ment by that labor organization which now sponsors this biil. Its plan contains benefits both social and financial not known in any other labor organization in our knowledge, and certainly not in this so-called national union”.

The Employees' Mutual Benefit Association was incorporated in 1918, and is strictly an organization for collective bargaining which has functioned perfectly since its organization and has never failed in a single promise or agreement. It has been pointed to by rival labor unions as a company union, but is such in no sense. There is no company representation or control. The association is under the sole control of the membership, with officers elected annually by secret ballot.

I am sent here by it at its expense to make objections to the bill 8479, because by the passage of it you will by legislative enactment destroy an organization that is ihe result of 17 years of development by American citizenship who ask only one thing and that is freedom to work out their own salvation. You will by the passage of this bill make this group of people subservient to an organization who for years made every available effoit to induce iliem iv forsake what they had built up and affiliate with them, and it has not always restricted itself to peaceful persuasion.

Is it fair to this group of people who have never failed in any crisis, who hold a 17-year record of successfully working out their own problems, and whose only discord in that whole period has come from other organizations whose only interest is our destruction?

We do not desire to become a part of it, for their interests and our interests cannot be mutual. They have been unsuccessful in all their other efforts to destroy us for many years, and now they seek to accomplish it through legislative enactment. We wish to call your attention to page 7, lines 21 to 24, inclusive, which reads:

The remaining member of each district board shall be selected by the national organization of employees representing the preponderant number of employees in the industry.

And again, page 26, lines 9 to 20, dealing with the collectivebargaining feature. By the passage of this act you are making us a part of a national organization whose interests are north of the Ohio River

Mr. Vinson. Pardon me; what are your views on collective bargaining?

Mr. Wilcox. I am very much in favor of it, the same thing that we have had for 17 years, Mr. Vinson.

By the passage of this act you are making us a part of a national organization whose interests are north of the Ohio River, whose officers know nothing of our conditions and care less. Why interfere with our arrangement which for 17 years has satisfactorily fulfilled the needs of this group which, after all, are good, honest American citizens, whose only request of you gentlemen is that they may continue in the future as they have in the past, in continuing to develop in our own way and not be made by legislative enactment to be dictated to by an organization whose principles are too unattractive to bring us under their direction in the normal way.

We also oppose this bill, as we are conversant with the existing conditions between those north of the Ohio River and those south of it. The freight-rate differential, which runs from 35 cents to $1.16 per ton, must be considered somewhere, if our employer is to sell any coal and we are to get any work. With a uniform wage scale over the whole industry, regardless of freight rates and other conditions, we realize that we cannot expect any working time, and ultimately our destruction would prevail. Forty-five percent of western Kentucky coal goes north of the Ohio River, which amounts to about 2% percent of the demand in the northern market. Under these conditions it is impossible for operation of mines to be carried on at the same wage scale as that paid by producers more favored in freight rates; nor is it possible now, with our present restricted market, for all mines to be operated half time.

Our organization stands today, as it has always stood, anxious to be in a position to work, in order that we may care for our families in the decency we have always known. We do not wish to become subject to the strike call that has dominated this country on already too many occasions. We do not wish to be thrown out of our usual vocation in order to satisfy the whims and fancies of a rival labor organization, nor do we desire to be dominated by an organization that is in a minority in our district.

In conclusion, let me state that we are not here to threaten but only to beg that our interests may not be overlooked. We are praying for our existence, we are praying for our rights, we are praying for the right to serve as we have always served, not with a band at the head of our parade but in our own quiet way striving to serve American citizenship, and at the same time properly caring for ourselves and our families. You remember, with us, the records of this said national labor organization; and as we pray for the things mentioned above, will you, with us, keep in mind the words of that old song:

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget, Lest we forget. Mr. Doughton. Of what labor organization are you a member? Mr. Wilcox. The Employees' Mutual Benefit Association.

Mr. DOUGHTON. Is that connected with the American Federation of Labor?

Mr. Wilcox. No, sir; it has no connection whatever.

Mr. Vinson. For whom have you been working these 17 years, who permitted collective bargaining?

Mr. Wilcox. The West Kentucky Coal Co. on September 1, 1918, started a method of collective bargaining that has been in existence from that day to this.

Mr. Vinson. Is your organization solely confined to employees in the West Kentucky Coal Co.? Is that correct?

Mr. Wilcox. Yes, sir; that is correct.

Mr. COOPER. You spoke a moment ago about another labor organization being in the minority in your territory. Did you refer in that respect to the United Mine Workers of America ?

Mr. Wilcox. Yes, sir.

Mr. Cooper. Does this organization have members in your territory?

Mr. Wilcox. They are in what is termed “district 23." I think they have some now, possibly, in some of the same counties where our mines are.

As to what extent, I do not know; but there are supposed to be, I think, around 10,000 miners in the field, and we have 2,500

members, the Independent Miners Union has 2,600, and there are some without any organization at all.

Mr. COOPER. Does the United Mine Workers of America have local units?

Mr. Wilcox. Yes, sir.

Mr. COOPER. How many of those local units do you have in your territory?

Mr. Wilcox. When you refer to “territory”, do you mean district 23?

Mr. COOPER. I am talking about the section of the country about which you are speaking:

Mr. Wilcox. They claim to have locals in and around several of the mines, but just what they have I do not know. That is all very secret, Mr. Cooper. Just what they have I do not know.

Mr. Cooper. You spoke of that organization being in the minority. Mr. Wilcox. Yes, sir.

Mr. Cooper. What is the approximate membership in your section?

Mr. Wilcox. The only information I have comes from newspaper reports. It runs anywhere from 1,000 up to five or six thousand, but I do not know which is correct.

Mr. COOPER. How can you come here and say they are in the minority, then, unless you have more information on which to base it?

Mr. Wilcox. I know how many miners are in the section and know how many belong to the Employees' Mutual Benefit Association and the Independent Miners Union; then I know there are some that do not belong to anything.

Mr. Cooper. I am just seeking information. I was hoping you might give some comparative figures that would throw some light on the thing, as to what the proportion is.

Mr. Wilcox. I am sorry that I am not in a position to give you the exact figures, but I am just not able to do it.

I know how many members we have.
Mr. COOPER. You have 2,500 members, you say?
Mr. Wilcox. We have 2,500.
Mr. COOPER. And another organization has 2,600?

Mr. Wilcox. Yes. I know there are some mines that do not have any, and I know there are about 9,000 miners in that whole district. That is outside of our community; that is up in Muhlenberg County, above us. But that is in that section known as “district 23." Around our particular location they are just very few, and that is what I refer to when I state that they are in the minority in our communities.

Mr. COOPER. With 2,500 in your organization and 2,600 in the other organization, making 5,100 out of 9,000, can you give us any approximate information as to the probable number in the United Mine Workers?

Mr. Wilcox. If you will subtract 5,100 from 9,000, that will give you what the proportion probably is in district 23. But in Union, Hopkins, and Webster Counties—there are about two mines in Union County, very small mines, one located in Morganfield and one at Uniontown, and there is one mine that I know of in Hopkins County that seems to be working under the United Mine Workers' contract. Out of those three counties, that is all the mines that I know of.

Mr. COOPER. All right; thank you.
Mr. HILL. Is your union what is called a company union?
Mr. Wilcox. No; it is not in any sense.

We do not have any company representation or control.

Mr. Hill. It is sponsored by the company for which you work?

Mr. Wilcox. No, sir. At one time it had company representatives on the board, but that has long ago been disposed of. Now it is controlled and operated absolutely by men elected yearly by secret ballot. That board is composed of 8 men, 4 white and 4 colored, chosen from the ranks of the miners.

I have with me here the president, or we call him the executive chairman, of that organization. He is a workman in the mines. I would be glad if you gentlemen would call him and talk to him and ask him questions relative to what the miner thinks that he rubs elbows with each and every day.

Mr. TREADWAY. I wanted to ask the gentleman for a little more information about his suggestion that his organization would go under the control of another group.

Mr. Wilcox. Yes, sir.

wir. TREA! WAY. Where is the evidence that that will occur if this legislation is enacted?

Mr. Wilcox. According to the bill, on page 7, lines 21 to 24 (reading]:

The remaining member of each district board shall be selected by the national organization of employees representing the preponderant number of employees in the industry.

Mr. TREADWAY. You say that it would not be a majority but a minority representation?

Mr. Wilcox. I said in our district. This says "the preponderant number of employees in the industry."

Mr. VINSON. Ďoes not that refer to the district? Mr. TREADWAY. No; I think the gentleman is right, Mr. Vinson. Mr. Wilcox. I may very easily be wrong. Mr. TREADWAY (reading): The remaining member of each district board shall be selected by the national organization of employees representing the preponderant number of employees in the industry.

Mr. VINSON. That refers to the district board, on line 21. Line 21 says (reading]:

The remaining member of each district board shall be selected by the national organization of employees representing the preponderant number of employees in the industry.

Mr. TREADWAY. Not the industry in that district, the general industry.

Mr. Vinson. It certainly refers to the district.

Mr. TREADWAY. I do not think it does, and do not interpret it so. I think the gentleman has given the right interpretation of it. It would seem to me that that would permit of a member of the board coming in from the outside, provided that he represented the majority of the bituminous-coal miners throughout the industry.

Mr. Wilcox. I think you are right, sir.
Mr. TREADWAY. I cannot interpret it to read any other way.

That, you feel, would be the way in which your local interests would be controlled from the outside?

Mr. Wilcox. Absolutely; yes, sir.

Mr. TREADWAY. Why would that necessarily be in opposition to your own interests?

Mr. Wilcox. Because we have benefits of our own, because we feel that we are locally governed by men who know the conditions there. We feel that without that we will not be subject to the strike call, when we are trying to work out our own salvation right in our own home towns and communities where we were born and raised.

Mr. TREADWAY. Do you have any feeling such as was expressed by the gentleman representing the Illinois fields this morning that your membership would be entirely put out of business, that no coal would be mined in the area, and that the Government would buy up that land and ship you people elsewhere?

Mr. Wilcox. I am so sure of it that that is just why I am here, Mr. Treadway.

Mr. TREADWAY. In other words, your case, you consider, is parallel with the representation he made to us this morning?

Mr. Wilcox. Yes, sir.

Mr. TREADWAY. Why, if the coal you produce there is of a good quality and there is a market for it? You are within an area having à fair market opportunity. Where does your coal go?

Mr. Wilcox. Forty-five percent of our coal goes north of the Ohio River.

Mr. TREADWAY. That is a pretty wide territory.

Mr. Wilcox. That is in the Northwest-Chicago, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa.

Mr. TREADWAY. You do not have difficulty in disposing of the product of your mines?

Mr. Wilcox. No, sir.

Mr. TREADWAY. Then why would anybody want to stop its being used?

Mr. Wilcox. I just do not know.

Mr. TREADWAY. You say you are sure of it. You just said that you were sure that you would be suffering in a short time from the same conditions that were described here this morning by the gentleman from Illinois.

Mr. Wilcox. When you take into consideration that there is a differential in the freight rate between the two fields, and you put a national wage scale, a wage scale that covers the whole countryin fact, if we get wages equal to Illinois and if we have a differential in freight rates of from 35 cents to $1.16 a ton, they just will not sell any coal from there, and the result would be that we would be out of a job.

Mr. TREADWAY. Your wages

Mr. Wilcox. Our wages are below the Illinois field. They have to be, due to the differential in freight rates, if we are to go into the market and compete with them in selling coal.

Mr. Treadway. Then you have not quite the same conditions as the Ilinois people have.

Mr. Wilcox. Not all of them; no, sir.


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