad of State Police.

The Pennsylvania Governor, who made a special plea for U.S. Senator James J. Davis, his opponent for the gubernatorial nomination in 1942, said, “We want to bring our boys back to an America like they are fighting for.”

Crowd in tumult

Gauging his time by the hour Mr. Dewey was to start speaking over a radio network, the Governor completed his speech, paused briefly, looked a bit anxiously toward the entrance through which the presidential candidate was to enter, then said:

I want to give you that courageous young Governor of New York, the next President–

But the words were lost in the tumult which followed as the crowd, 9,500 of them seated but the others standing, rose with an outburst of applause, cowbells and other noisemakers to greet the smiling and dapper presidential nominee as he strode up a side aisle to the platform, accompanied by Mrs. Dewey and an escort of police.

Mr. Dewey’s speech was delayed at the start as the audience broke into a noisy chant, “We want Dewey, we want Dewey.”

Mr. Dewey began:

It is good to be in Pennsylvania and to hear from Governor Martin that your state is in the Republican column and for Senator Davis.

Other speeches

Before the presidential candidate’s appearance, the crowd heard speeches by Warren Atherton, former commander of the American Legion, Republican County Chairman James F. Malone, Supreme Court Justice Howard W. Hughes, and Superior Court Judge Arthur H. James.

Mr. Dewey, neatly dressed in a brown suit, smiled and waved to the crowd from both sides of the speaking stand both before and after his address.

Mrs. Dewey, wearing a simple black coat, decorated by an orchid, and a red-feathered turban, sat between Governor and Mrs. Martin smiling shyly while the candidate delivered nis address.

Mr. Dewey, after his arrival at noon yesterday, held several conferences, among them one with a delegation of United Mine Worker officials.

‘He is against us’

After the UMW meeting, John O’Leary, vice president, said “We’re against President Roosevelt because he is against us.”

The Republican candidate was escorted to the East Liberty armory by City and State Police. He was sirened back in ample time to catch his. special train, which returned to Albany the way it came, via Ashtabula, Ohio, Erie and Buffalo.

Members of the Pennsylvania Reserve Defense Corps (Home Guard) were on duty at the armory and the unit’s band provided the music.