Home  »  Respectfully Quoted  »  John Llewellyn Lewis (1880–1969)

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: John Llewellyn Lewis (1880–1969)
QUOTATION: It ill behooves one who has supped at labor’s table and who has been sheltered in labor’s house to curse with equal fervor and fine impartiality both labor and its adversaries when they become locked in deadly embrace.
ATTRIBUTION: JOHN L. LEWIS, president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), radio broadcast, September 3, 1937.—Vital Speeches of the Day, September 15, 1937, p. 733.

The New York Times account said, “The fact that Mr. Lewis did not mention the President by name did not dull the point in the eyes of those who had followed labor developments through the violent days of last Winter and Spring. These observers unanimously accepted this part of his speech as a direct reference to Mr. [Franklin D.] Roosevelt’s invocation of ‘a plague on both your houses’ when the labor unions and steel mill operators were ‘locked in deadly embrace’ only a few months ago.”—September 4, 1937, p. 1.

“A plague on both your houses” is from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, act III, scene i, line 112.
SUBJECTS: Labor unions