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Mr. SANDERS. Well, we are an employee. You cannot get away from that. We are hired to do a job and are paid wages for it. As long as we are hired to do a job and paid wages for it we are employees.
Mr. COSTELLO. So is the President.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Do you think the act should be amended so as to draw that line of demarcation between the worker and the supervisory personnel?
Mr. SANDERS. Well, I think the law should be amended to give the foremen a right which we already have, and there should be nothing to keep us from having our own union.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Separate and apart from the union of employees. Mr. SANDERS. That is right.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Under all the arguments presented against this bill that kind of condition would not exist. In other words, under all of the arguments presented under this bill the only benefits the foreman could possibly hope for would be through the union of the workers.
Mr. SANDERS. Under the existing laws we have now, of the Wagner act?
Mr. SPARKMAN. Yes; and the decisions thereunder.
Mr. SANDERS. Then I think somebody should get busy and we should start changing a few of our laws.
Mr. SPARKMAN. That is all.
Mr. Nelson. Mr. Chairman, these last questions I think I should answer, if I may, to this effect: I do not so understand the present act. As I understand, the law presently is that the foremen have a rightboth the law and the decision of the National Labor Relations Board give the foremen the right--to organize in a separate bargaining unit although there is already in that plant another bargaining unit representing some other branch of employee group. And I think I ought to say that it is my understanding of the law and the decisions under it there is no limit on the number of bargaining groups, provided under the act they may be determined to be by the National Labor Relations Board appropriate units for bargaining. And just briefly to illustrate, you could put all of the machinists in one group and all of the sweepers in another group and the maintenance men in another group and the toolmakers in another group. For instance, you can break up Local No. 600 of the U. A. W., which is the Ford Motor Co. local—you could break that up into so many different lines of endeavor as there are groups of men, grinders, and so forth, provided the National Labor Relations Board certified after a hearing that those were appropriate units. And the answer that my witness gave; I think that my witness did not understand, he just did not know what the law was, because frankly, I have not been able to instruct them on this law and there are things that I do not know about it, of course.
But the answer is that we now have the struggle now is against this bill, which is to prevent us from being deprived of the right, and that right accompanied by the right to go into the labor court-namely, the National Labor Relations Board. And of course the struggle is also before the Board as I pointed out this morning. We are over there trying to keep the Board from trying to take the right away from us. We really are tied with both hands and we are really exercised about it, of course, and properly so.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Let me ask you one question: Suppose the foremen's union organized in some particular plant should be a member of the C. I. O.
Mr. NELSON. Should be taken in by the local?
Mr. SPARKMAN. Yes. And suppose that the union in that plant is a C. I. O. union. Now, who would be the bargaining unit?
Mr. NELSON. Under that supposition that local of the C. I. 0., we will say, the United Auto Workers, because the C. I. O. itself is a group of component unions. Mr. SPARKMAN. I understand that.
Mr. NELSON. I am sure you understand that. And in that case the local would be the bargaining agent for the foremen.
Mr. SPARKMAN. And the foremen would not be a separate bargaining unit? Mr. NELSON. They would not be.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Suppose the shop were organized as a C. I. O. unit and the foremen were organized as an independent or American Federation of Labor union, then what would be the bargaining situation?
Mr. Nelson. You are assuming there, if I may restate that so I may answer it directly, you are assuming there is an A. F. of L. unit, some craft unit there, which includes foremen.
Mr. SPARKMAN. The foremen are in that or in the A. F. of L.
Mr. NELSON. Then you would have two different unions in the shop, yes.
Mr. SPARKMAN. But only one can be the bargaining agency.
Mr. NELSON. That is not true under the act. May I answer that by saying this? Under the National Labor Relations Act as it is now and under the decisions of the Board as confirmed by the circuit court of appeal and the Supreme Court so far as they affect it, under your supposition the C. I. O. union would bargain for those who had been determined upon a petition and hearing or election or whatever the procedure might be, to be a proper unit for the bargaining unit and then the foremen would have been determined to be something in the form of an American Federation of Labor union. That is possible now under the act.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Let me follow it a little more. Suppose the plant had both an A. F. of L. unit and a C. I. O. unit in it among the workers.
Mr. Nelson. Now certified, we will say?
Mr. NELSON. They either might be in fact certified, or I would not know how to answer your question.
Mr. SPARKMAN. All right. Let us suppose an A. F. of L. unit and also a C. I. (). unit was among the workers.
Mr. NELSON. Certified by the National Labor Relations Board as proper?
Mr. SPARKMAN. What do you mear, “certified as proper"? Let us start from scratch.
Let us suppose there is a C. I. O. unit and an A. F. of L. unit in that shop. Let us suppose that part of the foremen are taken into the C. 1. O. and part of them into the A. F. of L. Now, let us suppose further that an election is held to determine the proper bargaining agency. Suppose the C. I. 0. wins it. Now, who becomes the bargaining agency?
Mr. NELSON. For the foremen?
Mr. SPARKMAN. For anybody.
Mr. Nelson. Under that supposition the bargaining agency becomes the C. I. O. for
Mr. SPARKMAN. Everybody?
Mr. NELSON (continuing). For everybody who has been included in either of these groups.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Yes; that is true. And your foremen are bargained for by the C. I. O. operating as a bargaining agency, are they not?
Mr. NELSON. That is right.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Then under that supposition the argument I made a few minutes ago is true, is it not, the foremen do lose all their independence?
Mr. Nelson. If you do that, of course.
Mr. SPARKMAN. As a matter of fact is it not true that the practice of the National Labor Relations Board and its decisions has been to restrict the bargaining agencies in shops to a single agency, particularly where they were organized industrially rather than by crafts?
Mr. Nelson. That is a controversy; I will step on it lightly. I do not want to get into any trouble with either one of those right now. I know a lot of other people who sympathize with me in this position. The tendency has been, I think, under the decisions as I read them and as I have studied the industrial scene--and I do give some attention to it, of course—is to include as large a group of cognate operatives as possible in one bargaining agency because in the present state of industrial development and rules applicable to it that seems to lead to less friction although it lodges in the hand of a smaller number of employees larger power than the other plan would. That has been the tendency and if you ask me for my judg. ment up to now in the 6 or 8 years of experience that we have had I should say that the practice of the Board in that regard has been justified by experience by a constant decrease in industrial friction and strikes.
Mr. SPARKMAN. I felt sure that was true.
Mr. Nelson. I believe it is justified. That is not always true, however. They have certified both. And if you ask me for my opinion on that I would think it would be better, where they could, to adjudicate it in favor of one bargaining agency. I think that would be so.
Mr. SPARKMAN. I am not entering into the justification or not of the practice, but I am simply trying to state it as a practice of what they have done and I was definitely of the impression that was true.
Mr. NELSON. I think that is borne out by the statistics.
Mr. SPARKMAN. And therefore the practical effect of the practice of the National Labor Relations Board under the act and of these decisions or rather of this decision that is before us, would be to deny to these foremen any independent action because they would be consolidated or swallowed up in the bigger union which will become the single bargaining agency?
Mr. Nelson. On your supposition that would be so, and you would be hearing from us.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know of anybody that I can think of now that is more capable of representing these foremen's representatives bere than yourself. I want to call your attention to this, that prior to the enactment of the National Industrial Recovery Act under section 7 of it the principle of collective bargaining was established, there were a large number of unions throughout the country in plants called company unions.
Mr. NELSON. That was the report and that was my experience. The CHAIRMAN, I know of a lot of them in the coal mines.
Mr. NELSON. Yes, they were. They were organized under the impulse of the owners.
The CHAIRMAN. And the Wagner Labor Relations Act under the administrative rulings of the National Labor Relations Board was set up and it was for the express purpose of determining by an election called by that Board as to what agency or what group in any particular plant should control in the matter of collective bargaining?
Mr. NELSON. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Now, then, if we permit or authorize an organization of a foremen's group in any industry wouldn't they be put in exactly the same position of a company union where there is a much larger union of workers as in the Hudson Motor Car Co. case here?
Mr. Nelson. My answer is "No," and for this reason: The distinction is between a bona fide organization and one that is not bona fide. Whereas the company union professes to represent the men and I expect according to the law, and I hope according to the act, they are in fact representing ownership or management or both. Now, the foremen's association has never been under the imputation either by the most radical labor unionist or anybody else of in fact representing either management or ownership until we hear of this bill and the publicity attendant upon it, Mr. Chairman. That is the first time we ever heard we were a part of management, and that affects the good faith of our organization, of course.
The CHAIRMAN. I am not questioning your good faith, but I want to ask you this further question. Is it not likely, and would not the tendency be that if a management's personnel, assistant foremen and up as far as they could go should be organized into groups, would it not very likely revive the old company union proposition if management stimulated interest among them?
Mr. NELSON. The attempt to wean over foremen in the mass production industry in this country today I think it a hopeless attempt except by general fair treatment applicable to all alike, and therefore that applies to the hourly rated employee as well, that same principle. But the number of men engaged in supervision is now so great and the training required for it in general is so considerable that I think there is a definite body of interest there that automatically protects supervision from what the chairman's question implies is a sort of economic seduction and I would say that there is very little chance of that. And that is the reason somebody asked the reason for this bill — they want to now do by law what it is not likely they can do by industrial operation.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think you understood my question.
The CHAIRMAN. I am sure of that and I know you do. I am not raising any fault with you about that. Here is what I am trying to emphasize, that a group of foremen, say 260 foremen, having their direct contacts with ownership and management and with 25,000 or 30,000 or 75,000 men on the other side belonging to the C. I. O., it is perfectly natural that management is not going to invite all of them to come to a party or to go to some social occasion or to attend some function of management but they will invite the foremen and the managerial staff. Now, is there not going to be a danger of the social contact bringing about a friction between the actual workers and the managerial personnel and ultimately coming back to that place where you were with the old nefarious company unions?
Mr. NELSON. And that in the person of the supervisors?
Mr. NELSON. That is a possibility. I cannot lay out a map of the future that is exact. But I still believe that the principle of the application of power to production will expand. We are only in the beginning of it and with these bodies of supervisors, as for instance, in the Ford Motor Co., where there are 10,000, and 260 in the Timken Detroit Axle Co., and 600 odd in the Hudson Motor Car Co., and so forth, and 500 in the Packard Co., that precludes management which tends to comcentrate instead of expand, that precludes sufficient personal contract to great affect the essential composition of the supervisory force, at least from the viewpoint of company unionism.
Now I want to say this, of course, Mr. Chairman, we all know that human contacts do affect people's ideas and attitudes toward each other and of course the supervisory force is necessarily more exposed to the influence of management than the hourly rated employees just by weight of numbers alone, and also perhaps by some personal characteristics that would enter into the equation. But I am still confident of the virtue of the separateness of the supervisors' idea.
Mr. Johnson. May I ask a question along that line? As I see it, the danger is not from the management but by the infiltration by the laws of national unions into the little local union. That is exactly what has happened. You know that from experience yourself.
Mr. Nelson. You mean this. My study and my experience has illustrated before 1934, of course, foremen were personally selected. Since 1934 foremen have to some percentage risen from the ranks of union labor.' In other words, men who were formerly labor unionists have risen to the ranks of foreman. Frankly it has aided in the organization of the foremen's union. But once a man attains the economic and social status of a foreman, if management is at all fair to him and the foreman's association can get him a fair deal, he will protect that status just like any other professional or semiprofessional person will and he will tend to be faithful to that group and as I see it and I have contacted these young men working in the foremen's rank from the U. A. W. in Detroit, I have contacted them and there is no question and I have not any feeling at all about the lack of loyalty to the separate idea. I hope that answers your question. Mr. Johnson. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Perhaps we had better revert back to the witnesses.
Mr. NELSON. There is this, Mr. Chairman, I mentioned a moment ago that I have interrupted the trial of this case in Detroit to be here and I planned to be back in court tomorrow morning in Detroit. I