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TO REHABILITATE AND STABILIZE LABOR CONDITIONS

IN THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY OF THE UNITED STATES

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1936.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON LABOR,

Washington, D.' C. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Kent E. Keller presiding.

Mr. KELLER. The committee will come to order. We will proceed with the testimony of Mr. Dorr.

STATEMENT OF G. H. DORR, APPEARING FOR COTTON TEXTILE

INSTITUTE

Mr. KELLER. Will you please state your name and address?
Mr. DORR. My name is G. H. Dorr. I am a member of the firm

I of Hines, Rearick, Dorr & Hammond. My late partner, Mr. Walker D. Hines, was formerly Director General of Railroads in the Wilson administration. He was the first president of the Cotton Textile Institute. Since that time my firm has been acting as counsel for the institute.

Mr. KELLER. Do you mean for the Cotton Textile Institute?

Mr. DORR. Yes, sir; for the Cotton Textile Institute. I was closely associated with Mr. Hines in his work. In January 1935, when the then president of the institute, Mr. George Sloan, resigned, I was asked to take the presidency until a new president could be selected. I consented to do so for 2 months. I was asked to continue from time to time, and I did so continue until October 1935, when I said I could not continue longer in that position. Dr. Murchison was selected and took the position in November. In October when I retired from the presidency I was elected chairman of the board.

Mr. Chairman, I had the privilege of assisting in the formulation of the Cotton Textile Code, and I had the privilege of assisting in its administration, except for a period of 6 months when I was absent from the country. All of those men who were actively engaged in the formulation of this code and who were actively engaged in its administration look back upon the efforts they made at that time with the feeling that they were engaged in a work which was not only of very great interest and of very great importance, but they look back upon it with a feeling of satisfaction, having had the privilege to engage in that effort which we felt was for the benefit of the industry and for the benefit of the country.

You will recall that even before the National Industrial Recovery Act was passed, and while it was pending in Congress, the President invited industry to come forward to participate in what he described as a partnership effort to improve conditions. He invited and the

a act invited industry to come forward with proposals as to the conduct of their business which would be useful in the emergency.

Responding to that invitation the cotton textile industry formulated proposals informally through discussion with officers of the Government, and those officers of the Government called in representatives of labor; so when the act was finally signed, and on the very day the act was signed, it was possible for the industry to respond to the invitation of the President by laying on his desk a proposal for the first code.

After hearings and some modifications which were presented by the industry and after consultation with the Government, that code was approved and it went into effect. I believe it was one of those codes that was satisfactory from the standpoint of the Government in being thoroughly and carefully observed by the industry itself, as was indicated by the report of the Bureau of Labor statistics and by statements made by the Administrator of the N. R. A.

That high degree of observance rested upon the fact that the industry was unitedly behind that effort. With the decision of the Supreme Court in the Schecter case we found that that code was without binding force and effect, and we were in the position where we had been before the National Industrial Recovery Act of seeing what we could do to maintain and improve conditions in the industry by voluntary effort. Much had been done in the past, for example, with regard to child labor. The fact that in 1918 the Supreme Court had decided that Federal acts forbidding child labor or forbidding the transportation of goods made by child labor did not stop efforts within the industry to deal with that problem.

And I think it would be of interest to you to know that that problem had so been dealt with in the States by the manufacturers themselves and when it came to the formulation of a code, or conferences for its formulation, there was no suggstion either from the Government or from the representatives of labor who participated in those conferences that it should deal with child labor. That suggestion came from the mill men during the course of the hearing as a final mark of the extinction of any such practice in the industry. And that had been accomplished.

There have been efforts to shorten the workweek, to reduce the hours from those in force at that time to a day shift of 55 hours and a night shift of 50 hours. They had met with a very wide measure of success in the industry.

Mr. KELLER. Reduced to what?

Mr. Dorr. Reduced to 55 and 50 hours. This was prior to the code.

Mr. KELLER. That is, the industry had done that itself?
Vír. Dorr. Yes, sir; it had.

Mr. KELLER. It had already come down to that before the code was formed?

Mr. Dorr. Yes; very generally, although I will not say universally. But that had become the general practice in the industry. Further, there had been an effort to eliminate night work for women and minors, in which the industry had unanimously and preponderantly joined. Those efforts had been made prior to the code. They had met with a very large measure of success. They were faced immediately prior to the code and after the depression with the general difficulty with which all such efforts were faced at that time during the terrific depression.

Immediately after the code was invalidated there was the fear which was entertained largely in our industry that there would be a return to the longer hours that had prevailed prior to the time of the code, that there would be a return to lower wages and lower rates. It was a situation which gave those of us who were charged with the responsibility of dealing with policies of the industry as a whole, enormous concern. We were told time and time again that it would be. impossible for the industry to do anything but revert to earlier hours and earlier wages.

Mr. KELLER. That is, the longer hours and lower wages?

Mr. Dorr. Yes, sir; the longer hours and lower wages. We did not know what could be done. We felt what ought to be done was to try to continue the general standards that had been set up, that is, the new standards. And every organization in the industry recommended that course to its members. There was a feeling by those who did not want to pursue that policy that it would take only 2 or 3 weeks before there was a break-down in such observance. Then when a couple of weeks went by and some of those who had departed from the code came back it was said, “Well, by fall it will all be gone.

That question as to whether or not there would not be some widespread break-down was always before us. All of us felt that the thing to do was to make every voluntary effort to continue those standards. And I think everyone who has been concerned with the matter has felt an increasing confidence that voluntary results could be obtained. And with increasing confidence as time went on the standards of the industry in other respects have been permanently improved.

You have now before you a proposed bill to regulate child labor, hours, and wages. Those are the fundamentals. And I suppose the question that immediately arises for your consideration is: Does the Constitution confer upon Congress the power to make those regulations?

Mr. KELLER. Yes, sir.

Mr. Dorr. It is the question of desirability and the question of power. That is a matter for your consideration and it is your responsibility, not mine. All that I propose to do with regard to that is to advert to the provisions of the bill and the provisions of the Constitution under which the power to accomplish those results and make those regulations is invoked, and to refer to certain decisions of the Supreme Court which seem to me to affect that question, which is a question for you.

What provisions of the Constitution does this bill invoke?

Broadly speaking, there seem to be three. First, the power conferred upon Congress by the Constitution to regulate commerce. As I read it, that is the fundamental thing that this bill relies upon. As auxiliary to it there appear to be two other powers that the Constitution confers upon Congress which were also invoked. One you might speak of broadly as the spending power. The third is the power conferred by Congress to deal with post offices and post roads or the mails. That, it seems to me, to be the scheme of the act; that is, to rely upon those three powers.

Let us take the first power, the power to regulate commerce. This power to regulate commerce among the States is the first. Does the power to regulate commerce among the States carry with it the power to regulate directly or indirectly the wages and hours of employees in a cotton mill and as to whether or not the cotton mill shall or shall not employ child labor?

The scheme of regulation that seems to be provided for by this bill is the prohibition of the transportation of the goods. Of course, the power of the Congress to deal with the transportation of goods is perhaps the simplest form of its exercise of power in dealing with commerce. The proposal here is to regulate transportation and by determining what is carried in transportation to reach back and affect what is done in the creation of the goods themselves.

That is not the first time that it has been proposed in Congress to deal with this kind of a problem in that way. Congress, in fact, acted upon that theory in the past when it passed the child-labor laws which were designed to affect the use of child labor in the mills by prohibiting the transportation of products in interstate commerce which had been created by them, under certain limitations and conditions.

That act came before the Supreme Court. It was contended that there was absolute power on the part of the Congress to prohibit anything from being transported, or for any reason. It was contended that certainly that there was the power to prohibit the transportation of goods made by child labor because of the effect, of what is described as the unfair effect of having one standard of employment in that respect in one State but another standard in another State, and the State which had the lower standard would have a commercial advantage in the interstate commerce of the country by reason of that divergent in standards.

That argument was stressed strongly. Particularly the argument that there was an absolute power to prohibit was accepted by a minority of the Court.

Mr. KELLER. What was the vote on that?

Mr. DORR. In the first Child Labor Case I think it was five to four. But the majority of the Court did not take that view, and their decision was that this act went beyond the power of Congress under the Interstate Commerce Clause.

It is interesting to look at some of the things they said there, because it seems to be the same kind of an argument which would be made to support the present bill. For example, they say, "The making of goods and the mining of coal are not commerce, nor does the fact that these things are to be afterward shipped or used in interstate commerce make their production a part thereof.”

Mr. KELLER. What is that case?

Mr. DoRr. Hammer v. Dagenhart (247 U. S. 251). This case came up with regard to a cotton mill. So in this case they were dealing with the power of Congress to regulate with regard to child labor in a cotton mill.

Mr. KELLER. This is from the opinion of the majority of the Court?

Mr. Dorr. It is from the opinion of the Court. That is the decision of the Court.

The Court said:

The making of gooas and the mining of coal are not commerce, nor does the fact that these things are to be afterward shipped or used in interstate commerce make their production a part thereof. Over interstate transportation or its incidents, the regulatory power of Congress is ample, but the production of articles intended for interstate commerce is a matter of local regulation.

They said further, in speaking of the contentions: It is further contended that the right of Congress may be exerted to control interstate commerce in the shipment of child-made goods because of the effect of the circulation of such goods in other States where the evil of this class of labor has been recognized by local legislation.

And they were dealing with something which the court regarded as an evil in its general characteristics.

It is further contended that the right of Congress may be exerted to control interstate commerce in the shipment of child made goods because of the effect of the circulation of such goods in other States where the evil of this class of labor has been recognized by local legislation, and the right to employ child labor has been more vigorously regulated than in the State of production.

And I want to call your attention to this particular language:

In other words, that the unfair competition thus engendered may be controlled by closing the channels of interstate commerce to manufacturers in those States where the local laws do not meet what Congress deems to be the more just standards of other States. There is no power vested in Congress to require the States to exercise their police power so as to prevent possible unfair competition. Many causes may cooperate to give one State by reason of local laws or conditions an economic advantage over others. The commerce clause was not intended to give to Congress a general authority to equalize such conditions.

And again:

The grant of authority over a purely Federal matter was not intended to destroy the local power always existing and carefully reserved to the States in the tenth amendment to the Constitution.

Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Mr. Chairman, before leaving that case I wonder if I may ask about it.

Mr. KELLER. Surely, Mr. Ellenbogen.

Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Would you prefer to go on or shall I interrupt now?

Mr. Dorr. The only thing, Mr. Ellenbogen, is it may be some of the things that I am going to say later will cover what you have in mind.

Mr. ELLENBOGEN. I do not think so. But you may go ahead, Mr. Dort, and I will come back to it later.

The statute involving the Child Labor cases is entirely different from the statute before us. And it is not only my belief but that of eminent lawyers that if the statute in the Child Labor case would have been given more reasonably it would have been sustained.

Are you a lawyer, Mr. Dorr?

Mr. ELLENBOGEN. If you will look at the statute you will find Congress did not only prohibit the goods made by child labor from interstate commerce, but it prohibited the shipment of any kinds of goods by mills which employed child labor, which is going much further, if you please. They said any mill that employs child labor of any kind in any shape of goods. In that case Congress did not confine itself to prohibiting only the shipment of goods in interstate commerce which had been made by child labor. Don't you think that is a very important distinction?

Mr. Dorr. I do not believe that in the opinion that was the only point the court had in mind.

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