« PreviousContinue »
Mr. SNYDER. Do you mean that in the auxiliary they belong to one little union and then have to pay dues to the big union?
Mr. Ross. The difficulty arises from the closed shop, Mr. Snyder. When a Negro takes membership and is given a job, his, membership only gives him status in an auxiliary union, which is supposed to have separate Negro officers and is deficient in rights and privileges when compared to the white lodge.
There are many privileges belonging to the white local which these auxiliaries do not have. For instance, the white business manager is a very powerful fellow. His assignments to jobs is a very telling one. Now, the Negro auxiliary had no direct business manager who could really represent the interests of its members, although they too were members of the Boiler nakers' Union under this closed-shop contract. I am reminded that the auxiliary members had no chance to participate in the election of the business agent who would have this power over their work life.
Mr. Ludlow. What are the facts as to whether there is discrimination against members of an auxiliary in the matter of employment?
Mr. Ross. I am going to ask the deputy chairman, Mr. Johnson, who is a lawyer, which I am not, to answer that question, Mr. Ludlow,
Mr. Johnson. The situation in the case on the west coast, so far as it involved the auxiliary union problem, results in the Negro getting less than the white person gets at the time he joins the union while at the same time he pays the same union fee.
Mr. Ludlow. Does he get a job or does he not? Mr. JOHNSON. He gets a job, but his tenure is subject to the control of persons over whom he has no control in the sense that a member of the white union has. That would be true whether Negroes get the same wages and the same working conditions at the moment. In addition there is the very important fact that the member of the white union—the regular white lodge—from the time he joins the union gets as part of his membership the right of universal transfer; that is to say, he has the right to transfer from one area to another, be accepted immediately, and be accorded the rights of union membership in the area to which he goes. That right is denied to the Negro.
In the opinion of the committee, these facts represent a present discrimination, because the Negro must pay the same union fee as the white worker but he gets less solely because he is a Negro.
Mr. Ludlow. Getting down to the matter of wages, aside from the discriminatory features, do they get the same wages?
Mr. Johnson. They get the same wages-precisely the same wages.
Mr. WOODRUM. And the same working conditions?
Mr. Ross. May I make one remark in answer to the gentleman's question? I want to point out that on our committee there are two A. F. L. members, Mr. Shishkin and Mr. Webster, and one C. I. O. member, Mr. John Brophy, who are full members of my committee, which, I think, would indicate the attitude of the unions.
Mr. CANNON. Mr. Taber.
DISCRIMINATION CASES DOCKETED CALENDAR YEAR 1944
Mr. TABER. Now, Mr. Ross, a year ago you gave us a table indicating a break-down of your activities as between different groups. Do you have such a table with you at this time?
Mr, Ross. The percentage of the groups involved in all cases, and the number of cases involved in different groups, appears on page 32, Mr. Taber.
Mr. TABER. Is that in the record?
Mr. CANNON. No; I inserted in the record pages 28 to 30. Do you think you would like to have page 32 in the record?
Mr. TABER. I think it should be inserted.
Mr. CANNON. Without objection, we will insert at this point the table on page 32 of the justifications.
(The table referred to is as follows:)
Cases dookoted jurisdiction and reason for discrimination, by month, January December 1944
14 10 46
212 244 253 152 229 139 187 219 181 144 199 151
17 18 16 12 10 18 13 18 24
75 56 73 65 72 72 97 67 66 67 53 77
Mr. Taber. Now, your set-up indicates a separation of governmental cases and business cases, and the number of governmental cases is about a third?
Mr. Ross. About 21 percent.
Mr. TABER. On the other hand, there seem to be maybe 5, 6, or 7 percent that are union cases. Is that somewhere near right?
Mr. Ross. It is 6.3 percent.
Mr. TABER. Now, your race cases. How many of those race cases are in the business picture, or one group, and how many are in another? Can you give us any breakdown on that?
Mr. Ross. The available figures show nonwhite—they are classified as nonwhite--about 96 or 97 percent. Nonwhite virtually means Negro. The other might be Chinese or other races. That percentage, that characterization of race, means nonwhite in our data. Mr. TABER. 97 percent of those would be Negroes? Mr. Ross. Yes. Mr. TABER. Now, your creed group. What are they mostly?
Mr. Ross. Mostly Jews, with a scattering of other groups, such as Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses,
Mr. TABER. National origin, what does that mean?
Mr. Ross. Mostly Mexican-Americans, with a scattering of Canadians, British, Polish, and Czech.
Mr. TABER. Alienage-what does that mean?
Mr. Ross. You will recall that the question of alienage was brought up at our first meeting, and we said we would not process alienage cases until further agreement might be made. Those cases are the old cases that have not been processed but which remain on our docket. That is for the calendar year. There were probably 38 cases pending at the time we met with you last year, and we decided not to process them. There have been eight docketed since, but not processed.
Mr. Taber. Have there been any more cases of German aliens?
Mr. Ross. We have processed none. I believe that none have come in, either.
Mr. Taber. You have gone out of that business entirely?
Mr. Ross. We have suspended processing them, sir. If the committee has any new views on the subject we would welcome them. We have no recommendations to make on the subject as to action.
Mr. Taber. I supposed you had gone out of that business.
Mr. Ross. We have, sir. The 46 cases that I have referred to are on our docket. I do not know of any way of disposing of them, from our records. When new cases come in they are docketed, but no processing of them is done on them, under our agreement with your committee.
Mr. TABER. I do not know how others feel, but I would express the hope that at least as far as that group is concerned, there be no more processing. I can see where you would get into a lot of trouble.
You spoke about the situation in the Northwest and in California, where wages are presently so much higher than they are in other parts of the country, and that in those places it is natural that folks who have landed there would like to stay and draw those higher wages. But they cannot expect, when things settle down, that those wages will continue to be higher than they are in other parts of the country. The situation with those people is that if they are going to gamble for wages that are higher than they are at other places, they have got to take their chance on getting jobs. You have got to take that chance and figure on the people who give employment taking people back who went into the service. You have got to expect that. The ones who stayed home cannot expect to hang on to those high-priced jobs any more than they would the lower-priced jobs in some other communities. I can see where any attempt of any group that has lived outside of that area to hang onto special privileges is going to result disastrously to the group that came in last. You cannot expect anything else.
How far are your people going in connection with this operation? Is an attempt being made to set up the Negro and these racial groups upon a special privilege basis?
Mr. Ross. Not at all, Mr. Taber. I tried to make clear that we see difficulties ahead from just the elements that you are discussing. Our part would be the orderly processing of cases where we could, and no more.
EMPLOYMENT ON THE BASIS OF PRODUCTION
Mr. Taber. I am receiving reports with reference to conditions in the District, and that it is creating a very bad situation. I am expressing the hope that these people will get back to where they used to be in my community, where anybody would hire them on the basis of what they could produce. People are afraid to hire them now, because these groups are expecting special privileges and to be treated better than other groups. I would express the hope that that attitude not prevail. It would be disastrous.
Mr. Ross. It certainly has never been our attitude, Mr. Taber. If a Negro is able to do a certain job and the employer needs him, just for the reason alone that he is a Negro it would be unfair to bar him. That would not be according an equal opportunity. It does not have even any aura of special privilege about it. This is mainly an industrial problem, a large-scale economic problem.
I thought I made it clear that insofar as cut-backs in war industries are concerned, where Negroes have gone in, it is no concern of ours or of any other Government agency how those people are released. Their employer either releases them because he wants to keep the people with the most ability, or he is bound by some seniority clause in his union contract. How those people are let free is no concern of ours. We do feel that the trouble ahead can be very largely relieved by making it clear that a qualified Negro, in expanding opportunities either in new war industries or in a shifting of production for the Japanese war, should not be barred; that his privileges are the same as those of any other worker who has the ability to deliver the goods.
Mr. Taber. He would have to be bound by the same rules that the other fellow is as to willingness to work and as to capacity to produce?
Mr. Ross. Certainly.
Mr. TABER. He must be able to do his work. He cannot expect to work on a bench beside another man and produce half as much as the other man produces, and receive the same pay, nor can he expect