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the textile industry, but this number is negligible compared to what we have had in the past.
I am sure if I were able to examine the case history of each child involved in the 48 referred to, I would find very real and pressing necessity for the employment of each child. As you know, every case is investigated by the county welfare officer, who actually issues the employment certificate. With best wishes, I am, Yours very truly,
A. L. FLETCHER, Commissioner. Now, I believe I stated in qualifying that I was compliance director for the Cotton Textile Code Authority under the N. R. A. regime. During the N. R. A. Code regime not one single case of deliberate employment of a minor under 16 years of age came to our attention. And 4,000 complaints of one sort or another crossed my desk.
Now, after a recital of all the evils imputed to this industry, the bill proposes that you shall find that they cause widespread unemployment and heavy financial expense to the Government." This at a time when some 10 million people walk the streets in search of work, not to mention the additional millions doing unnecessary work at the taxpayers' expense and the thousands of agricultural workers who own no land and are as idle as the land on which they used to work, and at a time when the Nation's cotton mills are employing 407,000 workers or only 18,000, or 4 percent, less than were employed in 1929 in spite of the decline of our domestic business and the near destruction of our export markets! If employment in all of the Nation's activities now stood within 4 percent of 1929 employment, as is the case in the cotton textile industry, the Nation would be in far better shape than is the case and there would be far less excuse for lavish expenditure by the Government of the funds which the people provide. Between March 1933 and August 1933, the cotton textile industry, largely through the adoption of its code, increased its employment 44 percent, restoring work for 137,000 workers and support for their dependents. It is hard indeed to understand why such an industry should be singled out for the reproach of "widespread unemployment” or of being a financial burden to that Government. It may be pertinent to conjecture how much of a financial burden it may become if this bill should pass and require the Government to employ a far-flung army of inspectors, investigators, and inquisitors to attempt enforcement of such a procedure of control without the consent of those controlledalso to conjecture how much in the form of taxes the industry may be able to contribute when in the face of continuing losses it may be threatened with this 50-percent rise in labor costs. Who will then support the hundreds of small communities, mostly in the South, which are wholly or primarily dependent for their very existence upon the local cotton mills when mill after mill closes its doors in the face of the ruinous losses such excessive costs would entail?
Those who have followed the cotton textile industry's history in recent years know that it has established an honorable record for progressive social effort and achievement in the face of adversity. Early in 1930 it undertook a voluntary effort to establish a maximum limit upon hours of employment,
which came to be observed voluntarily and individually by about 83 percent of the industry until about the time when N. R. A. was proposed.
Later in the same year a proposal that mills avoid the employment of women and of minors under 18 in the night hours between 7 p. m. and 6 a. m. was greeted with enthusiastic cooperative response and
by March 1931, 80 percent of the industry had voluntarily and individually put this policy into practice. Its observance reached 88 percent of the mills in 1932.
In 1933 the proposal subscribed to by the industry that a maximum work week of 40 hours for cotton-mill workers be established was made known to President Roosevelt shortly after his memorable address of May 7 before the National Recovery Act had been introduced. The first draft of the Cotton Textile Code was submitted to the President a few hours after the National Recovery Act was passed and on July 17, 1933, it became effective as Code No. 1 under the act. On that day the industry voluntarily effected a greater improvement in its social and working conditions than had ever been undertaken in a corresponding space of time by any industry in all industrial history.
On June 1, 1934, General Johnson, Administrator for National Recovery, said: I know of no Code
that is administered more conscientiously and more effectively than this Code has been and is being administered by its Code Authority.
The improvement of labor conditions under this Code surpasses that in any other industry
Strictures on the good faith of that industry are unwarranted and unjust.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. That statement you make there now is due to the fact that the National Industrial Recovery Act was enacted and codes carrying certain conditions were required to be adopted; it is not a generous application on the part of the cotton textile manufacturers to give these conditions. They knew it was coming under the code and they put it into effect. Your testimony indicates that they are doing this in advance of any codes being adopted, although they had submitted the code.
Mr. MUNROE. Let me say, sir, the 40-hour work week was submitted to our industry by recommendation of the board of directors of the Cotton Textile Institute, voted on by the industry and approved by an overwhelming percentage. I think it was around 77 percent. That was before the President made his May 7 address announcing the N. R. A. and before we knew there was going to be an N. R. A. I want to say that this applies to some extent, sir, to the question you asked, Mr. Schneider. On July 16, 1933, President Roosevelt, when he approved the Cotton Textile Code he said in part:
In the eyes of the whole country there was a great conference among the leaders of our industry, labor, and social service, presided over by Government, which considered the most controverted questions in the whole economic problem, wages and hours of labor, and it brought that question to a definite conclusion. It dealt with facts, and facts only. There was not one word of accusation. And the most remarkable of all, it arrived at a solution which has the unanimous approval of these conferring leaders on all three sides of the question at issue. I know of nothing further that could have been done. I can think of no greater achievement of cooperation, mutual understanding and good will. It would be unfair to omit a word of commendation of this great industry. It has proved itself the leader of a new thing in economics and government. That took faith and courage and patriotism of the highest order. They have their reward in the results they have achieved and the example they have given.
Mr. Wood. We thank you for your testimony, Mr. Munroe. We are sorry we have to close now, but I think you will agree we have given you as much time as we have given to anyone else.
The hearing will now adjourn until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Thereupon, at 4:10 p. m., an adjournment was taken until Tuesday Feb. 4, 1936, at 10 a. m.).
Mr. Wood. You just stated the workers should study the situation of Massacusetts with the purpose of revising the laws.
Mr. SMETHURST. I am quoting from this report. I do not claim to know what is wrong with Massachusetts.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. You did more than quote. You added to the report that labor should study it.
Mr. SMETHURST. I am quoting from the report.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. You added to it. Which are the Massachusetts labor laws you think should be repealed ?
Mr. SMETHURST. If I said that I will correct it now, because I had no intention of saying it. I will read the sentence again, I am quoting
We believe that labor, in its own interest, could well afford to make a study of this condition and determine if it is not to its best interest to revise these restrictions and certain of its policies.
That is the end of the quotation.
Mr. SMETHURST. It was a report and investigation made at the request of the Massachusetts Industrial Commission by a firm of industrial engineers.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. Was it a private concern that made the investigation and the recommendations which you quoted here with reference to the repeal of certain laws?
Mr. SMETHURST. Of the request of the Massachusetts Industrial Commission.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. Was this recommendation made by the Industrial Commission of Massachusetts or by this private firm that was employed to make this investigation? And were they employed to make an investigation and also a recommendation?
Mr. SMETHURST. Yes, sir; they were.
Mr. SMETHURST. They were employed to make an investigation and report with their recommendations to the Industrial Commission.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. As I take it, you do not approve that recommendation?
Mr. SMETHURST. No; I do not claim to know anything about the local conditions. I am saying that this particular investigation was a very thorough investigation by people who apparently know what they are talking about and who had an opportunity to observe the conditions in Massachusetts at first hand.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. Do you live in Massachusetts?
Mr. SMETHURST. Not now. I was born and raised in Massachusetts.
Mr. Wood. You don't know of any laws that are undesirable that you want repealed, do you?
Mr. SMETHURST. No; I do not, I will be frank to say. I don't know what the local laws are there. But I saying that following an investigation that recommendation was made. I think it has an important bearing on the type of legislation now before the committee.
Mr. WELCH. What does the report recommend? Does it recommend a repeal?
Mr. SMETHURST. It recommends a study of the laws of Massachusetts, including tax laws. I am not saying that this committee says that the whole problem is one caused by restrictive labor laws;
volume in our State we are today one of the largest, if not the largest producers of synthetic yarns in the country. Today we have more silk weaving in Pennsylvania than we had before, but on the other hand we have lost a number of our cotton mills.
I am advised that what has happened in Pennsylvania in respect to textiles is that while in Philadelphia the highly skilled upholstery and rug weavers, who were at one time fairly well paid, have seen their mills leave for the South or for low wage centers elsewhere, a number of silk weaving and throwing mills have come into our State seeking cheaper labor than was obtainable in the organized centers in Paterson, N. J., and elsewhere.
I am reliably informed that in Philadelphia today, out of the 3,000 looms in the upholstery and drapery fabric mills in the city, less than 100 are operating. The manufacture of upholstery fabrics is one of the most highly skilled branches of the textile industry, employing only the most expert weavers.
The fact that Philadelphians are past masters in several very specialized branches of textile manufacture has not protected that community from the inroads of low wage competition from other States or from isolated rural sections in some parts of our own State.
The problem of unfair competition in the textile industry in regard to labor costs is merely one important element in a difficult situation. The textile industry is sick.” This fact has been recognized by every student If modern industrial problems. The textile manufacturers themselves in the early part of 1933 were loud in their wailing as to the dire condition of this industry. At that time the textile manufacturers thought that they could obtain permission from the Government to fix prices by offering to pay paltry minimum wages of $12 and $13 a week. Pennsylvania textile manufacturers were like all others in that respect and Government assistance was welcomed when the industry was prostrate.
The history of Pennsylvania is, of course, linked with the history of textile manufacturing in this country. It is claimed by some economic historians that the oldest textile mills in the country are located in Philadelphia. The problem of textiles is therefore not new to us, although the character of the industry has undergone sweeping changes during the years.
For years child labor was common in the silk textile mills of our State. As late as 1930 there were more than 4,600 children under the age of 16 years, or about 3.1 percent of the total employees, working long hours in the silk textile mills of our State. I am proud to state that children under the age of 16 are no longer permitted to work in Pennsylvania industries. It was my privilege to sign a bill in July of 1935 forbidding children under 16 years of age to be employed in manufacturing industries. This act places Pennsylvania among the progressive States in respect to child-labor legislation. And it is just because we have adopted a higher standard of protection for the children of Pennsylvania that we are obliged to advocate that similar standards be adopted in all other States in the Union. My administration in Pennsylvania would strongly support State legislation similar to that proposed in Congressman Ellenbogen's bill, if it were not for the fact that if we passed such a bill we would place the manufacturers in our State at a competitive disadvantage as against manufacturers in other States where lower employment standards obtain. time is employing approximately four hundred thousand workers, but in 1929 the top was about 425,000. If that is true I do not see that there is great unemployment in the textile industry.
Mr. Wood. Have you finished your statement?
Mr. Wood. What method would you have us employ legally to give employment to these 9 million workers who are permanently unemployed? Have you any notions about that?
Mr. SMETHURST. Legally?
Mr. Wood. For the enactment of legislation. That is what this Congress is interested in.
Mr. SMETHURST. I think we have had 4 years of attempts to do this through legislation but we have gotten nowhere. I wonder whether the sensible thing to do would not be to see what we can do without legislation for the same period.
Mr. Wood. We were doing that during all of these years before 1933. But through the N. R. A. and the other recovery measures, the Banking Acts and others that I have mentioned, there have been five or six million workers put back into permanent employment industry out of 16,000,000 unemployed in 1933. Don't you think we have accomplished something?
Mr. SMETHURST. I do. I would not dispute you for a moment. But I think the greatest slack in unemployment now is generally in heavy goods industry, in construction. From recent figures it appears that about one-half of the present unemployed are in those industries.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Have you made a study of the bill from a legal viewpoint?
Mr. SMETHURST. I have.
. the law department of the association.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. I was just asking your opinion. You do consider some of the sections unconstitutional, do you?
Mr. SMETHURST. Well, I would rather have the particular section pointed out.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Those sections that deal with conditions for making Government loans and extending Government loans, for instance, and making Government purchases. Is there any doubt in your mind that those are constitutional?
Mr. SMETHURST. There is a doubt. I will have to be frank and say that. I cannot refer to any specific authority for it.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Don't you think the Government has the power to buy from whom it chooses?
Mr. SMETHURST. To buy from whom it chooses?
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Then the Congress tan lay the conditions under which the purchase is made?
Mr. SMETHURST. I will agree with that so far.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Then those sections which deal with Government purchases you conceive to be constitutional?
Mr. SMETHURST. No; I think there is another step in there that you have not pointed out.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. What is it?