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tool and die men and a 6-cent raise for part of the maintenance men in the plant retroactive to June 25, 1942. There it was not applied to the foremen because of the technicality involving the reference to the War Labor Board for their approval. The problem was taken up through our official channels with the superintendent, Mr. Rausch, and in very few minutes an agreement was arrived at that resulted in the instruction to pay the tool and die and maintenance foremen the same comparative raise that had been paid to men under their supervision. This had to be referred to the Internal Revenue Department and the War Labor Board but eventually approval came through and is now in process of being paid along with the adjustment of rates under the wage agreement.
This wage agreement is the first and only signed agreement that we have with the Ford Motor Co. and since then there has been another signed supplement to this simply defining the method of handling the classifications. Most of our work is done by verbal agreement. It is not altogether satisfactory but it is definitely effective compared to the individual dealings we had previous to our organization.
Now, since the first of the year the company changed its labor machinery and our joint committee that we had operated under up to that time was dispensed with and the foremen's relations with the company together with those of the men were placed under the jurisdiction of Mr. Mack directly upon the order of Mr. Edsel Ford, the president of the company. And in a conversation with Mr. Mack we agreed to deal with a representative designated by him to handle all foremen's relations, including the handling of the adjustments under this agreement. Mr. Pierce was assigned to this job by Mr. Mack and an office was set up in the aircraft building where all difficulties and all problems involving foremen are decided as between the foremen and the Ford Motor Co.
I am not in a position to quote the company, but since this bill has come up instead of a noticeable desire not to deal with us I have heard expressions that indicate that whether this bill passes or not the Ford Motor Co. feels that our relations are on a better basis today than they were a year ago and because of that we will continue some form of mutual agreement.
Now, to bring out how the fact of the foremen being organized has affected not only the foremen themselves but the interests of the company I would like to cite the record made in the open hearth of the rolling mill section of the plant devoted to making steel. In March 1943 the production of open hearth and consequently the rolling mill was a little better than 20 percent higher than it was the year before, being the highest production that that unit of the Ford Motor Co. ever_turned out. I cannot give you the total figures frankly because I feel unless you ask me for them I haven't any business revealing them. But I can say this, in that building alone here are 172 statements, a duplicate of what I will read:
“I, H. C. Hodges, a general foreman at Ford's Rouge plant, Dearborn, Mich., voluntarily joined the Foreman's Association of America over 1 year ago. I honestly and sincerely state that working conditions have since greatly improved both as regards cooperation among foremen and between foremen and the men under them.
“H. C. HODGES, No. 1797.”
There are 172 foremen in that building who signed a similar statement.
Mr. ARENDS. You say the increase in production amounted to 20 percent over the same period a year ago?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Yes.
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Probably less. We have less men in every department.
Mr. ARENDS. What is the number of comparable work hours a year ago and now?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Well, not having the figures I would not dare say, but I am judging from the conditions in all the plants where we have lost a great pumber of skilled men from every building and have had to use new labor that is definitely not up to the standard of the old men on the job.
Mr. ARENDS. Would you come to the conclusion then that the 20percent increase in production was brought about not by reason of having more personnel but that there was even a little less probably?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. I would say that; yes; because of what is happening in a number of other buildings. But this building I happen to have definite information. And not only that, but I know from my own personal experience that a year and a half ago before we organized, a little more than a year and a half ago, I probably knew not more than 20 or 25 foremen throughout the plant. There were plenty of buildings I did not even know one foreman. Today we are acquainted in every building. Our work requires us to have working relations between buildings and by having that acquaintance and by having the spirit of cooperation that has been developed by the organization we definitely get action and better results in every building
The CHAIRMAN. May I interrupt you for a question? Is this organization in what is known as the River Rouge plant of the Ford Motor Co.?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. We covered all of the Ford Motor Co. plants in the Detroit area, including the Willow Run plant.
The CHAIRMAN. This particular group you mentioned which made the increase of 20 percent in production over March of 1942, is that in the new plant?
Mr. W. ALLEN NElson. No; that is an integral part of the River Rouge plant.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I say, that is in the River Rouge plant?
The CHAIRMAN. I wonder if the increase was not possibly largely due to the transformation from the new plant to one that was put recently into going operation? They were making developments and tests and changes all the while through last year and now they have gotten down to mass production.
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. No. You remember they are making steel into forms that they are made in the open hearth and rolling mill and those forms are exactly the same as they were 2 years ago when we were making automobiles.
Mr. ARENDS. Then am I right in coming to this possible conclusion that either the foremen or the laborers were not doing their best a year ago in March regardless of the relationship with management? Would that be an honest conclusion?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Frankly, under the conditions we were working under nobody could do their best.
Mr. ARENDS. They couldn't do it or they didn't want to do it, which one?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. They could not.
Now, the foremen organized because we definitely have a feeling of responsibility and consciousness of our position that as individuals even it is our business to get production and when we don't get it we know it.
Mr. ARENDS. In other words, you were trying as hard a year ago in March as in March of this year?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Possibly a whole lot harder from the individual standpoint but we were not getting the results, and today we do get the results because when one fellow is lame the rest of us know his problems on the job and off the job and we definitely make an attempt to help that man solve his problem so that he can do his job 100 percent or more.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask this question: Do you insist, Mr. Nelson, that the improvement of 20 percent in production was due wholly to the foremen's organization or was it due also to the advanced planning by the company in the way of getting ready for their production?
Mr. W. ALLEN NElson. I do not say it was due wholly to the foremen's organization. I only say that the organized activities of the foremen contributed to that 20 percent-increase in production. And I do not grant that the planning of a year or two ago was any less efficient than it is today. We have the same superintendents, the same top management today that we had a year and a half ago and we are working with them but our relationships with them and our relationships with one another are on a whole lot more satisfactory basis to day than they were a year and a half ago.
Mr. DURHAM. Do you believe that incentive payments have caused an increase in production?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. That will have to be a personal answer because in the Ford Motor Co. we have eliminated what we call incentive payments years and years ago as a matter of policy. The company does not believe and has not practiced the so-called incentive payment policy for better than 25 years. We have studied, in fact the committee from the open hearth, made up of foremen together with representatives of the engineering department made a study of a plant in Illinois that is operating on the incentive basis. Our machinery is devised there for a continuous flow of production. Our steel mills and our rolling mills are set up on a physical basis that is related definitely to the use of that steel and the incentive plan used in one unit of production might upset the whole program as we have carried it out for years and as a consequence I do not believe it could be used in the Ford plant as it is today to any benefit in production.
Mr. Durham. How many people do they employ today? Mr. W. ALLEN Nelson. I beg your pardon? Mr. DURHAM. How many people do they employ today in the Ford Motor Co.?
Mr. W. Allen Nelson. Roughly 125,000 and possibly more than that.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed with your statement.
. Mr. W. ALLEN NElson. There is another item that possibly was brought out here the other day in the questioning that I want to bring to you, that foremen are trained men. They are highly skilled men. Some of us have been on the job as foremen as high as 25 years. And a man that is a real foreman knows that he never has learned all there is to know about his job. As a consequence when a new plant is set up such as the Willow Run plant and the need for supervision develops suddenly as it did there we were faced with the transfer of a number of foremen from all operations into the new work of building airplanes and at the same time were faced with a transportation problem; with a new labor problem, that is labor being brought in that was not trained; and all the troubles that can beset a new plant. And at the same time we had drained from the old jobs in the Rouge plant the best supervision we could find to produce the Pratt & Whitney airplane engine. Some 500 foremen had been drawn from the other parts of the Rouge plant into the Pratt & Whitney engine building and the superintendent of that building got the pick so that he could get his job going. And it was an important job and a very precise job. And when the Willow Run plant came along they made another draft of foremen throughout the plant but there were not enough. So there was created from among the trained young men in the Willow Run plant men who had been trained to do their particular operations, there was a group of young men elevated to the foremanship with the hope, of course, that these smart and aggressive young fellows would be able to handle the colossal job that was placed before them in developing the production of bombers. You gentlemen probably have some information of the difficulties that we ran into and that was under investigation in the past few months, but part of it was the type of supervision we had to develop. During November and December and the early part of January the management found it necessary to demote nearly 500 men whom they had made foremen in the process of trying to build up the supervisory personnel in the bomber plant.
The Chairman. Now, may I interrupt you there by asking you whether or not your group agreed to that demotion or was it one of the questions that you later adjusted by the contracts?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. There were injustices to individuals in that demotion but the general process of demotion was carried out on the basis of having made a possible management blunder in putting recognized skilled men but untrained in supervision on the job of supervision over a new job. Certainly we agreed with most of the demotions because we knew better than anybody else what it takes to make a foreman and what it takes to make a job run and we knew that the manageemnt had picked in months previous a great number of men who could not make the grade. In other words, they did not have the experience that would make it possible for them to carry on the duties that were laid on them as supervisors, and that is not reflecting on the individuals that were involved in that demotion because most of those individuals were crackajack workmen or they never would have been picked in the first place but they were not supervisors. Since then we have had to draw more and more from the Rouge plant and from experienced men throughout the organization to try to fill in the gaps and it is working. They have a few more
experienced foremen out there and every time they get a man on the job that is not only technically skilled but is experienced in supervision, that job can be improved.
Now, there are incidents that come up in the handling of a supervisors' job that will definitely indicate the line of demarcation between a supervisor or a foreman and the management. And here is one of them: In our foundry we have a large percentage of Negro labor, a very large percentage. And this concentrating of this kind of labor in one group presents a problem, and that problem is definitely increasing from day to day. The union, I am referring to the U. A. W., is trying to cope with the problem of self-discipline among their members and at the same time the supervisors or foremen have to cope with it every day and every hour of the day. Now, it is not the foremen in the foundry that have determined on the policy of concentrating 95 percent of Negro labor in those plants. That is a decision made by the management. But it is a problem that the supervision has to face and handle, and when I say face it I mean just exactly that.
Mr. ARENDS. Are 95 percent of the workers Negroes?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Not 95 percent of Negro labor; 95 percent of labor in the foundries is Negro labor.
The CHAIRMAN. In the steel plant?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Yes. We have three or four foundries, the production foundry and the aluminum foundry and the steel foundry. Now, the reason I bring that problem before you is this: In the last 4 weeks we have had three cases of personal attack that has resulted in hospitalization for two of the men who were attacked and in the other case the morgue. When I got home last Friday morning I did not even have my hat off when the phone rang and I was called back into the plant 20 miles away with the statement that I had better hurry up and get back there; that the foremen in the new steel plant did not want to go out on their jobs because the night before one of their members had been murdered. I didn't blame those fellows for pot wanting to go back out on their jobs. But as soon as I could get back into the plant my advice to them was, “Your job is producing iron and steel,” and that is all I had to say to them. And they went back on the job. If that had happened a year and a half ago it would have been a week before some of those men would have felt that they could conscientiously risk their lives in that particular incident and go back out there and handle the job they had to handle. Yet they are the men who know how to do this job, and they are the only men. They cannot draw 150 men from just anywhere and handle a foundry. Those men have had to work in the foundry for years and years to learn what it takes for them to do their job. Now, when I told them their job was in there producing iron and steel that is all it took because they felt that through me and their organization they had 9,000 other foremen behind them trying to solve the problem they were up against. And it did not take me 2 minutes. There were some of the men on the job but there were some of them not handling their job. They were afraid to issue orders and they were afraid to issue the instructions that are normally passed out every hour of the day.