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will call it a pleasure or not; but I appeared before Mr. Walters, who was on the National Works Assignment Board which was set up by the Government. He did a fine job, I will say, so far as Mr. Walters was concerned. He was supposed to find out the conditions in the textile industry. And I understood we were supposed to get a fair break on that. In the town of Uxbridge, Mass., where I believe Mr. Walters is general manager of one of the mills of this particular corporation, there is this situation. There are several mills all over Massachusetts and there are some in Rhode Island. I believe he is general manager there at Uxbridge. That mill has quite a large number of looms, and it puts out a lot of fine fabrics.
After the Works Assignment Board's work was done and the report was in, Mr. Walters went back to Uxbridge and put on a third shift of 40 hours, which was 120 machine hours a week. So I believe the Works Assignment Board certainly taught him something for his own benefit. And you can see where he got off. Eventually that led to a very serious strike. But he is still running three shifts, but if this Ellenbogen bill, or something like it, is not passed, I don't know what we are going to do as far as stopping him is concerned. He was on the Works Assignment Board.
If a man of his caliber is allowed to operate 40 hours extra in production and if I go to the manager of the mill in which I am employed, going there as a member of the grievance committee and president of a local union and try to stop any advancement on his part in the way of lengthening the hours, which I understand he wants to do, I have that condition to contend with. And other fellows in other sections of the country find the same situation existing.
What answer can we give if the Government puts a man on a board like this and thinks he will give a fair answer to the question as to how labor is getting along and what the conditions are, and then he goes back to make them worse? I don't know what we will do. But they have a cute way of not adding hours on production but adding hours in other departments. For instance, in my town in some of the small mills we have a yarn mill on one side and something else on the other. And let us say the management wants to put in the stagger system and say that once every 6 weeks you will work on a Saturday. But you do not work over 40 hours a week. That is four shifts instead of three shifts.
The yarn mill which makes this yarn is running part of their card room to produce the work for us. If they put on an extra shift in our mill it will take the use of those cards in the yarn mill. Well, we will not need to use those cards and, therefore, it will throw more people out of work there. That is beautiful competition in a small town between manufacturers themselves.
I have just one more thing I want to say at this time which will not only interest the manufacturer and the laborer but will be of interest to the Congressmen as a part of our case.
Mr. Chairman, if you will let me present it, I have here this document which was tacked up on the mill entrance. And I want to bring in the fact that the Ellenbogen bill will help us fight that sorti of a situation. That is just exactly what it is.
Mr. KELLER. There is no objection to putting that in.
Mr. TAYLOR. I will read it after the Congressman has finished looking at it. I want to bring out the point as to what there is there. This shows that they are going to celebrate the anniversary of the Russian Revolution, it being the eighteenth anniversary. It was tacked in a mill which is attached to our local union of which I happen to be president. I don't know how it got inside of that mill. We are trying very hard to find out how it did. The effect on the workers in that mill was startling. It startled me to hear some of them talk about it.
Mr. Wood. Did the superintendent of the mill know that that bill was tacked up?
Mr. TAYLOR. That is not what I am trying to bring out at this time. I don't believe he did. It was taken down by one of our workers and given to me.
Mr. Wood. It was tacked up on the bulletin board, was it?
Mr. TAYLOR. It was tacked up on one of the doors in one of the departments in the carding room.
Mr. Wood. And where the employees going in could see it?
Mr. TAYLOR. In this mill the majority of those employed are of foreign extraction, and they are not very well educated to American ideals and standards. You will notice it says here, “Celebration, Eighteenth Anniversary of the Russian Revolution, Sunday, November 10, at 2 p. m., Lithuanian Hall."
In the mill where this was tacked up there were a lot of Lithuanian workers.
Mr. HARTLEY. Was it well attended?
Mr. Taylor. It was packed: They couldn't get any more in. And I want to say that at these meetings the l'nited States flag is turned upside down. I will read here something that appeared in the Boston American.
Peace in the open has had its counterpart in countless meetings in obscure halls where the red banner is waved and the American flag, when displayed at all, is carried upside down, an object for clowning in tableaux and one-act plays.
Now, as to the effect on the workers. And we are trying to educate them not only to be union members but also to be good Americans. That is the policy of the United Textile Workers of America. How are we going to do anything with them and how will we be able to assure these workers of a decent wage level and decent working conditions so that we can battle against this crusade of flaming red? Of course, I am against it. This will give the younger fellows in America today a chance to make a blue crusade against this flaming red.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I maintain that the passage of the Ellenbogen bill is a matter of vital importance. Therefore, I hope you will give it consideration and will report favorably on the bill.
Mr. Wood. As to the tacking up of that bill on the door of that mill, was it in a prominent place?
Mr. TAYLOR. It was very prominent; it was the entrance into a department, and it was in this department where the man had to go in through the door.
Mr. Wood. Where the foreman, the superintendent, and officials of the plant went in and out?
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, sir. I don't know how many of these different people saw this bill. One of our boys got hold of it and handed it to me after he had yanked it off.
Mr. Wood. In all probability it almost goes without saying that the bill remained there a sufficient length of time so that some of the foremen and superintendents had knowledge of it?
Mr. TAYLOR. There is no doubt in my mind they knew it was there.
Mr. Wood. It would seem to indicate that this attack was in order to discourage organization of its employees or the organization of a real union, an American organization. It would seem they were attempting to mislead those of foreign extraction in the plant to join some sort of a dual organization and thereby defeat the efforts of the employees to organize a bona fide trade union.
Mr. TAYLOR. That is something we have not been able to find out.
Mr. Woon. If they organized one of these communistic unions and there are some 154, I am informed; that is, there are that many names attached to various offshoot organizations in opposition to real trade-union movements. It would seem that it would be to the interest of the company or someone connected with it to get the workers interested in some other kind of organization, and especially & communistic organization, to give them the opportunity as the workers got thoroughly organized into this union that had some leanings toward the Russian Communistic State, so that it would better enable them to destroy your organization.
Mr. Taylor. Mr. Congressman, I believe I can answer that in this way. While we are trying very hard to find out how it got in there, in the back of our minds we still have the suspicion that someone of the bosses or someone connected with the mill had it put up.
Mr. Hartley. Do you make that statement seriously?
Mr. Taylor. I take it seriously in my own mind. I cannot prove it, but I believe that it was done not by a worker in that mill unless the boss or the mill owners knew of it.
Mr. HARTLEY. Frankly, without knowing any worker in your organization, I would not make any such contention. Do you mean to say you have so little respect for your employer and his intentions as to intimate that he or any subordinate of his with his knowledge and consent would be guilty of doing such a thing?
Mr. TAYLOR. No; I would not make that contention. I was only bringing out the fact that we don't know. Every worker inside of that plant is an organized, labor man.
Mr. HARTLEY. I think any employer who would do anything like that would be a fool.
Mr. Wood. Mr. Chairman, I know a little something about the tactics of certain employers. They go even further than that. I myself was termed a radical or troublemaker in 1913. Mr. KELLER. You were termed that way, you say? Mr. Wood. Yes; I was. Mr. KELLER. You must have been a good one.
Mr. Wood. The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. owned the politics of Jefferson County, Mo., and we passed an 8-hour law in the 1913 session of the Missouri General Assembly for glassworkers and silica miners. That company was working their employees 12 hours a day when the law went into effect June 23, 1913, following the session of the general assembly.
The man who introduced the bill was a resident of Festus, Mo., a dentist, Dr. Wolfe, who was later a Member of Congress for one
session. When the law went into effect the men came and wanted to know what to do to compel the company to comply with the State law. And the doctor, not knowing anything about organization, advised them to show either their disapproval or their approval of the law by striking.
There were 1,200 people in that plant, and 800 of them went on strike. I was president of the State federation of labor at that time, and I was called in there by the men and by Dr. Wolfe. He wired me to come in, and I stayed there 3 days, and on the third day I left between suns and I escaped the wrath of two mobs. The second one came to the hotel about 9 o'clock or 9:30 and was composed of about 350 or 400 people who were led by the city officials of Festus, the police judge and a great many or most of the business men of the town. The mistake they made was that the businessmen led the mob; they did not stay behind. They got the men drunk. It was a clear-cut conspiracy on the part of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. to have me murdered in order that they might continue to work their men 12 hours a day at $1.75 a day. And I would not be here today had it not been for Mrs. Miller and her family, who was the proprietor of the hotel in Festus, who defended me, and 25 or 30 of the men in the mob who went home to see what they were going to do at the meeting. They went home and got their guns and followed me to the hotel, and they turned against the mob and said, "If you get in you will have to get us first."
There is nothing they will not do. There is nothing on the calendar the employers will not do to keep men from organizing. They deliberately plan murder; they mislead people. And many of these northern and southern textile manufacturers, and many other business organizations, are not too good to encourage a conspiracy where a man would be misled to go into the wrong kind of an organization so that they could tell the general public, "We are opposed to dealing with these people because they are Communists."
There are many good employers; and most of them are, thank the Lord.
But if there is anything on the calendar that some employers have not done, I would like to know what it is.
Mr. HARTLEY. I agree with you that there is plenty of stuff going on. But the witness himself says he does not accept the interpretation which you were making there.
Mr. Wood. Well, Mr. Hartley, any manufacturer who will work children 6, 7, or 8 years old for 12 or 14 hours a day, as they have done in the past, grinding the blood and bones and lives of children out in the operation, will do anything else.
Mr. HARTLEY. Have they done it in his plant?
Vir. Wood. They did it in all of the plants in the South in those days. I don't know whether they did it in his plant.
Vir. Chairman, I am not trying to convict any employer here but I am just giving my own impression as to why this handbill was tacked on the door where the employees going in and out would see it. And it was allowed to remain there a sufficient length of time so that the hall was crowded and packed and jammed with the employees of that plant.
Mr. KELLER. On the other hand, I think you will agree with me that when we come to do social justice there will be no such thing as communism in this country.
Mr. Wood. No; there will not.
Mr. KELLER. There is no basis for it and there never will be, because we are going to do social justice here in the long run. And, when we do, communism cannot exist and will not exist.
Mr. Wood. The only incubator for communism is misery and suffering.
Mr. KELLER. Certainly. And as soon as we do away with that there will not be any. I confess I did not mean to interrupt in this way, but I have heard so much ballyhoo about communism that does not exist that I do not have a great deal of patience. Perhaps I ought not say that, but I have but little patience for the introduction of the idea of communism in labor unions. I am glad they do not stand for it, because they are Americans and are members of American institutions, and they are going to go on believing that way as they have in the past. All of us know that.
What I think you are really driving at much more particularly is to cure such conditions so that men will feel they are getting justice and a square deal. Then communism disappears entirely.
Mr. TAYLOR. That is all I wanted to bring that in for.
Mr. HARTLEY. As matter of fact, anybody with common sense who knows anything about the American Federation of Labor knows that it is opposed to communism.
Mr. KELLER. We all know that. Mr. HARTLEY. Any employer who comes out and tries to tack that label on them certainly does not get a response from any intelligent citizen.
I know that flag was waved up in Paterson. But I cannot conceive of any intelligent employer doing any such thing.
Mr. KELLER. I have seen little things done; but what do they amount to? What is the use of quarreling about them? I have seen the officials and I have seen the other fellows do things. We are all just human beings. And if some official did that, he did it on his own account. There may have been some fellow small enough to do it. And I have seen it, and so have you, in some cases.
Mr. Wood. In connection with this discussion of communism may I say that the American Legion and the American Federation of Labor are two organized forces which have been consistently and persistently fighting communism. Those are two great organizations.
Mr. KELLER. I want to repeat here that it is not going to depend upon the fighting that we do against communism, but when we remove the cause, then communism will disappear.
Mr. Wood. That is what these organizations are attempting to do.
Mr. HARTLEY. With reference to this discussion about this circular, which is nonsensical on the face of it—that is, the circular is nonsensical-I call your attention and that of the other members of the committee to the fact that in a hearing we held in this very room a year ago there was more communistic literature circulated than I have ever seen in this or in any other room. That was when the subcommittee of the House Labor Committee was holding its hearings.
Mr. KELLER. And nobody paid any attention to it.
Mr. TAYLOR. I did not bring up that matter with the intention of hurting the manufacturers. But I would like to have the security of the Government and have the working hours regulated by the Gov