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duction that their employees were turning out. All of them will truthfully admit that the production is too much. But, they say, “What can I do about it? I have to do it because John so and so in some other place has advanced his and I have to advance mine in order to compete with him."
When we ask the other man he would give us the same story. We went around in a circle and we got the same story from every one of them. And when we got through we could not put our finger on any one of them because they all accused each other of being the aggressor in this matter.
As to the matter of wages in the industry, the minimum wage is $14 a week. And it advances accordingly. I might say that it is the understanding that a large percentage of the workers in the industry do not work 52 weeks a year. We have a great percentage of the workers in the industry who do not work 7 or 8 months a year. Last year I think I worked 4 months. With these 7 or 8 months' work it would cut the minimum rate down as low as $8 or $9 or $10. It would cut the minimum to that. And it would cut the other workers far down below a living wage. If a man is going to live and get some of the necessities of life and bring up a family, I say that the wages in the industry are too low, considering the fact that everything else has advanced.
I know that a question will be raised as to the violations of the hours and wage structure.
I might say that in the industry so far as violations of the wage structure and the hours structure are concerned, that the percentage is very small in the woolen industry. But I am not going to give the woolen industry full credit for all that; I am going to say that the reason, in many cases, that the hours have not been advanced or that the wages have not been decreased is because of the organization we have in the plants. We have had cases where it was put up to our organization to advance the hours, and they would say, "There is no reason why you men should not take it, because you will be getting 8 hours more pay.” But our organization has stood firm.
And I might say that in some of the plants where the organization is not so strong there seems to be a general opinion of the employees that the 40 hours has been a gift from heaven and that they are not going back to the "horse and buggy” days, but that they are going to maintain the 40 hours. And that is why we have not had the violations.
I might see provisions in the bill which will take care of every matter that I have touched upon up to this time; that it, that will take care of production, of which a study is to be made; that will take care of wages, raise the minimum from $14 to $15 a week.
One thing that was a great mistake with the codes was that it was not so arranged that 50 or 60 percent of the workers would not be put on the minimum wage. And if a man has to serve an apprenticeship, as I did, for 2 or 3 or 4 years in the industry he should be compensated for his knowledge and paid accordingly and not drop down towards the minimum.
The provision in the bill on child labor does not need much comment. I do not think there is any need of stressing the matter of child labor. With 10 or 12 million people unemployed in the industry there is no need of any children employed in it. I think plenty
of adults should be put into the industry, leaving the children in school to get an education so that they will not have to go into the industry and take what we have been taking.
The woolen and worsted industry cannot operate 40 hours; they cannot operate on an 80-hour productive machinery basis. As I said before, there is a large percentage that does not work 3 full hours, as you have heard before. In asking for 30 hours they felt that there would be much opposition to it, so they conceded the 5 hours, but still admitting it is doubtful that the firm can operate that amount of time.
Mr. Wood. Do you mean to say that with the method of operation and the amount of business there is now that they cannot now operate a full 40 hours?
Mír. JENNINGS. They could operate during a rush period, but on a general average throughout the year they would not average that much.
Mr. Wood. But the average of 40 hours a week would not hamper the production in any manner?
Mr. JENNINGS. No, sir; it would not.
Mr. Wood. Some employers contend they cannot operate on 40 hours because in some seasons they have to work longer hours. But in this case the manufacturers in your industry are fortunate if they can even operate 40 hours a week?
Mr. JENNINGS. That is correct. They talk about State compacts and State legislation to remedy this condition. I come from the
I State of New Hampshire, and we have a 54-hour law there. For years we have been trying to enact a 48-hour law in the State of New Hampshire. In ever's legislature the manufacturers send their luwyers and all the aid possible, and leave no stone unturned to upset a 48-hour law. Any social legislation for the benefit of the workers is opposed by the manufacturers of New Hampshire. And that applies throughout the other States. I cannot see where State legislation ever will remedy the textile situation or the textile conditions. And the workers in the industry, and the manufacturers themselves, and everybody else who is concerned in the mat or, knows that there is only one way to remedy the conditions, and that is in a uniform way; it has to be remedied by the Federal Government.
Mr. Wood. With reference to these compacts in the New England States, it was contended on the floor of the House during the last session in defense of this bill according the States power to set up compacts, that the employers and the employees were the prime movers in this effort to create compacts between the States. From your testimony it seems that while the employers have expressed themselves as being favorable to these compacts, yet when it comes to the actual operation before the legislature you find them there with their corporation attorneys and other representatives cpposing the legislation that would seek to bring about a uniformity of legislation between the States.
Mír. JENNINGS. That is right.
Mr. Wood. On the one hand they say that they are in favor of the compacts, but when it comes to the reality their real actions are just the opposite.
Mr. JENNINGS. And they opposed the 48-hour bill in every legislature in New Hampshire.
Mr. Wood. Massachusetts has a 48-hour law and New Hampshire has a 54-hour law. Isn't that right?
Mr. JENNINGS. Yes, sir. They have a 54-hour law in New Hampshire.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to say that we feel that it is the only way to do this, that is, that Federal legislation will have to do it. And on behalf of the employees in the industry I wish to say that we seek the passage of this bill. We know that it is the only means of saving the industry from the deplorable conditions such as existed before the enactment of N. R. A.
That is all I have to say, Mr. Chairman. If there are any questions, I will be glad to try to answer them.
Mr. KELLER. We will next call Mr. Anthony Valente, secretarytreasurer, Woolen and Worsted Federation of America.
STATEMENT OF ANTHONY VALENTE, SECRETARY-TREASURER,
WOOLEN AND WORSTED FEDERATION OF AMERICA Mr. KELLER. Will you please state your name and your occupation?
Mr. VALENTE. My name is Anthony Valente. I am secretarytreasurer of the Woolen and Worsted Federation of America.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I represent the Federation of Woolen and Worsted Workers of America, an affiliate of the Textile Workers of America, an organization composed of 127,000 workers.
According to the textile report which was set up on the findings of the Winant report after the general strike of 1934, gives us the geographic location of our industry, as follows:
Northern New England, 11.4 percent; southern New England, 53.2 percent; Middle Atlantic and Middle Western States, 21.3 percent; and the southern States, 3 percent.
Fortunately for us we have no southern problems as the cotton textile industry. This does not allow our own employers to cry southern competition. Although the wages in our in lustry are not as low as in the cotton textile industry, we find that the wage structure in the woolen and worsted industry is very uneven. What I mean by that is that you will find some cases where two mills within an area of a very few miles, manufacturing the same kind of cloth, have a difference of 8 and 10 dollars per week for the same operation.
We have tried repeatedly to adjust these conditions, which are not only detrimental to the workers but to the manufacturers as well, but without results.
These conditions were the chief bones of contention when we went out on strike in the month of September 1931. Our industry came out on strike to stabilize the woolen and worsted industry, but were forced to go back to work upon the promise of the President that we would be taken care of and something would be done. We were taken care of by a survey that did not amount to anything.
Gentlemen, we have more than 11 million people in this country who are still without employment, and we all know that a good proportion of these people are textile workers.
The manufacturers claim that ther will absorb those people and this extra help if they are left alone. In my estimation the only way that they will absorb that extra help is by giving those who are working today a little extra work load of a few more hours each week.
My colleagues from the South have shown the miserable wages that are being paid in the South. I did not believe that such conditions existed in the East until last Saturday. On my way down to Washington last Saturday I stopped in Passaic, N. J., to address a group of workers from the Gera Mill. After talking with these workers I came to the conclusion that the conditions in this mill are as bad as, if not worse than, the conditions in some of the southern mills. One girl in particular showed me a pay envelope with the grand sum of $8, for which she had worked 7 days of 9 to 12 hours per day. And, by the way, this girl was laid off because she dared to join a labor union.
How long will the present standards of living of the woolen and worsted workers continue? It will be as long as we allow these kinds of chiselers to operate.
In my conversations with different employers they all agree that it would be a wonderful idea if the industry could be stabilized and every manufacturer placed on the same footing. But when we propose anything that is constructive they will give us no cooperation whatsoever.
Another evil in our industry, which was remedied during the N. R. A., is the third-shift system in the productive department. With the Supreme Court declaring the N. R. A. unconstitutional, some of the big leaders in our industry have returned to this system. One of the very first manufacturers to adopt this third-shift system was very prominent in the writing of the codes and was also a member of the work assignment board which came out of the general strike.
At a public hearing last summer this same man testified that one shift of 40 hours in our industry can produce more than enough to supply the demands of the consumers. But in the same breath he informed us that he must run three shifts because that was the principle of his company.
The manufacturers in our industry have boasted that 92 percent of the industry is living up to the provisions of the N. R. A.; and they have also boasted that they are willing to cooperate with the union in collective bargaining, but at the same time are doing everything within their power to destroy our unions, either by direct attack or by using the industrial spy system which is springing up in every industrial center.
I know what I am talking about in this matter because I have been approached myself. I am one of the workers who was approached by the Industrial Defense League, which works for the manufacturers in New England. One of their representatives approached me in my home and made me the offer of $42 a week and expenses provided I give them the information regarding our union.
As the previous speaker has stated, the majority of the mills in our industry are living up to the N. R. A. That is because we have 80 percent of our industry organized. But the remaining 20 percent if allowed to continue with their cutthroat competition and lowering the standards of living and cutting wages and adding work loads will cause such a condition that it will not be very long before they will have even our organized mills doing the same thing.
In my opinion we have two ways in which to settle this whole matter. They are two ways to stabilize the industry, and one is by Federal legislation, and the other is by drastic action.
I might say at this time that the organization I represent has just gone through a convention, and they have gone on record for a drive in the spring to stabilize our industry. They have also gone on record to back the Ellenbogen bill and try to settle the whole thing peacefully. And I was instructed to come down here and talk in favor of the bill and to ask you gentlemen of the committee to report favorably on the bill.
Mr. HARTLEY. You mentioned a case that was called to your attention in Passaic, N. J. I do not happen to represent that particular section of New Jersey, but I was interested in the statement which you made. Did I understand you to say that a girl who was employed in one of these plants had been working 9 to 12 hours a day?
Mr. VALENTE. That is correct.
Mr. VALENTE. It was the Gera Woolen Mills. And I might add that in New Jersey they have a State law which prohibits women from working after 10 o'clock at night.
Mr. HAFTLEY. I have that in mind.
Vír. VALENTE. I know for a positive fact that 15 or 20 workers have called to my attention the fact that there is a shift of women that goes on at 11 o'clock and works until 7 o'clock in the morning.
Mr. HARTLEY. Why are not such things called to the attention of the State Labor Department of New Jersey?
Mr. VALENTE. It has been done. But they state that the law has no teeth in it and they cannot enforce it; they have no provisions by which to enforce it.
Mr. HARTLEY. Do you think the provisions in the Ellenbogen bill will eliminate the possibility of strikes and labor disputes?
Mr. VALENTE. Yes; I reaily believe it will, provided the manufacturers live up to the standards of the Ellenbogen bill.
Mr. Wood. Is there any provision in the New Jersey law which prohibits their starting women to work at 12:01 a. m., and working them until noon of that day?
Mr. VALENTE. Yes, sir; there is. The State law is that no woman shall work after 10 p. m. at night.
Mr. Wood. But 12:01 a. m. is in the morning. That is just after midnight.
Mr. VALENTE. Well, they can only work between 6 a. m. and 10 o'clock at night.
Mr. GORMAN. The Hosiery Workers' delegation is here now, Mr. Chairman. They were supposed to testify before these other gentlement. Will you hear them now?
Mr. KELLER. We will hear the hosiery delegation.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH BURGE, APPEARING ON BEHALF OF THE
HOSIERY WORKERS OF PHILADELPHIA
Mr. BURGE. We hosiery workers of Philadelplia, the largest fullfashioned producing center in the world, strongly favor the proposed national act. We are convinced that this bill embodies a practical and comprehensive plan for the stabilization of our section of the textile industry. We feel that unless this bill is enacted we workers will