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Mr. WALLACE. No, not exactly. While they increased that skeinwe will just take that as an example—while they have increased the skein that proportion, we have demanded a proportion of that extra work or extra machine load.
Mr. Wood. Have you obtained that?
Mr. Wood. The fact of the matter is that the employers have been attempting to lower wages since the N. R. A. was voided?
Mr. WALLACE. I want to point out that our manufacturer realizes what is going on throughout the industry which is making it very hard for us at the time to hold these things.
Mr. Wood. I am not talking about one factory in particular; I am talking about the general industry. They are attempting to lower wages since the N. Ř. A. by speeding up, the stop-watch system; and the stretch-out?
Mr. WALLACE. Yes.
Mr. KELLER. All right, thank you very much. We have just one more witness who wants to get away tonight and we are going to let him get away. This is Mr. Lisk. He will only take 10 minutes and we hope he fills that time full.
STATEMENT OF H. D. LISK
Mr. Lisk. My name is H. D. Lisk, of Concord, N. C., representing the United Textile Workers of America.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I have here a list of mills in which I will endeavor to present who is violating the textile code of fair competition and who undoubtedly since the N. R. A. has been declared unconstitutional has endeavored more determinably than ever before to break down the standards of wages and working conditions in almost every respect.
Mr. KELLER. And hours?
Mr. Lisk. And hours. This is being done more rapidly than they ever did before. However, they were breaking—I will say this, they never were complying with the codes as they had agreed to, from the time the N. R. A. was enacted until it was declared unconstitutional.
To begin with here, I have the Lancaster Cotton Nill, at Lancaster, S. C., and I want to say right here that this is one of the largest textile mills in the South, There are approximately 6,000 looms in this particular mill, and something over 350,000 spindles; I do not know exactly how many.
In 1934, in September, during the national strike this mill was operating on a 40-hour basis. Wages were about as good as the average cotton textile mill in the South. At the time of the strike-I might mention here that the president and the sole owner of this mill spoke to his employees and stated that if the employees would assure him that they would not become affiliated with the union or with the United Textile Workers of America, and they would never strike, he would be a legitimate employer, he would see that they were taken care of.
Further, he told his employees to carry crossties and logs, and gave part of them picker sticks, and put them out on the railroad and told them that if anybody came in to endeavor to explain the conditions of the textile industry or asked that they come out on strike or even to become affiliated with the United Textile Workers of America, that if they got in any trouble he would see they were taken care of.
I am going to tell you now how he took care of the employees for carrying out his request. About 6 weeks ago he put these employees on 50 hours a week. Loom fixers that were making 55 cents an hour for 40 hours a week are now working 50 hours a week and are being paid 45 cents an hour.
In addition to this, prior to this time, the loom fixers had warp hands that laid up the warps on the looms, and he has also accommodated the loom fixers by letting them lay up and tie up their own warps, with this reduction in wages.
Mr. Chairman, that does not anything like complete the Lancaster Mill, but, due to the time here and the fact that I have several mills that I also want to mention, I must be brief.
I might say also that the same conditions exist in the Springs Mill, at Fort Mill, S. C.; the Baldwin Cotton Mill, at Chester, S. C.; the Eureka Cotton Mill, Chester, S. C.; and the Kershaw Cotton Mill, at Kershaw, S. C.
All these mills are owned by the same management and the conditions existing in all the mills are the same as at the Lancaster Cotton Mill.
Now, we have another matter. The Cornelius Cotton Mill, in Cornelius, S. C., is one of the Johnston Mills, of which Mr. Charlie W. Johnston, of Charlotte, N. C., is president. This mill is also running 50 hours a week, and wages have been reduced to the extent that the employees on most of the jobs in the mill are making less money for 50 hours than they were making prior to the time that the hours were increased from 40 hours. In this particular mill in the winding and spooling department the employees are paid by the pound--per pound of yarn. If the employees fail to make $11 a week, they are paid what they make, but if they make more than $12 a week the company takes it out of their check.
I have another mill, the Morgan Mill, in Laurinburg, N. C. This mill is also running 50 hours a week with no reduction in wages.
Mr. Wood. Right there, may I interject? You say no reduction in wages. Do you mean hourly or weekly?
Mr. Lisk. No reduction in wages by the hour.
Mr. Wood. They are paid, then, their regular hourly wage but they work 10 hours longer per week?
Nr. Lisk. They work 50 hours.
Mr. Lisk. Yes. Mr. Chairman, I forgot to state at the beginning with regard to my comments on the Lancaster Cotton Mills as the five mills of which I made mention there, that Mr. Elliott White Springs, of Fort Hill, S. C., is the owner of these mills.
Here is the St. Paul Manufacturing Co., St. Paul, N. C., of which Brother Peel has spoke. I might say here that this mill is the one on which a decision was handed down by the Textile Labor Relations Board asking that this mill reinstate former employees that had been discharged, which they never complied with. Later, when the N. R. A. was declared unconstitutional this mill started operation on 50 hours a week and the employees that were making 30 cents an hour, $2.40 a day, or $12 a week, were being paid after that 15 cents an
hour, or $6 a week. However, this reduction in wages was not general in all departments of the mill.
Now, we come to the Cannon Manufacturing Co., another chain of mills, which is the biggest, and, I suppose, the wealthiest group of cotton textile mills that we have. Mr. Cannon, as you know, was a member of the policy committee, and possibly chairman-I do not know; I could not be exact about that-but on different occasions Mr. Cannon was supposed to have called different mills to see that they reinstated different workers, workers that had been discharged for union activities during the national strike and after the national strike.
At the time he was a member of this policy committee complaints were being filed every day against Mr. Cannon's mills, and in July of 1935 a group of employees of the Cannon plant with myself and one of the conciliators of the Labor Department were in his office for the purpose of trying to settle the affairs of his plants. At this time Mr. Cannon promised us that if business picked up he would be glad to reinstate these employees and admitted to us that they were the most skillful employees that he had in the mill.
Business did pick up, he began to start up looms and spinning frames and spindles throughout the mill, but these particular employees were never reinstated and today they are still walking the streets. However, some of them are working at other mills.
We went back to see Mr. Cannon, and when we went back he said that he had no knowledge whatsoever, as to the way his overseers and his superintendents were discriminating against the employees in the various mills of that chain. We went to one of the superintendents of the mill, the man who is the superintendent of all the weaving departments, on one particular case, and he told us himself, he told the complainant, that he had instructions not to work him because he was seen on the street where a group of pickets was during the national strike.
He went to his former superintendent and asked him if it was true, and the superintendent told him yes. I might say that we went back and tried to contact Mr. Cannon again and he said, "I do not know anything about their affairs."
To shorten the report on the Cannon Mills, I might say here that out of seven mills we have complaints against six of them.
Before I forget it or let it slip from my mind, I want to make this statement here: If I am not mistaken, Mr. Taylor, in his testimony a short while ago said there were only 21 cases that had not been settled as far as wages and hours were concerned. I want to say right here that in the western part of North Carolina I have more than 21 complaints out of mills there myself that have never been settled one way or the other, or if they have been settled the employees know nothing about it whatsoever.
Now, Mr. Chairman, here is a very particular case in the Cascade Mill, at Mooresville, N. C., which is one of the mills of the Burlington chain, of which Mr. Spencer Love is president, if I am not mistaken. The same condition that exists in this mill is also existing in several other mills in this chain. Weavers that were running 7 or 8 looms and being paid 80 cents per hundred thousand pick, 2 weeks before Christmas, or, in other words, in the middle of December of 1935, had the loom load increased from 7 and 8 looms to 14 looms, and today they are making 40 cents per hundred thousand pick, and in addition to that
Mr. Wood. That would be about a 200 percent decrease in wages, would it not?
Mr. Lisk. Just about. In addition to that, they were only working 40 hours a week, five 8-hour shifts, and at the present time they are working six 8-hour shifts. They only have one shift that misses on Sunday. One shift comes off at midnight Saturday night and another goes on at midnight Sunday night, and every other week that shift works 48 hours.
In addition to this, in the warper departments and spool rooms in the mills wages have been decreased with the weavers.
Mr. Chairman, I realize that the time is getting short, but I have something here that I would like to say about the Mooresville Mills.
Mr. KELLER. Shoot away.
Mr. Lisk. The Mooresville Cotton Mills, prior to the time the N. R. A. was declared unconstitutional, was not the mill for the employees to work in. In other words, they did not have the conditions that the employees deserved and that they endeavored to set up in that mill, but they were far better than they were after the N. R. A. was declared unconstitutional.
From the time the N. R. A. was declared unconstitutional, Mr. Matheson, who is president of the Mooresville Cotton Mills, refused to meet the shop committees to discuss any grievances whatsoever that were relative to his own mill.
In addition to that, he began to fire-in fact, he started before the N. R. A. was declared unconstitutional, but he started rapidly at the time of the annulment of the N. R. A., to discharge every union member and officer that he possibly could. First, the president of the local union was discharged. However, he was discharged in March, I believe, the 18th of March I think was when he was discharged.
After that he started with the officers. He got the chairman of the legislation committee. He got the people that collected the dues in the mill. He got the chairman of the shop committee, and on down and down and down until he had every officer in that mill fired.
After he fired the last one, who was the secretary-treasurer of the union, we endeavored to get a conference with him to discuss these grievances, at which time he said he had nothing to talk to us about whatsoever and that he was running his mill and that we could not do anything about it, that he was not going to give us a chance, in other words, to do anything about it, and he said he did not care what we did or what was said about it.
For 2 days we endeavored to get a conference through the investigators of the Textile Labor Relations Board. We failed. On Thursday, September 19, I believe it was, or the 20th, these local employees in this mill voted to come out on strike on Monday morning, September 23, unless he met the committee and endeavored to make some adjustments with regard to the discharge of the union members.
He refused to meet the committee, and on September 23 the employees in this particular mill struck. Mr. Matheson, from the time the strike occurred, up until the present time, has refused to meet the committee. He did meet the investigators and conciliators to discuss this on two different occasions. After that he refused absolutely to meet anybody and told the conciliators he was not going to meet anybody else and he was not going to do anything about the conditions of his mill.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I might make one observation here that I failed to state. On Saturday morning after he had refused to meet this committee he went out and talked to the secretary-treasurer of the local union, the last man he had fired, at which time he told the gentleman that he had been told that the people of Mooresville, N. C., were criticizing him for refusing to meet this committee. He said "I would it is not a house, that a man is living in today, and he is working in the Mooresville Cotton Mill, a picture that I want every member of this committee, if possible, to look at [handing).
I might say that this is another picture of a family that was evicted from their home [handing).
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the gentleman yesterday in his testimony stated that the living conditions and the cost of living was so much higher in the North that they could not afford to pay the wages in the South that were being paid in the North, due to that fact.
I would like to inform the committee that I very seldom get a chance to come north as far as the District of Columbia, but all the time that I am below the Mason and Dixon line I try to save enough money so that I can buy me some clothes when I come north because I can buy a suit of clothes in New York City, the same suit of clothes, made by the same company, and I have a suit here for proof, $7.50, and in some stores $12.50, cheaper than I can buy the same suit in Charlotte, N. C.
But the employers cannot afford to pay employees wages in the South as they can in the North.
I might say here that it costs just as much to buy coal in Charlotte, N. C., as it does in Washington, D. C. In Salisbury, N. C., 4 weeks ago today it was 5 below zero, and, according to the papers in Washington it has not been 5 below zero in Washington yet this year.
But those people down there, they don't have to eat, they don't have to wear clothes, they don't have to do anything according to the testimony of a majority of the employers.
This is going to sound comical, I know, but nevertheless it is true. I know one particular textile employer in Concord, N. C., who has got a sign in his office, and when you go into talk about labor troubles or grievances of any kind, he will ask you to read that sign, and that sign reads something like this: "Work like hell and be happy."
In other words, they want to leave the impression with the employees, you might say, "Work till Jesus comes."
Nr. Wood. I would like to ask the gentleman about this picture. How tall are the people down there? How tall do they grow?
Mr. Lisk. I might answer that question in this manner, that the man who lives in the South does not stand up when he goes in the house.
Mr. Wood. I just surmised from looking at the picture of this hut that he was either a very short man or he had to stoop when he went in the door. There is a little addition, I do not know just which is the residence and which is the chicken house, but it looks like a chicken