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Navy and Industrial Mobilization (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology) [William H

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The trustees for the IRC at the time of its formal incorporation in 1926 -- three corporate leaders, two Rockefeller employees, and the president of Dartmouth College -- provide a good sense of how well the Rockefeller group was integrated into the corporate community, the policy-planning network, and the two political parties. One of the most noted corporate executives of the era, Owen D. Young, was the chairman of General Electric and a Democrat; he sat on the boards of General Motors, RCA, NBC, and the National Bureau of Economic Research. One of Rockefeller's brothers-in-law, Cyrus McCormick, Jr., who was a director of National City Bank of New York and a trustee of Princeton University, in addition to being the chairman of International Harvester, was also on the board. Like Young, he was a Democrat and in addition had been a strong backer of Woodrow Wilson's presidential candidacy in 1912. The third business member, Henry Dennison, president of the Dennison Manufacturing Company in Boston, was a highly visible corporate moderate and a co-founder of a foundation, the Twentieth Century Fund, in 1919. (Once the twenty-first century began, it was renamed the Century Fund, and it is still going strong.)

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Canada actually carried out a partial mobilization on 25 August 1939. in anticipation of the growing . On September 1, 1939, the (a corps-sized force of two divisions) was mobilized even though war was not declared by Canada until September 10, 1939. Only one division went overseas in December 1939, and the government hoped to follow a "limited liability" war policy. When France was invaded in May 1940, the Canadian government realized that would not be possible and mobilized three additional divisions, beginning their overseas employment in August 1940 with the dispatch of the 2nd Canadian Division (some units of which were deployed to Iceland and Newfoundland for garrison duty before moving to the UK). Canada also enacted the National Resources Mobilization Act in 1940, which among other things compelled men to serve in the military, though conscripts mobilized under the NRMA did not serve overseas until 1944. Conscripts did, however, serve in the Aleutian Islands in 1943 though the anticipated Japanese defense never materialized due to the evacuation of the enemy garrison before the landings. Service in the Aleutians was not considered "overseas" as technically the islands were part of North America.

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Any hope for Wagner's revised legislation also collapsed at this point. The new draft was handed to another Democratic senator, David I. Walsh of Massachusetts, whose Committee on Education and Labor proceeded to suggest legislation that was even more sympathetic to employer concerns. However, the committee's revised legislation act did not include any mention of excluding agricultural and domestic labor, a glaring omission in the eyes of the wary Southern Democrats. That problem was remedied by five of the Democrats on the committee (Farhang and Katznelson 2005, p. 13). Once the exclusion of agricultural and domestic labor was in the bill, there was no further mention of the issue by either supporters or opponents of the bill. Industrial workers were the focus of the floor debate and the amendments that were offered. Despite the many amendments that were added, the NAM, Chamber of Commerce, Special Conference Committee, and industrial trade associations worked to make sure that even this tepid legislation did not pass. As part of their effort, they brought in large numbers of employees from several different companies with employee representation plans to testify to their satisfaction with the plans, which Cowdrick thought to be the most influential statements heard by the Senate (Senate 1939, p. 16807). Corporate executives who supported employee representation plans were especially vigorous in their criticism. Arthur H. Young, identified as the former director of the IRC as well as the vice president for industrial relations at U.S. Steel, criticized the bill as "in its entirety both vicious and undesirable because of its fundamental philosophy as to the certain and complete clash of interest as between employer and employee" (Stark 1934, p. 1).

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After pushing for the installation of employee representation plans at several other companies in which he had an ownership interest, Rockefeller used Standard Oil of New Jersey as a launching pad for creating what came to be called the Special Conference Committee, an informal and secret group made up of the presidents and industrial relations vice-presidents for ten of the largest industrial companies in the country and one bank: U.S. Steel, General Motors, General Electric, DuPont, Bethlehem Steel, International Harvester, Standard Oil of New Jersey, U.S. Rubber, Goodyear, Westinghouse, and Irving Trust (AT &T was added in 1925) (e.g., Gordon 1994, pp. 152-155; Scheinberg 1986, pp. 152-158). The main purpose of the committee was to exchange information and ideas on labor relations. Eight of the ten original companies in the Special Conference Committee had adopted employee representation plans by 1925 (Sass 1997, p. 45). However, they did so with varying degrees of enthusiasm and diligence. Hicks served as chairman of the Special Conference Committee from its inception until 1936.

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In the aftermath of these dramatic defeats, however, the AFL did make some headway outside the manufacturing sector, where disruptive efforts could succeed because the "replacement costs" for bringing in strikebreakers (discussed in the introduction to this document) for some kinds of jobs were prohibitive. For example, the newspaper industry had to accede to the unionization demands of printers, typographers and pressmen's unions because of the unique skills these workers had, and then came to appreciate the union's businesslike attitude toward contract negotiations. Similarly, the building trade unions (e.g., carpenters, bricklayers, plasterers, and painters) grew from 67,000 in 1897 to 391,600 in 1904 because these skilled construction workers could capitalize on their disruptive capacities due to the decentralized nature of the construction industry and also their connections to the urban political machines (Brody 1980, p. 24; Zieger and Gall 2002, p. 22). It was in this context that an Era of Good Feelings began in the late 1890s, encouraging some AFL leaders to accept overtures from a new group of corporate moderates that are discussed in the next section.