Secretary of Labor Cites Government’s Action on Discrimination

The clause in Federal government procurement contracts which prohibits racial and religious discrimination in employment “is being vigorously enforced through the work of the President’s Government Contracts Committee.” James P. Mitchell, Secretary of Labor, assured the 19th annual convention of the Rabbinical Council of America here today. The three-day conference is being attended by 600 Orthodox rabbis who are affiliated with the Council.

The Secretary reminded his rabbinical audience that social justice, “which some economic and political reformers think they invented” actually has its roots in the Bible. The Jew, Sec. Mitchell said, “has always recognized the dignity of labor. The Jewish sages have always taught that work was noble and idleness disgraceful. They actually earned their daily bread by working as tailors, carpenters, masons and in similar occupations.

“The Ten Commandments contained one of the first attempts to prohibit excessive hours of labor. They not only prohibited work by the Jew on the Sabbath but also forbade him from employing his servant on that day. The servant, a fellow human being, was also entitled to a day of rest.

“As you know better than I, justice to the laborer pervades much of Jewish literature. The Book of Leviticus requires that the wages of a hired servant shall not be retained overnight. He is entitled to his pay when it is due. The Prophet Malachi preaches eloquently against those who oppress a worker in his wages.

“I could go on and on, but you are more familiar with these eloquent passages than I Justice to labor has become part and parcel of our religious tradition,” he pointed out.

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