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Letter to the Attorney General Directing Him To Petition for an Injunction in the Coal Strike.

February 11, 1950

My dear Mr. Attorney General:

On February 6, 1950, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 206 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (Public Law 101, 80th Congress), I issued Executive Order No. 10106, creating a Board of Inquiry to inquire into the issues involved in a labor dispute between coal operators and associations signatory to the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1948, amending and extending the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1947, and certain of their employees represented by the International Union, United Mine Workers of America, also signatory to the said agreement.

On February 11, 1950, I received the Board's written report in the matter, including a statement of the facts with respect to the dispute and each party's statement of its position. A copy of that report is attached hereto.

In my opinion this unresolved labor dispute has resulted in a strike affecting a substantial part of an industry engaged in trade and commerce among the several States and with foreign nations, and in the production of goods for commerce, which strike, if permitted to continue, will imperil the national health and safety.

I therefore direct you, pursuant to the provisions of Section 208 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, to petition in the name of the United States any district court of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties to enjoin the continuance of such strike, and for such other relief as may in your judgment be necessary or appropriate.

Very sincerely yours,


[Honorable J. Howard McGrath, The Attorney General, Washington, D.C.]

Note: Executive Order 10106 is entitled "Creating a Board of Inquiry to Report on a Labor Dispute Affecting the Bituminous Coal Industry of the United States" (3 CFR, 1949-1953 Comp., p. 300).

The Board's report, submitted on February 11 by David L. Cole, chairman, and John T. Dunlop and W. Willard Wirtz, members, is entitled "Report to the President: The Labor Dispute in the Bituminous Coal Industry" (8 pp., Government Printing Office, 1950).

The report reviewed the negotiations which had been carried on during the previous 8 months and stated that the parties had been more concerned with gaining tactical advantages than with trying to solve their problems by reaching an agreement. It concluded that the imperative needs of the country were such as to require the immediate resumption of the production of coal.

The report was followed on the same day by a Federal court injunction against the continuance of the strike. When the miners refused to return to work, the Government initiated contempt proceedings against the union. On March 2 the Federal district court in Washington, D.C., found the union not guilty on the ground that the Government had failed to produce sufficient evidence to support its charges.

The controversy ended on March 5 with the signing of a new contract between the mine operators and the miners.
See also Items 27, 49, and 50.

Harry S Truman, Letter to the Attorney General Directing Him To Petition for an Injunction in the Coal Strike. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230644

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