Local 654, Chester, Pennsylvania, 10th Anniversary Banquet held February 26, 1949
The blueprint for the recovery of Europe was being drafted and negotiated by U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s secretary of state, George C. Marshall; and the groundwork for a new world order was being laid through the formation of the United Nations. The Soviet Union, a U.S. ally during most of the Second World War, was reluctantly going along with the U.N. proposals but refused to allow free and independent elections in Eastern European countries it continued to occupy. In 1947 President Truman proclaimed it official U.S. policy to contain Communist and totalitarian aggression and expansion around the globe.
The IBEW Journal, formerly known as The Journal of Electrical Workers and Operators, changed its name in 1948 to The Electrical Workers’ Journal. The January ’48 Journal featured am improved layout style, reflecting the work of newly-appointed managing editor Marie V. Downey. That month the Journal focused on the changes President Tracy and Secretary Milne were bringing to the International Office in Washington, D.C. Departments were consolidated, offices and files still in the Brotherhood’s former headquarters in Springfield, Illinois, were brought to Washington. And a model of operations was established similar to what the IBEW uses today. Later in the year, the IBEW Archives was opened in the I.O.
When President Tracy addressed the 23 rd International Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1948, he spoke in a positive tone. The union was strong and getting stronger, with membership up more than 80,000 since the war. The president, secretary and W.A. Hogan, international treasurer, were all reelected. And the majority of delegates were satisfied with the course of the Brotherhood.
Many of the delegates at Atlantic City had just returned from their war-time tours of duty. Within another year-and-a-half, many of them would be back in the military. By the summer of 1950, American troops, with the support of the United Nations, went to the aid of the South Korean government after an attack by North Korean forces. America was at war again.
Local 6, San Francisco, member John Lovrien works on ship's radar gear.
1948 For the first time, workers wages are related to inflation as United Auto Workers and General Motors approve an "escalator" clause in their contract to give added wage increases based on the consumer price index. The Organization of American States meets for first time. Microelectronics are developed further with the invention of the transistor.
1949 NATO is established for the mutual defense of U.S., Canada and ten other nations. No longer are child labor laws left to interpretation as child labor is declared unlawful. U.S. Supreme Court hands down decision directing employers to end delaying tactics during contract negotiations in regard to pension plans. Thus, the first pension agreement in steel and auto industries came into being.
1950 President Truman gives approval for the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb. U.S. begins air strikes in Korea. U.S. military advisors arrive in South Vietnam for the first time. Back home, U.S. Army seizes all railroads on orders from President Truman to forestall an industry-wide strike. The railroads are returned two years later.