Election 1944: Miners’ convention slaps Roosevelt, praises Dewey (9-15-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 15, 1944)


Miners’ convention slaps Roosevelt, praises Dewey

But resolutions committee report deftly sidesteps presidential endorsement

Cincinnati, Ohio (UP) –
The United Mine Workers convention today approved a report recommending that the union refrain from a presidential endorsement, but which strongly criticized the Roosevelt administration and praised Governor Thomas E. Dewey, Republican presidential nominee.

The report, submitted by the resolutions committee, was approved by a standing vote after delegates supporting Mr. Roosevelt argued in 40 minutes of debate that criticism of the administration by UMW President John L. Lewis and his officers was unjustified.

The report received a heavy majority vote, but fell far short of being unanimous among the 2,700 delegates.

Enslavement charged

The report charged that the Roosevelt administration had actively opposed labor generally and the UMW in particular; had refused to appoint a labor member as Secretary of Labor, and had abolished collective bargaining in favor of “the fiat of governmental agencies.”

The report said:

It is the first administration to bind men to their jobs like indentured servants the basis of a rigid economy that destined to regiment and enslave labor and the American people as a whole.

In contrast to the New Deal record, the report charged the “labor plank of the Republican Party’s platform promises the recognition and representation that belongs to labor.”

Dewey ‘in harmony’

Mr. Dewey, it said, has worked “in complete harmony with the legitimate trade unions of his state” as Governor of New York.

“Dewey has not met the expectations of the betrayers of labor, the misleaders of Iabor, or the Communists who dominate the CIO and the political actionites,” it said.

While praising the GOP, the report said the committee felt the UMW should not depart from “its traditional political policy” and endorse a candidate or party in the 1944 campaign.