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purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, or hours of employment.
I am not certain that that includes what is known as the "employee representation” committee, which is the most prevalent form of company union. There are two forms of company unions, the employee association and the employee representation committee, a mere election of representatives, no organization whatsoever, and, of course, no dues. I am not at all sure that the employee representation committee is covered. That doubt arises further because in other places in this act you distinguish between labor organizations and representatives, you distinguish in subsection (4) of section 3, “The term ʻrepresentatives includes any individual or labor organization", evidently referring to these employee representation committees.
Now, in section 4 on page 4, you say, “Employees shall have the right to organize and join labor organization, and to engage in concerted activities, either in labor organizations or otherwise." You imply that there is something besides a labor organization that engages in these collective activities.
Similarly, in subsection (2) of section 5, you speak only of representatives of the employees, and I submit that there is danger that your language does not include this most prevalent form of company unionism that we now know, the employee representation committee.
Senator WAGNER. Will you suggest the word which ought to be added there?
Mr. WITTE. I am suggesting two alternatives, Senator. In the definition of “labor organization”, at the end, you could insert the words:
This term shall include every plan for the selection of employee representatives for purposes of collective bargaining, although there is no definite organization of employees.
Or, preferably, this is my own preference, my own preference would be to distinguish between labor organizations and employee representation committees. I think it is strained language that calls an employee representation committee an organization of any kind, and the sections I have called your attention to do not so call it. They refer to it as something else besides an organization. I would define an employee representation committee something in this fashion:
The term "employee representation committee” means any committee or group of representatives of employees not a labor organization, who are elected to confer with the employer or representatives of the employer concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, or hours of employment.
If that alternative were adopted you would have to insert in subsections (3) and (4) on page 5, following “labor organization”, the words, or employee representation committee”, which I think is really what this is. It is not a labor organization at all, and it is a confusion of terms to define it as such.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that a frequent agency designed for employees? Mr. WITTE. That is the principal agency of company unionism. The employee association type of company union is very, very rare, and practically all of the new company unions that have been started since the National Industrial Recovery Act was passed, are not unions in any proper sense of the term at all, they are loose plans for the election of representatives only.
The CHAIRMAN. And this language embraces them?
Mr. WITTE. I think so. That is why I am submitting it, Senator. The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. WITTE. My final point, I endorse some of the amendments suggested here before, but I am calling attention to some that have not been, perhaps, brought to your attention. I am concerned with this question of majority representation that is raised now in the automobile difficulty, and it has been raised in other concerns. As I understand it, this is what the automobile man says, “We will deal with the representatives of those of our employees who want to join the labor union, but we must have a list of those employees.
The CHAIRMAN. Any labor union?
Mr. WITTE. Any labor union. “We will deal with those of our employees who wish to deal through these company unions, we will deal with them through the company unions.”. They do not say they will deal with the Communist unions, but I presume that is inferred too. “We will deal individually with such employees." They want to deal individually, rather than collectively. Now, that may, at first blush, seem a fair position, but I submit, gentlemen, that exactly parallels the situation which would prevail, if, instead of you gentlemen here representing your respective States, all of the people who voted for your opponents were represented by them, and if, for each of you, instead of you all being here, all of your opponents here were representing the people that particularly preferred them.
Moreover, this is not even quite parallel to that. This says, "You want to all meet together. We will meet one group here; we will meet another group here; we will draw bargains with each group." In industrial government, just as in political government, there has to be majority rule, when it comes to actual government. The only type of representation that individuals can have is the right of petition. The right of petition, the right to lay grievances before Congress is a right that any individual and every group must have. Similarly, in industrial government, the right of petition, the right to lay grievances before the employer seems to me is a right that every group should be accorded, and every individual. As a matter of fact, that is all the employers that are promoting the company unions have in mind. They only have the right to petition in mind; they do not have the collective bargaining in mind, in the sense of making laws for the industry through the joint action of employer and employee. That is not contemplated at all. What is contemplated is merely a right to present a point of view.
That is proper, but if it comes to determining conditions of employment by making some kind of rules of governing wages and hours, there obviously has to be a determination on the basis of majority rule, or you have pure anarchy, just as you would have in government.
To meet that situation, I suggest a possible change in subsection (2) of section 5. I would split that section into two parts. In section (a) I would make it an unfair labor practice to refuse to recognize representatives of any group of his employees who have not been duly selected by them to take up with the employer any grievance or any matter concerning their employment.
It certainly is placing no burden on the employer to meet with representatives of any group of employees that have a grievance or wish to take up some matter with him, but obviously he cannot bargain with every group of employees or with individuals. There cannot be any sort of industrial government whatsoever under those conditions. Consequently I would insert:
(b) To refuse to make every reasonable effort to make and maintain agreements with representatives of a majority of his employees concerning wages, hours, and conditions of employment.
With that I would amend section 207 on pages 18 and 19, something as Mr. Beyer suggested.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you give us the language there?
Mr. WITTE. Possibly Mr. Beyer's language was preferable to mine, but I would insert in lines 22 and 23, I would substitute for the word “are" the words “should be recognized as" and I would insert before the word "employees" the words "a majority of the employees."
In any dispute as to who should be recognized as the representatives of the majority of the employees, the Board is to have the deciding voice.
I would leave this in the bill the way it stands, that the Board may determine whether the proper method of representation is the employer unit, the craft unit, the plant unit, the industry unit, or any other appropriate grouping. But in any event, if a bargain is made, if you have in mind making some form of industrial government you must recognize that there cannot be bargaining unless you recognize that fundamental principle of democracy, majority rule.
Because of the lateness of the hour, I won't add anything further, except I want to endorse what Dr. Leiserson said with reference to adding a section to har the spy. I call your attention to the fact that the spy system in industry, the industrial espionage is unquestionably widely prevalent, probably not quite so prevalent as it was following the World War, but it is again being revived on a very large scale, and the industrial espionage is a practice that business frowns on in connection with business competition, and it certainly is a practice which promotes violence, it promotes unrest, which is indefensible. I have nothing further to say.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you. "Is Mr. William J. Long present? Mr. Long. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. I understand you are here with seven others of the Weirton Steel Co. workers, that you are in the city on some other mission than attending this hearing, but that you desire to be heard by this committee. Am I correct in that statement?
Mr. LONG. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you come forward, please? Will you be satisfied, if we refrain from attendance in the Senate and give you time to be heard?
Mr. Long. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM J. LONG, PRESIDENT WEIR COVE
LODGE, NO. 30, AMALGAMATED ASSOCIATION OF IRON, STEEL, AND TIN WORKERS
The CHAIRMAN. Will you state your full name? Mr. LONG. William J. Long. The CHAIRMAN. Where do you reside? Mr. LONG. Weirton, W.Va. The CHAIRMAN. Who was your employer? Mr. Long. The Weirton Steel Co., a subsidiary of the National Steel Corporation.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the particular work that you do?
Mr. Long. We are here, Senator, for one thing, to find out why our case, the case we had before Senator Wagner's Labor Board, the Labor Board that Senator Wagner is Chairman of, why it is being delayed.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, you had hearings because of some difficulty you had with the company, some difficulty between your employer and his employees? Mr. LONG. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Before Senator Wagner's labor board? Mr. LONG. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. And the decision has not yet been made? Mr. LONG. Yes, sir. Senator WAGNER. Oh, yes; it has.
The CHAIRMAN. The decision has been made and you want to find out why the order of the board has not been enforced?
Mr. LONG. Yes, sir. Senator WAGNER. The matter is now before the Attorney General. The CHAIRMAN. Have you had a strike at your plant? Mr. LONG. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. How long ago was that? Mr. Long. It terminated on October 16; it began on September 24. The CHAIRMAN. Are the men working at the plant now? Mr. Long. Yes; all but about 600 that are on the streets today, who are victimized through the company union domination.
Senator WAGNER. You went back at the request of the Labor Board when it rendered the decision?
Mr. LONG. Yes; when they signed an agreement.
Mr. LONG. Approximately 13,000 in the three plants, together with 5,000 in Ecorse, Mich. We have an organization there.
The ChairMÁN. What is the nature of the organization that you belong to?
Mr. Long. Well, Senator, the organization we belong to is an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a trade union?
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed to present to us any memo that you have.
Senator WAGNER. There is also a company union, is there not?
Mr. Long. I practically grew up in the steel mills and am employed there today. I am a tin-plate roller by trade. It has never been our privilege, in a period of over 23 years that I have worked for the Weirton Steel Co., approximately consecutively for 23 years, that we could exercise our rights in any manner whatsoever, so as to choose representation.
În 1913 I was just a youngster in the mills, but I remember it clearly, the Weirton Steel Co. bought what is known as the Pope Tin Plate Co., in Steubenville, Ohio. The Pope Tin Plate Co. at that time signed an agreement
with the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers. Upon taking over this plant they refused to sign a contract with the proper representatives of this organization. These men went out on a strike and tried to get Weirton to go out with them. We were clubbed by professional thugs and gunmen. The president of the Steel Co., J. C. Williams, himself rode around high, wide, and handsome in an open touring car, with a machine gun and a submachine gun, and highpowered rifles at his command, all through the town, up and down there, intimidating the men. So we could not have the preference of joining the organization. They were intimidating and coercing us in the place there. We could not have any organization representing us.
Again, in 1920, when the National Steel strike was on, they tried to organize Weirton and they met with the same results. The plant then went on a strike for a period of 3 weeks, and they met with the same results again. They were clubbed and beaten into submission. The strike, I think, lasted approximately 3 weeks.
There has never been any representation there. The men never had a voice in the only thing that they had to sell. That is, I am speaking of the practical workman. They never had a voice. The only thing they had to sell was their labor. They have never had any voice whatsoever in any manner.
Upon the employers of the Weirton Steel Co. becoming acquainted with the fact that the National Recovery Act provided in section 7 (a) that labor had the right to organize under governmental supervision and protection, the employers of the three plants, one in Weirton, W.Va., one in Steubenville, Ohio, and 1 in Clarksburg, together with the National Steel Co., which was a subsidiary, and of course the Michigan plant—we had a total membership of approximately 8,012 signed members The CHAIRMAN. In all these plants?
Mr. Long. Yes, sir; at that particular time. That is, I am not speaking of the Ecorse, Mich., plant, I am speaking specifically of the Weirton situation. The company insisted that we deal with a plan that they had put into effect in June 1933, known as the employees' representation plan. I believe Senator Wagner has a copy of the book. It is nothing more or nothing less than a plan that was adopted by the Whitaker-Glesner Co., known now as the Wheeling Steel Corporation. They merely took that plan and had duplicate copies made of it, and put the Weirton Steel Co.'s name in the front of the book.
The CHAIRMAN. At that time was there an existing trade union organization at your plant?
Mr. Long. We were in the process of organizing:
The CHAIRMAN. You were not organized? You were in the process of organizing?