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Letter to the Attorney General Directing Him To Petition for an Injunction in the Maritime Labor Dispute.

August 20, 1948

My dear Mr. Attorney General:

On August 17, 1948, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 206 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 1947, I issued Executive Order No. 9987, creating a Board of Inquiry to inquire into the issues involved in certain labor disputes between employers (or associations by which such employers are represented in collective bargaining conferences) who are (1) steamship companies or who are engaged as operators or agents for ships engaged in service from or to North Atlantic ports from Hampton Roads, Virginia, to Portland, Maine, or from or to other ports of the United States or its Territories or possessions, (2) contracting stevedores, (3) contracting marine carpenters, or (4) other employers engaged in related or associated pier activities and certain of their employees represented by the International Longshoremen's Association (AFL).

On August 19, 1948, I received the Board's written report in the matter, in accordance with the provisions of Section 206 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 1947, and the Executive Order. A copy of that report is attached hereto.

As I stated in my Executive Order of August 17, 1948, in my opinion these disputes threaten to result in strikes or lockouts affecting a substantial part of the Maritime industry, an industry engaged in trade, commerce, transportation, transmission, or communication among the several States and with foreign nations, which strikes or lockouts, if permitted to occur, 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 courts of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties, to enjoin such threatened strikes or lockouts, and for such other relief as may in your judgment be necessary or appropriate.

Very sincerely yours,


[Honorable Tom C. Clark, The Attorney General, Washington, D.C. ]

Note: The report of the Board of Inquiry stated that the dispute over overtime payments had blocked negotiations and that agreement on other terms might be reached quickly if the overtime question could be resolved. The report was made public by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

On August 21 the Attorney General obtained a temporary restraining order in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and on August 24 an So-day injunction was issued by the same court. The injunction was dissolved on November 9 and a strike followed. Settlement of the dispute was announced on November 25, 1948.

Executive Order 9987 is printed in title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations (1943-1948 Comp., p. 725).

Harry S Truman, Letter to the Attorney General Directing Him To Petition for an Injunction in the Maritime Labor Dispute. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232745

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