Morning Register Des Moines, Iowa
SURVEY FINDS STATE COULD ABSORB D.P.S
Home, Job Outlook is 'Favorable'
By George Mills.
Iowa can absorb its share of displaced persons (D.P.s).
That was, the conclusion Tuesday of the state D.P. committee after hearing reports of surveys taken among Iowa churches, farmers and organized labor.
Under the Stratton bill now pending in congress, Iowa may be called upon to provide haven in the next four years for some 8,000 D.P.s now living pinched and aimless lives in Europe's camps. The Stratton bill would admit 100,000 persons a year into this country for four years.
Secretary of State Rollo Bergeson, chairman of. the state committee, said the surveys show "a more than adequate response" to what the state's responsibilities may be under the Stratton bill.;
The committee heard reports of i some opposition to the program: in various parts of the state.! Generally^ however, the response; was favorable.
In the farm survey, only one county's response in 81 ' replies was negative. Another committee member told of an Iowan who came over from Europe 27 years ago but now is protesting against "letting in all those foreigners." The church committee reported that a survey ^covering 3,400 Iowa clergymen disclosed:
1. Available housing facilities for at least 875 families. These homes are largely in rural areas.
2. Welcome and assistance
<nnt financial) for at least
1,460 families by Iowans having no relatives in D.P. camps overseas. In addition, an un-tabulated number of Iowans said they wanted to help relatives come to this country. 3. "More jobs open than we possibly could fill with D.P.s." The survey showed 3,320 job opportunities, mostly for farm and domestic help. Also listed as needed were blacksmiths, s carpenters, machinists, beekeepers, nurses, gardeners, /electricians, plumbers, paint-
ers, slen/gmphm'g and other
types yfi wfrk. I
The report of fthe labor subcommittee, however, did not agree with some of the church group's findings. That may have been because the church survey was largely rural, the labor roundup largely urban. The labor report said in part:
"A survey among unions in the major cities of Iowa shows a degree of unemployment in some lines. Both heavy and light building construction is being retarded by materials shortages, causing unemployment in the building trades.
"This is particularly true in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, Waterloo and Des Moines.
"In the plumbing, carpentry and electrician trades, the apprentice program"is taking care of future employment and we dc not recommend these trades as a source of employment in the near future.
"However, plastering and bricklaying trades face a permanent shortage of workers and D.P.s who are skilled along these lines can reasonably expect employment in Iowa communities, both large and small."
* The labor report said there are too many unskilled persons now for building jobs in Des Moines, Centerville, Ottumwa, Burlington, Keokuk, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown and Council Bluffs. ?" ."Employment in manufacturing Is being maintained at a fairly high rate throughout the state With some exceptions," the labor report went on.
"In Des Moines, Marshalltown and Davenport, materials shortages such as steel have caused temporary layoffs . . . The subcommittee believes some hundreds of D.P.s could be placed in the heavy manufacturing industry within the state without disturbing the present labor market, thinking specifically of the larger manufacturing plants such as Deere at Waterloo, Dubuque, Ottumwa and Des Moines and the J. I. Case plants at Davenport and Burlington."
The labor -subcommittee said that some smaller factories "have a labor problem because of poor labor relations, poor working conditions or low wages and the subcommittee advises against the use of D.P.s where these conditions exist."
A labor shortage in the packing industry was termed temporary and "the workers in this industry are faced with future unemployment If surveys of the present livestock situation are accurate. We must take this into consideration ..." A shortage of workers in the service trades was cited as a possible source of jobs for D.P.s.
The labor report pointed ou that apparently few labor junior members have relatives among the D.P.s and "some slight fear ex ists" that allowing D.P.s to enter: this country might aggravate tin housing shortage.
The report also said there is " distinct misunderstanding among, Iowa workers ' regarding D.P. The workers evidently believ D.P.s are physically unhealthy and are of low morality and intelligence.
[State committee members have information that there are considerable numbers of. high class persons in D.P. camps, individuals who would be a real asset to the state. Am thorough screening is planned for all D.P. applicants who want to come to the United States.] The subcommittee said labor inions "recognize this humanitarian work and pledge their fullest support." Specific figures ay to
employment opportunities were omitted from the report because conditions "might change during the interval before the Stratton bill becomes law."
The third subcommittee report
contained an estimate that Iowa farms probably could absorb 4,-000 workers or about 1,000 a year. The agricultural subcommittee said the returns from county extension directors over the state indicate:
"The people of most counties of Iowa are rather open-minded and agreeable to some program to bring D.P.s into agricultural work. The nationality preference i runs strongest to German (48.9 per cent), with others in order: Polish, 24.3; Baltics, 10.7; Russians, 6; Yugoslavs, 5.7, and Italians, 4.4. German and Polish predominate in the northeast part of the state.
"Religious preference runs heavily to Protestants (63.8 per cent), next to Catholics (33.7) and very on Jewish (2.5). However, only 12 counties indicated only Protestant preference. "As to age, sex and marital status, the predominating preference seems to be for single males between 18 and 44."
Extension directors from 81 counties responded to the survey. Fifteen counties indicated "no decision on the attitude of local! people" toward D.P.s. One county said no to the idea. (Other committee members doubted the accuracy of the finding in the ' case of that county.)
Unfilled Orders. The farm report said the unfilled orders for year-around farm workers Dec. 31 totaled 3,117 in the state. It must be remembered always
that there is a difference between workers and D. P.s in that a D. P who takes a job in this country also may have a family. Thus, one job may represent three or four persons.
Howard Hill of M in burn, president of the state Farm Bureau federation, said the farm report "is simply a straw in the early seasonal wind on D. P. thinking."
He said the survey could not be conclusive because not too many people understand the D. P. program yet. Hill was chairman of the agricultural subcommittee.
George Westby, Des Moines, executive secretary of the Lutheran Welfare Society of Iowa, headed the church subcommittee. State Report.
The labor report was drawn up by Ken Everhart, secretary of Iowa council of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (C.I.O.), and A. A. Couch, president of the state federation of labor (A. F. of L.).
The findings of the subcommittees will be incorporated into a state committee report by Berge-son and Floyd J. Laughman, committee secretary and representative of the Inter-church council.
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