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fied by a recalcitrant minority. Rule XXII should be changed to permit a majority of Senators, present and voting, to limit and close debate.
In August of 1956 when AFL-CIO George Meany appeared before the platform committee of the Democratic National Convention to present labor's views on national issues, he said:
In order to assure that dilatory tactics will not be used to block the enactment of civil rights legislation, Congress should amend its rules so that its will cannot be thwarted by a recalcitrant minority. In particular, Senate rule XXII should be amended to permit a majority of Senators, present and voting, to limit and close debate.
In his appearance before the platform committee of the Republican National Convention, Secretary-Treasurer William F. Schnitzler used identical language in calling for a change in the rule.
Finally, in letters to Vice President Nixon and Senators Lyndon Johnson and William Knowland, the majority and minority leaders, in December of 1956, President Meany said:
It is our opinion that the present rule has been a weapon in the hands of those desiring to block progressive legislation. The constantly overhanging threat of filibuster should be removed from the Senate Chamber. We trust that as the leader of your party you will do everything in your power to have the present undemocratic rule changed so that a minority may not block the will of the Congress.
Mr. Chairman, the AFL-CIO's position is dictated primarily by the apparent need for more comprehensive Federal legislation in the field of civil rights, because such legislation has been the subject of filibusters most often in the recent past.
But the issue goes far beyond civil rights. It extends to all measures of a controversial nature. It is an issue which affects the very fiber of our democratic form of government, and it is one which should be resolved expeditiously, and resolved in favor of majority rule.
Let it not be assumed, however, that we want the Senate to ride roughshod over the very real minority right which does exist in parliamentary debate. In every situation in which policies are being formed, which affect the life ,liberty, and property of people, the right of a minority to speak freely, openly, and at length in an effort to dissuade the majority from its intention is significant and fundamental.
This right should be amply provided for in any change in rule XXII which this committee sees fit to make.
Senator Paul Douglas has suggested that a rule providing for cloture upon the affirmative vote of a simple majority of those Senators present and voting should have a limitation allowing at least 15 days' debate before the cloture motion could be offered. Certainly this provision would be adequate to insure that minority views could be fully presented.
But once the views of the minority have been presented in detail, and emphasized by its adherents, the purpose of full and fair debate has been fulfilled. Beyond that, the endless repetition of the merits of the issue, or the reading into the record of recipes and poetry, provide no useful purpose in a democracy, save an undemocratic and tyrannical minority rule.
Mr. Chairman, the cause of democracy can be advanced in the Senate of the United States. It can be done by modifying the chief tool of a minority bent on obstruction.
The CIO-AFL urges this committee to report a modified rule XXII which will provide for cloture upon the affirmative vote of a simple majority of those present and voting, after a reasonable time for debate. Only in this way can true democracy be restored to the Senate. Only in this way can the Senate be made responsive to the will of the majority of the people.
Senator TALMADGE. Mr. Biemiller, we thank you very much for your appearance and your very fine statement.
I would like to ask you a question or two, if you do not mind. Mr. BIEMILLER. Certainly, sir.
Senator TALMADGE. The previous witness, Mrs. Jenkins, quoted at length from a representative of labor about labor's objections when Vice President Dawes wanted to change rule XXII. At that time the position of labor was in favor of rule XXII as it then existed.
Now you have presented views opposed to it. When did the position of labor change on this issue?
Mr. BIEM!LLER. Prior to merger, both the AFL and the CIO had a position against rule XXII. The CIO, to the best of my knowledge, practically from the beginning of that organization. The AFL position changed in the late forties or early fifties when it became apparent that rule XXII was the chief obstacle in the way of passing a meaningful civil-rights resolution.
Senator TALMADGE. They were in favor of the rule up to what date?
Mr. BIEMILLER. I will get you the exact date and send it to you, but my impression is it was the late forties.
Senator TALMADGE. I would like to have that information.
(The information subsequently supplied by Mr. Biemiller is as follows:)
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR AND
Washington, D. C., June 26, 1957.
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR: During my appearance before the special subcommittee of the Committee on Rules and Administration on June 24, you requested additional information regarding the past position of the American Federation of Labor and of the Congress of Industrial Organizations on Senate rule XXII.
You will recall that at that time I quoted from a resolution adopted at the 1955 AFL-CIO merger convention, which said:
"Rule XXII should be changed to permit a majority of Senators present and voting to limit and close debate."
At the 1951 convention of the AFL, Resolution No. 7 was adopted unanimously, and included the following:
“Resolved, That this 70th convention of the American Federation of Labor, assembled in San Francisco, Calif., September 1951, go on record as endorsing legislation to amend the Senate rules of the Government of the United States to abolish the filibuster by providing for the invocation and application of the cloture rule to limit debate by a simple majority of Senators present that are necessary to proceed with the business of the Senate” (pps. 275 and 549, report of the 70th convention).
At the 1952 convention of the AFL, Resolution No. 8 was adopted unanimously, and included the following:
"Resolved, That the 71st Convention of the American Federation of Labor, assembled in New York City, N. Y., September 1952, go on record as calling upon the 83d Congress to take action on its opening day in January 1953, to obtain adoption of the rules of the Senate that will permit a majority of Senators present and voting to limit and close debate so that the Senate may proceed to a vote
on any pending matter after there has been reasonable opportunity for full debate." (pps. 24 and 457, Report of Proceedings of 71st Convention).
At the 1953 convention of the A. F. of L., Resolution No. 71 was adopted unanimously, and included the following:
"Resolved, That the 720 convention of the American Federation of Labor assembled in St. Louis, Mo., call upon the Members of the United States Senate to eliminate the destructive power of the filibuster by restoring majority rule; and be it further
“Resolved, That in evaluating voting records and platforms of candidates for the office of United States Senator, careful consideration be given to the candidate's position on rule XXII.”
At the same convention, Resolution No. 79 was also adopted unanimously, and included the following:
"Resolved, That this 72d Convention of the American Federation of Labor, assembled in St. Louis, Mo., September 1953, go on record as endorsing and supporting the movement to amend rule XXII of the Senate in order to limit debate by majority vote in the interests of the enactment of civil rights and other legislation” (pps. 422, 425, 608 and 653, Report of Proceedings of the 72d Convention).
At the 1950 convention of the CIO, a resolution was adopted which stated in part:
“We demand : "1. The repeal of the Wherry amendment and support of amendments to permit the breaking of filibusters by a majority of those voting” (p. 263, Proceedings of the 12th Constitutional Convention).
At the 1951 convention of the CIO, Resolution No. 25 was adopted which stated in part :
"We demand : “The repeal of Senate Rule 22--the notorious Wherry amendment that makes it possible for a minority not responsible to all of the American people, to veto by filibuster the enjoyment by the people of full civil rights, or, indeed, to halt at their whim the whole functioning of the Government” (p. 354, Proceedings of the 13th Constitutional Convention).
At the 1952 convention of the CIO, Resolution No. 23 was adopted which stated in part:
"Rule XXII purports to insure the proper closing of debate in the Senate. It does no such thing; it encourages and abets unlimited, aimless debate to prevent a vote from being taken. It is a rule enacted by ruthless men of both major parties, and it constitutes a singular form of violence against decisions of and by all the American people" (p. 282, Proceedings of the 14th Constitutional Convention).
At the 1953 convention of the CIO, Resolution No. 28 was adopted which stated in part:
“We will continue to measure the faith and good intentions of Senators and Congressmen in both political parties in direct proportion to the support they give toward removing the procedural roadblocks in both Houses of Congress. As long as rule XXII in the Senate exists in its present form, it is an invitation for the opponents of extending human rights to filibuster endlessly * * * We urge the amendment of these rules in order that the majority decision of the American people can be heard” (p. 458, Proceedings of the 15th Constitutional Convention).
At the 1954 convention of the CIO, Resolution No. 21 was adopted which repeated the language of the 1953 resolution. (See p. 384, Proceedings of the 16th Constitutional Convention.)
I hope this information will be of value to you in your consideration of proposed amendments to rule XXII. Sincerely yours,
ANDREW J. BIEMILLER,
Director, Department of Legislation. Senator TALMADGE. How many members do you represent? Mr. BIEMILLER. 15 million. Senator TALMADGE. 15 million.
How did they determine the policy of the 15 million on this issue about which you have testified ?
Mr. BIEMILLER. The resolution which I read was adopted at the merger convention of the AFL-CIO which was held in New York City in December of 1955.
Senator TALMADGE. How many members attended that convention ?
Mr. BIEMILLER. My offhand recollection is that there were roughly 2,000 delegates. The delegates represented all of the international unions which were affiliated with the AFL or the CIO.
Also represented were the city central bodies and the State federations of labor and the State and local industrial union councils of the old CIO.
Senator TALMADGE. The 2,000 delegates, then, determined the policy for the 15 million ?
Mr. BIEMILLER. This is the normal procedure. These are resolutions which, as you well can understand, Senator, come up from the bottom. Many times they come from a State federation or city central body or international union.
Senator TALMADGE. Were the locals circularized or did they vote in any way?
Mr. BIEMILLER. The resolutions are available in advance, but it was the delegates in convention which voted on the policy.
Senator TALMADGE. No resolutions were sent the members ?
Senator TALMADGE. You spoke about majority rule. Does not the Constitution of the United States, in many cases, operate to the very opposite of majority rule?
Mr. BIEMILLER. İt guarantees minority rights which are protected by the Constitution; yes.
Senator TALMADGE. You would not be in favor of States having Senators according to their population rather than on the basis of two each, would you?
Mr. BIEMILLER. I recognize this is one feature of the Constitution that can only be amended by unanimous consent of the 48 States. Normal amendment procedures do not operate as far as the two Senators from each State are concerned.
Senator TALMADGE. Well, if you could do it, assuming that you could, would you favor changing the representative number of Senators representing the States ?
Mr. BIEMILLER. The AFL-CIO has never taken any formal position, of which I am aware, on this subject, Senator.
Senator TALMADGE. Any questions, Senator Javits?
I would like to ask this question of you, if I may: The 96 Senators. do not send a referendum to their constituents, do they, as far as you know, when they want to vote on something?
Mr. BIEMILLER. Not that I am aware of.
Senator Javits. And there are a lot fewer than 2,000, and they represent a lot more people. Mr. BIEMILLER. That is correct. .
Senator Javits. Have there been any resolutions adopted on rule 22 by the local bodies of the AFL, State or city?
Mr. BIEMILLER. There have been some. My offhand recollection is that the resolution which was finally adopted by the AFL before merger originally came out of a State federation of labor.
Most of our resolutions, as I stated a moment ago, normally come from some State or local body or from some international union. They
are not resolutions introduced by the Federation's officers. They come from some other source.
I might also add, as I have in answer to Senator Talmadge's question, that every resolution that the AFL-CIO merger convention passed was passed unanimously. There was no dissent to any resolution that was passed there.
Senator JAVITS. Another witness testified before you started, and I shall not detain you but a minute, Mr. Biemiller, about the question of denying any persons a job because of their color.
Do you have any facts or figures on that in the AFL that you could submit to us?
Mr. BIEMILLER. We would be very happy to submit to you some data on that subject.
Senator JAVITS. If you would submit it to me, I could then submit it to the Committee. Mr. BIEMILLER. I would be very happy to, sir.
(The information referred to, subsequently supplied by Mr. Biemiller, is as follows:)
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR AND
Washington, D. C., July 15, 1957.
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR: During my testimony on Senate rule XXII before the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Rules, you requested that I give you examples of denial of equal employment opportunities for Negroes.
The following examples relate both to the exclusion of Negroes from employment entirely, and to discrimination against Negroes after they have been employed in lesser jobs.
Until recently, separate seniority provisions which resulted in discrimination existed at the following plants :
Sinclair Refining Co., Houston, Tex.
Lockheed Aircraft Corp., Marietta, Ga. Discriminatory practices, while they are more common in the South, are not restricted to one region. Complaints are on file relating to the following plants :
Fisher Body plant, division of General Motors Corp., Mansfield, Ohio
Fisher Body plant, division of General Motors Corp., Willow Springs, Ill. These are, of course, but a tiny group as compared to the number of businesses where discrimination exists or has existed.
Rather than document each of these cases in detail, I will refer you to the President's Committee on Government Contracts, Jacob Seidenberg, Executive Director. This Committee, as you know, is charged with effectuating the policy of the President in eliminating discrimination by Government contractors. Details on many of the cases listed above may be found in the Committee's files.
I hope this information will satisfy your needs. Please feel free to call upon us again if necessary. Sincerely yours,
ANDREW J. BIEMILLER,
Director, Department of Legislation. Senator JAVITs. Finally, I would just like to point out one detail: You referred to the Douglas resolution as permitting a simple majority.
Mr. BIEMILLER. I referred to a suggestion which Senator Douglas had made.
Senator Javits. Yes.