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Mr. ARENDS. Was this trouble any result of any feeling between the foremen and the workers?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. No, personal; and most of those cases are personal incidents. The union frankly tries to handle the problem but they are not able to do it. But the point I wanted to bring out is this, that the management has set the policy that has produced the condition we are facing and if the foremen had something to say about it our advice would be different in a good many instances than the policy which has been laid down.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean to say that the company has adopted a policy with which the foreman has nothing to do at all in the way of enforcement?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. As to the way of enforcing it yes, but he has nothing to do with the laying down of that policy.
The CHAIRMAN. I see.
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. We do have to enforce it, that is our job. But he has nothing whatever to do with the establishment of that policy.
The CHAIRMAN. Your whole group does not have to assemble or authorize the enforcement of the policy adopted by the company, do you?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. No, oh, no.
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Yes. In setting a policy the first information we get of it is through the orders that come from the superintendent's office that we are to carry out. It is just a routine job so far as we are concerned in carrying out the policies of the company.
I will not take up the time of the committee any further than to say with reference with this particular incident I was asked to come into the superintendent's office to consult with him on the possible remedies that we could bring forth for this condition we have run into. If I were not here this morning I would be meeting with Mr. Waite the factory superintendent in an attempt to convey to him the position that the foremen feel in this particular instance.
I believe that is all.
The CHAIRMAN. With reference to this committee of 16 that you mentioned in the beginning of your testimony as having negotiated and agreed upon the contract you put in the record, was the company represented on that committee, and how is the proportion of representation arranged on that committee?
Mr. W. ALLEN NElson. The company was represented by eight superintendents named by the plant superintendent, Mr. Rausch.
The CHAIRMAN. And the foremen were represented by the other eight members?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. By the other eight members named by our association.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions? Mr. COSTELLO. Your organization does not in any way bargain with the laboring organization, does it?
Mr. W. Allen Nelson. No. To this extent, if something happens in the plant in a building and our department representative or our building representative by talking with the building chairman of the U. A. W., if we can iron out a difficulty which would be liable to develop into a contest, that is done. But we have had no contacts
with the union as an organization other than at the time we were down here at Washington before the War Labor Board in our effort to get our position in the seniority picture straightened out. At that time we did deal with a representative group, the negotiating committee for the U. A. W., Local 600, and also with the attorneys and representatives of the Ford Motor Co. at the same time and that did result in an adjustment of our seniority standards.
Mr. Costello. Generally your operations then would be to represent management in dealing with laboring groups within the factory?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. No; we are representing management insofar as carrying out our duties and when those duties are applied to a problem in our department that involves possibly a grievance, then when that grievance comes to us as the first supervisor over that workman our part in that is to sign a disposition, to write on the grievance slip the statement as his immediate superior and then that is taken out of our hands automatically by the grievance procedure and goes before the labor relations representative of the company, We make no decisions on grievances. We write our opinion or our advice on that grievance slip and then it is sent to the representative of the management in the labor relations office and he makes the decision but we do not.
Mr. COSTELLO. What I mean is your job is such that whatever negotiations you and your organization might have with the laboring group it would be more in the relation of management?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. No; because we do not have any with the organization. We have it with the men that are directly under our supervision and the men in the building who represent those workmen but we have it in a definitely defined form under the grievance procedure as agreed upon between the company and the union. It is a very small part. If there is a difference of opinion, if I issue an order and my man violates it and refuses to carry it out or if I issue an order that he thinks is wrong he can write up a grievance on it. My part in that is simply to write up a disposition and sign my name to it and go about my business in the department. That is taken by the union representative to the labor office and the labor office disposes of it entirely.
Mr. ARENDS. Let me ask just one question. If you were to set forth one main objective and purpose of your organization what would it be? What would be the first objective of your organization?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Frankly, the first objective is to make the organization of foremen recognized throughout the labor and industrial world as the most highly skilled and respected group of men in the world and that is what we are doing.
Mr. STEWART. Do you feel that foremen can loyally and efficiently represent both management and labor?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. We do not represent both management and labor.
Mr. STEWART. Whom do you represent?
Mr. W. ALLEN NElson. We represent management in carrying out certain technical duties. And as a representative of our organization I do not represent labor.
Mr. STEWART. And as I understand, I have been here only a minute, you do feel though that you should have an organization of foremen? Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. I think it is absolutely vital to our interests. Under the present industrial set-up foremen not organized are the victims of two forces.
Mr. STEWART. Let me ask you this. I understand that part of it. Are most of your foremen taken from the ranks?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. All of us. All of us, I would say, practically all of us.
Mr. STEWART. Then when you are taken from the ranks don't you think you owe management certain considerations as to policies and carrying out their orders and directing them?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Yes; we know we do. And we assume them very conscientiously. There is not a man that is made a foreman but what definitely knows from the moment he is designated a foreman that he has a duty and a responsibility that he did not have as a workman on the machine.
Mr. STEWART. You receive an increase in wages?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Sometimes. Sometimes only. Frankly, under our agreement we have arrived at with the Ford Motor Co. that has become automatic now.
Mr. STEWART. Let me ask this as to the Ford Motor Co., didn't the Ford Motor Co. pay a greater wage scale prior to going into the union agreement than they have since going into the union?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. No; the Ford Motor Co. wage scales at the time the union contract was signed definitely represented an increase over what the wage scales were before.
Mr. STEWART. How much?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. As to the men it amounted to approximately 28 percent. As to the foremen it did not amount to much more than half that increase. I do not know the exact figures but it was approximately half the increase in percentage that was granted to the men.
Mr. STEWART. Wasn't there a time when Ford paid more than what the other big plant, General Motors paid when General Motors was organized?
Mr. W. ALLEN NELSON. Yes. I do not doubt but what the Ford pay policy has always been aimed at being on the top of the list.
Mr. STEWART. That will be all, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. NELSON. Mr. Chairman, I suggest an inquiry that has not been made in introducing Mr. Frank Elliott, secretary-treasurer of the Chrysler Chapter of the Foreman's Association or any of these witnesses, if the members of the committee are interested, and that is whether in point of fact any foreman has ever sat, even sat in on the negotiations between management and hourly rated labor. I believe that every one of these witnesses would testify on inquiry, so far that such a thing never occurred. It might be of interest.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. We will assume your statement to be correct.
Mr. NELSON. And I think that covers those who have already testified before the committee.
STATEMENT OF FRANK ELLIOTT, SECRETARY-TREASURER,
CHRYSLER CHAPTER, FOREMAN'S ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
Mr. NELSON. I now introduce Mr. Frank Elliott, secretarytreasurer of the Chrysler Chapter of the Foreman's Association.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed with your statement.
Mr. ELLIOTT. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Frank Elliott and I am secretary-treasurer of the Chrysler Chapter of the Foreman's Association of America. I have been requested to appear before this committee on behalf of foremen of the Chrysler Corporation, who are members of our association and who feel that they as American citizens must protest the approval of the bill H. R. 2239. Section 4 of this bill denies the right of formen to organize and bargain collectively with management and ownership. It will be interesting to you gentlemen to hear from the foremen tbemselves why they want and need collective bargaining. I will try to state as briefly as possible the true relation of foremen in the Chrysler plants with the management.
Many thousands of employees in the Chrysler plants are enjoying the privileges and benefits of collective bargaining as members of the U. A. W.-C. I. 0; however, the supervisors who are not part of management are not enjoying the same privileges and benefits, and 1,724 out of a total of 2,200 Chrysler supervisors have voluntarily joined the Foreman's Association of America to protect their rights.
I know whereof I speak, gentlemen, because I am a foreman and work 8 hours per day, 6 days a week in the shop. The problems of a foreman are many and as an individual in his dealing with management he has been helpless and has not gotten redress of and relief of his problems. Therefore, he has found it necessary to use the proven way-collective bargaining.
On September 1, 1942, at the tank-arsenal plant in Detroit six men were made foremen and paid a salary of $220 per month for a 40-hour week. At the same time there were eight other foremen in the same division and these men who had gone through the initial stages of developing the job and getting production of tanks were being paid a salary of $205 per month. The older foremen receiving the smaller wage and having the most experience, requested individually that their salary be increased to the same level as the new foremen. Three of these foremen were granted the increase on October 15 and the other five have not even been given an answer by the management to this date. The resulting dissatisfaction and destruction of morale caused by such unfair practice of management in dealing with its supervision as I have described here should be stopped.
When a man is promoted to a supervisory capacity he is asked to assume many responsibilities far greater than operating a press, chasing stock or whatever his job may have been and, therefore, expects to be compensated for these added responsibilities on a fair and equitable basis.
I would like to give you an example of the fair and equitable basis of compensation, however, this is only one of many such examples I could describe. In the material division of the De Soto plant the supervisor has the responsibility of seeing that all production jobs are supplied with material at all times and directing stockchasers, keeping accurate records and many other varied duties. For this responsibility in the year 1942 which was a vital year in our war production this supervisor was paid a total of $2,946.93 while the men under his supervision received from $600 to $1,000 more for the same period.
I do not wish to take too much time in describing the many unfair practices of management or the reasons for the foreman joining the Foreman's Association of America but would like to explain briefly the beneficial reaction of the foremen who have become members. The cooperation between foremen has improved to the extent that we now operate more efficiently and beneficially on our own jobs due to social intercourse, exchanging of ideas and assisting each other.
Without using the slightest semblance of coercion but due to a mutual understanding the Association has received applications for membership from Chrysler foremen at the rate of over 200 per month. This is outstanding when you realize that we never had a paid organizer in our chapter. The supervisors accepted by the association as members have never been and are not now a part of management nor do they have any voice in formulating policies of the company, The only ones who are part of management are those who sit in with top executives in forming policies of the company, and the foreman does not do this.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that all?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes. I just want to add that the thing we want to do throughout the Chrysler Corporation is to have committees to meet with management to sit down and discuss these problems such as I have told you of here. Now, I do not see any reason why we cannot do it. They meet with the men and if we do these things eventually we want joint committees. We want joint committees where we will sit down with the management, the C. I. O., and the foremen and we will get somewhere. But right now it is not so good.
The CHAIRMAN. How many foremen are there in your Chrysler organization?
Mr. Elliott. In the Detroit area approximately 2,200, that is as near as I can find out.
The CHAIRMAN. What method of approach and conference and negotiation with the management have you now?
Mr. ELLIOTT. The foremen?
The CHAIRMAN. How does the management operate through the foremen then?
Mr. Elliott. Well, our supervisors give us orders and we carry them out.
The CHAIRMAN. I see. All right, sir. Are there any questions?
Mr. COSTELLO. Isn't this the situation when management wants information regarding conditions in the plant they want information from the supervisory personnel as to what would be best and about changes to be made, don't they consult with the supervisors or rather consult the foremen?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Supervisors and foremen? You know supervision is foremen.
Mr. Costello. Or the superintendents.