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Mr. RAMSPECK. Mr. Taylor, in the 1,166 cases of complaints involving hours and wages, do your records show how many employees were involved in those complaints?
Mr. TAYLOR. I do not have that broken down; that is, not in its entirety. I am having it done at the present time. I was rather pressed for time in getting over here, sir, but it is being carried on in my office at the present time. The total number of employees involved in the complaints that we handled during our first year was 109,000.
Mr. RAMSPECK. That was in the whole number of 4,400 complaints?
Mr. TAYLOR. Yes, sir; and I imagine, that I may venture an estimate, that perhaps 25 to 35 percent of those will be hour and wage complaints, the bigger proportion being the labor complaints.
Mr. RAMSPECK. Somewhere around 25 or 30 percent of complaints about wages and hours—I mean the number of employees involved?
Mr. TAYLOR. The employees. Mr. KELLER. Mr. Welch, will you give me now specifically just what
you want and I will take it just as you ask for it. You want a record showing what?
Mr. WELCH. What percentage of the textile firms are paying the wage scale provided for by the code?
Mr. SCHNEIDER. Do you mean now paying?
Mr. WELCH. That are now paying the wage scale provided for by the code.
Mr. Wood. Of these 2,354 cases which you say involved collective bargaining, how many employees does that involve?
Mr. TAYLOR. I cannot answer that specifically at this moment, sir. It is being broken down in my office at this present time.
Mr. WELCH. Also the number of hours.
Mr. TAYLOR. If I may venture an estimate with certain reservations in that connection, in the first year 4,560 complaints which we handled involved 109,000 people. I just answered the gentleman from Georgia that perhaps of that number 25 to 30 percent were hours and wages, and I would venture the estimate that about 60 percent were the labor complaints.
Mr. Wood. About 60,000 would be covered, then?
Mr. TAYLOR. The balance in there being stretched out and miscellaneous complaints. The labor complaints are the discrimination complaints, alleging violation of section 7 (a), and former labor positions of the code. Some people speak of them as discrimination and others as labor.
Mr. Wood. How many were involved in the 603 cases that finally went to the board for adjudication?
Mr. Taylor. That I cannot answer at this particular moment, sir. I do not have it broken down but I will be pleased to get that for you.
Mr. RAMSPECK. Can you tell how many mills or employers were involved in the 1,166 hour and wage complaints?
Mr. TAYLOR. I am afraid not, sir, at this particular moment. The total mills in all the complaints were, 1,407, and I would venture perhaps that the same percentage of mílls were involved as the number of employees, or approximately so, sir.
Mr. RAMSPECK. Twenty-five or thirty percent?
Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the witness if he has read the bill.
Mr. KELLER. All right, sir.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. What is your opinion about the mechanics of the bill in its use with reference to the adjustment of grievances?
Mr. TAYLOR. I have not had an opportunity to study it over from that angle. I have just had a chance to study that very casually and I have not had a chance to go into it thoroughly, and I am afraid I could not answer it in an intelligent manner for that reason, sir.
Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Mr. Taylor, will you compile all those figures and come back again?
Mr. TAYLOR. In connection with the break-down on the basis that you asked for. Will you give me a little more idea on that? I will see you
personally about it. Mr. ELLENBOGEN. Yes; I will give you a list personally.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, because you are catching me very much at a disadvantage, I assure you, sir.
Mr. KELLER. We will be delighted to have you do that. We will call as the next witness Mr. William Kelly, second vice president, United Textile Workers of America, representing the Middle Atlantic States. Is Mr. Kelly present?
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM F. KELLY
Mr. KELLY. My name is William F. Kelly, of Philadelphia.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am submitting herewith data which is irrefutable proof that the standards of wages and working conditions set up by the textile industry in the various codes of fair competition under the now invalidated N. R. A. have been broken down. You will note that no division of the industry has escaped the effects of this break-down, despite what the several institutes have to say to the contrary,
The worst offender of all is the silk industry and, if the committee will analyze the figures herein set forth, you will realize the necessity of some legislation, national in scope, which will save the industry from itself.
The textile industry is one of the oldest and largest basic industries of our economic life and supplies a national need much older than many industries such as utilities or railroads, which are today supervised and regulated by the Government. Because of this supervision, a cloak of certain protection is thrown about the workers in these industries and we believe that the same sort of protection should be given to the workers in the textile industry.
In reading the history of the industry in this country, it is not very illuminating insofar as the labor aspect is concerned. The textile industry was fostered and protected by our Government in its early development but labor has never received its share of this protection. High protective tariffs were inaugurated when the leaders of the industry shouted from the housetops the necessity for protection against cheap, foreign labor abroad, with whom they could not compete. Whilst demanding and getting protection from products of substandard countries insofar as labor was concerned, they themselves invaded the textile centers of these very countries and imported this labor into this country, paying them wages that enabled them to live at about the same standard they lived under in the country of their birth. After these workers became adapted to our American standards, and demanded sufficient wages to sustain them, new sources of foreign labor were tapped. The records will show that while these employers wanted protection against the goods of these cheap-labor countries, they consistently fought for the letting down of the barriers for the importation of this cheap labor into America.
As the barrier against immigration was gradually thrown up, culminating in quotas being set for the various countries, after the war, and this source of cheap labor was cut off, they looked about for another
source of workers to exploit, and, because of the 48 divisions of the Government in this Nation, they began to migrate from one section to another in their quest. Their desire to set themselves up as feudal barons led them to move from one State to another and, with the introduction and perfection of hydroelectric power into remote districts, and better. highways and the automobile coming into being, this migration became more and more pronounced.
I do not mean to infer that we are strictly opposed to the decentralization of industry, provided it is motivated from a social viewpoint. The proper way to decentralize industry from urban to suburban areas would be to take as many of the workers as might migrate with the industry to the new locality and not to leave them stranded after developing a certain amount of skill in the given line of industry. This has not been the policy of the employers in the textile industry. Their movements have been actuated by only one motive and that was to seek a source of cheap and contented labor.
Small chambers of commerce and civic clubs have been responsible to a great extent for the deplorable condition existing in the textile industry by their method of subsidizing the chiseler in one way or another-either by advocating land grants in their communities, tax abatements over a period of years, or advertising that their communities were not affected by union organization. Today they are adding still more inducements—they will even raise money to pay for the removal of the machinery and the housing of the same in their community.
Of course, the employer who takes advantage of these subsidies is invariably the more vicious and exploiting type. He may be in the minority, as has been stated by those in control of the several institutes and by our President. It may be true that this type is in the minority, but, it is likewise true that the N. R. A. was successful to a certain extent in checking the disruptive activities of this minority and since the N. R. A. has been invalidated, this minority has gone back to its old methods of operation. It is true also that the groups who were instrumental in formulating the codes for the industry to protect themselves from this minority of chiselers were, in the main, equally as opposed to unionization of the workers in the industry as are these chiselers, despite the fact that the union is the one agency that can help correct the abuses and bring the stability of the industry, which the employers say they so ardently desire.
The leaders of the industry are here today, as I understand from the public press, to oppose H. R. 9072, the National Textile Act, which will, to a certain extent, eliminate the evils they complained about some 2 years ago when they were anxious to have some governmental agency restrict the obstreperous minority of chiselers. If they are interested in the stabilization of the industry, their action 2 years ago should have shown them the necessity for national regulation. Regulation by the several States has proven to be highly unsatisfactory. The State that passes strict regulatory laws to protect the workers and consumers finds itself at the mercy of the States which refuse to do so. Immediately a campaign of proselytization is launched by the chambers of commerce in the States refusing to pass such legislation in order to lure industry out of the fair State.
It is laudable for any group of men to advance the interest of their own community. But, when they do so at the expense of some other community, then they cease to be the good neighbor" to whom our great resident often refers. Surely, the last 5 years have taught all of us that no subdivision or section, or section of this country can prosper at the expense of its neighboring section. Then again, the migration of industry from one place to another is surely a terrific strain on the financial reserve of that industry and someone must pay for it and, as is usually the case, the worker is the one who pays. It is my opinion that if accurate statistical information could be estimated, it would show that sufficient money is expended in moving these plants from one place to another to pay a fair return on the initial investment in the industry. Another thing, after the process of migration has reached its saturation point, it will be noted that the employers are all again in the same relative position and the process must begin all over again.
We believe that if H. R. 9072 is enacted into law it will have a tendency to correct to a certain degree the evils besetting the textile industry. In itself, the bill will act as a tariff barrier against goods moving over State boundaries from States that refuse to adopt decent American standards. Surely, the employers, through their spokesmen in the various industries, should have no objection to protection of the industry by means of tariff walls, as they have been advocates of this ever since their inception in the textile industry of this country. I cannot conceivably understand their opposing some such legislation and I wonder if these bodies do speak for the vast majority of employers in the industry. I know from my own experience in dealing with employers in all divisions of the textile industry that there are few of them who attempt to defend their wage structures, but always they use the excuse in their arguments that they must lower standards in order to meet competition in the low-paid areas of the country.
I can understand why some of the large mill chains do oppose any such national regulation of the industry, as many of them own mills in various parts of the country and, in practically all instances, they have machinery in place in excess of their sales volume requirements but, of course, they expect a return on the idle capital invested in this equipment. This must be borne by the workers and in order to make them bear it, these employers play one group of workers against another in different sections of the country. For example, if workers in one of the plants demand better wage standards or if they strike to obtain them, the company invariably starves them into submission by leaving the machinery idle in the plant on strike and starting up its machinery in another of its plants, long enough to starve the strikers out and then resume operation on their own terms. In this way they can bring wages down to the lowest possible level while reaping the temporary benefits that accrue to them.
Yet, this system invariably has the effect of destroying not only the living standards of the workers but also the invested capital which, in many cases, is not the capital of the managers of the business. (The data referred to is as follows:)
Code violations, York, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Cumberland Counties, Pa.