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Now, just in connection with that, I have a thought with relation to section 304 (b), on page 23, and in conjunction with counsel for the United Mine Workers have this revised to suggest for the consideration of the committee. It deals with the scope of authority of the Board, and seeks to preserve within industry those tribunals already set up there for their specific functions, without giving them, of course, any rights on the basic authority of the National Board. The proposed amendment is as follows:
SEC. 304 (b). Any term of a contract or agreement of any kind which conflicts with the provisions of this Act is hereby abrogated, and every employer who is a party to such contract or agreement shall immediately so notify his employees by appropriate action: Provided, That nothing in this Act shall be held to impair the right of tribunals established by codes of fair competition approved under the National Industrial Recovery Act or by collective-bargain agreements valid under the provisions of this Act, to hear and determine disputes concerning hours, wages and conditions of employment to the extent provided in such code or agreement, and where such hearing and determination does not involve recognition of any unfair labor practices.
I merely submit that for such consideration as the committee might want to give to it, as a matter of simplification.
The CHAIRMAN. We will appreciate that, Mr. Lewis. Does that finish your suggestions, Mr. Lewis?
Mr. Lewis. I have nothing further except I do think this Board should not be attached to any governmental department. I think it should be an independent agency acting under the authority of the President, by appointment of the President.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. Mr. Lewis, I have just one question. What do you think will be the effect and the outcome of the failure of Congress to enact this legislation?
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I think it will be considered by industry as almost a validation of the company union, and I think it would, perhaps, increase their efforts to impose company unions in industry, and that resistance on the part of the workers would be rapidly crystallized and would flare up in a way that would be productive of a great deal of labor unrest by means of strikes of wide-spread nature. It would be detrimental in every sense of the word.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Lewis.
The CHAIRMAN. I see Mr. Frank P. Walsh in the room. Mr. Walsh, will you come forward?
STATEMENT OF FRANK P. WALSH, CHAIRMAN NEW YORK POWER
AUTHORITY, NEW YORK CITY
The CHAIRMAN. You are chairman of the New York Power Authority?
Mr. WALSH. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Recite your activities in connection with labor problems, beginning with the war, your service during the war.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. Prior to the war, you were chairman of the Industrial Relations Board?
Mr. Walsh. I will try to go along, if I may, Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. Walsh. I am not going to undertake, of course, to make an analysis of this law. I am not going to do it, first, for the reason that I do not feel as competent to do it as others who have been here, or as you gentlemen who are sitting here, who have been the target of all sorts of argument and all sorts of propaganda, some of you, during this entire generation, I might say.
I am not going to analyze it for another reason. I am in favor of it from beginning to end, because I think it is the evolutionary outgrowth of enlightened education over my time and over the time practically of every gentlemen sitting upon this committee. I believe that it is another step forward, a great step forward in the realization of economic freedom, which I believe is as important, if not more important, than political freedom.
I am not going to analyze it for the reason that I think it contains all the principles which are great factors in bringing about industrial justice, and because, as a piece of bill drafting, I think it is most excellent.
I think, perhaps, I might make some contribution here today by recalling, perhaps, more than stating, refreshing your minds, if I may do so, on the evolution of which I have spoken. My attention to these questions was specifically directed 20 years ago in the act that was passed which bore the name of Senator Borah, and I do not recall the name of the Member of the House of Representatives, which created the Commission on Industrial Relations of the United States Government. There was $500,000 appropriated and spent on that investigation. I say this because I read in the papers within the last few days, that there are certain organizations in this country who think that an investigation ought to be made before this bill is passed. Upon that board there were 5 members representing the employers of this country that came from the National Industrial Conference and the Manufacturers' Association, 5 representing the employers drawn from the American Federation of Labor, and 3 representing the public. I happened to be the chairman of that commission.
I can speak with freedom about the accomplishment, if any, it made, because the report that has become the report of that Commission was designated, and properly designated, as the “Staff Report.” We were required to bring to our assistance those in the United States that had made special studies of this subject, and we drew upon those acquainted with economics in all of the leading universities of this country.
We were required at that time, also, to hold public hearings so that the public mind might become educated upon the situation existing in industry and the cause of industrial unrest. In many respects the situation in this country was paralleled by the situation today. We were under the stress of no war, or threatened war. Efforts had been made for years and years, beginning in a very small and weak way, to educate the people along the lines of collective bargaining, and to bring about better conditions, or a more equal distribution of the fruits of industry, than had existed theretofore. Great friction had arisen in some parts of the country. We were almost in a state of armed industrial war. One of the largest railroads in this country
maintained an arsenal at their headquarters. Conflicts were numerOUS Private armies were common in some of the great industries in outlying districts, and in the centers of population even. The spy system was at its very height. The same efforts that are being made by the same persons, or their ancestors, I mean their industrial ancestors, were at work at that time to prevent collective bargaining, to abridge the right of a workingman to join any organization of his own choice and to act collectively through his own representatives.
Now I want to say this, that my experience in that Commission-an experience to which I will refer a little later on, if I can bring my mind to it at the logical time-has convinced me that the opposition to measures such as this Wagner bill, the opposition to the formation of that Commission on Industrial Relations during the Taft administration, the opposition to every law, Child Labor Law, for the protection of the life and limb of workers engaged in industry, for every law that diminished or had a tendency to diminish profits, the opposition came from a comparatively small number of industries and a comparatively small number of individuals in those industries. The potent influence was due to the fact that they were the large indusfries, they were the industries that were further away in management from the actual worker than the other industries, they were the industries that the diminution of 1 cent an hour might bring an immense fortune in a very few days on account of the great number of persons that were engaged in the industry, or the increase of a half-hour or an hour in a balance sheet at the end of the year might show millions of profits.
Therefore, as I say, I would pay no attention, and I do pay no attention to the assertions that are made in the newspapers today to the alleged fact that there are very few people or very few members of these large international unions, and that they should not get the consideration which they are demanding, vocally demanding, by such gentlemen as have been on the witness stand today, and as have appeared before you many times. They are the persons who have established, after struggle, whatever standards they have established, and through their early work have brought about a condition of the public mind that brings the Senate of the United States, through one of its important committees, here today, to listen to their voice and creating a forum, which we have had many times before, where we may hear both sides of the question, always, I say, with the same
Now that investigation, to make this as brief as I can, brought out all of the principles that are contended for here today. There was . division in that Commission, so far as the personal views of the members of it were concerned. It was diverse. There were hardly any two who agreed to all of the conclusions. Why? It came from the same reasons, it came from surroundings, birth, environment. Those who had to labor for a living perhaps had a different view. They got their practical political economy in the factory or on the streets of a great city. Their views were different from those of a person that perhaps was educated along the line of ancient or modern sconomics in the university. Self-interest, motive, and all those things, cut a figure, but when it came down to the fundamentals, such as you are considering today, there was no diversity of opinion. There was a diversity, perhaps, of machinery. There was a differ ence, perhaps, in the passion in which they spoke, but as for a rea system of collective bargaining and representative democracy ir industry, there was no diversity of opinion, and there cannot be, claim, in any judicially, coolly considered body in a public forum where both sides can be heard.
I want to say just a word or two, to give you a little history of my experience and perhaps of a few of my views, in answering what has been said today. It sounds like an echo of the ancient past to hear the opposition to this bill. It would be almost foolish for me to warn you gentlemen against propaganda. I can look at Senator Wagner and see the dents in his forehead today because of the propaganda that has been going on in various spots in the last few weeks.
Therefore I say it is one of the reasons for a bill of this kind, that when a question of this sort comes up, where the public mind might be deeply affected, there is some person in Washington all the time now you know they haven't gotten to any member of industry, any number of industrialists or to any number of corporations—but some gentleman steps up, he is generally a secretary, when he is talking about organizers, who would be ashamed to tell his own pay, his own emolument, but he tells you he represents 75,000 people who are opposed to your bill. They come down on this great subject where we ought to be getting together, where the life of the country makes it important that we should get together, going along the same old lines that they did in the preindustrial relations days. This important body passed a resolution saying that at this time you gentlemen ought to investigate, or a new investigating committee ought to investigate the salaries of organizers of labor unions.
Now I am here today on a message of peace. I believe you an going to pass this bill, and I believe it is going to be the greatest step forward in industrial democracy which has ever been taken. I believe it is going to be one of the benefits, one of the blessings-and there are a good many of them—that has grown out of our experience during this depression.
I notice the name of one of the gentlemen signed to that, to inquire into your salary, and I think the salary is about a dollar and a quarter an hour--we will take it by the hour, but we might take his by the minute—and this gentleman who protests and lends his name to the investigation in this momentous hour of hours, when we are trying to lift the whole Nation to an economic basis, when we are looked upon as setting an example for the entire world, this gentleman comes forward and says, “What we ought to investigate is how much an organizer for the union is getting.” There was one of these gentle+ men sitting next to me while Mr. Lewis was talking, and he figured it quickly for me, and that gentleman is getting $650 an hour. And he thinks there ought to be an investigation made. And so it goes along. It is the same old story.
The idea, for instance, that there is something in the labor union that causes them to get together. To do what? To destroy all industry. To destroy their own lives. To destroy the lives of their families. The basic thing that is always overlooked in these arguments, on the part of those who oppose such measures as the one before you today, is based upon that idea, that there is something almost criminal, something terribly wasteful in the idea of giving
labor a free hand, a complete economic freedom in dealing with the employers, and in dealing with their own industry.
The basic thing is this: If that industry is retarded, if that industry is destroyed, they starve, they have no means of livelihood. If, on the other hand, the industry is not carried on in a way that is just and fair to those employees, the result is strikes, lockouts, and cessation of work. Why, then that great industry, from the employer's side is broken down in its profits. So there is a balance there in the law of compensation. That is so clear and so plain, unless it is retarded, that I do not see how any intelligent person can gainsay the argument-part of it I heard here today, and practically all of it I read in the record or the newspapers--it must depend upon that. It is found when free play is given that is accomplished to a very great extent, as far as it can be accomplished under our system of government and under our system of distribution, with which basilly I do not disagree, but of which I am a sincere and vigorous critic, of some of its administrations,
Now after the Commission on Industrial Relations, I recall, as I say, the report upon that was made by the staff, and you will find the support of every principle that you have in here 21 years old. To this has been added the experience of that 21 years, because there has been a succession, and I am glad to say it, as a lover of this country and of my Government, I am glad to say the tradition has run true at all times in the Congress of the United States, there has never been a time that there has not been somebody battling upon the floor for administrations along this line. A La Follette; a Wagner; a Borah-I could mention very many of them who are here and who have gone, that have battled for that, and they have brought us down, in an educational way, to where we are today.
Now the best parallel I think we have for this is our experience in war time. The War Labor Board of course, had its basis in an Executive order of the President of the United States.
Now it has been stated, and it has been stated since this hearing has been in progress, that the only force that it had behind it was the force of public sentiment. That is a very great mistake. It had the most powerful force behind it, perhaps, of any organization that has ever existed in this country.
It had the action of a courageous President behind it. It had an action that was quick and decisive. I might say this, in all of the 1,270 cases that were submitted to us, to this Board, there were decisions covering just under 1,000,000 of employees, not at all indicating the matters that were settled, because perhaps the settlement in one factory would be a settlement of the whole industry, they would go along with it, so that those who have attempted to analyze it, to produce certain statistics, say that there were probably over 2,000,000 employees affected by it.
Now, at the outbreak of the war, and in the early days of the war, there were a great many bodies that had to do with these industrial conditions, that is, in the Government itself. We had the Shipping Board, the Army and Navy, the Aircraft, the Railroad Administration, the Fuel Administration, and many others. There were strikes in shipyards, copper mines, munition plants, the packing industry. It came to the point where the absolute cessation of production of foodstuffs for this country and for a great part of Europe was threatened by a general strike in the packing houses, where they were paying