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Labor Action, 25 November 1946


Text of CIO Convention’s
“Declaration of Policy”


From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 47, 25 November 1946, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


See page one of this article for report on CIO convention and adoption of resolution printed below. Next week’s Labor Action will subject this resolution to further critical analysis.

* * *

The Congress of Industrial Organization is an American institution dedicated to the attainment of its well defined social and economic objectives Within the framework of American political democracy.

The basic reason for the organization of CIO was and continues to be the organization of the American workers into trade unions for the protection and enhancement of their legitimate aspirations in regard to wages, hours and conditions of employment. The CIO in pursuit of these aims and to protect the security of its members has encouraged its membership to exercise its rights and obligations as citizens of the community by supporting progressive legislation affecting their economic and social well being.

Records CIO Efforts to Raise Living Standards

The CIO records with pride its achievements in protecting and enhancing the interests of its members and in providing leadership for the labor movement and the common people in the struggle for a better America. The record of the CIO in raising the living standards of its members, in promoting the well being of all the people, in support of the war effort, in the projection of national plans for the orderly reconversion to peacetime production, in its program of an economy of full employment at decent wages and full production is unequalled by any other organization in America.

In our efforts to win economic security and social justice and to unite our movement against the forces of reaction and the enemies of democracy, we reaffirm our faith that these goals can be achieved for the American people through the democratic process and without sacrificing any of our basic human freedoms. The CIO as an American organization has no interest apart from the interest of our people and our country. We stand opposed to all forms of oppression and in favor of the Four Freedoms – freedom of religion; freedom from fear; freedom from want; and freedom of speech for everyone – everywhere.

“Resent And Reject” the Communist Party

We stand unswerving in our loyalty to these principles which America symbolizes and will resist with all our might every attempt by elements from within our country or from without to undermine or destroy our free institutions.

In the words of our great President Philip Murray:

“We must devote our lives as trade unionists toward the upbuilding of a better life for Americans, and we must pledge only one national allegiance, and that allegiance is to our own country, the United States of America. There can be no difference in point of view regarding those phases of the situation. There should not be. There must not be.”

In pursuit of the principles set forth herein and adopted by the CIO Executive Board we, the delegates to the Eighth Constitutional Convention of the Congress of Industrial Organization, resent and reject efforts of the Communist Party or other political parties and their adherents to interfere in the affairs of the CIO. This convention serves notice that we will not tolerate such interference.

always and under all circumstances opposed to government interference. Not at all. For example, they would like the benefits of certain tax exemptions on new housing. Again, while they will brook no meddling by the Federal Housing Administration in private enterprise, they heartily approve of FHA as an insurer of mortgages. They are perfectly willing for the government to take the risks of private enterprise.

Effects of Rise

How do the strike of the real estate industry, the lifting of rent ceilings and controls on new housing, and a fifteen per cent rent boost affect the veterans and the rest of us? The government has estimated that about four million veterans wanted to build, buy or rent a home this year. With only 800,000 units begun by September, no wonder a group of Pacific veterans at a recent reunion suggested the slogan: “We’ll rent a tree by fifty-three!”

The removal of rent and price ceilings on new homes will make them prohibitive for practically everyone who needs them most. Ceilings now on new homes limit rentals to $80 a month and purchase prices to $10,000 – at least theoretically. According to government statistics, those veterans who want to rent homes have average earnings of $44 a week. Certainly they cannot afford to pay $80 a month for rent. The veterans who would like to buy a house average $48 a week in wages or earnings. People in this income level buying $10,000 homes simply become slaves to their homes for the best years of their lives. So the present situation is bad enough. Now imagine what it will be with all ceilings and controls off.

Finally, it is absolutely impossible for the working people as a whole to absorb a fifteen per cent increase. Already the discrepancy between wage increases and price increases has drastically cut the standard of living. According to government figures, which, be it remembered, never favor the workers, wage increases since 1941 amount to thirty-three per cent in hourly rates, while the cost of living has gone up forty-six per cent. That is neither an accurate picture of the wage nor the price situation.

The hourly rate increases tell nothing about reduced hours and reduced take-home pay. And every housewife can tell you that the cost of living has gone up a good deal more than forty-six per cent since 1941. However, these figures, unfavorable as they are to the worker, still show wages as far behind the cost of living. It is unthinkable for the workers to shell out for a fifteen per cent rent increase.

Such considerations, however, have not deterred the OPA’s Housing Rent Advisory Committee from submitting to the OPA three proposals which could have been written by the National Association of Real Estate Boards. This committee recommends to OPA (1) Elimination of rent ceilings on’ new housing and on converted housing; (2) systematic and progressive removal of property from control where owners offer tenants leases at increases of not more than fifteen per cent; (3) an immediate over-all fifteen per cent increase. These are the measures that OPA is now considering.

There are rumors that OPA will want an overall ten per cent rent raise to the landlords. Intolerable as this Would be to tenants, it would not be acceptable to the real estate interests. They want their full demands, and the administration will give in, as it did to the meat industry. The outcome of the election has by no means stiffened the backs of the executive branches of the government.

For Direct Resistance

Relying on themselves, as they have to, what will the working people do to counter the latest raid on their wages and pockets? Undoubtedly, from coast to coast, there will be a storm of demands for wage increases to close the gap between wages and the cost of living. But there must also be direct resistance to the landlords through tenants’ committees working with the unions and taking planned action not to pay rent increases.

Finally, the housing shortage calls for removing the problem from the hands of the profit-poachers and for a government spending program of at least $250,000,000 to construct badly needed homes and public buildings in the next five years. How else can the people hold what they have and get more of what they so urgently need?

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