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Mr. Borow. Well, we have certain feelings with respect to this legislation; and that happens to be one of them.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that one trouble with the whole business: That there are too many feelings?
Mr. Borow. It may be, sir, on both sides.
For instance, the vice president of the Moore & McCormack Steamship Co., Mr. Robert C. Lee, in speaking before the Women's Organization for the Advancement of the American Merchant Marine, at the Hotel Commodore, New York City, on December 8 statedparaphrased: a large fleet of modern merchant vessels would be useless unless properly trained and disciplined men were furnished to man these ships.
And while literally hundreds of bona fide seamen were, in the seamen's parlance, “on the beach," on the other hand agents for the company, in the summer of 1936, actually engaged and retained in its employ known criminals and fugitives from justice: Manny Moore, wanted for assault and murder, in Houston, Tex.; Louis Factor, wanted in Port Arthur, Tex., for carrying dangerous weapons and inciting to riot. When this untoward condition was complained of to Captain Ebby, port captain of the company, in Philadelphia, he stated:
We're not going to let these men go and permit a bunch of radicals to get control of our ships.
Then again, in the month of November of the same year, and with thousands of real seamen available up and down the Atlantic seaboard, that company, rather than submit to fair labor practices-practices since upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States-actually engaged circus hands in the place of experienced sailors, firemen, and stewards, as the following affidavit will show.
And I shall submit this affidavit for the record, with the permission of the chairman (reading]:
PHILADELPHIA, PA., November 21, 1936. To whom it may concern:
On the Steamship Commercial Alabaman of the Moore & McCormack Lines (Moore-Mack Lines) at the port of Port Tampa, Fla., on or about the 10th o November 1936 the crew of about 12 men left ship on strike. These men were replaced by mostly inexperienced men, for the most part circus hands from Ringling Bros. Circus, which was partially disbanding for their winter quarters at Tampa, Fla.
These men were issued union books on short notice, without proper procedure, by the I. S. U. delegate in Tampa, Fla., according to dictations of the steamship company's agent in Tampa, Fla. Four of these inexperienced men, engine-room helpers, left ship in Miami about 2 days later and again replaced by men, mostly inexperienced and without proper union credentials.
According to my observations, personal contact and conversations heard, most of these men were inexperienced as seaman, without union affiliations. Signed, FRANK FREY, formerly Radio Oficer of Steamship "Commercial Alabaman."
PHILADELPHIA, PA., November 21, 1936. STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA,
County of Philadelphia, 88:
ELLEN E. DEADY, Notary Public. My commission expires March 25, 1937.
(The above paper is filed with the Clerk of the Commerce Committee.)
In other statements, the Moore & McCormack Steamship Co. would not employ experienced radio officers, couched in the tradition of the sea and conversant with the marine radio-operating profession. Here again we have this attitude of the company. In their stead, agents of the company and the honored Mr. Lee himself would specifically request green and inexperienced radio operators, right from the schools, rather than hazard the possibility of getting an experienced man who was more likely to be a member of a labor organization.
The pay situation was not in issue because the shipowners' established scale was universally paid on the east coast at that time.
And many similar instances can be cited. That Mr. Lee or other officials of the company had no knowledge of such malpractices, would be a presumption on our part. Yet Mr. Lee and his colleagues are the very ones who are so vigorously sponsoring the amendment providing for training ships, staffed by the military. Is it any wonder that the seamen look with suspicion on such proposals?
Then we have the case of Mr. William K. Jackson, vice president and general counsel of the United Fruit Co., addressing the New York Propeller Club just a few weeks ago. Mr. Jackson, as we all know, represents a very patriotic steamship company-steeped in the tradition of sacrifice to the best interests of our great country, a company with 50 percent of its tonnage under foreign registry. The point that maritime labor raises is, Why should any consideration be shown such interests whose only patriotic concern is the eagle on the American dollar? If the United Fruit Co. were so interested in the welfare and development of the American merchant marine, to “aid the foreign and domestic commerce of the United States and to provide for the national defense,” why do they build their ships abroad, place them under foreign registry, and deny employment to American citizens?
Mr. Jackson's other objections to the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 as now written, as presented to the aforesaid Propeller Club, include an observation as follows, paraphrased:
Of all the maritime nations of the world, the United States has lagged behind in its approach to the question of the training of adequate personnel. We have available in this country seamen and sailors who are just as intelligent as those who sail the ships of foreign nations, but these foreign nations have afforded their sailors and seamen the facilities for intensive education and training in jobs which they are called upon to perform.
This point, paradoxical as it may seem, we find being raised by a representative of a company which, by its indisputable record, is shown to have consistently engaged untrained and inexperienced foreign seamen and, in many cases on record, to have given preference of employment to absolutely green radio officers, when well-trained and well-qualified men were readily available.
Senator Thomas of Utah. Mr. Borow, how many radio officers' unions are there in the United States?
Mr. Borow. There is one under the C. I. O., which is the one I represent and which has contracts with all the shipping companies on the west coast and with quite a number on the east coast and the Gulf coast and the Great Lakes.
There is another union, under the American Federation of Labor, which had its inception at the close of the last maritime labor dispute which took place on the Atlantic coast.
Senator THOMAS of Utah. Is this union affiliated with the radio workers who operate on land?
Mr. Borow. You mean this American Federation of Labor Union?
Senator Thomas of Utah. Then, a man can take his union card and get a job in a radio station on land or can get a job on the sea?
Mr. Borow. No; not necessarily, sir. You see, there are two classes of licenses generally issued by the Federal Communications Commission.
Senator Thomas of Utah. I am talking about the membership in the unions, not the licenses.
Mr. Borow. But this has a bearing. The Federal Communications Commission divides radio operating into two classes-radio telephone and radio telegraph. You must have a radio telegraph license in order to work on a ship at sea, whereas to work in a radio broadcasting station you must have a radio telephone license.
Senator Thomas of Utah. Then you have your unions organized in accordance with the Federal regulations, do you?
Mr. Borow. That is correct.
Mr. Borow. You mean from the American Federation of Labor to the C. I. O. Union?
Senator THOMAS of Utah. Yes.
Senator THOMAS of Utah. Are there any radio unions that are closed, now, so that no one can join them?
Mr. Borow. On the west coast, where there has been a program of stabilizaton in the industry up there, the A. R. T. A. on the west coast is closed.
Senator Thomas of Utah. What do you mean by "stabilizaton in industry?"
Mr. Borow. Well, you understand that when a union succeeds in building up the conditions and raising the wages in a particular line of endeavor, there is an automatic influx of a great number of men who otherwise would not work in such an industry. In order to stabilize employment and protect the men who have been in that particular industry and built it up, they have closed the books. That does not mean that they are not taking in anybody, under any circumstances, terms, and conditions; but it is more restrictive than it has been in the past. Preference is given at all times, even on the west coast where we have our union books closed, to men who have had service in the United States Navy, United States Army, and United States oast Guard.
Senator Thomas of Utah. What if this happened: A young man graduates from college and becomes a radio engineer and an expert. He goes, let us say, to Los Angeles; and he is offered a job by a radio concern, but is told that he must show union membership, because it is a closed shop. And he goes to the union and asks for membership, and they deny him membership. What becomes of that fellow?
Mr. Borow. Well, it is very seldom that an outright denial is made.
Senator Thomas of Utah. Well, is it good practice, from the ethics of your organization?
Mr. Borow. You must realize, Senator, that a certain amount of protection must be accorded the men who are employed in the industry.
Senator THOMAS of Utah. But here is a man, offered a job, which shows that they need a man; but he is told that he must go and get a union membership. And that is denied him.
Mr. Borow. All right, sir. On this particular point, you say this is with respect to the area of Los Angeles. Now, the A. R. T. A. has under contract all the steamship companies on the west coast. and these contracts call for hiring through the A. R. T. A.
Senator Thomas of Utah. Now, I want you to answer my question. Mr. Borow. But this is
Senator Thomas of Utah (interposing). No; I do not want history; I want the facts in this case. If it is true that your union is barring a man from membership, when he has a job offered him, just what kind of ethics are you operating under?
Mr. Borow. But there is one point I wanted to make clear: That inasmuch as the shipowners on the west coast and the A. R. T. A. are under contract, those contracts call for the steamship companies to get their men through the A. R. T. A. offices. Therefore it would be a violation of those contracts, in that case in Los Angeles. On the east coast it is entirely a different situation.
We have many cases that are just as you stated, there, in the Los Angeles example.
Senator Thomas of Utah. How long do you think you can keep a union working under those methods?
Mr. Borow. Under what methods?
Senator Thomas of Utah. Just like I have stated. Here is an employer offering a man a job, a man who is competent for the job, and the fact that the employer offers him a job proves there is a vacancy. And that man goes to get the job and is told that he must get membership in the union. He applies for membership in the union, and he is entirely qualified but is told the union books are closed.
Mr. Borow. But as I have already explained, Senator, that would be a violation of a contract now in existence. You would not advocate the violation of that contract, would you?
Senator Thomas of Utah. How could it be a violation of the contract?
Mr. Borow. Because the contract specifically states that the steamship company, when it has a vacancy, is to call up the A. R. T. A.; and the Å. R. T. A. furnishes the men.
Senator THOMAS of Utah. That is already done. And the A. R. T. A. states the union books are closed.
Mr. Borow. Oh, no; I have never heard of a refusal to furnish a man, except when a labor dispute occurs.
Senator Thomas of Utah. I am giving an actual instance which has occurred. Because I have written a statement about it.
Is that in conformity with your idea of unionization?
Mr. Borow. Well, it is very difficult to give a blanket answer to a general situation.
Senator Thomas of Utah. Now, I want you to be specific. Just listen to this, please; and I want an answer, because I should like to know about the ethics of this particular union; there is a vacancy in a radio station. A young man, who is competent in every way, is offered a job. But he is told he must become a member of the union because they have these contracts which you mention. There is a vacancy, He goes to the union and applies for membership; and the union tells him there are no vacancies in the union. Now, what becomes of the union under those circumstances?
Mr. Borow. Sir, if there is no contract or understanding or labor dispute in that particular situation, why, I do not see any reason why and I do not believe the A. R. T. A. would deny such a man membership or clearance.
Senator Thomas of Utah. You cannot defend that practice?
Mr. Borow. Yes, sir; I would, generally speaking. But we must always take into consideration the particular circumstances surrounding the particular case.
Senator Thomas of Utah. That is what I want. This is the time when we have an actual case, and I want a condemnation of that, for the sake of the unions. I cannot defend labor organizations under practices of that kind.
Mr. Borow. Senator, you are speaking of a case which you have definite knowledge of?
Senator THOMAS of Utah. Yes.
Mr. Borow. Now, I do not have definite knowledge of that particular case.
Senator Thomas of Utah. But you would condemn a case like that, would you not?
Mr. Borow. If it is precisely as stated to me.
The CHAIRMAN. You must assume that it is. The Senator is telling you that he knows of his own knowledge. So he is entitled to a straight answer.
Mr. Borow. Yes; that is correct, Mr. Chairman. But the thing is, have those supplying the information to the Senator given the Senator the complete picture and the entire story? That is another question.
Senator Thomas of Utah. Well, turning it into a hypothetical case, then: Here is a man who has a job offered him. And he is told to get a membership in the union. He goes to the union and asks for membership. And the union denies him membership, which means keeping him out of a job.
Mr. Borow. I can say that we have many such cases, to my own personal knowledge, right here on the east coast; and the men are given membership into the association, and they take the job.
Senator THOMAS of Utah. Then, this case that I am calling to your attention is a case which is out of the ordinary, and very much out of the ordinary, is it?
Mr. Borow. Under the conditions which you describe it, I would say yes, sir.
Senator VANDENBERG. As I understand you, the contract which the employer himself has made out, there, denies him the right to offer the job to this man?