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I have just one more point that I should like to refer to. There seems to have gone abroad an impression—I see it in the public press and it may be prevalent among members of this committee-that Monday, in reply to Mr. Ellenbogens' question, I restricted the word "dictatorial" with reference to all features of this proposed bill. That, gentlemen, is not correct. Mr. Ellenbogen challenges me on the question of whether I would denominate the action of Congress in passing a bill of this kind as dictatorial. I said I would change the word to "oppressive” so far as this bill was concerned.
I was asked whether I thought that the duties delegated to the commission under this bill are emphatically dictatorial. As for the bill itself I will characterize it as not only oppressive—and I am talking about the whole bill—but tyrannical, to some extent confiscatory, in some respects subversive of law observance and setting an unsound example by this Government to its citizens, and absurd in the severity of its penalties to the point of reflecting adolescent thinking.
I should like to make one reference to Mr. Vincent's testimony. Mr. Vincent-I did not hear all his testimony-but euch of it as I heard seemed, in a large part, to be very sound. I do not believe one theory which he advanced, and I feel that a majority of the mill executives would not agree with it. He referred to the theory that it would be sound for the Government to take action which would tend to eliminate all but the most efficient properties.
Mr. KELLER. I did not understand Mr. Vincent to take any such view.
Mr. MUNROE. Perhaps I misunderstood him.
Mr. KELLER. I understood him to say that we should bring about conditions that would compel the industry to come up to a proper standard. He did not advocate putting them out of existence, but he advocated making them come up to a proper standard of efficiency.
Mr. MUNROE. I agree with that; but if there is an idea that none but the most efficient should survive, I should like to point out that such is contrary to every precept of civilization. Civilization is organized on the theory that the strong must make some sacrifice to protect the weak. That is the trend of all our laws, as is shown by the appropriations for the benfit of the unemployed. STATEMENT OF HOWARD E. COFFIN, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
OF SOUTHEASTERN COTTONS, INCORPORATED, NEW YORK CITY
Mr. KELLER. We have with us this morning Mr. Howard E. Coffin, who made the Hudson car famous and who made Woodrow Wilson famous by his wartime policies. We will hear Mr. Coffin at this time.
Mr. COFFIN. As you know, I grew up in the motorcar industry. About 3 years ago I became interested in the textile industry because of my residence in the South; and later I became chairman of the Board of Southeastern Cottons Incorporated, which is the New York office of the largest corporation of mills in the country, and I suppose in the world for that matter. I do not think there is any larger corporation of its kind abroad.
I have learned a great deal about this industry from my background in the aeronautical and motor industries. A year ago last May I decided to have a motion picture made of the mill activities and the
village life, and the general surroundings of certain of our mills, relating particularly to the Avendale Mill, which, as I understand, has been mentioned here as not living up to code regulations. I have not seen the testimony adduced here, but I understand that is true.
That motion picture is neither advertising nor propaganda. It is a story of what can be duplicated at any time within a week at Avendale. By the time the motion-picture outfit get there and set up, everything you see on the screen will be ready for them to photograph.
I believe that many of you gentlemen who, like myself, are from the northern States and have no idea of cotton-mill operations or the lives of people, or the character of people, I will go that far
Mr. SCHNEIDER. What do you mean by "the time the motionpicture get there and set up, everything you see on the screen will be ready for them to photograph”?
Mr. Coffin. If we were to duplicate this picture it would take 2 or 3 days to get an operator down there and a day or two to construct a platform, and things of that sort, but it is not an unusual situation. It is a record of the activities that go on throughout the year there.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. Does it portray the activity; the actual conditions in those mill towns, or do you dress them up like on Sunday?
Mr. COFFIN. It is a picture of Avendale and it depicts the social life of that mill village as it goes on week after week. I think we have a reproduction of a group of average houses in that village.
Mr. HARTLEY. Have you a picture of the mills and the working conditions there?
Mr. COFFIN. Yes; of the interior part of the mill activities and the social life also.
Mr. KELLER. Does the picture show the actual making of goods? Mr. COFFIN. Yes; in the various stages. Many thousands of feet of film were taken. The particular reels I have here with me are as much devoted to the social life of the community as they are to work in the mills, in fact more so, because that was the thing of more interest to us at the time, although we do have any amount of reels of actual machine operation.
Mr. KELLER. I want to see the wheels go round; I want to see how you do these things down there. I have been thinking that would be a matter of special interest to northerners.
Mr. COFFIN. In addition to these reels, if you gentlemen want a couple thousand feet taken in the mills, showing actual operations, we have that. You can get more in a half hour looking at these films than you would get in many hours of verbal statements.
Alabama is generally understood to be one of the most backward States in labor conditions. I suppose Alabama and Mississippi labor under that charge. Avendale is one of the largest mills in the State of Alabama, and one that has been mentioned here. There is not a thing there that is not at your service either in this particular reel or in any other you want as to the actual conditions.
I suggest that Mr. Paul Helleyer, who often projects here, is prepared to move in here on an hour's notice and go to showing these films either before or after the noon session. It will take about 20 minutes.
Mr. KELLER. I think we can arrange to see those films after the testimony shall have been completed about 4:30 this afternoon. At that time we shall be glad to view those films.
Mr. COFFIN. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF WALTER C. TAYLOR-Continued
Mr. KELLER. The next witness is Mr. Walter C. Taylor, of the Textile Labor Board, Labor Building.
Mr. Taylor. Mr. Chairman, on Tuesday, January 28, I appeared before your committee to furnish certain information with regard to discrimination complaints handled by the Textile Labor Relations Board. I had with me some office records, but, due to the fact that the questions were not asked to conform with the basis upon which our records were set up, it was rather difficult for me to answer directly some of the questions propounded. It was, also, in other instances, impossible for me to answer some of the questions that were asked, because I did not have the information requested available at that particular time.
Congressman Ellenbogen very kindly suggested to the chairman that a series of questions be prepared and that I be given an opportunity to gather the information asked in those questions. This the chairman consented to do. I am now in position to answer these questions to the best of my ability from the records in our office.
First, however, I should like to state the position or the function of the Textile Labor Relations Board.
The Textile Labor Relations Board was created by executive order on September 26, 1934, pursuant to title I of the National Industrial Recovery Act and Public Resolution 44. The board so created was vested with both quasi-judicial powers and mediatory powers. It was authorized not only to mediate and conciliate complaints charging a violation of section 7 (a) of the National Industrial Recovery Act by manufacturers in the textile industry but also to investigate, conduct hearings, and make findings with respect to such complaints. In addition, the board was authorized to conduct elections for the selection by the employees in the textile industry of their representatives for the purpose of collective bargaining. The administration of the maximum hour and minimum wage provisions of the cotton, silk, and wool textile codes was likewise vested in the board. The board was also given authority to handle questions of work assignment in certain of the textile industries. The Textile Labor Relations Board continued to exercise these functions until the Schechter decision was rendered on May 27, 1935, and the codes were suspended by proclamation of the President on May 28, 1935. Since that time the Textile Labor Relations Board has functioned solely as the mediation and conciliation agency in the textile industry. It has no enforcement powers and does not attempt to exercise such powers. Its function is, and ever since May 28, 1935, has been, to assist the parties to a dispute in reaching a voluntary adjustment of their differences. The activities of the Textile Labor Relations Board are now coordinated with those of the Conciliation Service of the Department of Labor, and the Textile Labor Relations Board has been designated by that Department as the conciliation and mediation agency in the textile industry. In discussing the work of the Board and its experiences, the difference in its function prior to and after May 28, 1935, must constantly be borne in mind.
The questions are here, and I will now take them up in order.
Mr. TAYLOR. Due to the short time at my disposal, I am going to have to confine any figures mentioned as referring to the board's activities for its first year and further, since the board was not authorized to make any general survey of conditions in the textile industry. Any information I may give you is based solely on the situations brought to our attention.
The first question is:
What happened to Pepperell cases, Biddeford, Maine, York Mill, Saco, Maine, cases; Oldtown Woolen cases, Sangerville, Maine; Oldtown Mills, Oldtown, Maine; Wakefield Woolen cases, Wakefield, R. I.; Greenville Finishing Co. cases, Greenville, Rhode Island?
Mr. HARTLEY. How long were the Wakefield woolen cases pending?
Mr. HARTLEY. The purpose was to learn how long it took for the case to be heard, a decision to be rendered and enforcement to be effected.
Mr. TAYLOR. I was in the field in the early stages of the board's activities and I was in New England and personally handled this from the standpoint of trying to effect a satisfactory adjustment. At the time I received from that plant a statement to the effect that if those people would apply for reinstatement they would be given employment just as quickly as conditions permitted.
Mr. HARTLEY. Have they been reemployed?
Mr. TAYLOR. I cannot say. I reported back to the complainant in this case and told him the circumstances.
Temporarily we were in hope that those people would comply, but they did not. As I remember, they then filed charges and asked for a hearing before our board. That is the reason, I think in that instance, it was held over for that length of time.
The complaint against the Pepperell Manufacturing Co., of Biddeford, Maine, was heard on March 15, April 10, and May 2, 1935, and the transcripts of the record of these hearings were under examination preparatory to a decision when the codes were suspended on May 28, 1935, and the authority of the board to make findings was removed. Hence no decision in this case was rendered.
The same conditions existed with reference to the complaint against the York Manufacturing Co., of Saco, Maine, hearings on which were held on April 17, and 18, 29, and 30, and May 1. No decision was authorized after the suspension of the codes and none was rendered.
A decision was rendered by the board on the complaint against the Old Town Woolen Co., Inc., of Sangerville, Maine, on April 17, 1935, finding the company had violated section 7 (a) of the National Industrial Recovery Act and the code of Fair Competition for the Wool Textile Industry and ordering the reinstatement of employees named therein. On April 27, 1935, prior to the date set for compliance with the decision of the board, application for a rehearing was filed by the company. Action on this application was deferred by mutual consent of the parties to enable them to negotiate for a settlement. These negotiations were still in progress when the codes were suspended on May 28, 1935. Hence no further action by the board in this case was authorized.
Complaint was made against the Old Town Woolen Co., Inc., of Old Town, Maine, alleging discrimination for union membership and
activity against four union workers. The company agreed with the board's representative to reinstate two of these and declined to reinstate the other two. A formal complaint and request for a hearing was filed with the board on May 17, 1935, and preparations for a hearing were being made when the codes were suspended on May 28, 1935, after which a hearing was not authorized. Hence no decision was rendered in this case.
On January 30, 1935, the board rendered a decision on the complaint against the Wakefield Textile Co., Inc., of Wakefield, R. I., finding that the company had discriminated against five union workers and ordered three of them reinstated and the remaining two placed on a preferential list for subsequent reinstatement. The company claimed that the five workers involved were employed elsewhere when the decision was rendered, but admitted that they had applied for reinstatement and subsequently agreed with the representative of the board to comply with its decision. The union subsequently reported that the workers were not reinstated as agreed and the board notified the union on May 23, 1935, that it was prepared to refer the case to the proper authorities for enforcement upon the receipt of required affidavits. The suspension of the codes on May 28, 1935, removed the authority for enforcement.
The complaint against the Greenville Finishing Co. of Greenville, R. I., was heard on March 18 and 22, 1935. The decision of the board was prepared for release on May 28, 1935, on which date the authority of the board to make findings was removed. Therefore no decision in this case was released.
Question no. 2 is:
How many workers who lost their jobs because of union membership have been restored to employment?
In answer to that I will say that we have no such information on the industry at large. The only basis upon which this question can be answered is from an analysis of the records of the complaint filed through various sources with the board. We classified complaints which we received that had anything to do with labor; that is, discrimination, discharge of union activity, and so forth, under a general classification. We then broke this classification down and I am going to have to answer this question as accurately as I can from the information contained in our records of the complaint filed with the board. Of those complaints received alleging discrimination after the general strike of September 1934 our records indicate that 70 percent of those involved were restored to employment; of those complaints received alleging discharge for union activity during our first year, our records indicate that 65 percent have been restored to employment. It is impossible to answer this question on any other basis, as it has not been feasible to keep our records so as to show the changing status of the individuals involved. You can appreciate the difficulty of keeping an accurate record of each of the approximately 100,000 individuals involved in the complaints received by us.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. That is a general answer to the question. In connection with all complaints made to the board, I take it there were but two men reinstated out of all those complaints made against these various companies.
Mr. Taylor. You are referring to the first question?