« PreviousContinue »
viduals, to have complete control over all the manpower of the Nation and to do with it just as they see fit, as I read it.
Mr. HENDERSON. That is correct, on the basis of the total set-up as outlined in the Tolan-Kilgore-Pepper bill.
Mr. COSTELLO. In other words, when you come down to it, this bill here would set up a new commission that would have complete control of all our manpower and would be able to direct it by reason of the general authority given it in general language.
Mr. HENDERSON. I would support the bill as it was offered as an amendment to the Bankhead bill in the Senate by Senator Pepper.
Mr. COSTELLO. You are in favor of a complete regimentation of all the workers in the country, whether they are in industry or on the farm, to do with as they see fit?
Mr. HENDERSON. I am in favor of winning the war and I am in favor of planning the economy of this country in an intelligent way to do that. If that means putting restrictions on industry and on indi. viduals, and so on, I am in favor of that.
For example, while the Tydings amendment was opposed by us and while again I think it did not get at the root of the problem, it certainly has much more to be said for it than H. R. 1728, and I would even go so far as to support, with the qualification that it does not get at the root of the problem, the position taken by the minority report in the hearings held before the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, signed by Senators Reynolds, Truman, O'Mahoney, Austin, Gurney, and Lodge. At least they make an effort there to set up a distinction between essential and nonessential commodities. They make an effort there to say that the man must be irreplaceable if he is to be deferred. They make an effort there to define some normal production which the man or person shall be carrying out with reference to agricultural work on the farm before getting deferment.
Mr. SPARKMAN. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SPARKMAN. I want to call your attention to Senate 729. On the basis of what you have just said, I cannot see why you are not vigorously supporting Senate 729, because it includes exactly the things that you have just recommended.
The CHAIRMAN. He is for a planned economy.
Mr. SPARKMAN. First, they must be engaged in the production of a war crop as provided for by the Secretary of Agriculture. Second, they must be on the farm. Third, they must be irreplaceable and found to be so by the selective service board. Furthermore, instead of doing the thing you say it does—immobilizing farm labor—it simply immobilizes it so far as farm labor is different from industrial labor, because that man can move from one farm to another or from one crop to another or from one section of the country to another. He is not immobilized. He is simply required to continue to do farm work.
I believe if you will study Senate 729 you will change your opinion about it.
Mr. HENDERSON. Well, I have, sir, but it has the same weaknesses that the Fulmer bill has so far as not at all tackling the heart of the problem, in my opinion.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Henderson, I am sorry, but we have a lady here and we would like to hear her before we recess.
Mr. HENDERSON. I was interrupted by questioning, and several of the points which I wish to make
The CHAIRMAN. I am afraid we are not going to have time. You can file your statement if you wish.
Mr. HENDERSON. This is not a statement. It is rather a series of notes.
The CHAIRMAN. You can put those notes in the record.
Mr. HENDERSON. I would like to make my main point. The bill has a definite effect on industry which is, in my opinion, bad from the point of view of the war. It has a very definite effect with reference to the Army and the whole plan
The CHAIRMAN. We understand that you are opposed to it. You have made a long statement here. We have to adjourn in a few minutes.
Mr. HENDERSON. If I may make one last point, because I wish this to be clear for the record-it does not need to be a long one or take much time-speaking for the agricultural wage workers that I represent-I cannot speak for the farmers and do not wish to-I want to be on record as opposed to any such class legislation as exempting farm wage workers as a whole from the Selective Service law.
Mr. MARTIN. Even though that interrupts the production of farm crops ?
Mr. HENDERSON. On the basis as approached in the Fulmer bill and the Bankhead
Mr. MARTIN. Even though it interrupts and interferes with the adequate production of food ?
Mr. HENDERSON. I said the exemption as a class, and I am not opposed to specific concrete exemptions.
Mr. MARTIN. We are dealing with a specific problem of raising adequate food.
Mr. HENDERSON. Speaking for the agricultural workers, I want that clear in the record, because I think that the general exemption of all manpower in agriculture will be resented by other groups in society both during the war and will be hard to live down and be resented by the farming population generally as a result of the attitude of other groups in society as a whole after the war.
If I may have your forbearance, the problem of morale is more important than almost any other single factor when it comes to production, whether it is on the farm
The CHAIRMAN. There is nothing wrong with the morale of the farmers nor the farm labor.
Mr. HENDERSON. My position is that the Fulmer bill and the Bankhead bill will definitely tend to create a feeling which will be harmful to morale, with reference to industrial labor as well as farm labor, and with respect to other groups in the community.
I will file with the committee, if they are pressed for time, the rest of this statement in the form I have it written here.
The CHAIRMAN. We will look it over. You can leave it with the clerk.
Mr. HENDERSON. Not in this form. I would prefer to
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
SUPPLEMENTARY STATEMENT ON H. R. 1728 AND S. 729 PRESENTED BY DONALD
HENDERSON, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT UNITED CAN NERY, AGRICULTURAL, PACKING AND ALLIED WORKERS OF AMERICA, CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS
Labor's attitude toward the agricultural manpower bills before this committee is determined by whether these bills will help to mobilize agricultural resources for the war, while taking into account the relationship between agriculture and our economy as a whole, or whether they will hinder such mobilization.
H. R. 1728 would put an over-all freeze on every individual who was engaged in an agricultural occupation or endeavor in any capacity during any part of the calendar year 1942. S. 729, while specifying that the freeze shall apply only to essential crops is bound by a definition of "essential" which includes short staple cotton and tobacco, and lists only a few insignificant crops such as popcorn, garlic, escarole, etc. as unessential. H. R. 1728 AND S. 729 WILL HINDER CONVERSION OF AGRICULTURE TO A WAR FOOTING
The plain fact is that while industry has accomplished a substantial conversion of its resources to war production, agriculture, 1 year and 4 months after Pearl Harbor, has not. Col. Lewis Sanders of Selective Service stated recently before a Senate appropriations subcommittee:
"* * agriculture has not made one single adjustment from the customary methods to meet a war condition. They have tried to meet it entirely by having the farmers working their heads off with inefficient misallocated labor. They have tried to do a good job, but they have been using their muscles rather than their heads."
More than one-third of our farms and one-third of the total man-hours which will be spent in agriculture in 1943, will be wasted on the production of cotton and tobacco, at a time when we have a 2-year supply of both crops on hand and when it has been abundantly proved that soybeans and peanuts will give superior yields of the oil and feed byproducts of cotton with the expenditure of much less labor.
H. R. 1728 and s. 729 will tie this enormous reserve of manpower down to the production of crops which we do not need, while growers of essential crops in areas where labor is needed will be deprived of workers.
FACTS ABOUT THE FARM LABOR SHORTAGE There has been much hue and cry about the shortage of agricultural labor with no consideration of where this labor is really needed.
Despite the claims of a labor shortage of three and a half to four million in agriculture, the average number of persons employed in agriculture was actually higher in 1942 than in 1941 and only 5 percent less than during the 1935-39 period of surplus farm labor, according to figures of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
Average number of persons employed in agriculture 1935-39
10, 920, 000 1941
10, 361, 000 1942
10, 397, 000 The so-called need for three to four million workers represents a normal seasonal change which takes place each year. During 1942 agricultural employment rose from a low in January of 8.2 million to a peak of 11.7 million. This seasonal increase is exactly what took place in previous years. During the first 3 months of 1943, agricultural employment was actually larger than in 1942, according to the Bureau of the Census. 1942: Million 1943 :
Million January8.2 January
8.7 February8.4 February
8.8 March 8.9 March
9.0 The real farm labor problem is a problem of sensibly distributing the labor we have where it is needed for war production. Deferments of necessary work
ers should be granted in essential agricultural production, just as deferments are granted to irreplacable workers in industry.
The legislation before this committee makes no provision for assisting the family-sized farm which has been hard hit in many cases by drafting of necessary workers. It makes no provision for supplying or training year-round workers where there have been shortages and it makes no provision for mobilizing seasonal workers who formerly migrated under their own power.
If the total supply of agricultural labor had been rationally distributed in 1942, these problems could have been met. National distribution requires the release of workers who are tied down to the production of crops we do not need, training of workers for specialized year-round jobs, and a program of Government transportation directed toward mobilizing labor where it is needed instead of freezing workers where they can make no contribution to war production.
The proposed legislation not only fails to stimulate improved methods of utilizing labor; it positively encourages improper utilization by its failure to set up any standards of productivity as a basis for deferment. It even fails to provide for the release of labor from agriculture to the armed forces or to industry where qualified replacements are available.
EFFECT OF LEGISLATION ON INDUSTRY AND THE ARMED FORCES Not only do the Bankhead and Fulmer bills fail to solve any problems of agricultural production, they have been conceived with no concern for their effect on the rest of our war economy and on the manpower programs of the armed services,
Legislation freezing agricultural manpower will result either in disruption of industrial production or in a failure to meet the manpower goals of our armed services. Selective Service quotas which are not met by agriculture will have to be met by industrial areas-or they will not be met. While agricultural workers are frozen in the production of unessential short staple cotton, industrial workers making planes, tanks, and guns will have to be released to give the armed services the men they need to fight the war. In 29 States it is estimated that the urban population would have to give twice its fair share of men to the draft, and in several States as many as four times its fair share would be required from industrial areas.
If the armed services do not drain manpower from essential industry they will be forced to cut their manpower goals. Such crippling of fighting forces is the avowed aim of some of the proponents of freezing legislation who believe that we should let others fight the war for us.
EFFECT ON MORALE OF FARMERS AND FARM WORKERS Finally, the proposed legislation will produce resentment among the farmers and agricultural workers who will be placed by it in a special category-not available to fight for their country. It will have an unfortunate effect on the morale of this section of the population during the war and it will have effects after the war which will be hard to live down.
STATEMENT OF ALICE BALMER, WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVE,
UNITED OFFICE AND PROFESSIONAL WORKERS OF AMERICA The CHAIRMAN. Miss Balmer, will you state your name and whom you represent?
Miss BALMER. My name is Alice Balmer. I am the Washington representative of the United Office and Professional Workers of America, affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
Among the 50,000 members of our organization are many who are generally considered "executive, administrative, professional, or supervisory employees,” and to whom the Smith bill, H. R. 2239, ostensibly seeking to debar “foremen,” would deny the right of membership in a union of their own choosing and the right of collective bargaining.
The members of the United Office and Professional Workers of America are employed by insurance companies, financial institutions, social-service agencies, book and magazine publishing firms, advertising agencies, and in commercial manufacturing offices, some of which are engaged in direct war production and virtually all of which are engaged in services related to the war effort.
Many thousands of salaried employees described as "executive, administrative, professional, or supervisory," have been taking up membership in our organization since its establishment in 1937. For these employees, membership in this organization and the democratic process of collective bargaining have been the guaranties of adequate wage standards, satisfactory working conditions, and redress of grievances.
In every instance where collective bargaining has covered employees of the character whom this bill would now exclude, it has contributed to more harmonious relationships and more effective functioning of the enterprises in which they have been employed.
This bill, H. R. 2239, would deprive these employees of the rights which they enjoy not only by virtue of an act of Congress, but also because of the democratic traditions of our Nation.
Naturally, we are primarily concerned with the effect of the bill upon the employees who now hold membership in our organization, or who come within the jurisdiction of our organization. However, there are other sections of the bill which, while their effects upon our membership are less direct are nevertheless of great concern to us as an organization representing office and professional workers in this country, and as a unit of the organized labor movement in America.
The stated purposes of the proposed legislation areto insure uninterrupted service by those employed in such undertakings (i. e. industrial enterprises of the country in mining, agriculture, manufacture, production, and distribution) and to prevent the useless waste of existing manpower.
H. R. 2239 also makes a declaration in behalf of the Congress of the United States that an obligation rests upon every person to render such personal service in aid of the war effort as he or she may be deemed best fitted to perform.
These desirable objectives will not be furthered by the proposed legislation. On the contrary, the denial of the right to organize to the several millions of Americans who make up the executive, administrative, professional, and supervisory workers of the Nation and the denial of means of adjusting wage or other problems, will defeat these objectives. Any group of employees, no matter how loyal they may be to our Nation and its war effort and no matter how great the responsibilities they hold, cannot be expected to perform their responsibilities with the maximum efficiency if they are compelled to suffer from unadjusted wage problems or other grievances and are denied any form of adequate redress.
The intent of this bill can best be achieved by encouraging free collective bargaining among all sections of the working population of the country. The experience of our Nation in the war effort has amply demonstrated that as a result of their membership in labor organizations and their right of collective bargaining, the American working people have made an amazing record of continuity