Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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14 June 2009

Higgins, World War II Winner, Closed Shop Rather than Allow Unionization

In reading Larry Schweikart's book America's Victories Why the U.S. Wins Wars and Will Win the War on Terror, I came across a couple of paragraphs on Andrew Jackson Higgins which I found very interesting. Higgins was from Nebraska, but he set up a lumber company in Louisiana, which ultimately failed, but while running it, he had designed some low draft boats for hauling lumber. There was demand for these, so he became a boat builder. He took his designs to the Navy, but they were uninterested. But a Marine Captain, Victor "Brute" Krulak was interested and visited Higgins' boat yard. Over the years, he and other military professionals told Higgins about their ideas, needs, and observations of Japanese and German technologies and Higgins incorporated these ideas and improved on them. In 1934, a study by the Marines concluded that Higgins' boats best fit many of their needs. Still, it was a long struggle to convince the Navy that there was a great need for the small landing vessels that Higgins made.

Schweikart says:
When the U.S. 5th Army landed at Salerno, Italy, in 1943, and General Douglas MacArthurs's men invaded New Guinea, of the fourteen thousand vessels in the Navy, 92 percent were designed by Higgins Industries and almost nine thousand of them were built at the Higgins plants in New Orleans. His plants produced more than twenty thousand vessels during the war, cranking out an astounding seven hundred boats a month.
His boats included PT boats, landing craft infantry, and landing ship tanks. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called Higgins "the man who won the war." Hitler called Higgins the "new Noah" and understood his value.

After the war, as Higgins was transitioning to civilian products, Higgins opposed the unions and supported open shop laws. He wanted to hire veterans, whether they were union members or not. The National Labor Relations Board dropped a ton of bricks on him. In a letter called Give Me Liberty!, Higgins said the Wagner Act was oppressive in its operation. He closed down his company, rather than to submit to union coercion.

The man who won the war had to shut down his beloved company in order to be a Free Man. Andrew Jackson Higgins is a hero worthy of our rememberance!

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