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Mr. FENTON. I asked a man the other day whether or not he thought the adoption of this legislation would go so far as to say that it would be sabotage of the war effort. What would you think about that?
Mr. Voss. That is a rather tough question to answer. I would not like to call it sabotage.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think that that is a proper question to put before the witness. I do not think you should put the word "sabotage" in his mouth. I think "retard” would be better.
Mr. Voss. That is the point I was coming to. I would not like to say “sabotage,” but I would say that it would affect the war effort, because you cannot start a new organization, such as a foremen's organization, without its affecting the thinking of your supervisory forces, and that is going to be reflected in production output; there is no question about it.
Mr. FENTON. I appreciate the problems that management has; and, of course, there has been so much said about management insisting upon this particular legislation. Various estimates have been given as to percentages and as to what percentage of the war effort would be affected. Some have said that as much as 15 to 20 percent of the war effort would be affected.
The CHAIRMAN. Is not that the production that would be affected? Mr. FENTON. Yes; the production.
The CHAIRMAN. I think Mr. Voss bas heretofore answered that question.
Mr. Voss. I did not get down to the percentage of war production that might be affected. I think it is difficult to measure that. But I can say this: that we are today operating at capacity, and if a movement like this is started in our plants, it is going to affect production seriously, because a movement of this kind cannot be started among the supervisory forces without a lot of discussion and a lot of talking about it, and naturally their minds will be diverted from their work It is naturally going to affect war production seriously.
Mr. FENTON. So it would be a serious condition at this time in the war effort?
Mr. Voss. Very serious at this time.
Mr. GATHINGS. A question was asked of you by the gentleman from Ohio about a change in the Wagner Act affecting the word "employee." Do you not think it is much better as set out in section 4, specifically in these words: and such employees shall not be eligible to membership in any labor organization engaging in collective bargaining with the contractor?
Do you not think that that is much more preferable ? Mr. Voss. As I said before, as to where this should be placed or what legislation should be enacted, I think you members of the committee here are much more able to say than I am. All I am interested in is to see that we do not disturb our present relationship.
Mr. GATHINGS. It was not the intention of Congress when the Wagner Act was passed that any such interpretation be placed on the word “employee." Do you not think that it is stated much better in section 4, where we set out what the intent of Congress is and say that such employees shall not be unionized?
Mr. Voss. If that can be done and it will take care of what we are seeking here I certainly think that that is the thing to do.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Clason?
Mr. STEWART. If the management is brought into the union, then the industry of the country operates on the same theory as state socialism, does it not?
Mr. Voss. I would say that that would come into the picture.
Mr. STEWART. You have stated, I believe, that by management being permitted to be brought into the union the war production would be affected.
Mr. Voss. That is true. Mr. STEWART. Would you not go still further and say that it would affect our form of government?
Mr. Voss. I would say that it would affect our form of free enterprise and form of government. It would affect the whole economic set-up of the country.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Johnson?
Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Voss, how long have you been engaged in your line of work in a supervisory capacity?
Mr. Voss. Thirty-seven years the ist of June.
Mr. Johnson. For the period of the last 10 years, or since the Wagner Act became law, which I think was in 1934, the line of demarcation between the working group and the management group has been clearly defined, has it not?
Mr. Voss. Yes. Mr. JOHNSON. You think that in order to maintain industry on what we call the American basis you have to have that line of demarcation; that it must be plain where one side begins and the other ends?
Mr. Voss. Absolutely.
Mr. JOHNSON. Is it your opinion that if a start is made toward unionizing the group which is the arm of management of the plant pretty soon they will be creeping up and they will be getting everybody but the men in the office
Mr. Voss. There is a possibility of that.
Mr. JOHNSON. This problem has nothing to do specifically with the war, does it?
Mr. Voss. Of course, we are talking about this problem now because of the war situation, and the same situation will exist when the war is over.
Mr. Johnson. If this had arisen in 1936, before we anticipated any war, would your views have been identical with your views today!
Mr. Voss. Yes, sir; absolutely.
Mr. JOHNSON. You, of course, understand that this was all brought about because the word "employee" was defined in a way that most people think should not be defined in the law?
Mr. Voss. Yes, sir.
Mr. JOHNSON. The theory of the Wagner Act was to set up who was an employer and who was an employee and to preserve the right of employees to bargain collectively. Do you think that the definition could be made large enough to make a demarcation that would be sufficient?
Mr. Voss. Yes, sir.
Mr. Johnson. Your idea is that you would much prefer to have some kind of legislation set up that would make this a continuing thing! Irrespective of the war-war or no war-you would make a permanent set-up of it?
Mr. Voss. A permanent set-up, so that the unions will know where their membership starts and where it ends.
The CHAIRMAN, Mrs. Luce?
Mrs. LUCE. Mr. Voss, would you say that if this bill was a temporary piece of legislation, to be passed for the duration of the war, it properly falls under this committee'as a bill to prevent the deterioration of wartime production; but that if it is to be a permanent thing, it then falls, perhaps, under the Committee on Labor!
Mr. Voss. It is rather difficult for me to answer that question. I believe that your honorable committee is in a better position to say just where it does fall.
Mrs. LUCE. You have said that this situation will affect wartime production?
Mr. Voss. That is right. Mrs. LUCE. Therefore, it is the business of this committee? Mr. Voss. That is right. Mrs. LUCE. So far as it affects wartime business or production, the bill has then to be construed or written or contrived just to affect the war?
Mr. Voss. I believe that is right.
Mr. JOHNSON. If the set-up you now have is broken down by unionization of foremen, do you think it would affect peacetime prodụction just as it would wartime production?
Mr. Voss. Yes, sir.
Mr. THOMASON. The gentlewoman from Connecticut asked you if you did not understand that they way this committee acquired jurisdiction was that the matter affected wartime production. But do you not also contend that the way this committee acquired jurisdiction was that the bill proposes to amend the Selective Service Act, section 5E? Is not that the way in which the bill got here?
The CHAIRMAN. I think that that is a jurisdictional question for the committee. We take up too much time discussing whether or not this committee has jurisdiction. The committee itself will have to determine that, so the witness should not be asked about it. Unless he is an expert, I think he should not be asked.
Mr. ANDREWS. I think it is unfair to ask the witness why this bill was referred to this committee. The reason why it was referred to this committee is that it does provide an amendment to the Selective Service Act. Unless that was done, the bill could not come to the committee. The reason, therefore, why it came to this committee was that it was known that it would not get anywhere in the Labor Committee.
Mr. THOMASON. I think the gentleman from New York is right in that statement; but at the same time I undertake to say that 90 percent of the testimony here has affected labor relations between
employees and employers, and thus far there has been no testimony about military affairs or what it does to the Selective Service Act.
Mr. HARNESS. We have before us here a bill to draft the men and women of this country into the service of the United States for the war. It is a war manpower bill. Does not that give this committee complete jurisdiction over this question of production?
Mr. T'HOMASON. I will not quarrel with you. I still say that we have not had pointed out one detail of how it affects the Selective Service.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair holds that this is all irrelevant and believes that this committee when it finishes these hearings will write a good bill, as it usually does. Thank you very much, Mr. Voss.
Mr. Voss. I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Our next witness is Mr. E. F. Blank.
STATEMENT OF E. F. BLANK, DIRECTOR OF PERSONNEL RELATIONS,
JONES & LAUGHLIN STEEL CORPORATION, PITTSBURGH, PA.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Blank please state your full name, whom you represent, and what your views are toward the legislation that is now before this committee.
Mr. BLANK. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen: My name is E. F. Blank. I represent the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, of Pittsburgh, in the capacity of director of personnel relations. I am charged with the responsibility of good relations with 40,000 employees engaged in the production of steel and steel products being manufactured 100 percent for the war effort. We also are a fully integrated company, having our own coal and ore mines, limestone quarries, railroads, steamship companies, and fabricating plants.
I came here today because we are vitally concerned with the subject of foremen's unions that is being discussed. Our company is especially interested at this time because an attempt is being made currently to organize foremen in our Pennsylvania coal mines and also watchmen in our Cleveland plants. The watchmen, we feel, are in somewhat the same category as supervisors, inasmuch as they are charged with the responsibility of plant protection. A hearing is being held in Cleveland tomorrow by the National Labor Relations Board in connection with the proposed election to determine whether the watchmen at our Otis works want the same union that represents our rank-and-file steel-plant employees to represent them in a separate bargaining unit. Membership cards are being currently passed out to the mine foremen for the first time by the United Mine Workers of America. These supervisors are being urged to join the union. Up to this date, April 1, supervisory employees have not been eligible in the United Mine Workers of America. That makes this date very current in connection with this problem.
However, on February 5, 1943, in formal session, the international executive board of the United Mine Workers of America adopted a resolutionmaking mine foremen, assistant mine foremen, dock bosses, night bosses, mine examiners, watchmen, coal inspectors, mine clerks, and all other employees heretofore exempted from membership, eligible to join.
Our company has many union-labor agreements. We believe that rank-and-file employees should have the right to bargain collectively through organizations of their own choosing. We have contracts with the C. 1. O., the A. F. of L., and the railroad brotherhoods, and even with one bona fide independent union that was certified by the National Labor Relations Board following a contest with the A. F. of L. union.
All these agreements, including the one with the United Mine Workers, which was negotiated 2 years ago and expired last night, exclude foremen and assistant foremen in charge of any classes of labor, watchmen, and salaried employees from the bargaining unit.
You can realize why this subject is of vital concern to us at this time. We have seen the results of these organizing campaigns in other plants. Our first interest today is in maximum production in the furtherance of the war effort, and anything that interferes with these objectives is alarming to us.
The thought of having foremen, coal inspectors, mine examiners, and watchmen, who are responsible for the direction of the working forces, discipline, safety, and property protection, belonging to the same union as the rank-and-file employees at such a time as this terrifies us with its potentialities.
The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that a supervisors' bargaining unit may include only supervisors on the same level in a company. This would mean that we might have separate units for assistant foremen, foremen, shift foremen,
general foremen, and perhaps assistant superintendents and superintendents.
The CHAIRMAN. And night bosses?
This is not fanciful, as the foreman is just as much a representative of management as the superintendent; he is just at a different level.
The Wagner Act says: "The term 'employer' includes any person acting in the interest of an employer, directly or indirectly.” This would include any person from assistant foreman to chairman of the board.
Mr. HARNESS. I did not get your last statement; I would like to understand that.
Mr. BLANK. In connection with the Wagner Act?
Mr. BLANK. The Wagner Act says: "The term employer includes any person acting in the interest of an employer, directly or indirectly." That is quoted from the definition in the National Labor Relations Act.
Mr. HARNESS. It is your notion that that language in the Wagner Act would preclude foremen and supervisory employees from going into a union?
Mr. BLANK. Yes; we say the act itself precludes them. The CHAIRMAN. But the Board has construed the act to mean other. wise in a different union.
Mr. BLANK. Since the act was enacted; but I think that when the act was enacted it meant rank-and-file employees when it defined "employee." But I am only saying what it says about "employer." The definition of "employer" is quite clear; the definition of "employee" under the act is a little bit confusing.
Mr. HARNESS. By a process of elimination you arrive at the same conclusion with respect to employees.