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Mr. CHASE. Not in the wage-and-rules matters. That is national in scope. To my knowledge I never heard of any.
Senator LEHMAN. You never heard of any such authority that was given to the president to act in his own capacity with plenary powers?
Mr. CHASE. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. Do the bylaws of the organization limit the power or authority of the president to act on behalf of the union in binding them by any agreement that he enters into?
Mr. CHASE. I think, Senator, they are silent on that question. It has always been a matter of policy that the president has headed the wage-and-rules movements and ever since the association has been convened, the association has either given the wage committee full authority, or they have always reported back to the wage committee, that is the association, for ratification.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not know of any instance where a president of the organization has attempted to bind the union by entering into a contract which was not previously entered into!
Mr. CHASE. There was one in 1927 or 1928, I forget which date, that was that case I talked about earlier in the arbitration, and they brought back the Washington agreement, and President Whitney brought it back and the association refused to accept it. So the question then later went to an emergency board, and it was eventually settled. But I think it was in 1937. The Washington agreement was brought back and the association would not ratify it.
I would like to read this into the record for the benefit of the Senators. This is the report of handling national wage and rules movements since convening of General Chairmen's Association, ORC and B. of R. T. in Chicago, Ill., July 10 and 11, 1950, and that for the benefit of the Senators was the meeting separately and jointly with the conductors, to review and pass upon the recommendation of the President's Emergency Board in connection with this present dispute.
This is the end of the minutes. The committee concluded its report by stating that:
Therefore, it is our recommendation that the chief executives of these two organizations, together with the rules committee, make every effort to bring about a just and satisfactory settlement of these issues subject to the approval of the Association of General Chairmen. In the event satisfactory settlement cannot be made, it is our further recommendation that the Association of General Chairmen authorize the chief executives to withdraw the meinbers from service in a manner which they deem most effective.
Mr. MURDOCK. Mr. Chase, you have supplied the subcommittee with copies of the constitution, and would you now offer copies of the constitution as BRT Exhibit 1, so that it may be formally in the record ?
Mr. CHASE. I believe it would be exhibit 3.
(The document was marked as "Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen Exhibit No.4" and is on file with the committee.
Mr. CHASE. I would like to read this White House statement from the White House Reporter, Senator, if you would care to listen.
Senator MORSE. Which statement is that, Mr. Chase?
Mr. CHASE. This is the statement of the NBC, White House Reporter, Frank Bourgholtzer.
Senator MORSE. What date?
Mr. CHASE. December 21.
Senator MORSE. Referring to the public announcement of the proposed agreement consummated at the White House on that date!
Mr. CHASE. Yes, sir.
John R. Steelman is the Assistant to the President, which means a multitude of Presidential duties actually are performed by John Steelman in the name of the President. Steelman is most emphatic in denying that he is labor adviser to the President, or labor trouble-shooter, or any such thing. He has nothing to do, he says, with labor.
Nevertheless, when the President gets a hot labor problem dumped in his lap, John R. Steelman is the man who goes to work on it. This makes for a fine distinction, the line being that Steelman gets the work, not because he's labor adviser, but because the President is stuck with the problem.
Not to belabor fine distinctions, the fact is that Steelman is probably the Nation's leading labor expert by his record and is believed to have handled more labor fights than anyone in history-eight to ten thousand of them. Certainly he's handled some of the hottest labor fights in history and the agreement he pulled out of the railroad industry today would seem to be his top achievement to date.
Steelman's technique on these rough problems is fairly standard-standard with him, anyway. His problems require a special technique. These big labor disputes come to the White House only when they have reached the point where both sides are firmly and immovably set in their disagreement.
The railroad management and its employees have been arguing for 22 months over the disagreement that was settled today and some of the points have been in dispute for 15 or 20 years.
Steelman's technique is to browbeat the opponents into a settlement, in a friendly way, and he does it so effectively that at the psychological moment the two parties are so weary and numbed that they'll say “yes” to almost anything and after it's over they thinķ Steelman, who has shoved them around unmercifully, is a great guy.
He put this technique into operation this week. He called meetings of both sides at the White House. Put union and management into the same room. Talked to them. Put them in separate rooms. Talked to them. Put them back together. Talked to them. Occasionally, he let them go back to their hotel rooms for a few hours' sleep and consultation with their committees. But all week the White House sessions never broke up until 2, 3, or 4 in the morning.
Yesterday John Steelman got up at 6:30 in the morning. Went down to the White House. At 11 the sessions began again and this, Steelman decided, was the psychological moment. The meeting went on and on right through lunch. Right through dinner. Right through bedtime. On through the night. About 6 a. m. the conferees called weakly for sustenance. Steelman sent out for coffee. A little food. But the meetings went on.
Finally at 11:30 this morning Steelman called in the photographers and the reporters. He announced an agreement among the parties that not only settled their 2-year-old dispute but promised a 3-year period of no-strike peace in the railroad industry. It had been 29 hours since Steelman had left home. Yet he stayed around for 2 hours explaining the whole thing to reporters.
And when it was all over I was talking to him. He shook his head and said, “I don't know why they call me the President's labor adviser. It isn't my job at all. Just something extra I have to do from time to time."
Senator Morse. If the counsel will permit I will ask a couple of other questions.
Mr. CHASE. I would like to make an addition to that. I have seen the statements issued by the White House on several occasions that Dr. John R. Steelman had nothing to do with this affair, until he was assigned it by the President on August 25 or 26. I forget which date it was. I would like to say that personally in arriving in Washington that the first move when we got here back in July when President Kennedy and I arrived, that John R. Steelman called him up to arrange meetings to settle this dispute.
Senator MORSE. Was it your testimony that the President assigned Dr. Steelman to the case ?
Mr. CHASE. I don't know. He officially assigned him on August 25 or 26, but up until July prior to that time when we immediately hit town, the Doctor called us up and wanted us to come over and see about settling the dispute.
Senator MORSE. Your testimony is that Dr. Steelman called the brotherhood officials and requested that they come to a meeting at the White House for the purpose of discussing this dispute with him?
Mr. Chase. He called President Kennedy the minute we arrived in town.
Senator MORSE. Did President Kennedy or any other official of the union request Dr. Steelman to convene meetings for a discussion of this dispute?
Mr. CHASE. Not that I know of. We had been in mediation in Chicago with the Mediation Board and it was recessed over a period of July 4 and they set either July 16 or 17 for the resumption of mediation proceedings in Washington, and when we got here immediately Dr. John R. Steelman called us and arranged conferences.
Senator MORSE. Then back to the January 4 meeting, on that for a moment, have you included in the record to your satisfaction a clear statement as to response for turning down the proposed agreement ! Have you made that a part of your exhibit, so that members of this committee can find out why it was turned down?
Mr. CHASE. Yes; I think it is in there.
Senator MORSE. Are there any particular sections of the agreement that
you think were more influential than others in causing the union to turn down the agreement, and if so what is it?
Mr. CHASE. One of the most disagreeable things to us, or to me, or to the committee, is the fact that Dr. John R. Steelman sat in here as an arbitrator.
Senator MORSE. Why do you find that disagreeable or objectionable?
Mr. Chase. Why we have never agreed to compulsory arbitration on a wholesale basis, and I never heard in my life in labor negotiations of a mediator attempting to mediate a dispute and setting himself in the agreement as the final arbitrator, and in this case it could run beyond the tenor of the President's term of oflice, and it could go for a 3-year period and the President would be up for reelection in 1952.
Senator MORSE. Well, would that language mean more than anything other than that the Brotherhoods and the carriers mutually agreed on December 21 that if misunderstandings as to the meaning of the language or the contractual effects of the language should arise between them that they would call upon the man who wrote the agreement to tell them what he meant by it?
Mr. Chase. It goes beyond that. It means that the man that wrote the agreement is the final arbitrator in some of the most serious and valuable conditions that we have on the railroads today.
Senator MORSE. Could you say that the general chairman or would you say that the censensus of opinion of the general chairmen at the January 4 meeting with respect to this particular section of the agreement was to the effect that the agreement proposed what is sometimes referred to as an impartial chairman or a standing arbitrator for the industry under the terms of that agreement for a 3-year period?
Mr. CHASE. Well, that is just one of the most objectionable things.
Senator Morse. I am not asking about other objectionable things. I am only asking you if what I have just stated in my question is correct, and let me restate it: Would you say that it was the consensus of opinion of the general chairmen on January 4 that this particular section which set up Dr. Steelman for a 3-year period as the person to decide disputes that might arise under the agreement amounted in fact and in effect to setting up an impartial chairman or permanent standing arbitrator for a 3-year period to settle disputes that might arise under that agreement?
Mr. CHASE. Well, that was a vehement expression from all of the men, and they felt it was wholly unjustified for any mediator setting himself up in the final analysis as an arbitrator.
Senator MORSE. Would you say then that this section of the agreement was one of the major reasons for the rejection of the proposal, because of strong opposition within the Brotherhood to a procedure which amounts to compulsory arbitration as they understood it, the settlement of disputes within the industry?
Mr. Chase. I would say it is one them; yes, sir.
Senator Morse. Let me rephrase it again, even though it is repetition. I am to understand and you would have the other members of the committee understand that, at the January 4 meeting, strong objections were raised to this agreement because they felt that it amounted in fact to imposing upon them for a 3-year period compulsory arbitration of the dispute
Mr. CHASE. That is right.
The, CHAIRMAN. At the time these negotiations were instituted in the White House, did Mr. Steelman have any credentials from the President showing that he was named or appointed to carry on these negotiations?
Mr. CHASE. If he did I never saw them, Senator. As I said to Senator Morse, when he first came to town immediately that he got here in the morning, I don't know whether it was the 16th or 17th of July, the phone immediately rang and Dr. Steelman invited us over for a conference in the East Wing of the White House and if he ever
a had any credentials, I never saw them. I did see in the press, though, that after the Government took the railroads over, I believe it was August 28 or August 26, that the press said that the President had assigned the dispute to Dr. Steelman.
The CHAIRMAN. Did he notify you at the time you undertook these negotiations there that he had been named by the President to conduct the negotiations!
Mr. CHASE. He didn't me; no.
Mr. MURDOCK. Mr. Chase, will you identify the newspaper from which you have read and offer it in evidence as BRT Exhibit 5?
Mr. CHASE. That is the Trainmen News, under date of February 5, and this article that I read was the complete text that we received from the White House reporter.
Mr. MURDOCK. Will you offer it in evidence as BRT Exhibit 5 ?
Mr. CHASE. I will.
(Document referred to was marked "BRT Exhibit No. 5" and is on file with the committee.)
Mr. MURDOCK. Mr. Chase, what classes of railroad employees are eligible for membership in the BRT?
Mr. CHASE. Everything in the running trades, with the exception of engineers and firemen and some small properties where there is only a handful of men, we do represent them there.
Mr. MURDOCK. So that your members include both those in road service and those in yard service; is that correct?
Mr. CHASE. Yes, sir.
Mr. MURDOCK. And you represent men who are in passenger service as well as freight service; is that correct?
Mr. CHASE. That is right, sir.
Mr. MURDOCK. You mentioned the interdivisional rule, and will you just state briefly what that rule is? Mr. CHASE. Well
, under the recommendation of the Emergency Board—this is as close an example as I could call to your attentionSt. Thomas, Ontario is not an American railroad but it is under American rates. It is approximately 112 miles from Windsor, Ontario, and then from St. Thomas to Fort Erie, west of Buffalo, it is about 121 miles, but the home terminal for all of those crews is St. Thomas and they go west to Windsor, which is Detroit, and they go east to Buffalo.
Now in the event that the carriers had the carte blanc authority that the Emergency Board recommended, they could move the home terminal out of St. Thomas to either point and it would mean that practically the entire town would be wiped out as it is nothing but a railroad center.
Mr. MURDOCK. Now under the existing agreement the carriers do not have the power to remove the terminal or to change the terminal?
Mr. CHASE. Except by negotiations.
The CHAIRMAN. Would they propose to extend that system, if they changed the rules to make it run from Detroit or Windsor clear through?
Mr. CHASE. I don't know what they would do, Senator, but that is what the language of the rule would imply and'it would leave Dr. Steelman as the final arbitrator.
The CHAIRMAN. That would do away with the shops and everything that they have in that place.
Mr. CHASE. From Detroit to Chicago. It wouldn't eliminate the town of Jackson, because that is a good-sized town but it would eliminate all of the railroad activity there and they could run them from Detroit right through
The CHAIRMAN. That is a part of the New York Central?
Mr. CHASE. It is part of the Michigan Central. It still retains its original name, Michigan Central, but it is part of the New York Central lines.
The CHAIRMAN. You referred to general chairmen, Mr. Chase, and what are they general chairmen of? What is their duty?
Mr. CHASE. The general chairman is the representative, the elected representative, of a particular railroad that has charge of all the