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Mr. BLANK. You might not have to enter into the contract, but it is the organizing activities in these new fields that I am talking about, not the present contracts. It is where they step in to organize foremen, where they have not been before. There is no reason why the steel workers' union cannot come in and in a few weeks organize our foremen; in fact, they have threatened to do it because the A. F. of L. has made some movements in that direction.
Mr. HARNESS. Is it a move on the part of your foremen to go into that union? Do they want to go in? Or is it a movement on the part of the heads of the unions to force the foremen to go in by contracting with you?
Mr. BLANK. At the present time, so far as I know, there is no evidence that the foremen want to join a union in connection with the mine foremen. You cannot tell what will come of this campaign that is now being put on. We are not at liberty, you know, under the National Labor Relations Act, to stick our nose into too much, for fear we will have an unfair labor practice charged against us.
Mr. HARNESS. Did you not say that there was a move to organize the watchmen in your plant?
Mr. BLANK. That is right; at one plant in Cleveland.
Mr. Harness. Have the watchman petitioned you for bargaining rights, or have the unions petitioned for them?
Mr. BLANK. The union has petitioned to represent our watchmen. We have said to the union that it is a problem for it and the watchmen; the company is not in the picture. If the watchmen want the union to represent them, there are processes set up through the National Labor Relations Act to take care of that. So they have gone about the organization work or are doing it. They have asked for an election to determine whether the watchmen should be represented by them, the date for that election to be set sometime in the near future.
Mr. HARNESS. Your own fear is that if you enter into a contract with the C. I. O., which would be on the same basis as the contract now in existence, it might be upset by an appeal to the Labor Board because of the union's desire to organize supervisory employees?
Mr. BLANK. I am not much concerned with personnel contracts at all. I am concerned with these pioneering activities into other fieldsthe foremen and watchmen particularly.
Mr. HARNESS. Up to now the Government has never by act either directed that a man shall join a union or denied him the right to join a union. This legislation will specifically do that. In other words, it will deny to a certain class the right to join a union.
Mr. BLANK. On the basis that they are part of management, to appear on the other side of the bargaining table. In answer to a previous question that I believe you asked, as to why these men should not be given the right to organize as well as the rank and file, I think you have an entirely different category of people. These people are intelligent people, otherwise they would not be in supervisory jobs. They have the ability to bargain individually for themselves, and they do. On the other hand, the Labor Relations Act says that these rank and file employees should have the right to have experts, socalled, represent them, and they are represented by unions. I think you have a line of demarcation there as to the necessity for bargaining rights.
Mr. HARNESS. The only reason why I am asking that, Mr. Blank, is that heretofore it has all been handled by contract rather than by law. I am not for one moment denying that you have a tremendous problem in trying to draw a line between management and labor for the purpose of collective bargaining. I do not want you to misunderstand me there.
The CHAIRMAN. We are not trying to go into what the right of collective bargaining is. What you are trying to say is that you want a definite line of demarcation between workers and management ?
Mr. BLANK. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. On behalf of management, they can bargain for the management; on behalf of the workers, they can bargain in behalf of the workers.
Mr. BLANK. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Unless you have management to bargain with and the workers' group to bargain with, you cannot have collective bargaining. What you are trying to do is draw a line of demarcation, so as not to include your foremen.
Mr. Elston. I think we all appreciate that very thing. We appreciate the tremendous problem that is involved. But following up what Mr. Harness has said, there has never heretofore been any law that said that any person or group of persons could not join a labor union. I am wondering if some thought has been given to the constitutionality of any law which would say what H. R. 2239 undertakes to say, namely, that any person or group of persons is ineligible for membership in any labor organization.
Mr. BLANK. Not being a lawyer, I am not prepared to talk about the legality; I am talking about the practical aspects of it.
Mr. ELSTON. That is the very thing that is in my mind. I think you are entitled to some corrective legislation that will draw a line between employees and employers.
Mr. JOHNSON. When the Wagner law went into effect, was your steel company unionized!
Mr. BLANK. What was the date when the Wagner Act was approved ?
Mr. JOHNSON. 1935.
Mr. Johnson. Then, your company was unionized after the Wagner Act went into effect ?
Mr. BLANK. That is right.
Mr. JOHNSON. I presume that at that time you had great fear that the fact that all workers would be organized would destroy your business?
Mr. BLANK. Well, there were some qualms. Mr. JOHNSON. Did you not send out a circular regarding the effect of some ruling of the Board on your employees! I think I receivel one at my home. Mr. BLANK. I do not think the company did.
Mr. JOHNSON. Well, someone sent one out. Would not your ingenuity find a way to handle this new situation if the foremen should be organized ?
Mr. BLANK. I do not think it would be a very good manager who did not have some ingenuity.
Mr. JOHNSON. Going back to the time the union entered the company, the fears that you expressed at that time subsided. Were they lesser, perhaps, than you anticipated?
Mr. BLANK. I think probably that was the case.
Mr. JOHNSON. It has leveled itself off now, so that it is stabilized, and you deal with those people as a group, and you adjust your price structure to fit your wage scale, and all those different things. If you can, tell us for the record how this thing differs radically from the unionization of your plant in 1935 or 1936, which has finally leveled itself off.
Mr. BLANK. Well, we always had some sort of way for employees to bring their grievances to management, so stepping over into the formal collective-bargaining system was not any trouble. But now we will have set up this collective-bargaining system with labor on one side and management on the other side. The first man with whom an employee talks is the foreman, and he takes his grievances up with him, because the foreman is the representative of management. If that man goes over onto the other side, what good is he going to be to management in trying to bargain these things out with the rankand-file employees? That is the first step in our set-up. We insist that every employee take his grievance up with his foreman before he talks to anybody else about it. It is not handled unless he does that. If you take away the first line of management you have a new set-up with the unions in matters that have to be handled between labor and management.
Mr. JOHNSON. My question is whether their loyalty would be to the bargaining group rather than to the employer.
Mr. BLANK. I do not know where it would be, but if it is divided at all it is not going to be good for management.
Mr. Johnson. Do you think there is any danger in forcing everybody, even during wartime, to do a certain job and not allow him to transfer or join an organization or quit an organization?
Mr. BLANK. Do I think that there is danger in that!
Mr. BLANK. Well, I think there has got to be a certain amount of stabilization. I do not think you would definitely want to call it forcing
Mr. JOHNSON. There would be some control of whether a fellow could quit and go to a new job? Is that your idea ? There would have to be some justification?
Mr. BLANK. Yes.
Mr. Johnson. Do you think that all collective bargaining that now exists should remain and should not be enlarged?
Mr. BLANK. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Do the organized groups in your industry take an obligation to the union when they join it?
Mr. BLANK. I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN. I do know that the United Mine Workers take it, and they are your employees.
What your objection is, as I understand it, is that your foremen are put on the other side of the bargaining table, with an obligation upon them to contend for the interests of the union as against the interests
of the management or the company or the owner if there is a conflict?
Mr. BLANK. Yes.
Mr. HARNESS. Do the foremen ever sit at the table to bargain with the unions when you are negotiating a contract !
Mr. BLANK. Not as a general rule. The bargaining committee confers with the foremen, but the negotiating committee is made up of industrial-relations men.
Mr. HARNESS. They do assist your management bargaining agents, then, when you negotiate a contract?
Mr. BLANK. Yes.
In these crucial times it is essential to use all our manpower with full effectiveness. Certainly we cannot afford to continue for another day those intolerably wasteful practices which this bill is designed to correct. We must remove the brakes that are preventing the full, effective utilization of our manpower, and that is what, in my opinion, the bill will accomplish.
There is one provision in the bill which seems to me so outstandingly important, so vital to the continuation of efficient production, that I should like to lay my views concerning it before your committee. I refer to the provision which prohibits executive, administrative, professional, and supervisory employees from joining labor organizations.
The man in the ranks is hired, and instructed in his duties, by the foreman. The foreman is his boss, and that is how he regards him. That is the traditional set-up. Foremen and their assistants, timekeepers, counters, and men with similar responsibilities, have always been looked upon, and rightly,
as a part of management. The foreman is a first-line officer of management. When a worker has a grievance he takes it first to the foreman, and it is one of the foreman's duties to deal with grievances. The greater the foreman's skill in handling such matters, the more harmonious will be the spirit in that department, and the larger the output.
Now, let us suppose that this bill is not passed by Congress, and as a result there is nothing to prevent the foremen from joining any labor organization. Then vou will have a situation in which the foreman, always heretofore and rightfully considered a part of management, and representing management in dealing with his men, will have a divided allegiance, that will absolutely prevent him from continuing to fulfill his responsibilities. Then what happens? It is fundamental, that when you have men doing certain work there must be someone to direct them, and it is equally fundamental, I think, that this man should be responsible to management.
The CHAIRMAN. The next speaker will be Mr. Joseph M. Larkin, vice president of the Bethlehem Steel Co.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH M. LARKIN, VICE PRESIDENT,
BETHLEHEM STEEL CO.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Larkin, please state your full name, whom you represent, and what your interest is in the legislation here pending.
Mr. LARKIN. My name is Joseph M. Larkin. I am vice president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in charge of labor relations. We employ 275,000 employees in our various ore mines, coal mines, steel plants, and shipyards. Our manufacturing is 100 percent on war products. All of our steel production is going into forged armor, gun forgings, projectiles, marine shipping castings, aircraft engine cylinders, forgings, and general steel products. We have a capacity of 12,500,000 tons per year. We are manufacturing and repairing ships in various shipbuilding and ship-repair plants.
I would like to state that I am appearing in favor of the bill, and my statement is directed to pointing out why it is necessary to pass the bill and to giving some concrete illustrations of some of the problems with which we are now confronted that would make the passage of the bill necessary, in our opinion.
Today manpower is the one universal limiting factor that affects the production of everything we are making for the war effort. It limits our ability to produce needed food. It limits our ability to manufacture and, above all, to deliver to our fighting men overseas the weapons and supplies they need and are going to need increasingly in the hard months ahead.
Remove the foreman's singleness of purpose, and his simple responsibility to keep his men working harmoniously and productively, and you will have a condition of industrial anarchy. It is hard to see how the Nation's great industries, operating under such a condition, can be expected to produce the ships and steel, the guns and tanks and airplanes that our country is going to need to win this war.
It is significant that the unions themselves recognize the different status of supervising employees, plant guards, and comparable groups. I would like to read to your committee that part of section 2 of the collective bargaining agreement now in force between Bethlehem Steel Co. and the United Steel Workers of America which defines the bargaining unit:
The unit at each of such plants and works shall include all production and maintenance employees of the company there, except all executives, office and salaried employees, foremen, assistant foremen, supervisors who do not work with tools, draftsmen, timekeepers, watchmen and guards, and full-time first-aid and safety employees * · And a provision to the same effect is a part of the agreement now in force between Bethlehem Steel Co., Shipbuilding Division, and Bethlehem's other shipbuilding subsidiaries, and the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America.
In other words, the collective bargaining agreements that the steelworkers and shipbuilders' unions have entered into with Bethlehem Steel Co. specifically exclude those very groups which this bill would bar from joining labor organizations.
All that can be said about the inappropriateness of union membership for supervisory employees applies with even greater force when we come to consider plant guards. With the country at war, the men who guard vital steel plants, airplane factories, tank arsenals and shipyards have a grave responsibility, indeed. As you gentlemen are no doubt aware, plant guards are now members of the Auxiliary Military Police of the United States Army or the United States