Franklin D. Roosevelt

Telegram to Union Leaders on the Rubber Strike in Akron.

May 26, 1943

The National War Labor Board has reported to me concerning the serious strikes existing in several rubber plants in Akron, Ohio. From the point of view of the Nation these strikes are inexcusable and must therefore be accepted by the country and by your Government for what they basically are: namely, a defiance of the War Labor Board, a challenge to Government by law, and a blow against the effective prosecution of the war. Further, these strikes constitute a flagrant violation of the no-strike pledge. They must not be permitted to continue any longer. In the midst of a war calling for the supreme sacrifice of many in the ranks of our armed forces, it is shocking to the Nation to discover that any group within our citizenry would impede, for a single moment, the production of the materials of war needed for our war effort. Economic sacrifices, whether real or not, do not justify the strike action taken by the members of your union. The War Labor Board has already called your attention to the fact that orderly procedures exist for a review of your grievances, but those procedures cannot be made available to you in the face of a strike against the security of this Nation. As I have stated before, the decisions of the War Labor Board are binding upon all employers and all employees, and a defiance of the Board cannot be permitted. Therefore, as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I direct all picketing to cease and all employees now out on strike at the rubber plants to return to work at once. If this strike is not ended by 12 o'clock noon, Thursday, May 27, 1943, your Government will take the necessary steps to protect the interests of the Nation, the legal rights and properties of the companies involved, and the rights of the patriotic workers who desire to work. I hereby request and delegate you to notify the members of your Union accordingly and make clear that each and every one of them now out on strike should consider that this telegram is also addressed to the individual striker.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Telegram to Union Leaders on the Rubber Strike in Akron. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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