« PreviousContinue »
Government seizure and enter into an agreement that they wouldn't get less than that?
Mr. BENDETSEN. If an exchange of releases is agreed to in the final go-around between a specific road and the United States Government, which I don't have the power to do, they would get whatever their profits or losses were.
Senator MORSE. The carriers are smart. I can't imagine a one of them not giving that release if in turn they would get a settlement which would give them the profits they otherwise would have made if the Government had not seized. The release matter—they would jump at that one. Why should they not? Which leads me to the final question I want to ask before the noon recess.
Does not exhibit No. 11 and your testimony this morning lead to the conclusion that Government seizure is not going to be to the economic detriment of the carriers under this Executive order?
Mr. BENDETSEN. In all probability, if there is no change in what occurred up to now, it would not be. It would accrue a profit. And it would leave those which would accrue a loss in that position, too. You would have to review the whole thing.
Senator Morse. They were losing before seizure.
Mr. BENDETSEN. That is right. If they keep on losing now, they will have to take their losses. But there has to be between each road and the Government a “hold harmless" release on each side. For instance, as I began to say, I don't know what the legal effect of this is, but here is a suit for $750,000 brought against the United States Government as the only party, arising out of the operation of one of the roads. The roads have to take this one if we turn them back. They aren't going to get any release from the Government unless they take this one on lock, stock, and barrel, which they would have to do.
Senator MORSE. As lawyers, don't you think you and I could agree that there probably will be a lot of suits filed ?
Mr. BENDETSEN. Yes, sir.
Senator MORSE. Collective bargaining is carried on even between clients when the stakes are as high as this. My point is, under this seizure, at least as it has been administered to date, and I am satisfied from the fairness which has characterized your testimony here this morning that that policy will be continued, the carriers have been in a position ever since seizure knowing full well that economically there is no doubt as to what is going to happen to them by this seizure. They are going to be kept whole on the basis of their operations prior to seizure. Isn't that true?
Mr. BENDETSEN. I can see no detriment to date, that is right.
Senator MORSE. That is why I say it may be a matter of definition of terms
Mr. BENDETSEN. They haven't been free to effect the economies they might have, whatever they might be, but it is going on much as they were to date, which is true of both sides.
Senator MorsE. Plus the increases in rates they have gotten even since Government seizure, which this record shows, I believe, have been six or seven since 1946.
Mr. Chairman, although I have a long examination of this witness yet, I close here with this statement: No. 1, that I think this witness hias demonstrated here this morning that he is a fine public servant carrying out his orders. I think his testimony has also demonstrated
the need on the part of Congress to give some attention to the passage of legislation in the field of seizure in relation to labor disputes. Both parties to the disputes are kept in great doubt as to what is going to happen to them when there is Government seizure because, as far as I am concerned, there can be no question about the fact that the carriers have been sitting pretty ever since seizure started. They have nothing to lose by it. The longer the Government seizes, the weaker the brotherhoods become in my judgment within their rank and file, and the stronger the carriers become in forcing the acceptance of a settlement that they would never get by with, Mr. Chairman, if they were confronted with economic action. They would come to time so fast in the case of economic action that this case instead of having whiskers on it would have been shaven close to the skin months ago. This case would have been settled on the basis of a fair agreement. It is no fault of the Secretary, but I just think we have had demonstrated here again how unsound it is to have the Government step in with seizure when one party knows perfectly well that it is not going to be to its economic detriment to have the Government seize it.
The CHAIRMAN. That situation places the railroad brotherhood members in a position where they wouldn't be very much interested in preserving an economic system that works such an injustice on them.
Senator Morse. I repeat the charge I made earlier in the hearings, Mr. Chairman, that the effect of this procedure has been to put the White House on the side of the carriers and against the men.
Mr. MURDOCK. Before you leave, may I make a statement for the record, Mr. Chairman?
If it will be agreeable, Mr. Chairman, with the Secretary, it would be a great convenience to Mr. E. L. Oliver if we could permit him to make his statement upon resuming this afternoon, since he has to leave town on urgent personal business. I don't think his statement will take long. Would that be agreeable to you?
Mr. BENDETSEX. I am at the pleasure of the committee, Mr. Chairman. You fix the time and I will be here.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well. We will go on this afternoon at 2 o'clock with another witness, Mr. E. L. Oliver.
Mr. BENDETSEN. What time would you feel that I should be here? I do have some appointments which I have to change when I return.
Mr. MURDOCK. After we finish with Mr. Oliver we can go over until tomorrow morning so that Senator Morse will be here.
Mr. BENDETSEN. Would you estimate that to be 2:30? Would that be a safe time for me to be here?
The CHAIRMAN. You would not have to come back until tomorrow morning.
Mr. BENDETSEN. I beg your pardon, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. We will recess until 10 tomorrow morning after we finish with the testimony of Mr. Oliver this afternoon.
(Whereupon, at 12:15 p. m., the committee recessed until 2 p. m.. the same day.)
You do solemnly swear that the testimony which you are about to give in this proceeding will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. OLIVER. I do.
TESTIMONY OF ELI L. OLIVER, MANAGER, WASHINGTON OFFICE,
LABOR BUREAU OF THE MIDDLE WEST
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed, Mr. Oliver. Do you wish to file your statement or do you wish merely to summarize it and have it inserted in the record ?
Mr. OLIVER. I should like to follow the statement, if I may, with occasional interpolations.
My name is Eli L. Oliver. I am manager of the Washington office of Labor Bureau of Middle West, an organization that assists labor unions in economic research and in the negotiation, mediation, or arbitration of labor disputes, as well as in hearings before governmental agencies. Our work is primarily in behalf of labor organizations in the public utility field.
Mr. MURDOCK. Mr. Oliver, this is a privately owned organization, is it?
Mr. OLIVER. It is; yes, sir.
Mr. OLIVER. No. This is simply the name under which the organization functions. We have offices in Chicago, Philadelphia, and here in Washington.
My work in the railway industry began in 1922. At that time, I represented the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks and other labor organizations in hearings before the United States Railroad Labor Board. · Since 1922 I have assisted in handling many local negotiations and arbitrations, and since 1922 almost all of the national wageand-hour movements in the railway industry. I took part in the 40-hour-week cases involving the nonoperating railway employees of the major railroads in the United States and Canada, of the short lines in the United States, and of the Railway Express Agency. I have also represented railway employees in proceedings before the Interstate Commerce Commission, including the 6-hour-day investigation.
I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and taught for 1 year at the University of Pennsylvania. I have served on the staff of the Federal Trade Commission on three different occasions. I was a labor member of the Textile Work Assignment Board established by President Roosevelt during the NRA to study the causes of the 1934 general textile strike. In 1941, I served as Chief of the Labor Relations Branch of the Labor Division of the Office of Production Management. I have been asked by Mr. D. B. Robertson, president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, to present to your committee some additional facts bearing upon the current dispute involving that organization and other railway operating brotherhoods.
The hearings before this subcommittee have laid most stress upon the processes of handling railway labor disputes, but there has been some discussion upon the merits of the request for the adoption of the 40-hour week in railway yard service, with maintenance of 48-hour take-home pay. It is with respect to this phase of the hearing that I should like to bring certain additional facts to the attention of the committee.
The issue involved in this controversy is most clearly to be understood by a comparison of the reports of two emergency boards upon proposals to reduce the basic workweek of railway employees with maintenance of previous full-time earnings. The two boards differed fundamentally and drastically in their findings of fact, and in their recommendations. The first of these boards, Emergency Board No. 66, usually referred to as the Leiserson board, was created to investigate the request of employees represented by 15 railway labor unions. These unions are generally—but inaccurately—called nonoperating employees; large numbers of these workers are, in fact, directly and closely related to train operations.
I have prepared an exhibit which consists of a few excerpts from the report of that Leiserson Board which I believe would be in a more convenient form for reference. If I might offer that for the record and suggest that its number be 9 to follow after the last of the exhibits introduced when Mr. Robertson was on the stand, it would facilitate the statement.
Mr. MURDOCK. So that would be B. L. F. & E. exhibit No. 9.
The CHAIRMAN. It will be received in evidence and so marked and made a part of the record.
(The document referred to was marked “B. L. F. & E. Exhibit 9" and is as follows:)
B. L. F. and E. Exhibit No. 9
THE 40-HOUR WEEK ON AMERICAN RAILROADS-EXCERPT FROM THE EMERGENCY
BOARD REPORT ON WAGES AND HOURS FOR NONOPERATING RAILWAY EMPLOYEES DECEMBER 17, 1948
The Board will now discuss the merits of the workweek proposed and some of the practical problems which arise in connection therewith. The request for the general wage increase will be dealt with in a subsequent section of this report, although the cost of that proposal and its effect on resulting wage rates have an undeniable bearing on the workweek request.
Forty basic work hours per week with time and a half for overtime is the prevailing practice in American industry. It has been put into force not only in those industries on which it was imposed by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 but to a steadily enlarging extent in industries excluded from that act. It is constantly being accepted through collective bargaining in retail establishments and in local service industries. To a large degree it is an established working condition in many transportation industries, including airlines, pipe lines, local transit, over-the-road busses, and motor trucking. Communications and public-utilities industries have it. It is in effect in innumerable continuous production industries. Many industries which employ craftsmen included in nonoperating railroad groups almost uniformly have the 40-hour week, and frequently the employees live and work in the same communities and are members of the same unions.
This pattern is extremely impressive in itself as a sound basis for including the railroad industry within its scope. The railroads now stand out as a striking exception.
The Interstate Commerce Act, as amended by the Transportation Act of 1940. declares the national transportation policy to be not only **
to promote safe, adequate, economical, and efficient service and foster sound economic conditions in transportation and among the several carriers;
but also declares the national policy to be
to encourage fair wages and equitable working conditions ;
Moreover, the principle of the 40-hour workweek has already been adopted by the railroad industry, although its practical effectiveness has been postponed. On January 17, 1944, in an agreement with the organizations the carriers gave certain
wage increases averaging 2.4 cents in lieu of overtime over 10 hours. This agreement followed a statement by President Roosevelt on December 29, 1913, in which, among other things, he said :
"Last May I announced that I believed railroad employees should be paid time and a half for time worked in excess of 10 hours per week as practically all other employees are paid. This can be accomplished either by Congress repealing the exemption provision or by agreement of the employers and employees. I think it should be done by agreement."
The record in the instant case is devoid of convincing arguments in answer to the foregoing considerations. The carriers' most effective points dealt with the practicability of putting the 40-hour week into effect at the present time, and that aspect will be considered below. It is deemed unnecessary and inappropriate at this late date to inquire into the theoretical advantages or disadvantages of the 40-hour week. It is now firmly a part of our national industrial policy.
Some question was raised on the record concerning the unions' insistence that when the change is made to the shortened workweek, present 48-hour earnings be maintained. That has generally been the practice in other industries, and no substantial evidence to the contrary was presented at the hearings. Before the codes were adopted under NRA in 1933, the President's Reemployment Agreement provided for the maintenance of earnings where the workweeks were contracted. When the railroad industry decreased the workday to 8 hours in 1916, pursuant to the Adamson Act, it was enjoined by section 3 of that act not to reduce “the present standard day's wage,” at least for a period estimated to run from 8 to 11 months thereafter and subsequently the carriers agreed to the continuation of this standard day's wage.
The Board finds and recommends:
(a) That effective September 1, 1949, the carriers establish for all nonoperating employees represented in this case, with the exceptions noted in (5) below, a workweek of 10 hours, consisting of 5 days of 8 hours each, with two consecutive days off in each seven; the workweeks may be staggered in accordance with the carriers' operational requirements; so far as practical the days off shall be Saturdays and Sundays, and in positions in which such days off are not regularly scheduled, workweeks which are rotated periodically shall be used for the purpose of making Saturdays and/or Sundays the days off on an equal basis as is practical among employees,
(0) That in connection therewith all basic rates of pay now in effect, i, e., exclusive of the general increase recommended below, be increased by 20 percent to provide the same basic earnings in 40 hours work as are now paid for 48 hours.
(C) That for-all work performed in excess of 8 hours in a day and/or 40 hours in a week, time or rate and a half shall be paid.
Chairman. DAVID L. COLE.
Member. GEORGE A. Cook,
Member. Mr. OLIVER. I have also within the statement included two paragraphs from this report. Upon the proposal to reduce the basic workweek of nonoperating employees with the maintenance of previous full-time earnings, the Leiserson Board reported that:
Some question was raised on the record concerning the unions' insistence that when the change is made to the shortened workweek, present 48-hour earnings be maintained. That has generally been the practice in other industries, and no substantial evidence to the contrary was presented at the hearings. Before the codes were adopted under NRA in 1933, the President's Reemplyoment Agreement provided for the maintenance of earnings where the workweeks were con