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fronting the seamen and the American merchant marine at the present time. These issues are hours and wages-nothing more, nothing less.
Instead of conducting an open investigation into working conditions on board ships, instead of frankly inquiring into the causes of discontent among the seamen and attempting honestly to evaluate the aims and programs of the marine unions, the committee appears to be using these hearings as a forum for attacks against the maritime workers and their organizations.
How else can we account for the long, involved, self-contradictory testimony of the mysterious Captain X? Why, otherwise, would he be encouraged to voice vague and unqualified slanders against the American seamen? What other explanation can there be for insertion in the record of absolutely false statements from the shipowners regarding the rotary hiring system?
It is becoming increasingly clear to the Committee for Industrial Organization that the stage is being set for a program of coercive legislation relating to organized labor in this country. You and other members of your committee have declared that some form of legislation is necessary to bring peace to the maritime industry. Later you proposed compulsory arbitration. Do you be lieve if compulsory arbitration is forced on the marine workers that the employers of this country would be satisfied to stop at that? I cannot believe it. Compulsory arbitration for the marine workers would be followed by attempts to bring workers in other industries under the same type of coercion.
Contrary to the professed belief of many employers that compulsory arbitration would bring peace to the marine industry. I am of the opinion that it would do just the opposite. Whereas the marine workers, through their organizations, are rapidly bringing peace to the industry under the present laws, any attempt to deny their organizational rights would, in my opinion, disrupt those efforts and make for chaos again.
The real way to bring peace to the industry is to improve conditions to the point where a seaman does not have to degrade himself economically to follow the sea as a calling. If the shipowners had adopted a more humane labor policy in years past the marine workers would not have been compelled to resort to the strike weapon to improve their living and working conditions.
The organizations affiliated with the marine unions through the Committee for Industrial Organization will resist every effort by employers anywhere to substitute compulsory arbitration for collective bargaining. Sincerely yours,
JOHN BROPHY, Director, Committee for Industrial Organization. Mr. CARSON. Mr. Chairman, Mr. L. W. Hartman, of Portland, and Mr. C. King Benton, representing the apple growers of the Hood River district, would like to be heard before this committee.
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask, Mr. Mayor, if it would be convenient for them to come at 2 o'clock?
Mr. Carson. Yes. Mr. Hanna, of Los Angeles, also wishes to be heard, I understand.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well. We will adjourn until 2 o'clock. (Whereupon, at 1 p. m., a recess was taken until 2 p. m.)
The committees reconvened, at the expiration of the recess, at 2 p. m.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. L. W. Hartman, of Portland, Oreg., representing the Port of Portland Commission.
STATEMENT OF L. W. HARTMAN, REPRESENTING PORT OF
PORTLAND COMMISSION, PORTLAND, OREG.
The CHAIRMAN. You are a member of the Port of Portland Commission?
Mr. HARTMAN. That is right; of Portland, Oreg.
Mr. HARTMAN. Mr. Chairman, the Port of Portland Commission is a public body maintained through taxation,
created for the purpose of maintaining, with the cooperation of the Federal Government, the channel and all services necessary for the maintenance of a seaport.
The people of our district realize, and have realized for many years, that we are entirely dependent upon our tidewater position for our economic subsistence. As a matter of fact, we have best proved that when it is recognized that we have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain the channel and the facilities which I mentioned.
As indicative of the importance of shipping to our district, I should merely like to indicate that in 1936—which, incidentally, was a lean year—there were 1,598 vessels from all ports, with a net tonnage of 5,035,056 net tons, entering the port, whereas there were 1,585 vessels, with a net tonnage of 5,009,111 net tons, that cleared the port.
Some 3 or 4 years ago our commission was definitely exercised, representing as it does, from a maritime point of view, the interests in the State, to undertake to investigate, if you please, just what the situation was and is and is likely to be relative to that all-important industry.
We made numerous public and other investigations, and, frankly, are here today to tell you that we are alarmed. As a people we feel that unless the situation which now exists is corrected we are likely to be deprived, in part at least, and probably to a great extent, of the basis of our existence, namely, our maritime shipping.
I should like to have the record disclose the fact that our investigation, among other things revealed, I am happy to say, that the people who have dealings with Mr. Lundeberg, the gentleman who testified before this committee this morning, have a high regard for him. They think that the man is genuinely sincere, not alone in the matter of protecting the interests of the numerous seamen whom he represents, but in a conscientious desire to protect the agreements which he and his group enter into.
However, notwithstanding Mr. Lundeberg's sincerity, we have developed the fact that there are certain situations, probably for reasons beyond his control, that are not healthy.
Incidentally, I want the record also to disclose definitely that what I have to say is not directed against any one group or any one branch of the maritime industry, nor does it attempt to protect the shipowners as against the men. I merely want this committee to know that unless there is some security afforded to those people who are interested in this entire problem, we are faced with one of two possibilities either the abandonment of a greater part of our maritime shipping or governmental operation exclusively. I think it is safe to say The CHAIRMAN. Would you favor governmental operation ?
Mr. Hartman. Definitely not. I think it is safe to say that the men employed on ships would not fare as well under governmental operation as they do imder existing conditions, for the obvious reason that the Government would move the ships. The Government would insure performance under any and all circumstances. I think that the men—and when I speak of the men I am speaking of those men engaged as longshoremen, and others identified with the maritime industry-would certainly not improve their condition or enjoy a greater exercise of individual rights under governmental operation than they do under private operation,
The CHAIRMAN. Your thought is that if the Government had possession of the ships it would exercise its sovereign power to see that they moved.
Mr. HARTMAN. That is right,
The CHAIRMAN. And that the social rights and other rights of the sailors might not be so much regarded by that sort of operation.
Mr. HARTMAN. That is exactly what I have in mind.
Mr. HARTMAN. From statements that have emanated from the Maritime Commission, which might be interpreted to indicate that the ports of the United States will be served, and if private capital cannot undertake the operation of ships, the United States Government will.
Senator Thomas of Utah. I am not interested in that. I am interested in your deduction that if the Government undertakes the operation, the men will be worse off.
Mr. HARTMAN. I do not say they will necessarily be worse off. I say that it is my thought that they will not have the same privilege of exercising personal rights as they have under private operation.
Senator Thomas of Utah. Have you a shipping institution anywhere that is run by the Government, so that you can make comparisons?
Mr. HARTMAN. No; I cannot. I have only this in mind, that so far as this Government is concerned, we have the precedent of the acquirement of private vessels during the late World War, when, I think I am sa fe in stating, complete jurisdiction in a sovereign manner was exercised by the Federal Government. Therefore, if the Federal Government should consider that a condition exists that demands a similar sovereign jurisdiction, even though it may be in time of
peace, is it not fair to assume that the Government would exercise that right?
Senator THOMAS of Utah. When did the Government go into the barge-line business on the Mississippi?
Mr. HARTMAN. I should say around 1925, or thereabouts.
Senator Thomas of Utah. Have the men been any worse off under the overnment-controlled barge lines than they were before?
Mr. HARTMAN. I cannot answer that. I do not know,
Mr. HARTMAN. I hope you are not misconstruing my remarks. I am merely speaking about the rights of the men. I am not saying that they would not fare as well, or better, under Government ownership. I am speaking purely of their social rights.
The CHAIRMAN. They would be less independent.
Mr. HARTMAN. I imagine that the psychological reaction to governmental operation on the Mississippi has had a very great deal to do with the freedom from strikes.
The CHAIRMAN. I was very much disturbed yesterday, in talking to some of these men, at their statement to this effect, that on the Shipping Boardships, which are operated by the Authority, the Maritime Commission, the sailors are not paid as well as they are on privately operated ships. I was disturbed over that, and I thought that in due time I would find out, if possible, why that is true. As I understand it, there is a material difference between the wages paid on the Government-owned ships and those paid on privately owned ships. Mr. Mullins, is that a fact? Is Nr. Mullins here? (No response.) Can somebody say whether I have stated the fact?
Mr. FITZGERALD. Yes, sir. You have stated the true fact. On the Black Diamond boats, for instance, which are Government-owned boats, they have a higher scale of wages than on privately owned vessels.
The CHAIRMAN. Wait a minute. It was the other way around, was it not, Mr. Fitzgerald—that on the privately operated ships there is a higher wage scale than on the Government ships. Is that what you intended to say?
Mr. FITZGERALD. I believe in our discussion Mr. Mullins and I stated yesterday that the privately owned boats carried a higher scale of wages than the Government-owned boats.
Mr. HARTMAN. May I proceed?
Mr. HARTMAN. I should like to call attention to the fact that the Port of Portland Commission is desirous of seeing that the men, whether afloat or ashore, are provided with desirable wages, desirable living conditions, and desirable quarters. We are not unmindful of the fact that those men have not always been provided with those conditions, and that they are entitled to, and certainly should enjoy, the benefits that they have recently obtained.
However, the Port of Portland Commission also recognizes the fact that there must be a limit or a ceiling beyond which ship operators cannot go. They hope for cooperation between the men and the owners, to the point where the services will not be destroyed by demands beyond the ability of the shipowners.
May I cite a concrete illustration which we developed in our investigations ?
The CHAIRMAN. You made an investigation out there?
Mr. HARTMAN. The Port of Portland Commission made an investigation. We developed, for example, from one shipowner that a vessel of his fleet today is tied up because a demand was made by the union that a bonus amounting to $150 per man, plus life insurance protection, be afforded, and I ask you to bear in mind that there was no quarrel on the part of the owners with paying that if the traffic would bear it. What actually happened was that the margin of profit between the operation of that charter and the cost of performing it was so narrow that the owner of the vessel had to abandon the charter in favor of a foreign ship. That resulted in 36 men being out of work for approximately 4 months on that voyage. The Commission feels that there ought to be some medium or some organization or some agency that could investigate these facts, if you please, and if it is definitely impossible for the American owner to grant the demands, whatever they may be, the men should agree, amicably, of course, that they will endeavor to cooperate to the extent of keeping the ships afloat and keeping their jobs.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have the feeling that the rivalry between unions or between leaders has had something to do with the discontent and trouble on the coast?
Mr. HARTMAN. Very definitely,
Mr. HARTMAN. I am quite convinced of it. I will add this, Mr. Chairman, that our investigations, from the time of the institution of the 1934 strike down to and including the present time, indicate without any doubt that there is very great rivalry. The mayor of our city testified this morning, and he indicated, without mentioning his authority to the committee, that that 1936 strike could have been settled a week before Christmas had it not been for one of the opposing factions preventing it from being accomplished.
In other words, our maritime industry is as strong as its weakest link. That is why I emphasize that I am not speaking about any one particular group or any one particular endeavor. If the sailors, for example, are perfectly satisfied with their terms and conditions and agreements, and are prevented from working because the longshoremen may not be, and picket the ship, we are no better off than if all groups were in disagreement.
Testimony was given this morning to the effect that there was loyalty, or at least satisfaction with the system now in vogue. That may be true insofar as a group of sailors is concerned, but I would hesitate to say that that is true of all the sailors' organizations and their policies. One company provided us with this information, which I pass on for whatever value it may have. They have had men tell them that loyalty as between the men and the owners is not wanted, for which reason shifts are constantly made to prevent men from staying on board too long, for fear that they may become loyal to the operators. This group reported one particular voyage which took 104 days. A crew of 36 men, unlicensed personnel, had 80 changes from the time that vessel left the east coast until it reached its terminus on the Pacific coast. I am not here to say why there were 80 changes, but it was represented to us that those changes were directly attributable to the practice or to the desire of the unions, and furthermore, that they control that situation in other words that the men cannot, of their own volition, remain on board a vessel if it is not wished by the unions that they do so.
The CHAIRJAN. How would they drive the men off the ship-by making it uncomfortable for them?
Mr. HARTMAN. By merely telling a man, according to our information, that upon arrival of the vessel 'at San Francisco he is replaced. So we are told. He is brought ashore and someone else placed on board.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you happen to remember the name of that ship?
Mr. HARTMAN. We were not given the name of that ship.
The CHAIRMAN. To connect up that statement of yours with other testimony, if sailor A left the ship at San Francisco, of necessity the union hall would supply another sailor.
Mr. HARTMAN. Certainly.
The CHAIRMAN. If he were thrown off the ship, I do not know what the rule would be there. Is that what you are intimating?
Mr. HARTMAX. No. I am nerely reporting to you, Mr. Chairman, what has been reported to us as one of the conditions which exist. I am not a sailor or a shipping man to the extent of knowing how much or how little of this is correct. I am merely reporting to you the information which was afforded us as a commission in our investigation regarding this situation.
The most serious of the charges which were filed with us, and the one which alarmed us, is that the licensed personnel of our American merchant marine is becoming definitely “fed up," to use the exact