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To continue the points of law which the Wagner bill proposes:
“Sec. 204 (a). The board may, either by itself or through its agents, act as conciliator or mediator in any labor dispute."
Dr. F. J. Haas, member of the National Labor Board, before the Senate Labor Committee, quoting from N.R.A. release No. 3842, March 15, 1934, stated:
the bill defines certain acts as unfair labor practices and sets up machinery to prevent or restrain them. There are, of course, persons who object, and strenuously, to the proposed machinery but, in my opinion this machinery is the only method of increasing buying power now and of maintaining it. Briefly, the machinery is necessary, first for the emergency, and second for the long
In our foregoing factual statements of past experiences with the National Labor Board; the opening paragraph of the Wagner bill; and Dr. Haas' statement now following-very clearly points out that this is class legislation. An "Emergency” exists, for whom? Then he continues by saying: “And second for the long
Yes, this is class legislation and capital against labor. And this is what sec. 205 (a) declares:
“The board is empowered to prevent any person from engaging in any unfair labor practice that burdens or affects commerce or obstructs the free flow of commerce, or has led or tends to lead to a labor dispute that might burden or affect commerce or obstruct the free flow of commerce."
Yes, we repeat, class legislation-capital against labor—that is the meaning of the Wagner bill. But then let us go on. In the light of past experiences the acts and decisions of the National Labor Board—which had no "mandatory power”-how did the “majority rule" work out? The National Labor Board broke strikes, forced and made arbitration compulsory through intimidating workers to join the company unions (so-called "majority rule"). Organizers, witnesses, and other workers struggling against compulsory arbitration have been punished mercilessly (one, a Detroit auto workers' organizer, was killed) and sec. 205 (a) means to carry out these punishments. But let us continue this examination of the wagner bill. Sec. 207 (a) declares:
"In any dispute as to who are the representatives of employees", the Board “if the dispute might burden or affect commerce or obstruct the free flow of commerce, may investigate such dispute and certify to the parties, in writing, the name or names of the individuals or labor organizations that have been desig. nated and authorized to represent the employee
the Board shall decide whether eligibility to participate in elections shall be determined on the basis of employer unit, craft unit, plant unit, or other appropriate grouping."
Let us listen to Dr. Haas again, he says:
“Customarily, the wage relationship prior to June 16, 1933, was referred to as an individual bargain. In point of fact, among the overwhelming number of 48,000,000 workers in the United States, there was no bargaining whatsoever. True, for approximately 10 percent there was union collective bargaining but this was restricted for the most part to the busy seasons of the year. Outside these two groups, there was no bargaining at all of whatsoever nature."
Therefore, what does Dr. Haas mean? He means very definitely that not even this so-called 10 percent of organized labor, that is, collective bargaining, will be tolerated. For section 207 (a) states the "Baard shall decide whether eligibility to participate in elections shall be determined on the basis of employer unit, craft unit, plant unit, or other appropriate grouping.' The Board will decide then the appropriate group.
Dr. Haas cites an incident; he says: "In a recent case before the National Labor Board involving over 4,000 employees, the labor adjuster two attorneys for the workers received half of their compensation from the company and half from the employees.”
Does Dr. Haas mean to say that this bill will do away with such practices? Here is what Mr. Knudson of the General Motors, a powerful corporation, told the National Labor Board: "His corporation refuses to recognize any other union, than a company union." (New York Times, Mar. 16, 1934.) Labor must be bound at all costs, and since the N.R.A. failed, big business is forced to show more and more its true character, unrelentless brutality, exploitation. Company unions will not suffice, as Dr. Haas testifies, declaring:
“What are employers most opposed to and what do workers most want? Employers are by no means opposed to company unions. In fact, they foster and finance them. They are most opposed to unions officered by representatives freely chosen by employees. On the other hand, employees looking to their true interests want genuine unionism more than anything else.
will best protect the legitimate rights of workers and increase purchasing power, is unhindered, free labor organization.”
But Dr. Haas is very cleverly preparing the way for that so-called, "free labor organization", which is controlled exclusively by its top leadership and which was so highly commended by General Johnson—The American Federation of Labor. But let us continue with the Wagner bill, for instance; section 209 says:
"The Board shall have authority from time to time to make, amend, and rescind such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this act. Such rules and regulations shall be effective upon publication in the manner which the board shall prescribe.”
And again we quote Dr. Haas, who says:
“The functions of the proposed board are two: Conciliation and mediation, limited arbitration
trained conciliators will clarify respective rights of the parties to an industrial dispute
and thereby avoid what may result in costly industrial warfare."
Yes, strike! Warfare! for this is the only weapon that labor has whereby to express its disapproval, its protest against starvation, and demand its rights. But then Dr. Haas continues by stating:
“The object of this title is to strengthen the existing service in that department, which since last August has been of tremendous assistance to the National Labor Board created by Executive order on August 6, 1933. The second function is arbitration. One is the matter of bringing collective bargaining negotiations to a conclusion. The other is the determination of workers' representatives. The National Labor Board is necessary to meet both."
We must, therefore, declare that the American working class is not bound by the limitations of the N.R.A. under the domination of big business and trusts. It is no secret that a new strike wave is brewing against the N.R.A. and that there is a growing unity between the employed and the 16 million unemployed in this country. We know that also, that the gains made by labor under the N.R.A. was gained by striking for it or by threats of a strike.
Never has anything been delivered to us on a “silver plate.” We always had to fiight for our conditions, and will always have to. When the codes were discussed, we were invited to present our point of view. Our recommendations in formulating the furniture codes—we told the N.R.A. administration at that time, the least attempt toward absorbing the unemployed in our industry, will require the adoption of the 30-hour working week.
In order to save the integrity of the American family, to provide a decent living standard. We proposed a minimum wage scale of 75 cents an hour for all unskilled and 75 cents to $1.25 an hour for all skilled mechanics in the furniture and allied industries. Our recommendations have been tabled, buried. Now we realize why General Johnson in his reply to our presentation at the last public hearing held at the Department of Commerce Auditorium, February 27, 1934, declared:
"Congress has provided that only employers could initiate a code.”.
This then is the crux of the entire question. No matter what bills shall be introduced, accepted, these are exclusively the privilege of the employer class, and the Wagner compulsory arbitration bill is part of it. It is worded in usch a clever two-faced manner that on the surface this vicious bill appears to be very prolabor; but close scrutiny and its actions, for which ample lawful provisions are made (secs. 204, 205, 207 (a), 209 (particularly) and 210) are against labor. We workers cannot believe Senator Wagner that he will use section 209 in behalf of labor!
Obviously everything can be done but only when our bosses are the initiators. Therefore, the only thing remaining for us is to accept it, without argument, urging us that "above all there must be cooperation between employers and employees.”
The cooperation we are getting from our employers, especially since and during the N.R.A., is such, that the living conditions of the Nation's population stand today to the disgrace and shame of those who control the productive forces. The workers are undernourished, disease is widespread, children lacking elementary subsistence, milk, shoes, barefooted in bitterly cold winter. Because their parents are unable to buy these things in spite of the fact that the warehouses are full of surplus supplies. Mass starvation is progressing in this country and Congress refuses to consider the enactment of the workers' unemployment insurance and social bill (H.R. 7598) introduced to Congress on February 2, 1934.
The bill was the center of a 2-year fight by the American Federation of Labor. Rank and file committee for unemployment insurance is endorsed by more than
1,200 locals of the American Federation of Labor and 3 State federations of labor, the unemployed councils of the United States, the Trade Union Unity League with all of its affiliated trade unions, including ours, which voted for it at our last national convention held in New York City, February 9, 10, 11, 12, 1934, and hundreds of other labor mass organizations.
Then you gentlemen speak about "cooperation.”. We know from experience that when any kind of bill comes before Congress which intends to really benefit labor—it is tabled. We know through experience, that many more Wagner and other bills will come up for discussion, will be quickly acted upon, even before seriously considering the workers unemployment and social insurance bill (H.R. 7598).
We repeat a simple fact to you gentlemen: “There was an increase of $440,643,000 in profits for the 810 Wall Street industrial corporations, monopolies in 1933 as compared with a deficit of $45,802,000 in 1932, and a slash of 11 percent in real wages of the working class since President Roosevelt's N.R.A. “new deal” began to send prices upward.
We declare, that the road of the Roosevelt's administration was one of the worst against labor, in spite of the various camouflaged acts, bills, which are periodically introduced to Congress—preeminently the N.R.A. with its section 7 (a). Wagner's compulsory arbitration bill is the next to come.
Our demands are as follows:
1. We demand the enactment of the 30-hour working week without any reduction in
pay. 2. We demand (next few words obliterated on copy)
meet the rising
(indistinguishable on copy) skilled furniture and allied trade workers.
3. We demand the immediate passage of the workers unemployment and social insurance bill (H.R. 7598) introduced to the United States Congress on February 2, 1934.
4. We demand without the creation of the old or new National Labor Board, the unconditional right of the workers to strike, picket, to settle their disputes with the employers through the elected representatives of their own, without the interference of compulsory arbitration for workers, through the strike-breaking National Labor Board or any other representative of the N.R.A. or any official Government agency.
5. We demand the immediate withdrawal from the National Labor Board all American Federation of Labor leaders, William Green, Lewis, McGrady, Berry, MacDonough, sitting pretty with McGrady, Teagle, Swope, gentlemen pretending to be friends of labor. Oil corporation which fights savagely against labor at every occasion and ruthlessly suppresses all attempts to organize among its workers; Mr. Swope, head of the electrical industry which is notorious as the most callous enemy of all labor organizations. This National Labor Board is constituted of the most violent antilabor representatives available.
6. We demand the abolition of all forms of Government regulations, such as the proposed Wagner compulsory arbitration bill and any like attempts in trying to control, enslave workers' trade unions.
7. We demand the immediate abolition of all company unions. That elections be held in all factories where these "innocent employers associations" were organized and fostered by company agents. That these elections be on the basis of “secret balloting.” That there be no interference of any company representative or any representative from the N.R.A. or Government. That the demands thus collectively reached by the workers and presented to the bosses through their own duly elected representative shall be the final decision. That there be no interference of any "higher" body from the National Labor Board.
Mr. Chairman, these are our demands. We believe that we have very clearly presented our claims, registering our disapproval of the proposed Wagner compulsory arbitration bill, based upon bitter factual statements of experience.
We know that nothing will stop you gentlemen from-in spite of our protest and that of other labor representatives—passing this bill. In the long run, the Wagner bill will become law, just as the N.R.A. became a law in spite of our vital protests and vital demands for bread for our families.
The executive power is in your hands today. But we do not hesitate to remind you gentlemen that the final word will be said by the workers in the mills, mines, and factories, railroads, and workshops of the Nation. Improvement, betterment will be won not through Wagner's or similar bills, but only through the united, collective action of all workers.
These bills are epidemic solutions of the present administration trying to solve its ills by driving its millions of citizens to adopt these paper bills, driving toward mass starvation, effecting wider strata with unemployment.
We say better conditions will be won only through united action of employed and unemployed workers, and the only way in which we will win immediate relief-paid in cash-as against the proposed relief cuts, proposed dismissal of C.W.A. workers, is to fight for union wages, union conditions on all jobs, and for the immediate enactment of the unemployment and social insurance bill. (H.R. 7598).
(The statement of Mr. Cush, which was to be presented for the record, was not received in time to be included in the transcript for the day's hearing, but will be included in the hearing for the next day if it is received.)
The CHAIRMAN. The meeting stands adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 12:50 p.m., the hearing in the above-entitled matter was recessed until 10 a.m., Wednesday, Mar. 28, 1934.)