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Last week, before I left Washington, I received a wire from the president of the General Motors Corporation, directed to this committee, to the Committee on Naval Affairs, and to some other committee, probably the Committee on the Judiciary. I have not my copy with me. Judge Smith, do you have a copy of that telegram? Mr. SMITH. Yes, I do. The CHAIRMAN. 'I should like to have it, if I may, please, sir. We are up against a situation here of having more work to do than one committee can well do. The tax bill, in which we are all interested, comes before the House today for general debate, which I understand is to last 4 days. For that reason, and knowing the practice and ruling of the Speaker that committees will not be permitted to sit during sessions of the House when bills are being debated under the 5-minute rule, I thought we could utilize these 4 days in these hearings, especially in view of the fact that we have so much work to do. Almost at once we shall have thrust into our laps the Bankhead bill from the Senate, and the Austin-Wadsworth bill will be here probably very soon; it is already here, in fact, as far as our branch of Congress is concerned. We shall just have to get down to real hard work for a little while in order to get some of these things out of the way. In addition to that, we have a number of live, hot investigations that we thought we would pursue rather diligently. So, on account of the press of business, I have called this session for today. Judge Smith, do you care to be heard on this bill? Mr. SMITH. I should like to make a brief statement.
The CHAIRMAN. You may do so. STATEMENT OF HON. HOWARD W. SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA Mr. Smith. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I should like to make a very brief statement at this time, but I will be at the call of the committee to enlarge on that statement with further data at any time you may desire. I say “brief statement" this morning because there are here from out of the city a number of people who are interested essentially in one feature of the bill. They are from the coal operators' organization, and I am sure that the committee will want to hear as quickly as possible what they
The major portions of this bill I framed several months ago, after having had some correspondence with Mr. Clark, who wrote the Austin-Wadsworth bill, and in it I sought to approach the manpower problem from an angle different from that by which the Austin-Wadsworth bill approached it. To that is added the feature that I am going to talk about this morning, relative to the organization of the supervisory personnel in industry, which has, since this bill was originally drafted, become a very critical situation, not only in the coal industry but in the other industries connected with the war effort; and it is especially stressed in the city of Detroit and in that area, where there is so much war work going on.
This bill approaches the manpower problem not from the angle of regimentation of the whole civilian population of the country, but from the angle of making full utilization of the manpower now
have to say.
engaged in the war industries. I undertake to do it by prohibiting all practices, rules, and regulations that interfere with a workman in rendering a full day's work in the most efficient manner that he can. The thing that I am talking about is generally referred to in the parlance of the street as feather-bed rules. Those are hundreds of rules and regulations prevalent in various and sundry labor organizations that put restrictions upon a man's output and put restrictions upon the types of appliances that he may use. They are old, antiquated rules that were inaugurated for the purpose of spreading employment. At this time they are a very definite handicap, as I can demonstrate to you, in the matter of utilization of the manpower now in existence. It is my firm belief that if we get the utmost out of the manpower now engaged in the war effort, our manpower problem will be settled and solved without the use of the Austin-Wadsworth bill with its rather drastice provisions.
I say this by way of preliminary statement. As I said before, I will be glad to go into this in as much detail as the committee desires at a future time. The question that we have this morning, with respect to which there are a number of witnesses present, is covered in section 4 of the bill. Section 4 imposes upon industry the very important duty and responsibility of seeing that the greatest effort is put forth in production.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that subsection 4 on page 3?
Mr. Smith. That is section 4, page 4, beginning at line 16. After placing that responsibility upon management, it further provides that there shall be no right of collective bargaining exercised by the supervisory personnel of management. In other words, the supervisory personnel is necessarily a part of management itself. If they became members of labor unions, which are in constant controversy with management, you can readily see that such a movement would throw production into a chaotic state. That question has never been so important up until this time; but within, I should say, the last 30 days intensive organization campaigns have been under way in the coal industry and in other industries, particularly in the Detroit area, to organize foremen and supervisory personnel. The practical effect of that, of course, is that if the supervisory personnel, who are supposed to represent management, are members of a labor union, there will be a situation in which the union will sit on both sides of the bargaining table.
There is also this very anomalous situation under the National Labor Relations Act. It has been held time and time again under that act that the employer is responsible for the acts of his supervisory personnel. Let us suppose that the A. F. of L. is organizing the supervisory personnel of General Motors and that the C. I. O. has the employees. If the A. F. of L. supervisory personnel make comments and statements derogatory of the C. I. O., General Motors is liable to be hauled up before the National Labor Relations Board for violation of the act because their supervisors are interfering with the right of organization of the men in the plant. So, if put into effect, that thing will just create chaos in the field of production.
As I said before to the committee, there are here gentlemen who can talk from the practical side of this proposition, who have given it attention, who have lived with it, and who know just what the
practical effect of this sort of thing is going to be. In the coal industry the contract of the United Mine Workers of America has always, up until this time, specifically excluded, by express language, the organization of the supervisory personnel. When Mr. Lewis made his demands for a new contract, he took the reverse of that position and now demands that the supervisory personnel, who I am informed number something like 90,000 in the coal industry, shall be included in his union. Incidentally, that calls for a $10 initiation fee, which makes a total of $900,000, and, I believe, $1.50 a month for dues, a total of $135,000. That is not small change in anybody's language, even around here.
I should be glad if the committee would now excuse me, subject to its call at any time, and hear some of the men who have the practical experience at their fingers' ends and can tell you the impossibility of conducting their business if this proposition of organizing their supervisory personnel is carried out.
The CHAIRMAN. As I understand it, Judge Smith, Mr. Lewis as head of the United Mine Workers of America makes contracts with the operators about every 2 years, and the expiration date of the present contract is April 1; is that right? Mr. SMITH. That is my understanding.
The CHAIRMAN. Heretofore there has been no effort on the part of the United Mine Workers as an organization to organize the supervisory personnel, but along with a demand by the president of that organization for a $2-a-day raise, he includes the right to organize the supervisory personnel of all the coal companies; is that correct?
Mr. SMITH. Yes.
Mr. Smith. I am informed that it does.' I think Mr. Lewis says it is 60,000, but I am informed by men in the coal industry that it is nearer 90,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Ninety thousand in both the bituminous and the anthracite industries?
Mr. SMITH. I assume so; I do not know. The CHAIRMAN. Does that carry with it also the privilege or the right on the part of the managerial personnel of the coal company to join a union affiliated with the United Mine Workers of America, or is it part of it to begin with?
Mr. SMITH. It is in the form of some type of manifesto issued by Mr. Lewis and signed by him, Mr. Kennedy, and someone else, directing each local to proceed to bring into their organization all of the supervisory personnel, telling them the amount of the initiation fee, and so on and so forth.
The CHAIRMAN. They will all belong to the same local union as is now organized in each coal company? Mr. SMITH. Yes.
Mr. THOMASON. I did not know until this morning about this hearing, so I have not read the bill. There are many things, I am sure, about which the committee will want some information. In view of Judge Smith's request and also the fact that he is here, available at any time, I will forego my questions now. I understand that there are people here from out of town who want to get away, and we can
have the judge with us at any time. There are several questions that I want to ask the judge.
Mr. Smith. I am at the service of the committee. I will answer questions at any time; but it seemed to me that since there were witnesses here from out of town, you would proceed with them.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Judge Smith. You may stand aside, then, for the present. Whom do you wish to present first?
Mr. SMITH. Mr. John D. Battle.
STATEMENT OF JOHN D. BATTLE, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY,
NATIONAL COAL ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, D. C. Mr. BATTLE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is John D. Battle. I am executive secretary of the National Coal Association. I shall speak in very general terms, because we have here witnesses to answer all the detail and practical questions. I want to give you just a little background of the coal industry,
Production is our big problem now, as it is with all other industries. I speak only with reference to bituminous coal. Last year we produced 580,000,000 tons; we are called upon this year to produce 600,000,000 tons, probably more. We have lost to the armed services and to other industries an enormous number of men; we do not know exactly how many. This industry is scattered over some 28 States in the Union and has some 15,000 code members-about 7,000 actual, regular coal mines, and a lot of them so small that they run that number up to around 15,000.
We have had a terrible time with labor turn-over and labor efficiency, all of which will be explained by witnesses who come right from the properties and know the details.
With particular reference to H. R. 2239, that has been introduced by Representative Smith, we have, as he said, devoted our time particularly to section 4. There are other sections that affect us, but section 4 is the primary one at the moment, because we are now up against the problem of negotiating with the union people; and incidentally, my organization, representing all the producers throughout the country, does not participate directly in the wage negotiations. That is why others are here from that conference to answer detail questions if they should be asked. We do feel that in section 4 of this bill, as Judge Smith as said, you have placed a tremendous responsibility upon management, particularly in the first section of it; and in the second section of it you give management some relief, we will say, or give it some protection in trying to run its business. The men who will follow me will explain why that relief is necessary, as we have this growing tendency on the part of the unions to take just a little bit more.
This is not a fight against unionism as such at all. Collective bargaining has been going on in this industry for more than 50 years. But supervisory forces and other representatives of management have been excluded from affiliation with the unions by mutual consent of the operating management and the union management. Because these men actually represent management, there has been no place for them in the union. In some States these men actually enforce the State mining laws. Just how that comes about will be explained by
some of the witnesses. They are the men who must enforce the union contract that exists between employees on the one side and management on the other.
Titles do not mean so very much. A man's authority is not always described. We refer here to the executive, administrative, professional, or supervisory employees. There are a great many others that perhaps those definitions do not properly describe. I am thinking of such as pay-roll clerks, the men who keep the time, who are quite confidential men; the men whom we call the weigh bosses, who will weigh the coal on which the miners are paid for their production of that coal. They are men in very highly confidential capacities, direct representatives of management, and we just do not see any place for those men on the other side of the fence. That goes also, of course, for everyone up to the position of superintendent. That'is the demand of the union at this time.
We have the coal inspector. That title means a great deal more than you would think. He is the man who inspects this coal, to see that clean coal is produced in accordance with the contract; and that man in many, many instances has the power of applying penalties in enforcing the contract. He is the direct agent and representative of management in that capacity.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me interrupt you right there, Mr. Battle. I myself at one time happened to be in the coal business. I recall that one of the ways of trying to get clean coal out to the tipple was, first of all, to clean it at the face.
Mr. BATTLE. Right.
The CHAIRMAN. That was to prevent its coming out unclean, as, for instance, half a carload of coal and half a carload of slate, which destroyed the value of the whole thing. The man on the tipple who inspects it has heretofore been an employee of the coal company with the consent and agreement of the miners themselves. Now, if he is taken over by the miners' organizations and becomes one of their group, who would look after the cleaning of the coal ?
Mr. BATTLE. If he is taken over, then the union has taken over that very important function that this man has been performing for management. Maybe at the time you were conducting a mine this man had the right to impose a penalty and even the right to discharge, I believe, if the offense were repeated after warnings and teaching how to clean that coal. It is a very authoritative position that those men occupy.
The CHAIRMAN. I have another question-and probably I ought to ask it of someone who is an actual operator—that is, what would be the effect on the marketing of your coal in the event unclean coal got onto the market and was unsatisfactory to the buyer?
Mr. BATTLE. I hope you will ask that question of the practical coal men, the operators. We know the answer, but I think they can give it to you absolutely.
We have at these mines engineers who are wholly professional men, They would be included in this membership demand. There are other professional men, too. Then, we have watchmen. Now, there may be many, many instances in which a watchman is just a watchman; but there are also many instances in which that watchman is a man deputized with police power by the county authorities.