Mayor La Guardia - Address to Longshoremen
Friday, October 12, 1945
This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
From card catalog: Address to the Longshoremen of N.Y.C. on the pending labor dispute.
Begins with a nice intro song: "Whistle While You Work." Shipping is the most important industry of our city. The port of New York has become the greatest port of the world. It is that reason that he is disturbed at the interruption of work on the docks and piers. Longshoremen, I want to have a heart to heart talk, because I'm really interested in our city and our port - and you and your families. He went to Washington the day before to confer with the war department officers in charge of transportation. They asked him to ask the longshoremen to keep up their record. High praise for the longshoremen of the port of New York: you have the best record of any port in our country. Ask them not to spoil that record. You worked for many years before this war, the keen competition on the Atlantic coast. Gained supremacy and want to keep it, it means prosperity for the city and work for you. Since when have the longshoremen run away from anything? Your committee were negotiating with the employers, something happened 10 or 11 days ago on one of the piers, and men left their work and it spread to other piers, and the next thing we knew, shipping was tied up in the port of New York. Every labor dispute must be settled. In the name of common sense, if this is going to be settled as it must be some day, why lose all these days of work? You've been out now 10 days. An appointment with the ILA. Talked to epresentatives of the employers. A proposition, has been accepted by the employers and wage and negotiating committee: return to work tomorrow (Saturday), negotiations to start immediately on return to work. A pledge that the employers promised to complete the settlement in one week from the day it starts if they go back to work tomorrow. If an agreement is reached, then the terms of the contract are to be brought back to the membership to pass on before they are approved. Nothing to be gained by delaying negotiations. If there is no agreement in one week, it will be sent to arbitration. Conciliators of the Department of Labor are there with him in the office. He has used their advice for this proposition. It is in their interest to return to work, to resume negotiations, and not to interrupt the work of the port. Are they going to take the advice, or are they going to be misled? In ordinary times the interruption would be bad enough, but now there's something more at stake. It is important to the servicemen in Europe: they must eat, ship supplies. Are they going to sabotage the work UNRRA is doing? They may be your relatives. Long lines of women and men whose families still live in Italy carrying bundles and packages to send home. He is just told that he forgot to mention that any increase agreed on as a result of the proposition above would be retroactive to Oct 1, 1945. Thanks the American Federation of Labor. Asks radio stations to get this information back to the men, help them get back to work, get ships to the troops.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 70835
Municipal archives id: LT2560