Franklin D. Roosevelt

Excerpts from the Press Conference

June 15, 1934

Q. Did you tell Senator Robinson, sir, that you wanted labor legislation this session before adjournment?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, quite a while ago.

Q. Have you agreed on a substitute form?

THE PRESIDENT: That you will have to find out up there on the Hill. In other words, the real situation is this: We have been trying to get some form of legislation which would not greatly delay the termination of the session. There have been at least a dozen different drafts of legislation, and it is a matter of discussion between Senator Robinson and Senator McNary, and has been for the last two days, a little over two days. That is really what it comes down to. I haven't heard anything since this morning when various other suggestions were made.

Q. Mr. President, can you comment on those three or four principal objections to the terms, such as limiting it to one year and restricting power?

THE PRESIDENT: There is no objection to restricting it to one year. There was definite objection to eliminating the word "organization" from the principle of representation. In other words, 7-A. This might just as well be made absolutely clear once and for all: About 120,000,000 people out of 125,000,000 understand plain English; there seems to be a very, very small minority that does not understand plain English. . . . Section 7-A says that the workers can choose representatives. Now if they want to choose the Ahkoond of Swat they have a perfect right to do so. If they want to choose the Royal Geographic Society, they can do that. If they want to choose a union, of any kind, they can do that. They have free choice of representation and that means not merely an individual or a worker, but it means a corporation or a union or anybody. And that has to be made absolutely clear in this legislation.

Q. How do you feel on the point of minorities?

THE PRESIDENT: The question of minorities is not a tremendously serious one, because that has to be worked out in each individual case. If there is a substantial minority, it seems fair and equitable that that minority should have some form of representation, but that is a matter of detail depending on the individual case. In some industries it is possible that neither side may want to have it.

Q. Suppose they do choose the National Geographic Society, then do the employers have to trade with them?

THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Excerpts from the Press Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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