1946: Council of Economic Advisers to focus on employment
Although his foreign-policy initiatives won assent on Capitol Hill, his domestic legislation fared poorly. A Democratic Congress rejected most of his proposals in 1945-46; its most important accomplishment, the Employment Act of 1946, established the
Council of Economic Advisers but failed to guarantee full employment. During the period of severe postwar inflation, Truman's attempts to prevent major strikes, including seizure of the coal mines during a
1946 walkout, alienated labor unions; at the same time, his efforts to maintain price controls angered business and agricultural interests.
In 1947-48, Truman regained labor support with his unsuccessful veto of the Taft-Hartley Act (or Labor-Management Relations Act); also, he spiritedly denounced as reactionary a Republican Congress that would not pass his domestic programs.
Government should assist in free collective bargaining
We have established a national labor policy in this country based upon free collective bargaining as the process for determining wages and working conditions. That should continue to be the national policy!
But as yet, not all of us have learned to
carry the mutual responsibilities that accompany the right to bargain. I propose the following four-point program to correct certain abuses and to provide additional governmental assistance in bargaining:
The early enactment of legislation to
prevent certain unjustifiable practices: I consider indefensible strikes over jurisdictional disputes between unions, and strikes over interpretation of existing contracts.
The extension of facilities within the Department of Labor for assisting
The broadening of our program of social legislation to alleviate the causes of workers' insecurity.
The appointment of a Temporary Joint Commission to inquire into the entire field of labor-management relations.