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Mr. FITZGERALD. Yes, sir; I am the representative of the Governor also.
Mr. Wood. I believe you are the one who is properly representing the Governor, as you are the deputy labor commissioner and do not represent any particular group. I just wonder how it is that the Governor would send one man down here to represent him, in opposition to the bill, and another man down here who is in favor of the bill, also representing him.
Mr. FITZGERALD. I got no instructions at all from the Governor. When the Governor called me to his office and sent me down here to represent him, I said to the Governor that I wanted his views on the question and he told me to go down and use my own judgment. Mr. WOOD. You did not go to the Governor, he called you? Mr. FITZGERALD. Yes, sir.
Mr. WOOD. He called you in?
Mr. FITZGERALD. Yes, sir.
Mr. Wood. I believe the gentleman who testified yesterday said that he went to the Governor.
Mr. FITZGERALD. I believe that the Governor sent him, Congress
Mr. WOOD. I would like to recall him and ask him.
Mr. RAMSPECK. I think he said that the Governor asked him to represent the viewpoint of the manufacturers, Mr. Wood. In other words, the Governor is providing for representation here both of the employer and the employee. Is that right, Mr. Fitzgerald?
Mr. FITZGERALD. I believe so, yes.
Mr. RAMSPECK. The Governor is not taking any position himself. Mr. WOOD. The point is that the gentleman who testified yesterday represented himself as representing the Governor. Naturally, any one representing a Governor would be presumed in some way to represent the Governor's views.
Mr. KELLER. No; I did not get that idea, Mr. Wood. I got the idea that the Governor asked him to represent the views of the operators and he sent Mr. Fitzgerald here to represent the views of labor.
Mr. WOOD. No; as Mr. Fitzgerald just said, the Governor called him in. Of course, that is true, or Mr. Fitzgerald, as the deputy labor commissioner, would not say so, because he is part of the Governor's cabinet. The Governor called him in and told him to come to Washington and represent him before this committee on this bill.
Now, I would like to get this clear for the record. I do not want any misconception here on any one's part. I just want to make the matter very clear that the gentleman who testified yesterday was representing the manufacturers and was not testifying in behalf of the Governor. He told this committee that he went to the Governor and of course the Governor very graciously told him that he could come down here.
Mr. KELLER. We can save time and ask him. He is here. Mr. Nickerson, will you tell us how you happened to come to the committee; and do not tell us any more than that, because we want Senator Fitzgerald to complete his testimony.
Mr. NICKERSON. The Governor called me on the telephone and asked me to represent him by presenting the point of view of the textile manufacturers of Connecticut.
Mr. KELLER. Thank you.
Mr. Wood. I thought, Mr. Nickerson, you said you went to the Governor?
Mr. NICKERSON. Is that a question?
Mr. WOOD. Yes. I thought you said yesterday that you went to the Governor and suggested that you come down here and testify. I think that is in your testimony of yesterday, is it not?
Mr. KELLER. NO.
Mr. WOOD. Now, Mr. Chairman, you might be mistaken, just as I might be.
Mr. KELLER. I asked Mr. Nickerson and he just said what the fact is. Do you want him to repeat it?
Mr. Wood. I asked him what he testified to yesterday. That is not what he said yesterday.
Mr. KELLER. We can put him on the stand again, at the proper time, but we want to get along and finish with Mr. Fitzgerald's testimony.
Mr. WOOD. I would like to ask Mr. Nickerson that question now. Mr. KELLER. Very well, ask him, Mr. Wood.
Mr. Wood. What did you tell us yesterday, Mr. Nickerson? Mr. NICKERSON. I told you yesterday exactly the same thing I just told you.
Mr. Wood. Of course, the record will speak for itself.
Mr. NICKERSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. WOOD. Now, Mr. Fitzgerald, you said that there were four strikes in the past 6 weeks that had been occasioned by an attempt to reduce wages, on the part of the manufacturers, or the employers, and that these strikes were occasioned or caused by neighboring States raising the number of hours of labor and reducing wages; that the manufacturers of Connecticut had to come around to meet that competition.
Mr. FITZGERALD. That is right.
Mr. Wood. And to meet it by a similar stretching of the hours and a reduction of wages?
Mr. FITZGERALD. Yes.
Mr. WOOD. Do you not think that is a very sound reason why legislation of this type should be enacted?
Mr. FITZGERALD. Absolutely. The only way is by regulation of hours and wages.
Mr. WOOD. Uniform regulation?
Mr. FITZGERALD. Absolutely. I know it. I went through the N. R. A. I saw the benefits of it. I now see a group of boys in the C. C. C. camps and I see thousands of kids on the way to Washington, coasting on the streets, and I wonder where the slack is going to be taken up, if we are going to give John Smith 70 hours a week and Bill Jones charity. There is only so much. Modern machinery has increased production so many hundred percent that the only way out, in my opinion-and I have lived a whole life of it-is by a regulation of hours, and some intelligent regulation.
Mr. WOOD. That is all.
Mr. RAMSPECK. You say you went through the N. R. A.; were you deputy labor commissioner then?
Mr. FITZGERALD. Yes, sir. I was on the State Advisory Board.
Mr. RAMSPECK. I have the idea in my own mind that the only benefits we got out of N. R. A. were achieved before any of the codes were adopted, in the adoption of the President's reemployment agreement. What is your opinion about it?
Mr. FITZGERALD. That started it and then the codes came along. The President's agreement incorporated the minimum wages and reduction of hours, which were the fundamental principles of the N. R. A., in my opinion.
Mr. RAMSPECK. And the adoption of the codes did not bring us anything but trouble, did they?
Mr. FITZGERALD. A lot of confusion.
Mr. RAMSPECK. Is not this what happened? When they adopted the codes, different groups within an industry began to jockey for every position.
Mr. FITZGERALD. That is it.
Mr. RAMSPECK. And that is when we got into trouble.
Mr. FITZGERLAD. That has been my experience.
Mr. RAMSPECK. If we had stopped with the President's agreement we would have gotten all the benefit of it.
Mr. FITZGERALD. And I say this further, that if N. R. A. hours had been maintained in other industries, outside of the textile industry, that there would be thousands upon thousands more people employed now.
I know in Connecticut men have worked 16 hours a day since the N. R. A. has been declared unconstitutional, 80 hours a week, enough work for two people. And in the same town there were several hundred people on welfare.
I know of another company that worked 10 hours a day 7 days a week, and we had 125 girls between the ages of 17 and 21 on welfare in that city.
We made a survey of the youth in Connecticut, a survey of 40,000 between the ages of 16 and 24. We found that 76 percent of them had no training at all to fit them in industry.
I am not worried about the skilled worker in industry, so far as wages are concerned, because I have seen the wages of machinists go from 40 cents to $1.10, when the demand was created. A skilled worker will take care of himself because there is a shortage of them and they are paying machinists in Connecticut today $1 and $1.10, because there is a scarcity of them.
But in order to share this loaf, men of the committee, the only way is through regulation of hours.
Mr. WOOD. Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Ramspeck, in the question that he asked you about the codes under the N. R. A., intimated that they were more trouble than good.
I think the main thing in the N. R. A. was the elimination of child labor and the regulation of wages and the reduction of hours. Mr. Ramspeck intimated that those were the principal elements; that all of the benefits would have been derived from the President's reemployment agreement if the codes had not been established; that the codes created a great deal of confusion.
Now, that brings up the question, what was the cause of that confusion? I think it is well to give N. R. A. the credit that is its due. The fact of the matter is that out of more than 500 codes that were established, in only 31 or 32 codes did labor have any representation
on the code authority. And on those 31 or 32 code authorities, labor did not have equal representation, they had equal representation on only three or four code authorities. But in these 31 or 32 codes, on the code authorities of which they had representationone or two members out of seven or eight or nine-it is very significant that in those industries there was no trouble. They got along fine, the employers and the employees. But as for the rest of the codes, on the code authorities of which employers had absolute and complete control, where they wrote the codes themselves, and the workers had no word at all in the making of them-that is where all the trouble arose and where all the confusion and turmoil arose.
Do you not think that if in the formation of these codes, labor had had equal representation, if the employees had had equal representation with the employers on these code authorities, and had had an opportunity to sit down across the table with them and work out their differences, there would not have been half as much trouble?
Mr. FITZGERALD. Mr. Wood, I believe that if industry and labor would sit down together on all of their problems, a great deal of the conflict would be taken out.
During my remarks, if you remember, I recited the fact that for 30 years in the plant where I was working, we carried out an agreement that we had with the employers and we did not have 5 minutes of labor trouble, because our employers were willing to sit down and talk our problems over with the employees.
Mr. Wood. The assertion has been oft repeated by employers that since the N. R. A. was voided, industry took a sharp upturn; that is, after the N. R. A. was declared unconstitutional. And they attributed the upturn in business to the destruction of the N. R. A.
The picture that you draw here of the difficulty now confronting the Connecticut workers, such a difficulty that you have had four strikes in the last 6 weeks-do you think that difficulty would have been before them if there had not been this clamor for a reduction in wages after the N. R. A. was declared unconstitutional? Do you think there would have been this difficulty if N. R. A. were still in existence?
Mr. FITZGERALD. No, sir. I believe if the hours had been maintained, that the Connecticut manufacturer would have been given an equal opportunity to compete on equal terms. But where one man has an advantage as between 60 hours a week and 40 hours a week, or 48 hours a week, by voluntary agreement, as the textile industry in Connecticut has, then it is impossible to compete. Because the people do not give a damn whether the silk is made in Kalamazoo or in Maine. All they want to know is, How cheap can it be bought for? And the man who has the advantage of working his employees longer hours and of using child labor, of working them under conditions of poor ventilation and poor sanitation and poor housekeeping-he has the advantage of cheaper manufacture over the man who has higher standards and who is willing to let his people live as they should live.
I remember, men, in Connecticut, when textile operatives worked. 12 hours a day, when women went into the factories with shawls around their heads. Thank God, that day is gone and I never want to see it come back again.
Mr. WOOD. Then the stretching of hours and the reduction of wages, since the voiding of the N. Ř. A. has retarded progress instead of giving an impetus to business?
Mr. FITZGERALD. That is the complaint that I get.
Mr. WOOD. It has contracted instead of expanded employment. Mr. FITZGERALD. That is right.
Mr. Wood. And it has reduced the purchasing power of the workers.
Mr. FITZGERALD. And in a great many places it has not taken up the slack of unemployment, either.
Mr. WOOD. That is all.
Mr. RAMSPECK. For the sake of the record, I want to state what I had in mind. It has been my observation that under the N. R. A. the only benefits achieved were in the establishment of a minimum. wage and a maximum hour limitation all over the country, which was achieved under the President's reemployment agreement.
Then, when the employers came in and began to write their codes, we ran up against the same old selfish chiseling 10 percent, who wrote into those codes provisions which caused confusion and inequities in the given trade that came under the particular code. That is what broke down the N. R. A.
If we had stopped with the President's reemployment agreement, we would have eliminated the very thing that Mr. Fitzgerald is talking about-unfair competition on the basis of hours and wages; and we would not have gotten into so many of these difficulties that were brought about, not between employer and employee, but a small majority who wrote such absurd provisions into the codes.
As an illustration, the lumber code provided that dealers in the South had to sell pine doors manufactured in their own backyard at the same price that they sold fir doors shipped from the State of Washington.
That is the kind of fool thing that broke down the codes.
Mr. Woop. I am glad that Mr. Ramspeck has made his statement, because he has always been very fair in his attitude toward all the labor legislation that has been presented in this committee. I did not intend by anything that I said to reflect on Mr. Ramspeck, or suggest that he was not wholeheartedly for all the beneficial legislation that was introduced in this committee-beneficial to the worker.
I would like to ask Mr. Fitzgerald another question. I have heard something about a blacklist up in Connecticut, maintained by a manufacturers' association. Is there anything to that?
Mr. FITZGERALD. No, sir. A blacklist is a hard thing to prove. There is a State law against it in Connecticut. But it is impossible to get evidence of it. A man who wants to blacklist any one is clever enough to cover up his tracks.
Mr. WOOD. I am informed that they have an organization and that when an employee is discharged from one plant that news is disseminated to all the rest of the mills.
Mr. FITZGERALD. I have had no evidence of it in our department, Mr. Congressman.
Mr. KELLER. What is your opinion about it?