A Chance For Action
In the Fore River Student Labor Committee, Harvard boasts a group that applies the theory of classroom and debating-club to the practical problems of labor organization. This Committee is not political. It subscribes to the democratic principle of industrial unionism. It recognizes that a mutual understanding between students and laborers is essential to the defense of democracy now and its extension later. The task of organizing the Fore River Shipyard of Bethlehem Steel provides an ideal situation for the field work of the Committee and a happy direction in extra-curricular life at Harvard in general.
The election that the N.L.R.B. will hold at Fore River on October 22 is a "yes" or "no" vote on the question of unionism. C.I.O.'s Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers is the only shipyard union recognized by the N.L.R.B. and the only union that will appear on the ballot. A defeat for the C.I.O. would cut off 17,000 Quincy workers from collective bargaining for at least a year, and jeopardize Fore River's chances to match the record-pace of defense output in the union yards. In nine of eleven Bethlehem yards already represented by C.I.O. production is fourteen to seventeen months ahead of schedule.
Two years ago, the N.L.R.B. outlawed a "union" at Fore River on evidence of company subsidization and outright corruption. The same horse exists today in a different color, and as the Independent Union, attempts to incite anti-C.I.O. sentiment in Quincy with the worn device of red-baiting. Early this week, an Independent publication went out of its way to dub the student organizers "ra-ra pinks." A deliberate endeavor by anti-labor forces to counteract the activity of students can only mean that the Committee is making its influence felt in the campaign for unionism at Fore River.