« AnteriorContinuar »
Counsel for the Board. Why don't you knock that provision out that you have to be a year in the company to be an officer? Why, you can get a real hot or
ganizer to present your stuff to the management. Answer. Why do we want any real hot organizer?
Question. You get higher wages. You get a new toilet.
Answer. We don't need any.
Question. You don't need higher wages? Get some working conditions changed. Why don't you get some fellow there that is good?
Answer. I think the working conditions are good.
Question. If you amend those bylaws you could do that.
Answer. I don't know why we want anybody outside for.
Question. Suppose you have a fellow down there who has been working a month, and he is the best and smartest man you have got. Why don't you let him be president?
Answer. And pay somebody a whole lot of money to take our money away from
Question. No. Suppose you have a fellow down there who has been only working a month, and he is in your union, and he is a graduate with 15 degress from college, and he is a genius, only he just didn't give a damn, see?
Answer. I don't know if graduating from college would make a great difference. Question. Suppose he is the smartest man down there and he would be like a bloodhound after these managers of the company. Wny don't you make him the president and amend your bylaws?
Answer. I don't know what you mean. Are you trying to fill my mind with thoughts or what?
Question. Can't you see what a golden opportunity that is? You get higher wages.
WITNESS (to trial examiner). I don't see what his idea is.
TRIAL EXAMINER. He is giving a hypothetical question or situation. COUNSEL FOR THE BOARD. Here is the point. If you put your best man in down there and have him go to the management with your grievances, you get a better chance of getting everything you wanted.
Perhaps the most forthright propaganda by counsel for the Board is found in his cross-examination of a pattern maker who had dropped his membership in an international labor organization to join the independent union because the former had called a so-called sympathy strike, and he was bitterly opposed to that form of strike, and consequently disaffiliated himself or disassociated himself, whatever the proper word is, and joined the independent union. I quote from the record at page 1604:
Counsel for the Board: Do you know that it is the law of God and the law of nature that men have the right to join labor unions?
Answer. They can if they want to; yes.
Question. That they have the right and the duty to join labor unions?
Question. Well, I will tell you that that is correct. Read the Pope's Encyclicals. You talk about God. Read them. You will see in there, Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno, Rerum Novarum written in 1891, Quadragesimo Anno written 40 years after, 1931, and in that
Mr. BLAKEY. Mr. Trial Examiner, must we listen to this sort of cross-examination?
Counsel for the Board. Here is a very God-fearing man, and I want to set him straight on this point.
Here is an admission that counsel for the Board was not using crossexamination for the purpose of getting at the truth of any particular matter, but rather for the purpose of propagandizing the witness, and of course the audience.
The CHAIRMAN. Who were in the audience?
Mr. BLAKEY. Of course it was full of employees of the company. The company, pursuing its liberal policy, I guess, just let the men that might be called go up there, and didn't make them punch out even, and the hall, consequently, was filled with people, townspeople, a
good many employees. I should say there were 40 or 50 of them there at any time during the 10 days.
Now another device employed by the agents of the Board and which demonstrated their bias was the unfair use of the power of subpena. At one point in the hearing the date of a meeting of employees was at issue. A member of the independent union was asked what he had done to verify his statement as to that particular date. Counsel for the Board interposed repeated objections based on the best evidence rule. A certain disinterested person, together with his records, could have been subpenaed by the Board and the matter settled beyond question. The difficulty was that counsel for the Board well knew that the fact would have been determined unfavorably to the complaining union. When it was suggested that the Board use its power of subpena counsel flatly refused.
I didn't quote anything from that because there is a great deal of argumentative speech making by everyone, including myself, I guess, in the record, but it is found at page 1070 of the official record, and pages following.
The foregoing excerpts clearly indicate what sort of farce the Board, through its agents, enacted in Case No. XII-C-144 in which the writer was engaged as an attorney. The whole proceedings was a mockery and a travesty upon sensible law enforcement. Both the trial examiner in his intermediate report and the National Labor Relations Board in its decision and order carried on from the point at which counsel for the Board ended. Both found the independent union company-fostered and company-dominated. To one quainted with the record there is high comedy in some of the findings of fact solemnly set forth in the intermediate report and the decision. The respondent company filed with the circuit court of appeals a petition for review of the Board's order. The Board answered the petition and asked for an enforcement order. Before the record came before the circuit court for judicial investigation the Board signed a stipulation dismissing, with prejudice, its petition for an enforcement order, and the case has now been terminated, I think in the neighborhood of a year, although I don't recall exactly when it was settled. But it was dismissed with prejudice in a formal written dismissal.
I have one further case that I might want to speak of for a short period. I encountered the Labor Board in another matter which throws into bold relief the present administration of the act. In this case the International Association of Machinists petitioned the Board for certification as the sole bargaining agency for a defined unit. A hearing on July 7, 1938, was held, and the writer, representing three unaffiliated employees, intervened with a view to protecting such rights as they might have had therein. The petition for intervention was allowed and the intervenors resisted the efforts of the union to become certified, without first proving, by secret vote, its claimed majority. As a result of the hearing the Board ordered that an election be held under its supervision. Thereafter a notice of election was issued by the regional director, but the terms of that notice entitled only the International Association of Machinists to appoint "authorized observers" for the polls. Vigorous protest was made by my clients, and as a result the election was postponed.
A new date for the election was set and the unaffiliated employees were given the like privilege of appointing "authorized observers."
In the interim between the date set in the original notice of election and the amended notice two attorneys for the Board came out from Milwaukee, Wis., on a "fishing expedition" and interviewed one of my clients. This was done without first seeking my permission. In fact no harm was done by this, but similar conduct among private practitioners would be considered highly unprofessional, to say the least.
In due course the election was held and the petitioning union was overwhelmingly defeated by a vote of 65 to 180. The regional director in his intermediate report certified that the election had been conducted fairly and impartially in all respects. Finally, and on May 20, 1939, the I. A. M. petition for certification was dismissed.
Now, by way of hearsay, I can tell of one more little incident in which an employee of the respondent company in this case was interviewed by a field examiner, I believe in connection with a discharge case, because the man who worked right next to him had been discharged. He was interviewed, I think there at the plant, and in the course of discussion the field examiner asked him why he didn't join the International Association of Machinists, in fact urged him very strongly to do that, and by way of argument asked this friend of mine, the employee, what he was going to do when he reached the age of 45. He said, "You will probably lose your job and then what are you going to do? If you join the union you won't."
Well, it was an unhappy question for the reason that my friend answered in this way. He said, "Well, my father is now 67 years old and entertains no fear of losing his job today."
Senator BURKE. Was he employed by the same company?
Mr. BLAKEY. The same company, and the gentlemen to whom the question had been addressed had worked there 13 years. Well, of course, upon being answered that way the field examiner dropped the subject and I think the interview.
Now that is all I have.
Senator BURKE. How many employees were there at the Beloit Iron Works at this time?
Mr. BLAKEY. What particular time was that, Senator?
Senator BURKE. At the time this complaint was filed?
Mr. BLAKEY. I think there were in the neighborhood of 800. That includes everybody from the officers of the corporation down.
That fact was put in the record in one of the hearings in the representation cases. I think the figure was 823 at the highest, although that has been abnormal for the company.
Senator BURKE. How many of those men were affiliated with the independent union?
Mr. BLAKEY. There were 483 at the time of the hearing. That reached an all-time high. That is the greatest number that the independent union ever had.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you running now?
Mr. BLAKEY. They haven't consulted me on any of their questions in the very recent past. They haven't had any meetings, I don't think, for the last 2 or 3 months, although they don't call me to every meeting. I mean to say that I am not called by them unless they have something that they consider a problem involving law of some
sort. I assisted them in organizing but then didn't have much of anything to do with them until they retained me for the hearing. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Blakey.
Mr. R. G. Plumley? Mr. Plumley, will you state your name, your address, and what or whom you represent, and anything else you want to appear about yourself in the record?
STATEMENT OF RICHARD G. PLUMLEY, GENERAL MANAGER OF THE STAMFORD DIVISION OF THE YALE & TOWNE MANUFACTURING CO.
Mr. PLUMLEY. My name is Richard G. Plumley. I live at 155 Holmes Avenue, Glenbrook, Conn.
I am the general manager of the Stamford division of the Yale & Towne Manufacturing Co. I have a very brief memorandum that I thought I should read, and it just touches the high spots so that if there is some avenue from which you would like to ask questions thereafter, I would be glad to answer them.
The CHAIRMAN. You would rather not be questioned while you are reading?
Mr. PLUMLEY. I would just as soon, if you like, but I didn't make the memorandum lengthy purposely because I didn't want to make it boring to you.
As I said in my introductory remarks, I am the general manager of the Stamford division of the Yale & Towne Manufacturing Co.-the company operates various divisions-and I have been employed by that company in various capacities for the past 19 years.
The founder of our business, Mr. Henry R. Towne, laid great stress throughout his career on the necessity for fairness and consideration in dealing with the employees of the company, as well as with its customers, and it was therefore quite natural that our company should begin thinking about establishing some sort of facility for collective bargaining somewhat earlier than many other companies.
In 1919 the employees of our company were unorganized for the purposes of collective bargaining and dealing with the management in matters relating to wages, hours, working conditions, grievances, and so forth, but the management felt that the need for some organized method of handling these matters existed and accordingly suggested to the employees that they form an organization for these purposes. A suggested plan of organization was presented to the employees under which they were permitted to elect representatives by secret ballot who would conduct meetings for the purpose of discussing their problem of employment, and who would subsequently meet with management to present such requests as they felt should be presented. The plan was adopted by an affirmative vote of approximately 97 percent of the then employees in a secret ballot, and was immediately put into effect.
Senator BURKE. About how many employees were there at that time?
Mr. PLUMLEY. At that time, sir, there were nearly 5,000 in this plant.
From 1919 to 1937 this plan functioned admirably in the handling of all problems related to working conditions in the plant.
The plan was covered by a constitution and bylaws which were modified from time to time as the need arose, and I have here a copy of the original constitution and of the latest revision.
The CHAIRMAN. They may be put in the file.
Mr. PLUMLEY. During the 18 years in which this industrial council functioned, thousands of questions relating to conditions of work, safety, wages, hours, overtime, and other kindred subjects were discussed and settled amicably between the employee representatives and the management to the end that the council representatives and the employees as a whole were fully satisfied that they had adequate representation and a fair hearing of their problems, together with a just settlement of those problems.
During the first 2 years of my employment in the plant I was eligible to vote for council representatives, but did not take part in the council activities, further than voting at the regular elections.
Later, after I had been appointed a department manager, I took part in the committee of management representatives who met with. the employee representatives, for a number of years, and was, therefore, thoroughly familiar with the procedure of the council.
The council continued to function until the Supreme Court decision upheld the constitutional validity of the Wagner Act, and aside from the fact that the council members were paid for time spent in investigation and discussing their problems and were permitted to meet on company property, the council was entirely legal and in keeping with the spirit of the Wagner Act.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean that this organization had functioned for nearly 20 years?
Mr. PLUMLEY. Yes; for 18 years.
Soon after the decision of the Supreme Court in 1937, a C. I. O. organizer began making speeches on a street corner adjacent to our plant, in an effort to persuade our employees to join his organization. The CHAIRMAN. May I ask you there, you mentioned that when the Supreme Court decided that the act was constitutional, it ceased to exist?
Mr. PLUMLEY. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. How does that happen? Did you become conscious of the fact that you had an organization that probably was not proper any longer under the law, or were you advised by lawyers? Mr. PLUMLEY. In 1935, when the law was passed, we asked our lawyers if they could see any reason why the council should not continue to function and they said that the only thing that can possibly be found fault with is the fact that it met on company property-and by the way, that is not a strictly company piece of property; it is a property held in trust by a group of trustees appointed by the will of Mr. Towne, the building is given by the will and is held in trust, but it stands on land that is owned by the company, so that we were not flagrantly violating anything in the law, and our attorney said "let us let them continue, they are doing a good job, let them continue until some test is made of the law." So we carried on for those 2 years, realizing that perhaps the Labor Board might find fault with that technicality, but in the main we were within the spirit of the law. The CHAIRMAN. You were acting entirely yourselves, were you? Mr. PLUMLEY. I am sorry, I do not understand that question. The CHAIRMAN. I say, you were acting entirely for yourselves?