Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

J. L. C. Reveals Serious Job Discrimination in Los Angeles, Chicago

February 28, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A study of jobs available in the Los Angeles area during a two-week period last month revealed that 17 percent of these job openings discriminated against Jews, it was revealed here today at the two-day national trade union conference of the Jewish Labor Committee. The survey which revealed this bias was carried out by the metropolitan offices of the Department of Employment of Los Angeles and covered 5,335 job openings.

The Los Angeles survey, whose general results were mirrored in polls of the Maryland State Employment service and in the Chicago area, turned up the fact that one-third of all managerial and professional openings were discriminatory, with over half of them aimed against Jews. Three-quarters of all clerical jobs carried discriminatory specifications and of these fully 27 percent were anti-Jewish.

In the Chicago area, it was reported by Martin Gerber, director of Region 9 of the United Auto Workers-CIO, the Bureau of Jewish Employment Problems–set up by the JLC together with the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress and B’nai B’rith–had found that 1,000 of 3,700 national business companies placed job orders which discriminated against Jews. The survey was based on job orders placed with employment agencies in 1953 and 1954.

“Over 200 firms which have prime or sub-contracts with the government were found among the 1,000 discriminatory firms listed, despite the fact that both prime contractors and sub-contractors are obligated by President Executive Order to observe merit practices as essential condition of their government contracts, “Mr. Gerber told the 250 Jewish labor leaders at the parley. “It is estimated that Jews represent 16 percent of registrants at the employment agencies, but less than 11 percent of all their referrals, and only six percent of all placements.”


George F. Meany, president of the American Federation of Labor and scheduled to head the projected merged labor movement with 15,000,000 affiliated members, told the parley yesterday that the labor movement would not tolerate racial or religious discrimination. He declared that the labor movement would take an active part in the campaign to end discrimination both as citizens in the general political field and in the field of labor organization. He said that the new labor federation would have a department of civil rights.

Mr. Meany praised the Jewish Labor Committee for waging American labor’s fight against discrimination. Arthur. Goldberg, general counsel of the CIO, speaking for CIO president Walter Reuther, also paid tribute to the JLC’s role in fighting bias in employment and elsewhere. He pledged that the CIO, as part of the new united labor movement, would continue to fight for FEPC legislation.

A resolution was passed at the parley today attacking the McCarran-Walter immigration law, but praising President Eisenhower’s personal efforts in behalf leaders in the JLC to work in close liaison with the Jewish community to work on problems affecting labor.

Adolph Held, national chairman of the Jewish Labor Committee, addressing the delegates, said that his organization “is a bridge between the American labor movement and the Jewish communities” both at home and abroad. “It is a two-way bridge, and as such, it has served both the American labor movement and the Jewish community,” he declared.

Jewish labor is taking a more active part in the Jewish community in the United States, Charles S. Zimmerman, chairman of the JLC anti-discrimination department, said. He took the American Jewish Tercentenary Committee to task for “underplaying the contributions of Jewish mass immigration and the Jewish labor movement to the American scene.” In this he was joined by a number of other Jewish labor leaders who scored the Tercentenary group for failing to give a full account of Jewish labor’s role in the fight for civil rights and other national developments.

Recommended from JTA