James J. Reynolds
James J. Reynolds (1907 - October 9, 1986) was the Undersecretary of Labor for Labor-Management relations during the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration in the United States. Earlier he served as Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Relations from 1961–65, initially for President John F. Kennedy. Reynolds was an industrialist, and had been a member of the National Labor Relations Board under President Harry S. Truman.
One of his most well-known moments came in April 1968, when Martin Luther King had gone to Memphis, Tennessee to support African-American garbage workers during the Memphis Sanitation Strike. They had walked off the job to "protest unsafe conditions, abusive white supervisors, low wages, and to gain recognition for their union." King was assassinated on April 4. The next day, President Johnson instructed Undersecretary Reynolds to go to Memphis to mediate the conflict and settle the strike. It took him two weeks. The strike had been at a standoff given Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb's adamant refusal to authorize automatic payment of union dues from the sanitation-workers' paycheck. Reynolds solved the impasse by using the Federal Credit Union, which is employee-owned but federally administered. Reynolds argued that the City of Memphis had no right to prevent its employees from designating some portion of their wages for the credit union. This offered a face-saving out for Loeb: wages were deducted for the credit union and then transferred for payment as union dues. Ultimately, the union was recognized and workers received a 5% raise, to $1.90/hour.
President Lyndon Johnson's remarks at Reynolds' swearing in, 8 March 1967.
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