Sunday, May 2, 1943
Coal, rubber, and oil – all three were so vital to the Allied war effort that strict rationing was imposed on civilian use whether coal for heating or rubber for tires. Of them all, bituminous coal was the resource America had in abundance right on her own territory. But it was mined at a very high cost in human life and health. The federal wage caps came on top of exploitive wages that fell especially hard on miners who had to buy all their groceries and goods at company stores with high prices. Enter one John Llewellyn Lewis, son of Welsh immigrants. Stocky, pugnacious, and eloquent, with a shock of greying hair, he had negotiated with the feds for two months. Yesterday, he defied President Roosevelt’s order, under the Taft-Hartley Act, to return to the mines. Today, President Roosevelt seized the mines and threatened to send troops to the pits. None of this affected the Kentucky Derby where Count Fleet came in the winner.