The steel strike could have been stopped long ago, union lawyer Samuel E. Angoff told the Young Democrats during their forum on labor last night. But there was no real need to stop it, he explained.
None of the workers have been hurt "too badly," he said, noting that the industry is capable of making enough steel in nine months to last the country a year. He listed several social benefits such as pensions and unemployment compensations which strikers have procured in the past and observed that if strikes had been forbidden these might never have been obtained. "I'm in favor of strikes to my dying day," he declared.
Blaming the controversy on a few new executives who "wanted to flex their muscles," he said that the employers rather than the workers started the issue. Angoff thought that the present strike would probably quiet their ambitions for a while though.
Arbitration Called 'Undemocratic'
Settling this or any other conflict by compulsory arbitration would be undemocratic, he said, adding that both workers and employers would "stand shoulder to shoulder" against such a solution. Furthermore, in a great many cases it would be impossible for an outsider to make a competent judgement on some specialized issue, he maintained.
But Angoff favored the creation of "fact-finding" boards on the grounds that the public pressure aroused by the knowledge they make available helps to settle many labor conflicts.
Derek C. Bok, assistant professor of Law and second speaker at the forum, pointed out that by this reasoning public sentiment was made to appear similar to compulsory arbitration. But public pressure is not really very effective, he contended.