Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Letter to David J. McDonald, President of the United Steelworkers of America.

June 27, 1959

Dear Mr. McDonald:

I have your June twenty-fifth letter suggesting I appoint a board to hear evidence and determine all relevant facts in the negotiations between your Union and the Steel Industry.

As you know, Congress in the Taft-Hartley Act authorized the President, in emergencies affecting the national health or safety, to appoint boards of inquiry for fact finding in labor and management disputes. In limiting this authority to emergencies, Congress, in my opinion, acted wisely, and I do not believe it would be in the national interest for me to follow your suggestion. Congress has also provided for conciliation and mediation through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and that Service stands ready at any time to assist the parties to reach agreement.

I suggest to both parties to this dispute that they continue to bargain without interruption of production until all of the terms and conditions of a new contract are agreed upon. Acceptance of this suggestion, I am sure, will be in the interest of the steel workers, the steel companies, and the public.

It was reassuring to note the statements in your letter that the "Federal government should not interfere with the actual bargaining process" and that "the final settlement should be and will be made by the parties themselves." I think that you and I are in agreement that free voluntary collective bargaining is an integral part of the American democratic way of life.

With best wishes,



Note: Mr. McDonald's letter was released with the President's reply.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to David J. McDonald, President of the United Steelworkers of America. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235079

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