Milt MOUS \(011/3tr7ltr Neglect of Jobless 1 Let those flatter who fear, it is not an American art.Jitmasort g reased We are heavy this week with foreboding. The big dailies have released a stream of doubts and carpings against Amendment One for a full time legislature. They are pleading for a backward state in the name of this prudence and that economy. The forces of responsibility, Senator Yarborough, the Texas Jaycees, the Texas AFL-CIO, many liberals, many conservatives, are doing what they can, but the tide of sophistry rises and rises. It is as though the people had suddenly been sent skittering down a greased hillside, the dailies standing at the hilltop upending the rancid lard by the ton ; and who can stay it? They have waited to the last; now they serve their major advertisers. The marketplace of ideas has been hogged, clogged, by business goliaths called newspapers, million dollar enterprises with millionaires’ values. Let us again try to reason through Amendment One : Tuesday the voters decide whether they or the lobbyists control the legislators ; whether they or the lobbyists write the state’s laws, decide what taxes will be levied on what groups and what programs will be financed. If Amendment One passes, Texas can expect a new time of honest and progressive government; if it is defeated, underpaid legislators will slip back into the beefsteak, blondes, and bourbon era of cynicism and corruption. The 181 people we elect to the legislature must conduct the affairs of a government which expends a billion dollars of our money every year. If they are to do a good job they must be able to study the Liberalism burns bright in the Texas labor movement. The unions still neglect the Jim Crow practices in some local unions, and these must be rooted out as an affront to the ideals of the movement \(as perhaps the new permanent civil rights committee will aim lution for the abolition of the bracero program seems extreme, motivated in too large a part by hostility to alien workers. We be 5ennio? Comes now the Dallas school board to appropriate $50,000 for hgh school tennis courts. Progress. Of course 14 school lunchrooms in the areas with many of the poorer children have been closed because they didn’t show.a profit, but then, as Supt. W. T. “I’m representative of the community” White explains, “We run an educational institution, not a welfare agency.” Tennis, anyone who’s not hungry? * We now have an unbelievably straightforward statement of the Republican platform for 1960 under Mr. Nixon. Speaking on the record and in public at the Harvard School of Business Sept. 6, Nixon called for “downward adjustment of business taxes,” including a lower corporate tax rate and lower tax rates on the higher personal income brackets, combined with a broad extension of sales taxes. If that doesn’t sink the GOP merchants’ special in 1960, nothing will. government, its workings and the areas where it needs to be working; they need to be free to talk to their constituents and simply to read and to think. They cannot be expected to pay out of their own pockets the costs of representing their districts when the legislature is not actually meeting. They must be required to meet once a year, to regard their job as a full time job, to put nothing ahead of their responsibilities to the people, to the general welfare. Sophists like lobbyists’ friend Dorsey Hardeman come forward now to cry that the amendment’s permitting the legislature to set the expenses of office will lead to wild irresponsibility. The legislature sets its own expenses now ; have you heard of any such abuses ? Even were dozens of members inclined to cheat, to thieve, to chisel, would the others let them ? If we cannot trust our legislators on such a small matter, how can we trust them with a billion dollars of our money every year? Shall we have a part time legislature ruling a full time government? Shall we encourage our legislators to eat at lobbyists’ overladen tablesand feed their minds on lobbyists’ self-seeking perspectives? Shall we tell our legislators, “Your personal business is more important than the state’s businesswe do not want you to take your job seriously”? Or shall we accord to the makers of our laws the justice we want the laws, themselves, to be? Another ton of lard, mushing down the hillside…. this way, perhaps it will settle in the gulley. And perhaps not. lieve, too, that farm producers’ mo nopolies and price-fixing are no less objectionable than steel producers’. But the Houston convention also advocated consumer and worker oriented improvements from bread to civil rights. It called for a fair employment practices law, a minimum wage . of $1.25 an hour for all workers, and the extension of jobless and injury compensation benefits for farm workers ; for slum clearance and federal aid to school construction ; for a state corporate profits tax and eventually a personal income tax. It stepped forward into certain long neglected areas of civil inequity : the terrible inequalities of criminal penalties, which the lawyers should long ago have sought to correct ; capital punishment as a needless barbarity of the past, against which the churches should long ago have been recorded. The leadership of the Texas movement, too, manifests its concern that groupism not oppress individualism, that dissent remain the American tradition, that social pressures not “tend to force us to drive the same kind of cars, wear the same kind of clothes, and speak the same words.” We are not disposed to agree that “we the people” have rights that “transcend most individual rights”all rights must be real as individual rights, else they can be used to enshrine the state over the individualbut few large groups go as far as Texas labor has in warning against conformity. The unions in Texas are more effective for liberalism than any other group. HOUSTON Thousands of Texas workers, laid off their jobs, are being deliberately denied the unemployment compensation to which the law entitles them as a result of biased administration and a pro-employer policy of the majority of the Texas Employment Commission. Meanwhile the governor has done nothing to provide necessary legislation by calling a special session to meet the recession emergency that has existed all this year. These points were made plain in a speech delivered by Robert F. Newman, a member of the TEC representing employees, to the state labor convention here. COMMISSIONER NEWMAN Newman said that $50 million was paid to claimants in the first eight months of 1958, compared to only $31 million all of last year. The average weekly payment has been $24.10, “hardly enough to keep body and soul together,” he said. Although 180,190 persons received this “tide-over sustenance” at some time or another during 1957, there were far more jobless than that, he said, for while 1,740,000 Texans were covered by the state program, another 1,200,000 were not covered. Newman said that whereas the Legislature meets only once every two years, “the battle against disqualification of unemployment compensation goes on every day and week. … Under the present commission, more people are being disqualified for unemployment compensation for more reasons than under any other commission. This is being done by a process of expanding the reasons for disqualification and broadening the interpretation of the disqualification provisions of the act to include a greater variety of situations.” “The screws have been tightened to the point that if a plant sees fit to close up temporarily because of a recession, the plant managers simply declare an ‘extended vacation’ and, by this flimsy device, deprive their workers of the protection of unemployment insurance,” he said. TEXAS LABOR was “in high cotton,” said Houston’s Mayor Lewis Cutrer when he welcomed the Texas State AFL-CIO convention in the Shamrock Hilton, but, he added, “nothing is too good for labor.” Many in the audience could remember four years ago, when then Gov. Allan Shivers was campaigning over the state warning that “ADA-CIONAACP” labor bosses would take over the state unless he was reelected. What a difference four years can make ! In the Emerald Room, where the convention held. its sessions, Published by Texas Observer Co.. Ltd. OCTOBER 31, 1958 Ronnie Dagger Editor and General Manager Larry Goodwyn, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager Dean Johnston, Cirenlation-Advertising EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE: 604 West 34th St., Austin, Texas. Phone GReenwood 7.0740. there was no segregation; white and Negro couples attended both the convention banquet and dance. A few people remarked on the change “Well, we’ve made progress”but most didn’t seem to give it a passing thought. Senator Ralph Yarborough predicted sweeping victories for Democratic candidates in California and other states. He said people who had been voting Republican were turning to the Democrats. He asked his audience to help turn out a heavy Democratic vote in Texas, also. “Do not scratch the name of Price Daniel, the Democratic nominee for governor,” said Yarborough. Votes cast for the Democratic nominee for governor now will determine the strength of the precincts in county conventions in 1960, so, vote the Democratic ticket straight, the senator urged. Turning to the McClellan committee disclosures of racketeering practices in labor and industry, Yarborough said that with all its investigating, the committee had found not a single case in Texas unions. He congratulated his audience “for the hightype leadership chosen by the Texas AFL-CIO in your democratic election processesmen like Jerry \(HolAndrew Biemiller, head labor lobbyist in Washington, said “We in Washington are extremely grateful to you in Texas for sending us Ralph Yarborough to the Senate.” Labor unions, he said, will continue to work politically, supporting their friends and opposing their enemies regardless of party. George Meany, he said, had asked him to convey to the Texas State AFL-CIO convention his high praise for the cooperation the organization and its representatives had received from “two great Texans who are leaders of Congress : Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson and House Speaker Sam Rayburn.” Without their help, he said, a lot of harm could have been done to labor in Congress. \(There was no apUNORGANIZED working people in Texas again are hungry for unions to represent them, said Lester Graham, AFL-CIO regional director, in a talk at the 19th annual convention of the Texas state building and construction trades council, held the week prior to the state convention. Graham said his office in Fort Worth, headquarters for the 17th region, which encompasses the state of Texas, recently had been receiving more requests for organization than had been the case in some time. “Our organization,” said Graham, “for the last few years has been in the position of having to run very fast in order to stay where we are. The percentage of our organized people in the nation is dropping.” The reason for this, Graham explained, is that organized labor, under the Eisenhower administration and under increasingly tough NLRB interpretations of the Taft-Hartley act, together with state blows at union security, has been forced to put a large part of its organizing money and manpower into protecting against attrition of what it built up from 1937 to 1947. With a million workers entering the labor force each year, there will be a loss of ground in organizing unless there is a tremendous surge ahead, he said. AL HIE10EN Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $4 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 10e each. Quantity prices available on orders. Entered as second-class matter, April 20, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March a. Ink HOUSTON OFFICE: 1012 Dennis, Mrs. R. D. Randolph, Dean Johnston. criherationt in Zahor
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