NEW YORK (Jul. 13)
Fair employment practices laws have been defeated in many states because their sponsors have failed to win the active support of the very groups–organized labor for one–that would be immediately and directly benefited by passage of such legislation. At the same time, state and local chambers of commerce, boards of trade and real estate and retailers’ associations have grouped together “everwhelmingly” in their opposition to FER.
These are the principal conclusions of a detailed study of F.E.P.C. campaigns in 27 states sponsored jointly by the American Council on Race Relations and the Anti-Defamation Loague of B’nai B’rith and made public today.
Effective support of F.E.P.C. has been almost entirely limited to a few “organizations dedicated to the preservation and enlargement of the rights of othnic and other minerity groups,” the report says. On the other hand, “in state after state, from one year to the next, the organized business and industrial interests have opposed state F.E.P.C. In every state where the issue was important enough to bring it out into the open, it has been possible to identify one of these organizations as the loader of the opposition.”
The study makes clear that in many cases proponents of F.E.P.C. have failed to tell their story to those groups whem the legislation would most benefit. Noting that ten states have passed fair employment practices legislation, the study boars down heavily on those groups in whose interest F.E.P.C. would seem to operate. “The role of organized labor has been particularly disappointing in view of the profossed stand which it has taken,” it declares. Veterans organizations “have shown little awareness” of F.E.P.C. Proponents have similarly failed sufficiently to interest most of the religious deneminations, rural and suburban populations or appreciable numbers of national organizations.
Suburban populations are seemingly aligned with rural populations in opposition to F.E.P.C. and, in general, the states having a greater number of cities and higher percentage of urban dwellers are more favorably disposed to F.E.P.C. The study hesitatos to say, however, that the urban-rural division is final and conclusive. “It may be that if the proponents of F.E.P.C. are properly organized, they will be in a position to overcome the opposition which, from a territerial standpoint, is more diffuse. We conclude that the political situation and the nature of the campaign are the vital factors,” the report says.