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The CHAIRMAN. Are you trying, or is anyone associated with you? Mr. WILTSE. No; we have not made an attempt. But Mr. Harry Reifin, formerly an employee of the Ann Arbor Press, several years ago, a man who instigated a strike against us at a previous time several years ago, a strike of 5 people out of 13 in our composing room, a very small strike, that didn't amount to anything, and they didn't win it, because the shop was opposed to it and they received no sympathy from the community nor from the plant employees either continued his activities through the N. R. A. days and up to the present moment. He was the man who wrote the law and got it shoved through at a night session at the last minute when we had no knowledge of its being passed. That law threatened our existence in the printing business and therefore I was of course in our small shop we know everybody, I have friends in the plant, composing room and elsewhere, and I talked to them about the threat that this law was to our jobs. I told them that I would have to have some kind of a collective bargaining agreement so that I could file an affidavit and protect the jobs of the men working in our plant. Consequently, we went to work to try and get a collective bargaining agreement. The men took it up in the shop and organized an independent association of Ann Arbor Press Employees. At that time, as near as anyone knows, as near as I know, there were 5 union employees in our entire plant, men with cards in their pockets, men whom I had employed regularly and did not discriminte against. To be sure, I published several years ago a notice to the effect that I did not discriminate against union men, that I believed any man had a right to a job in this country whether he was a union man or not, and I had never had the policy of discriminating against any man because he had a card in his pocket, or because he didn't have one.
The CHAIRMAN. How many employees did you have all told? Mr. WILTSE. About 125, and they were divided into composing room, press room and bindery, all dependent on each other. In other words, it was a complete little printing plant in which we would print catalogs and books. If one department was to shut down it would shut down the entire plant. That will have a bearing on what I am going to say later on.
So the employees did get together, organized this independent association and secured the names and signatures of more than 95 percent of the entire plant. I think there were only two men who did not join; as near as I can say at this time, there were only two members that did not join. They went further than that, they incorporated as a State incorporation, so that they were responsible and could be found and dealt with.
We had, our little firm has, since the depression, never had a dividend. All of the earnings of the company have gone into expansion and those earnings have never exceeded a profit of perhaps 5 or 6 percent.
In 1933 we employed 70 people and our annual pay roll was $96,000; in 1934 we employed 78, and the annual pay roll was $115,000; in 1935 we employed 85, and the pay roll was $124,000; in 1936 the pay roll had jumped to $184,000, with 105 employees; in 1937, when this record was taken, we had a pay roll of $182,000.
Now this record shows that not only did the employment increase steadily, which had been our policy to try and grow and develop, but the average pay increased steadily, and I looked up an article published in the paper at Ann Arbor at the time of a strike which occurred later, and which was unchallenged, that our pay roll had exceeded by $10 a week any other pay roll in the city of Ann Arbor. There was never any complaint about wages paid to the employees, no official complaint before the Labor Board or elsewhere. They didn't challenge that, and the entire strike which was brought on later was one of an attempt to control the shop and establish a union in the shop.
The CHAIRMAN. We will have to stop here.
The committee will stand in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 4 p. m., a recess was taken until 10 o'clock Wednesday morning, June 7, 1939.)
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT AND PROPOSED
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 1939
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C.
The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a. m., in room 357, Senate Office Building, Senator Elbert D. Thomas (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators Thomas (chairman) and Davis.
Also present: Senator Burke.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. Senator Ellender desires the record to show that he is busy on the floor of the Senate with respect to the Housing Act.
Mr. Wiltse, you may resume your statement.
STATEMENT OF ARTHUR J. WILTSE, MANAGER, ANN ARBOR PRESS, ANN ARBOR, MICH.-Resumed
Mr. WILTSE. Gentlemen, yesterday I had given you a résumé of events leading up to the signing of a collective-bargaining agreement by the Ann Arbor Press with over 95 percent of its employees, in order to comply with a State law which had been passed at the preceding session, requiring a collective-bargaining agreement or a union label on the printed matter paid for by funds of the State of Michigan, and which had threatened our very existence in business and the jobs of the people working there as well as our plant.
There is no denial by the Labor Board that that law was passed, and there is evidence in the case which came out later that the instigator of the act was also the instigator of the strike against the Ann Arbor Press, Mr. Harry A. Reifen. He wrote the act and acknowledged in the testimony before the Labor Board that he secured its passage, and that he had secured its passage partly to attack the Ann Arbor Press on its State printing contracts and to force the unionization of the Ann Arbor Press.
The CHAIRMAN. The theory of the act as far as the sponsor was concerned, I suppose, was to attempt to put into State law what he conceived to be the theory of the National Labor Relations Act?
Mr. WILTSE. He had failed to organize the Ann Arbor Press in a previous strike and had proceeded for several years as a representative of the Typographical Union and employed by them. He was known as a special representative of the International Typographi
cal Union, and devoted all of his time and efforts to organizing plants throughout that region of Michigan.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not assume that this act, the primary reason for the enactment of the act by the Michigan Legislature, was to organize your plant, was it?
Mr. WILTSE. I think the Michigan Legislature did not have that specifically in mind, but I think that he did.
The CHAIRMAN. You think he did?
Mr. WILTSE. In fact, he testified that he did before the National Labor Board hearing.
We proceeded under that collective-bargaining agreement, a copy of which I have here, which, as I say, was signed by 95 percent, at least, of all of the employees of the Ann Arbor Press. That was entered into on the 22d of February 1937, and subsequently I filed it and an affidavit with the secretary of state of Michigan, and it was accepted as being a compliance with the State Act No. 153, so that we proceeded with the University of Michigan printing and were paid for it, and we did other work for the tourist associations and printing of that kind.
Things were running peacefully, and I thought everything was all right in our plant, until about the 16th of February 1938, Mr. Prettyman, my partner, an older gentleman who takes an interest in our plant, but is rather more of a retired partner and not interested technically in the operation of the plant, received a call from a Mr. Castleman, of the Labor Relations Board of the Detroit regional office. Mr. Castleman wanted an appointment to meet only with Mr. Prettyman. He did not want to meet with me, but he wanted to see Mr. Prettyman first and tell him what he had found in investigating alleged complaints against the Ann Arbor Press. Mr. Prettyman immediately summoned me and told him that he would have to see both of us together. And so we met with Mr. Castleman at Mr. Prettyman's house, not at the plant; that was the first time that I had ever known that any complaint had been registered against us or had ever seen a representative of the National Labor Relations Board. He was a young lawyer who told us at the time that he had just graduated from the University of Michigan 2 years before and was out investigating complaints for the National Labor Relations Board, and he said that his investigations of the Ann Arbor Press complaint had led him to believe that there was no doubt in his mind but that we were guilty of violating the Wagner Labor Act, partly because we signed this collective bargaining agreement with our employees and partly because one Mr. Brown, who had worked with us, had been discharged during August of that year. Mr. Reifen had entered a complaint for him in his behalf against the Ann Arbor Press.
And I want to say in connection with Brown that he testified at the National Labor Relations Board hearing here in Washington later on that I had always treated him fairly, but that he had heard me say things against labor unions, and that therefore he presumed that he was fired because he was a member of the labor union; but when we asked him: "Now, did Mr. Wiltse ever mistreat you in any way? Did he ever intimidate you or coerce you or work against you in any way?" He said, "Why, no; he used to loan me money." We inquired as to what money I had loaned him personally, and he
admitted that I had loaned him the first $5 that he ever had to join the labor union with; that I had loaned him the initial fee with which he joined the labor union in the first place several years before.
And yet, merely because our work was slack, that it had slacked off in the dead of summer and we had to lay him off, he accused us, through this man Reifen, of violating the National Labor Relations Act by discriminating against him because he was a union man.
Senator BURKE. Did the evidence show that when you loaned him the money you knew that it was for the purpose of enabling him to join the union?
Mr. WILTSE. Yes; it is a matter of record. He admitted that I loaned him the first $5 that he ever paid for a union fee to join the labor union with, and he admitted that I knew it was for that purpose. The CHAIRMAN. In this case before the Labor Board you admitted that you were not in favor of collective bargaining, did you not?
Mr. WILTSE. I admit this, that I do not believe collective bargaining in itself is the all and the end of all of the trouble in labor relations. I believe that individual bargaining is just as necessary to be preserved the right of an individual to bargain for his own subsistence and his own living and his own wages is imperative in this country if we are going to have a country like we have had in the past. I do not think that collective bargaining is the halo around this labor-relations proposition or the solution to it necessarily. I believe in it if people want it. If they do not want it, then I say they have a right to not have it. I do not believe any man has to be forced in this country to have someone else bargain for his wages for him and the right to earn a living for his children and his family. And I always will believe that.
The CHAIRMAN. One more question, if I may ask it. Do you think in this particular case of yours that there may come sometime a valid case showing conflict between State labor acts and the National Labor Relations Act which may give us the ruling on that?
Mr. WILTSE. I am going to get to that.
The CHAIRMAN. You are going to bring that out?
Mr. WILTSE. This particular case is interesting from that standpoint, in that State courts are at conflict here with the National Government in the decision of this case.
These people proceeded, as I say-Brown had one of those complaints against us, and his complaint was not very vigorous. He admitted that after discharging him I had requested that he be employed at Monroe, Mich., by Mr. Gray, who is a personal friend of mine, admitting that he got a job there and was working there after his discharge, partly because of the recommendation I had given him. I called Mr. Gray up and asked him if he could find employment for Brown, but that was one of the first complaints that the Labor Board investigated through this man Castleman. Castleman indicated, as I said, that we had violated this act, that there was no question about it, and he asked us to immediately cease doing any business with this Independent Association of Ann Arbor Employees, Inc. They were incorporated under the laws of the State of Michigan and were a legitimate organization which you could put your finger on. I have their names here [indicating]. They all signed these papers-all but two of the employees of the entire plant.