Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Harry S. Truman

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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  95. Statement by the President Upon Issuing Order Averting a Railroad Strike  
May 10, 1948

I HAVE today by Executive order taken over the country's railroads and directed the Secretary of the Army to operate them in the name of the United States Government.

A strike has been called for 6 a.m. tomorrow by 3 of the 22 railroad labor organizations--the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, and the Switchmen's Union of North America. These three have declined to accept the findings and recommendations of an Emergency Board created by the President under the Railway Labor Act. In the strike situation thus confronting us, governmental seizure is imperative for the protection of our citizens.

It is essential to the public health and to the public welfare generally that every possible step be taken by the Government to assure to the fullest possible extent continuous and uninterrupted transportation service. A strike on our railroads would be a nationwide tragedy, with worldwide repercussions.

I call upon every railroad worker to cooperate with the Government by remaining on duty. I call upon the officers of the railroad labor organizations to take appropriate action to keep their members at work.

The Executive order I have issued provides that, until further order of the President or the Secretary of the Army, the terms and conditions of employment now in effect on the railroads shall continue in effect, without prejudice to existing equities or to the effectiveness of such retroactive provisions as may be included in the final settlement of the disputes between the carriers and the workers.

NOTE: The President referred to Executive Order 9957 "Possession, Control, and Operation of Certain Railroads" (3 CFR, 1943-1948 Comp., p. 701).
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.