« PreviousContinue »
Mr. GATHINGS. In the shifting of this labor from one part of the country to another and from one field of endeavor to another industry do you think that labor should be required to join a union or enter into a closed shop arrangement, or do you tuink that labor should go and if they desire to do so may join or not join a union at their choice? · Secretary PATTERSON. Well, that gets into another field altogether, Mr. Gathings. I do not know that my views on that have been formulated with reference to this particular act.
The CHAIRMAN. The act itself provides they may or may not do so. Mr. GATHINGS. In what section?
Mr. SPARKAMN. It is a proposed amendment which has been introduced in the Senate. It has been proposed in the hearings.
Mr. GATHINGS. It is not in the text of the bill here as I see it.
Mr. GATHINGS. I just wanted to ask if there is any amendment of that kind.
Secretary PATTERSON. I was not aware there was an amendment and I have not worked out my views with reference to this particular detail.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary; we are sorry to have kept you so long.
(Whereupon the committee adjourned to Wednesday, April 14, 1943, at 10 a. m.)
AFTERNOON SESSION (The hearing reconvened at 1:45 p. m., pursuant to the taking of recess.)
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order.
Our next witness is Mr. Ernest L. Bell, executive secretary, Citizens Committee for a National Service Act.
Tell us what you think about this Wadsworth bill.
STATEMENT OF ERNEST L. BELL, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, CITIZENS COMMITTEE FOR A NATIONAL WAR SERVICE ACT
Mr. BELL. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am the executive secretary of the Committee for the National War Service Act. The committee was formed late last fall after some of its members had made an exhaustive study of the manpower situation in this country.
The committee was originally organized on a small scale. Mr. Douglas Arant of Birmingham, Ala., is the chairman of the committee. Mr. Henry Cabot of Boston, Mass., is vice chairman. Mr. Grenville Clark is secretary and treasurer, and as I have previously stated, I am executive secretary:
The CHAIRMAN. By having a treasurer, do you mean to admit that you have got some money?
Mr. BELL. I think that we have a small amount of money. I believe that I heard it stated yesterday that the treasury had a few hundred dollars, and that was all.
It is the plan of the committee to extend its activities throughout the entire country in order that its organization may be Nation-wide and it is going through that process now, organized on the basis of the service commands.
The committee unanimously backs, and is in favor of the AustinWadsworth bill, and the amendments as to labor and administration which are before you gentlemen at this time.
I will now state the reasons why I feel this legislation is necessary. May I say first that I think we have been fighting this war with one hand tied behind our backs. We have not had our whole team on the field, for the reason that we have not had the adequate legal facilities necessary to mobilize our manpower and womanpower.
In total war it is absolutely necessary that we have total mobilization of industry and manpower. No matter how much we may expand our armed forces, it is not of full effect unless there goes along with it on the part of the entire country a corresponding effort, not only to provide the armed forces with materials which they need to fight the war, but also to adequately provide the civilian population with its essential needs.
I recall going into Germany with the army of occupation in the last war, it seemed to me that one great fact that contributed most to the downfall of the German Army was the failure of its people to provide themselves with the necessities of life. Therefore, their morale dropped, and they failed to give full support to their armed forces and you gentlemen know what eventually happened. They had to surrender.
Now, we must be careful not to get our own country into that same situation. We all know what a lack of proper food, clothing, heat, and living necessities will do to the morale of our population.
Now, we are faced with a serious food shortage. A slowing down of production of war materials, both military and civil, due to a maldistribution of manpower and womanpower, serious turn-over of employees in essential industry, all impeding our war effort.
This bill, if passed, would do several things so far as morale is concerned. It would certainly bolster up the morale of our people. It would bolster the morale of our allies because they would then know that we are wholeheartedly in this war and mean to see it through to a victorious climax.
It would be bad news to our enemies because they go along on the assumption that we are usually late and do not quickly bring our entire resources to the front. I think that it is much better for us to have “too much too soon rather than have too little too late.”
I believe our delay has resulted from our failure to look the entire problem squarely in the face. Therefore our Government--not Congress-through coercive mandate, indirect sanctions, and an attempted perversion of the Selective Training and Service Act has sought to accomplish the thing which Congress should itself do speaking the will of the people. That is, enact a law which would give to the proper authorities the right to legally control and allocate manpower in order that we may get the full mobilizatiom, the complete mobilization which we need.
May I say that I live in a rural community in New Hampshire. I read an article the other day in a New York newspaper that stated that by deferring those who work on farms, and those men who will go back from industry to the farms, the yellow paint has been put on the mail boxes outside of the farm doors. What was that insinuation? To me it meant that they were saying that the farm boys were yellow, that they were cowardly, they were afraid to fight. That is not so at all. I think that history has demonstrated through the
years of our existence as a nation that the best fighters in our armies came from the farms, and I feel that the War Department today would say that among its best soldiers are found the young men from the farms. The methods used are casting an unfair reflection upon the farm boys.
The use of the Selective Service and Training Act (a military act) for something else, other than the use intended is wrong, is deceitful and fraudulent. When we tell men to work or fight, without legal sanction, we are committing a fraud upon our people.
I want to give you an example of what I mean. In our little city we have a comptroller, a young man who worked for years in a machine tool shop. He wanted to better himself, so he went to school night after night and studied accounting. At last he qualified for his job with the city. He gets $2,400 a year. He had experience as a machine tool maker. The United States Employment Service sent for him to come to its office. He went, and they said to him, “We have looked up your record and we find that you were a machine tool maker. Now, we want you to resign your job at the city hall and go to work in the Kingsbury machine tool plant."
This chap was bright enough to say, "I will not do it. I worked hard for this job; I have several children, and they now have a better opportunity and chance than I ever had, and I want to keep that job.” They threatened action by the draft board. He replied to the threat, "When my Government has a law which will compel me to go to work wherever they want me to, I will go; and I will go without threat or compulsion and not until then. Good-bye, gentlemen.”
Is that the proper spirit? No; nevertheless I think he was right in his argument; this is the kind of morale the use of indirect coercions create.
The other day two men came into the employment office in this same city and said to the man in charge, "We want a job down at the tannery, and the official of the employment service said, "What have you been doing?” They both replied, “We have been working making drill tools down in Fitchburg.” The official said, "Did you have a good job?” They said, “Yes; we made more money than we ever made before in our lives." The official asked, "Why didn't you stay?” They said, “You know our wives live in the country, and we had to be away all week, they did not like it so they made us give up our jobs and come back home, so we gave them up."
They were both valuable men that were needed in war production, but because they are away from home and their wives objected, they gave up their jobs and came back and took one which was of a much lesser contribution to effort than the one they had before. The Wadsworth bill would have enabled the Government to have kept these men on their proper jobs.
Well, I could go on and cite to you innumerable examples of the failure of the indirect-sanctions-coercive mandates and lack of a proper law.
I have traveled over New England and have spoken to a great many gatherings and have talked to many hundreds of people during the last 4 months, and I have yet to find one who voiced approval of the use of the methods which the Government has been employing in an effort to mobilize manpower resources.
As to certain industries which are having difficulty, first, and I do not want to repeat anything Judge Patterson said to you this morning.
Not long ago I talked to Mr. Francis Brownell about what was happening in the smelting plants of the copper industry, and he said on that day that they needed to bring their production up to normal, that they needed 1,500 men. He further stated, “We talked to our colored employees and asked them if they would work a few more hours each week in order to build up production, and they all made this very significant reply: Boss, we do not want any more money if we have got to work for it.' ” They were satisfied with what they were earning. They wanted to bask in the sun and take it easy. They were not interested in building up the needed full production.
Also, gentlemen, I think that old song applies as far as miners are concerned that were working in the desert who are now working in the shipyards, munitions plants, and airplane factories, where they are making more money than they have ever made before in their lives, "How are you going to keep them down on the farm after they see Paree?”, applies. How can you ever get them back from the shipyards, the airplane factories, the munition plants, and the bright lights until you have a law that could be used if necessary to compel them to go back?
Consider the lumber industry. I communicated with the secretary of an association of lumbermen, and was told, gentlemen, that the industry needed 70,000 men immediately in order to bring their production up to its normal level-that is, the production level demanded by this war. A law such as we are considering is the only means by which men can be brought back into this industry.
A Mr. Blandin, of Bath. New Hampshire, has the largest contract for wood pulp that has ever been let in northern New England. He cannot get pulp out because he cannot get the men to cut it. Neither can he get the men to drive the trucks to haul the pulp to the river after it is cut, nor can he get the individuals to work the drive down the Connecticut River to the pulp mills.
Paper is essential and necessary in the conduct of this war. This law would help to get out the pulp needed.
On the railroads we have another critical situation. Not much has been said publicly about railroads, but in the month of February the executives of the Association of Labor Organizations and many of the company executives got together and discussed the manpower problem. They came to the conclusion that the railway industry would need 350,000 to 450,000 additional workers in 1943 in order to keep the railroads functioning as they should. Where are they going to get them? This bill would help materially to solve the problem.
We have vast industrial areas with great concentration of employment, and we also have a great scattering of our labor supply. These facts make our problem one of control and allocation. The critical needs of the copper industry, the lumber industry, the railroad industry, and the farm industry can only be best obtained by the passage of this law.
May I say that I do not believe that we have a scarcity of manpower. What we need is a control and allocation. Now, once we have the control, that is, a law such as is proposed here, then we will have a sufficient number of volunteers so the allocation can properly take place and compulsion would be little used.
The CHAIRMAN. If they do not volunteer as you anticipate after the enactment of this legislation, would you favor compulsory induction or compulsory enlistment of women?
Mr. BELL. Yes, I do. I favor compulsory conscription of women, and I think it would work out in grand style. I think the women are just as patriotic as the men and they want to do all they can to help. They are eager to help, and if they are directed and told what to do, and if there is some machinery that will direct them, they will volunteer. The conscripting of manpower and womanpower for noncombatant service in a war effort, in my opinion, does not reflect upon the individual. I think such service would be a privilege and the performance of a duty similar in respect to service in the armed forces. May I say along the line of your inquiry, sir, that the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc., have submitted a statement by Dr. Minnie L. Maffett, their president, in which they state that the age limit in this bill is too low; that it ought to be increased to 65.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, the maximum age is too low?
Mr. Bell. She does not say anything about them in this. May I offer this in evidence.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Let the record show that it is submitted and included in the record at this point.
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
FIFTY-YEAR AGE LIMIT FOR WOMEN IN NATIONAL SERVICE ACT UNWISE (Statement by Dr. Minnie L. Maffett, president, the National Federation of
Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc., New York, N. Y.) The National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, wishes to call attention to the inadvisability of fixing an upper age limit of 50 years for women as suggested in the National Service Act. The setting of a different age limit for women than for men is basically unsound for the following reasons:
(1) Women are as physically fit for work at 50 as are men at the same age. As a matter of fact, a conservative gynecologist a few years ago made the statement that, after the midperiod of life when a woman has passed beyond the emotional upset that is at times experienced, "there are left to her at least two decades of the best years of her life" during which time she can render her most effective service to her community and to her country,
Statistically, it is frequently stated that the span of life for men is 60 and for women 65. This is reasonable evidence that an age differential between men and women, at this crucial time in our country's history when we need the utmost of manpower, is entirely untenable.
The English equivalent to our National Service Act applies to women up to 60. The bill introduced last year providing for a national registration of women fixed the age limit at 18 to 65. The National Federation, according to a recent vote of its board of directors, and according to an opinion poll taken of its members, believes emphatically that the upper age limit should be 65.
(2) Experience in our own country is daily proving that older women are a valuable asset to our war effort. Just a few weeks ago a nationally recognized research bureau, the National Industrial Conference Board, surveyed employer opinion with regard to women workers. The report disclosed that "with unanimity employers are agreeing that the older woman is proving among the most able and dependable employee. Some employers follow a policy of placing an older woman with each group of workers, as a stabilizing influence. Several companies, including heavy industries, are pointing with satisfaction to the large numbers of grandmothers among their personnel.”
The same agency has pointed out in the past that older women are more stable emotionally, and have a lower turn-over rate than the younger women under 30.
A similar conclusion was reached several months ago in an article published in Advanced Management, a quarterly journal of the Society of the Advancement of Management. It is there stated that "some companies have found that middle-aged women with comparatively few family responsibilities are more stable workers than younger women."