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(Indexing terms:  Labor; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Spartanburg Journal; Saxon Baptist Church; Organized Labor)

John B. Isom

No Date Given - Written sometime shortly after December 14, 1946. 

Dear Editor:
In your editorial on December 14, 1946, you suggest we need a new approach, if we are to find a formula that will produce economic stability.  The loss of income and production due to the many failures of labor and management to agree, without resorting to strikes or shutouts, and the rise of living cost during 1946, should have, by now, convinced all of us of such a need.
In our search for a new approach it would be well for us to study Sweden's labor-management system.  According to Charles A. Wells, editor of "Between the Lines", the best analysis of Sweden's system is provided by Ralph Turner, Scripps-Howard's feature writer, who sent a remarkable report to his paper some weeks ago.

It is reported that in Sweden there is only one labor organization. Ninety percent of all industrial workers are organized. Ninety-nine percent of the wage agreements in Sweden are settled without strikes. Labor has an automatic agreement with management for wage increases whenever the cost of living index advances so many points. Extreme great wealth is not permitted in Sweden.  There is no poverty, and there are no slums.   Attractive homes are available at reasonable rents for all classes of people.  The system provides as much free enterprise for the Swedish peoples as is enjoyed by American citizens.  It seems to me that a study of such a system is necessary spadework in our search for a new approach.

The public, labor and management in the United States have insisted we find an answer to our economic ills by way of free enterprise and collective bargaining.  There seems to be agreement from all sides on such basic principles.  What seems to be lacking is a democratic procedure by which profits, wages and prices can be determined through free collective action on the part of all parties concerned.

It is suggested here that management, labor and buyer, must have access to all the facts before there can be any intelligent and just collective bargaining, and before enterprise can be free from the domination of one of the three interested parties. The public who buys the finished product must be given a place around the bargaining table with management and labor.  The three together, in light of all the facts, must agree on profits, wages and prices.  There is no other democratic solution to the problem that I can think of.

Long ago Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free". How can labor be just and fair in wage demands unless they know the truth about profits and other expenses of production?  How can the buyer know whether or not he is being asked a just price for an article in the store, unless he knows what it cost to make and market the article?

Secret diplomacy is just as undemocratic and disastrous in economic relations as it is in political relations.  Let us hope that in our search for a "new wage-price formula, which will produce stability" we do not over look the necessity of fact finding, which was suggested sometime ago by the president of the United States.


John B. Isom
Pastor, Saxon Baptist Church

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