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The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. Ryan. All right; we agree, and agree to go in and support it, and then those fellows say they won't. The President can call an emergency to avoid it, can he not?
Here is the way the thing works out: We have taken over railway freight handlers. We are having a dispute with George Harrison about it; but they were on the piers, and were getting in the C. I. O. And when we go to get the freight handlers an increase, we run right into the board that holds hearings. We have always opposed it; we have to hire lawyers; and in the end, the increase, if there is one, is only about 3 cents an hour. Se we are under the Railroad Act, on those men; and we know what it is.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, yes; surely. The Board has had considerable experience with maritime labor, through these various situations.
Mr. Ryan. Can't they amend the Railway Labor Act in some way so as to get some new machinery into it? The way it is now, it is just d. 1. and w.-delay, linger, and wait.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, it is not settled by what I think. But I can say to you that I think it is up to you to do one of two things: Either convince those in authority, from the White House down, that the Labor Relations Act should be changed, and to provide this machinery, or, failing in that, some system of voluntary mediation which can be used for this title X.
Mr. Ryan. I read in the Washington paper, this morning, something to the effect that the President was going to step into this dispute between Miss Perkins and Mr. Kennedy.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, I read a good many things in the Washington papers, too.
Mr. RYAN. Well. I think the President is interested.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course he is interested in it. But you people who are in the business, have a selfish, direct, personal interest in it. For instance, you have that nice daughter to think of; and every man on the sea has his family to think of.
Mr. Ryan. Understand, Senator, please, that I have two daughters. One is 16; and I am afraid of the influences she is going to be brought up under, if they are going to turn this country over to that other group. The CHAIRMAN. Well, it is now half past 1.
And if the gentleman is here, who spoke to me in the hall, this morning, about wishing to testify, perhaps we had better hear him at this time.
Mr. RYAN. Senator, may I say that in spite of the fact of that communistic control on the Pacific coast, nevertheless we have an agreement with our employers out there. Of course, there is a threat, every once in a while, that there is going to be a Nation-wide tie-up But they are afraid to do it, out there.
The CHAIRMAN. Let us adjourn this meeting now, until 2:30 this afternoon; and I will hear this other gentleman at 2:30. Then at 3 o'clock, you can continue, Mr. Ryan.
Mr. RYAN. If there is anything you want, I shall be glad to. I have told you just about all we had in mind; but we shall be glad to come back, if you wish.
The Chairman. Perhaps you will come back with some proposals.
Mr. Ryan. On this legislation?
Mr. Ryan. Well, Paul Scharrenberg is here as the American Federation of Labor legislative representative, and I am bere as representing the longshoremen. But I shall be glad to do what I can.
The CHAIRMAN. All right; then we shall resume at 2:30.
(Whereupon, at 1:30 p. m., a recess was taken until 2:30 p. m. of the same day.)
The joint committee resumed at 2:30 p. m, on the expiration of the recess.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McAll, will you give your name and background to the committee reporter for the record? STATEMENT OF R. S. MCALL, AS A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL, SECRE
TARY OF THE NATIONAL GROUP OF SEAMEN'S AGENCIES AND MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE OF THE SEAMEN'S SECTION OF THE WELFARE COUNCIL, 2268 SEDGWICK AVENUE, NEW YORK CITY
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. McAll, what do you wish to say to us?
Mr. McAll. Mr. Chairman, I should like to speak, very briefly of course, as an individual, but as one who has been connected with seamen's problems for about 20 years. On the question of legislation
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Did you not talk to me on this subject at one time?
Mr. MCALL. Yes, several times.
The CHAIRMAN. I recall now very well. You may go ahead and make
your statement. Mr. McAll. Speaking as an individual, but one who has studied the legislative angle and also the economic, industrial, and social conditions affecting seamen's work, I want to make one' statement: I am not competent to advise or suggest any exact patterns of mediation which might be set up. That is outside our province. I have sat as a very interested listener to the discussion here along that line, however. Nor are we competent to suggest the manner of training. But what I want to bring to you is our reaction with regard to the whole principle of mediation inside the industry. Our view is that it has not been given a fair or complete trial. For 2 years
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Do you mean that it has not been given a complete trial as to some particular manner, or what do you speak of?
Mr. McAll. According to the agreements that have been worked out between the two parties in the industry.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean the agreements as to mediation set forth in contracts have not been tested?
Mr. McALL. No, sir. And I believe that at the present time there are indications that they are receiving-well, it may be impossible to say a fair trial, but at least the best trial under existing conditions of conflict, on the west coast. I have had some personal reactions that
there is an honest intent on the part of both the union and the owners' association on the Pacific coast to catch the small grievances locally and prevent their spread so as to become issues they do not deserve to be. I feel very strongly that that should be watched.
I know how difficult it is to give fair play to the proper exercise of interindustrial negotiation of this sort, but I want to call the committee's attention to the fact that other countries have been through just this same thing.
In Great Britain—but I will not take your time to discuss it very fully in the record-mediation provisions are entirely interindustrial. There it has worked out to the point of such success that the 23 local panels, which are a combination of craft and industrial union, because each panel has a subdivision corresponding to the three divisions on a ship—those local panels are operating smoothly and fairly.
In Denmark there is a similar system, which is inside the industry.
In France there is, in case of matters which assume a national importance, a final arbitration board, in which the State takes part.
In Sweden when the negotiations get past what can be done in the industry, they call in a member of the so-called Royal Social Board in the final tribunal, and the word of that board, or the action of that board in connection with it, is binding.
The clauses in agreements regarding mediation and striking call most distinctly for this situation: That there shall be no strike in a department that is a party to an agreement during the life of that agreement.
I might add that in the Danish officers' agreements there is a proviso that no organization may issue a circular interpreting the agreement regarding board, service, or other circumstances affecting the rights and duties of the parties concerned until it has been approved by the other party to the agreement.
That may sound quite strange, but it shows how scrupulously fair they have tried to be. They want to carefully study the grounds of a statement to be put out as regards accuracy and reliability, so that the premises may be kept sound and are not allowed to become distorted by any man's conception of the language, partial knowledge, or even by reason of intention.
So my direct plea would be this: While I have heard all the testimony, yet I am not competent to discuss matters concerning the great union strike that is going on, but I want to see these people watch the successful outcome of mediation, which, if helped and recognized and practiced, will succeed inside the industry.
It has succeeded in other countries. I cannot see that we are any different from other democratic nations, such as Denmark, Great Britain, or Sweden, for instance. True, they have had longer experience, over a greater period of time, to set this thing up. It is much like a case of operating when the patient is very ill, and when you would like to operate between attacks.
The CHAIRMAN. Sometimes you do that if you want to take a chance of saving the life of the patient.
Mr. McAll. But, Mr. Chairman, I strongly bold that the principle of interindustrial mediation, faithfully observed, has not had a sufficient chance up to now.
I know that. Let me go back, and I do not want to talk on union matters. Of course I am not competent to speak on them. But we are serving
seamen as seamen and not as organization members. So I want to say in my opinion there was a failure to apply the wholesome mediation provisions in the first agreements that were made in the East after 1934. The machinery was all in there but apparently there wasn't any war coming on and they did not set up the proper requirements so to speak. That negligence or that failure is certainly something that should never be repeated.
Now, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, if there are any questions you wish to propound to me on that point I should be very glad to try to answer them. You may say this is all academic, and that all of you believe in what I say, but the thing has been tried out by men who are struggling to do the job, which proves the industry can help itself.
The CHAIRMAN. If we had one union, which had just been organized, I think I would be quite sympathetic with what you say. not only have the general disease, we have the other ailment, which is the fight btween the unions. Unfortunately from a practical standpoint we have this situation at the very time when the Government is contemplating the launching of a tremendous shipbuilding program. So I do not think you can deal with this problem quite as readily as you might have done 5 years ago or 10 years ago. Is there something in that, Mr. McAll?
Mr. McALL. I agree with you thoroughly, but I do feel I have the right to bring the point of view that in the acute stage which I have heard you gentlemen spaeking of in this committee, you must not lose sight of the fact that if the rank and file are given a chance to understand the reasonableness of mediation set up by their own officers, with the owners, there will be a further improvement even.
I have a letter from the west coast, which is a personal one to me but which came from a very responsible union party-and I should be willing to show it to you if you so desire; and I quoted from it in the Journal of Commerce, issue of January 12, 1938, in which he said: “The feeling of good will, and of perhaps partnership between the two parties in the industry on the west coast which is gradually springing up, is unbelievably sound and helpful.”
The CHAIRMAN. You are now speaking about good will between workman and employer?
Mr. McAll. I am. I think you will not have a proper American merchant marine without that.
The CHAIRMAN. We are trying to bring that condition about now. Mr. McAll. You will have to have it in order to succeed.
The CHAIRMAN. I have stated, and repeated this morning, we have gone past the time when employers and shipowners can put their heel on labor, but it is a bad time for labor to get cocky.
Mr. McAll. Yet there are those who are sawing wood in this matter of good will and they should be recognized. There are men who are trying to make agreements work, to live up to them, acknowledge responsibility, and they feel they are parties in the great work of serving our people. There are many more of them than you hear about in this room, because you do not get that. You get the symtoms of the patient.
The CHAIRMAN. You know, Mr. McAll, if I could fully agree with you, why should I not recommend to this committee that it take a
standard agreement between labor and shipowners and write it into law, to apply to all concerned?
Mr. McAll. I would not want you, Mr. Chairman, to make that deduction from what I have said here as being my thought. I am not competent to speak on that. I only say this: If you get the industry organized, on each side, so that a competent national body may speak to another competent national body, you will get the situation so thoroughly impressed on both sides that you can get something going.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree to that statement, but we just cannot get that harmony on the part of labor, so it can deal with the other group.
Mr. McAll. Well, Senator Copeland, do not forget those pieces in the picture puzzle that are a part of the picture and which are in place.
Now, I should like to make one or two comments on the testimony I was privileged to hear when I was down here in Washington before, by Admiral Waesche, and I think they are germane to this subject: As a student of statistics and of seamen's work, I question-and, by the way, the credentials of the body I am connected with, and its directory, are before the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, I have it here, together with an article reprinted from the Journal of Commerce, New York, January 12, 1938, written by you, which I hand over to the committee reporter.
(The two documents referred to will be found immediately following the statement by Mr. McAll.)
Mr. McAll. Admiral Waesche was speaking of the large replacements necessary without any training program. He mentioned the number of seamen in our American merchant marine, and also spoke of the short term of sea service. If you are considering vital statistics you have to have before you, as you do in the case of an infant, the mortality. The Young man who goes to sea for one or two trips, brings down the average of 10 years. I regret that we have no statistics on it at all today that are sufficiently complete to tell the story; but I think I can show that the life service of seamen at sea is and should be a great deal more than 10 years, and if it is as short as that I would say very frankly the reason is the unfavorable economic conditions. If the average sea-service life of seamen is 10 years then it is because conditions in the last 15 years have been and are not completely changed now, unfavorable in comparison with other industries. The seaman of today is not the romantic chap who formerly went to sea. He is a young fellow and should be earnestly weighing up the sea in comparison with other occupations, to learn what it offers and how it compares in opportunity. We should make conditions as inviting as practicable.
The CHAIRMAN. Am I to get the impression from what you say that a great many young men have been driven to sea in the last 2 or 3 years because of economic conditions but have not an earnest desire to remain upon the sea?
Mr. McAll. I do not say that. I say the reason why life history and sea service is likely to be short is because of lack of security of American seamen; that it is apt to be brought home to a man as he gets along in life, so that he may say: "I must do something else. There is nothing left for me in sea service, no prospect at all.”