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Franklin D. Roosevelt: Greeting to the American Federation of Labor.
Franklin
Franklin D. Roosevelt
139 - Greeting to the American Federation of Labor.
November 13, 1940
Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt<br>1940
Franklin D. Roosevelt
1940
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Dear Mr. Green:

Please extend to the officers, the delegates and the members of the American Federation of Labor my congratulations and felicitations upon this occasion of the sixtieth convention of the organization. At the same time let me wish, with all your members, for a meeting out of which will come substantial good and benefit to American wage earners, to American business,. to American farmers and to the general public.

I had hoped to be able to attend the New Orleans convention and to speak to my friends there in person; but that was part of a plan I had which included the possibility of a cruise and also the spending of Thanksgiving at Warm Springs. As you know, all plans have to be tentative in these days of crisis, and subject to change according to circumstances of the hour. It still is inadvisable for me to be further away from Washington than a distance which will permit my return in seven or eight hours. Reluctantly, therefore, and with deep regret, I have had to forego the privilege of attending the New Orleans convention.

This nation of ours and its workers have made great economic and social gains since your 1933 convention was held here in Washington. Representatives of organized labor have played an important part in the shaping and carrying out of the progressive program which has meant so much not only to wage earners but to farmers and business men as well.

Now we have come to a period which demands intense and sustained cooperation so that our beloved Republic can present, in any emergency which might be forced upon us, the solid, imposing front of a great and united democracy. In order to do this successfully all of us are called upon to work together in a common purpose and for the common good that these United States shall stand forever free and that the institutions we as a free people enjoy shall ever be preserved. To this end labor can make its contribution along with the rest of the American people. I am confident that this contribution will be generously and gladly given without reservation.

Labor will lend its aid in planning for full efficiency of industrial production, in planning for selection, training and placement of new workers, in planning for full labor supply, in maintaining the social gains of recent labor and social legislation, in maintaining sound and uninterrupted work in the defense industries and in promoting sound employer-worker relationship at a time like this when the steady flow of production may be our greatest need. Sacrifice may be necessary in the future for everyone. Responsible action and self-discipline, physical and moral fitness are now required of all of us as our part in the defense of our country and democracy.

Among the things which labor will contribute is, I venture to suggest, an unselfish, a far sighted and a patriotic effort to bring about a just and an honorable peace within the now divided labor movement. Labor leaders, with the interest of the nation at heart and the advantage of their followers in mind can, I am sure, find the way to reach such a peace.

Peace may not be easy to achieve and the intricate problems involved may not be easy to solve. But when men of honor and good intentions sit down together they can work out a solution which will restore the much needed harmony either by unity or by a sensible working arrangement.

We as a people today have the common determination to put our country above all else. Please God we may always keep it so as to preserve our priceless heritage of the world's greatest democracy which came from the Fathers of the Republic. It can only be kept by building upon that sound foundation in the patriotic way, in the democratic way and in the American way. And that is and shall be our way, as a great and as a united people, now and forevermore.

Very sincerely yours,

Honorable William Green,
President, American Federation of Labor,
New Orleans, Louisiana



Citation: Franklin D. Roosevelt: "Greeting to the American Federation of Labor.," November 13, 1940. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15900.
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