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of the American people. When the power of the ballot has gone, or has been seriously interfered with, then the heart of democracy has stopped beating.
4. The mothers and fathers of young American daughters will permit their minor daughters to do war work on farms and in factories in their home neighborhoods, or in conditions approved by their parents, only if the necessities of war make this urgent, but they will bitterly resent and oppose any bureaucratic interference with the orderly upbringing of their children.
In conclusion, I may say that as the wife of a United States consul, a career man in the State Department, I have recently spent 10 years in Brussels and London. I had an opportunity to visit and study the conditions of the people in 14 different European countries, and I found in some of these countries a very different psychology than we have among our own people here. The people submit themselves to these dictator systems, but I do not think the American people will stand for such a system.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you for your statement. STATEMENT OF LEE C. GUNTER, KNOXVILLE, TENN., PRESIDENT,
SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN COAL OPERATORS' ASSOCIATION The CHAIRMAN. The next witness is Mr. Lee C. Gunter, of Tennessee. Will you tell us where you live, whom you represent, and give us a statement in reference to the matter we have under consideration?
Mr. GUNTER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, my name is Lee C. Gunter; I am from Knoxville, Tenn. I am president of the Southern Appalachian Coal Operators' Association, which operates in northern Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky.
We have about 52 coal mines in our association, which produce about 612,000,000 tons of coal a year.
I have no prepared statement to submit to the committee, but after listening to the very able statement made by Mr. LaViers, I do not know that there is a great deal to be added to what he said.
The legal angle was covered a few days ago by Senator Burke, and the general conditions around the coal mines were covered by Mr. Clark.
About all I want to say is that we believe that this bill will do what it purports to do; that is, to fully utilize the facilities of the local industry in the war effort.
We believe that can best be done by keeping our supervisory, managerial forces out of the union.
Under the present contract which we have with the United Mine Workers, and which we have had for many years, all of the supervisory, executive, and managerial forces are exempted from the terms of the contract. This exemption has been carried, to my own knowledge, since 1933.
These classes have been exempted for the reason that the United Mine Workers themselves realized that there was a distinction between the managerial force and the workers at the mines.
It is impossible for one who is familiar with coal mining, and I think the same probably is true in other industries—to conceive how an efficient operation of a mine can be obtained while the foreman or
other people in the supervisory force are members of the same union to which the men belong, or for that matter of any other union.
We are operating under the closed-shop provision. Under this provision, it is not only necessary that each employee should be a member of the United Mine Workers but that he should retain his membership. There is the club which is constantly hung over the heads of the workers, and would be held over the heads of the foremen in the event that they became members of the same union.
If a man cannot hold his job at the mine because he is not a member of the United Mine Workers, that means he cannot get a job anywhere else in the coal-mining industry and will have to seek new employment in other fields.
As long as foremen are representatives of the management, and they are direct representatives of the management, they are not subject to that influence which would come to them as the result of membership in the union.
It is inconceivable that they could enforce the rules and regulations of the company or carry out the policies or plans of the company if they belonged to a union.
There is always a strong tendency around coal mines for the men to encroach as far as possible on the rules and regulations of the company. Most of these rules have been worked out as the result of years of operation of mines and are primarily designed for the safety of the men. But there is always that human inclination to go as far as possible in the infraction of these rules, and the only protection which the company has is in the form of a managerial force.
It is their duty to see that these men do not break the rules and do not take unnecessary risks because one of the principal duties of my foremen in all of their capacities, under whatever name they are called, at various mines, some assistant foremen, some subforemen, supervisors, safety directors, or by some other title, is that they have some general force attached to it. It is their duty principally to look out for safety, because coal mines are hazardous places in which to work.
It is the duty of the foremen to see that the top is safe and that the working places are secure for the miners.
On the other hand, while the miner would naturally be supposed to want to take care of that sort of thing, he is inclined to take certain risks. He looks at the top in his room and the forman says that should be strengthened. He says, “I think that is pretty good.” But if you get the coal out then it will fall in. Then the foreman has to return a second time to make sure that the miner has made himself safe.
The foreman also has to exercise supervision of the air in the mine to see that pure air is in the mine, in compliance with the State law, because this foreman is not only a part of the management of the mine, but he is under the jurisdiction of the State mine inspectors, and he has to pass an examination before a State mine inspector to qualify him and show that he has the ability to keep the place safe, to see that the air is kept pure, that proper explosives are used, and that everything is done in accordance with the State laws.
It would be practically impossible for that man to exercise the necessary supervision in the mine in the event he were a member of the union along with his fellow members.
Under our closed-shop situation he would always have before him the threat of having his membership in the union taken away from him and the consequent loss of his job. The same principle applies whether he would be a member of another union or not. He would still have that same union spirit and feeling and could not possibly carry out the plans and policies of the management. So there would be a loss of the efficiency of the mine, a loss of production. So the organization of these foremen directly ties itself up with the war effort to the extent that if we want to get the largest possible production of his basic necessity for the war, the foremen should remain an independent group part of the management, to carry out the plans and policies of the management without being hampered or restricted by union membership at any mine.
Mr. FENTON. Do you consider assistant foremen as State employees?
Mr. GUNTER. We say that they are State employees, but they do have a public character. Before they are allowed to assume those duties in the mine they are required to pass an examination before the State mining department's certificate of competency is issued to them. That certificate can be canceled or withdrawn by the State at any time that they feel that such a man has become incompetent, and to that extent he is under the control of the State officials.
Having received his certificate, he is part of the managerial force and reports directly to the mine management. But he is required at all times to keep in mind the fact that there are certain State laws which govern the operation of all mines, and that these laws must be observed, or else he will lose his certificate and no longer be qualified as a foreman.
Mr. FENTON. You do not agree with some of the testimony offered the other day which caused some controversy, that testimony being to the effect that it was practically impossible for the supervisory employees to enforce State mining laws in coal mines, because of the fear of being discharged ?
Mr. GUNTER. No, sir; I do not agree with that.
In the first place, both the mine boss and the foreman want to carry out such laws because, as a general proposition--there may be exceptions to it—but as a general proposition these State laws have been developed by both the employees and the operators as the result of years of experience in the mines, and the mine foreman feels that there is a necessity for the protection of life in the mines and the protection of the company's property. There may be, and probably are, occasional operators who seek to violate some of these regulations, but as a general rule the predominant number of operators in the industry want to follow the State laws, because they feel that is for their protection in the ownership of property as well as the protection of the lives of the men.
Mr. FENTON. I am sure, Mr. Gunter, you would not want this committee to understand that there is no evidence showing that foremen and assistant foremen must be in the room of the miner to tell him every detail about the condition of the roof!
Mr. GUNTER. No, sir; that, of course, is not possible. That would require one boss for each employee, and that is not practical.
Mr. FENTON. In other words, a miner must have initiative and know about the condition of the roof?
Mr. GUNTER. That he should know, and it is also the duty of the mine foreman to see that he does do it, and in most mines the foremen are required to make regular visits to the rooms in which miners are working, and they are given only a sufficient number of rooms to keep them employed so they can see the rooms perhaps once or twice a day.
Mr. FENTON. The mine inspectors are required to make periodic inspections?
Mr. GUNTER. Yes; the State mine inspectors. Of course, their inspections come at much longer intervals, from 3 to 6 months, and sometimes longer. But the mine foreman must inspect each working place at least once a day. He is given only the number of rooms that he can look after without delay, each day, making daily inspections.
Mr. FENTON. Are your fire bosses, assistant foremen, and foremen given power to hire and fire?
Mr. GUNTER. Generally, they are. In some mines they do not have
Where they do not have the power to actụally hire and fire they have the right to recommend hiring or firing, and their standing with the company is such that their recommendations carry weight, as to the reduction of a man in employment, or as to his discharge.
Mr. FENTON. What are the hours of the fire bosses who enter the mines?
Mr. GUNTER. Our standard working day in the coal industry is 7 hours. We mine at present from face to face. A good deal of argument is being developed now on that.
The CHAIRMAN. And also 5 days a week?
Mr. GUNTER. He is supposed to be there every day the men are working in the mine.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the time of the regular working day?
Mr. GUNTER. From 7 o'clock in the morning generally; the work time varies some in different localities, making allowance for train service and things of that sort; but generally in our territory 7 o'clock is the hour in the morning, and 2:30 o'clock is the hour when the men leave.
Mr. FENTON. The fire boss enters the mine at 7 o'clock?
Mr. GUNTER. And stays until 2:30. Often if he finds it necessary he comes out later. He does not observe strictly the same hours that the miners observe.
Mr. FENTON. What time do the miners enter the mine?
Mr. GUNTER. It varies. Then we have to consider the length of travel that has to be made inside the mine. The miner is supposed to be at his working place at 7 o'clock and leave his working place at 2:30 o'clock, having had 30 minutes for lunch. He will have to enter the mine earlier than that, depending on how far back his working place is.
Mr. FENTON. Does not that make the fire boss have to go in earlier?
Mr. GUNTER. I do not know the exact hour, but long enough in advance to make the proper inspections.
Mr. FENTON. As a matter of fact, does not the Tennessee law state that he must make the inspection before the miners enter!
Mr. GUNTER. I think it does.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you hear Mr. Laviers state that an attempt had been made to organize supervisory employees by the United Mine Workers? Mr. GUNTER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you seen any evidence of that in your section of the country?
Mr. GUNTER. Yes; there has been some effort made to organize various groups. To what extent it has been carried is pretty hard for the employers to find out. We do not know that there has been a very strong effort made to organize all of the mine foremen of various classes, and that has probably extended into other groups.
The CHAIRMAN. You mentioned the fact that the mine foreman, if he belonged to the United Mine Workers, which is the same union to which the employees he directs belong, might possibly incur the displeasure of some workers, or come in conflict with their union in connection with his management, and if he did he would probably lose his job. If they insisted that he withdraw from the union he would lose his union connection and you could not any longer employ him?
Mr. GUNTER. That would be the effect of it. If he incurs the displeasure of the men it is easy to find any kind of a charge they want to bring to deprive him of his union membership, and when he loses his union membership he would lose the right to act as foreman, not only in that mine but in any other coal mine in the United States, and he would have to seek some new class of employment entirely.
STATEMENT OF R. H. NICHOLAS, CHIEF MINE INSPECTOR FOR THE
PITTSBURGH COAL CO., PITTSBURGH, PA. The CHAIRMAN. The next witness will be Mr. Nicholas.
Mr. Nicholas, will you tell the committee your name, your position, whom you represent, and give us your statement as briefly as you can!
Mr. NICHOLAS. I am R. H. Nicholas, chief mine inspector for the Pittsburgh Coal Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. My 40 years' mining experience covers that of a miner, fire boss, assistant mine foreman, mine foreman, superintendent, mine inspector, and now chief mine inspector and safety director.
My work for the past 30 years has been in mine safety.
Safety for the worker and the mines in times of war requires more and better supervision than in normal times, because life appears to become cheap. New men and old miners who have been unemployed for a long period make the job of maintaining discipline and safety much more difficult. We hired more than 4,000 men last year.
Supervision for safety must be given by the mine foreman, assistant mine foreman, and fire boss. They alone must maintain discipline. There is no other direct contact with the worker.
The trend in accidents in our mines is a good indication of how the let down in discipline affects the safety of the worker.
Our compensable accidents increased 43 percent in 1942 as compared to 1941. Based on days lost this accounted for 65,000 tons of lost production. Comparing the months of January and February this