Telegram to the President of the Senate Concerning Reorganization Plan 12 of 1950.
UNDERSTAND that the Senate will shortly vote on reorganization plan number twelve, relating to the National Labor Relations Board.
Plan twelve will correct an administratively unworkable organizational set-up and will put the procedures of the Labor Board in line with those of all the other independent regulatory commissions. The procedures of the Labor Board are at present a glaring exception to the procedures of the other commissions.
The issues now involved in consideration of plan twelve are not matters of personalities, neither do they go to the substance of the controversy over the Taft-Hartley Act, as opponents of plan twelve have attempted to argue.
No group of men could efficiently operate the two-headed freak which the organization of the Labor Board now represents.
The history of this matter leads me to believe that most of the opponents of plan twelve are more concerned with politics than with the merits of the proposal.
Last year, the Senate passed a bill, commonly known as the Taft-Smith-Donnell substitute, which its sponsors said was designed to meet legitimate criticisms of the Taft-Hartley Act. Among the provisions which that bill contained, as passed by the Senate, was one to abolish the office of the Independent General Counsel of the Labor Board and transfer the functions of the office back to the board itself. Thus, the administrative procedures act of 1946 would have been relied upon to maintain the necessary separation of Judicial and Prosecuting functions of the board. That is exactly the object of plan twelve.
On June 29, 1949, Senator Taft made the following statement on the floor of the Senate in support of the proposal which now appears in plan twelve.
"I believe that the amendments which we have suggested are important. Perhaps the most important one is the elimination of the Independent General Counsel. The difficulty which arose with the Independent General Counsel was that he took a different view of the jurisdiction of the board than did the board itself. He would bring a case which he thought was covered by the act. After a year's litigation the Board would rule that it was not covered by the act. In the last analysis the board determined the results, but in the meantime there was confusion. There was a difference of opinion. There was difficulty in the separation of powers.
"Under the Administrative Procedures Act, which was passed since the passage of the original National Labor Relations Act, the Judicial and Prosecuting functions are largely separated, although not entirely so. The procedure goes back to the board. However, we felt that on the whole that separation accomplished the purposes we were trying to accomplish in not having the same people bring the prosecution, try the case, and then judge those who they themselves had indicted. That was one of the strong protests made by the Labor Unions, and we felt that it was sufficiently justified to go back to the Administrative Procedures Act and rely upon that for a fair treatment by the board."
Nothing has happened since June, 1949, when Senator Taft made that statement, to change the need for correcting the existing unsound administrative organization of the Labor Board. In fact, the contrary is the case. The need for change is greater now than it was then.
Plan twelve is in the best interests of sound government organization and administration. I urge that the Senate give the plan its approval.
HARRY S. TRUMAN
[Honorable Albert W. Barkley, Vice President of the United States, Washington, D.C.]
Note: Reorganization Plan 12 of 1950 is printed in House Document 516 (81st Cong. 2d sess.). It did not become effective.
See also Item 66.
Harry S Truman, Telegram to the President of the Senate Concerning Reorganization Plan 12 of 1950. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230521