Presidential Government of Labor Regulations.

The most important segment of the home front regulated by what were in effect presidential edicts was the field of labor relations. Exactly six months before Pearl Harbor, on June 7, 1941, Mr. Roosevelt, citing his proclamation thirteen days earlier of an unlimited national emergency, issued an Executive Order seizing the North American Aviation Plant at Inglewood, California, where, on account of a strike, production was at a standstill.156 Attorney General Jackson justified the seizure as growing out of the “duty constitutionally and inherently rested upon the President to exert his civil and military as well as his moral authority to keep the defense efforts of the United States a going concern,” as well as “to obtain supplies for which Congress has appropriated the money, and which it has directed the President to obtain.”157 Other seizures followed, and on January 12, 1942, Mr. Roosevelt, by Executive Order 9017, created the National War Labor Board. “Whereas,” the order read in part, “by reason of the state of war declared to exist by joint resolutions of Congress, . . . the national interest demands that there shall be no interruption of any work which contributes to the effective prosecution of the war; and Whereas as a result of a conference of representatives of labor and industry which met at the call of the President on December 17, 1941, it has been agreed that for the duration of the war there shall be no strikes or lockouts, and that all labor disputes shall be settled by peaceful means, and that a National War Labor Board be established for a peaceful adjustment of such disputes. Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the statutes of the United States, it is hereby ordered: 1. There is hereby created in the Office for Emergency Management a National War Labor Board . . . .”158 In this field, too, Congress intervened by means of the War Labor Disputes Act of June 25, 1943,159 which, however, still left ample basis for presidential activity of a legislative character.160

Footnotes

156
E.O. 8773, 6 Fed. Reg. 2777 (1941). [Back to text]
157
E. CORWIN, TOTAL WAR AND THE CONSTITUTION 47–48 (1946). [Back to text]
158
7 Fed. Reg. 237 (1942). [Back to text]
159
57 Stat. 163 (1943). [Back to text]
160
See Vanderbilt, War Powers and their Administration, in 1945 ANNUAL SURVEY OF AMERICAN LAW 254, 271–273 (N.Y. Univ.). [Back to text]