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It is necessary to drastically increase wages and to eliminate stretchout in order to insure for textile labor a decent and reasonable share to enable it to live like human beings.
Then there is a cotton-textile statistical index, which reads as follows:
Cotton-textile statistical indexes
Column 1, N. R. A. statistical materials, No. 1 Cotton Textile Industry, p. 14, table VIIIB.
I believe that completes our case.
Mr. KELLER. We are rapidly approaching the time for adjournment.
The record of this hearing will be in my office at room 1536, New House Office Building, where those who have testified may examine their remarks. The manuscript will be there until it is printed.
STATEMENT OF H. D. LISK
Mr. KELLER. Mr. Lisk, who has been heard, wishes to make a few more remarks.
Mr. Lisk. My name is H. D. Lisk, Concord, N. C., and I am representing the United Textile Workers of America.
I have here (indicating] some information regarding the Cone mills discussed last week. The Eno Mill is one owned by Mr. Cone at Hillsboro, N. C. In that mill, in making an examination in the spinning room, it was found that two men were doing what three men had done only 2 months ago. One man is doing what two men were doing at the same pay as machine tenders. That had to do with quill skinners. A ropping man who had tended 60 sides has been given 32 additional without any increase in pay. Doffers have six extra sides in addition to what they were doffing, with no addition in pay. The warp spinning frames formerly run from 13 to 14 hours on no. 41 yarn, now they run 10 and 12 hours. The spinning frames used to run 3 hours and 45 minutes on 46 filling, now they run 2 hours 55 minutes. The employees in the cardroom are working 10 hours a day, 4 days a week, in order that somebody else may work that extra day. In some cases they are compelled to work that extra day if there is nobody else, which makes 50 hours a week. The pulleys on all machinery have been enlarged to speed up the machinery. In the weare room the looms used to run 172 picks per minute, now they are running 190 picks a minute, which is a very considerable increase in speed.
I have another report on the Cone mill called Minneola, at Gibsonville, N. C. Weavers on magazine looms used to run 10 and 12 looms, now they are running 16 looms each for the same pay. Two sweepers are now doing the work that four men formerly did, and they are doing it for the same pay. Two smash hands now run the same number of looms that four smash hands used to run. When there were four hands they made $16.80, now two hands get $12.80 for the double work. Spinners were running 10 and 12 sides, now they run 16 sides for the same wages. All spinning frames have been speeded up. There has been an enlargement of all pulleys. I might say that this mill has discharged every official of the union. The president, the secretary-treasurer, the chairman of the legislative committee, and the chairman of the shop committee were all discharged by this mill.
A pastor, with five in his family, was discharged and told that he was a union man in South Carolina and came to North Carolina, but he could not work in this mill any better than he could work in a mill in South Carolina and belong to the union. Because he belonged to the union he was discharged and his furniture was thrown into the street. He was evicted.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. He was a pastor, you say? Mr. Lisk. He was a preacher. I do not know whether he kept his religion after his furniture was thrown into the street.
The Revolution Mill, the White Hawk Mill, and the Proximity Mill are at Greensboro.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. Who named the Revolution Mill, the Liberty League?
Mr. Lisk. Probably Al Smith, but I do not know. The bosses there told the employees that "If you do not want your furniture thrown out in the street, you had better not join any union.” When the mill owners learned that workers were members of the union, the workers were requested to tear up their union books in the presence of overseers and superintendents of the mills. This information was given to me by the employees in these mills Monday of last week.
I find here, too, that this chain of mills, these three mills, have nine company stores. These company stores require the employees to trade there. The employees are given coupons at the mill office and they are good at the company stores. Those coupons are for $2, $5, or whatever other amount one wants.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. They are given in lieu of pay?
Mr. Lisk. They are given instead of real currency. The coupons can be used at the company stores only. Groceries in these company stores average from 10, 12.5, or 15 percent higher than in other stores in that community. The mill companies do not allow their employees to trade these coupons to anybody. The employees have to keep them and use them. In other words, these men work for Cone and the company stores give them coupons instead of money, and Cone sells them everything they need from the time they are in the cradle until they get to the grave.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. The men give every dollar back that is paid for wages?
Mr. Lisk. Yes. Flour that was sold in another store near the company store was 74 cents for 24 pounds, while in the company store it was 86 cents for 24 pounds. Meat in another store in that community was 15 cents a pound, whereas in the company store it was 18 cents a pound.
At Hemp, N. C., weavers were running 8 looms, and they are now running 16 looms. Wages were 84 cents per 100,000 picks while operating 6 looms, now the wages are 42 cents per 100,000 picks for 16 looms.
In the Mansfield Mill at Lumberton, N.C., the employees are working 55 hours a week, and wages are lower in most departments than they were for the 40-hour week. In most cases all wages have been reduced to 25 cents an hour.
At Bladensburg, N. C., workers in the yarn mill have been cut to 25 cents an hour. That affects all departments, and in some instances employees are working for less than 25 cents an hour.
In the Clatex Cotton Mills at Clayton, N. C., all workers are employed 48 hours a week, with no change in the hourly rate of pay.
In the Whitney Cotton Mills, at Clayton, N. C., all employees are working 40 hours a week and wages have been cut from 30 cents to 25 cents an hour for machine tenders. Other wages have been cut to 22.5 cents an hour.
In the testimony given here by the gentleman a little while ago, just before Mr. Gorman went on, I noticed in discussing the wage differentials in the North and South what he said. I have one instance that I should like to bring to the attention of the committee. In the Steadmiller Mill in Philadelphia, which is a tapestry weave job, loom fasteners have 20 looms per section and their wages approximate $40 a week each. They are from $40 to $45 a week each. In Concord, N. C., there is a Steadmiller mill weaving the same material and loom fixers have 26 looms per section and they receive $23.40 per week each. In Philadelphia the weavers run one loom and they receive $40 each a week; in Concord, N. C., in the same sort of operation, the weavers are running one loom and are paid from $18 to $19.20 each a week; $20 a week is considered a very good week's work and is much above the average.
I have something which might be called military persecution for textile employees when they began to assert their rights, which rights were given by God and man. Some of those southern textile employers seem to get a real delight in forcing harsh conditions upon their deserving employees. There are many unwarranted evictions. In one instance the militia came in and deliberately broke up the strike that occurred in that particular mill, which is in Belmont, N. C. In this case the soldier boys were under the influence of intoxicating beverages and they had a habit of throwing rocks at people passing on the street, running them up and down the street. This (indicatingj is the picture of a widow and her three children. I had a photographer take it for me. This woman's husband was going fishing and was passing on the highway, when a group of militia men, upon sighting the man, while they were under the influence of intoxicating liquor, began to run this man.
They ran him for a couple of blocks and then he ran into a house, through the house into the back of the house, and one of the soldiers stabbed him with a bayonet and he died. He was murdered in that private house. His daughter saw her father run into the house and started following him and they chased her too. She run in such a way and to a place where they could not get her, thereby saving her own life. That man was actually murdered in a private house by a soldier.
Mr. KELLER. What reason was given for that?
Mr. Lisk. The captain of the soldiers said that it was thought the murdered man was a picket. We have done everything to get these boys brought to trial for that crime. We have tried to get them indicted on a charge of murder, but to this day we have not been able to do it. Just a few months after this a group of white men lynched a Negro man for an attempted attack upon a young white girl, and the same officials who refused to give us a hearing in our case ordered the attorney general of North Carolina and two special attorneys to bring a group of white men to justice, on an alleged charge of lynching a colored man, but they would not give us a hearing in connection with the murder of a white man.
Mr. Willson in his testimony, just before Mr. Gorman went on, stated that the passage of the Ellenbogen bill would seem almost discriminatory. I want to say right here that if the Government is going to give permission to southern textile employers to run on as they have been running, violating every law of the land connected with the textile industry, and then turn around and give them loans ranging from $100,000 to $800,000 to break up strikes and help violate law, it seems to me that the discrimination is against the employees and the taxpayers.
I do not believe I have anything further to offer.
Mr. KELLER. All but what I am offering now. I am offering for the record a letter and brief of the Underwear Institute, New York City, and a letter and a brief of the National Rayon Weavers' Association, New York City, both in opposition to this bill.
So far as I know, that is all we have for the record; and for the time being, this closes the hearing.
Mr. MARCANTONIO. I would suggest, in view of the propaganda that we had on the screen here last night, if any of the gentlemen of this committee should be in New York City I should like to have them, as my guest, see the play "Let Freedom Ring" which tells a story directly opposite to what was told here last night on the screen.
Mr. KELLER. I do not think anybody was deceived by the picture we saw last night.
Mr. Lisk. Part of the pictures and the sceneries in that play were taken in Mooresville, N. C., during the strike.
Mr. KELLER. I do not think that picture proved anything:
The CHAIRMAN. The motion has been made and seconded that the committee do now adjourn, to meet subject to the call of the chairman, Without objection, let us adjourn.
(Thereupon at 12:55 p. m., Thursday, Feb. 6, 1936, the subcomInittee adjourned, to meet at the call of the chairman.)
MILL BOSSES TURN DIETITICIANS
(From United Textile Workers, Francis J. Gorman, chairman, special strike
committee, Carpenters' Building, Sept. 12) If one is looking for a sample of the all-embracing stupidity and arogance of cotton-mill barons, here is a candidate for the position.
On Sunday, October 1, 1931, William D. Anderson, president of the Bibb Manufacturing Co., had some 1,200 of his workers assemble at what he called a “rally” in a schoolhouse of Columbus, Ga. How a schoolhouse big enough to hold that number happened to be found in any region dominated by Mr. Anderson is not explained; and the suspicion will rise that there was some very liberal counting.
Anderson had brought these mill workers together to enlighten their minds. They were already on short time, and cotton-mill wages on full time are pretty scanty. But Mr. Anderson told them that they would have no trouble in caring for themselves if they bought the right foods. Here is a list of supplies which he set forth as ample for a textile worker's family of four persons for a week: 24 pounds flour.
$0. 60 4 pounds lard 8 pounds potatoes
. 16 1 peck corn meal.
1. 35 If their souls and bellies still hankered after the flesh pots of Egypt, Mr. Anderson, a truly accommodating man, was ready to make some concessions. They might have one package of coffee a week at 12 cents, and 2 pounds of fat back, at 20 cents. The total cost of this diet for four persons works out, in cheap stores, at $1.68.
It will be noticed that no salt is provided, no sweetening—not even 'lasses, no vegetables except potatoes. But the omission of vegetables, fresh meats, and above all fresh milk, raised a question which it seems best to have an expert
The United States Public Health Service was called up, and the Anderson diet was read to them.
"What do you think of it?" asked the inquirer, when he had finished.
"I don't think you could find a more perfect prescription for producing pellagra" was the answer.
Observe, now, the number and variety of undesirable qualities which Mr. Anderson managed to display.
First, arrogance. What right had he to gather people who made his money for them and prescribe their diet?
Second, bad taste. For a man in his financial position to condescend to halfstarved textile workers on the food question is about as vile a piece of bad manners as can be imagined.
Third, ignorance. This purse-proud blaterskite didn't know what he was talking about. He didn't even know enough to know that he didn't know. His mind was a total blank on all information about diet—and the vacant space was filled by stupid conceit.
Fourth, recklessness. Not even a mill boss can be ignorant that pellagra is rather common in the South, and that it is a disease caused by faulty diet. Knowing that, no man in Anderson's position had a right to give advice without looking up the facts.
GastoNIA, N. C., February 4, 1936. (In re: Gazette Publishing Co.) Mr. Tom Lay,
Lincolnton, N. C. DEAR Tom: Answering your letter of January 30, 1936, comment as follows, I don't think there is one chance in a million to get anything out of the mill for promising you work and failing to give it to you, there are too many ways around such a promise and it is too indefinite in my opinion to get anywhere on.
Mr. Glenn has seen me since I was talking with you, however, his conversation while mainly on other matters touched your matter but very slightly and what was said was irrelevant and also on a confidential basis.