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supervisors and the foremen who are the individuals who are oftentimes responsible. Take an employer who may have a change of heart, it takes a long time for that change of heart to filter down to the rank and file, to the supervisors, the foremen, or the superintendents. In other words, I believe the bill should bring out clearly and distinctly that it is not merely the employer or anyone acting in his interest, but also his specific agents, his officers, his supervisors, and his foremen who are liable under this act. In other words, they have got to be put on the spot if you want to bring about genuine compliance.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, you would be more specific than the language "anyone acting in his interest”?
Senator BORAH. How would the bill read then?
Mr. BEYER. I would say that, "an employer, his officers, supervisors, agents, or anyone acting in his interest
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
Mr. BEYER. I understand that in line 12 there has been some question about the wisdom of the continuance of the word "initiate”. Frankly, I consider that word is very essential. In other words, if by some process the employer can do a lot of initiating of labor unions and things of that kind, we would be back again where we started; in other words, we would be placing a premium upon the employer taking the initiative with respect to bringing about the organization on the part of his employees.
Now, the proviso in line 25, which reads: Provided, That where a contract or agreement of any kind is or shall enforced between an employer and a group of employees, the provisions of such contract or agreement regarding conditions of employment shall not, because of anything contained in this paragraph, compel an employer to observe similar conditions of employment in his relations with all his employees
I understood you to say, Senator Wagner, that you had in mind taking that out?
Senator WAGNER. Yes; unless you persuade me that it ought to stay in.
Mr. BEYER. No; that is not the point. The object there is to permit crafts under certain conditions to make agreements covering the craft. I believe that the same purpose would be accomplished by inserting a sentence in section 207" (a), cross this out and amend section 207 (a) somewhat as follows:
The CHAIRMAN. What page is that on, please? Mr. BEYER. Section 207 (a) is page 18, line 22: To provide that a majority of the employees of any employer unit, craft unit, or plant unit, or other appropriate grouping, shall have the right to determine who shall be the representatives of the unit concerned for the purpose of making and maintaining agreements.
The CHAIRMAN. Where would you place that, at the end of line
And start right offThe majority of the employees of any employer unit, craft unit, plant unit, or other appropriate group, shall have the right to determine who shall be the representatives of the unit concerned for the purpose of making and maintaining Agreements.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you would carry on?
I would say:
Mr. BEYER. Then I would carry on.
Mr. BEYER. More or less. You will have to change the language a little bit, but I think that will accomplish the same purpose.
Senator Davis. Do I understand, then, that on page 5, line 25, you would strike out that proviso?
Mr. BEYER. I would strike out the proviso
Senator WAGNER. Beginning at the bottom of page 5. It is not needed with the language he just gave.
Senator Davis. I mean, you would strike that out?
Mr. BEYER. I would strike that out. Now, I have some reservations about the next proviso, for this reason. On page 6, beginning with line 7, it is not inconceivable to me that by that proviso you may forever thereafter establish so-called company unions in certain situations, and it is going to be exceedingly difficult-I would just like to give you this warning—no matter how many unfair labor practices you spell out in this act, you are not going to be very successful in catching the employer in bringing about company unions. There are various devices and ways of doing it.
Senator WAGNER. They have not been so very astute about it so far. It has been rather obvious.
Mr. BEYER. They will get more astute.
Mr. BEYER. Yes, exactly; so that I would be somewhat afraid that if you maintain this proviso you would in some respects be providing an incentive, and certainly a temptation, to some employers to bring about company unions, as it were, in their particular situation, and you will have a hard time proving they have been responsible for starting the company unions.
The CHAIRMAN. You recommend to the committee that that proviso be eliminated?
Mr. BEYER. I would not want to say it should be eliminated, but rather consider it from the angle that I made. This thing goes a step further because it brings about a condition whereby all employees may be required to join.
Senator BORAH. You mean by that that that is a voluntary agreement and you would not want to include in the unit agreement.
Mr. BEYER. That is absolutely true. Now, I would like, if I may, to say a few words about the National Labor Board as it is proposed to be set up by the act.
It strikes me that the National Labor Board, as the act proposes to set it up, is to discharge three, if not four, separate functions. The first function is the so-called police function, to see to it, in other words, that these unfair labor practices are prohibited; secondly, it is to stand by as a board of mediation in the event mediation is invoked; thirdly, if both parties agree, it may serve as an arbitral tribunal; fourthly, it may serve in an administrative capacity in a way, for example, of conducting elections and doing things of that particular kind.
Well, it is my judgment, speaking very frankly, that it would be wiser not to mix up these functions. It would seem to me that the thing which should be aimed at with respect to the National Labor Board is to permit it or enable it to function somewhat as the custodian of the Government's conscience with respect to the rights of
employees in industry, and to delegate the mediation function and the arbitration function to other agencies.
The mediation function, I believe, should be delegated purely and simply to the United States Conciliation Service, and the United States Conciliation Service should, in my estimation, be recognized in law and should be dignified in keeping with, for example, the United States Board of Mediation as it applies to the railroad industry.
Now, if there has been one thing which has made the success of the United States Railway Act and the United States Board of Mediation, it is this, that the United States Board of Mediation at no stage of the game has ever been put in the position, or could be put in the position of taking sides in any dispute. It was purely and simply a mediation board, and both parties, as well as Congress, when the act was enacted, went very much out of its way to see to it that the Board of Mediation was not put in the position at any stage of the game of having to decide an issue. Otherwise, its mediation functions would become more or less undermined.
Now, with respect to arbitration, the United States Board of Mediation does not serve in an arbitral capacity. Instead, in the event the two parties cannot agree the United States Board of Mediation may propose arbitration and if arbitration is proposed than an arbitration board is set up in conformity with certain practices laid down in the act, and the only thing that the United States Board of Mediation has to do with respect to arbitration is in the event the two parties to the arbitration cannot agree to select the neutral arbitrator, or, as the case may be, one or two.
Now, it seems to me that that same practice should be observed in this particular situation. Certainly one thing is true, and it has got to be watched very, very carefully, that if the Board is exposed to all kinds of requests it may soon become overloaded and bogged down. I think Mr. Lewis made that observation with respect to this mediation.
Certainly, as far as the mediation function is concerned, the United States Conciliation Service, properly amplified and dignified in the law and otherwise, and properly manned, which, incidentally, is very, very essential, would, I think discharge that function very admirably.
Now, if the suggestions which I make are considered seriously, their practical effect would be something like this, that the National Labor Board would stand by as the custodian, as I said, of the Government's conscience with respect to the employees; it would do, in other words, what the Federal Coordinator has been doing in the railway industry.
In the railroad industry the United States Board of Mediation has been free to step in and mediate at any stage. The Federal Coordinator has not at any stage of the game interjected himself other than where he might have been called in jointly or otherwise in the capacity of mediator. That thing has been left purely and simply to the United States Board of Mediation.
Now, with respect to the matter of arbitration of disputes, if both parties can agree-and I believe the act should be amended so as to bring this about—if both parties can agree to arbitration I think it would be wiser to set up independent arbitration tribunals every time there is an arbitration forthcoming of a certain magnitude.
The United States Conciliation Service in that event can stand by, can facilitate arbitration, and can participate in the selection of neutrals when they are asked to do so and when it becomes necessary to do so.
Now, then, let us assume for the moment that the arbitration in any difficulty is rejected and that some difficulties threaten; then I would say that perhaps the National Labor Board should again be prepared to stand by to step into the picture in this way: Before a stoppage can result, before a lock-out can happen, it is my judgment that there should be a period of, say, 30 or 60 days in which the status quo is maintained, during which time if, in the opinion of the National Labor Board, a serious difficulty is threatened, resulting in strike, working a hardship, or otherwise interfering with interstate commerce, a fact-finding commission should be appointed by the Board, or else the Board sit as a fact-finding commission, and determine the merits of the issue and assign the responsibility and make those facts known.
That, in other words, is more or less again in keeping with the general experience of the Railway Labor Act.
The CHAIRMAN. This is after arbitration has failed?
Mr. BEYER. Not failed, but has been rejected. After arbitration is accepted the terms of the arbitration agreement would simply be that both parties would accept them for a certain period.
The Chairman. But if it is rejected and a strike threatened, you would suggest the Labor Board stepping in and doing what you have indicated?
Mr. BEYER. Yes; stepping in and issuing a proclamation to the effect that the status quo be maintained for a limited period pending which time it would determine what the merits of the issue were and who would be responsible in the event of a failure.
I believe that the United States Conciliation Service should, as I said before, be dignified in its position, that instead of having conciliators pure and simple we should have a conciliation board perhaps of three.
I also consider that the National Labor Board, instead of being a tripartite arrangement, should be constituted—I think for this purpose a body of three or five would be sufficient, but the gentlemen appointed to the Labor Board should be absolutely nonpartisan and not the representatives of labor, not the representatives of employee interests, but should be high-grade individuals appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate and should be men well versed in the whole art of appraising labor disputes, and, in other words, be the Supreme Court in a way of the labor judiciary; standing by on the one hand, to see to it that labor is safeguarded with respect to its right to organization, and so forth, and in the event of a breakdown to act as a fact-finding commission or else delegate that authority to a special committee which may be appointed from time to time as the need may arise.
Senator WAGNER. Would you keep the supervision of elections?
Mr. BEYER. Yes, decidedly. All of these administrative functions should be concentrated in the hands of the Labor Board. The Labor Board should have access up to a certain point to records for the purpose of enabling the intelligent conduct of an election. I would do that by all means.
That constitutes the burden of my observations and remarks.
Senator Wagner has asked this question and I, among others, will volunteer an answer: In the first place, there is absolutely nothing in this bill as drawn at the present time that prevents or prohibits any employee from choosing any kind of labor organization or company union or otherwise. Second, there is nothing in this act that gives any American Federation of Labor organization or any other kind of an organization a peculiar advantage. All that it does is to give the employees absolute freedom of choice to be safeguarded under Government supervision, and, as I say again, it is in keeping with the practices that have been recognized as sound and healthy in every other country apparently except this one.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF DR. WM. M. LEISERSON, NATIONAL AUTHORITY
ON LABOR PROBLEMS, FORMERLY CHAIRMAN OF OHIO UNEM-
The CHAIRMAN. You are listed here as chairman of the Ohio Unemployment Insurance Commission, and the present chairman of of the Petroleum Labor Policy Board. Is that correct?
Dr. LEISERSON. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. I assume you have been interested in labor problems for some time?
Dr. LEISERSON. Yes. I am professor of economics at Antioch College. I have been engaged in arbitration work, in labor disputes, ever since the war. I began arbitrating disputes in the manufacture of army clothing, and I have stayed in it, more or less, since.
I have not very much to add to what Mr. Beyer has said, so I won't take very much of your time. I think Mr. Beyer has outlined the real problem that requires the enactment of this bill.
I want to explain the need for the bill from the point of view of an administrator who has to enforce section 7 (a). Before I became chairman of the Petroleum Labor Board, I acted as Secretary of the National Labor Board, and the problem of section 7 (a) were the main problems that came up.
Senator WAGNER. And they still are the main problems, professor?
Dr. LEISERSON. Yes. Well, of course, the problems of administration will always be there, but the need for the specific unfair labor practices provisions that are enumerated in section 5 were well explained by Mr. Beyer. If you have a law, such as the Emergency Transportation Act, which specifically makes certain things that may not be done in interfering with the employee's right to organize, makes them specifically illegal, then the law can be enforced. If, however, you leave the term general, the right to organize, and do not specifically prohibit the things that the administrator or the Coordinator of the Railroads are able to prohibit, then it is not possible for Congress' intent to be carried out, that labor should have the right to organize.