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Mr. McGovern. That was I have a letter in reply which is dated July 22, 1918. My letter was dated July 16 of the same year, to the American Federation of Labor in St. Paul. I requested that the American Federation of Labor on or about June 15 take steps to have the amount increased. My reasons, as given both to the American Federation of Labor in convention and to the President, were these: At that time we had about 8,000,000 men under consideration as an armed force. Dividing that into the amount
The CHAIRMAN. What do you mean by the 8,000,000 men?
Mr. McGOVERN. At that time the general reports were that we anticipated that it would probably be necessary to have 8,000,000 men under arms for war duty. That was in July, 1918. We had then, I think, more than half the men, and about five to one behind them engaged in service which was similar and which we believed would come under rehabilitation. I divided the 2,000,000 by 8. and that reached the sum of 25 cents per capita, an average. I divided that $2,000,000 by the approximate number of vocations in the United States, which gave $6,000 to each vocation, which would not allow a plan of rehabilitation for even one man.
The CHAIRMAN. What was your official position at this time when you wrote the President?
Mr. McGovern. I had no official position.
Mr. McGovern. The result of my letter was a reply from the Federal board in which they requested me to see them and suggested that I accept a position. I did not reply to that letter for about 30 days. Then I came down to Washington to see the board and explain to them that my attitude was not that of one who was seeking a position, but one who would rather remain aloof, so that he would not be under orders—that he would be absolutely free as a citizen to assist the board in this work. I found at that time that there were two gentlemen here-a Mr. Kidner and a Dr. Miller-I am not sure but what Mr. Kidner was a doctor also.
THE CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kidner was from Canada?
Mr. McGOVERN. And Dr. Miller was from Canada. I investigated then their method of rehabilitation and I told both Dr. Kidner and Mr. Miller and Mr. Critchett, who was there at the time, that I did not exactly approve of the conditions, that I did not think it was founded on American methods, that the Canadian methods were vastly different from those in America.
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask what had led to your interest in that particular line of work? Had you had any particular practical experience before!
Mr. McGOVERN. Yes, sir; about 17 years ago, I had this right hand crushed and I had that hand in a sleeve for a year. I made up my mind at that time that if it were possible I would devise some engine or a machine which would help a man who was in the same position that I was at that time. I know how I felt, so to follow along and answer your question, if I may elaborate, in 1914, in the American Federation of Labor convention in November I introduced a resolution. This is the result of years of work to get at the whole thing at what I thought was a big human machine.
In 1914 I introduced a resolution at the American Federation of Labor, and I have a copy of it here, a typewritten copy, which was
an effort to establish some machinery for the care of what I termed the industrial cripple. I was talking then with working people and was making the strongest appeal that I could. I told them at that time that we would be in the war, that we would probably be attacked by the victor if we did not enter the war on one side or the other, as soon as the American people had reached a conclusion. And I told them what I believe to-day, that the experience of persons who have been handicapped in the United States is the most fruitful field on which to construct a proper theory of rehabilitation. That resolution failed to pass in Philadelphia. I then failed of election to the 1915 convention and in 1917 I went to Buffalo and in November, 1917, I reintroduced this resolution, practically the same text, with one or two words' difference. In 1917 the American Federation of Labor adopted the principle of rehabilitating industrial cripples. That went along until 1918, in June, when the matter of rehabilitation was brought up here. I was never notified; why, I do not know, although I had fought and spent my own money to get this over.
The CHAIRMAN. If you will permit me, likely you were not called because the hearings were held by conjoint meetings of the two committees of the House and Senate and we decided to call representatives of these various associations and when the American Federation of Labor was called it was called through Mr. Gompers, and he appeared. I presume that was the reason.
Mr. McGOVERN. That is not said in the way of complaint.
Mr. McGOVERN. The fact is, I was not interested in such matters so much as with the operations in the process of formation or I would have been here.
The CHAIRMAN. If you will permit also, at that time there was very strong pressure brought to attach to the disabled cripple a provision for the industrial cripple and we as a committee asked them not to press that at that time for the reason that the disabled soldier would be purely a Federal function, he being in the service, and industrial cripples would be a cooperative function, Federal and State. We were afraid that if you put that in at that time that it would delay and we could not get at the organization, and upon the promise of the committee that they would get behind the industrial cripple movement after that was over, that was dropped.
Mr. McGOVERN. In addition, at Buffalo, I introduced a resolution which would have given-my theory, understand, of rehabilitatior is based on gathering practical experience of men who have been in this work and then have educators criticize these plans and devise from them a method of rehabilitation coming from experience. That is where I expected to get the teachers from, and train these men and cooperate with these men. Some people say that it is only a fool that learns by experience, but I do not agree with that saying at all. Any man who has had experience is better qualified, in my opinion, than one who has not.
In Buffalo I introduced a resolution in addition to the first and I requested that the American Federation of Labor gather and compile the cases of like nature, and then in St. Paul I learned something else, and that was through the drive, as it is generally known, marvelous things could be accomplished. I requested the American Federation of Labor in St. Paul to appeal to the President, who,
as head of the Red Cross, would lead the drives of patriotic organizations to have the people of the United States who had been crippled write on a postal card their name and address, the nature of their injury, what their occupation was previous to their injury, what their occupation was subsequent to their injury, and if they felt so disposed this would be a private matter, their relative salaries before and after injury.
The CHAIRMAN. That was in 1918?
Mr. McGOVERN. 1918, in June, in St. Paul, and unfortunately, through some labor troubles, our organization talked about raising of the wages, and I had to back track to keep this other thing out. I was not able to get it through there on that account. That resolution failed to pass. I forgot to state that these postal cards were to have been sent to the local centers. My theory of rehabilitation is that the man should be rehabilitated right in his home town, that criticism and construction in rehabilitation are best found among the man's own friends in his own neighborhood, that his ideals, his aspirations, and his knowledge of opportunities are best found in the community in which he is born.
The CHAIRMAN. I think you have fully qualified yourself to testify on rehabilitation. You could give the committee your experience, if you had any, with the Federal board.
Mr. MCGOVERN. Would it be relevant and necessary to state my methods and connections?
The CHAIRMAX. It would be all right; yes.
Mr. McGOVERN. On November 17, in 1918, I received a telegram offering me a position as placement officer with the Federal board, asking me how soon I could report for duty.
The CHAIRMAN. Here in Washington!
Mr. McGOVERN. Yes, sir. I have the telegram here among my papers. I did not reply to that, because on November 7 there was no armistice. We were at war and at that time I had connections out so that I would probably have been in the service in a very short time. On November 11 or 12, I believe it was, the day after the armistice, I wired to Washington that I was ready to accept immediately. I quit my position, which paid practically the same salary as the salary with the board offered, and reported to Mr. Griffin.
The CHAIRMAN. In New York?
Mr. McGOVERN. In New York City. He was district vocational officer for district No. 2, but I am a little ahead of myself. In October I came down here and the Federal board had no publicity. That was the theory. In my mind that is one thing that once the American people get their minds and their charity turned on any object that is going over. One man's thought is nothing when compared with the opinion of the American people behind it, who combine themselves as a drive for the "blesses," as I call them. It is a pretty good short name.
I told the board here, “Your method of rehabilitation is not mine. I will go to New York and do as I am told. I will do everything or anything that you tell me to do and I will not interfere in any way." I wanted it understood on account of my first apparent opposition to the work of the Federal board that I intended to do
just exactly what I was told and take directions, and I believe every man should from the executive. · I went to the board, and I found things, as I say, with no publicity. The first thing I asked for was that some steps be taken to advertise that there was such a thing as the Federal board; let the people know about it. No results. However, I was placed under Mr. Constantine, and even then the telegram of authorization said I was to be placement officer. The office listed me as special agent. I let that go at that, because I did not expect to be permanently connected with the board, as I expected to be back as a private citizen, as I believe being a citizen is the highest privilege. I went along with Mr. Constantine, and he was a hard, faithful worker. Mr. Constantine and I did not agree, because he sent me out to go to individual employers. If we had a particular case he would say, " McGovern, take this man and find somebody that will employ him.” At that time the confusion in the War Risk Bureau was a very serious handicap to the work of the Federal board. Compensation claims we tried everything we could to facilitate. I suggested to my supervisor at that time that he suggest to my superiors that he have expediters here in Washington to take care of the very serious cases of men who came out of the service.
At that time there was no bonus, as the bonus had not been passed yet, and men who came out of the service, discharged, were utterly unable to get jobs, not only on account of their disability but on account of the general conditions in New York City. If you gentlemen are familiar with the current history of New York at that time you know it was one strike after another, the factories not knowing what to do, and everything was in a jamb. A man out of work was in a very bad position. Still I could not get publicity, and could not get any method adopted which would proceed toward expedition. I mean by expedition-speeded.
The CHAIRMAX. Right there, Mr. McGovern, there has been some criticism offered because there has been used a line of expedition, for example, somebody would come to me with a very serious case, and I would take it up directly with the head of the Bureau of War Risk Insurance and get real action. It had been criticised that it would be necessary to have a pull in order to do this.
Mr. McGovern. My own attitude toward it as a citizen was that any Congressman who would do that or would have have done that at any time is: God bless him. That is the way I felt about it, and my theory of rehabilitation is based upon that; the Congressman is the representative of the people, and I got action, and I take it that the rehabilitation of the men should be taken up through the Congressman, and that district for rehabilitation should be the foundation district, should be the congressional district, because then he is in a position to get in touch with every activity of the Government immediately.
To show you the kind of work they gave me in New York, and in point of time it was all time wasted, they gave me form 504 at one time to go out and find out all of the manufacturers in the city of New York in the clothing industry; wages, hours, shop conditions, branch of the trade, etc. Now, there are over a quarter of a million of people employed in the clothing industry in the city of New York.
That would have been a work that if had been done right I would be at it yet, compiling a directory of the clothing industry in New York. I said, Don't do it. I will fix the thing if you will let me go to a couple of men in the city of New York. Practically everything in New York is organized in the industries. There are boards which talk over and adopt methods in the industry. I went so far as to see Mr. Elkus, whom I happened to meet through his investigation of conditions in the State of New York, and Mr. Elkus furnished me with names of the leaders in the clothing industry and told me: “Mr. McGovern, sometime we will have a little dinner. We have had strikes at this time, and we will have a little dinner, get these employers together, and talk it over. You go ahead with the other end of it—the union end of it—and as soon as this strike is over I will get them together, and we can talk business and settle this in an hour.” They let me fool along with that, not withstanding what I said. I kept going on, and another thing that was turned over to me in Mr. Constantine's time was finding the men who could not be located by letter. Many of the men who were injured did not have any money. We would write them a letter, and the letter would go into the mail box with the address on, and they would be moving, going around the corner. The renting situation in New York was then on the 30-day plan, and you would come here and a man would be a quarter of a mile away.
It was that way. It was up to me to find him. I went out and went through these cases which were called to our attention by the Red Cross, the Elks, the Knights of Columbus, and various other activities. I had to go out and find them. In addition to going on with these men, and they had notions that they would not go to the Red Cross, and in spite of the fact that we did everything and explained to them, a majority of them would not go near the Red Cross.
Mr. King. Why?
Mr. McGovery. It was that feature of charity. I do not know how many men I had entirely, but I do not think I succeeded in persuading more than three or four wounded men to go to the Red Cross for assistance. They said they wanted to earn it.
So that was practically my experience with Mr. Constantine. Then Mr. Wadsworth came in, and Mr. Wadsworth went at it in a business way, and he went through the States appealing to chambers. of commerce and to the other organizations and getting publicity. Wadsworth was such a good man there, he had progressive ideas with the training department and he was taken over into the training department. With Mr. Wadsworth there was Mr. Hoopingarner. I do not feel exactly free to criticize him, but he was an employment manager prior to his entry into the war. Ninety per cent of the men that were under consideration by district No. 2 were workingmen. Just before he left he was getting the point-I do not know why he left, but he was getting the point of the job. He got the point of the job and commenced to realize that he was not in a position of authority, that he was in a position of cooperation, but he lost out about that time. He resigned, whether voluntarily or not I do not know and have no means of knowing. Then the next step was Mr. Barnes. We were at a loss for opportunities for men