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find out that somebody has the notion that they are a part of management.
They found out a lot of other things that they had not learned by a quarter of a century of going to work 6 or 7 days a week in responsible positions, but that is the most amazing discovery of this particular hearing
It is just simply not a fact, and we want to show it to you in such detail and by such incidents that it will not be possible for any member of this committee to be in doubt about the facts.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. NELSON. I want to make an observation. These men come here also wholly inexperienced in matters of this kind. I suppose that there is not a one of them that has been a witness anywhere, even in a court. They have spent their time in a factory, or they would not be foremen. They come here, Mr. Chairman, with just a little bit of resentment, I want to briefly refer to it on their behalfso that they can get down to the business at hand, but of course the General Motors is a large corporation, and it would be expected, it being men of large affairs, to do anything they do on a large scale, and this type of presentation of the actual conditions of the foremen of the country is of course a whopper, that is all it is, industrially speaking
There is one part of this thing, however, when these gentlemen come here and present the foremen of America in the press-mainly an unfriendly press—without investigating the facts at all, or caring for the consequences apparently, and they begin by saying that the men who make the operation of modern industry possible; namely, the supervisory force, and that they are adopting their plan deliberately and following a policy that is calculated to produce chaos in the country at this time, that, may it please you, Mr. Chairman, is a slander on these men that I take a moment to resent.
Now, let us see how American industry generally is organized. Let us take an outstanding example, and if these gentlemen whom I expect to present as witnesses will bear with me, I think it will help the committee to understand it. Let us take a very famous industrial enterprise. Let us take the Ford Motor Co., and let us divide it so that the questions can be directed specifically, and I think representative of industry in this country, and let us start as most Americans conceive industry, with which I do not frankly agreeI started at the bottom-but I will start at the top with those who think that industry begins at the top, and we will start with the two Fords as owners. You have ownership represented by two people. The best information I can get, and I have known of the Ford industry more or less intimately for over a quarter of a century, in the plants around Detroit there are approximately 100 and that is a liberal figure, persons engaged in management, so that when the two Fords and 100 men sit down at a table you have a complete combination of ownership and management, and between ownership and management you have in round figures a supervisory force of 10,000 men, that is, within a couple of hundred of being correct. Nearly every one of these men has voluntarily joined the Ford Chapter of the Foreman's Association of America. Nearly every one of them voluntarily, without a moment's interruption of production, without any threat of interruption
of production, except that precipitated by some irascible representative of management himself, and that only for a brief occasion one morning. That chapter has functioned 2 years. Its officers are here,
Beneath these men, these 2 owners at the top, 100 men engaged in management and 10,000 men engaged in supervision, you have 100,000,000 operational and productional employees who are organized in the main in Local No, 600 of the United Auto Workers of America. As a matter of fact, the Detroit chapter has a working classification agreement, has a grievance committee worked out, and the management has met them and appointed the supervisory grievance organism, and it is functioning. The men would like an opportunity to present it to you. I want to say just one word before I introduce the first witness, if it is time to do so, about the nature of the question before the committee. We are just a little bit taken back, and again, frankly, I think I bespeak a decent amount of resentment on the part of these men.
The CHAIRMAN. At whom?
Mr. NELSON. At whoever feels that we should be forbidden to join an organization of our own choosing:
The CHAIRMAN. Let me interrupt to tell you this. This committee is impartial about the matter, and we are trying to get the facts.
Mr. NELSON. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. And I regret that we took up the whole morning here with Mr. Pressman, but it was with your concurrence.
Mr. NELSON. It was, and I am not complaining. The CHAIRMAN. I wish that you would confine yourself to these bills, if you are for them or against them, and then introduce you witnesses.
Mr. NELSON. I want to say this about the general nature of the bill. We have on the one hand this bill which proposes to make it not only an offense for us to assemble in an organization of our own choosing, but makes it an offense for the employer to deal with us if we do.
The CHAIRMAN. Now you are getting down to facts. Go ahead.
Mr. NELSON. That, Mr. Chairman, I said these men feel is a stricture on them and their possibilities that of course they desire to prevent if possible.
Now, there is the issue raised by Mr. Pressman and by the questioning of him of whether this should be a legislative matter, or a judicial matter. Briefly, we are not in a position to say to this committee which of those we prefer. We were here yesterday morning in a way to present our rights, and we were here this morning to do so, and yesterday afternoon we were before the National Labor Relations Board on a similar issue, and the National Labor Relations Board said, on the one hand, that it is perplexed by the meaning of the term "employee" and as I observed this legislation is supposed to aid the judicial branch of the Government because the National Labor Relations Board is in effect a labor court, by saying that we will wipe out the whole trouble for you by wiping out the right to organize. That is a rather summary proposition, and we trust, at least, that portion of the bill will not receive the approval of this committee.
If there is time to do so, I would like to call to the stand for a moment a man from the Diesel Chapter of the General Motors Corporation who is a member of the chapter organized there, and we do
this a bit out of order because I understand that Mr. Kenneth Diller will not be able to be here tomorrow, and I would like to call him for a moment, if I may.
Mr. Elston. I would like to ask this witness a question. You divide this bill into two parts. You say that it prohibits foremen to organize, and then it prohibits them from engaging in collective bargaining with their employers.
Mr. Nelson. I did not put it quite like that, but it does those things.
Mr. ELSTON. Is it not true that the bill only prevents them from organizing for the purposes of engaging in collective bargaining? I raised the question here the other day about the constitutionality of the act if it would prevent any person from joining a labor union.
Mr. Nelson. Or any other organization that he desired to join.
Mr. ELSTON. It would include of course any other organization. I doubt that the Congress has the power to say that any person cannot join any organization it wants to, but the question was then raised that this bill does not do that. This bill simply provides that you cannot join an organization for the purpose of engaging in collective bargaining; in other words, it is limited to that one thing. Now, do you still take the position that the bill is twofold, that it seeks to prevent persons from joining an organization first, and then, second, engaging in collective bargaining?
Mr. NELSON. Well, it does this. I recognize, as of course the committee must have recognized long before now, that you could not, as you say, put a bill on the table here and pass it and say that you cannot lawfully assemble in any organization of your choosing, but you can so circumscribe the activities of assembly that it is wholly ineffective, but this bill does more than that. It denounces the organization. It requires the employer at his peril and on pain of punishment, to report it. It punishes the employer if he deals with it. It punishes the act, and uses a very loose term "coercion" so that the mere fact of two men meeting, if you can make a jury or a district attorney believe that, it had as its organization coercion; in other words, bringing pressure to bear on an employer, you could convict those two foremen of that. If they simply met in the shop and said, "Bill, I am not getting a square deal,” and the other fellow said, "I don't think you are; let's go see the boss,” that is a violation of the act, if you so view it. It is an extreme act.
I do not want to take the time to protest. I wanted to make our position perfectly clear on it, and I hope that I have answered the question.
You have done this. You did not dare say that it is unlawful to assemble, but you said that if you do so, and your employer finds it out, and for whatever purpose you do it, if the employer finds it out he is guilty of a crime and you are guilty of a crime. That is a pretty extreme kind of bill.
Mr. Elston. I have had doubts about the constitutionality of the act itself with respect to the joining of any organization.
Mr. Nelson. I have this much confidence in the Supreme Court of the United States, that the subterfuge-and I call it that as a legal subterfuge--of making it unlawful for the lawyers to deal with you would not be misunderstood for anything except a prohibition of the right of assembly. That is what it will be. You get at it by making it a crime for the employer to deal with him, but that is a prohibition
of assembly, and the word "coercion" of course is legally capable of an infinite variety of meanings and interpretations, legal interpretations.
The CHAIRMAN. Call your first witness.
STATEMENT OF KENNETH DILLER, FOREMAN AT GENERAL
MOTORS DIESEL ENGINE DIVISION, DETROIT, MICH, Mr. DILLER. My name is Kenneth Diller. I am a foreman at General Motors Diesel engine division in Detroit. I am also president of Chapter No. 12 of the Foremen's Association of America. I am here representing 75 percent of the foremen at the Diesel engine division, and I believe that from hearing the conversation here this morning that the thing that you want to know most is-are we a part of management, and if we are, what part. The foremen do not feel that they are a part of management. In fact, the foremen feel that they are less a part of management than the employees themselves.
An employee working on a machine, if he has a grievance, he has a committeeman that he can go to and take up his problem with that committeeman, and that committeeman meets with the top management of that division every Friday afternoon and discusses those problems. The foremen are never brought in on those meetings. The foremen have no representatives there, and in any case they are brought in to those meetings it is just to state the evidence surrounding a certain case, not for advice or the foreman's ideas on things at all.
We have other reasons for wanting collective bargaining. First, perhaps I had better give you the set-up of the foremen. We have an assistant foreman, and then we have a foreman. We will say that each foreman has about four assistant foremen working under him. This foreman is a shift foreman of one department, and we have a general foreman who is a foreman over all three shifts in this department. And then we have a shift superintendent who is over that one shift; like the night shift, or the day shift, and in that building we have a general superintendent.
I believe that most people are of the opinion that the foremen play the part of management that that general superintendent plays. The general superintendent is the only man in supervision that has anything to say about formulating the policies of the company. We foremen have nothing to say about it.
Also, the foremen are very mistreated. The shift superintendents, not all of them, but enough of them to make it quite miserable, because they know that we have no protection. They go to management and say that we are no good, and then we are fired. On our clearance slips there have been several men fired where it just said "discharged" and those men could not get a reason for being fired, and that tends to tear down the morale of the foremen.
I believe that the foreman is one of the most important people in the plant. Unless he is on feet all the time that department will not function right. It is just like if he were renting a house and he did not pay any attention to that house. But when you made your first down payment on it and started wondering how hard you slammed
the doors, and so forth, that would be a different proposition. The foremen are not given a chance to take any interest in their work because they have no voice in it.
I have just been a foreman a year, and I took quite an interest in my department. But then when you walk into the office of the superintendent and are told that if minor little things are not changed you are going to be fired, it makes you feel that you are not much a part of that, and how can you take an interest in it. There are very many things like that.
One time I was changed to the day shift. Previously I had been working nights, and this superintendent, he got to riding me pretty bad and bawling me out in front of my employees, and I was supposed to be a man that knew something, and a man that the employees could come to for information, and he would call me down in front of all these employees. I went in and protested to the general superintendent and the answer I got was that I had an inferiority complex, that things like that shouldn't bother me.
An employee is treated with respect, and a foreman cannot help but feel that he is left out, and it is hard to take an interest in your work when you feel like you are left out.
No, there is not much attention being paid to the wages we get, or the hours we work. I understand that Mr. Wilson made the statement here that the first line foreman made 25 percent above the employees working for them. A high percentage for the General Motors Diesel engine division would be 12 percent. There are some cases where the foremen are working for exactly the same amount of money that the employees are getting. In those cases it will run around 8 percent for production. Also, of course, a lot of things have changed since the 1st of March. Prior to that we had no association. On the 1st of March we began to organize. Three weeks after the time that we started to organize 75 percent of our members belonged to the Foremen's Association of America, and every member joined voluntarily; in fact, there was a group of men from the Diesel plant that went down and asked if they could not get into the Foremen's Association, and the man that was instrumental in that happened to see a button on a man that worked at Ford's. That is how he found out about it. There was no propaganda or paper put out so that we could go and join. We went down there of our own free will and every member joined of his own free will. Since then the company has recognized that they have made some mistakes.
Mr. HARNESS. Did you not say that an organization had not been formed prior to March 1 of this year?
Mr. DILLER. In the Diesel plant.
Mr. HARNESS. But there had been formed organizations prior to March 1.
Mr. DILLER. Not in the Diesel plants that I know of. To my knowledge, there was no one formed in the General Motors Dieselengine plant.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean in the industry.
Mr. HARNESS. The reason I asked you that, out in my country we have had foremen's organizations for years, fine organizations.
Mr. DILLER. Well, I am speaking just of General Motors Dieselengine division. That is the only division I have any connection with