Page images

out some amendment that would tend to do the thing that we are talking about here, you will get the support of the House, because every member I have talked to favors such a plan. If my amendment would not be satisfactory or perhaps not germane, and you could work out something that would tend to do the thing that we are all interested in, that you would accept, you would not only be helpful in a great emergency, but I think you would help your own bill to pass.

Mr. Kilday. I thoroughly appreciate the farm labor situation. What may have caused it is now immaterial, because we are up against the situation. The practical question is how we are going to attack it successfully. Whether you have the right approach, I do not know. Whether releasing men from their organizations for a period of a few months and then letting them return to the same organizations would be a handicap to themselves and their organizations, since they would then be behind in their training, is something we should go into very carefully, because, after all, we are going to have to keep an army.

Mr. FULMER. I would think that there are in the armed services about 35 or 40 percent of the folks who have left the farms. Many of them would not qualify, and it would not be necessary, in some instances, to have them qualify where anyone had sufficient labor. Therefore, I doubt if it would interfere seriously with the training, because if they should come back into the Army and the organization with which they were connected had been sent overseas, the men could easily go into some other organization. Anyhow, something ought to be done.

Mr. Kilday. It is your view that 60 or 65 percent of those who have left the farms are in industry and that 35 or 40 percent are in agriculture?

Mr. FULMER. Yes.

Mr. KILDAY. Your bill would affect those who have gone into the Army?

Mr. FULMER. That is right, and there is no way in which to take care of the other situation unless you pass a strong manpower bill.

Mr. KILDAY. If there is a farmer who is a fair-grade airplane mechanic he ought to be on the farm?

Mr. FULMER. In other words, they do not want anything done that will interfere with their doing what they want done, regardless of results.

Mr. DURHAM. We have had evidence from the Director of Selective Service, General Hershey, who said that he had been using the Tydings amendment for the deferment of farmers. I do not recall the numbers, but, as I recall it, there were something like 400,000.

Mr. FULMER. If you go back to your district and check up on that you will see that there have been very poor results. They have taken them in a great many instances down to the last man.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Fenton?
Mr. FENTON. I have no questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Sikes?
Mr. Sikes. I have no questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Stewart?

Mr. STEWART. Mr. Fulmer, what do you think of a situation where the Farm Security Administration can go into a fertile agricultural country in the great Southwest and pick out 422 people from a section where we have a great shortage and ship them 2,000 miles to the States of Oregon and Washington ?

Mr. FULMER. Well, the Farm Security Administration has been doing a great many things that it was never intended it should do. For instance, when the President was asked to detail a number of soldiers to go into Arizona from the camps to pick cotton there was a large Negro camp there. Those in authority here said it would not be of any use to do that, for we had about 1,700 people up there. They sent them, and they didn't amount to anything, and the cotton is still in the field. I do not know of a State in the Union that has surplus labor. It would be unwise, unsound, and foolish to induce anybody to leave my State to go to your State or any other State in agriculture. We have a lot of people who have never worked and never will work. If we transport them to Florida to help it will be just a pleasure trip for them.

Mr. STEWART. When they were transferred from Oklahoma to Washington the Government not only paid their transportation bills, but it also bought them and their families clothes and raised the rate of farm pay, and the statement given by most of those interviewed was that the Government had given them a more attractive proposition to do farming in Washington and Oregon than they were receiving in Oklahoma. That was the only incentive for the people who were shipped from Oklahoma to Washington and Oregon.

Mr. FULMER. I think that that has been cut out by cutting the appropriation and by the bill passed by the House the other day.

The CHAIRMAN. I am anxious to know how you gentlemen voted on the appropriation the other day to do that very thing. Did we not appropriate $60,000,000 to move people from one section of the country to another?

Mr. FULMER. No. That law is to be administered by the county agents. You could not move anyone from my State to your State unless you had the consent of the county agent. You could bring in Mexicans or some other type of people to certain areas, like California.

Mr. STEWART. Do you think that it would be a matter of good policy for this committee and the Agriculture Committee to prescribe more direct use and make more statutory orders than to leave it to such rules and regulations as are prescribed by the Department of Agriculture or the War Department?

Mr. FULMER. That is the statement I made a few minutes ago. Regardless of what bill is reported or passed from time to time, we ought to be more specific in our direction as to just how the bill should be administered. I think that that is a mistake we have made all along. Many of the bills have been written by some department and then submitted to the Congress for passage. Often I find that the majority of the members of my committee, most of them lawyers, think we cannot write a bill unless we put in a provision, for instance, that the Secretary of Agriculture shall have the right to write rules and regulations governing the administration of the act. Then the Secretary of Agriculture-perhaps not the Secretary but those in the various divisions—find out just what they want to do about it, and they pass upon what they believe the intention of the bill is, and they write rules and regulations to carry out their own views, regardless of the views of Congress.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Sparkman, have you any further questions? Mr. SPARKMAN. No.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Fulmer, I want to make a statement and then ask you what you think about it. Down in my district there were 30,000 coal miners deferred. Then the Federal land bank, with the loan money, would not recognize that section as a farming sectionit is principally mineral—and did not loan the farmers anything on the Federal land bank. When the question of deferment came up on the ground that they were agricultural workers, the local boards held that because they are not producing more than 50 percent of their production and are not essentially farmers, the rule does not apply to them and that, therefore, they are not entitled to deferment, which means, of course, that they cannot produce food products on the little fields and small boundaries. It has got to come from where it is produced, and it requires elimination from war purposes and from war consumption whatever those people live on.

In addition to that, they came along last fall and took 600 men out of Letcher County and sent them to New York to pick fruit. They took 800 out of Johnson County and sent them somewhere out West to work. As a result of all that drain of manpower they have nobody down there, and they have been drafting until there is nobody to fill their quotas. The Army says that if a fellow cannot read and write, he should not be put in the Army, even though he is an expert marksman. So, quotas are a thing of the past in my own section of the country. If you can give us a solution for it, we would like to have it.

Mr. FULMER. Many of those people they took out of your State, from certain areas of your State, could have been used in your State, because naturally in other sections, where there is more activity in farming, there is a shortage of labor. In the meantime that same type of farmer, if all those rules and regulations, with so much red tape and confusion, could be cut out, would be placed in a position to receive a fair price. He would not only produce enough to take care of his family but also produce something extra. The major problem before the farmers of this country at this time, which has been increasing during the past 40 years, is the manner in which farm products are marketed and distributed. We hear today much about inflation and what farmers are receiving for their products. It is all a joke. The middlemen, the lost motion, and the overlapping between farmer and consumer are the things that are destroying the farmer.

Mr. (LASON. Mr. Fulmer, would you say that if a farmer had the opportunity to leave that mining section of the country and go to the fertile fields of Oregon and Washington, it was not in the best interests not only of the country but also of the farmer himself!

Mr. FULMER. Do you mean would it be to the best interests of the party who would leave the coal mines and go into the farming area ?

Mr. CLAYTON. Yes; a farmer in a coal-mining area.
Mr. FULMER. I am not sure about that, if he is getting a decent wage,

The CHAIRMAN. If he went to Massachusetts, stayed there, and voted the Democratic ticket, it would be perfectly all right. [Laughter.]

If there are no other requests from members of the committee, the committee will stand adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.

(At 11:50 a. m. an adjournment was taken until Tuesday, April 6, 1943, at 10 a. m.)




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. I should like to say to the committee that we are meeting this morning particularly for the purpose of having hearings on what is known as the Austin-Wadsworth phase of this legislation. Mr. Wadsworth, who is present, on time as always, has agreed however that I might call another witness for a short statement.

Before doing that, however, I want to have inserted in the record a statement by the West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers.

(The matter referred to is as follows:)



IN REH, R. 2239


House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. On March 10, 1943, in the course of the current wage conferences between the United Mine Workers of America and the coal operators in the Appalachian region, sitting in New York City, the spokesman for the mine workers, their president, John L. Lewis, presented the wage and other contract proposals on their behalf.

Item 8 of those proposals, entitled “Exemptions under this contract,” reads as follows:

"The term 'mine worker' as used in this agreement, shall include all persons inside or outside of the mine, except the superintendent."

The West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers, of which I am the secretary, held a meeting of its board of directors at the offices of the society in Charleston, W. Va., on March 22, 1943, and discussed at length the foregoing proposal of the United Mine Workers' president, and the effect it would have, if carried into consummation, upon the members of this society. The subject had been a matter of correspondence and discussion among our membership since August of last year, and this open and general application of the proposal served to bring it to a point of decision on the part of those immediately concerned.

The consensus of opinion was found to be overwhelmingly in opposition to any coercion upon the membership of this society, or upon professional engineers, to join and become a part of the membership of the United Nine Workers of America, or indeed of any labor union.

The considerations impelling this society to this conclusion may be briefly stated.

1. There are many engineers connected with the numerous coal-mining companies engaged in this industry in West Virginia. Engineers are among the very first of the professions employed in surveying the acreages of coal lands, prospecting the outcrops of coal seams, calculating the quantity and ascertaining the quality of the coal to be mined, determining the manner and extent of operations, making the lay-out of mine sidings and tracks, the construction plans for tipples

« PreviousContinue »