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B R Y A N T H . P r e n t i c e , JR.
Bell Aircraft Corporation
Burlington, Ye m o n t
"
Ö

May 9 # 1946

Mr» Marriner S» Boeles, Chairman
Federal Reserve Bank
of the United States
Washington, D« C #
Dear Mr» Eccles*
The attached clipping from the Burlington Free Pres
Thursday, May 9, made me think that you might be in
terested in the ideas expressed in the enclosed
article»

Bryant H» Prentice, Jr*
Industrial Relations Manager
BHPjP
Enel. (2)




I^ibcr^ management^ and government spokesmen agree that the current
rash of labcr^management strife bodes nothing but harm to the nation as a
whc,Ie© Beyond that point* there is no agreement * Each proposes a different
solution to the problems»
Is it not time to set aside the natural prejudices developed over a
period of years by labor, management and government representatives who deal
with labor relations problems? Would it not be well to reduce the problem
to its simplest terms and having defined the problem* seek a fundamental
tfolutien?
All during the Mew Deal era and the war period which followed, govern®
ment by commissions, boardsp bureaus and the like grew apace» In f & o t w e as
a nation* have had so much experience with alphabetical government that we seme
times forget that there may be another approach to our problems o The best mind&
representing 3a bora management and the government attempting to s&lve the
existing labor**nanagement difficulties* eeem to be inclined to advocate the
establishment of ancther committeep bsard* bureau or variation thereof^ to
take over the responsibilities handled by the War Labor Board and the National
Labcr Relations Beard during the war and the years immediately preceding* That
approach to the prcblem enly serves to confuse the issue and entirely misses
the real point0
The use cf the strike or lockout in the settlement of a labor dispute
1$ likely to lead to settlement on a basis of strength* rather than on a basis
of justice« Although It is recognised that there are some whe believe in the
philosophy of might makes rights anyone with a practical knowledge of labormanagement problems recognises that sound labor relations over a long period
mast be based on justice and not on a test of strength*
The problem then, is to eliminate wherever possible the use of strikes
and lockoutss to eliminate the tests of strength between labor and management,
and to substitute a medium wherein there can be an objective evaluation of the
justice of the claims made by the parties© If this could be accomplished* the
public would no longer be subjected to the waste and suffering which inevitably
come as a result of a strike« The alternative to a test of strength is law0
There must be a true court of law to settle those problems which in the past
have been settled by strikes or lockouts«




2
Until nowc the passage of an industrial relations law fair to both
management and laborr probably would have proved impossible o Only recently
has management fully conceded that unions and collective bargaining are here
to stay« By today*s standards* nearly everyone recognises that both parties
to a labor dispute, either where a contract exists* or where there is no con»
tract, have an equity* So does the publio*
When two parties each have an equity and the result may be a dispute
harmful to society, this country has seen fit in the past to put into law the
rights of both parties« Once the law was passed the administration and inter«
pre tat ion of the law was put in the hands of a proper oourt* ikrenthet icaily„
such authority should never be placed in the hands of an all-powerful body such
as the National labor Relations Board* In addition to the court, an enforcement
body was established to ascertain that the court's decisions were enforced o
Instead of experimenting with the establishment of more boards, commissions ¿
or bureaus to handle the labor relations problems so prevalent today* we should
consider the other approach outlined above* Action should be instituted immediately with the consent of labor, management and the government to establish
the three fundamentals necessary to a solution of the labor^mazxagement problems
presently facing our country* The three fundamentals ares
(1) A labor«law defining and protecting the equities and rights of
both labor and management o
(2) The establishment of a labor court to invoice judgment for damages
against either party violating the law, and to make declaratory
judgments in any instances wherein the parties voluntarily go to
the court for a ruling in labor relations matters*
(3) The establishment of a prosper enforcement agency to see to it that
the court *s orders are fcllewedo
The United States of America needs a new labor-management law and a labor
court to administer it* The law must be fair and equitable, setting forth the
rights and privileges of both labor and management* It should be administered
by a federal court* As a matter of fáot, the labor law which should be passed
to set forth the rights and privileges of both labor and management, should also
make provision for the establishment of the labor court* The National Labor
Relations Act must be amended or replaced in order that the law may give justice
to both parties and protect the rights of each* The Wagner Act gave organised
labor authority without imposing responsibility* The recognised authority of
both labor and management should be defined in the new law* Each should be made
to accept full responsibility for the exercise of that authority<»




3
The Bátlonal labor Relation* Board must be replaced by a true court
wherein eaoh parky may present his case» It nay be well to digress for a
moment to point out the reasons why a labor court should be established instead
of having the labor law proseotued by the state or federal courts already in
existence o The complex nature of labor~mana gement problems today can only
be understood and successfully analysed by persons thoroughly familiar with
all of the details pertaining to the labor-management relationship«» Just as
it is necessary to have a court of specialists to handle legal taxation controversies* so it is necessary to establish a specialised federal court to handle
the highly specialised and technical problems of labornnanagement relationships«
Such a labor court ought to be staffed with seme of the best jurists in the
country» The judges should be appointed, not elected* and the bench should be
endowed with honor and distinction» The term of office should be not less than
ten yearso
In addition to those items already mentioned* it is also necessary to
Incorporate in the labor law, the following matters. labor ««management collective
bargaining should be compulsory under the law, but only with reference to wages*
hours» and working conditions* This would not prevent the parties from negotiating contract provisions dealing with matters othex* than those covered by the
general heading of wages,, hours« and working conditions* if they so desired»
The law should make provision for damages to be collected by either party
in the event that the other violated any provision of the law or of an existing
labor contract•
The law should require that where a certified bargaining agency has been
established to represent the workers of any given company, that the union so
certified shall be held responsible for the action of all employees covered by
the union» Where no certified bargaining agency has been established* union
leaders and/or individual participants who violated the provisions of the labor
law should be held liable for their action and subject to fine and/or imprison«
ment» By the same token, the management of any given company shall be made
responsible for any of its representatives excluded from union representation»
ikilure on the part of management to comply with the labor law shall result
in fine and/or prison penalties«
Where a contract exists, strikes or lockouts should be declared illegalo
Should either party resort to a strike or lookout* the other party should be
given the right to sue for damages in the labor court«»




4
Controversies between labor and management arising from some provision or th*
contract should be settled by the contract provisions and if the contract caí
for arbitration as the last step of the grievance procedure, provision should
be nade for the arbitrator9s deolsion to be reviewed in a court hearing» if so
desired by either party» If there is no provision in the contract for arbitration,
there should be a provision whereby either party nay request and obtain a court
hearing and court deolsion, after the last step of the grievance procedure has
been usee o
In those instances where no contract exists between the parties* the
law should provide that the court enforce the proper determination of represen»
tat i on procedures« The law should make provision for the court to order an election
among any group of employees to determine what if any union shall represent
them» Substantially the same provisions which now exist under the NLÍ&, Section
9, should be incorporated in the new labor law to cover the oholoe by employees
of a union» Should a corporation fail to comply with the legal determination
of union representation procedures, the law should make provision for the court
to order enforcement» Furthermore, should the union be able to show cause * the
court should be empowered to award damages against the employer*
Proper provision in the law should be made to oover jurisdictional
disputes between unions whloh under today's conditions often result in
strike action« This type of strike should be outlawed, and any management
so struck* should have legal recourse to sue for damages one or both unions
involved» The law should make provision, however, that unions Involved in
jurisdictional disputes oould take their case to court for final decision«
Where no contract exists and the parties fail to agree after negotiation
on wages, hours, and working conditions provisions in the contract being negotiated, provision should be made under the law for a court hearing to be held
prior to the use of strike or lookout by either party« The court should then
make public its findings and recommendations to the parties« Thereafter8 if
one or both parties flail to abide by the court *s reooumendations, one or both
parties may legally resort to the use of economic sanctions, strike or look*»
out« If the parties have exhausted every means of reaching an agreement, and
even after the court hearing fall to agree, it may very likely be that a test
of strength may be necessary to reach a settlement o




6
Quite apparently» in the settlement of the various matters which might
come before a labor court such as that outlined above* it will be neoessaiy
for the court to have access to certain ffcotual and statistical material« In
oxder that the facts awi statistics necessary to an equitable decision be
entirely free of prejudice, it m y be necessary to make provisions In the
law for the establishment of a non-political ^ independent* fact-finding
group* to be attached to the labor court«»
If a law can be written covering at least those points outlined
above9 setting forth in a fair and just manner the rights of both parties*
and if a court of competent personnel can be established to administer
the law and enforce its provisions* then there will be a minimum of time,
money * and production lost, and a minimus of damage done as a result of
either party attempting to gain its selfish Interests by the use of economic
strength*




May

1946.

Mr. Bryant H. Prentice, Jr.,
Industrial delations Manager,
Bell Aircraft Corporation,
Burlington, Vermont.
Dear Mr. Prentice:
x

his is to thank you for your letter of
May 9y enclosing your article on labor-management
problems. The creation of competent courts to which
disputes may be carried, if collective bargaining
fails to produce agreement, seems to me to offer the
best hope of settling controversies without resort to
the tests of strength which injure the economy as a
whole. I think you are on the right track, and I
appreciate having your thoughtful and constructive
article.




Sincerely yours,

M. 5. Eccles,
Chairman.