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Mr. MUNROE. I agree with you, sir; that averages do not indicate specific instances but they indicate general performance.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. No; they do not, because if you have 40-percent deviation from the normal you would still have good averages, because the Textile Industry has not been averaging 40 hours throughout the year. That is what makes your averages so misleading.
Mr. MUNROE. I do not contend, sir, that this is conclusive evidence; but I do believe that it is circumstantial evidence.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Well, pardon the interruption.
Mr. MUNROE. The bill alleges that "overburdensome work assignments”—“prevail” in this industry-not that they exist, but that they prevail. On May 13, 1935, the Cotton Textile Work Assignment Board released the text of a report it had just made to the President at his instructions as set forth in Executive orders of October 16, 1934. In that section of its report entitled "Findings and Conclusions", the very first paragraph reads:
1. 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 second paragraph reads:
The Board is convinced 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.
3. 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, consisting of a representative of labor, a representative of management, and an impartial chairman and staffed with an expert and experienced corps of assistants, had been engaged in studying this matter in the mills and by questionnaire over a period of months from the time of its appointment on December 1, 1934, before its report was issued. Is there not a considerable probability that in this case again Congress is being asked to find as a fact that which is false?
The bill alleges that there prevails in the industry “the denial of the right of self-organization and collective bargaining." If such is the case one is impelled to wonder what has happened to the hundreds of thousands of members of the United Textile Workers of America which spokesmen for that organization are alleged to have claimed less than 18 months ago. Have they disbanded or did the 79,200 members on which the American Federation of Labor based the United Textile Workers voting strength at the recent A. F. of L. convention join the union without volition of their own, and having joined, found it impotent for collective-bargaining purposes? The National Labor Relations Act guarantees those principles and the very few hearings held by the National Labor Relations Board in an industry comprising over a thousand units would indicate either that but few workers desire to organize or to bargain collectively or that they encounter little if any difficulty in doing so. If the National Labor Relations Act cannot protect these privileges is it likely that H. R. 9072 can do so, or if it can then why must H. R. 9072 burden itself and you and us with such redundancy? In any event, we have here another instance of urging Congress to find as a fact that a thing prevails of which there is but little evidence. In this case, though, we have as
proof of its insignificance, the existence of a law on the statute books prohibiting it.
As to the situation which has developed since the invalidation of the code it is contended, of course, that there has been an extension of work assignments. The number of spindle hours per labor hour during September, October and November of this year, which is a reasonable method of getting at the average work assignment in the industry, was 114 as compared with the figure of 111.3 in the first quarter of 1935 when the code was in effect. The difference there, gentlemen, is about 2 percent increase. It would not seem to indicate that there had not been any general excessive overloading of workers.
Mr. Wood. However, it does indicate an increase since the N. R. A.
Mr. MUNROE. It indicates that there has been a slight increase. There is no question about that.
Mr. Wood. That there has been the stretching of the hours and there has been a policy to begin to reduce wages. Now, if the textile manufacturers are so bold as to carry on their industry and keep it at what we term normal, it occurs to me that so far as the stretching of the hours is concerned there should be some decrease if they are so interested in their employees and are so interested in abiding by the code. It indicates that since the N. R. A. has gone out and has been declared unconstitutional there is trend back to the old conditions of 1933.
Mr. MUNROE. But that is so slight that it will hardly afford an excuse.
Mr. Wood. You agree there was a drastic reduction in the hours of labor per week by the advent of the N. R. A.
Mr. MUNROE. Surely.
Mr. Wood. There was a wholesale increase in the wages of the employees?
Mr. MUNROE. Yes, sir.
Mr. Wood. But since the N. R. A. has gone, the testimony of the representatives of the manufacturers indicate that the trend is backwards again.
Mr. MUNROE. Unquestionably there has been a slight decline in the average wage rates, to the best of my knowledge about 2.5 percent.
Mr. Wood. How are you going to prevent that from continuing?
Mr. MUNROE. Of course, other factors affect it to some extent. But there has been an increase in the assignment of work to the extent of 2.5 percent on the average. In that connection our point is that that does not warrant the statement that these conditions prevail in the industry. Two percent is not a prevalent condition, and it does not warrant the statement that the industry is a menace to the country at a time when it is employing four hundred thousand people. Certainly it is an asset to the country.
Mr. Wood. Your testimony together with that of the other representatives of the manufacturers, coincides somewhat with complaint of the workers' representatives who testified here. There is no dispute about the trend being backwards. Of course, they are contending there is a greater decline in wage and a greater stretching of hours than you claim there is. But the evidence of both indicate that since the N. R. A. is gone we have started back. Now, I would like to know what method you would consider to prevent this trend backwards. What do the manufacturers have in mind to stop this decline in wages and stretching of hours and this backward trend? Is there any method you know you can adopt to stop it?
Mr. MUNROE. I do not think that backward trend is going to continue very fast.
Mr. Wood. Well, it has right along. If it continues what would you suggest as a remedy? Is there any definite remedy that the manufacturers have for stemming this backward trend, when you admit that there is a lengthening of hours? You know so far as the textile industry is concerned that there is no opportunity to spread employment and give employment to 10 or 11 million people who are yet unemployed. That is what this bill intends to do.
Mr. MUNROE. This bill?
Mr. Wood. It is an effort on the part of the Congress or the proponents of this measure to so adjust the industry that the employment can be spread. They did spread employment in the coal industry since the passage of the Guffey Act. There is no question about that. There is greater employment in the coal industry than there was before for probably 8 or 10 years. That measure was advocated by 80 percent of the operators in the country and 95 percent of the coal miners. Since its adoption there has been serious complaint. The fact of the matter is that the majority of the mine operators are very much in favor of the Act and they are defending it. They are dealing with the employees under the act.
Why would not a similar set-up as proposed—not exactly the Ellenbogen bill but something similar- be fine for the textile industry, if they could stabilize the industry, stabilize employment, and stabilize wage standards? If you can't do it or should not do it by legislation how are you going to do it?
Mr. MUNROE. Well, sir, I have the impression that those things are working to a solution through gradual education processes. It is my experience that the majority of mills—I mean the majority of those few mills which have lengthened hours or reduced their wages—are mills which are on the border line of insolvency. I believe, sir, that public opinion is building up on those things and has been building up for some time. The industry and all of its more influential organizations are on record as being opposed to that sort of thing; and I believe that is a better way to effect that sort of situation than to treat alike the 95 percent good and the 5 percent bad, and put all of them into the same hopper under a rigid straitjacket with a dictatorial commission running the industry for them.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Mr. Munroe, I have heard that statement before, and I think it is ridiculous to make it. Where is the dictatorial commission? What dictatorial powers does that commission have? I wish you would point that out to the committee.
Mr. MUNROE. It seems to me it is obvious.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Don't say that it is obvious. That statement is ridiculous. Just point it out to us. What are the powers that you say are dictatorial? It ought to be very easy to do it if it is so obvious.
Mr. MUNROE. All right, sir. I would say that it is dictatorial to set
up a Government commission to tell the owners of every
textile property in the country, whether it is wool, silk, jute, or felt, or cotton garments, that all of them must observe the same minimum wage.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. That is what you call the dictatorial commission, is it?
Mr. MUNROE. No; I have just started.
Mr. MUNROE. No; I didn't say minimum wages was a complaint. I said the same minimum wage for all industries in the textile group:
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. The bill fixes that at $15. The commission does not have anything to do with it under the bill. Still you say that is a dictatorial power of the commission.
Mr. MUNROE. I have not finished my reply.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. That is one thing I want you to withdraw. The commission has no power over minimum wages.
Mr. MUNROE. I realize that.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. That is not a dictatorial power of the commission.
Mr. MUNROE. I have not finished my statement.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Do you agree that the commission has no power over the minimum wages. Under the bill the minimum wage is fixed; and that could not be a dictatorial power of the commission. Now, what is your next dictatorial power?
Mr. MUNROE. That would be dictatorial by the Congress. That would be a dictatorial act by the Congress.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. What do you call dictatorial? Suppose the Congress said you must not sell lottery tickets; that is dictating by the Congress?
Mr. MUNROE. Yes; it is.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. We call it a mandate or act of Congress. And you have intentionally used the term “dictator" to try to draw a sly parallel with Russia, and unfairly so.
Mr. MUNROE. I have to deny that, sir. I deny that.
Mr. MUNROE. The last thing I had in my mind when I said that was Russia.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. What did you have in mind when you used the term "dictatorial"?
Mr. MUNROE. I had the meaning of dictatorial, which means to dictate.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Every act of the legislature, when it is considered, you gentlemen are always coming in and asking to be governed by laws; and then when you are given it you call it dictatorial.
Mr. MUNROE. Have I ever come here asking for a government of laws?
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. All of these gentlemen that you represent; yes, sir. A law cannot be called dictating, because when you talk about dictatorial commissions you imply that the power to dictate is vested in an individual and not in a universal law that applies to all.
Mr. MUNROE. Perhaps we are quibbling over phrases.
Mr. MUNROE. Perhaps I should have said oppressive. I will take back the word dictatorial so far as Congress is concerned and I will say that it is oppressive.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Where is the oppressive feature of it? Now, just point that out. What are the features of the bill that you consider oppressive?
Mr. MUNROE. I have just referred to one.
Mr. MUNROE. No; not as a minimum wage but as a minimum wage for all textile mills.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. The minimum wage is one oppressive feature. Now, what is the next?
Mr. Wood. The bill does not provide for a uniform minimum wage in all classes and types of the textile industry; it simply establishes a base of $15.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. And a minimum base of $15.
Mr. Wood. And from that on up according to the ability of the employee to produce according to his
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. And that is what he calls oppressive. And that will be decided upon between the employee and the employer and the Government.
Mr. Wood. You spoke about 95 percent good manufacturers and 5 percent bad employers in the same strait jacket. Of course, after the N. R. A. was established the employers' organizations throughout the country, not only by action in their conventions here in Washington, that is, the National Chamber of Commerce and the National Manufacturers' Association, and through their trade associations, both by resolution and by action, placed themselves on record on numerous occasions and used their organizations to carry out the intents and purposes and meaning of the resolution that they had adopted, which was that whenever the majority of the employers in a given industry agreed to certain conditions under the code that even though an employer in that industry did not belong to the trade association-and they were not compelled to join their trade associationhe was compelled to abide by the action and by the decision of a majority of employers in the industry, which took action through their trade association to establish certain uniform conditions in the industry. Their view was shouted to the housetops that where a majority of the employers adopted certain codes and certain rules and regulations that the minority would be compelled to live up to the decision of the majority. And that is all right. I agree with them. That is the only way in which you could establish conditions which were established under the N. R. A. Now, almost all will admit, as you have admitted here, that 5 percent of bad manufacturers can destroy the price structure of the industry. And it doesn't make any difference what the percentage is, whether it is 5 percent or 6 percent or 7 percent.
Don't you know that 5 percent of the employers in any given industry can destroy the price structure of that industry? It doesn't take a very large percentage of bad employers to destroy the price structure of an industry through cutthroat competition. That has been agreed to.
Mr. MUNROE. I would say, Mr. Wood, that we have been through that sort of experience with the price structure. But, in my honest opinion, it takes—and I am viewing this back, having seen the thing