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FULL UTILIZATION OF MANPOWER
FRIDAY, MAY 7, 1943
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Andrew J. May (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please be in order.
Gentlemen, we assemble again this morning for final hearings on H. R. 2239 and H. R. 1742 and other bills, all relating to the manpower subject, the committee having requested that I have Mr. Eastman come up and tell us about the situation relating to the railroads and other carriers in the hands of the Office of Defense Transportation,
I am glad to state to the committee that Mr. Eastman is here this morning. He is a very, very busy man, and we want to get through with him as quickly as we can and let him go back to his work. STATEMENT OF JOSEPH B. EASTMAN, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF DE
FENSE TRANSPORTATION; ACCOMPANIED BY OTTO S. BEYER, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF TRANSPORT PERSONNEL, AND EDWIN M. FITCH, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF TRANSPORT PERSONNEL, OFFICE OF DEFENSE TRANSPORTATION; JOHN W. BARRIGER, III, FORMER FEDERAL MANAGER, HOLLY STOVER, FEDERAL MANAGER, AND GEORGE VOELKNER, GENERAL MANAGER, TOLEDO, PEORIA & WESTERN RAILROAD
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Eastman, do you have a statement that you would like to make to the committee?
Mr. EASTMAN. Mr. Chairman, gentlemen of the committee: This is a hearing, as I understand it, on H. R. 2239 and H. R. 1742. Those are general bills dealing with the manpower situation in all its phases, and, of course, my concern is only with manpower so far as the transportation situation is concerned.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, sir.
Mr. EASTMAN. In this statement I will discuss first the manpower situation in the transportation industry as briefly as I can. Then, because of certain testimony which has been presented to the committee, I shall discuss the so-called railroad "featherbed” rules generally, and then the particular situation on the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad. Finally, I shall make some brief comments on the two bills.
Now, taking up first the general manpower situation in domestic transportation, the domestic transportation industry over which my Office of Defense Transportation has jurisdiction in certain respects includes not only for-hire transportation, for which we have fairly adequate estimates of employment, but it also includes private and contract transportation, for which equally accurate estimates cannot be made.
In January of this year there were about 2,600,000 workers engaged in for-hire transportation by rail, water (excluding offshore shipping), motor vehicle, air, and pipe-line' transportation. Of these nearly one million and a half were railroad workers; more than half a million were in for-hire trucking; nearly a quarter of a million in local transit, such as the street-railway companies; and the balance in intercity bus, public warehousing, air transportation, pipe-line transportation, and domestic water transportation.
We think it is probably true that the total number of workers in private and contract transportation exceeds the total engaged in forhire transportation. That private and contract transportation is principally in the highway automotive field. Of course, it includes all of the trucks owned by the farmers and all the trucks owned by private individuals and used in service around local communities.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that the 500,000 item?
Mr. EASTMAN. No. We say that, so far as the workers engaged in that private and contract transportation are concerned, the total probably exceeds the total engaged in for-hire transportation; but we have no accurate figures in regard to that for there are no reports on that . sort of employment.
Most of the information available to the Office of Defense Transportation on manpower is concerned with this for-hire transportation. Very early after this office was set up. I created a Division of Transport Personnel, in charge of Otto S. Beyer, who was then a member of the National Mediation Board and who has had long experience in labor matters. He started work on the manpower situation at once, because he foresaw the dangers that lay ahead. At that time it was a little difficult to convince some of the carriers that there was that danger, and we had some difficulty in getting them to set up committees to deal with that problem. That is all changed now.
In general, while more and more transportation companies are coming to regard the manpower situation as their No. 1 problem, most of them have been able to carry on in the face of growing manpower shortages without seriously curtailing their esesntial operations. Even in the Pacific Coast States, where manpower shortages have been as critical as in any concentrated war-production area in the country, transportation companies have been able to keep personnel staffs, which, while they have not been adequate for all needs by any means, have been large enough to maintain essential services.
The manpower situation has, of course, been most serious in areas of rapidly expanding war production. The local transit companies in these areas have particularly felt the pinch. Motor-vehicle carriers have had difficulty in employing sufficient mechanics to keep their vehicles properly maintained.
I may say that the manpower shortage impinges more severely upon the motor carriers than upon any other form of transportation. That
is true because their employees consist mainly of drivers and mechanics. The drivers are young and subject to the draft and, of course, there is a tremendous demand for mechanics in connection with war production.
The most critical shortages in railroading have occurred in the maintenace-of-way departments of railroads in the Western States. That was particularly true of the Southern Pacific, which got in a rather desperate situation because of the lack of track labor. Through negotiations with the Manpower Commission, the State Department, and the Mexican Government, that situation is on the way to relief through the importation of five or six thousand Mexican laborers.
The air-transport industry has been faced with a particularly difficult personnel problem, because in percentage terms its employment has had to be expanded more than any other branch of transportation. Of course, the total numbers are smali.
Canal and river carriers have experienced some shortages and are now particularly concerned with the problem of manning the new tugboats and barges which have been authorized and some of which are already completed.
The warehousing and refrigeration industry has found it hard to employ sufficient common labor.
Faced with growing manpower shortages, transportation companies have developed on their own initiative, and with the encouragement of the Office of Defense Transportation, varied programs for meeting the situation. Thus the employment of women has rapidly increased in the far West and is growing in other parts of the country. The Pennsylvania Railroad now has some women trainmen.
The CHAIRMAN. Some what? 'Mr. EASTMAN. Women trainmen.
Women drivers on city and even intercity busses are becoming fairly common in some areas. The Southern Pacific Railway Co., with more serious manpower shortages than most other railroads, has the highest percentage of women employees of any railroad in the country.
The rapid expansion of the air-line industry would have been impossible without the employment of large numbers of women.
There are many other self-help measures which a fairly large number of transportation companies have adopted. Organized training programs are on the increase. Programs of labor-management cooperation are spreading. I may say that that is one of the things that we have done—to secure the organization of joint committees representing labor and management in each of these forms of transportation, and those committees meet periodically and regularly.
Increasing attention is being given to the problems of absenteeism and employee accidents. Transportation companies would not be able to meet manpower shortages as well as they have done if they had not intensified their recruiting training programs and their efforts to conserve manpower.
Although it would be a mistake to minimize the seriousness of the manpower situation, there are grounds for hope in the fact that the various self-help measures which the Office of Defense Transportation has been advocating have not been extended yet as far as they can be. Thus, if all the railroads in the country should bring their
percentage of women employees to the level of the railroad having the highest percentage of women employees, the result would be to add nearly 70,000 workers to the industry. This number happens to be very nearly the same as railroad estimates of current needs for additional workers.
A similar situation exists in the local transit industry.
It is noteworthy that the air-transport industry has solved a very large part of its problem through the employment of women.
Å great deal more can be done by transportation companies to eliminate unnecessary turn-over by participating in the stabilization programs which have been launched under the auspices of the War Manpower Commission. That is a matter in which I am not personally well informed, but Mr. Beyer, who is here, knows much more about those problems than I do and is very well informed about that matter, since he sits on the War Manpower Commission representing my office.
The amount of organized training in the transportation industry can be greatly increased. While training is an expensive proposition, there is a good deal of help available from the training agencies of the War Manpower Commission. It is also significant of the success which transportation companies have had in meeting problems of manpower shortages that they have not as yet felt the necessity of more extensive development of training programs.
While there is still opportunity for greater use of self-help measures by transportation companies in maintaining their manpower, it must be granted that critical shortages have been increasing in extent and in importance and that the future is full of uncertainty. The impending draft of men with dependent children is bound to call for the greatest exertion on the part of transportation companies if they are to avoid serious consequencies.
It is also probably true that the manpower situation will become so serious in some parts of the country that transportation companies acting on their own initiative cannot be expected to solve these problems. A greater amount of help will be necessary from the Federal Government, particularly the War Manpower Commission. As stabilization programs are increased in scope and effectiveness, tansportation companies must play their parts in them. Arrangements are now being made to include transportation companies in stabilization programs which have formerly excluded them.
The increasing business of the railroads, the greater efficiency with which they are operating, and the changes brought about by orders of my office have increased the man-hour productivity in terms of passenger- and ton-mile output by nearly 45 percent from the beginning of 1940 to the end of 1942. Most of this increase in productivity per man-hour has come about in the last 18 months. If the railroads were now operating at the level of man-hour efficiency prevailing at the beginning of 1940, several hundred thousand additional workers would be required. It is, of course, true that much of this increase in man-hour productivity is the inevitable result of the greatly increased volume of business which the railroads are handling
I may also say that in all of the conservation work in which my office is engaged with respect to all of these types of carriers, the
effective of conservation in the use of the equipment is to effect conservation in manpower. Great savings have been made; for example, in the mileage operated by busses and by trucks. The purpose of that was primarily to conserve tires and vehicles, but it has also had the effect of conserving manpower substantially. That is true with respect to every form of transportation.
That is all that I contemplatetd saying in the way of a general statement on the manpower situation in transportation, but Mr. Beyer is here and I know that if you have any particular questions to ask, he can go into them thoroughly.
Now, I want to say a word about the so-called feather-bed rules in the case of the railroads
The CHAIRMAN. Before you go on to that, might I ask you a question!
Mr. EASTMAN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish you would elaborate just a little more on the effect of your training program, particularly in its relation to the training of women for service.
Mr. EASTMAN. I think Mr. Beyer can give a better answer than I can.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Mr. Beyer. Mr. BEYER. Women, of course, are usually brought into industry without previous indústrial experience. They would begin, as it were, at the bottom. Depending, of course, upon the type of operation—let us say in local-transit or streetcar service—they will be given a 2- or a 3-week training course by the different companies, and after they have been given that they will then be put out on a run, or a job, with an experienced person and broken in.
Now, the positions to be filled by women are those which it is considered women are competent to fill. Take, for example, ticket sellers and clerical positions and occupations of that kind. We have training programs which are being carried on at the present time here in the city of Washington under the auspices of the Southern Railroad and the Washington Terminal Co.
It is a little bit difficult to generalize, because it is a rather obvious sort of procedure in which railroads, among others, have been engaged for many years. It does not call for anything particularly novel except that they use a woman instead of a man.
Now, then, there are other types of training courses, however, which are promoted under the auspices of the War Manpower Commission, for example, job-instructor training, which are given to supervisors, and the object of those courses is really to make out of the supervisors proper instructors, to teach them how to teach in turn. They then will pass that skill or information on to others. That is going on all over the country, as I said, under the auspices of representatives of the Training Division of the War Manpower Commission.
I hope I have made myself relatively clear.
The CHAIRMAN. It is very clear, but I want to pursue the subject just a little further. To what extent has your training been devoted to the training of women for more arduous tasks than the ones you have mentioned-for instance, for manual labor in some capacity