« ForrigeFortsett »
The first man worked for the 2 weeks' period—this is the 2 weeks' statement-and he earned a gross of $19.87.
You have heard about these check-offs. Everybody thinks that the check-off is just some instrumentality devised by the mine workers to take advantage of the members of their organization, a dollar a month. But the check-off is the deductions levied by the operator against the wages of the employee for the company. Here is a list of them that they checked off this man:
Store scrip, $14; sales tax 42 cents; check-weigh 28 cents; bathhouse 90 cents; coas 80 cents; lights and goggles 35 cents; doctor $1.25; Independent Miners Union and insurance $2; truck 50 cents; blacksmith 5 cents—total deduction $20.50. Balance owing company after 2 weeks work, 68 cents.
Mr. TREADWAY. The less work you do the more money you would have under those conditions.
Mr. LEWIS. This man, when he took his statement down to see about it, wrote out a list of things that he wanted to get at the company store, and on the back of it it shows the kind of purchases he made. He and his wife talked about it, and they put it down here:
Flour, 50 cents worth. He got it. Sugar, 25 cents; lard, 50 cents; coffee, 20 cents; meat, 50 cents; beans, 20 cents; potatoes, 15 cents. He had to cut the sirup out and did not get any. He got 19 cents' worth of butter, 20 cents' worth of eggs, and 5 cents' worth of onions; and he could get not the bananas or the loaf of bread.
Here is another one from the same company. He made a gross of $39.88. They checked off $23 for store scrip; sales tax, 99 cents; bath house, 90 cents; doctor, $2; the Independent Miners Union, $1.50; supplies, $10.78; overdraft previous, 78 cents; account previous, $36.50. Total deductions, $76.45, leaving a balance owing the company of $36.57.
Those are characteristics. They are just two that were sent into me with some mail. I show them for what they are worth. They show that the company store gets theirs, that the company union gets theirs, that the company doctor gets his, and they want the unrestricted right to keep these poor people under those conditions.
You know what they get a ton down there? Thirty-eight cents a ton for loading that coal.
Oh, I am not going to read any more of that stuff. I am going to thank the committee for the courtesy of this hearing. I want to say to the committee that in behalf of the mine workers of this country the coal operators have failed us. We cannot rely on them to manage this industry. They are the victims of circumstance and competition themselves. They are not free agents in their relations to the banks, themselves, the utilities, and the large industries. They cannot develop a composite thought, a composite judgment, a composite policy.
By reason of that fact the miners have suffered for long, for long, for long. They have suffered in the way I have described to you. I could talk indefinitely in greater amplification and greater detail, but I shall spare you that and thank you for the opportunity to say what I have.
But under these circumstances, can you wonder that the mine workers of the country and the populations of the mining areas have
lost faith and lost confidence, and lost all hope of the coal operators of this country regulating this industry or putting it in order?
These gentlemen who come here now and say to you that Appalachian Coals, Inc., is the answer to this situation are simply handing out stone when my people ask for bread. They have had decades of time to organize Appalachian Coals in this country, and Appalachian Coals is merely an attempt upon the part of the operators to organize marketing agencies to escape the provisions of the Antitrust Act, when they give no consideration to labor and hope to revert back in many instances to their noncollective bargaining pre-N. R. A, state. The mine wokers and organized labor in this country do not want to turn over to industry or to the coal industry the unrestricted right to operate these marketing agencies free from public restriction. feel that some restrictions are necessary in the public interest to prevent them in times of_scarcity or shortage from taking undue advantage of the public. But we assert that the Appalachian Çoals, Inc., proposition is nothing more nor less than an impractical dream that will not end the agony of this industry or contribute to the solution of the problems.
Having lost that hope, having had that experience, having lived through the vicissitudes, gentlemen, we come to the Congress of the United States in one great unanimous voice of the men in this industry with their families and their friends behind them, asking this Congress to extend a regulatory hand to this industry, pledging our good faith to cooperate to protect the public interest insofar as may be possible and so far as is right and just and proper, without any excessive burden being placed upon the public, but in recognition of the right of this industry to have a return on an investment and my own people to have a living wage.
We leave it with you, and thank you for the attention you have given us. [Applause.)
Mr. Hill. Thank you very much, Mr. Lewis.
STATEMENT OF HON. J. BUELL SNYDER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
Mr. SNYDER. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee: I knew you as my colleagues for some months. I admire you now after this hearing because of the splendid hearing you gave this last 2 weeks to this bill.
If you would live in my community, Fayette County, Pa., where the soft-coal industry perhaps is centered, and see what I have seen for a quarter of a century, you would doubly appreciate what Mr. Lewis has so well said concerning the miner and his opportunities.
This is the statement that I really wanted to make, Mr. Chairman:
There has been a great deal said about the constitutionality of this particular measure. Mr. Driscoll referred to it. History teaches us that, in all, nine times, since the Government was founded, when the Supreme Court handed down a decision, right after that decision there was a great flurry for several months or a year about everything that came up being unconstitutional. That is the case now.
The authors of this bill, Mr. Guffey and myself, will welcome, at the earliest possible date after its enactment, a test case before the Supreme Court of this particular measure. I am not speaking for
the administration, but I take it that the administration will also welcome such a test case.
I thank you.
STATEMENT OF C. H. MEAD, PRESIDENT C. H. MEAD COAL CO.
Mr. MEAD. I heard the last speaker say that invariably the miners, before they were unionized, were compelled to buy at the company stores. This is just one example of his ignorance of the nonunion fields of West Virginia. I am amazed at his ignorance.
As far as railroads and the fuel price, I will ask the gentleman to investigate the prices paid for fuel by the Chesapeake & Ohio and the Norfolk & Western Railroads.
I agree with him thoroughly as to the conditions in the union districts. I mighty near cried when I heard about that. But in the nonunion districts they do not exist, and they never have.
I want also to know why Mr. William McKell does not collect union dues.
I heard him say also that Judge Warrum held an open house. I was on the committee that worked on this bill for 5 weeks, trying to get a decent bill, and I did the best I could. I tried to make an appointment with Judge Warrum, but there was no open house to me.
I think I heard him say, too, that since the union came on there had been 200,000 more added to his flock. They were added by reason of an unconstitutional bill. I do not think they are going to stay there very long.
I heard him say something about the miners in some sections working for 22 cents a ton. Our men worked for 22/2 cents a ton, and I can bring many of them here to testify that they were better off with the 2242 cents a ton than they are now with the 46.4 cents a ton.
I can bring many of them to testify that they were better off with the 22 cents a ton, and working as many hours as they wanted, than they are today with 46.4 cents, working 7 hours a day.
I notice also that he says meat has been up as much as 100 percent.
Twenty-two and one-half cents and a man allowed to work the time that he wants to is much better for him than 46.4 cents and 7 hours.
I had a young man tell me, a young miner, not long ago, that he did not know what he was going to do. He was a big, strong, young fellow. He said he owed $60. He said that under the conditions that he worked before he could pay that $60 anytime by working a few extra shifts. He said now that the living expenses had been brought up by reason of killing pigs, killing cattle, and one thing and another of that kind, and his hours were cut down till he did not know how he would ever pay that $60.
The people down in my country do not take well to a bridle. They are from the mountain sections. Some of you gentlemen know the character of them. They do not take well to a bridle. When you put blinds on them you are going to have trouble.
That is the white part. The colored part of our field always wants some white man to go to when they get in trouble. They come to us and put their troubles over on our backs, and they walk off whistling, knowing that we are going to take care of them.
I cannot think that people of that character are going to put up with a yoke such as you propose here, with the aid of the United States Government to put it on them.
Mr. VINSON. I am somewhat perplexed, Mr. Mead. When you appeared before the committee a day or so ago, I understood you to say that if the coal from captive mines were excluded from the act, and some other
Mr. MEAD. Some rotten provision in the labor provisions.
Mr. Vinson. Some particular provision, I do not recall just what it was.
Mr. Mead. I will tell you, Mr. Vinson, I did not say "rotten”, but I say “rotten" now.
Mr. Vinson. I know; I did not understand you to have the attitude then you have now.
Mr. MEAD. Well, give me a chance.
Mr. Vinson. Did I understand you to say there were two reasons for that
Mr. MEAD. I got another one now. There are three now.
Mr. Vinson. I am asking you now if my memory serves me correctly.
Mr. MEAD. This is on your time, is it?
Mr. VINSON. I understood you to say that with the exclusion of captive coal and some changes in the labor section, you favored the bill.
Mr. MEAD. I undoubtedly did, but I have got one more reason now, Mr. Vinson.
Mr. VINSON. That is all right.
Mr. MEAD. The other reason now is these associations like Appalachian Coals. I do not favor the bill with them in, because I feel that they would only lead to monopolies. I predict that unless captive mines are exempted, marketing agencies exempted, and I am here to say now the rotten provision in the labor relations, there will never be a Guffey bill passed. I do not think the American people will put up with it. I know a whole lot of the inside of that thing. I worked on the committee.
Mr. TREADWAY. Let me suggest to you—I do not know you, sirthat if I were you I would leave out the word "rotten.” It does not aid your testimony one particle before this committee.
Mr. MEAD. I do not care. If I cannot get it in-
Mr. TREADWAY. All right; go ahead and put it in, if you want to. I would suggest you leave it out.
Mr. MEAD. I do not care. If I cannot get it before you, there are certainly some newspapers in this country,
Mr. TREADWAY. I guess perhaps that is where you are talking right now.
Mr. MEAD. I am going to talk to them if I cannot talk here. I have some rights. Like the British miner, I am "going to get my bloody rights, whatever they are." If I cannot get them here, I will go somewhere else and get them.
Mr. Hill. The committee will adjourn at this time.
You may revise and extend your statement, if you wish to, Mr. Mead. You may have that privilege.
(Mr. Mead subsequently filed the following extension of his remarks:)
I must claim some latitude, as Mr. Lewis spoke rapidly and I could make only rough notes, and I am under a disadvantage in not having before me a transcript of his testimony. However, I plainly understood his meaning, and will try to make mine clear. If I fail in this, I will be greatly pleased to have Mr. Lewis set me straight, preferably in public.
First, I bitterly resent his statement that coal operators whom he says are not capable of conducting their own affairs have to come cringing to the United Mine Workers of America for aid, and will tell him the coal operators of the Winding Gulf field will never come cringing to him or the United Mine Workers of America for aid, and I cannot possibly see how any self-respecting coal operator can help resenting such remarks.
Second, Mr. Lewis made the statement that prior to union domination the coal miners were invariably compelled to buy at the company stores. I have had such stores conducted for many years and have always told my men to buy where they wished. In fact, I have at Ravencliff, W. Va., a country home, and a short distance from my house an independentachain store is operated as a competitor of our company store. This company store is 2 miles away. I feel quite sure that the owner of this chain store will, at my request, come to Washington and testify that my policy is to let our miners buy where they please. He will also say that my family and I frequently make purchases at his store.
The kindest thing I can say of Mr. Lewis is that this is an example of his monumental ignorance of the conditions in the nonunion fields. In this connection I beg to advise Mr. Lewis that one should not speak so definitely about matters on which he is not informed, so I will again advise him to familiarize himself with prices paid for fuel coal by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway and the Norfolk & Western Railway. Both of these great railways own captive mines, but produce only an immaterial tonnage from them. The Virginian Railway Co. also owns captive mines, but Mr. C. Bucholtz, the president of this railway, told me he would be greatly pleased to sell them. These railway companies are, the friends of the coal operators on their lines, and I know they would, if here, bitterly resent Mr. Lewis' statement.
I will also ask Mr. Lewis to inform himself and the public as to why Mr. William McKell, operating several mines in the New River district, does not collect dues for the United Mine Workers of America, or, if Mr. Lewis is willing to plead ignorance in this case, I will be very pleased to give him and the public such information as I can, and urge Mr. Lewis not to hesitate to call upon me.
When Mr. Lewis dwelt so eloquently upon the terrible conditions of the members of his organization, it amused me very much until I realized he was speaking of the conditions in the old organized sections. Of these I know but little, so will not question him on this subject, but for his information as to conditions in the nonunion fields of southern West Virginia, I attach hereto a photograph showing the fixed charges of our miners at East Gulf, W. Va. Since union domination the doctor's charge has been increased 15 cents and fuel charge $1 per month, making a total of $14.50 per month. As to the earnings of the East Gulf miners, I attach hereto a letter signed by Hal M. Scott, assistant secretary of the Winding Gulf Operators Association. Further, in this connection, I give below the average gross earnings and cash drawn of the best 60 men at the East Gulf mine for the first quarter of the year 1935:
January averages 20 men with highest gross earnings, $150.68, cash drawn..
$97. 18 20 men with next highest gross earnings, $120.97, cash drawn.
63. 73 20 men with next highest gross earnings, $106.76, cash drawn.-
68 27 60 men with highest gross earnings, $126.14, cash drawn.--
76. 39 Days worked, 13.
February averages 20 men with highest gross earnings, $223.78, cash drawn.-
$158 92 20 men with next highest gross earings, $178.39, cash drawn...
118 95 20 men with next highest gross earnings, $147.36, cash drawn.
99. 03 60 men with highest gross earnings, $183.18, cash drawn...
125. 64 Days worked, 20.