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Trade-Unionism, which found little favor among most other
white-collar employments until the period of the last depression,
got a substantial start among those employed in the entertainment
industry a half century earlier. One of the oldest and strongest of
the labor unions in that industry is the American Federation of Musicians.
Yet, despite its long and active history, little was known of this organization
outside its own trade circles until very recently. The man in the street
had never heard of the Federation, and standard treatises on labor relations,
keyed to the factory pattern, gave it scant acknowledgment." Within
the past few years, however, six congressional investigations and a
considerable amount of other publicity have given us more information
about the AFM-we now know that its President is James Caesar Petrillo,
that he does not like phonograph records, and that the pundits of
the press are quite uniformly agreed that his middle name is most appropriate.
And on the basis of this information, many have reached the
conclusion that Congress should "do something" about Petrillo and his
It is the purpose of this article to undertake a somewhat more thorough
study of the matter: to examine the history and the activities of the AFM
in an attempt to discover how it functions, what its objectives are, to
what extent its activities have been subjected to regulation, and to what
extent those activities suggest the need for further governmental intervention.
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