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The CHAIRMAN. How does a man who wants information about your organization get it?
Mr. EMERSON. If you want any sort of information, we shall be glad to furnish it at any time.
If you are going to act impartially, you will have to take our opinion and the other side's opinion.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. EMERSON. Now, while it is true that in a few isolated cases, exception has been taken by organized labor to a few of the rulings and decisions handed down by the N. L. R. B., as a whole we have to give credit where credit is due, and speaking for myself, and in so doing I know fully that I speak for a great majority of the organized workers of this country, I would like to make it clear for the record, that I consider the National Labor Relations Board created by the Wagner Act the greatest aid that the laboring classes have had in this country. And the laboring classes constitute the vast majority of our population, whether organized or unorganized, so therefore a law that is a benefit to the majority must necessarily be a good law and a just
This being so, we therefore look with suspicion and absolute distrust upon such a proposal as is made here by this amendment, that any other agency infringe in any way upon our rights as guaranteed us by the Wagner Act through the machinery set up by the N. L. R. B. We are happy and content with this machinery.
Now, Mr. Curran pointed out very clearly in his testimony that under the new agreements being reached between the National Maritime Union and the steamship operators, clauses are included which require that "port committees” composed of both representatives of the ships operators and representatives of the union and a third impartial party, shall function for the settling of all disputes. Also in those agreements it is stated that while such "port committees" are settling these disputes, there shall be no stoppage of work, lockouts or strikes. Now with the N. L. R. B. holding elections at present, and with certification of the proper collective bargaining agencies following these elections, and with contracts being signed which include these clauses for the settling of disputes between the certified agencies for the employees and the employers, why do the representatives of certain selfish interests wish to interject all this additional proposed legislation into this picture—and which would entail the appropriation of large sums of taxpayers' money? There is only one answer
it has been the same answer for generations—it is the greedy, selfish desire of a few large industrialists for more profits at the expense of a class of already over-exploited workers.
We have proved clearly, I think, that we now have a set-up working that will take care of all our industrial problems; that being the case I would like to be shown one good valid reason why we should not be allowed to continue with that set-up as long as it continues to be successful.
There is just one more point in this proposed amendment that I would like to comment on briefly, page 44, title V, section 501.
The CHAIRMAN. In the Guffey bill?
Mr. EMERSON. Yes, sir. If this amendment had been written in Italian it would sound here as though Mussolini were giving his "slaves" a Christmas present. The generosity of the sponsors of this amendment
in including such a clause is indeed amazing. Just imagine: We don't have to work if we do not want to. Now I am going to give a tip to those persons or individuals who burn the midnight oil in formulating legislation that is detrimental to organized labor-change your methods and formulate legislation that is practical and omit “throwing crumbs to us,” for labor is now working along 1937 streamlined methods and you must adapt yourselves accordingly. If you will do this you will find that labor will be the first group to cooperate with you for the advancement of American ideals and principles and for the welfare of the American people as a whole.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, and the honorable ladies and gentlemen of this committee, and in the name of the maritime unions, whom I represent, I wish to go on record as being unqualifiedly opposed to this amendment.
Senator VANDENBERG. I want to ask one further question about the Black Diamond contract.
Mr. EMERSON. Yes.
Senator VANDENBERG. As I understand you, you agree that the master must be in complete control of his ship at sea?
Mr. EMERSON. That is right; yes, sir.
Senator VANDENBERG. Is there anything in the Black Diamond agreement which clearly covers that fact?
Mr. EMERSON. In the Black Diamond agreement? Well, it says there shall be no stoppages of work or interruption of commerce during the period of operation. It is in the first section, on page 2.
Senator VANDENBERG. That is after the issue has been joined. Is there anything which clearly makes it impossible to have stoppage of work or other revolt at sea?
Mr. EMERSON. Well, I don't think revolt at sea has been contemplated, but there is evidently something in there to that effect. Ι have not read the thing in full; I have not had time, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think it is necessary to have these committees on the ships?
Mr. EMERSON. I think it is a good thing; yes, sir.
Mr. EMERSON. It is essential from the union standpoint, from the fact that there is somebody there who can coordinate the work, everything necessary--repairs and changes the commanding officer, and things of that kind, and they can be a help and not a hindrance.
The CHAIRMAN. Don't you do a little more than that? Don't you try a man for disobedience of union rules and fine him? Mr. EMERSON. Yes, sir; absolutely.
The CHAIRMAN. If a man should be asked to wipe off a window of the pilot house on Sunday, would he do it?
Mr. EMERSON. You would not have to ask a good sailor that; he would do it, anyway, to have clear vision.
The CHAIRMAN. That is good; I am glad to hear that. We have had testimony to the effect that such a man was asked to wipe off the office window, and he did not do it. He said that if he did it he would be fined by the committee.
Mr. EMERSON. I never heard of any such thing.
Mr. EMERSON. Well, we have had some legitimate testimony at times. We have seen damaging lies and propaganda disseminated in the last few months, and we would really like to have an opportunity to find out where it comes from.
The CHAIRMAN. If you heard that a sailor had given information to this committee, what would you do to him if you knew his name?
Mr. EMERSON. Make him prove it.
The CHAIRMAN. If he did not prove it to your satisfaction, what would
do to him? Mr. EMERSON. What could we do to him? Through the law we cannot do anything.
The CHAIRMAN. What would you do to him through your union?
Mr. EMERSON. If I had anything to do with it, he would be expelled as a menace to organized labor.
The CHAIRMAN. You would have a good deal to do with it?
Mr. EMERSON. I would not in my personal capacity here, but that is my personal feelings. Any man who makes a false statement in other cases would be subject to a law, but here we can't get away with it.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose you knew of an incident in which a sailor had been ordered by the master to wash a window on a Sunday so that the man at the wheel might see, and the sailor would not do it. When it was followed up it was found that he did not do it because the union board would take care of him.
Mr. Emerson. I never heard of any specific incident like that and sometimes I would like to get more details of them.
The CHAIRMAN. It is not conceivable, is it, that your union could do anything that is wrong?
Mr: EMERSON. Yes, sir; it is, but in that case that would be very stupid. Suppose it would be in the pilot house and the windows were frosted or foggy. It is for their own safety to see that those windows are kept clear.
The ChairMAN. Have you finished with your statement?
Mr. WHALEN. I have no way to tell, Senator; it is according to how many questions you ask. It is up to the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. An hour, perhaps?
Mr. WHALEN. Oh, it will be longer than an hour, I am sure of that; maybe 3 hours.
The CHAIRMAN. What about Mr. Oliver? Is he here?
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will stand recessed until quarter .after 2.
(At 1:20 p. m. a recess was taken until 2:15 p. m. of this date.)
The hearing was resumed at the expiration of the recess, at 2:15 p. m.
The Chairman. Mr. Whalen, are you ready to proceed?
STATEMENT OF PATRICK WHALEN, PORT CHAIRMAN, PORT OF
BALTIMORE, FOR THE NATIONAL MARITIME UNION; ALSO REPRESENTING THE MARYLAND-DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA INDUSTRIAL UNION
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Whalen, will you give your full name and your background for the record?
Mr. WHALEN. I am port chairman, port of Baltimore, for the National Maritime Union, and I also have a letter from the MarylandDistrict of Columbia Industrial Union Council, which states that I am hereby authorized to represent the Maryland-District of Columbia Industrial Union, with a membership of about 80,000, before the House and Senate in this matter of vital interest to the workers in the maritime industry. The council is composed of workers from all types of industry and is full in agreement with the position taken by the National Maritime Union in its opposition to the amendments now pending; that they are of the opinion that this legislation would have the effect of blocking the rapid progress of unionization now going on in that industry; that they feel confident that those employers and public officials who are generally interested in arbitration will find our arbitration procedure most satisfactory; that a great danger, in their opinion, lurks in the bill, owing to the principle, even though it be restricted at this time, that employers may at their convenience call upon the National Labor Relations Board to order an election.
The CHAIRMAN. I assume that you are familiar with what Mr. Emerson testified this morning and what Mr. Curran testified. You endorse all that. Have you new material, however? We know what your attitude is on this particular matter. You have made it very clear that you oppose the labor relations section of the bill, and have pointed out to us what you have in your contracts and have impressed the committee with the thought that perhaps you have a solution of the problem here. If you have other matters to complain of with reference to the bill, perhaps you had better confine yourself to that.
Mr. WHALEN. I am speaking now not only for the maritime workers, but I am speaking, as I say, for the workers in the District of Columbia as well as in the State of Maryland, particularly in behalf of the seamen against this bill in its entirety.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean you do not want the bill at all?
The CHAIRMAN. But you heard the amendments suggested this morning by Mr. Emerson. With those amendments, would the bill be satisfactory to you?
Mr. WHALEN. With the amendments as presented; yes. But I believe that you will understand my position when I make my statement with reference to the bill.
The part of the bill that we are opposing is this mediation provision, and I am going to try to present to the committee why we are against it, basing our theory upon the past in the labor movement. I have some statements here bearing upon the facts in the past.
The CHAIRMAN. Go ahead in your own way. I was trying to save your energy and ours. If you are merely going to repeat what we have already had there is no use in that. But if you want to do it,
Mr. WHALEN. In May 1937 a bill was being considered by the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries with reference to maritime labor. That bill sought to impose upon maritime workers Government machinery for the arbitration of labor disputes, and sought primarily to paralyze the right of organized seamen to strike. That bill came just subsequent to the late winter maritime strike of 1936. The American seamen fought to improve the disgraceful condition under which they worked and to increase their low wages.
The seamen’s wage had not kept pace with wages in other industry and were proportionately far behind, as is true even today.
I have here a pamphlet from the Department of Labor that I would like to submit to you, Mr. Chairman, and I just want to draw attention to the fact that I heard the Senator from New York ask Emerson this morning if our wages were above those of seamen in other countries. We are not so much interested in wages in other countries at this time. We are interested in what the wages in the American labor movement are. The largest bracket in monthly rates is under $45 a month for seamen aboard ships today. There are more seamen working under $45 a month than in all the other brackets put together.
The CHAIRMAN. How much do the A. B.'s get?
of just before our last strike. I think this will come out later on.
At the same time the seamen sought to overthrow the yoke of reactionary, unscrupulous leaders who were proved to be in the pay of shipowners and who attempted to subjugate the will of the rank-andfile membership. We seamen were successful in attaining both objectives to some degree.
In March 1937 new seamen's labor union came into being representing a solid front and made up of the rank and file of American seamen on the east and Gulf coasts. The ship operators found that they had to make concessions to American seamen with respect to improved quarters on the ships and with respect to payment of overtime and better wages and to provide good food. The operators could no longer buy and sell. The representatives of the American seamen, to attain their ends, came bere to Congress to do by legislation what they could not do by reprehensible tactics used in the past. Today American seamen protest against working on ships which are unseaworthy, which supply bad food, and which are vermin-ridden. Today American seamen receive overtime for working long hours. All of this has cut into the profits of the ship operator, and he is greatly annoyed.
The bill introduced last May was withdrawn. Its vicious purpose to strangle the seamen's right to strike was too apparent.
The CHAIRMAN. What bill was that? Was that the Guffey bill? Mr. WHELAN. That was H. R. 5193.