Dear YANK:

For the last 45 months I’ve listened to Orientation officers and I & E officers tell us how important a job labor did in getting out the war materials and equipment that made us certain of winning the war. And the Army, through its official handouts and statements from the big brass, went out of the way to praise the production on the home front. Well, that made sense to me then and it does now.

But since I’ve been home from Italy all I read about in the papers is how labor strikes tied up ships that might have been used to bring back boys from overseas and in general how much a bunch of dangerous radicals all strikers are. The general effect, if not the purpose, of such articles, seems to be to drive a wedge between labor and the returning veteran, something we’ve been trying to prevent throughout the war.

Now I’m no authority on labor strikes and I’m not always in a position to know what the issues in a particular strike may be, but I have a suspicion that we’re certainly not getting all the facts from many of the newspapers we read. It may e true that the striking longshoremen in New York did hold up GIs returning from Europe, and I agree it’s a damn shame. However, it might e a good idea for us GIs to think twice before we go off halfcocked on condemning strikers, at least until we make a serious attempt to understand what all these strikes are about. When you get down to it, the problems of labor will be the problems of the great majority of returning servicemen. We’re all in the same boat, and the conditions that affect them will affect the GI tomorrow.

So let’s be careful that we don’t make ourselves a bunch of suckers for a lot of people who would be tickled to death to create an artificial wedge between the returning servicemen and organized labor.

—T/Sgt. Simeon Braguin

—Camp Stewart, Ga.women factory workers wwii labor strikes

For Further Reading Check Out:

Labor’s Home Front: The American Federation of Labor during World War II

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