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cheap soap-box orators that get up and talk about all kinds of schemes for using the fruits of honest business for building up a business run by Government and all that sort of thing: Why, in the last few years conducting your business so as to make a profit and be able to meet pay rolls and have something left to show for it all has become so unpopular that individual business men are absolutely discouraged from attempting to play fair, as though it were something disgraceful for a man to make a profit, as though it were something disgraceful for a man to run his business so that when he is all through he has something left over.
Ye gods! When you think back but a few years ago, when men in this country were not women, as some of them now are, when they were men, when the plumbing was out of doors, when they fought their own battles, when they didn't ask God or President Roosevelt or General Johnson or anybody else to provide the next meal, but when men said, “All I want is a chance ", and if he couldn't get it he took it
Mr. WALTER. Do you still believe that prosperity is just around the corner ?
Mr. HAAKE. Why, man alive! Prosperity is begging to get inbegging to get in!' I tell you candidly, and I know what I am talking about. I happen to have been an economist, head of a department, and I learned a lot more since I tried to apply some of the things than I ever knew when I read the books and wrote about it. I know, and I believe that you know, that there is enough stored up demand right now-think of it-the postponed demand for all sorts of commodities for the past 4 or 5 years. In building alone there is enough to keep the building industry going for several years. In furniture we can keep our plants going for 5 or 6 years, just to catch up with the demand. And so we can take industry after industry.
Why isn't it done? For the simplest reason in the world. If you or I had $50,000 and someone said to me Will
you invest that $50,000 in business and put a lot of people to work”, and at the same time tell me “You can't make any profit. We are going to tax you to death. You are a disreputable person. You have got to do this and got to do that”, I would say, " Oh, heck—what's the
And so would you . Now, my last word is simply this, that I do not think that the bill could possibly work. I think that Congress could wisely-if I may have the temerity to offer this suggestion—that Congress could wisely consider the advisability of putting business somewhat more on its own and put up to business the responsibility of getting back into activity, instead of trying to help it in spite of itself. I thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. We have got to get along here. It occurs to me that it would be very well for those who have amendments to suggest to the bill to be grouped. One or two gentlemen have spoken to me about it. Mr. Kane, I believe, is here and he asked for 3 minutes. These people get so enthused over their own eloquence that it is hard to stop. I know all about it, because I have the same trouble, but we are going to have to limit them now.
Mr. MICHENER. Mr. Chairman, may the speakers limit themselves to the bill ?
The CHAIRMAN. That is right. We do not want any oratory. We would like to have a statement of your position and whatever facts you have to present. Just tell us about it.
STATEMENT OF DONALD KANE, REPRESENTING NATIONAL
COOPERATIVE MILK PRODUCERS FEDERATION
Mr. KANE. Mr. Chairman, I represent the National Cooperative Milk Producers Federation and National Cooperative Council, having a membership of approximately 1,250,000 farmers engaged in the cooperative marketing of agricultural products and the cooperative buying of farm supplies.
The Senate placed in the bill a section 12, which will be found on page 20, with the consent of Chairman Walsh, of the Senate committee. I merely want to say that it has been our understanding that certain private interests are desirous of being exempted and are trying to attach their exemptions onto this farm exemption. We have no objection to any exemptions that Congress may see fit to grant to any private interests, but we do not want it attached to our exemption, or we do not want our exemption taken out and a new exemption written in to cover more people.
The CHAIRMAN. You want to be exempt, but you do not want anybody else exempt; is that the idea?
Mr. KANE. No, no; that is not it, Congressman. We do not care who is exempted, but we think the exemptions ought to be set up separately. That is, we have an agricultural exemption here, and if there be any other exemptions let them be put in separate sections and not included in agricultural exemptions.
The CHAIRMAN. We will take care of that. I thought you had an amendment.
Mr. KANE. I have one amendment.
Mr. KANE. Section 12 exempts loans made by the Farm Credit Administration, but it fails to exempt loans made to farmers by the Commodity Credit Corporation, and we would like to have added at the end of line 19 on page 20 after the words “ Farm Credit Administration ” the following: " and the Commodity Credit Corporation.”
The CHAIRMAN. All right, sir; we will consider that.
Mr. DUFFY of New York. Does that come under the Farm Credit Administration?
Mr. KANE. There is counsel here, Mr. Chairman, who are more familiar with the operation of the Commodity Credit Corporation, and if they will be permitted a few minutes
The CHAIRMAN. Not now. We will talk to them privately. We have got to get along. Now, who else has an amendment to submit?
STATEMENT OF BURT L. KNOWLES, REPRESENTING ASSOCIATED
GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF AMERICA, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. KNOWLES. Mr. Chairman, my name is B. L. Knowles. I am a general contractor from Massachusetts, representing the Associated General Contractors of America.
Yesterday you asked two or three of the witnesses a question which I would like to answer. You asked the question if it was not desir
able to have a measure passed which would eliminate irresponsible bidding from chiselers. I think that is substantially your question. The answer from the general contractors' point of view is unqualifiedly in the affirmative, and if this measure will do it we are for it.
The unscrupulous bidder, the unintelligent bidder, and the chiseler have been the ruin of the construction business for many years, and whatever will eliminate that practice is highly to be desired, of course.
Mr. Robsion. Would it interrupt you to ask a question ?
Mr. Robsion. You mentioned that you ought to eliminate the unintelligent bidder. Would this bill reach that?
Mr. KNOWLES. I don't suppose that any bill can prevent a man from being a consummate idiot, but it would help him a lot after he had been stung a few times.
Mr. ROBSION. He gets that anyhow, without an act of Congress, doesn't he-he gets stung?
Mr. KNOWLES. He is apt to, yes; in the long run. This might facilitate or speed up the process, however.
During the last presidential administrationThe CHAIRMAN. Pardon me; do you have a specific amendment to offer?
Mr. KNOWLES. I have, yes.
Mr. KNOWLES. Very well. I was just leading to it, because it is a matter of history.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir. Well, cut out the history and let us have the amendment.
Mr. KNOWLES. All right. The Associated General Contractors of America, representing the general contractors of the United States who are organized to express their opinions through a national association, ask that this committee give serious consideration to putting back into this bill the provision which makes this act apply to governmental agencies in competition with private enterprise.
This bill, as reported to the Senate by Senator Walsh, Senator from my own home State, contained a section 10, which reads as follows:
The provisions of this act shall apply to governmental agencies in competition with private enterprise for contracts described in this act.
This section was stricken from the bill on the floor of the Senate. The record of the discussions would indicate that the Senators who opposed this provision were under the impression that it would place a serious handicap on the Government departments, particularly the shipyards.
We desire to call the attention of this committee to the fact that section 6 of the bill provides the President with the express authority to make exceptions in specific cases.
It is obviously just and appropriate to require governmental departments to comply with the same provisions as are required of contractors under this act, and if such compliance with this act should create an unreasonable requirement of the Government or place it at a disadvantage, then the President has the power to make the necessary exceptions.
We hereby request this committee to give serious consideration to place section 10 back in the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Any other suggested amendments?
Now then, we are going to hear from those who are the proponents of the bill, who favor the bill. I don't know whether we have a list of them or not. Mr. Myles is in favor of the bill. We will hear you now, please, sir.
Mr. MYLES. All right.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Myles, excuse me just a minute. What became of that gentleman who wanted to come here from Chicago and sent a lot of telegrams?
Mr. Adair. Mr. Chairman, he called and said he had missed his train.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought he was going to take a flying machine. Anyhow he is not here.
STATEMENT OF JAMES M. MYLES, CHAIRMAN BUILDING TRADES
DEPARTMENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR
Mr. MYLES. Mr. Chairman, my name is James M. Myles.
Mr. MYLES. I am vice president of the Operative Plasterers' and Cement Finishers' International Association and chairman of the Building Trades Department of the A. F. of L. I am speaking for the building trades. You have other names in here, too; Mr. Hushing and others.
This bill (S. 3055) makes clear that all Government contracts must be awarded to firms that observe the minimum wages, the maximum hours and labor standards which were originally provided for in codes of fair competition for trades or industries under the National Industrial Recovery Act.
The decision of the Supreme Court in declaring the codes unconstitutional was a terrific blow to labor. Particularly to the construction crafts was this true, because many of the codes were consummated through voluntary agreements and understandings between associations of employers and employees within the various subdivisions of the construction industry. This was true of the Operative Plasterers' and Cement Finishers' International Association, which I represent. Our association has enjoyed with our employers collective bargaining agreements and understandings for the past 70 years.
When the voluntary collective bargaining agreements for the plastering and lathing industry, which included minimum hourly rates of pay and maximum hours of work and labor standards, were presented to the National Recovery Administration, these agreements became a Code of Fair Competition for the Plastering and Lathing Industry, composed of modelers, model makers, shop hands, plasterers, and lathers.
During the consummation of this code collective bargaining agreements were expiring in various localities throughout the country. The renewals of these agreements were held in abeyance pending approval of our code and the setting up of proper rules and regulations to govern agreements within the respective regions. Very few of these regional agreements had been approved when the Supreme Court's decision crashed down upon us, creating confusion and disappointment between the employers and employees who were negotiating regional agreements.
The opportunity was now at hand for unscrupulous contractors to take advantage of the long-suffering unemployed. They began preying like vultures upon our unfortunate craftsmen, using every trick and method of unfair practice to exploit labor and deprive our employees of the wages, hours, and labor standards which they were justly entitled to in accordance with the provisions of the approved code of our industry.
Similar practices were wide-spread and resorted to by unscrupulous employers within the various subdivisions of the construction industry, tearing down the minimum-wage rates and extending hours of labor far beyond the maximum set, destroying fair competition among large and small employers and the destruction of all labor standards.
Countless employers who were unfair to labor criticized and condemned the administration, claiming that the National Recovery Administration was trying to run their business. However, we find since the Supreme Court's decision these same employers who opposed codified industries now realize their mistakes and would prefer the curbing of unfair labor practices to stabilize their business and bring peace to labor and industry.
We firmly believe the contents of Senate bill 3055 clearly defines and sets forth the principles that will retrieve the loss that labor suffered the past years, and restrict the methods of unscrupulous cheating contractors. It will be the means of bringing about a greater understanding between labor and employers throughout the Nation.
Mr. Chairman, we appeal to you and the honorable members of this committee to report favorably this bill to your Congress, and we further recommend that you and your committee will use its good offices to bend every effort for Congress to pass Senate 3055.
The Building Trades Department of the American Federation of
The officials of the Building Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor have given consideration and study to Senate bill 3055 and believe that this legislation is necessary and should be approved at this session of Congress.
On behalf of our affiliated international unions, State and local building trades councils, we strongly endorse this measure and trust that your committee will report same favorably.
We are enclosing a copy of our official directory, containing a list of our affiliated international unions, State and local building trades councils, all of which are in affiliation with the American Federation of Labor.
And that is signed by M. J. McDonough and Secretary O'Neill, and there is the attached copy.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I would just like to make a few remarks on that for about 2 or 3 minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir; all right.
Mr. MYLES. I believe that labor can talk for itself. I notice that some of the speakers, or at least one of them, appeared to be talking for labor. Now, labor can talk for itself.