Smith–Connally Act

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The Smith–Connally Act[1] (also called the War Labor Disputes Act)[2] was an American law passed on June 25, 1943, over President Franklin D. Roosevelt's veto.[3] The legislation was hurriedly created after 400,000 coal miners, their wages significantly lowered due to high wartime inflation, struck for a $2-a-day wage increase.[2][4]

The Act allowed the federal government to seize and operate industries threatened by or under strikes that would interfere with war production,[5] and prohibited unions from making contributions in federal elections.[6]

The war powers bestowed by the Act were first used in August 1944 when the Fair Employment Practices Commission ordered the Philadelphia Transportation Company to hire African-Americans as motormen. The 10,000 members of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Employees Union (PRTEU), a labor union unaffiliated with either the American Federation of Labor or the Congress of Industrial Organizations, led a sick-out strike, now known as the Philadelphia transit strike of 1944, for six days.[7][8] President Roosevelt sent 8,000 United States Army troops to the city to seize and operate the transit system, and threatened to draft any PRTEU member who did not return to the job within 48 hours.[8][9] Roosevelt's actions broke the strike.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ The Act's correct title is "Smith-Connally," not "Smith-Connelly". See: Wagner, Kennedy, Osborne, and Reyburn, The Library of Congress World War II Companion, 2007, p. 196.
  2. ^ a b Malsberger, From Obstruction to Moderation: The Transformation of Senate Conservatism, 1938-1952, 2000, p. 104.
  3. ^ Karatnycky, Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties, 2000-2001, 2000, p. 115.
  4. ^ Karatnycky, Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties, 2000-2001, 2000, p. 114; Atleson, Labor and the Wartime State: Labor Relations and Law During World War II, 1998, p. 195.
  5. ^ Wagner, Kennedy, Osborne, and Reyburn, The Library of Congress World War II Companion, 2007, p. 196.
  6. ^ La Raja, Small Change: Money, Political Parties, and Campaign Finance Reform, 2008, p. 63; Sabato and Ernst, Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections, 2006, p. 279.
  7. ^ Goodwin, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, 1995, p. 537; "Philadelphia Transit Strike (1944)," in Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History, 2007, p. 1087-1088; Winkler, "The Philadelphia Transit Strike of 1944," Journal of American History, June 1972.
  8. ^ a b "Trouble in Philadelphia," Time, August 14, 1944.
  9. ^ Klinkner and Smith, The Unsteady March: The Rise and Decline of Racial Equality in America, 2002, p. 191.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Atleson, James B. Labor and the Wartime State: Labor Relations and Law During World War II. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1998.
  • Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
  • Karatnycky, Adrian. Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties, 2000-2001. Rev. ed. Piscataway, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2000.
  • Klinkner, Philip A. and Smith, Rogers M. The Unsteady March: The Rise and Decline of Racial Equality in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.
  • La Raja, Raymond J. Small Change: Money, Political Parties, and Campaign Finance Reform. Ann Arbor, Mich: University of Michigan Press, 2008.
  • Malsberger, John William. From Obstruction to Moderation: The Transformation of Senate Conservatism, 1938-1952. Selinsgrove, Pann.: Susquehanna University Press, 2000.
  • "Philadelphia Transit Strike (1944)." In Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History. Eric Arnesen, ed. New York: CRC Press, 2007.
  • Sabato, Larry and Ernst, Howard R. Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections. New York: Facts On File, 2006.
  • "Trouble in Philadelphia." Time. August 14, 1944.
  • Wagner, Margaret E.; Kennedy, David M.; Osborne, Linda Barrett; and Reyburn, Susan. The Library of Congress World War II Companion. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007.
  • Winkler, Allan. "The Philadelphia Transit Strike of 1944." Journal of American History. June 1972.