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SITUATION IN MACON, GA.
In Macon, Ga., the question of a training school for Negroes to match a white training school was greatly agitated. There were 5,000 Negroes who held a meeting. They were very much interested in having this done. The Reynolds Metals Co. agreed to put a training school in, and I think that the morale of the town has vastly improved.
WORK WITH PROCUREMENT AGENCIES
I should like to say just a word about our work with the procurement agencies over the year. We have worked very closely with the War Department, the Navy Department, and the Maritime Commission in various situations. In St. Louis in particular, where many munitions and war manufacturing plants are located, there was a critical shortage of small-arms ammunition early in this year. In collaboration with the Army, we have gotten unutilized Negro labor very largely into that service.
If I may, Mr. Chairman, I should like to file with you one letter from the U. S. Cartridge Co., a most important munitions plant there, with some 12,000 workers, who, I am happy to say, have worked out their problems and are gracious enough to give us some credit for it.
Mr. Ross. As to the problems ahead, I have said we stand at the Crossroads, with the shifting in employment that will be necessary after VE-day. I am sure that everyone here is perfectly familiar with the Byrnes report, and with Mr. Krug's estimate that 3 months after VE-day Army production will be cut 50 percent. That will involve many shifts in employment in addition to the permanent cut-backs. We have made close studies of the possible impact of these shifts on minority employment.
We are working closely with the War Manpower Commission. We are also sitting on some of the planning committees.
As we see it, in the large, wherever a minority group is concerned there is some chance for discrimination, so that the very shifting of one kind of production from one plant to another and from one place to another may involve barriers to minority employment.
We also see an over-all danger, and that is that the Negroes have obtained their greatest war employment in the very war industries that are going to be cut back first: in shipbuilding, where the Byrnes report says that Libertys are going to be cut from 142 to 24; and in naval construction where the big naval vessels are going to be cut from 84 to 12. Many Negroes will be out of work when these cut-backs come. The same is true in aircraft and other prime war industries.
We are concerned that in the reconverted industries, when they begin to make radios, refrigerators, and other consumer goods, our Executive order will not extend to a plant wholly reconverted, and those are just the places where the cut-back minority workers will be seeking employment. We think that a close eye on that situation is obligatory on us, although there is no jurisdiction under our war authority for any intervention in a plant that has been wholly reconFerted.
PROGRAM FOR COMING YEAR
We have, sir, on page 5 of this presentation four major points that we presume we will have to administer over the coming year, under major program activities.
FORMULATION AND INTERPRETATION OF POLICIES
First is the formulation and interpretation of policies. My committee, as you know, is comprised of myself, full-time, and six other members who have their own vocations. We have met 11 times during the last year to formulate policies, and a good deal, of course, must be done by the resident staff working out policies and presenting them to the committee for their final approval.
SPECIFIC COMPLAINTS OF DISCRIMINATION
The second activity is the receipt, investigation, and adjustment of specific complaints of discrimination in employment, including the conducting of hearings and the issuance of decisions. The proposed program here is merely a continuation of the procedure we have been following.
If I may, I should like to pass to the members of the committee some data on the highlights of our work over the past year. You may wish to glance at it, and possibly' it will inspire some questions.
CONSULTATION AND ASSISTANCE
The third activity is consultation and assistance to other Government agencies, employers, and labor unions.
Mr. CANNON. This statement consists of one page?
Percent 3, 835
319. 6 3, 712
309 1, 324 or 36. 0
Case statistics from 1946 Budget estimate 1. Case activity (p. 28), calendar year 1944:
Cases docketed in 1944..
Satisfactory adjustments in 1944. 2. Pending (pp. 27, 28) :
Cases pending, Jan. 1, 1945.
Pending in central office. 3. Closings (p. 33):
By type of disposition:
35. 6 11. 1 32. 5 5. 3 4. 4 11. 1
100. O 19. 5
Actual productivity rate, calendar year 1944, per man-month.....
9. 6 11. 1
Case statistics from 1946 Budget estimate-Continued 5. Reason for discrimination (p. 32):
By cases docketed in 1944:
Total. 6. Type of party charged (p. 32):
By docketings in 1944:
71. 8 21. 9 6. 3
100.0 7. Nondocketable complaints in 1944 (p. 34)
1, 116 & l'. S. Employment Service 510 referrals in 1944 (p. 31).
658 Mr. Ross. I have already said that our relationship with the War Manpower Commission is a very close one. They have extended the privilege of having us sit with them at their meetings. About 20 percent of our case load comes from referrals from War Manpower offices..
INFORMATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
The fourth point is information and public relations. point that we did not stress so much last year.
Mr. TABER. Could I ask one question of an explanatory nature? Mr. CANNON. Mr. Taber.
Mr. TABER. This statement you have given us on this sheet of paper is for the calendar year 1944, or is it for the fiscal year 1944?
Vr. Ross. It is for the calendar year 1944, sir. We wanted to bring it up as nearly as possible to the time of the meeting.
Mr. TABER. I see.
PUBLIC RELATIONS STUDIES
Mr. Ross. On the question of public relations, we recently had a regional directors' meeting, and I think possibly I can give the committee's attitude best by simply talking from some of the notes that I used in talking to them.
I told our regional directors that racial and religious prejudice affect the critical programs in the war effort, an obvious fact, and one that is very difficult to meet.
We have made tension studies of the various cities, plants, and areas, where the in-migration of many Negroes has begun a process that cannot be stopped. It is a natural one. During the 5 years from 1940 to 1945 there have been a half million Negroes, net, leaving the South for war centers on the west coast and in the North and East. Experience in World War I shows that most of those people will stay. After World War I their cousins, sisters, and aunts kept coming. There were a million Negroes, net, coming into the North during the twenties and even during the depression years. If Government had derer lifted a finger in this matter, those situations would exist.
CONDITIONS IN CERTAIN AREAS
I think a city like Portland, Oreg., is in a critical stage. There are some 25,000 Negroes there. The community as a whole has never been used to Negroes or to Negro labor, and 96 percent of those Negroes are concentrated in the shipyards. When the cut-back occurs, perhaps 50 percent or more of the Negroes will want to stay there. They will want work.
Portland and other communities face a very serious decision, whether they are to try to remove those Negroes from their towns, in which event they will be the concern of some other city, or whether they are going to put them on relief, or whether they are going to give them work opportunities in the town and let them become part of the industrial structure of the city. I just suggest those dilemmas. *** We are observing them as closely as we can, and where we can legitimately be of service we would like to be.
I told our directors that the best public relations is a sound policy of good deeds, performed with objectivity and courtesy; and instead of maintaining an adversary position, to obtain our legitimate objectives by persuasion where we could. I touched on the fact that we are at a position where historical trends raise these problems all over the country, and that communities and plants can work these matters out in the proper atmosphere and with the proper attitude of all parties.
If we have an employer who is perfectly willing to go along and a labor union which resists, someone has got to persuade the union. Persuasion of the parties themselves and of the community is a very useful thing and a very practical thing, and we have asked in our budget for some slight increase in staff to take up the time that will be required in that.
Mr. WOODRUM. The situation you speak of at Portland is going to be duplicated all over the United States wherever there is high concentration of industrial workers, and not necessarily because of the race situation. You are going to have it in all communities when these lay-offs occur. These people will go off when the war industry folds up. There will not only be a cut-back in industrial employment but the returning veterans are going to want their jobs back.
This problem of Portland is going to be in every industrial area of the country. It may be aggravated somewhat on account of the racial situation, but it will still be a problem, because the jobs that were there in normal times, conceivably the veterans are going to come back and ask for. So there just is not going to be a job there to give to anybody, regardless of race.
Mr. Ross. That is so.
Mr Woodrum. Thot is a problem that runs very much deeper than your immediate problem, is it not?
Mr. Ross. My suggestion is this: It is a national problem for all to worry about, but that the injection of the racial element into it has a very aggravating effect and can upset the best of plans.
In 1919 there were 26 race riots, most of them caused by this fight for jobs by unemployed people. We had no method of controlling those situations in 1919. We now have many agencies that are looking forward to planning to get this transition done as quickly as possible.
The Byrnes report is very optimistic on being able during the Japanese phase to pull people from the cut-back war industries and get them into the reconverted industries quickly and without any large unemployment during that transition period.
I was trying to point out that the Negro stands in special jeopardy, being last hired in these industries. He takes his chances along with the white workers in cut-backs. But when he tries to get into reconverted industry, he is likely to find some pretty tough barriers. He has no foothold in those industries.
Mr. CANNON. You mentioned Mexican-Americans. Do you have similar problems there to those that you have in the main areas?
Mr. Ross. Mexican-Americans have gone in great numbers to the west coast aircraft and shipbuilding industries. They are in the same status as any worker, but because there is a tendency to keep Mexican workers down to the lowest wages, they stand in the same special jeopardy I was trying to describe in the case of Negroes.
Mr. ČANNON. You mentioned the number as what?
Mr. Ross. They have both. The vast majority would be citizens by birth. I think most of the recent Mexican labor that has come here consists of temporary field workers, due to go back to Mexico after the war is over.
Mr. CANNON. Under treaty regulations, they return when the peak season is passed?
Mr. Ross. Yes, sir.
AUTHORITY IN SECTION A OF EXECUTIVE ORDER
Mr. CANNON. In your last appearance before the committee, you told us that
you had not yet invoked the authority conferred in section A of the Executive order. Have you promulgated and rules and regulations under that authorization? Mr. Ross. We have, sir; they are included in these justifications, Mr. CANNON. Where would we find them in the justifications? Mr. Ross. On page 10.
Mr. CANNON. Up to this time, the rules which you have promulgated have been successfully administered?
Mr. Ross. Yes, sir.
CASES DOCKETED, CLOSED, PENDING, BY REGIONS Mr. CANNON. On page 28 of the justifications you have a table of your case load. We will insert at this point in the hearings the table on page 28.
(The table is as follows:)