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then give them a copy of the specifications required by the Government in the advertisement for the bid, would you not?
Mr. BARDO. Well, Mr. Chairman, the point is this: The subcontractor must know what his rate is going to be and his hours are going to be before he can submit an intelligent bid at all.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the point I make.
The CHAIRMAN. That is what I am getting at. When you receive information from the Government, assuming you want to bid on the construction of a ship, would you not as a part of that information receive specifications with regard to wages and labor conditions, hours, and so forth, and then if you did get it what would hinder you from passing that information on to the various subcontractors who agree to supply you with material? I am asking these questions for information entirely.
Mr. BARDO. Well, I might want to answer it, Mr. Chairman, because therein lies one of the most serious difficulties that I see with this whole plan.
The CHAIRMAN. We would like to stay on that until we get it
Mr. BARDO. I haven't any objection to wages being fixed nor hours being fixed.
The CHAIRMAN. I asked the specific question.
The CHAIRMAN. I know; but I asked the specific question, after you have received from the Government specifications with regard to these items to which you are now directing your remarks, what is to hinder you from passing that information on to the subcontractors whom you are asking to make bids to supply you with material or to do subcontractors' work?
Mr. BARDO. There is nothing to hinder us from passing that information on, but here I think is where the trouble begins
The CHAIRMAN. I mean not only pass it on, but get it incorporated in the contract that is entered into between you and the subcontractor.
Mr. Barto. I may be buying lumber or asking for bids upon lumber from Washington or Oregon or from Texas or the South or from Maine.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. Bardo. Now, if the President is going to set out and say iu the invitation to bid that these are the hours of labor prescribed for the lumber industry all over the United States, of course that information can be passed along, but I may very definitely run up against some lumber suppliers who will say, “ We are not interested in bidding under conditions of that sort", and in order to get the kind of lumber that is specified you immediately set up an obst"vction there that is just going to be very difficult to overcome.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean to say that in your bid to the Gore ernment because of these elements of uncertainty you would be injured in making as cheap and as good a job as you would be able to do without them?
Mr. Bardo. Oh, absolutely, because of the supreme penalties that are imnoseal here. You not only have a normal penalty of the contrant, but you have additional penalties.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have in mind that these requirements would so limit you in an effort to get material and would so increase the hazards of your business as to make it uncertain and difficult and dangerous ?
Mr. BARDO. There is no doubt about that in my mind at all because in any industry that I have ever been connected with one of the greatest difficulties you have is to get material of the right kind when you want it, when you had all the freedom and all the latitude in the world to go and get it.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask just one more question. If you had a provision in the bill, however, which would make the law operative only in the production of the material to be supplied, would that help the situation any?
Mr. BARdo. You say the production rather than the processing. Do you mean processing?
The CHAIRMAN. No; I mean everything.
Mr. BARDO. Well, it takes so much time to get people all over this country to understand what you are talking about.
The CHAIRMAN. If we had to stop with that we would quit trying to educate anybody, would we not?
Mr. BARDO. You just take the N. I. R. A.: It had the most elaborate machinery for setting up the situation that could be devised, and everything was directed toward an effort to have it understood, and they were really trying to understand it, but they could not get the industries of this country educated to what they were talking about in a year and a half. This is just a problem that cannot be done that way, Mr. Chairman. I do not mean to question
Mr. Robsion. I wanted to ask a question there.
Mr. Robsion. There is quite a good deal of statement abroad that there is a surplus of various supplies of this country that would enter into these works. What effect would this bill have on the supplies that have already been prepared, processed, and so on?
Mr. BARDO. I don't see that this bill could honestly be applied as against materials that have already been manufactured. It would seem to me that if we are going to be fair about it
Mr. ROBSION. I know, but
Mr. Birdo. But I think the language of the bill contemplates that that stuff that has been prepared is exempt. I think that it very plainly contemplated that under the bill as it stands.
The CHAIRMAN. It seems to me that is probably the most serious thing about the bill—I do not know whether it would be so or not but the possibility of it excluding you from the chance of drawing on accumulated reservoirs of material. Would you have to start in and make some new stuff?
Mr. BARDO. Yes, we would have to unless under this law the President, under section 6, as I recall it, or, rather that section
The CHAIRMAN. How did the codes work in regard to that?
Mr. Bardo. The codes were not effective. All we were required to do was to have a certificate that the man was complying with his code for his industry. That is all we were required to do.
Mr. MICHENER. At the time of the contract?
Mr. HEALEY. You are not required to do much more than that now, are you?
Mr. BARDO. Yes.
Mr. HEALEY. You have a written agreement that the man must comply with the code.
Mr. BARDO. Not only this, but it goes all the way down the line.
The CHAIRMAN. This operates on the material already manufactured.
Mr. MICHENER. If the contractor acted in perfectly good faith, had everybody sign up as they should sign it, and it developed that the fellow away down the line had violated the code, was not living up to the code, the penalties of the bond would take effect on that contract.
Mr. HEALEY. Where is that in this bill?
Mr. WALTER. Mr. Chairman, this could not possibly apply to materials already manufactured, “ since the effective date of this act."
The CHAIRMAN. It would not exclude that material?
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Walsh, would it exclude any material already manufactured by a person who is now complying with the code?
Senator Walsh. Yes, sir. The bill, first of all, gives notice that these conditions will begin 30 days after its passage. That is the first thing. Not materials manufactured in the past, but 30 days after this act goes into effect the Government is going to look at these things. Now, when you come to things already processed, the Government may require that from 30 days after this bill the processing of these things would have to comply with these conditions, as well as it requires it on future contracts. Otherwise any. body could violate all these labor laws prior to the time the Government went out to make its purchase and only make them enforceable in the future.
The CHAIRMAN. Let us get that clear, if you don't mind, Senator.
Senator Walsh. Yes. Let us take, for example, shoes. I have a million pairs of shoes on hand now. All right. You must in your written contract show me that in the making of those shoes you have complied with these terms. We haven't on hand. We have to have a million in the future. You must show that in the doing of that in the future you have complied with these conditions.
The CHAIRMAN. Coming now to shoes—I don't know how long it takes to process leather. I don't know how long it takes to make leather.
Senator WALSH. Neither do I.
The CHAIRMAN. Assuming that the Government was under a necessity to have some shoes for its troops—I am just illustrating.
Senator WALSH. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. The tanners might be willing to begin now to comply with requirements, but we will say it takes a year to make leather. I don't know a thing about it. What would happen to a contract like that, if the leather had theretofore, in the period of processing, never been dealt with by people who were complying with these labor provisions?
Senator Walsh. Of course, that is the very reason for a provision in the bill giving the President elastic power. Innumerable cases of that kind will
happen. I want to say this, that it seems to me the argument after all is and admission that everybody has abandoned the labor standards set up in the codes. Otherwise, there is no difficulty in complying with them. Apparently since May 26 they have all run out.
Mr. MICHENER. Is this a joint debate ?
The CHAIRMAN. The Senator was invited to make some observa-: tions about it.
Mr. ROBSION. I did not get it clear yet, Senator Walsh. You say now, if there was a million pairs of shoes already made, and let us assume they were made in sweat shops violating the child-labor laws and hours and wages: Would not this bill, if it is passed in its present form, affect that million pairs of shoes?
Senator WALSH. If there was a million pairs of shoes bought now they would all come from sweatshops?
Mr. ROBSION. Yes. Senator Walsh. But 30 days after this bill is passed and 6 months after that 30 days, if the Government wants to buy a million pairs of shoes, if they can get them in the market where these conditions have been complied with since 30 days it must take effect.
Mr. Robsion. It would affect this million pairs of shoes, would it not?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; the Senator says so.
Senator Walsh. It would exclude them 30 days after the passage of this bill, yes; although, if the Government really wanted the shoes
Mr. ROBSION. By the same token, it would exclude shoes made prior to the passage of the act ?
Senator Walsh. Thirty days after the passage of this bill, if the Government sees fit to do so, it can require shoes made under these conditions in the past and in the future to be excluded.
Mr. BARDO. Mr. Chairman, with your permission I will proceed.
Without questioning the right of the Government to prescribe such contract provisions as are necessary to insure responsibility of the contractor, is it necessary to invoke the drastic provisions of this act when every invitation to bid under present conditions contains the right to reject any or all bids? There are many industries that are qualified under present conditions who could not afford to take the risks involved under this bill if enacted. There are wide differences in the degree of skill required in the same crafts employed in industries.
The CHAIRMAN. Would it interrupt you if I asked you a question there?
Mr. BARDO. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. We are trying to get information. I would like to know why his risk would be any greater where the conditions with regard to wages are involved and conditions with regard to quality and material are involved. You said a while ago that if the subcontractor is found to violate the terms of his contract, why, of course, that contract would go out. But suppose he furnished you faulty material, would you not be in the same situation as you would be if you were dealing with a man who did not comply with the labor conditions?
Mr. BARDO. The difference there, Mr. Chairman, is this: If a faulty material were supplied, you are in control of that situation. You do not accept it, and that is all, and he has not furnished you anything. Now, that is something that you absolutely control yourself.
But now you are going on back here three or four industries back into the highways and the byways to fellows who furnish to you in the various processes the material to come up here to be fabricated. He has no control.
The CHAIRMAN. In one you examine the material and the other you have got to check up how he is working?
Mr. BARDO. Yes. He has no control over what those gentlemen do. He says to him, “ Yes, we are complying with those provisions.” He cannot send an officer out there to investigate. After 6 months he comes along and says he has not complied with these provisions. All of this material is in process. What are you going to do about it? You just cannot conceive of the confusion and the delay and the thing that you would do to basic industry generally by that sort of a thing.
Now, if we must have something of that kind, may I suggest that we do it as practical men ?
The CHAIRMAN. What is the practical way to do it?
Mr. BARDO. Let us find out how this thing would work in a test case, without putting somebody under pressure by this law. Let us take a concrete case, or half a dozen of them. We have got 6 months before you come back here and let us go into this thing like practical men.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you mean by that? How would you go about it? Have the President offer bids? He would have to let it to the lowest bidder now, would he not?
Mr. BARDO. I have analyzed this not necessarily as a practical case. You would probably go back and review the purchase orders and the inquiries of a number of representative industries, and get a very definite idea as to just what those ramifications all are.
The CHAIRMAN. What are you going to do with the information after you get it?
Mr. BARDO. Why, I would tabulate it and see just what the effect would be.
The CHAIRMAN. You are already telling us what the effect would be.
Mr. BARDO. I am satisfied with what the effect is, but I think everybody else should be satisfied.
Mr. WALTER. The effect as it is now is that under sweat-shop conditions they would unload all their materials on Congress and the Government.