"This is a time for mutual confidence and help
and we can safely rely on the sense of fair play among all Americans to
assure every industry which now moves forward promptly in this united drive
against depression that its workers will be with it to a man."
Franklin Roosevelt's Statement
on the National Industrial Recovery Act
June 16, 1933
The law I
have just signed was passed to put people back to work, to let them buy
more of the products of farms and factories and start our business at a
living rate again. This task is in two stages; first, to get many hundreds
of thousands of the unemployed back on the payroll by snowfall and, second,
to plan for a better future for the longer pull. While we shall not neglect
the second, the first stage is an emergency job. It has the right of way.
second part of the Act gives employment through a vast program of public
works. Our studies show that we should be able to hire many men at once and
to step up to about a million new jobs by October 1st, and a much greater
number later. We must put at the head of our list those works which are
fully ready to start now. Our first purpose is to create employment as fast
as we can, but we should not pour money into unproved projects.
worked out our plans for action. Some of the work will start tomorrow. I am
making available $400,000,000 for State roads under regulations which I
have just signed, and I am told that the States will get this work under
way at once. I have also just released over $200,000,000 for the Navy to
start building ships under the London Treaty.
Inaugural I laid down the simple proposition that nobody is going to starve
in this country. It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which
depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has
any right to continue in this country. By "business" I mean the
whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all
workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by
living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of
Throughout industry, the change from starvation wages and starvation
employment to living wages and sustained employment can, in large part, be
made by an industrial covenant to which all employers shall subscribe. It
is greatly to their interest to do this because decent living, widely
spread among our 125, 000,000 people, eventually means the opening up to
industry of the richest market which the world has known. It is the only
way to utilize the so-called excess capacity of our industrial plants. This
is the principle that makes this one of the most important laws that ever
has come from Congress because, before the passage of this Act, no such
industrial covenant was possible.
idea, the first part of the Act proposes to our industry a great
spontaneous cooperation to put millions of men back in their regular jobs
this summer. The idea is simply for employers to hire more men to do the
existing work by reducing the work-hours of each man's week and at the same
time paying a living wage for the shorter week.
employer and no group of less than all employers in a single trade could do
this alone and continue to live in business competition. But if all
employers in each trade now band themselves faithfully in these modern
guilds--without exception-and agree to act together and at once, none will
be hurt and millions of workers, so long deprived of the right to earn
their bread in the sweat of their labor, can raise their heads again. The
challenge of this law is whether we can sink selfish interest and present a
solid front against a common peril.
It is a
challenge to industry which has long insisted that, given the right to act
in unison, it could do much for the general good which has hitherto been
unlawful. From today it has that right.
good men voted this new charter with misgivings. I do not share these
doubts. I had part in the great cooperation of 1917 and 1918 and it is my
faith that we can count on our industry once more to join in our general
purpose to lift this new threat and to do it without taking any advantage
of the public trust which has this day been reposed without stint in the
good faith and high purpose of American business.
industry is challenged in another way. It is not only the slackers within
trade groups who may stand in the path of our common purpose. In a sense
these groups compete with each other, and no single industry, and no
separate cluster of industries, can do this job alone for exactly the same
reason that no single employer can do it alone. In other words, we can
imagine such a thing as a slacker industry.
is also a challenge to labor. Workers, too, are here given a new charter of
rights long sought and hitherto denied. But they know that the first move
expected by the Nation is a great cooperation of all employers, by one
single mass-action, to improve the case of workers on a scale never
attempted in any Nation. Industries can do this only if they have the
support of the whole public and especially of their own workers. This is
not a law to foment discord and it will not be executed as such. This is a
time for mutual confidence and help and we can safely rely on the sense of
fair play among all Americans to assure every industry which now moves
forward promptly in this united drive against depression that its workers
will be with it to a man.
further, a challenge to administration. We are relaxing some of the
safeguards of the anti-trust laws. The public must be protected against the
abuses that led to their enactment, and to this end, we are putting in
place of old principles of unchecked competition some new Government
controls. They must, above all, be impartial and just. Their purpose is to
free business, not to shackle it; and no man who stands on the
constructive, forward-looking side of his industry has anything to fear
from them. To such men the opportunities for individual initiative will
open more amply than ever. Let me make it clear, however, that the
anti-trust laws still stand firmly against monopolies that restrain trade
and price fixing which allows inordinate profits or unfairly high prices.
ask our trade groups to do that which exposes their business, as never
before, to undermining by members who are unwilling to do their part, we
must guard those who play the game for the general good against those who
may seek selfish gains from the unselfishness of others. We must protect
them from the racketeers who invade organizations of both employers and
workers. We are spending billions of dollars and if that spending is really
to serve our ends it must be done quickly. We must see that our haste does
not permit favoritism and graft. All this is a heavy load for any
Government and one that can be borne only if we have the patience,
cooperation, and support of people everywhere.
this law is a challenge to our whole people. There is no power in America
that can force against the public will such action as we require. But there
is no group in America that can withstand the force of an aroused public
opinion. This great cooperation can succeed only if those who bravely go
forward to restore jobs have aggressive public support and those who lag
are made to feel the full weight of public disapproval.
the machinery, we shall use the practical way of accomplishing what we are
setting out to do. When a trade association has a code ready to submit and
the association has qualified as truly representative, and after reasonable
notice has been issued to all concerned, a public hearing will be held by
the Administrator or a deputy. A Labor Advisory Board appointed by the
Secretary of Labor will be responsible that every affected labor group,
whether organized or unorganized, is fully and adequately represented in an
advisory capacity and any interested labor group will be entitled to be
heard through representatives of its own choosing. An Industrial Advisory
Board appointed by the Secretary of Commerce will be responsible that every
affected industrial group is fully and adequately represented in an
advisory capacity and any interested industrial group will be entitled to
be heard through representatives of its own choosing. A Consumers Advisory
Board will be responsible that the interests of the consuming public will
be represented and every reasonable opportunity will be given to any group
or class who may be affected directly or indirectly to present their views.
conclusion of these hearings and after the most careful scrutiny by a
competent economic staff the Administrator will present the subject to me
for my action under the law.
fully aware that wage increases will eventually raise costs, but I ask that
managements give first consideration to the improvement of operating
figures by greatly increased sales to be expected from the rising
purchasing power of the public. That is good economics and good business.
The aim of this whole effort is to restore our rich domestic market by
raising its vast consuming capacity. If we now inflate prices as fast and
as far as we increase wages, the whole project will be set at naught. We
cannot hope for the full effect of this plan unless, in these first
critical months, and, even at the expense of full initial profits, we defer
price increases as long as possible. If we can thus start a strong, sound,
upward spiral of business activity, our industries will have little doubt
of black-ink operations in the last quarter of this year. The pent-up
demand of this people is very great and if we can release it on so broad a
front, we need not fear a lagging recovery. There is greater danger of too
much feverish speed.
In a few
industries, there has been some forward buying at unduly depressed prices
in recent weeks. Increased costs resulting from this Government-inspired
movement may make it very hard for some manufacturers and jobbers to
fulfill some of their present contracts without loss. It will be a part of
this wide industrial cooperation for those having the benefit of these
forward bargains (contracted before the law was passed) to take the
initiative in revising them to absorb some share of the increase in their
suppliers' costs, thus raised in the public interest, It is only in such a
willing and considerate spirit, throughout the whole of industry, that we
can hope to succeed.
Title I of this Act, I have appointed Hugh Johnson as Administrator and a
special Industrial Recovery Board under the Chairmanship of the Secretary
of Commerce. This organization is now prepared to receive proposed Codes
and to conduct prompt hearings looking toward their submission to me for
approval. While acceptable proposals of no trade group will be delayed, it
is my hope that the ten major industries which control the bulk of
industrial employment can submit their simple basic Codes at once and that
the country can look forward to the month of July as the beginning of our
great national movement back to work.
the coming three weeks Title II relating to public . works and construction
projects will be temporarily conducted by Colonel Donald H. Sawyer as
Administrator and a special temporary board consisting of the Secretary of
the Interior as Chairman, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of
Agriculture, the Secretary of War, the Attorney General, the Secretary of
Labor and the Director of the Budget.
the next two weeks the Administrator and this board will make a study of
all projects already submitted or to be submitted and, as previously
stated, certain allotments under the new law will be made immediately.
these twin efforts--public works and industrial reemployment -- it is not
too much to expect that a great many men and women can be taken from the
ranks of the unemployed before winter comes. It is the most important
attempt of this kind in history. As in the great crisis of the World War,
it puts a whole people to the simple but vital test:--"Must we go on
in many groping, disorganized, separate units to defeat or shall we move as
one great team to victory?"
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