DescriptionFranklin D. Roosevelt: Typed Letter Signed as President.
-March 4, 1942. Washington, D.C. One page. 8" x 10.5". White House letterhead.
-To: Honorable William H. Davis, Washington, D.C.
-Even toning, somewhat brown on two edges, folds, two perforations for binding, overall very good.
FDR writes "In your capacity as a public member of the National War Labor Board, and in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order No. 9017 of January 12, 1942, I hereby prescribe that you shall receive compensation for your services at the rate of $10,000 per annum, effective March 1, 1942.". Here the president authorizes compensation of the Chairman of this important war-related Board. Following the United States' entry into the war, President Roosevelt called a conference of labor, employer and government representatives with the objective of ending industrial disputes which might hinder production during the war. By December 23, 1941, three general points were accepted: 1) there would be no strikes or lockouts; 2) all disputes would be settled by peaceful means; and 3) the President would set-up a war labor board to make a final determination on all disputes not settled by agreement between the parties.
The extended description below was supplied by the consignor. We are making it available to our web bidders who are interested in more in-depth research and broader historical perspective. Please note that presentation (i.e. framing), lot divisions, and interpretations of condition and content may occasionally differ from our descriptions. Assertions of fact and subjective observations contained in this description represent the opinion of the consignor. These remarks have not been checked for accuracy by Heritage Auctions, and we assume no responsibility for their accuracy; they are offered purely to allow the bidder insight into the way the consignor has viewed the item(s) in question. No right of return or claim of lack of authenticity or provenance based upon this extended description will be granted.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt responds to Pearl Harbor and the American declarations of war against Japan (December 8, 1941) and Germany (December 11, 1941) in a letter to the Honorable William H. Davis, the Chairman of the National War Labor Board, dated March 4, 1942, authorizing Mr. Davis to be paid for by the United States Government for his services in leading the National War Labor Board, 8vo, on The White House Washington letterhead. FDR writes: "My dear Mr. Davis:/ In your capacity as a public member of the National War Labor Board, and in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order No. 9017 of January 12, 1942, I hereby prescribe that you shall receive compensation for your services at the rate of $10,000 per annum, effective March 1, 1942./ Sincerely yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." A very important letter showcasing FDR's authorization for the compensation of the Chairman of this important war-related Board. William H. Davis, a distinguished patent lawyer who served as Chairman of the National War Labor Board, often observed, "You can't argue about a fact, you can only be ignorant of it." Following the United States' entry into the war in 1941, President Roosevelt called a conference of labor, employer and government representatives with the objective of ending industrial disputes which might hinder production during the war. By December 23, 1941, three general points were accepted: 1) there would be no strikes or lockouts; 2) all disputes would be settled by peaceful means; and 3) the President would set-up a war labor board to make a final determination on all disputes not settled by agreement between the parties. In accordance with the three articles of agreement, the National War Labor Board was established by Presidential Executive Order on January 12, 1942. President Roosevelt appointed a tri-partite Board with 4 representatives each from the public, industry and labor sectors. Initially, the NWLB functioned only in Washington, D.C., settling labor disputes affecting the war effort. Later that year, Congress, by the Act of October 2, 1942, called upon the President to order a stabilization program freezing prices, wages and salaries to the level existing on September 15, 1942. On October 3, 1942, the Presidential Executive Order No. 9250 delegated some of the administration of wage and salary stabilization to the National War Labor Board. It extended the Board's authority over wage earners and salaried employees under $5,000. The Internal Revenue Service was responsible for the stabilization of salaries for employees with salaries over $5,000. Agricultural and railroad workers were also placed under the jurisdiction of other agencies. The NWLB became part of an comprehensive program of economic stabilization controlling civilian purchasing power, including prices, rents, wages, salaries, profits, rationing, and subsidies. The stated goals were to prevent avoidable increases in the cost of living, minimize the unnecessary migration of labor from one industry to another, and facilitate the prosecution of the war. Established in 1943, the Wage Stabilization Division of the NWLB was given the responsibility for establishing a system to process all requests for wage adjustment. Its mandate was to correct maladjustments and inequities and to eliminate substandards of living. Its initial guideline was "The Little Steel Formula," as set forth in an NWLB decision of July 1942. This formula limited wage rate increases based on changes in the cost-of-living to 15% over rates on January 1, 1941. Wage stabilization brought a huge workload before the National War Labor Board. To administer this increased scope of work, it established 12 regional boards, with the same tripartite representation as the National Board, and assigned them the authority to make final decisions in labor disputes and to make rulings in voluntary wage and salary adjustments. The National War Labor Board worked in conjunction with other government agencies within the Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division, Conciliation Service, National Labor Relations Board, and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some records generated by these agencies are also in this collection. Wage stabilization was also coordinated with the Office of Price Administration, War Food Administration, War Production Board, War Manpower Commission, and many more departments. The National War Labor Board utilized the existing labor relations structure between unions and employers. Where possible, steps toward wage settlement started with collective bargaining. In cases of impasse, the next step was the U. S. Conciliation Service. If impasse continued, the dispute cases were brought before the Board. By June 1943, the Regional War Labor Boards were using the bracket principle for making wage adjustments. Wage brackets were defined as "the sound and tested going rates of occupational groups within specific labor market areas." They set the minima and maxima wage rates for key occupations. They were deemed a sound economic approach for eliminating wage inequities. The creation of bracket rates speeded up the processing of cases and reduced the huge backlog of applications for wage adjustments--both voluntary and disputed cases. The National War Labor Board terminated its activities by Presidential Executive Order 9672 on December 31, 1945. NWLB Chairman, Lloyd K. Garrison, reported to the President on the Board's work over almost four years of its existence. Up to V-J Day, the Board had settled 17,807 disputes involving 12,300,000 employees. Voluntary application for wage adjustments to all regions averaged 2,700 a week. This total was 415,000 applications involving 26,300,000 employees. The Board's total staff in Washington, D.C. and in twelve regions totaled 2,613 employees at its peak. The same order terminating the NWLB established the National Wage Stabilization Board, an agency within the Department of Labor which operated until February 24, 1947. It carried out limited wage stabilization during the period of reconversion to a peacetime economy.
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