tv Reel America For the Record - 1946 CSPAN August 31, 2019 4:54pm-5:15pm EDT
somewhere released empty. others were fully loaded. as they headed for the shore, there could be no turning back. the rural the fighting planes, the booming of the big guns, and the rockets overhead created a never to be forgotten inferno. a group of landing craft escorted by destroyers moved toward another beach section. troops began to scramble up the beach. they were prepared for an enemy onslaught. but not a single german soldier appeared. overhead. plane >> you can watch the entire u.s. army film sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern on reel america here on american history tv on c-span3. according to the u.s. bureau of labor statistics, there were
4985 strikes involving 4.6 million workers in 1946, the largest number of strikes the bureau ever recorded in a single year. the main issues were low wages and rising living costs. next, on reel america, "for the record," a 1946 documentary about the strikes from the perspective of organized labor. >> ♪ humming] >> look around you, my friend,
and see what there is to see. there is the world. mountains,ers, plains, all there before we arrived on the scene. that is where we come in, you and i, workers. , huge, tiny, the works, books and beans, divers, stoops, and skyscrapers. watts and kilowatts. tall, small, soft, hard. the plansh to smash germany and japan drew up for our future. lots of our folks joined. old hands from out of retirement and newcomers.
machines are not snobs. they become friends fast. day in and day out, all around so muchk, we produced of the heavy stuff that even we were surprised. the nation was grateful. e for excellence flags flew everywhere for us. but when it came to living costs, we took it on the chin. wages were cap down to a 15% increase. living costs rose 45%. you did not need fancy statistics to tell you that. by what atell five-spot got you at the groceries. there was important business that cannot wait. meanwhile, we would try to get by by putting in overtime, all we could take. >> ♪
>> the week grew longer and longer. it seemed never to end. but at least, you could manage. then suddenly, it was over. over sooner than anyone dared hope. >> ♪ like the rest of us, i blew my top, too. j will never forget the -- v day as long as i live. i will never forget the day after either. almost overnight, take home pay shrike from 30% to 15%. how can we manage now? [humming]
ranks rose one common cry, defeat the cuts. we waited. we pled. we negotiated and renegotiated. we cooled off until we were frost written -- frostbitten. i suppose the $52 billion the company's stored up during the war made them indifferent to the spot we were in. finally, it became terribly clear there was nothing left to do but go on strike, and strike we did. just about the biggest, deepest, up and down and across strike america ever saw. man and child walked along ♪ >> we've got a slogan down here. the longer the picket line, the shorter the strike. >> ♪
♪ >> never before have we been so united. never before spirits so high. hillpassing over the walls we instill as i wandered ♪ >> all here. communications, steel, coal, home, auto, electric and radio, maritime, clothing, packinghouse, building trades, textiles. all here. common problems, common action. it's simple. you've got to eat. even western union cannot tell us that. ♪
coat donated by a local merchant. it made all the boys a little warmer. but, picketing is no bed of roses. weeks dragged on. newspapers looking for signs of a crackup. they did not have much to report along those lines. plants were shut tighter than a bullseye in flight time. we did not shut them, the owners did. but they didn't seem to mind. could it be because the government guaranteed them there come hellar profits or high water? that did not make things easier for us, but we never expected it to be easy.
if you want to learn what makes , theck take on time is th best place to find out is that headquarters. men are showing up fine. because the union is there baby. you have a chance with a union. men and women banded together for bargaining power. a voice. the rules and conditions of the working day. that's democracy in action. unions. i see the pileup of things they have to do here, i'm glad i'm on outside duty. you have to be on your toes to handle last-minute developments. ♪ >> you've got to make a little go a long way. things you take for granted, especially if you don't have to sweat among yourself. all adding up to this.
that picket line must be on the job day in and day out. as the strike moved on, certain things became clear. we weren't fighting just to maintain living standards. we were fighting for the very existence of the unions themselves. the good old days. that's what the big boys wanted to bring back. the dark days before they wrote union into the law books. those days where picketers and strikebreakers were considered respectable citizens, got invited to the best houses. ♪ >> the old-timers have good memories. there are some things you never forget. ♪
♪ like the national association of manufacturers send millions every year to convince the people every year that unions like strikes. they say lots of things. one of the ways they enjoyed spending money the most is turning the weapons against us, but it was a poor investment. they sawboys got back, for themselves. exactly where were those fat paychecks we were supposed to be getting while they lay in the foxholes?
who is getting them? this time, the corporations had ms. catlett it. the boys joined up with us. it had worked after the first world war, but not this time. times had changed. the way people responded to our appeal convinced us. alone in ournger communities and pitched in to help. ♪ all together ♪l you hard-working people groceroing to tell the in the grocery store, if i don't get a raise ♪ cafeterias,diners, restaurants. in some towns, all eating places were turned over to us.
our credit was good. >> ♪ going to tell the mayor in the city hall we've got to all get together we've got to all get together all you hard-working people ♪ >> ♪ going to go to the preacher ♪ >> brother unions came through with food and financial support. that was running true to form. what surprised us most was the new places the canned goods were coming from. lodges and citizen groups of all kinds. religious societies. shipments from colleges. they fed us in more ways than one. >> ♪ we've got to all get together all you hard-working people ♪ grocer in to tell the
the grocery store if i don't get a raise, i can buy groceries no more we've got to all get together ♪ >> why did the community support us? i don't know all the answers. this i do know. most of the community realized in some way we were carrying the bar for them too. the opinions we pulled convinced us. of course, not everyone was 100% for us. >> what is your opinion of the current strike situation? >> i don't know much about the strike. the unions are pretty strong. they don't pay much attention to what happens to us as the public. things are getting high. even before the strike. againstey are fighting
inflation. maybe we ought to refer them. >> thank you. >> i'm against the strikes. i'm against unions. i think they are run by a bunch of racketeers. >> these people are trying to tell us how to run our business. they are killing the goose that lays the golden egg. labor is driving business out of existence. >> the way i figure it, we are all in this together. the bigger the paycheck, the more groceries i sell. the quicker they get their raises, it will be better for all of us. >> the way i see it is the prices i get and the factory paychecks, they are kind of like a team of horses hooked up to the same plow, you know? you all have to pull together to get the day's work done. and we allfamilies
want to raise them decent, don't we? i remember the last time. lots of good crops all around. people were going hungry. i don't know. they was even killing meat. they wanted to keep the prices up. they ain't afraid of no depression. strange, butm there used to be people who claimed depressions were good for us. you've got fresh air and exercise. lots of leisure time for thought. ♪ ofopportunities for men initiative. a great time for bargains.
cheap. pick up anything from a pair of gloves to a railroad. somehow, these gentlemen never convinced us. back in 1933, people had a different idea. they called it the new deal and they found men to make it real. it seems the people didn't lose that spirit. because with their help, we won our strike. but the fight wasn't over yet. we knew our fight had just begun. says, ae chairman victory, even a great one, it did not come easy. it never does. this.let's not lose you have to look around and see what is happening. the fight is shaping up all over again. it never really stops, not for a single second. >> he's right.
we've got things to say, let's say them before it is too late. we want to strike, that is good. look at what they are trying to do, the bigshot lobby boys in washington. they are trying to bust our union. they are trying to take away every advantage. if we are for it, they are against it. if they get away with it, it means the whole strike did not mean a thing. our work just started. >> now we've got to go ahead and the stakes are high. security for all of us. and peace. and everything that kenexa up with it like no depression. the chance for people to live decently without having to worry about better housing and medical care or anything else that goes to make life more decent for all of us. i say we will get that when every worker is a union man. we're millions now. we need millions more. unions all over this country, unions and places where there
weren't any before. for this, we need every bit of strength in us. i say let's be forewarned, but let's get going. ♪ >> this is american history tv. covering history c-span style with lectures, interviews and discussions with authors, historians and teachers. 48 hours, all weekend every weekend, only on c-span3. >> in the late 1850's, american generally trusted their congressman but they did not trust congress as an institution, nor did congressman trust each other. by 1860, many congressmen were
routinely armed. not because they were eagle to kill their opponents, but out of fear their opponents might kill them. >> yale history professor joanne freeman will be our guest sunday from noon to 2 p.m. eastern. her latest book is the field of blood. her other titles include the essential hamilton, hamilton writings, and affairs of honor. join our live conversation with your phone calls, tweets and facebook questions. at 9 p.m. eastern, in his latest examines ifwe evangelicals are choosing political power over christian values. >> i think the lesser evil argument is tempting but dangerous. it permeates to keeping a system in place that takes accountability out of the system. i think it also is an easy way to bring in something like evangelic i