Page images
PDF
EPUB

.seamen may or may not, as they desire, take advantage of the provisions offered. The three parts of the program are:

“(a) The training of new men for the merchant marine as replacements.

"(b) The establishment of an organization, which may be called the United States Maritime Service, to give certain economic and other benefits to qualified personnel of the merchant marine, in order to raise the standards and economic conditions of these men, and to make service in the merchant marine so attractive that our ships will be manned by experienced, reliable men.

"(c) Authority to assign ('oast Guard officers to merchant ships, in order to determine the results of and to improve the training, and to coordinate and adapt such training to the requirements of the merchant marine; and to observe the working and living conditions of the personnel; and also, to observe the conduct at fire, lifeboat, and other drilis, and to report violations of the laws relating to seamen, customs, immigration, navigation, and shipping, when the vessel is at sea or beyond the territorial limits of the United States."

A bill covering this matter, worked out by the Coast Guard and the Maritime Commission, was submitted with the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury.

I am the Commissioner who collaborated with the Coast Guard in the preparation of the course of training and of a bill for you to consider. I urge the passage of this bill. The chairman of the Commission said in the economic survey report made to the Congress on November 10, 1937 that, “The Commission has given consideration to a more comprehensive program affecting the existing personnel. It has considered the establishment of a maritime service, which members of the existing personnel of the American merchant marine could join after having successfully completed a course of training. Under the proposed plan, the enrollment would involve no element of compulsion ; men would be encouraged to join by the payment of at least 1 month's pay per year to those enrolled in the service, as well as payment during the period of training." Unfortunately, the report ended with the following: "The Commission is of the opinion that such a program should not be undertaken, however, until there has been further opportunity for study.” Some time has passed since then. There has been ample time and opportunity for study of this matter. I am confident that no amount of delay or further study of this matter will bring out any constructive suggestions. It is a substantial and necessary part of the training plan. If not authorized, it is hardly worth while to authorize the training of 500 young men for 1 year in the Coast Guard. Such training alone would be of little value to the merchant marine.

Much has been said and published about the lack of discipline on board our merchant ships. It has unquestionably, generally speaking, been bad. It does not help the service to publish to the world a bad state of discipline and do nothing to correct it. I need not tell you that without discipline and high-class service the most modern ships can never capture the trade to which we should be entitled, and certainly they will not constitute an efficient naval auxiliary.

My studies of this problem have been based on the sound premise that the Commission must, if we are to have an efficient merchant marine, accomplishi in this connection two things: (1) The Commission must see that the seaman comes into his own. He has been too long neglected. (2) That he is properly trained and disciplined, taught his job, and inspired with a sense of duty and loyalty to the job and his ship. The Maritime Commission is fast accomplishing (1). Its efforts are directed toward good minimum wages, proper working conditions, and the best living conditions that can be provided. This includes not only ample, sanitary, and comfortable quarters, but food of the best ; scrupluous regard for his rights, and such privileges and healthful diversions as are compatible with a proper performance of duty. Photographs of the lay-out of quarters on our recent design of freight ships are enclosed.'

If, as it should be, the Maritime Commission is to be held responsible for the efficiency of the seamen who man our ships, the machinery for accomplishing this should be in its hands. That machinery must be effective. Under present laws the Commission has no authority by which it may improve discipline or skill on board ship. By putting the training plan into operation we shall in time improve the standard of our seamen. If the plan works, and I feel that it will, the training can and should be expanded. In my opinion, however, the restoration of discipline and skill to our ships will be long delayed without authority in the hands of the Maritime Commission to control it, insofar

1 Not printed; on file with the committee.

as practicable. In the meantime, if this is not done, our merchant marine will drop further in general esteem.

As the proper steps in this direction, I suggest the following:

1. Amend revised statutes 4501 (46 U. S. C. 541), by changing the words "Secretary of Commerce" to read “United States Maritime Commission."

2. Amend section 4503, Revised Statutes, by adding at the end thereof a new sentence, to read as follows: "Nothing in this section or in section 4507 of the Revised Statutes, as amended, shall be construed to prohibit the shipment or discharge of seamen in a place other than a customhouse or a shipping commissioner's office so long as it is selected and exclusively controlled by the Federal officer authorized by law, and any such place shall be deemed a public office."

3. Amend section 4508, Revised Statutes, to read as follows:

"SEO. 4508. The general duties of a shipping commissioner shall be: First. To keep a register of available seamen. Second. To afford facilities for engaging seamen by providing a shipping office exclusively under his control, where masters of vessels may choose their crews and where seamen may choose such engagements as are available to them. Engagements for sea service shall be made in no other way except in such cases as are authorized by existing law or as amended by this act. Third. To superintend the selection and the shipment and discharge of seamen on domestic vessels in ports of the United States in the manner prescribed by law. Fourth. To facilitate the making of apprenticeships to the sea service. Fifth. To perform such other duties relating to merchant seamen or merchant ships as are now or may hereafter be required by law."

In addition, I strongly recommend the transfer of the jurisdiction over the licensed and unlicensed personnel now vested in the Department of Commerce (Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation) to the Maritime Commission. Such a transfer would give the Commission control over the issuing and suspension and revocation of licenses for deck and engineroom officers and of certificates of service to all unlicensed members of the crew. Licensed personnel needs jacking up as well as unlicensed personnel. The Commission cannot develop a well-trained and efficient citizen personnel with existing lack of authority.

Attention is invited to a statement made by Andrew Furuseth before your committee in May 1935: “We ask that all the men shipped in vessels, except those operating within the same State, or who serve on car ferries or on ferry boats, shall be shipped in the shipping commissioner's office, and shall be selected by the master, or such officer as he chooses to send for that purpose, so that there will be nobody coming between him and the seamen. There will be no opportunity for 'crimping' no matter whether it is respectable or not, because there are 'crimps' who think they are very respectable.” As late as February 14, 1936, the Seamen's Union of America, of which he was president, in convention in Washington, D. C., adopted a declaration : “Declaration for the development and support of the American merchant marine." One article of this declaration reads as follows: "7. Require that seamen be shipped only through authorized Government shipping commissioners. Abolish all private discharge books and substitute therefor discharge books to be issued to the seamen by the Government." I need not remind you, if you knew old Mr. Furuseth, that he was ever working for the sailorman. He was a wise man: and realized that if we are ever to have peace in the merchant marine industry, with the seamen and the shipowners sharing the benefits bestowed by the Government and of success in this industry, the friction and existing bitterness between shipowners and unions must be removed. Decent and harmonious relations will never exist so long as hiring halls for seamen are under control of either.

It is my reasoned opinion that if the plan I submit is adopted, the traditional smartness of American ships will, in time, be restored. The unions concerned will, no doubt, not welcome the strengthening and the enforcement of the law which requires shinping commissioners to control hiring halls for seamen, but, if honest, they will eventually look upon this procedure as a real boon to the

In closing. I hope I may be pardoned for adding a personal note. My mature life has been spent in handling personnel afloat and ashore. I know sailors. What thev like is a taut shin. Ataut shin is one on which discipline is exacted and maintained by the master, coupled with consideration and absolute justice toward subordinates. Until we have tant ships we shall not have a merchant

sea men.

marine worth the money spent upon it. I am confident that my program will insure such ships within a reasonable time. To attain this end is my object. Faithfully yours,

(Signed) H. A. WILEY,

Commissioner. (The amendments referred to are to be inserted in the record at this point.)

SEC. 216. (a) The Commission is hereby authorized and directed to establish a system for the training of citizens of the United States to serve as licensed and unlicensed personnel on American merchant vessels to be administered by the United States Coast Guard which may employ as instructors, on a contract or fee basis, such qualified licensed and unlicensed personnel of the merchant marine as the United States Coast Guard may deem necessary to effectuate the purposes of this section.

(b) The Commission is hereby authorized and directed, under such rules and regulations as it may prescribe, to establish the United States Maritime Service which shall be administered by the United States Coast Guard and consist of such licensed and unlicensed personnel of the United States merchant marine as may be enrolled under the provisions of this section. The ranks, grades, ratings (and pay during training periods) for the personnel of the Maritime Service shall be the same as are now or shall hereafter be prescribed for the personnel of the Coast Guard. The Commission is authorized and directed to determine the number of persons to be enrolled in the Maritime Service, to prescribe the amount to be expended for this service, including retainer pay for enrolled members, and to prescribe such courses and periods of training as may be determined by the Commission and the United States Coast Guard to be necessary to maintain a trained and efficient merchant-marine personnel.

(c) The Commission, with the consent of any executive department, independent establishment, or other agency of the Government, including any field service thereof, may arail itself of the use of information, services, facilities, officers, and employees thereof in carrying out the provisions of this section.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Admiral. The committee will stand adjourned until Monday.

(Whereupon an adjournment was taken until Wednesday, January 19, 1938.)

AMENDING THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19, 1938

UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, AND
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR,

Washington, D.C. The committees met, pursuant to adjournment, at 11 o'clock in the Commerce Committee room, the Capitol, Senator Royal S. Copeland (chairman of the Commerce Committee) presiding.

Present: Senators Copeland (chairman of the Commerce Committee, presiding), Thomas of Utah, (chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor), Bailey, Clark, Radcliffe, Berry, and Vandenberg.

Senator BAILEY. The chairman expects to be here in a few moments, but he has asked us to proceed. The first witness is Mr. Harry Lundeberg, Secretary and Treasurer of the Sailors Union of the Pacific. Mr. Lundeberg, will you come forward ?

STATEMENT OF HARRY LUNDEBERG, SECRETARY-TREASURER,

SAILORS UNION OF THE PACIFIC

Mr. LUNDEBERG. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I am the Secretary of the Sailors Union of the Pacific. We have a membership of about 8,000 members. I am sailing on the deck. I was sent here to voice the opinion of the members of my organization against the proposed mediation bills before this committee at this time. In order to get a little clearer picture of it, I should like to bring in a little background, if it is all right with the committee.

Senator BAILEY. Tell us your occupation and what you have been doing. Let us get a little background about you.

Mr. LUNDEBERG. Do you want my background?
Senator BAILEY. Yes. Just what do you do?

Mr. LUNDEBERG. I am a sailor by trade. I started to sea in 1914 on European ships. I sailed under nine different nationalities. I have sailed on American ships since 1923. I came to this country for the first time in 1919. I have sailed on every kind of shipschooners, fore-and-afters, passenger vessels, tramp steamers, and sailing ships.

Senator BAILEY. Are you a citizen of this country?

Mr. LUNDEBERG. Yes. In order to hold the job I hold in the Sailors Union, I must be a citizen.

The Sailors Union of the Pacific is the oldest seamen's union in the United States. It was organized in 1885 in San Francisco.

« PreviousContinue »