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Mr. KELLER. You refer to the report on the conditions and problems of the cotton textile industry made by the Cabinet Committee?

Mr. WEST. Yes, sir.
Mr. KELLER. The committee appointed by President Roosevelt?
Mr. WEST. That is right. Senate Document No. 126.
Mr. KELLER. That is right; thank you. .

Mr. West. The four problems that this committee, as a result of its investigations, outlined as facing the industry are as follows: In the first place (reading):

Excess capacity and obsolescence are serious problems.

I shall deal with that in just a few minutes in the light of the provision of the bill in this regard.

The second problem (reading):

The domestic market has been disturbed by recent imports of cotton textiles from Japan.

It can be presumed that a congressional bill of this importance would seek to deal with the basic problems that have been outlined as the problems of the industry, yet we find on this point that on one of the basic problems that is outlined by this Cabinet Committee Report as having to do with the success of operation of the industry, the bill is silent. It has nothing to say. It has nothing to offer.

The third problem that is listed by the Cabinet Committee's Report is this (reading!: The utilization of cotton products has not in recent years been increasing.

That is to say that with the growth of population in this country and with the conditions that have been prevailing, the consumption of cotton textile fabrics has not been on the increase as one would suppose.

Mr. Wood. That is in recent years?
Mr. West. Yes, sir.

Mr. Wood. There ought to be a pretty good reason for that; lack of purchasing power caused that.

Mr. West. Yes.

Mr. KELLER. Let us get through with his statement first, Mr. Wood, if you will, please.

Mr. West. There are a good many ways that that condition might be helped that have not been dealt with. The bill has nothing to say about it.

Just to mention one item, the Cabinet Committee recommends legislation which will authorize net weight trading in cotton, the baling of which now is in goods which are made of jute imported into this country. It is estimated that some 350,000 bales of cotton would be used for cotton bagging to cover cotton, that should be woven by the mills in this country. Yet the bill, which is dealing with the basic problems of the industry, overlooks items of that kind.

The fourth problem that is presented by this committee's report is this (reading):

Much of the present system for merchandising and marketing of cotton textiles is wasteful and involves undue hazards.

Section 28 of the bill lists certain trade practices which would be forbidden as a condition to getting a license.

Now, let me return to the first one, this question of excess capacity. The reference to this problem in the bill is in section 26, which provides for the commission to study continuously the relation of the effective productive capacity and the rate of operation of the various distinguishable branches of the textile industry to actual and potential demand for the products thereof.

Of course, the purpose of that is to provide a means of production control for the industry in a large measure as a matter of actual practice. The bill contradicts itself somewhat as to the possibility of putting it into practice, for it says (reading]:

Such limitation of production shall not be used to create or further monopolistic practices or to facilitate increases in the price of goods to the consumer

In my opinion it would be very difficult for any commission to issue restrictions of production without ultimately affecting the price of goods. The whole theory of restriction of production has to do with maintaining or raising prices of goods. When the bill provides that it shall not be used for that purpose, it largley contradicts itself. Therefore, you will see that the provisions of the bill contribute comparatively little to the solution of the basic problems of the operation of the cotton textile industry as outlined by the Cabinet Committee.

After all, the bill is primarily concerned in prescribing the specifications of working conditions within the industry rather than coping with the basic conditions that confront the industry.

These working conditions are outlined in section 22, and I should like to comment briefly on them.

In the first place, there is the provision for collective bargaining. The provision for collective bargaining in the bill is but a repetition of the National Labor Relations Act, which is today the law of the land. It has been passed by Congress, and there is nothing in this bill that I can see which will strengthen the National Labor Relations Act. Therefore, putting it in this bill does not contribute a great deal to the problem that faces us.

It secondly mentions the elimination of child labor or the prohibition of child labor. That point was very adequately covered this morning by the fact that child labor by and large did not exist in the cotton textile industry today. The 90 applications that were made in North Carolina in 1935 might have been made for a variety of reasons, but as an industry we are not interested in employing child labor. The inclusion of this in the bill is more academic than it is of practical importance.

Section 25 has to do with the question of work assignments as part of the duties of this Commission. I should like to state that the provisions that this bill makes for the supervision of work assignments in a cotton mill are wholly unadministrable. I am fully aware of the problem that surrounds the question of work assignments, the so-called stretch-out in the cotton mill, and I am not unaware of its importance. But a provision of this kind is not helpful and it is not administrable.

For instance, it states:

* * 15 days' written or printed notice of every intended change in work assignment involving a rearrangement of process or reorganization or specialization of operation by advice to the employees affected and their representatives for

collective bargaining, if any, and by posting notice in a place accessible to all employees in the mill,

And so forth.

That is every intended change in work assignment. It is not quite clear in my mind just what the bill means by "work assignment", whether it means the number of machines assigned to be operated or the amount of work to be done, or both. But it is obviously impossible to give 15 days' notice of every change, regardless of the nature of the change.

Mr. KELLER. What would you suggest in place of that, Mr. West? Mr. WEST. I would suggest the elimination of the section, sir. Mr. KELLER. You suggest the elimination of section 25?

Mr. West. It might be helpful at this time to go into this matter of work assignment.

Mr. KELLER. That means what is called the stretch-out?
Mr. WEST. That is the stretch-out.

Mr. KELLER. I wish you would talk to us about that, and I wish you would bring out this point, if you will, Mr. West, for my special benefit, if not for others:

The testimony that has been presented before this committee has shown this, that a man may be working at a certain rate on four machines, for instance, and then he is put in charge of four other machines. That is part of what we call the stretch-out, as I understand. - Mr. WEST. Yes, sir.

Mr. KELLER. The truth of the matter is, he is put in charge of eight machines instead of four, with no added wages. In that case his wages really have been cut in two, have they not?

Mr. West. No; his wages remain the same.
Mr. KELLER. Yes.

Mr. West. His unit price, at which he is paid, has been cut in two under those conditions.

Mr. KELLER. That is what I am talking about.
Mr. West. Yes.

Mr. KELLER. Then some man who would have worked the other four machines goes out as a result. You pay half the money for the same work, in other words?

Mr. WeSt. Half the unit price for the same work.
Mr. KELLER. Yes.
Mr. WEST. And possibly somebody else goes out.
Mr. KELLER. Yes.

Mr. West. Of course, this stretch-out comes about in a great many ways. The operations of the various types of machinery in a cotton mill vary a great deal in the industry. The weaving operation, for instance, varies. In some mills the weaver's job is to attend to all of the functions of that particular process, the watching of the threads, the picking out of bad places, filling the battery, the doffing the cloth off the loom when the cut is finished--the whole category of the operations incidental to the movement of the loom as it produces the cloth.

In other mills the work is specialized. That is, one man's job will be to take the cloth off the looms; another man's job will be to put the warps in; another man's job will be to clean the looms; and somebody else's job will be to fill the batteries. There is a great variety of methods of handling the operation. That is well known to all mill managers and mill operatives, and it varies in the same mill.

For instance, in our mill we have weaving jobs where the weaver does the whole operation, takes care of the whole thing. We have other jobs where the weaver does not fill the battery. We have what we call a battery hand help him out.

The whole thing is complicated.

The main thing about this is a question of overloading the worker, giving him too much to do so that he cannot do his work properly, or it is an unduly burdensome task.

The other problem connected with the stretch-out is the displacement of workers.

I admit the seriousness of the problem. There is no question but what in a great many attempts to produce a more economical operation in cotton mills there have been overburdensome assignments put on workers.

I do not doubt but what we have done it in our own mills on occasion, and there have been workers displaced as the result of this.

In my opinion this stretch-out business revolves about three things: One is the preparation of the work, one is taking the time to get the employees to understand what the situation is, and the other is the provision for the displaced workers. That matter can be handled by cotton mills and their employees as the individual situations arise, and it has been handled in thousands of cases with a great deal of satisfaction.

The trouble with putting the administration of that particular element of a job in the hands of a Federal commission in Washington is this, the commission of necessity has to have different rules and regulations that are universally applicable, and rules and regulations about this particular technical operation of a mill are not universal. They cannot be made universal because the conditions vary so.

The abilities of the workers in individual mills will be circumscribed by rigid rules and regulations that are made about this particular thing

Mr. KELLER. Will you particularize on that somewhat, please, Mr. West? Show some particular thing that will let us understand just exactly what would happen in case we should try this.

Mr. West. Suppose the commission should say that no weaver should run over 20 looms. That would be a perfectly impossible provision to make in the cotton textile industry.

Mr. KELLER. Why should it be, if it applied to all mills?

Mr. West. Mr. Chairman, the variety of work in mills is tremendous. There are fabrics of very fine yarn where the warp lasts a long time in the loom, where the yarns are made of specially good cotton, and where the ends rarely break in the loom. There are certain types of textile work where it is almost essential to have yarns in there that will not break. If the loom stops as the result of a breakage, it is almost sure to produce bad cloth. So manufacturers take the trouble to buy such material as will make yarns that will break just as rarely as possible, in order to produce this cloth.

On the other hand, there are fabrics woven from very coarse yarn out of very low stocks of cotton, where the yarn runs off very fast from the bobbin, and they have to be replenished very frequently. The weaver on that kind of a job cannot handle anywhere near as many looms as can a weaver on the other type that I described.

Mr. KELLER. Do you think that a commission could not stipulate to answer the very question you put here, yourself-that on certain types of yarn and a certain number of looms, certain conditions would prevail that you gentlemen yourselves could name? Could we not do that?

Mr. West. It happens that I do not have to express an opinion on that, Mr. Keller, because as the result of the proposal of the Winant Board

Mr. KELLER. I know that very well

Mr. WEST. A committee was appointed composed of a representative of the workers, a representative of management, and an impartial chairman, to make a study to see how this problem could be handled in a special way on the basis of a national commission.

Mr. Wood. You say this committee was composed of workers and the management and who else?

Mr. WEST. There were three members on the cotton committee. One of the members was appointed by the workers.

Mr. Wood. How was he appointed by the workers?

Mr. West. I believe the United Textile Workers' Union recommended him. He was appointed by the President.

Then a member was recommended by the Manufacturers' Association, and he was appointed by the President.

Mr. Wood. And one by the Department of Labor.

Mr. West. And I believe the impartial chairman was appointed by the Department of Labor. If I remember correctly, there were three committees, one for cotton textiles, one for wool, and one for silk. They had the same impartial chairman.

Mr. Wood. How many looms are usually operated by one person?
Mr. WEST. That varies a great deal.
Mr. Wood. What is the maximum number of looms?
Mr. West. The maximum number that I happen to know of is 120.
Mr. Wood. In your mill?

Mr. West. In my mill at the present time, 48. We have run as high as 72 looms. But that illustrates just the situation.

Mr. Wood. What was the maximum number 10 years ago.

Mr. W'Est. 10 years ago. That was 1926. I was not connected with the company then, sir, and I cannot answer accurately enough for this committee.

Mr. Woop. Did the loom 10 years ago produce as much as the modern loom does now, per hour?

Mr. West. No, sir.

Mr. KELLER. If you pay the same wages now that you paid then, the management produces much more for the money than it did 10 years ago?

Mr. WEST. Oh, yes.

Mr. KELLER. Have you an idea what proportion that is? I think the Labor Department can give it to us.

Mr. West. Yes; you can get that. The productivity of labor in cotton textiles has increased measurably.

Mr. KELLER. Has not the efficiency of labor increased vastly more than the increase in wages?

Mr. WEST. You mean the outturn of labor as distinguished from the efficiency? That is, the total amount, more than the wages?

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