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Mr. HILL. We wanted to ask you about that.
Mr. DrISCOLL. Well, I have my ideas about it. I do not want to get into any argument, however, with Judge Hill or Mr. Vinson, or Mr. Cooper, who I understand are outstanding lawyers.
I will call attention to this fact, Mr. Treadway, that you did not put back the people of the United States 87 years to find out that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. The United States grew up and developed politically under that, and the Missouri Compromise was advocated and defended by such great men as Henry Clay, Calhoun, and Daniel Webster, and the other great constitutional authorities of the last century.
I do not want to be facetious, and I do not want to speak about Chief Justice Hughes as the Chief Justice, but I will pause there to say that I believe everything you say about the Supreme Court of the United States, and when the Supreme Court of the United States says that some act of Congress is unconstitutional, I am willing to take it.
Mr. TREADWAY. You cannot rewrite the Constitution to comply with the law.
Mr. Driscoll. The Constitution has been rewritten to comply with the decision of the United States Supreme Court in more than one instance.
The declaration of the Supreme Court that the income tax law of 1894 was unconstitutional was overcome by an amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
I have not any fears of what is going to happen in this country, if and when the Supreme Court of the United States declares an act of Congress unconstitutional, because the supreme repositary of power in this country is the people, and I would call attention to this: Up until 1925, there were only nine opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States by 5 to 4 votes to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional, and each one of them has been remedied by either a constitutional amendment or an enactment of Congress, bringing the law to apply to the facts that existed at the time the act of Congress was declared unconstitutional.
My interest in this bill, particularly, however, has to do with the condition in the coal-mining territory of the United States. About 65 percent, I am told, of the cost of marketing coal is the cost, the labor cost. We cannot reduce the railroad rates. You cannot compete with another shipper into the market, at least in our country, by making a more favorable freight rate, because there is not a more favorable railroad rate.
The only way in which the producer can reduce the cost is by reducing the wages of the man who digs the coal, and there is not any other recourse in this cutthroat competitive field of bituminous coal that I have ever been able to see or observe. And, as I said a few moments ago, I have spent 44 years of my life in a coal-mining community and a coal-mining county, and the coal-mining industry in my county-I speak not of the other counties in my district-but in the county in which I live, is by all odds, the industry that employs the most people. Or I might change that: It is the industry on which the most people are dependent. We have not had employment with
the exception of the period from 1933 down to the 27th of May of this year, we have not had employment in my county for 10 years or more. Our miners have lived on relief, which has broken down the morale of our communities.
And unless something can properly be done to place these industries where we feel they ought to be placed, I cannot, gentlemen, form any idea of what is going to happen to people in those communities.
Behind the constitutional question, which I do not pretend to be an authority on, there is the humanitarian question. A coal miner, at least our coal miners, won't work at anything else; do not know how to work at anything else. In my own county I would say that for the last 10 or 12 years we have not averaged 100 days of work a year, that is 2 days a week.
Mr. Vinson. After N. R. A. what was the changed condition?
Mr. DRISCOLL. My observation, Mr. Vinson, on that, was-you. mean during that time?
Mr. Vinson. Yes, sir.
Mr. DRISCOLL. There was a decided improvement. I talked yesterday, in my office, with the general manager of the largest producer of coal in our county, and asked him, and he said they had had a considerable degree of improvement during that time, and I have talked to some men here in the room today who were in the coal industry in the county, either as miners or producers.
Mr. Hill. Thank you very much, Mr. Congressman.
Mr. Lewis, before you proceed, let me make a statement for the record. Someone, on behalf of Mr. Hawthorne, handed me a list of names, including 14 names, that I put in the record yesterday, on the basis of telegrams which I personally had received, wishing to correct the record as made by Mr. O'Neill. Those were names of people favorable to the bill now before the committee. I have not had a chance to check those names, but I am putting them in the record on the basis of that authority.
Mr. VINSON. I think you ought to have someone vouch for them.
STATEMENT OF JOHN L. LEWIS, PRESIDENT UNITED MINE
WORKERS OF AMERICA Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I appear for the United Mine Workers of America and its membership, à voluntary, unincorporated organization. I do not represent tons; I do represent men employed in the bituminous mining industry of this country. The membership of the United Mine Workers of America in May of 1935 was 520,586. In April it was 545,504. In March it was 557,839, and an average over the 3-month period of 541,303 members.
Insofar as I am aware, I represent the viewpoint of those members without exception. I appear in behalf of H. R. 8479, and urge its approval by the committee, and urge its enactment by the Congress of the United States. About 110,000 of the membership which I have just quoted you are employed in our anthracite industry, and do not come under the provisions of this proposed act.
Mr. Hill. How many? Mr. LEWIS. About 110,000 are employed in the anthracite industry of Pennsylvania.
Mr. TREADWAY. About one-fifth of the total number?
Taking out the 110,000 anthracite mine workers and about 10,000 members of our organization in Canada, in the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, and the northwestern Provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, leaves about 421,000 members of our organization in the bituminous industry of this country.
There are employed in these mines, or hoping to be employed in the mines, about 19,800 men who are not members of the United Mine Workers of America. Eleven thousand of those men are in a union in the State of Illinois called the “Progressive Miners' Union," whose spokesman before this committee represented that their organization had a membership of 35,000. Three thousand of them are in the Independent Miners' Union of Kentucky, a company union maintained by independent operators in southwestern Kentucky. One thousand eight hundred of them are in the Employees' Mutual Benefit Association, a company union maintained by the West Kentucky Coal Co., in west Kentucky, subsidiary to the North American Co., a public utility. That utility has the same form of company union in their various plants throughout the country.
About 4,000 men are employed in the lignite mines of North Dakota, and scattered here and there around through isolated sections of the country like the Elk River Coal Co. in West Virginia, the China Copper Co.'s mines in southwestern New Mexico and near there, who are not members of any organization insofar as we know.
So that in speaking for the United Mine Workers of America, and its membership, I speak for all the bituminous-mine workers of this country, with the exception of about 19,800.
In connection with the statement that there was 35,000 members of the Progressive Miners'
Union in Illinois, I call to your attention that the report of the State Department of Mines and minerals in Illinois, made as of June 12, for the month of May, shows a total number of men on the pay roll of the mining industry as 30,510, of which 28,200 actually work, the difference between those two figures being that in certain mines the men divide the work, and there are more men than there are actual jobs, because the men in certain mines, of certain companies, divide the work with their less fortunate brethren.
During the winter months the actual number employed in Illinois runs a little larger, and in the month of May 1935 the actual membership of the United Mine Workers of America, as taken from our books, was 22,608.
Mr. Hill. In Illinois ?
Mr. LEWIS. In Illinois. In the month of April the actual membership of the United Mine Workers of America in Illinois was 23,120. In the month of March the actual membership was 35,293.
Some of those men are not employed. Some of them do not work in the mine because they are suffering from injury or illness. Others have been practically permanently disabled by reason of closing down of the mine in their community. But the ratio between the United Mine Workers of America and the so-called “Progressive Union" in Illinois is roughly one-third to two-thirds. There are about 11,000 in that organization, and about, roughly, 22,000 in the United Mine Workers of America, and the records of coal production of the State reveal confirmation of those figures.
One of the gentlemen testifying here stated that the 35,000 members of his organization produced 40 percent of the total coal tonnage being produced in Illinois. I merely mention that here as showing how ridiculous the statement would be, because that would require some eighty-odd thousand men in the State to produce the coal tonnage on that percentage basis, which obviously is untrue.
I make those statements as to membership merely in behalf of accuracy and proper information, and so that there may be no question of my right to represent the United Mine Workers here. There may be a disparity as between the amount of tons claimed by the respective groups, proponents, or opponents of the Guffey Snyder bill, but there can be no cavil as to the question of the membership of the United Mine Workers of America who make those tons.
I speak not for the dollars invested; I speak not for the inanimate tons of coal; I speak for the human beings who go down into these coal mines and, shall we say, serve the public interest by getting the coal.
They do not primarily go down to the mines to serve the public interest. They go down to earn a livelihood. And I take it that it is a fair statement that an operator does not invest money in a coal property and develop a coal mine primarily to serve the public interest. He does it to secure a return, if possible, upon the investment, and the serving of the public interest, insofar as either the mine worker or the operator is concerned, is of secondary inportance to either of them, in consideration of the first elemental necessity of maintaining his right to live, and to exist, and to raise his family.
This industry, merely to qualify its right to be heard, is a hazardous industry, the most hazardous of any industry of magnitude. The Department of Labor reports, according to the records of the United States Bureau of Mines, 1896 to 1933 inclusive, accidental deaths to all coal miners of the country, numbered 79,270, a yearly average of 2,085. In 37 years this industry, under its management, killed 79,270 of my people. The number of injuries during that same period may be conservatively computed by using the factor of 14 and multiplying the fatal accidents by 14. It amounts to 1,109,780 men that were injured during that period. That factor I am using
Mr. Hill. I did not quite get that. What was the last figure?
Mr. LEWIS. Multiplying the fatalities by a factor of 14 accidents to 1 fatality, you get 1,109,780 accidents in that same period.
Mr. Hill. One million and something
Mr. TREADWAY. In other words, there is 1 fatality out of 15 injuries?
Mr. LEWIS. Fourteen.
Mr. TREADWAY. The aggregate would be 15; 1 killed and 14 injured?
Mr. Lewis. Fourteen plus one; that is right.
Mr. TREADWAY. There are variations in the extent of those injuries?
Mr. LEWIS. Quite true, Congressman. Some of them merely had their hand injured, their finger mashed, or lost a finger, and others had their eyes shot out. Others had all the flesh burned from their skulls, and forever afterwards have to carry around a grotesque mask to face other men. Others had their backs broken. Some lost a leg, some lost an arm, some were paralyzed, some sustained minor injuries of a temporary nature. They had to take their chances as to what the character of their injury might be.
The men I represent during this 37-year period have carried out of these mines on stretchers, 79,000 dead men. Some of them were mashed into a pulp, other had their flesh so cooked by explosions that the flesh cleaved from the bone when they were picked up, and they were carried up the cinder paths of these mining communities on strectchers and into the homes of the lamenting widows and weeping children.
Mr. JENKINS. Will the gentleman yield right there?
Mr. JENKINS. I saw in my district 3 years ago 80 men laid out, just like you described, at one time.
Mr. LEWIS. Some of the members of the United Mine Workers are in this audience here today. There is not one of them here—they are members of our scale committee, and most of them work in the mines, and they are merely here temporarily in these negotiations, and their presence at this meeting is incidental—and there is no one of them that has not time after time, without number, carried these dead out of these mines and carried the injured to succor and risked their life, without number, in so doing, as much as any soldier of our great Republic in the World War on the battlefields of the western front, of which my distinguished friend, Mr. Cooper has intimate knowledge.
Every day that these mines worked over this 37-year period, Congressman Treadway, 10 men have died and been carried dead out of these mines, 200 days a year, and at the end of that time we had 83 dead men for extra good measure.
Who did that thing? Who is responsible for that?
The United States Bureau of Mines, Department of Commerce, say that: "Accidents to mine workers in considerable measure may be avoided or prevented."
As a practical proposition, I know that is true.
Mr. TREADWAY. I want to interrupt you because I am extremely interested in the details you are giving there, to know whether in the aggregate number of fatalities that you have given, running over a period of years, the number has varied from time to time? What I have in mind is this: Whether there is a better protection for human life in the mines now than in years gone by?
Mr. LEWIS. The period from 1929 to 1932, inclusive, showed the death roll reduced to an average of 1,600 a year-1929, 1930, 1931, and 1932-but that was due, Congressman, substantially to the reduced number of mine-hour exposures in the industry, the lessening