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Mr. Keller. Yes; that is what I mean.
Mr. West. Of course, the comparison there is complicated by various wage reductions and wage advances. The only way probably you could get at that would be the unit of outturn per man-hour.
Mr. KELLER. That has been worked out in the Labor Department. Mr. WEST. Oh, yes.
Mr. KELLER. I am quite sure I am giving you the correct statement on that; that the men are receiving much less in proportion to what they did at that time.
Mr. WEST. Wages as a whole have gone down since 1926.
Mr. KELLER. Yes, I know; since that time, since 1929, especially. But I am referring to the general practice in all industry; that where an increase in wages has really taken place, the increase in wages has not equaled the increase in production of the man who received
Mr. West. They are not parallel. For instance, it is the habit in the textile industry that when wage advances are made, or wage reductions are made, it is general through the mill. It has no great bearing on change in productivity.
Mr. KELLER. The report to which you have been referring here is what we generally call the Winant report, is it not?
Mr. West. The one I am quoting from now?
Mr. West. No, sir. The report that I am quoting from now is Report and Recommendations of the Cotton Textile Work Assignment Board to President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a Permanent Plan for Regulation of Work Assignments in the Cotton Textile Industry.
Mr. KELLER. It is signed by whom?
Mr. West. Signed by Messrs. W. A. Mitchell, Geoffrey C. Brown, and Earle R. Stall.
Mr. KELLER. Oh, I see. I have the Winant report here.
Mr. West. Yes. The work of this committee, you will recall, was as a result of the recommendations of this committee. It came as a result of this report (referring to the Winant report).
Mr. KELLER. This was the basis of it.
This Board was directed to make a study of this troublesome question of work assignments and work load or stretch-out, and they did. They were competent men. They went into the matter very exhaustively and over quite a period of time. They visited a great many mills. They interviewed a great many people. They had the benefit of a great deal of advice and data that were given them. In fact, it was a Government committee entrusted with this particular task. Their findings were as follows (reading]:
The Board is convinced that the great majority of employers in the cotton textile industry have not set up machine assignments that create excessive work loads for the employees.
The Board is convinced that, through ignorance or otherwise, there are some few employers in the cotton textile industry who have set up machine assignments that may create excessive work loads on some jobs.
The Board is convinced that, while there are some existing excessive machine assignments and work loads, there are also some existing deficient machine assignments and work loads.
The Board is convinced that it would be unwise and impracticable to attempt to set up standards of machine assignments in the cotton textile industry, expressed in the number of machines to be tended.
That, of course, is to set up a limitation based on any specified machine assignment through the industry.
Mr. KELLER. Yes; but does that cover the question that I put to you, that is, whether that rule may not be extended in such a way as to provide what each machine shall do, that is, the amount of thread, the kind of thread, and so on, so that it would result in the very same thing I am asking you for?
Mr. West. The next sentence will, I think, clarify your mind on that, sir.
Mr. KELLER. All right.
Mr. West (reading): In each manufacturing process of a textile mill there are many factors which affect the way a machine runs and the time and attention required to look after it. In a well-run plant-using good raw materials, with proper operating conditions and good running work—an operative may tend, with much less effort, substantially more machines than is practicable in another mill on the same class of products but where conditions are less favorable.
Mr. Wood. That is nothing new at all. Let us get down to the bill now. Most anyone knows that, that you can operate an efficient machine and produce more than you can with an inefficient machine. I do not see any reason for telling this committee something that is already known generally or what any board testified to. We have had thousands of boards set up in the N. R. A. and most of them were dominated by the employers. The workers had no voice in any of these code authorities except 31 out of 600 code authorities. Why should this committee listen to 500 or 600 boards dominated by the employers in the code authorities? What I want to get at is the essence of this bill.
Mr. West. May I be permitted to say that this particular committee was not set up by any code authority. The only participation the code authority bad in it was that it was called upon for suggestions as to the member of the board to represent the industry.
Mr. Wood. I do not know why the Government would spend money to appoint a board which would make a report like that, that anyone knows, that one can operate efficient machines more productively than he can machines in bad order.
Mr. West. It was part of their problem to ascertain a way that this problem of work assignments might be handled.
Mr. Wood. You do not think the Government ought to regulate or anyone ought to regulate how many looms an employee should manage or work? Mr. WEST. Oh, no, no, sir. Mr. Wood. That ought to be entirely with the employer?
Mr. West. With the employer? Yes, with the employer and his contract with the employees, à mutual arrangement that they can work out.
Mr. Wood. What do you mean by a mutual arrangement, collective bargaining?
Mr. WEST. Not necessarily.
Mr. Wood. What do you think about collective bargaining? Do you think the employees ought to have any right to confer?
Mr. WEST. Why, certainly, certainly.
Mr. WEST. Why, certainly.
Mr. West. I am informed by counsel that in the absence of the contingency mentioned by the chairman, it is the law of the land. What I might think of collective bargaining has nothing to do with the case.
Mr. Wood. There are 3 or 4 hundred employers that do not believe it is.
Mr. WEST. That might be.
Mr. Wood. They are not complying with the law. They are getting around it by injunctions and court proceedings in every way; and we do not know yet whether it is a law or not, until the Supreme Court speaks on it.
Mr. West. Of course, that is the refuge people have when they disagree with laws that are passed. It is the judicial remedy that is applied. But the fact remains that the collective bargaining as described in the National Labor Relations Act is the law of the land. If the law is being violated, there is a remedy for it.
Now, about collective bargaining: I do not believe in having collective bargaining the only means of group expression or dealings between employer and employee.
Mr. Wood. What other method do you believe in?
Mr. Wood. Where can you name any occasion that it is proper? I thought we had kind of evolved out of that stage. I did not know, but it seemed that we had.
Mr. West. I think there has been a tendency to evolve out of it maybe a little too rapidly.
Mr. Wood. How many employees has your firm down there?
Mr. Wood. It would be just fine for one man to come in there and deal with you.
Mr. West. They do every day; sir.
Mr. West. No. And therein lies one of the difficulties with the collective bargaining. It is not a question of theory, it is a question of practice. There are thousands of communities in this country
where harmony prevails between employer and employee, where there is collective bargaining. There are thousands of communities where the same harmony prevails where there is collective bargaining in the form of shop committees, or various other forms of employees' representation. Furthermore, there are thousands of communities where harmony prevails where there is individual bargaining.
Mr. Wood. Of course, you know this individual bargaining is as old as civilization. You know it does not require any law for a poor devil to go before an employer and ask him for a little relief in this work assignments. Men have that perfectly free and untrammeled rightthey have had it for 6,000 years, to our knowledge-to go in to visit an employer and beg for some relief in work assignments. It is not necessary to enact any law for that at all. That has always been the rule. The employers have dealt with the employees individually, but the employers have worked with themselves collectively.
Mr. WEST. That is true.
Mr. Wood. How much chance do you suppose one of those 9,000 employees would have to come up to you, an executive of the firm, and win his point where you did not think he was right? You would say, "Well, now, Bill, that is all right. You have your own opinion; but you go on back and go to work now. If you don't like this place, just walk on out."
Mr. WEST. That is true; he would not have much chance.
Mr. Wood. That is your beautiful individual bargaining, the happy family. But you did not believe that in setting up your codes of fair competition under the N. R. A. The manufacturers of this country believed that it was perfectly all right for this Government to enact laws forcing a minority to abide by the decision of the majority, whatever the majority of the manufacturers decided upon. If you believe in individual bargaining, then, by the same token, you ought to believe in every other manufacturer in the United States, just going along and bargaining as he sees fit, cooperating with other manufacturers, or going out in the field and dealing in just any kind of cutthroat competition he desires. That is perfectly all right. It all depends upon whose ox is gored.
Mr. West. Not quite. I did not state, Mr. Wood, that I believed in individual bargaining to the exclusion of all other kinds, or that I did not believe in collective bargaining.
Mr. Wood. You will have to admit this; you either have to have collective bargaining or individual bargaining. You cannot have the two systems in one plant. You either have to adopt one of the two policies or the other. If you are going to have collective bargaining, then there must be some moving force that will compel all the rest of the employees, whether they desire to live up to the bargain decided upon between the employees and the company or not, to do so.
Mr. West. That is provided in the law, the National Labor Relations Act.
Mr. Wood. That is collective bargaining, but individual bargaining is an entirely different matter. You cannot have the two in any plant. You have to adopt either one or the other.
Mr. West. I am not prepared to admit that, sir.
Mr. Wood. You cannot negotiate with your employees collectively and individually also.
Mr. West. But that is not particularly pertinent, what I think about the matter at the moment, because, as I say, that is particularized in the law; the National Labor Relations Act puts the responsibility of bargaining on the majority of the workers. It states that.
Mr. KELLER. Let us go ahead with this, if you will, Mr. West.
Mr. WEST. I was endeavoring to throw some light on the question of work assignments before we were diverted onto collective bargaining.
What I am anxious to contribute to the hearing on this question of work assignment is not a denial of the existence of the problem, that is, a denial of the fact that it constitutes a continuing problem in the industry as machines are developed, as new processes and new machinery come in; but the matter can be answered amicably between employers and employees by understanding and working out the situations as they exist in the plant, without being circumscribed in their decision by rules and regulations that may be set up by a Federal board and that board, to function, would have to have those rules and regulations.
The reason that I am taking your time on this report is that it is not a matter that is subject only to my opinion. The matter has been studied, studied dispassionately, and conclusions have been arrived at. I believe it is pertinent to incorporating in an act of Congress a method-if it becomes law-of setting up a commission, when the facts of the nature of the case are at our disposal without having to present bare opinions on the matter.
I suppose the two questions of work assignments or the stretch-out and who is going to do the collective bargaining are perhaps the cause of more disputes than any other things in our industry or any other industry.
I believe that the committee should find it helpful in arriving at its decision on the merits of this bill to consider the findings and conclusions of this committee which was appointed by the Government to make a factual study of the matter.
After working conditions, with which the bill has to deal, are the questions of hours and wages of labor.
Now, about the hours of labor: It specifies 35 as a maximum, 35 hours of labor. At the present time putting a maximum of 35 hours a week, 7 hours a day, in the cotton textile industry will not increase employment except insofar as it leads to an additional shift of operation. In our mill we run 40 hours a week. It is our standard work week. If we were Monday morning to go on a 35-hour week as a standard operation it would not increase employment, because the number of jobs in a mill that run the 24 hours or run the full 7 days a week are so few as to be inconsequential, and they are the only jobs that we would have to put additional employees on to comply with the maximum 35-hour week.
If the imposition of a 35-hour week on the textile industry led to the industry putting on a third shift and running the rounds 105 hours per week per mill, of course, that would put on additional employees temporarily. But the facts that have been adduced here at the hearing as to the capacity of the market to take the product of the threeshift operation make it unnecessary for me to say that if mills went on to three shifts the only thing that would result would be the business would concentrate in certain mills and other mills would