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A. F. L. Convention Supports Massachusetts Anti-discrimination Laws

Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws received strong support from the American Federation of Labor when Julius Bernstein, executive secretary of the Labor Committee to Combat Intolerance, accused the state administration of a “subtle form of sabotage” on Fair Practices laws.

Presenting his committee’s annual report to over 800 delegates attending the weeklong convention of the Mass. Federation of Labor, Bernstein charged that Dr. Franklin P. Hawkes, director of the Fair Practices Act, has “had the legs cut out from under him” as the designation of funds for his office have become a repeated problem. As a result of this financial hamstringing, he continued, Dr. Hawkes is now working “only one day a week at what is and what was intended to be a full-time job” of trying to stamp out quota admissions by colleges and other discriminatory education practices.

Moves to win revision of the McCarran-Walter immigration law gained strong support when delegates voted unanimously to call upon their own Congressmen and the entire United States Congress “for action at the earliest possible moment to amend and revise the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 and the McCarran immigration law in order to wipe out awkward, restrictive, over-legalistic and discriminatory provisions.”

Earlier the delegates passed a civil rights resolution which pledged the devotion of their “energies toward the elimination of segregation and all other forms of discrimination.” In addition, the resolution criticized discrimination in private housing and noted improvements in discriminatory practices in public housing.

A resolution on Israel filed by Philip Kramer, honorary chairman of the Jewish Labor Committee, placed the convention unanimously on record as supporting the young nation and calling for use of American influence to bring about an embargo on arms shipments to the Arab nations and the peaceful settlement of Arab-Israel differences.

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