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Data relating to labor policies of corporations represented on board of directors of American Iron and Steel Institute (1938-89)
1 Unless otherwise indicated, data cited below appear in report No. 46, pt. 3 (75th Cong., 2d sess.), appendix.
Source: American Iron and Steel Institute Proceedings, 1938; Poor's Directory of Directors, 1937; proceedings under S. Res. 266,
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Tower, when Senator Ellender returns, may call you back to the stand again?
Mr. TOWER. This afternoon?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. TowER. It will be very inconvenient for me, Mr. Chairman, to be here this afternoon. I understood that my arrangement was for yesterday afternoon and that I was to be on at 2 o'clock yesterday for 1 hour, and I had some very important engagements in New York for today which I had to cancel in order to be here this morning. It is very important that I be in New York before dinner this evening. The CHAIRMAN. We will leave it this way-if Senator Ellender wishes to insert some testimony into the record, we will receive it at that time.
May I say this, Mr. Tower-you are not going to be here this afternoon. I have asked the reporter to look up the sentence which you said you did not say "the use of money for the benefit of the press." That, of course, is not as you said it, but we will find that sentence and I will repeat it in the record as the reporter has it. Do you want to make a statement that you said you did not say it?
Mr. TOWER. I would like the record to show that the statement in connection with the question is, that we did not at any time use any money for the benefit of the press.
The CHAIRMAN. If we find the words that way, then I will leave the words and I will try to carry out your wishes and leave your expression as you make it the last time rather than the first time.
STATEMENT OF FRANK LEROY HILL, PRESIDENT OF AIR ASSOCIATES, INC., GARDEN CITY, N. Y.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Hill, will you state your name in full, and your address, and any other information you wish to give? Mr. HILL. My name is Frank Leroy Hill, Garden City, N. Y. The CHAIRMAN. Whom do you represent?
Mr. HILL. Air Associates, Inc. I am the president and general manager of this company. We manufacture and distribute aviation materials and accessory equipment, and we employ about 200 people, about 90 of them in the production or manufacturing department, and we sell aviation equipment and accessories to the Government and to Government contractors who manufacture military airplanes, selling to the Government as well as to the commercial manufacturers. The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed then, Mr. Hill, as you wish. Senator LA FOLLETTE. Mr. Hill, I was diverted for a moment. Did you state what your company manufactures?
Mr. HILL. I said that we manufacture and distribute aviation materials and accessory equipment.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. For the construction of airplanes?
Mr. HILL. Used in the construction, maintenance, and operation of airplanes.
We have been operating for just about 15 months under the handicap of Labor Board persecution. It has cost us well in excess of $12,000 to date which is a great deal of money for a small company like ours. The end is nowhere in sight unless we accept the suggestion made last February to our counsel by Mrs. Herrick, the New York Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board. This
a suggestion was that we make an acceptable offer to the union involved, in which case the Labor Board would leave us alone. At that time I instructed our counsel to inform Mrs. Herrick that our company has always been willing to comply with the letter and spirit of na the Wagner Act, and stood ready to negotiate or bargain with any w group or individual at any time, any place, and on any subject; but dar we will not make concessions nor pay tribute to any group or individual on in return for the promise of protection or immunity from prosecution or persecution by the Labor Board.
In 27 years of experience as a worker in industry, I have never de opposed nor expressed opposition to labor unions; on the contrary, I te have always been sympathetic with the right of any individual to join any organization that he chooses. I always considered such activity the personal affair of the individual. At no time, either it before or since the events which I shall now relate, have I, as manager the of Air Associates, ever expressed any opposition to union or other hat organizational activity on the part of other employees. There is De not an iota of evidence in the transcript of the hearing before the Labor Board that will contradict this statement.
in On or about February 11, 1938, we were presented with a proposed contract by a local of the United Automobile Workers of America, C. I. O. affiliate, represented by a shop committee of four of our ve employees who informed us that this union represented a majority of a I portion of our employees. I expressed willingness to negotiate as
soon as I had had an opportunity to read the proposed contract, and the following afternoon I invited the shop committee to come to my 0. office for that purpose. After an effort to negotiate with the committee, and after being informed that such negotiations could only take place with outside union organizers, we retained counsel and d signified our willingness to bargain with union representatives and otherwise comply with the law. In order to expedite the commencement of negotiations, we arranged with the union and with the Labor Board for a consent certification of the union as the bargaining agency by submitting our pay-roll records to the Labor Board for comparison with union membership records. We did this voluntarily, accepting the examiner's findings and purposely avoiding inspection of union membership cards so that so far as possible we would have no exact knowledge as to what individuals were members of the union. In order to further prevent the possibility of any discrimination taking place, I personally took away from managerial employees all authority to discharge or lay off. I did this so that I could personally consider every case of discharge or lay off to make certain that no discrimination could occur.
During the morning of February 25, four employees, members of the shop committee, arbitrarily stopped work with the announced. intention of attending a union meeting. This was after they had previously assured me that union activity would not be carried on during working hours. They refused to see me or make any attempt to arrange to be excused from work, nor to give me an opportunity to contact their union officials to arrange for some other time for their meeting. Arbitrarily leaving work during working hours, without attempting to make any arrangement for leave, calls for immediate discharge, and any other employees leaving work in this manner to attend to personal affairs would be discharged. Considering that
failure to discharge these employees because of their membership in the union would be positive discrimination against other employees not members of the union, I therefore discharged them when they returned to work the following Monday.
The union promptly threatened us with Labor Board action and the next day, March 1, 1938, I received a call from a Mr. Cromwell of the National Labor Relations Board who informed me that this was a case of clear-cut discrimination against union members, and asked me to come to his office for a personal conference, which I did the following day at 6 p. m. I explained our position to Mr. Cromwell, told him that we were perfectly willing to negotiate with the union, but that we could not operate our business with employees arbitrarily walking off the job. I told him that we did not question the union's authority to represent any of our employees, but that such willingness on our part did not give special privileges to union members.
In the course of the conversation, Mr. Cromwell explained that the Labor Board's position was that it would be impossible for us to discharge any employee that we knew belonged to the union without discrimination and that knowledge of such union membership was sufficient to prove discrimination on the assumption that all employers were opposed to union activity. He assured me that if we did not reinstate these men, the Labor Board would proceed with a case against us, and that their decision would be against the company. I recall saying that it was a hell of a state of affairs when the judge could tell you what his decision was going to be before the trial had taken place.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any evidence that that is exactly what he said? Was anybody present?
Mr. HILL. No, this was a private meeting which he arranged and he asked me to leave our attorneys outside. I came there alone at his request. I wanted to bring our attorneys with me, but he requested specifically that I do not bring them. He explained that this was to be a very informal meeting, just a get-together with him to talk the thing over, and to explain what the Labor Board's position was and how things worked.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. Did you believe, Mr. Hill, when he made that statement, that he had any authority to speak for the Board as to what his decision would be?
Mr. HILL. Well, I certainly did not think that the act, having read it, empowered him to make any such statement or to make a decision regarding our case without having a hearing.
Also in the course of my conversation with Mr. Cromwell, he had occasion to give me his ideas on class distinction. I had stated that we made no class distinction in our organization and considered all employees as workers entitled to the same consideration and benefits and that we did not differentiate between a machine operator in our shop, shipping department, or office and that therefore I did not understand, although I did not care, how the union and the Labor Board arrived at what they are pleased to call "an appropriate bargaining unit." Cromwell expressed amazement at my attitude and said, "Don't you know that every $15 a week stenographer always looks down on a man who works in the shop?" I said that I did not know this, but that even if it were so, we did not operate our business nor treat our employees in accordance with the conceptions of such
$15 per week stenographers-we don't have any $15 a week stenographers anyway. I asked Cromwell if he had ever worked in a manufacturing plant and he told me that he had worked in one during a school vacation.
It was at that point that I began to realize what I was up against. The committee may be interested in knowing that Mr. Cromwell has since left the employ of the Labor Board. Some months ago I received a neatly engraved card from Mr. Cromwell announcing that he had gone in business for himself and believe it or not-as a specialist in labor relations.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. Do you know what his position was in the New York office?
Mr. HILL. I believe he was a field examiner.
After conferring with our attorneys, we decided that in the interest of promoting peaceful negotiations with the union and to avoid trouble with the Labor Board we would reinstate the four discharged employees. We put them back to work, informing them that there were no hard feelings and that they were in good standing with the company. (Today one of these men is still on our pay roll.)
A few days later one of these employees, a milling machine operator named Seifert, spoiled a considerable amount of work in our shop. Ordinarily such spoilage would call for immediate discharge, but in order to make sure that we were not making more trouble for ourselves, we contacted union officials and other members of the shop committee to find out their attitude as to his discharge. We were assured both by union officials and by members of our shop committee that they considered his discharge justified and that the union would make no attempt toward his reinstatement. However, this man was included in charges later brought against us by the union and the Labor Board of discriminatory discharge and, during the case, the Labor Board trial examiner refused to let us introduce testimony showing that the union had previously approved of our action in discharging him. Senator LA FOLLETTE. Do you remember the name of that trial examiner?
Mr. HILL. Yes; I do. His name was Segal-S-e-g-a-l.
After the reinstatement of these men, as above mentioned, we had a number of meetings with the union to bargain over the terms of the contract that they wanted us to sign. Present at these meetings, in addition to myself, were our company attorneys, union attorneys, members of the shop committee, and a number of union officials. We kept a stenographic record of everything that was said at those meetings because we had been warned that it was union and Labor Board tactics to accuse us of refusing to bargain in the event that no satisfactory agreement was reached. We posted copies of this stenographic transcript at several places on our premises so that our men could see for themselves that we were bargaining in good faith.
This warning was subsequently justified by the fact that the charge of refusal to bargain was included in the original complaint. This charge was dropped by an amendment to the complaint, which amendment, I believe, was made after the Labor Board attorneys had seen the transcript of negotiations at those meetings. During the subsequent Labor Board trial, the trial examiner made a remark to the effect that the very making of a record of bargaining meetings was an indication of questionable good faith on the part of the company.