BY HARRY BECKER, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
Commission on Financing of Hospital Care, former Director, Social Security Dept. UAW-CIO
THREE years ago--early in 1949 to be exact--programs for retirement income for older industrial workers and health security provisions for all workers were emerging for the first time as a major collective bargaining issue in the mass production industries. The legal basis for the collective bargaining approach to health, welfare and pension plans as a condition of employment was established in 1948 when the courts ruled that workers' security against the common hazards of life was a proper subject for labor-management bargaining.
The widespread development throughout the country of the collective bargaining approach to workers' retirement and health security has initiated a process of gradual but definite reorientation of the thinking in America with respect to social security. Organized labor introduced the problem of workers' security into collective bargaining after efforts extending over a decade to improve and close gaps in the public social security programs had, for the most part, failed. At the outset of their collective bargaining efforts, labor leaders said that, to the extent adequate levels of protection are not provided through governmental programs, security against old age, sickness and death would be sought through labor-management negotiations. The reaction of many supporters of public programs