« PreviousContinue »
to have certain authority, and if they had such authority, why, then, they were not subordinate officials, but they would constitute officials and officers of the railroad. That is what the Interstate Commerce Commission said. When we have disputes of that kind we go to the Commission. They did that in the Missouri Pacific case, and the latest one is for February 15, 1943, where it involved 33 general and 22 assistant general yardmasters.
The Commission heard the arguments and it includes cities like Little Rock, Jacksonville, Kansas City, St. Louis, Wichita, Omahaand I am just giving you the larger populations—and the commission decided very appropriately that from the findings
We find that the orders of the Commission are in effect defining and classifying the work of employees or subordinate officials of common carriers by railroads, include the work of respondents' general and assistant general yardmasters aforementioned.
Now, I think there was something that came up here that someone introduced some evidence about. I have not had an oppportunity attend all these hearings; I wish that I could have, but I wired to a representative in Canada concerning a bill, I think it is No. 49, introduced in Ontario, Canada and the statement was made that that was endorsed by the A. F. of L. and the C. I. O. and the railroad union. I wired to our representative up there and also contacted the Canadian legation, and I find that is not true. Our brotherhoods, all the railroad organizations, which are international, do not approve that legislation. I got called out of bed last night by a telephone call from Montreal by the man who introduced the bill, and he told me that it passed the House yesterday. They have that law, but it is a collective bargaining bill, and whether it excludes subordinate officials or not I am not sure because I do not have a copy of the bill, but I think that it is wrong if they did exclude them.
Now, one of the stock arguments that has been used here is—if you permit these subordinate
officials to be represented by an organization, you will destroy the confidential relationship between management and employee. That is a stock argument. I have heard it for years before the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Some of you well know General Counsel Thom-he is now dead-and others. Judge Fletcher finally took his place, and they all argued about the destruction of this great confidential relationship and that it must remain. I want to answer thạt very specifically.
Before we were organized, we used to get definite instructions from superintendents and
management as to how we could defeat agreements made with the four brotherhoods. In other words, they had to tie-up within 16 hours. We had to tie them up prior to being on duty, less than 14 hours on duty, and when they started the next day they would start a new day, so we would call the yardmaster from the original terminal and say, "What is the last car in the train?” He would give us the number of it. We would give the conductor a message to set out that car. Well, they would run around the main line, pull the car back, set it out, and they would be on duty the proper time to see that we would not pay them a full day the next day, but they would start as a continuous trip.
The next morning we would give instructions to pick up that car, the same one they set out, merely to circumvent an agreement made with the brotherhood.
We were a kind of Gestapo, the sneak thieves, and we were looked upon in that way. I do not mind telling you, before we got organized, that they looked upon as as, well—they are the white collar men, avoid them and there was no real harmony because they were afraid of us.
Now, just to show you how that has worked out on a different basis since we have been organized, I can give you lots of illustrations. I have got 27 volumes of our history in my office here, and I can say to you that if you will take the first 4 volumes and read them, it is deplorable the things we were faced with, and how destructive it was deplorable the things we were faced with, and how destructive it was. There is much less criticism in the last volume because we get along together. We know how to handle our affairs and management is with us more cooperatively. I give an engineer a train order, and after he has traveled 40 or 50 miles, he has to stop for water. Now members of train crews will call up by telephone and ask, “Can you give me 5 minutes on a passenger train," although it may be on time, he may have to make a steep grade, maybe 3 percent or 272 percent, and he will say, "Yes, I can make it if you will give me that 5 minutes." Now, they
never used to call up and make any suggestions like that, because they thought, well, the hell with them.
Today engineers will call up at these places, or the conductor will call up and say: "Julius, if you will slip me 10 minutes on No. 1, I will make the hill.” That is cooperation. That is full-fledged cooperation. We have it all the way down the line. We work together a whole lot more wholeheartedly than we did before because that fear is eliminated.
The CHAIRMAN. What fear do you refer to?
Mr. LUHRSEN. Well, we would report them for the slightest infractions, and so on. Those were our instructions. We had to do it. In other words, if a man happened to pass a station 2 or 3 minutes ahead of time, even though it did not create any hazard, they knew that we would report it. Today they do not have that skepticism that we will report things on the slightest pretense. Therefore, they work closer with us in the handling and in the operation of trains in every conceivable way. That is a confidence between us.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Luhrsen, of course I do not want to be exacting with you here, but we have some other witnesses. The House meets at noon, and we would like to finish up. Would you mind confining your testimony strictly to your problem, if you can!
Mr. MARTIN. Is he appearing here in behalf of bill H. R. 2239?
The CHAIRMAN. And he is also against the manpower bill, the Wadsworth bill.
Mr. LUHRSEN. The fact is, today, you are having foremen that are our general chairmen, both of conductors, general chairmen of the entire system, selected in an official capacity.
You take Mr. Jeffers, the rubber czar. He still holds a card in the O.R. T., and he is happy about it and brags about it.
I am not going to dwell any longer on this. I have a lot of other definite information that I would like to put in the record to show that hundreds of labor organizations' best chairmen, even officers and trustees, have been selected by management and promoted to official positions of management, so the argument about confidential relationship is out.
The CHAIRMAN. One question. Is your group of train dispatchers affiliated with other groups of railway organizations, or is it independent?
Mr. LURKSEN. We are independent, but cooperating with the 20 organizations. My organization is listed among the 20, all working cooperatively.
Mr. MARTIN. I would like to ask how long your foremen have been actively organized with other workers.
Mr. LUHRSEN. It started principally, although some of them were represented earlier, but I think generally speaking since 1917 or 1920, when the Transportation Act was adopted with the amendment permitting subordinate officials to be represented by labor organizations.
Mr. MARTIN. And as far as you have observed, your affiliation in that way has resulted in great good and no additional controversy of any kind!
Mr. LUHRSEN. It has benefited the whole transportation industry. I say wonderfully. It certainly has not been detrimental.
Mr. JOHNSON. May I ask one or two questions?
Earlier in the hearings here, I asked a witness whether or not the conductors who are organized and have been for years, how they were different from foremen in other types of industries, and the answer I got was—their duties are so circumscribed by the specific and definite rules that that makes them different from a foreman in another type of plant.
What do you say about that?
Mr. LUHRSEN. Well, I do not think that there is such an awful lot of difference. The conductors' duties are prescribed ; so are the train dispatchers, the signal man—they are all prescribed in standard books of rules in a fundamental way.
Mr. Johnson. That is promulgated by the Interstate Commerce Commission?
Mr. LUHRSEN. No, by the A. A. R.
Mr. JOHNSON. I want to ask one question along the lines of that asked by the chairman. I notice in many of the regulations and rules in the classifications are made by the Interstate Commerce Commission. Of course, the Interstate Commerce Commission also has the power in the event the railroads are losing money to allow the rates to be increased so that they will not lose money. In your opinion, does that make the railroad group in a different category than the ordinary industrial group who have no way to get governmental permission to increase the price of their products?
Mr. LUHRSEN. The classification, if we go to that point first, before we get to rates, was not a doctrine created by the Interstate Commerce Commission itself, so far as the employees were concerned. The United States Railroad Labor Board, together with the assistance of one of the professors of Northwestern University, and a member of the Commission, jointly worked out classifications that would completely cover the man in his right position. Before it was not defined clearly enough. The Commission merely approved it. That was the occupational transportation report that I referred to.
Mr. Johnson. But they do have official supervision in a way that other industries do not have?
Mr. LUHRSEN. On rates they do have, and unfortunately I was very sorry to see the rate decision come at a most inopportune time,
as far as the 21 organizations are concerned now, because they were in the midst of a wage negotiation in Chicago. It gives management a very good argument to say, "Now, there should be no increase," although we started back in last September and followed the law.
Mr. Johnson. Is it not a fact that there is quite a shortage in the manpower situation on the railroads?
Mr. LUHRSEN. I wish I could answer that. The fact is, I do not have the information.
Mr. JOHNSON. Did not this committee that you referred to suggest that there was a shortage, that they needed men!
Mr. LUHRSEN. We were told 350,000, not our estimate.
Mr. Johnson. New men. That constitutes quite a shortage of manpower.
Mr. LUHRSEN. They are employing quite a lot. For instance, the Pennsylvania has 155,000 in their total employment, and Mr. Clements told us before the O. D. T. at our committee meeting that he was losing approximately 2,000 men a month, and he was reemploying 1,500 women a month and 500 men, young men. They put them in the lower classes and upgrade those in the higher scale. That is what they are doing now.
The CHAIRMAN. Are those women actually in the maintenance forces, track work?
Mr. LUHRSEN. They have some, as I understand, even in track work. They have some on the rear of trains as trainmen flagging, I understand. There would not be many.
Mr. JOHNSON. Is it not the situation-it is in my State that I am familiar with—that every single railroad employee that is working on a train that is called for duty is deferred, practically, so that you safeguard your manpower against losses in that way?
Mr. LUHRSEN, That is not true. I think that we have not an oversupply. Unfortunately, I do not know exactly what the situation is. I think principally it is with respect to the higher skills, although we have some shortage on the Southern Pacific. They are claiming they are short of all classes.
Mr. JOHNSON. They were very short last year in brakemen.
Mr. JOHNSON. They claimed deferment and many of them were granted deferment.
Mr. LUHRSEN. Not all of them because thousands of experienced railroad men are in the armed forces. Whenever you employ new men in the railroad industry, you are always inviting greater hazards. Take, for instance, a switching crew. If you hire a new man, he may not only disable himself through carelssness, he may disable three or four men. Generally speaking, we are short of manpower in certain classes on the railroads, and perhaps we will be more so, but we are doing a lot of upgrading and those 13 points that I spoke about, I will be glad to leave them with you and I will file them and give you copies of them. I have them in my office, and they show what we have agreed to do, which we think will help solve the manpower situation, and that is jointly worked out between our committee and the railroads and with the O. D. T.'s approval.
Mr. JOHNSON. Your organization is willing to eliminate the restrictive rules that were made in an entirely different situation for the duration of the war so that we could get more work out of the individual?
Mr. LUHRSEN. We have already voluntarily done so. In the first place, the Fair Labor Standards Act does not apply to the railroad industry so that you can work 48 hours before overtime rates apply. The record in the industry shows that we are working an average week of 51 hours. And absenteeism-I think that Mr. Fletcher wrote a letter to Congressman Vincent saying that there is no absenteeism on the railroads except where illness prevails. Now, that is the situation generally in the railroad industry.
Mr. JOHNSON. I think you did mention that the shop foremen are in the unions. Would that include foremen in the big shops, like the Southern Pacific shops?
Mr. LUHRSEN. Yes. There are six or more shop crafts—the boilermakers, the blacksmiths, the sheet metal workers, the electricians, and so forth. These organizations that I have named and others represent foremen and assistant foremen in these shops.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. STATEMENT OF JOHN T. CORBETT, ASSISTANT GRAND CHIEF ENGI
NEER AND NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVE, BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS
The CHAIRMAN, Mr. Corbett, will you come around, sir? Mr. Corbett, will you tell us your connection as a representative of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and give us your statement as briefly as you can? We have two or three other witnesses we have to hear.
Mr. CORBETT. My name is John T. Corbett. I hold the offices of assistant grand chief engineer and of national legislative representative for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. The headquarters of the organization is at 1118 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Building, Cleveland, Ohio. The local offices are at 10 Independence Avenue Southwest, Washington, D. C.
I appear in opposition to the provisions of the bills now under consideration by your committee-H. R. 992, H. R. 1742, H, R. 1728, and H. R. 2239.
For the record it appears proper to state that the Brotherhood rf Locomotive Engineers is one of the oldest labor organizations in the Nation and is the oldest of the railroad labor organizations, having been in continuous existence for 80 years. Its membership is composed of the most expert craftsmen in the world. There is no group of men who assume greater responsibilities. There can be no group which can show better successful results.
It is from the experiences of their many years of existence and their continued successful operation as workers that they offer their opposition to this legislation.
Mr. GATHINGS. Will the gentleman yield at that point! You gave the numbers of the bills. I wonder if you could not insert in the record the particular bills.
Mr. CORBETT. The what?
The CHAIRMAN. He says he opposes all of them. He gave them