Friday, August 4, 2017

The Birth of the Legion by George Seay Wheat, Chapter X, (post #11)



We are now coming to the consideration of a subject that was nearer to the heart of every delegate than any other. That is the reëmployment of one-time service men. This matter is of the most intimate and direct concern to the Legion and its leaders and because of its importance I believe the details of the discussion are sufficiently interesting to permit me to quote them verbatim from the minutes.
The Chairman: "The secretary will read the next resolution."
Secretary Wood: "Reëmployment of ex-service men."
"Whereas, one of the most important questions of readjustment and reconstruction is the question of employment of the returning and returned soldiers, and
"Resolved: That the American Legion in its first national caucus assembled, declares to the people of the United States that no act can be more unpatriotic in these most serious days of readjustment and reconstruction than the violation of this principle announced which pledges immediate reemployment to the returned soldiers, and be it further
"Resolved: That the American Legion in its national caucus assembled does hereby declare itself as supporting in every proper way the efforts of the ex-service men to secure reemployment, and recommends that simple patriotism requires that ex-soldiers or ex-sailors and ex-marines be given preference whenever additional men are to be employed in any private or public enterprise, and be it further
"Resolved: That the American Legion recommends to Congress the prompt enactment of a program for internal improvement, having in view the necessity therefor and as an incident the absorption of the surplus labor of the country, giving preference to discharged ex-service men."
Mr. Walsh (Pittsburgh): "I move, Mr. Chairman, that we adopt the resolution."
The motion was seconded by Colonel Jones, of Washington, D.C.
"Whereas, it is desirable both for the welfare of the soldiers, sailors, and marines, now rapidly being discharged from the service of the United States of America, and for the industrial readjustment of the country that the process of returning these men to productive occupations in civil life be speeded up as much as possible;
"And Whereas, by reason of the failure of the Congress of the United States to appropriate funds for the purpose the said process has been retarded and left to private initiative; now, therefore, be it
"Resolved: That each local post or organization of the American Legion is urged during the period of demobilization to constitute itself a committee of the whole, which shall cooperate with the local Employment Bureau and shall establish and maintain a liaison between such Bureau and every employer in the community through members of the local post or organization who are already employed in such establishment to the end that it may be made easy for the employer to avail himself of the service of the Bureau by communicating with someone in his own establishment, and that every soldier, sailor, and marine already replaced in industry may have an opportunity to assist his comrades to become likewise."
"Gentlemen, this is the crux of that whole business—getting somebody close to the employer where you can bring about that liaison which is suggested in this substitute motion."
The motion to adopt the substitute resolution was made by Mr. Leveree and seconded by Mr. Luss.
Mr. Simington (of Washington): "I speak in opposition to that amended resolution. In my State I represent ten thousand organized men. In my State the present system has proven a failure. The organization that I represent handles an employment bureau that places 350 service men a week in permanent positions and 150 in temporary employment, and I say to you that that record is far and above the record of the U.S. Replacement Bureau. It is a proven failure. Gentlemen, I believe that it is 'For George to do'—and we are George.
"The service man wishes to take care of himself and his own. It is for the service man to handle his own problems and I suggest as an amendment—I am not sure of my being in order in offering an amendment to an amended amendment, but I suggest that it be the sense of this meeting that Congress assist the American Legion in taking care of its own in the matter of employment and that it do not use civilians to do the work." (Applause.)
The motion was seconded.
Mr. Hill (of Pennsylvania): "The original resolution that is before the convention, I am frank to say, has been forwarded to me by a soldier [Pg 154]from Allegheny County, who walked the streets of Pittsburgh for eight or nine weeks pleading this principle. A resolution adopted by the Mothers of Democracy was sufficient for him to get back his job, because he held a position as a county employee of Allegheny County and he invoked this principle and vitalized every military organization in Allegheny County, and by means of that he got back his job and his back salary and his mother's allowance which was cut off since January 1, 1918. This resolution was originally presented by me as a member of the National Resolutions Committee from the State of Pennsylvania. The National Resolutions Committee appointed a subcommittee of which I was a member, a committee of three, to consider this and refer it back to the National Resolutions Committee. That committee passed favorably upon it and the National Resolutions Committee passed it.
Mr. Knox: "Gentlemen, I am speaking on behalf of the Resolutions Committee. We spent all day yesterday listening to such requests as this. Our final calculated judgment is represented in the resolutions as presented. We found in the discussion that there was opposition to an endorsement of the United States Federal replacement division. (Applause.) And so we determined that the language as adopted covered the cast. We proposed to create in this organization a reemployment bureau of our own, and the resolution as presented is all the support that bureau needs.
"I move you, sir, that all the substitutes for the original resolution be laid on the table."
The motion was seconded.
Mr. Bennett Clark: "I simply want to call attention to the fact that under the rules of the House of Representatives that if you lay all amendments on the table it carries the entire proposition to the table and I don't believe this convention wants to do that."
The Chairman: "Unless you dispense with the rules."
MR. KNOX: "Mr. Chairman, I move you, sir, the suspension of the rules to a sufficient extent so that we may table the substitutes which have been offered to the original resolution offered by the committee."
Motion seconded by Mr. Bond of New York and carried.
The Chairman: "The question now comes back to the original resolution."
The question was called for and it was adopted.
Mr. Ackley: "Mr. Chairman, I have another amendment to offer."

The Chairman: "It's too late. The secretary will read the next resolution."

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