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This is the last of a series of 12 volumes (pts. 23–34) of hearings and exhibits dealing with labor relations in the steel industry, the 1937 “Little Steel" strike against the Republic Steel Corporation and the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co., and the groups involved in this strike, directly and indirectly.
VIOLATIONS OF FREE SPEECH AND RIGHTS OF LABOR
THURSDAY, AUGUST 11, 1938
UNITED STATES SENATE, SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to recess, at 11:05 a. m., in room 357, Senate Office Building, Senator Robert M. La Follette, Jr., presiding.
Present: Senator Robert M. La Follette, Jr. (chairman). Also present: David D. Lloyd, Daniel F. Margolies, and George McNulty, counsel; and Robert Wohlforth, secretary of the committee.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. The chairman should like to make a statement for the benefit of the people who are in the room and in discomfort and those who are on the outside, by saying that this room was the only one available for these proceedings today because of painting and decorating in the large caucus room.
Mr. PATTON. Mr. Senator, Mr. Girdler has a statement which he would like the privilege of making at the outset, without interruption, after which time he will be glad to answer any questions, either regarding the statement or otherwise, that you would care to put to him.
Senator La FOLLETTE. Mr. Patton, from the beginning of the proceedings of this committee, and in order that its testimony might have some order and chronology, the committee adopted a rule that examination should be made first by the committee. At any time after that examination has been concluded, every opportunity will be given to Mr. Girdler to present anything which he desires for the consideration of the committee, and for the record. This having been the rule during all these proceedings, and many other witnesses having asked for the same thing which you have asked for, the Chair does not feel that he could grant a special privilege to Mr. Girdler, which has been denied to so many other witnesses.
But, as I stated before, and as I have stated to all the witnesses, every opportunity will be given Mr. Girdler when the examination is concluded to present any statement or to offer any facts or any evidence for the consideration of the committee which he desires.
Mr. PATTON. Mr. Senator, I think it would save the time of the committee and of all of us if you permitted Mr. Girdler to make this statement at the outset because it may anticipate some of the questions you have in mind, and will tend to facilitate the proceed
ings, and I respectfully request, Mr. Senator, that you grant him that permission.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. I am very sorry, Mr. Patton, but for the reasons already stated, I cannot do so.
TESTIMONY OF TOM M. GIRDLER
(The witness was sworn by Senator La Follette.)
Senator La FOLLETTE. Mr. Girdler, for the record will you please state your full name and address?
Mr. GIRDLER. Tom M. Girdler, Cleveland, Ohio.
Senator La FOLLETTE. I offer for the record a copy of the subpena under which you appear before this committee.
(The document was marked “Exhibit 5199" and appears in the appendix on p. 13893.)
Senator LA FOLLETTE. For the record, you are chairman of the board of directors of the Republic Steel Corporation, are you not?
Mr. GIRDLER. Yes, sir.
Senator La FOLLETTE. Have you held any other position with the Republic Corporation?
Mr. GIRDLER. Shortly after April 8, 1930, the president died, and I was chairman of the board and president until April, I think, 1937.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. With what concern were you connected before you came to Republic?
Mr. GIRDLER. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation.
Senator La FOLLETTE. In what capacity were you with Jones & Laughlin?
Mr. GIRDLER. Assistant to the general superintendent of the Aliquippa Works, assistant general superintendent of the Aliquippa Works, superintendent of the Aliquippa Works, and general manager of Jones & Laughlin; vice president and general manager of Jones & Laughlin Steel Co.; president and member of the board of directors and member of its executive committee.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. During what years were you acting superintendent and superintendent of the Aliquippa Works?
Mr. GIRDLER. Will you please repeat the question?
Mr. GIRDLER. I was never acting superintendent, I was assistant to the general superintendent, starting in March 1914, I think. Some time after that I was made assistant general superintendent, and some time in 1920 I was made general superintendent of the Aliquippa Works.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. Mr. Girdler, were you connected at any time with Continental Shares, Inc. ?
Mr. GIRDLER. I was a member of an advisory committee of Continental Shares.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. When did you become a member of that committee?
Mr. GIRDLER. I am not quite sure, but I think in the fall of 1929.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. What was the function of the advisory committee.
Mr. GIRDLER. To advise Continental Shares' directors as to investments and operations in steel companies and allied, similar companies.
Senator La FOLLETTE. Prior to the merger which created Republic, were you connected with any of the companies in which Mr. Eaton í or Continental Shares had an interest?
Mr. GIRDLER. I think the only official connection I had was a member of the advisory committee of Continental Shares.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. To refresh your_recollection, Mr. Girdler, were you ever connected in any way with Donner Steel?
Mr. GIRDLER. No.
Senator La FOLLETTE. I offer for the record, for the purpose of questioning you concerning it, an excerpt from pages 21095 and 21096 of the transcript of the testimony of Mr. W. R. Burwell at the Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Continental Shares in January 1938.
(The document was marked "Exhibit 5200" and appears in the appendix on p. 13893.)
Senator LA FOLLETTE. Mr. Burwell was president of the Continental Shares from the time of its formation in 1926 until 1932. The excerpt reads as follows:
Mr. BURWELL. At the time the Continental bought the Donner Steel Company, Mr. Donner, who had run it for some years, made a condition of the sale that he should retire from the management. Mr. Girdler and Mr. Wysor were then associated with Continental Shares in an advisory way on the steel interests of Continental Shares, and they gave their attention to the operation of the Donner Steel Company.
Mr. GIRDLER. I never gave any attention to the operations of the Donner Co. except to answer questions and to advise anyone that asked me, such as people who owned Donner. I had no official connection with Donner.
Senator La FOLLETTE. When did you leave Jones & Laughlin? Mr. GIRDLER. I think its was early in October of 1929.
Senator La FOLLETTE. How did you happen to leave Jones & Laughlin?
Mr. GIRDLER. I associated myself with Mr. Eaton to try to put together what was referred to as a large midwestern steel company, with Republic Iron & Steel Co. as the nucleus.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. That was the activity which finally resulted in the formation of the Republic Steel Corporation ?
Mr. GIRDLER. Yes, sir.
Senator La FOLLETTE. Then may I assume, and if I am not correct will you please so indicate, that you were one of the active and prime figures in the formation of the Republic Steel Corporation?
1 Cyrus Eaton.
Mr. GIRDLER. I was active: I wis jerocig all my time to it.
Senator L. FOLLETTE Did reg oedd u pot receive any compensation for your services in corrector with that merger!
Mr. GIRDLER. I received consersation from the time I left Jones & Laughlin until I was made eairman of the board of Republic Steel Corporation.
Senator La FOLLETTE. Who paid that compensation!
Mr. GIPDLER. I think t'e cocheration was paid through Continental Siares. It was su.pls an uierstarci.g with Mr. Eaton that I would be paid.
Senator LA FOLLETTE, Did you or ti you not have any understanding at the time that you were working on the merger as to what position, if any. you would have with Republie if and when it became a reality?
Mr. GIRDLER. I had the mirstanding that I would be chairman of the Board of Repriblie if the board of directors of the Republic Steel Corporation saw fit to let me to that position.
Senator La FOLLETTE. With whom did you have this understanding. under the qualifications, as given in vour answer!
Mr. Girolin. Oh, Mr. Vather. Jr. Eaton, Jr. Greene -perhaps others.
Senator L. FOLLETTE. Vr. Giriller, who are some of the large stockholders in the Republic Steel Corporation at the present time?
Mr. GIRDLER. Well, I would hare to quote from memory.
Senator La FOLLETTE. Well, to refresh your recollection I offer for the record a tabulation of the 20 largest stockholders of record on March 14, 1935. of the Republic Steel Corporation, supplied to the committee by the company.
(The document was marked "Exhibit 5201" and appears in the appendix on p. 13591.)
Senator LA FOLLETTE. This tabulation shows that the ClevelandCliffs Iron Co. is the second largest single stockholder in Republic Steel Corporation, with 310,867 shares or approximately 6 percent of the total number of shares outstanding.
Cliffs Corporation was the fourth largest stockholder, with 144,000 shares on the same date.
I offer for the record a statement of the relations of Cliffs Corporation and Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. This information is based on the 1937 annual report to Securities & Exchange Commission of Cleveland-Cliff's Iron Co. A photostatic copy of the source of information, page 4 of that report, is attached to this statement. This indicates that Cliffs Corporation, together with its chairman and trustee, William G. Mather, controlled 51.7 percent of the stock of Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. at December 31, 1937.
(The document was marked "Exhibit 5202” and appears in the appendix on p. 13894.)
Senator LA FOLLETTE. I also offer for the record a tabulation of the ownership of Republic stock as of December 31, 1936, and De
1 William G. Mather. 2 E. B. Greene,