Election 1944: Tobin denies his union has ‘inside track’ (9-22-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 22, 1944)


GOP charge answered –
Tobin denies his union has ‘inside track’

Labor leader hits delays by WLB
By Daniel M. Kidney, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
President Daniel J. Tobin, of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, said today that his greatest wartime worry in union affairs has been the War Labor Board delays.

Mr. Tobin is here to preside at a meeting of his union, with President Roosevelt scheduled to be a banquet guest and make his first “political speech” of the campaign tomorrow night.

Mr. Roosevelt’s address will be broadcast at 9:30 p.m. ET tomorrow over KDKA and WJAS.

The labor leader talked today of WLB delays with as much ire as did Governor Dewey in his labor speech at Seattle.

But, nevertheless, Mr. Tobin and his union are on record for a fourth term and Mr. Tobin will manage the Democratic Party’s labor division for a fourth time.

His comment about WLB was in refutation of a charge by Rep. H. Carl Andersen (R-MN) that Mr. Tobin has an inside track for pay raises for his truckmen “through the back door of the White House.”

What is charged

Here is what Mr. Andersen said:

Through the back door of the White House Mr. Tobin has been able to set up a little War Labor Board of his own, known as the trucking commission, which he has put in charge of one Frank Tobin, thus keeping it in the family.

By this device Tobin has kept his union out from under the stabilization program and apparently immune to the Wage Stabilization Act. For the past three years this commission has granted huge wage increases to members of Tobin’s union in direct violation of the stabilization act and over the head of the War Labor Board itself.”

Tobin’s answer

After reading the Anderson statement, Mr. Tobin declared that it is “full of lies and full of holes.”

He explained that no wage increase has been approved without WLB authorization and that all were within the 15 percent of the “Little Steel” formula. However, like other union leaders, he wants to see the “Little Steel” formula scrapped.

Mr. Tobin declared:

My union has more cases pending before WLB than any other. There were 2,000 cases pending there when the panel was set up with my son Frank as the labor member. The union pays him, although the government pays the panel members representing the public and employers. They would pay him, of course, but we didn’t want it that way. He is 41, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and well equipped for his position.

Delay is big complaint

However, nothing which the panel approves can be effective until final WLB approval is given and increases passed upon by Stabilization Director Vinson. To say this is any “inside track” is nonsense. All WLB cases are handled in the same manner. My only complaint is the delay. Now the panel has 2,000 cases pending.

We have 700,000 union members and right now, there are no strikes anywhere. But because it takes months to get a decision on wages, I have had great difficulty in holding the membership in line and there have been strikes in the past because of the great delay.

Mr. Tobin, who is a vice president of the AFL, continued:

I told an AFL convention over a year ago that unless WLB congestion was cleared up we were headed for trouble in keeping the no-strike pledge.