- Smith-Connally Act
The Smith-Connally Act (also called the Smith Connally Anti-Strike Act or the War Labor Disputes Act) was an American law passed on
June 25, 1943over President Franklin D. Roosevelt's veto. The Senate voted to override the veto 56-24, the first time that Roosevelt's veto was overturned during wartime. The legislation was hurriedly created after the third coal strike in seven weeks. [Underhill, Robert, "Meanwhile at Home, 1941-1945" p. 77 (2007)]
This act let the federal government seize and operate industries threatened by or under strikes that would interfere with war production (in
World War II). It also prohibited unions from making contributions in federal elections.
The Philadelphia Transit Strike of 1944 - In the fall of 1943, the fairly new and tentative Fair Employment Practices Commission under Roosevelt issued an order to comply with President Roosevelt's executive order, by hiring and upgrading
African-Americansinto the hitherto white only positions. The transit worker strikers were opposed to the promotion of African-Americans to the positions of carman and motorman, positions which the prior union and company had agreed were not open to African-Americans. They shut down the transit system rather than train the new African-American workers. They were arrested for violating the Smith-Connally Act. Hours later, soldiers moved in to Philadelphia and an ultimatum was issued to the strikers: go back to work by Sunday at midnight, or lose your jobs, receive no unemployment and become subject to the draft.
Source: Goodwin, Doris Kearns, "No Ordinary Time," p. 537-539 (1995)
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