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The CHAIRMAN. The employer would not only have to seek a home, perhaps with difficulty, any home at all, but he would have to seek a home where he would have to pay more rent.
Mr. GORMAN. That has happened several times. I say that is, in my opinion, the reason why the employers in our industry have not given more attention to the creation of company unions, because all of that sort of thing has been tried before and it has collapsed.
The CHAIRMAN. Haven't you also had this difficulty, that the wages that have been paid in the textile industry, in many branches of the industry, have been so low that your people could not afford to pay the membership fees of the union?
Mr. GORMAN. That is so, too. That is so today, in a large number of cases. We have numerous complaints of textile workers, for example a man with a large family who must have his wages supplemented from the relief rolls, we have numerous cases of that sort.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any statistics as to the average wage paid to the textile industry workers now?
Mr. GORMAN. On the whole, they are not compiled in that way, Senator. They are compiled by divisions. For example, the cotton textile industry, and the woolen and worsted textile industry, so on and so forth, all of those rates vary.
The CHAIRMAN. Where is the wage the cheapest?
Mr. GORMAN. In the cotton textile, prior to the code it was somewhere in the neghborhood of $11.
The CHAIRMAN. The average?
Mr. GORMAN. In that industry. There might be some difference of opinion about that, but we contend that the average throughout the industry before the code was $11. The employers said $12, and their statistics will show that the minimum was raised from approximately $8 to $12 in the South, and $8 to $13 in the North.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that take into consideration the periods when the mill is not operating, or is it assuming that every employee works the full number of working days in the year?
Mr. GORMAN. Those figures that we compiled were based on weekly earnings.
The CHAIRMAN. Actually in the plant?
The CHAIRMAN. But practically all of these plants close down in the summer time for two weeks, don't they?
Mr. GORMAN. Most of them do.
The CHAIRMAN. And Christmas and New Years, stock-taking and other purposes, for a week or 10 days.
Mr. GORMAN. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. I was wondering if the average was reached on the basis of assuming continuous employment, or was reached upon the actual amounts paid out in a given industry.
Mr. GORMAN. Weekly earnings, I would say, Senator, time work.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, they take the pay roll of a week and find out the number of employees and reach the average in that way.
Mr. GORMAN. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. But as a matter of fact, if that is so, in view of these shut-downs that you referred to, that is quite common in the industry, the total average would not amount to that sum week in and week out.
Mr. GORMAN. No; it would not. We believe this bill, Senator, will give us that opportunity to protect the wages of the workers in the higher brackets. We are really now up against a stone wall with that problem.
The CHAIRMAN. Now you have unions. Isn't that one of your difficulties, that you haven't found the whole industry sufficiently organized to be able to deal with all the employers? In other words, if you have a union at Fall River; you would go and deal with those employers there?
Mr. GORMAN. In Fall River.
The CHAIRMAN. The argument you get is, "Why don't you organize the men in Utica, N.Y., or Fitchburg, Mass., or Lawrence, or New Haven?"
Mr. GORMAN. That is our difficulty.
You are not organizing there, you are forcing us to go out of bnsiness. When you are organized in all these other establishments you may come to us and we may do some business.
Mr. GORMAN. That is right. We have a similar condition now, if I
may be permitted to bring it out, Senator, we are now negotiating here in Washington, the arbitration proceedings, with the largest mill in the country, located in Manchester, the Amoskeag Co.
The CHAIRMAN. I know the Amoskeag Co.
The CHAIRMAN. Some representatives are in the room, so be careful in what you say.
Mr. GORMAN. I know they are, Senator. I want to make this quite clear, that if all the employers in the country took the same attitude that the employers in the Amoskeag Manufacturing Co. are taking, in following out the collective bargaining clause of 7 (a), I think our difficulties would be overcome. They are meeting with us this week, and what you say is the actual fact. We are confronted with that competitive condition.
Now our wages in Manchester are low. We are asking for an increase, but when we do we are faced with the employer in the southern part of the State, the southern part of the country, making this product for miserable starvation wages. We feel the adoption of this bill is the only way we can cure this evil.
The CHAIRMAN. I am pleased that you made the reference to the concern at Manchester, N.H., because my observation has been that it has shown a very conciliatory attitude toward dealing with labor.
Mr. Gorman. It has been splendid. They will meet us at any time. They are not taking the position, like several employers, “We will meet our committee, but we will refuse to meet all outside representatives.” They forget that the employers' associations have spent thousands and thousands of dollars for legal talent, for detective service and for spies, but they object because we, as textile workersand all of us who represent our industry are textile workers, we come from the mill, we are selected by our fellows to represent them—the employers say, “We will have nothing to do with those fellows who are trying to cause trouble.” It is just an evasion, an attempt to destroy the purposes of the recovery program.
The CHAIRMAN. I wanted to ask you about another thing, if you have finished, as I assume you have.
Mr. GORMAN. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Is your organization experiencing any difficulty in competing with organizations that are growing up among textile workers that are alleged to support Communistic principles?
Mr. GORMAN. Yes; we are combated on every side, Senator, by that influence. These people come in wherever we create an organization, and we not only have to fight the employers but we have to fight them. They are aiming to destroy the organization for the advancement of their own political philosophy.
The CHAIRMAN. Have they actual organizations among some of the workers?
Mr. GORMAN. They haven't anything to speak of, Senator, because just as soon as the workers learn the true nature of the organization, they leave it.
The CHAIRMAN. Have they attempted to organize?
Mr. GORMAN. Oh, they are now in all parts of the country. They have their representatives. They go wherever we go. They attempt to poison the minds of the workers against the representatives of the legitimate labor movement.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, as soon as your representatives go to Manchester, N.H., or Fitchburg, Mass., to start a union, they are there?
Mr. GORMAN. They are in there always.
The CHAIRMAN. And they are combatting your attempt to organize the workers?
Mr. GORMAN. That is right. We have to fight them and fight the employers.
Senator Davis. Do you know, Mr. Gorman, who finances the organizations such as the chairman pointed out?
Mr. GORMAN. Yes; I am not in a position to say, since the recognition of the Soviet, but we did have definite information that they were subsidized from Russia.
The CHAIRMAN. And that is the reason why, I suppose, organized labor opposed recognition of Russia, one of the reasons?
Mr. GORMAN. That is one of the reasons, and of course there are others, too, that you are aware of.
The CHAIRMAN. Have these Communistic groups clubs among the workers?
Mr. GORMAN. Yes. They do a lot of house-to-house work. They take young children, 8 or 9 years of age, and train them into the tenets of communism. They take them when they are young.
The CHAIRMAN. Do they maintain schools? Mr. GORMAN. Yes, they do. The CHAIRMAN. Are they in the open? Mr. GORMAN. Secret. We are now getting the result of that. These young people are spreading out throughout the country, these young people that have been trained, and they are preaching these destructive philosophies. Their whole attack is against the American labor movement, of course, and they aim to get control of it. I do not believe there is an industry in the country that is more affected with that sort of thing than ours.
The CHAIRMAN. That is why I have asked these questions of you.
Mr. GORMAN. I might bring out at the same time, Senator, it has been said here in Washington, by certain administration officials, that this industry was not thoroughly organized because of that, that we were not receiving the consideration that we should, but they forget that besides fighting the terrific opposition of the employers, with all their political, industrial, and financial resources, we have to fight that communistic element that is always seeking to destroy the unions, that is preaching secession and insidious propaganda to the workers, trying to discourage them. I mean, we have got that opposition. If that was lifted, if this bill was passed, if this National Labor Board was made permanent and it had some force, there isn't any doubt in my mind, Senator, but what we would organize this textile industry close to 100 percent. We have the material now to do it. In the South we have these young men who are learning. There is a whole lot of difference in 10 years. These young men now have greater educational opportunities. They are thinking for themselves. They are not going to be intimidated, they are not going to be scared by the threats of the bosses. They are going through the South and are forming these unions.
The CHAIRMAN. Another difficulty that you have had is the fact that you have had to deal with the newest arrivals from foreign countries to this country, largely.
Mr. GORMAN. Almost every nationality, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. That applies to your industry more than to any other industry.
Mr. GORMAN. Absolutely.
The CHAIRMAN. And there has been, unfortunately, as I have observed it in years that have passed, a philosophy among the employers in the textile industry, that by mixing the racial groups, and employing people who did not speak the same language, they would be in a position to combat organization?
Mr. GORMAN. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. And thereby have a greater control over their employees.
Mr. GORMAN. That is right, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. And that has added to your problem. In repayment, the employers are now beginning to realize that the seeds of something worse than the trade union have lodged among some of their employees in their plants. Is that true?
Mr. GORMAN. That is true, Senator. I am mindful of the first attempt made to use those tactics. It happened in your own State, where this big company went over into southern Europe and brought these people over here from all parts of the world, they put a Frenchman next to an Irishman, an Italian next to a Pole, they split them up all along in the departments, so they could not talk to each other. The idea of that was, if they talked to each other they would want to organize. But you remember that that company broke down in the spring of 1912: It was ruinous. We did have that to contend with. It is not so extensive today as it was then, of course, on account of the curtailment of immigration. I think we can overcome that, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. And the education that the children have been able to get in our schools, the workers now in 1934, most of them, although they may be of imigrant descent, have had some education in America.
Mr. GORMAN. Yes, they have, and because of that they are not subject to that sort of tricks.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other questions by any of the members of the committee?
Senator Davis. The majority of workers in the southern textile industry are more or less native, aren't they?
Mr. ĠORMAN. They are, sir. There are very few foreigners.
Senator Davis. Are there any company stores in these corporate owned towns in the South?
Mr. GORMAN. Yes, there are some.
Senator Davis. Are they compelled to buy in the company stores now?
Mr. GORMAN. Well, I would not say that they are exactly compelled. In some places they are intimidated to the extent that they do, but outright compulsion, I would not say that, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gorman.
STATEMENT OF R. G. WAGENET, DIRECTOR, NEW YORK
BUILDING CONGRESS, NEW YORK CITY
The CHAIRMAN. Your full name?
Mr. WAGENET. I am an executive director and have been a labor manager for several years, interested in labor since 1914.
The CHAIRMAN. The description of you on the calendar is you are a director of the New York Building Congress.
Mr. WAGENET. Yes, sir.
Mr. WAGENET. That is an organization or an association of all the branches of the building industry in metropolitan New York, including labor. The CHAIRMAN. How much time would you like? Mr. WAGENET. Just a few minutes. The CHAIRMAN. How many members in this organization? Mr. WAGENET. At the present time about 600 to 700.
The CHAIRMAN. You are appearing here in your individual capacity?
Mr. WAGENET. Yes.