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Mr. PENDERGRAS. Yes, I do. Since 1929 I have been told that by taking a job as assistant foreman I had to assume the responsibility of management; that I managed my own department. We have schools; we go to school continually, and that is taught to us all the time.
Mr. COSTELLO. How large is the Delco-Remy plant you are working in!
Mr. PENDERGRAS. I do not believe, in my capacity as a foreman, I would know that.
Mr. COSTELLO. I was wondering about how many men were employed and how many foremen are employed in that plant.
Mr. PENDERGRAS. I believe I could answer you as to the foremen. I believe about 400 foremen.
Mr. COSTELLO. Do not you think in some cases, where there are so many foremen engaged in a particular plant, that they might have identical problems that could be settled by taking them up as a group?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. Speaking for myself, the problems that come up in our department are things that actually happen right on the line, right in the department-things that the people and I are used to every day.
Mr. COSTELLO. Take the question of the pay scale of foremen, where there may be some difference of opinion regarding pay between the foremen and management affecting not just you individually, but the pay generally of all foremen; do not you think the only possible way you could work out a possible solution would be by the joint action of all foremen dealing with the plant owners?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. Would not that just mean I would just get a raise when John did, and when Joe did! In other words, I have progressed thus far on my own initiative
Mr. COSTELLO. You feel that each foremen, regardless of how much work he is doing, like you or any other foremen, is still an individual?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. That is the way I feel about it; yes, sir.
Mr. PENDERGRAS. As I answered awhile ago, I do not believe in my capacity as a foreman, I could give the number of people in the whole plant.
Mr. FENTON. How many foremen are there in the plant; do you know that?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. I have been told there are 400 foremen. It is quite a large organization.
Mr. FENTON. I understand you are president of an association of foremen. How many men belong to the foremen's association?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. There are 50.
Mr. FENTON. Did any of those foremen ever voice an opinion as to what they thought of H. R. 2239?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. No, sir. All I can say in answer to that is that I associate pretty closely with the foremen in the plant and I believe, if
they had been given an opportunity to come here and testify before you, they would
be telling you the same as I have. I believe that. Mr. FENTON. Then you are in favor of H. R. 2239 ?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. I am. I say "I am in favor of that"; I am in favor of the foremen not being allowed to belong to an organization for collective bargaining.
Mr. SHERIDAN. Mr. Pendergras, do not you feel that amending the Fair Standards Act or the Wagner Act would be preferable to prohibiting an organization of foremen through a special bill such as is proposed here?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. I do not just understand that.
Mr. SHERIDAN. Would not it be preferable to amend the Wagner Act or the Fair Standards Act in order to prohibit the unionization of foremen, rather than a special bill of wide latitude like the Smith bill? Mr. PENDERGRAS. Let me answer it this way,
Mr. SHERIDAN. I would like you to answer “Yes” or “No” and then qualify your answer.
Mr. PENDERGRAS. All right.
Mr. PENDERGRAS. No, sir; I am just a foreman in the plant. I know nothing about this kind of business. You fellows know your business here; I feel like I know mine in the shop. But this technical part of it, I just do not know that. Mr. JOHNSON. Do you have the right to hire and to fire? Mr. PENDERGRAS. Yes, sir.
Mr. JOHNSON. Some foremen do not have the right to hire and fire, do they?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. Our foremen have the right to hire and fire. When I say we have the right to hire, we have an employment agent and we go to him and tell
him what we want. Mr. JOHNSON. In other words, if you think a man is not measuring up, you go to the man above and tell him he ought to be fired? Mr. PENDERGRAS. I do not need to go to the man above. Mr. JOHNSON. Can can fire him? Mr. PENDERGRAS. I can fire him.
Mr. FENTON. Do you sit around the table when the employees bargain with the employer?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. No, sir.
Mr. FENTON. You are not that part of management that bargains with the employee?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. I bargain with him in my own department; just the people that work in my department. Mr. JOHNSON. You do not bargain with him on wages, do you? Mr. PENDERGRAS. Wages are set up by a scale.
Mr. JOHNSON. You have no right to raise wages or to lower wages, have you?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. We have a scale. In other words, I have some people that are allowed so much money. It is up to them as to how fast they get up in their work. I do have that right.
Mr. JOHNSON. To advance them?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. To advance them to a certain point, that is, to their top wage.
Mr. JOHNSON. Do you think if foremen were allowed to organize, and did organize, that would affect the workers down below you !
Mr. PENDERGRAS. As I have said, I have people who belong to unions and I have people who do not. I do not believe that I could go to them in a fair way; in other words, at least a part of them would lose their respect for me and I would not have respect for my operators as I have now.
Mr. JOHNSON. Would that reflect itself in your output ?
Mrs. LUCE. Mr. Pendergras, you are not a lawyer, but you are an American, and do you really favor a law that tells any American that it becomes a crime for him to join an organization, a peaceful organization, of his own choosing?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. I do not believe it would be a crime.
Mrs. LUCE. Well, this law says you become a lawbreaker if you join such a union, if it is passed. Do you, as an American, feel such a law would not interfere with your rights as a free man?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. May I answer this way: I believe, if the foremen were in an organization such as we are talking about, it would retard production,
Mrs. LUCE. That is not an answer to my first question.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, in the question you asked, Mrs. Luce, you say it would be a crime for him to join a union. That is not exactly correct. The bill does not provide that. It says if he does become a member of the union and does so and so, it becomes a crime.
Mrs. LUCE. That he is a lawbreaker.
The CHAIRMAN. He does not become a criminal until he does something contrary.
Mrs. LUCE. Does not the bill say if he does join such a union, he becomes a lawbreaker?
The CHAIRMAN. That would nullify the organization; or he might join a union and, if he did not do certain things set out in the bill
, he would not be violating the law. You can pass a law prohibiting him from doing certain things; then he cannot do them without violating the law.
Mrs. LUCE. And then, if he does it, he becomes a lawbreaker?
The CHAIRMAN. I say if you pass a law prohibiting him from doing it.
Mrs. LUCE. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, if he did do it, of course he would become a lawbreaker.
Mrs. Luce. We are in total and complete agreement, Mr. Chairman. I asked the witness if he favored a law that makes it a criminal offense for an American, no matter what he is working in or what his job is, to join an organization of his own choosing.
Mr. PENDERGRAS. If he joined an organization such as this, he would be a lawbreaker; because, in the end, it is going to retard production.
Mrs. LUCE. That is not the question. I am asking you do you think any law should be enacted which would prevent an American from joining an organization of his own free choosing—a peaceful organization of his own free choosing!
Mr. PFNDERGRAS. To that question, I would say no.
Mr. LUCE. Then you are against the provisions of this bill? Mr. PENDERGRAS. No; I am for it. Mrs. LUCE. I think your position is inconsistent. Mr. STEWART. Mr. Pendergras, do you believe it is good law to exempt a man, because he belongs to a union, who takes a pole and knocks a fellow in the head with it, on a strike!
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think that kind of examination should go any further.
Mr. STEWART. I want to get both sides of the question.
Mr. STEWART, I appreciate that, but I just want to ask his view on that, purely as a layman.
The CHAIRMAN. None of us believes in violence by anybody.
The CHAIRMAN. Maybe it is, but we tried to doctor that the other day, I think.
Mr. Fenton. I want to ask the gentleman what national union do the union men of your organization belong to?
Mr. PENDERGRAS. The people that work in our plant?
MOTORS, DETROIT, MICH.
Mr. BYRD. The Cadillac Motor Car Division. That is a division of the General Motors Corporation.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you a foreman?
The CHAIRMAN. What did you do prior to the time you were made a foreman?
Mr. BYRD. Prior to that I was an operator of various types of machines; that is, I was more or less compelled, as a necessity, during the depression era, to go back to the first trade of which I knew the ways and means to earn a livelihood by using the hands.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know about the bills that are pending here—the Smith bill, the O'Connor bill, the Wadsworth bill, and the other one?
Mr. BYRD. something of them; yes.
The CHAIRMAN. What bill are you appearing on; which one are you for or against ?
Mr. BYRD. It is relative to
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead and give us your statement as briefly as you can.
Mr. BYRD. I think to more or less explain it so it will be understood, I should state the duties that are performed by a foreman, the responsibilities that are directly his, what the scope of that responsibility covers, and attacking it from his qualifications; then from the mechanics angle, and then from the humanics angle, and bringing out the points, and I would like to have the privilege of only hitting the high points of those three.
First, from the mechanical angle, to handle effectively and cover the whole scope of the foreman's job requires some basic education, some in organization, a little in administration, planning, time studies, purchasing, storing, some cost finding, and naturally little statistical controls which allow you to more or less handle the situation from the business angle.
On the mechanics angle, it is quite reasonable that in times past, we will say 12 or 15 years ago, the mechanics angle was the predominant thing. It required that the man be picked for the job who knew everything pertaining to the actual operation throughout. However, with the advance in your tools, in machining, to the point that we have more or less standardized the higher skills, with the exception of tool, die, jigs and fixtures, pattern making, and certain types of welding, which are specific trades, the production skills are far less relatively required today than ever, and the humanics enter into it to a much larger degree. In fact, I would say it transcends in many places the work of a mechanical nature.
Therefore, in my capacity, I have complete control of everything pertaining to the department of which I am foreman, which consists of approximately 635 to 660, with the variation of manpower, and possibly, I would say, the largest training program of any department of the General Motors Corporation, and especially dealing with the younger people we have to bring in, and our replacement of manpower with the application of female labor. To do that means I have to set up and request specific amounts of money that I need to run this department, to cover the over-all picture. In those requests there are more times than one that I have been granted more than I requested, because of unforeseen conditions of added cost through various channels which I was not fully conversant with from the financial angle.
From the handling of the individuals and operations, naturally our production schedules are set up, and although, in all probability, Wright Feld has a great deal to do with it, it comes through management to myself as a part of that. And to do that, I have to be able to set up the manpower, or to handle the production end of it; buy all equipment, and state the procedures necessary in cooperation with engineering and with the various parts of the organization, particularly the specialists in that specific field.
Again, it is necessary that I spend an exceedingly large part of my time, we will say, in the humanics angle, inasmuch as this has been a matter of training in the conversion program from manpower, we will say, to womanpower. That has been, I would say, one of the most interesting parts of it; because it has done something for us that nothing else would during this era. They have stepped-up their jobs and