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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(14 February 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 7, 14 February 1944, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The extreme shortage of low-priced textiles has been felt by every housewife trying to keep her end up. Take children’s panties, for instance. Those nice soft garments in white or pink that you could buy for ten or fifteen cents in Woolworth’s or almost anywhere else – they have gone with the wind.

But here comes the War Production Board to your rescue. It has allowed material for the production of these indispensable panties. But wait a bit. It’s too soon to rub your hands in anticipatory glee. There’s a catch.

The WPB order says that panties from sizes two to twelve may be manufactured, not to cost more than FIFTY CENTS retail. How do you like that? Do you think any manufacturer is going to make them to sell for ten or fifteen cents?

You will pay three, four and five times as much for your textiles. The textile manufacturers will make three, four and five time’s as much profits.


Would you like to know why the WPB is so very considerate of the textile manufacturers? Would you like to know why this so-called government agency, supposed to represent the interests of the people, works hand-in-glove with the war profiteers? Live and learn.

The man at the head of the WPB in charge of textiles, clothing and leather is J. Spencer Love – whose love for his own interests surmounts all else.

For this man Love is the president of Burlington Mills Corporation – WHICH PRODUCES TEXTILE GOODS. No two-by-four concern is Burlington Mills Corporation. It has forty-four plants in North Carolina and is worth $50,000,000.

On the WPB Mr. Love is paid one dollar a year. In 1942, however, he received from his connection with Burlington Mills a remuneration of $196,340. That was made up of his base salary of $52,800 a year and the balance of $143,540 was his 3% per cent slice of the net profits of the corporation.

Why wouldn’t Mr. Love be in favor of charging fifty cents for ten or fifteen cents’ worth of pantie? THE MORE NET PROFITS FOR HIS CORPORATION, THE MORE “TAKE-HOME PAY” FOR MR. LOVE.


Want to know something else about Mr. Love and his Burlington Mills Corporation?


As president of this great manufacturing chain he has put up a die-hard fight against labor organization – -and he still fights labor. All of his plants are on an open-shop basis.

In the last two years the Textile Workers Union, CIO, succeeded in winning collective bargaining rights through a War Labor Board election in three of the corporation’s plants. Then what happened?

So rock-bedded is Mr. Love’s opposition to labor’s rights to organize and bargain collectively that he closed down those three plants in which the union won recognition – rather than deal with the union!


This is the type of man who is placed at the head of the important textile, clothing and leather department of the WPB – presumably to protect the “public” interest, including that of labor and the consumer.

Every department of government is honeycombed with the gentry typified by Mr. Love of Burlington Mills Corporation. It is high time to throw them out – together with these government agencies which are camouflages for big business.

Throughout the length and breadth of the land should arise a cry of angry protest. Let us demand that committees of workers, housewives, working farmers and the common people take charge of the business of supplying consumer needs at fair prices.


This column’s hat is off to the 2,700 workers in the Roebling’s Sons Company plant at Trenton, N.J.

Recently they walked out on strike in sympathy with nineteen women employees whose demand for equal pay for equal work had been refused by the War Labor Board. The women involved are wrappers of wire, who are getting fifteen per cent less pay than men doing the same job.

Charles Kovacs of the United Steel Workers, CIO, called this flagrant injustice a “minor grievance.” The 2,700 fellow workers of the nineteen aggrieved women, didn’t think so.

Kovacs tried to do the dirty work heretofore done exclusively by the capitalists, namely, break the strike. “Only the nation’s enemies can profit from this walkout,” he said.

However, looking the situation squarely in the eye, the 2,100 men and women workers saw clearly that only the enemies of labor profit from wage differentials between men and women workers.


Readers of this column have become acquainted with “We, the Mothers, Mobilize for America.” The outfit smells to high heaven with America First and other fascistic connections.

Now it is planning to hold a national convention in Chicago in the hear future – to call for “an immediate armistice and a negotiated peace.”

“Peace” is a wonderful word – and the contents of real peace we all yearn for. Already this monstrous war has taken a world toll of 25,000,000 missing, wounded and dead. We shudder away from visualizing this gigantic mass of human carnage.

The share of the United States in this useless human sacrifice is still comparatively small, but from all sidles come official warnings that casualty lists of American boys are going to increase arid multiply to what ghastly figure nobody knows.

It is only natural that the mothers of American boys in the armed forces should be interested in armistice and peace. But they must keep away from “We the Mothers, Mobilize for America” and similar fascistic organizations. Their purpose is only to utilize the honest suffering of mothers in a DISHONEST, REACTIONARY CAUSE.

What is that cause? The cause of Coughlin, of Gerald K. Smith, of McWilliams. The cause of the anti-Semitic gangs. The cause of the Jim Crow pogromists. The cause of the union smashers. The cause of the fascists in this country.

What kind of peace can these enemies of human progress stand for?

Does Labor Action want “an armistice and a negotiated peace”? Yes, indeed – but with the realization that peace to be lasting and to give the world the real contents of peace cannot be had with the existing powers.

The armistice must be made by workers’ governments that have replaced the present regimes in all belligerent countries. The terms of peace must be negotiated between such workers’ governments talking for the suffering peoples of the would.

Labor Action appeals to the mothers of America to help in the struggle for a workers’ government in America – to set the example for all working people to follow.

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