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Mr. ELLIOTT. The superintendents; yes; the top management consult them.
Mr. COSTELLO. But they do consult those above you?
Mr. COSTELLO. Undoubtedly the superintendents do consult with the foremen regarding conditions in the shop and things of that kind?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Mr. Costello, a lot of those suggestions we are handing in, a lot of times they are never taken up. I made the suggestion of the question box a year ago. I made the suggestion about the suggestion box because I believed that it was a good thing and you will find here from one of our witnesses just how much good it has done. There hasn't ever been anything done on it.
Mr. COSTELLO. Nevertheless management gets information from the foremen through other channels rather than getting it directly?
Mr. Elliott. Yes. Naturally they would. They would get ideas' from us. But I say there are a lot of ideas they don't carry out. But if we could sit down with a committee and have all these ideas from these foremen discussed by this committee, there are a lot of foremen who won't go to their superintendent or general foremen. They don't have the chance. When I contacted the De Soto, I made the first contact for the Chrysler Corporation with the labor representative of Mr. John Carmichael at De Soto after we had only 30 or 40 members. I told him I wanted him to know what the Foreman's Association was before he got anything wrong, what I mean to say, is the wrong information of what we were doing. So I went out and spoke to him at that time and he said, "My door is open for any foreman to come in at any time.” I said, “No; they will not do that, 150 or 160 of them. But if we have a committee here they can come in and give us these suggestions and we will come out and bring them out and eventually let us straighten this out with the C. I. O. and get this thing thrashed out.
Mr. ARENDS. You cited a case a little while ago where a certain number of men were advanced to the rank of foreman, I forgot how many you said, some were getting $220 and some $245 a month?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes.
Mr. ARENDS. Do you mean to imply everyone who is raised to the rank of foreman should be paid the same salary and that there is no difference in the individual and no difference in their ability to carry out their duties and that everyone should get the same amount?
Mr. ELLIOTT. No, sir. That is something we are working for. That is something we would like to discuss with the company. Those men were paid $220 a month to start with.
Mr. ARENDS. Isn't any one of them a better man than the other. They are all alike?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Well, I have a case here but it will take a little time to go into, a little too long.
Mr. ARENDS. Suppose I hired two hired men on a farm out in the country. The chances are they would not be alike and after a period of 3 or 6 months I would find out one was worth no more than $10 a month because he lacked ability. Wouldn't I have the right to say, "I am willing to pay you so much from here on out and pay so much to the other man who is different in ability''?
Mr. ELLIOTT. All the old men in the material division were paid $205 a month.
Mr. ARENDS. In other words, the efficient guys gets the same amount of money as an inefficient man but just because he has the same job he gets the same amount?
Mr. ELLIOTT. With the foremen there are not so many that are inefficient. They just don't last.
Mr. MARTIN. I understood you to say in that case which you described there it was a case of giving a newly appointed man a higher wage than the older men on the job.
Mr. ELLIOTT. That is right.
Mr. ELLIOTT. These men received $220 a month and they were not regular foremen. The other men had gone through the start of the tank arsenal production and got the tanks started. And they are building so many tanks out there and they are shifting and changing the foremen and they are being led around.
Mr. ARENDS. If they are that busy out there I will say that is pretty good.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any further questions?
Mr. Johnson. When you said you wanted to sit down with the C. I. O. and management and the foremen do you mean those representatives of the three groups should sit down and lay down the policy of this company?
Mr. Elliott. No, sir; just to discuss the problems we have every day.
Mr. JOHNSON. What, bargaining problems?
Mr. Elliott. Here is the thing. You have a lot of men in the plant that have to be corrected.
Mr. JOHNSON. You mean jacked up?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes; we can do that but when you get into a conference with the C. I. O., the representatives of the management, we can discuss the problems of labor. That is the thing we want to discuss, our everyday problems of the men we have under us that are working with us, and not the policies of the company.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean you want to belong to the C. I. O. as an organization? Mr. ELLIOTT. I beg your pardon?
The CHAIRMAN. You mean you want to belong to the C. I. O. as a group?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Oh, no.
Mr. Johnson. Is this what you mean? If you can have the representative of the laborers there and the foremen who are over those men and somebody from higher up, the superintendent or somebody who directs, then you can get a better disposition of these labor problems?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Yes. We can tell the foreman's side of the case which we cannot do now. We want to get the foreman's side of the case over to the C. I. O. in a joint committee meeting but we want management in there, don't forget that.
Mr. Johnson. In other words, you can get more efficiency out of the workers, you think?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Absolutely, if you have the three groups, the C. I. O., management, and the foremen. We want a voice in there.
Mr. Johnson. Now, as I understood your testimony your real point of your testimony is if you foremen are organized you can get better results in dealing with your employer.
Mr. ELLIOTT. Because we have committees and we could go out and talk to the management about it. We want to get a lot of things thrashed out with management. The morale of the foremen is so low at Chrysler that they are ready to take their badges and hand them back in and go off supervision.
Mr. Johnson. In other words, if you can unite and have one or two representatives talk to your boss you can get better results and better conditions and better wages and things like that; isn't that right?
Mr. ELLIOTT. That is right, yes. We want to meet with, say four or five superintendents or men that are superintendents, or are planning superintendents and planning supervisors or something like that that are running a department and divisions. Right now we don't do it.
Mr. Johnson. Of course, they do not disregard all of your suggestions, do they?
Mr. ELLIOTT. Oh, no; no; but there is a whole lot more we could get over. We want cooperation. That is all we are looking for.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT TURNBULL, SECRETARY-TREASURER,
PACKARD CHAPTER OF THE FOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION OF
Mr. NELSON. The next witness is Mr. Robert Turnbull, of the Packard Motor Car Co. chapter of the Foremen's Association of America. All the votes of the foremen in a recent election which has been held by the foremen have been impounded, a rather startling result of the election, and I am sure he will touch on it before he is through.
Mr. TURNBULL. Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, I have come before your committee as a representative of the Packard Chapter Five of the Foremen's Association of America and also representing 675 members working at the Packard Motor Car plant. Every one of our members is a man who is working in some supervisory capacity, and as such is barred from belonging to the C. I. O., by a contract agreed upon by the company and the U. A. W. local. None of us have any bargaining rights, yet none of us hold an executive position with the company. We do not form the policy of the company, we do not share the profits of the company, nor do we have any executive authority. We cannot hire or fire or even transfer a man; neither can we grant a raise in pay to a worker. All we have to do is carry out the job of enforcing company policies and getting out the amount of production with the least amount of men and the lowest operating cost. The hourly rated employee is protected and has job security such as seniority rights. The members of our association have absolutely no job security at all.
For any reason that a division manager sees fit, he can discharge one of our members immediately. Luckily most of our division managers are human beings and do try to give us a "square deal.” However, we have one, who only last week, called a foreman into his office 15 minutes before quitting time and fired him on the spot with only a 15minutes' notice. This man had worked 10% hours a day 7 days a week since last December. In the last 2 months this same division manager has fired three foremen and two others have quit because they found it impossible to work for or with him.
We also have several other matters which we think are serious enough to call grievances and we would like to discuss with the management and obtain a satisfactory settlement as to sick leaves, payment for overtime—the same as hourly rated employees--the right of a hearing before a discharge is made and equal pay for the man in charge of a job on all shifts.
Regardless of what the company does to us or orders us to do, we have no redress. The company "fires” us whenever it sees fit and yet we are "frozen" to our jobs. It was for this reason that we found it necessary to get together and form a chapter of the Foreman's Association of America. I would like to assure you gentlemen that conditions got so bad that the foremen were begging for organization and when the first meeting of Packard foremen was called, almost half of the foremen that attended the meeting joined up immediately. Within 6 weeks practically every one of our foremen and supervisors had joined up. No pressure of any sort was necessary, every one joined of his own free will and every one is an enthusiastic member.
As proof of my statement I would like to point out to you gentlemen the result of an N. L. R. B. election held on February 24. The company refused to allow us the privilege of voting inside the plant, and the Labor Board had to arrange for the loan of a voting booth from the city. Voting took place from 7 to 9 a. m. and 4 to 7 p. m. It was a very cold day, wet under foot, and a very strong wind blowing. We were advised that the company intended to challenge the vote of about 12 general foremen, and a few others, they claimed as confidential men. However, when voting time came they slowed up the procedure as mạch as possible by not having the eligibility sheets laid out correctly and by challenging so many votes that it took almost half an hour at times to get through the booth. In spite of this, and the cold weather 631 members voted, 136 votes of which were challenged by the company. 431 voted “yes” and 2 "no.” Men on salary are allowed one-half day's pay each month if, of course, they lose no time during that month. Several of our men stood in line and their vote cost them seven or eight dollars because they were late that morning. I heard one member mention that that was his first time late in 15 years. In other words, it cost them seven or eight dollars to cast that vote and those men were so determined to cost that vote. They were so disappointed to start with at the idea that the company would not talk to them without a Labor Board vote. Somehow they did not want that to come along.
We thought we could go now and talk to the company. We had promises of that until somehow the atmosphere changed and this thing came up and we got the idea that the Manufacturer's Association perhaps was backing this because the Packard Motor Car Co. has really been a very very fair company to deal with. We could say
that and we felt we were put out in a way to have to have this vote and the idea we had to stand out there in the cold and have that vote whereas other votes, we will say, for different organizations we have in the plant, are always allowed in the plant and it would have been just as simple for the company to arrange in that plant to take that vote and not have us waste the time we did and degrade us and have us standing out in the cold outside the plant.
The CHAIRMAN. The Labor Board determined how that should be done.
Mr. TURNBULL. The Labor Board wanted it in the plant but the company wouldn't allow it. They did, however, grant us their consent to that election.
Although only two votes were cast against us in that election the company has refused to bargain with us or to discuss our demands and the thing we have had to do now is to appeal for a hearing before the Labor Board over this question of general foremen. We have assistant foremen and foremen and general foremen in our organization and that is as high as we go because the next rank is the division manager and that is the man who in our opinion is an executive of the company. He at the end of the year gets a bonus on the output of work and he determines the policy of that division and we just carry out that policy. The company came along and said the division manager and the general foremen should not be in the organization and they will not deal with us until there is a ruling made on that. So far we are waiting on the Labor Board decision in that case. I would like to point out the result I have found personally since this organization came into being.
It has improved the morale not only of the foremen but it has improved it, I do believe, of the men in the shop. Those men somehow realize we also have a problem as well as they and we are not going to come to a man and say, “Come on, we have so much to do.” That is our job and those fellows realize that is our job to do. We get more and better results. Another way I find it, on Government work I suppose most of you gentlemen realize there is a certain amount of red tape such as transferring parts from one department to another. And when we come to build something we will find some small flaw or some small measurement is not correct. Usually the procedure would be to call either the inspector and he would write a big tag on that and send it through to what they call the salvage from there and it would go right back to the department and from there it would come to salvage and then to us. Perhaps it would take a week before we could get that piece out. Perhaps it is the main part of an engine and we would have to push it to one side. However, I find since then if I get anything wrong I look in the telephone directory to find out who is the foreman in the department where the piece was manufactured and not only get that piece repaired quickly but I am able to put him on the spot to the extent he knows that job is being run wrong and he can run right out and check the job in case the pieces are running that way and in that way we save an awful lot of scrap. Sometimes the foreman may say, "Just hang on to it. Don't bother to send it back. I will send over a man with a little drill and drill the hole out or something like that," and the job goes down the line without any slowing up or anything of the sort at all.