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Remarks About the AFL-CIO Decision To Participate on the Pay Board.

October 12, 1971

Ladies and gentlemen:

You earlier have received a statement from Mr. Ziegler setting forth the position of the Administration on the Pay Board and, also, a statement has been issued by the AFL-CIO Council which has already been published on the wire. Since those two statements have been presented to you, Director Shultz and I have been in conference, and we have also consulted with Secretary Connally by phone.

Director Shultz will brief the press on the record after I read this statement, which is in response to the statement made by Mr. Meany and which sets forth the position of the Administration. As Director Shultz makes his statement, let me say that it represents the views of the Cost of Living Council, of Secretary Conholly, and, of course, it represents my views as well.

"I welcome the participation of organized labor in the work of the Pay Board and in helping make the Nation's efforts at wage and price stabilization succeed. Bringing the cost of living under control requires the public-spirited cooperation of all Americans, and, in giving such cooperation, the leaders of organized labor have acted in the best interests of their own members and the best interests of the Nation.

"I also, at .this time, want to reaffirm my concern that the economy expand and attain full employment. Prompt action in the Senate on my tax proposals, which will create over 500,000 new jobs, is essential in attainment of this objective."

I will add to this formal statement these remarks: The question that inevitably arises after a discussion of this sort is, "Who won? Did labor win or did the Administration win?" And the answer is, "The country won."

There was a misunderstanding as to what the original position of the Cost of Living Council was when we announced the setting up of the Pay Board and the Price Commission. That misunderstanding now has been removed as a result of the statement that I have issued and as a result of Mr. Meany's statement, in which he agrees to have organized labor participate on the Pay Board.

When I say the country wins, I mean very simply that the experience in other countries which have tried programs of wage-price restraints has been that, without the support and cooperation of organized labor, such programs inevitably break down.

Director Shultz is quite familiar with that and has briefed me on it today and yesterday with regard to the experience in other countries. And he feels that the action, therefore, is extremely important in terms of the success of our program, the fact that organized labor in the United States has now, by its action, assumed responsibility for helping to keep down the cost of living by keeping the wage component of the wage-price spiral within reasonable limits.

Director Shultz will answer any of the technical questions you may have.

Note: The President spoke at 2:22 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.

On the same day, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing on the AFLCIO decision by George P. Shultz, Director, office of Management and Budget.

The summary statement, referred to by the President in his opening remarks, on the respective roles of the Cost of Living Council, the Pay Board, and the Price Commission is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 7, P. 1394).

Richard Nixon, Remarks About the AFL-CIO Decision To Participate on the Pay Board. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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