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Lieutenant Governor HURLEY. I think so. I do not see any reason why it would not apply.
Mr. KELLER. I thank you very much. To my mind you have been the best witness I have ever heard in committee hearings. You have given a great deal of study to the matter and have had a wide experience. I want to thank you for coming here and, finally, I want to ask you to thank Governor Curley-whom I have had the pleasure of knowing-for sending us the best witness we have ever had. And that is with all due respect and consideration to the other witnesses.
Lietuenant Governor HURLEY. Thank you very much.
Mr. KELLER. We will now proceed to call the following witnesses in order, unless there is some special reason for not doing so. We will go straight on with the hearing until 4:30 or 5 o'clock and, if we have to do it, we will run a little later than that. We are going to hear every man who comes in, and we will sit until we do hear all of you. Will Harold Daust please come forward.
STATEMENT OF HAROLD DAUST, PRESIDENT, MASSACHUSETTS TEXTILE COUNCIL
Mr. KELLER. Will you please state your full name and position? Mr. DAUST. Harold Daust. I am president of the Massachusetts Textile Council. I am a weaver in a textile mill.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I represent the Massachusetts Textile Council which is composed of 46 locals of the woolen and worsted, cotton, rayon, and upholstery and tapestry workers, numbering 24,000. I have been sent here by that council to speak in favor of the bill. We have our arguments with respect to maximum hours, minimum wage, and child-labor laws. We know that Federal legislation is necessary for the stabilization of the industry and to eliminate the cutthroat competition.
I am not going to take up much of your time here because some of the previous speakers have covered practically all of the ground.
In our industry we know that the N. R. A. has been a blessing, and we also know that our own manufacturer has told us that the N. R. A. has been a blessing to the small manufacturer. Of course, in Massachusetts the mills are spread out in the small communities numbering anywhere from 100 to 1,000 workers in a plant. It certainly has helped them in competition. Therefore, on those arguments with regard to the child-labor law, these manufacturers in their zeal to get the business are employing these children in our State and down through the South, and it is eliminating a lot of these adults. The stretch-out system is also being practiced to quite an extent in our State.
So we feel, and the council has instructed me to ask you gentlemen to consider the 35-hour week and minimum wage as being something necessary to stabilize the industry.
That is about all I have to say with regard to the matter. We ask your favorable consideration of this bill.'
Mr. RAMSPECK. Mr. Daust, have you ever been down in the South? Mr. DAUST. No, sir; I have not.
Mr. RAMSPECK. You do not know anything about the conditions down there?r
Mr. DAUST. No, sir; only what I hear.
Mr. RAMSPECK. That is all I want to ask you.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. I would like to ask you if you have much difficulty on the part of the workers in the exercise of their rights to belong to a union without interference on the part of the employer.
Mr. DAUST. Yes, sir; we do.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. Then the Wagner-Connery bill in Massachusetts is not being well enforced? Is that it?
Mr. DAUST. With regard to the Wagner-Connery bill, there was an election held in the plant of one of the mills. That is the only place where it has been exercised.
Mr. KELLER. And what was the result?
Mr. DAUST. Do you mean with regard to the election?
Mr. DAUST. The independent organization that we had there went out for the simple reason that when our organization was in there. they employed in that plant a little over 500, but they kept increasing their force and got it up to a little over 900 employees, whereas before when running full-time they never had any more than a little over 500. With these extra people in there, they lost out.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. There is quite a general feeling among the employees that they want to enjoy the provisions of the Wagner-Connery bill, the right to belong to a union that they wish to belong to.
Mr. KELLER. We are now going to recess. We will return here at 1:40 p. m.
(Thereupon, at 12:10 p. m., the committee recessed, to resume the hearing at 1:40 p. m.)
(The hearing was resumed at 1:40 p. m., pursuant to recess.) Mr. KELLER. The committee will please come to order. We will now follow down the list we started on just before lunch.
STATEMENT OF JOHN A. PEEL, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED TEXTILE WORKERS OF AMERICA
Mr. KELLER. Will you please state your name and address?
Mr. PEEL. My name is John A. Peel. I am vice president of the United Textile Workers of America, Greeneville, S. Ċ.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, before discussing the bill, I wish to say that a statement has been made in the newspapers numerous times as to how the manufacturers in the cotton division of the textile industry have complied with the code of fair competition.
If I remember correctly, section 13 of the code of fair competition reads as follows:
On and after the effective date, July 17, 1933, no employee of any mill in the cotton division of the textile industry shall be required to do any work in excess of the practices of July 1, 1933.
As I say, they have boasted from time to time as to how they have complied with the code of fair competition that those gentlemen helped to draft. I am going to make this statement without fear of successful contradiction, that on the morning of July 17, 1933, 90 percent of the manufacturers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia,
Alabama, and Tennessee, violated that section of the code in this way: Spinners operating 6- to 8-size spinning were given 10- to 12-size, and on warp spinning those who operated 12-size were given 12-, 14-, and 16-size.
I merely mention this because we read in the newspapers that 92 percent or 97 percent, or some percentage above 90 percent, have complied with the provisions of the code and are going to continue to do so.
I now come to the bill. I think that the passage of this bill would assist the employers, because those to whom I have talked make the statement that they are not going to be able to maintain code standards unless there is something done to prevent the unfair manufacturer from chiseling.
I have also asked the question of those to whom I have talked if they could control 8 percent of the manufacturers, admitting for the sake of the argument that 92 percent of them are fair-which I do not admit. But for the sake of the argument admit that 92 percent are fair. I asked them if they could control the other 8 percent. The answer in every case has been no, that they could not control even one manufacturer.
I say that this bill or some law would be of assistance to the manufacturers since it would remove entirely or would certainly reduce to a minimum the things that the manufacturers themselves complain of, that is, unfair trade practices and unfair competition.
In January or February 1935, in the General Assembly of South Carolina a 40-hour week bill was introduced, and the representative of the Cotton Manufacturers' Association of South Carolina was presenting an argument against the bill, that being Mr. Frank Watkins. Mr. Watkins stated at that time that the manufacturers in the industry would be willing to cooperate with any law that was universal in nature, which would maintain fair competitive practices.
That statement was made not only by Mr. Watkins but it has been made for a number of years by different manufacturers in the legislatures throughout the South.
I am not surprised that they are opposing this bill, but I cannot understand why they would oppose a bill that is going to remove, or if not entirely remove at least reduce to a minimum, the things of which they complain.
I want to discuss section 13 of the proposed bill. It deals with loans and contracts. I want to call attention to the fact that on October 31 there appeared in the Daily News Record a list of textile manufacturers who had received loans or who had secured loans from the R. F. C.
I am not going to attempt to discuss each particular case, but I have selected some of them, and perhaps two or three of the worst ones. Many of those who received or secured loans from the R. F. C. were among the worst offenders of the N. R. A. terms, who did not comply with the provisions of the Code of Fair Competition and did not comply with any provision of the N. R. A.
In Mooresville, N. C., the Morresville Cotton Mills received a loan of $800,000. After the N. R. A. was declared invalid in June the management of the Mooresville Cotton Mills began discharging officers of the local union and members of the shop committee. That continued on. They refused to meet with the committee designated
by the local union to take up their grievances, which finally brought about a strike. Discrimination against union members brought about the strike, which occurred September 7.
The Mooresville Cotton Mills had not received this loan at that time. We appealed to the Textile Labor Relations Board, and they sent in conciliators in an attempt to adjust the differences. But during the latter part of October they received the loan. The management did meet with the conciliators, but after receiving the loan they refused to meet with them, that is, with the conciliators from the Textile Labor Relations Board. They had already refused to meet with the committee designated by the workers.
In that particular case, a few days later they were awarded a contract for goods, and, if I remember correctly, it was a half million jars. The Mooresville Cotton Mills have evicted 216 families from mill company houses. That is not the entire history of the Mooresville situation, but I have stated it briefly.
Another case is that of the Chesnee Mills, Chesnee, S. C. John A. Law is president of the Saxon Mill at Spartanburg, also the Chesnee Mill at Chesnee, S. C. Mr. Law was able to secure a loan of $275,000 from the R. F. C. He secured this loan at a time when the workers in the Saxon Mill were out on strike. They struck because of a $3.50 wage reduction in two departments, carding and weaving, and an increased machine load. That strike is still in progress, and has been since last July 30. The people are still out.
He secured a loan and he is operating the Chesnee Mill three 8-hour shifts. But up to this date although he has discussed the situation with conciliators from the Textile Labor Relations Board he refuses to do anything about it. And I suppose he will continue to do so as long as he can operate the Chesnee mill on three shifts.
Oconee Textiles, Inc., Westminster, S. C., last summer reduced wages 25 percent. The statement was made by the manager of the plant to the employees that it was necessary to reduce the wages 25 percent or close down the mill. He received a loan of $35,000.
The Globe Cotton Mills, Augusta, Ga., received a loan of $48,750. I might say that the Globe Cotton Mills, of Augusta, during the regime of the Textile Labor Relations Board, did this. We had quite a bit of trouble with them because of discrimination against union members. And the Textile Labor Relations Board rendered a decision that was never complied with by the Globe Cotton Mills.
The Cherokee Spinning Co., Knoxville, Tenn., received a loan of $400,000. A hearing was held in that case also, and a statement of policy of the management as to how they would return the employees to work was made. But they have never been returned to work.
In mentioning those mills, Mr. Chairman, I say that 95 percent of those in the South that secured loans from the R. F. C. were mills that had had trouble all of the time. We had had trouble with them all of the time. They were mills which had reduced wages and stretched the workers out still further under N. R. A.
It is my opinion with respect to this bill that there has to be something done to take care of such acts as those on the part of the management of mills. We have hundreds of people in the States who are out of work and who have been out of work since the general strike. They are blacklisted. But if you should ask me the question if I could produce a blacklist, I would answer by saying I cannot. But we
know that they have a blacklist. We have tried to get hold of it. An employee who is once discriminated against by one mill management is not able to get a job any other place in any other mill. As soon as he tells his name and where he is from it means that he will not get a job, even though they may want weavers, spinners, carders, or what not.
The managements of the textile industry are not going to get together in 8 years or in 30 years and voluntarily agree to bring about better conditions in the industry. If they intended to do so they have had since 1929 and years before that. But certainly they have had since 1929 to bring about better conditions. And, if anything, conditions are worse now in many of the plants than they were in 1933. I think it is very important when we find that mills which refuse to comply with any law-and that is what they have done are able to secure from some department of the Government loans to carry on their business and, in addition to that, can secure a contract or an order for goods from another department of the Government.
Now, in regard to section 16, wages, I heard the statement made yesterday that because of climatic conditions we do not need as much in the South as the people need in some other sections of the country. I would like to have someone who thinks we do not have to have fires down there or fuel by which to keep warm, to go down into South Carolina now and see just how long he would be able to remain in a room if it were not heated in some way. The temperature may not be quite as low as it is up here, but it bites in just as deeply as it does right here in Washington and farther north and in other places I have been.
$15 is not too much to ask as a minimum wage when you take into consideration the difference in prices of foodstuffs. I am not talking in terms of percentage because I am not a mathematician. going to read some figures appearing in the newspapers in December 1933 and January 1936, showing the difference in prices of foodstuffs. Pillsbury's Best flour: December 1933, a 24-pound sack sold for 79 cents. In January, 1936, the same flour was advertised at $1.29. Lard, a 4-pound container in 1933, 25 cents; in 1936, in January, 99
Sliced breakfast bacon: A pound in 1933 cost 15 cents, but now it costs 35 cents.
We might go down to something that we textile workers can eat, so I will go down to beans.
Four pounds of beans for 15 cents in 1933, but in 1936 they were 5.5 cents a pound.
Fat back: 5% cents a pound in 1933, but 12%1⁄2, 15, and up to 18 and 20 cents a pound in the latter part of 1935 and in 1936.
Of course, when I mention friers and hens I am only comparing prices and I am not talking about what we eat.
Friers in 1933 were selling for 18 cents but in 1936 were selling for 29 cents.
Hens were 15 cents a pound at that time as compared with 25 cents a pound today.
When we take those prices into consideration $15 is not any too much to ask as a minimum wage. And when we say minimum wage we are not talking about a wage for weavers and spinners. They