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After a few weeks' time a group of employees secured the services of an attorney in order to stay within the provisions of the Wagner Act, and proceeded to organize the Armour Employees' Protective Association for the purpose of collective bargaining in all matters of hours, wages, working conditions, and all matters affecting the general welfare of the employees. We then asked for recognition as the sole bargaining agency for all employees of the Armour plant. Such recognition was withheld until we had our membership certified by an independent auditing concern.
After such auditing and certification we were granted the exclusive bargaining rights as provided under the National Labor Relations Act.
After a few months some nonresident organizers came to Omaha and started to organize under the name of the United Packing House Union, affiliated with the C. I. O., and after a time they asked for recognition, and were told such recognition had been granted to the Armour Employees' Protective Association, and under the Wagner labor law they-the C. I, O.-could not be recognized until they had proven they had a majority of the employees in their membership. Such proof was never produced.
A few months later-exact dates are a matter of record in the N. L. R. B.—a complaint was filed charging Armour & Co. with unfair labor practices and alleging that the Armour Employees Protective Association was financed and dominated by Armour & Co. Much evidence was introduced, purporting to establish this allegation, but was not substantiated; however, the trial examiner made a preliminary report recommending that Armour & Co. cease and desist from dealing with the Armour Employees' Protective Association.
The National Labor Relations Board never handed down any decision in this case. The C. I. O. local petitioned them to hold up decision, and in October 1938 the United Packing House Workers filed application for a new hearing for the purpose of certification and consolidating the two cases. They previously asked that the decision in the original case be postponed. This latter case, the consolidated case, was scheduled for a hearing February 20, 1939, but was postponed until March 2, 1939, during which interval the Packing House Workers Organizing Committee, as the organization was then called, made an intensive drive for membership, using threats, making promises, and otherwise intimidating the employees.
At this time Armour Employees' Protective Association tried to have the Packing House Workers' Organizing Committee ask for an election and withdrew their hearing, but they did not want an election, as they claimed that they would get certification after the hearing. At the start of the hearing they produced a list of membership approximating about 65 percent of the eligible employees, but after the ineligible members were eliminated from the list and after eliminating some 140 members from bargaining units, 40 of whom were claimed in the bargaining-agency membership, the evidence showed beyond any reasonable doubt that their actual membership did not consist of more than 35 percent of the eligible employees of the Armour plant at Omaha.
No recommendation was made by the trial examiner at this hearing, and so far the National Labor Board has not handed down any
decision on the consolidated cases. Throughout the hearing we of the Armour Employees' Protective Association, as well as the attorney for Armour & Co., asked for an election to give the employees the right to express themselves as to their preference of representatives, but the Packing House Workers' Organizing Committee would not ask for an election.
We feel that we should be protected in our rights to join or refrain from joining or in forming an organization of our own choosing as set forth in the Wagner Labor Act. We do not feel that a labor organization should be fostered or promoted by any bureau or board or any governmental agency. Neither do we think that any governmental board or bureau or agency should condone coercion or intimidation as has been our experience with the C. I. O. organization at Omaha. They have threatened to strike, to shut down the plant, and even went to the homes of employees who would not join their organization, and otherwise harassed the men and women workers.
In the plant many employees have been threatened with knives and other weapons and ridiculed because they did not wear a button of the C. I. O. union. We feel that in the interest of the millions of workers who are paying into the social-security fund and who are not members of either of the three large national labor organizations, the A. F. of L., C. I. O., B. R. T., that the Wagner labor law should be amended, especially the administration of the National Labor Board, which has been heretofore opposed to any local independent organization, however formed or conducted.
It appears from what we have experienced that there is well defined timing of the Labor Board's hearings and order with the membership drives of the Packing House Workers' Organizing Committee, affiliated with the C. I. O. They file a complaint or petition and start an intensive membership drive, after the drive is over, and then a date is set for the hearing and if their membership is not what they would like to have it, the hearing is postponed, as in the case of the hearing set for February 20, 1939, and set up 2 weeks to March 2, 1939, during which 2 weeks they made an extensive drive, again using threats, promises, and intimidations and getting withdrawal slips signed from as many of our members as possible. Then they were ready for the hearing.
Previous to the original hearing, the president of the United Packing House Workers told the president of the Armour Employees' Protective Association that the Labor Board was sending a trial examiner here who would order the Armour Employees' Protective Association disbanded, regardless of evidence introduced at the hearing. At the close of the hearing, the trial examiner made the statement that the petitioner had failed to prove by any evidence that Armour & Co. had dominated, coerced, or financed the Armour Employees' Protective Association, yet he recommended that Armour & Co. cease and desist bargaining with or otherwise recognizing the Armour Employees' Protective Association. As stated above, the Board itself has never made a ruling on this hearing.
I would like to say that the trial examiner made a statement at the close of the trial that the petitioner in his opinion had failed to prove that Armour & Co. had dominated, coerced, or financed the organization, but about 10 days later they got a formal recommendation from
him that they cease and desist dealing with the Armour Employees Protective Association.
We feel that the Labor Act should be amended so that a group like ourselves, or a company like our employer, would have the opportunity to ask for and secure an election among their own employees or members, for a right to choose who the employees themselves wanted as their bargaining agency.
All statements herein contained concerning dates of petitions and hearings and rulings on hearings, as well as the case numbers can be verified by reference to the records of said hearings.
Our organization supports those amendments of the Wagner Act which will allow local groups of employees to organize and be recognized and bargain with the employers without being affiliated with any national organization. Also, those amendments that will limit. the power of the Board so that they may not act as a prosecutor, judge, and jury, and a general overhauling of the Board's rulings on procedure be made that will be fair to all organized groups of employees whether or not they have affiliations with other organizations, particularly members of independent unions who have suffered most under the previous administration of the Board.
We are also in favor of a more orderly procedure of hearings and a limit put on the time in which decisions may be held up after the conclusion of the hearing, so that disturbed conditions of a group of workers may not continue indefinitely. And that at Board meetings, we be allowed to subpena witnesses and the same rules that govern the introduction and exclusion of testimony that are usually observed in ordinary court procedure be followed.
That concludes my statement. If there is any question that I can answer, I would be glad to.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Niblett. You stand behind the Burke amendments; that is probably the best way to leave your testimony, is it not?
Mr. NIBLETT. Most of them we are heartily in favor of. We are not affiliated with any national organization, but simply a local group that has the majority in this plant. We feel that a local group of American citizens have a right to choose or form an organization and have that right upheld in their work.
Senator DAVIS. What is the membership of your group?
Mr. NIBLETT. We have approximately 750 out of an average count of 1,350 daily count in our plant.
The CHAIRMAN. The next witness is Frank Dowling, of Gadsden, Ala.
Mr. Dowling, state your full name and address and whom you represent, and such other facts as you care to in connection with your
STATEMENT OF FRANK DOWLING, CHAIRMAN, BARGAINING COMMITTEE, ETOWAH RUBBER WORKERS ORGANIZATION, GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER CO. OF ALABAMA, GADSDEN, ALA.
Mr. DOWLING. My name is Frank Dowling, my address is Gadsden, Ala., chairman of the bargaining committee of the Etowah Rubber Workers' Organization of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Gadsden, Ala., an independent union.
As an officer in the Etowah Rubber Workers' Organization I take the privilege to write you in regard to our dealings with the N. L. R. B.
Before the Wagner bill went into effect, we had at our plant what was known as employees' joint conference, and our dealings with the company through this plan were most successful. However, sometime during the early part of 1937 we, the employees of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. of Alabama, were informed that this plan of bargaining would be discontinued.
On or about April 19, 1937, we formed what is known as the Etowah Rubber Workers' Organization, as our men felt that we must have some form of bargaining with the company for the good of the employees. Our charter was issued on May 11, 1937, before Probate Judge E. L. Hurst, who is probate judge of Etowah County, Ala. Out of 1,400 eligible employees, 1,200 signed up in our organization. All of the 1,200 members felt that no better place to work existed in this part of the country, and that a man could expect no better treatment from anyone than that received from our company.
We employed the services of an attorney, Mr. W. M. Rayburn, who is now a judge of the Circuit Court of Alabama, and on his advice we tried every means known to us of getting a hearing for our organization. We wrote to the Labor Board in Washington, sent a committee of our men to Atlanta, Ga., with our attorney, and filed all required papers to obtain an election at our plant of the employees of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. of Alabama, to settle the dispute as to who was the majority with the right to bargain with our employer. To date we have not received one word-not even the courtesy of an
Senator DAVIS. Whom did you write to?
Mr. DOWLING. We wrote to Washington to the Board here.
Mr. DOWLING. Yes, sir. They referred us to Judge Feidelson, the regional director in Atlanta.
The CHAIRMAN. And he never answered you at all?
Mr. DOWLING. He gave us the papers to fill out-which we did. Senator DAVIS. The Labor Relations Board did not acknowledge receipt of your letter, but they referred it to a representative in Atlanta?
Mr. DOWLING. Yes; we went to see him.
Senator DAVIS. And he made connections with your concern?
Mr. DOWLING. That is right; but as far as getting an election, we never heard a thing in the world from him about it after we filed the papers.
Furthermore, we have employed in our plant at this time a man who at one time belonged to the local C. I. O., and who was very closely associated with C. N. Feidelson, regional director for the N. L. R. B. He advised that Mr. Feidelson told them (C. I. O.) that we (Etowah Rubber Workers) would never get an election so long as we had a majority. That is in the record of our hearings, too.
You can see how biased the N. L. R. B. is when the regional director makes such a statement. On the other hand, let C. I. O. ask for one little thing, such as an investigation regarding their
claim that they were being discriminated against at the Goodyear plant-which everyone would know was not true, and in that case he tried to hold an investigation which lasted 2 or 3 months, I think, and the whole Board comes in to investigate.
The N. L. R. B. held an investigation of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. of Alabama, claiming that Goodyear had discriminated against C. I. O., and we, the Etowah Rubber Workers, asked our attorney to intercede in the hearing. However, very little recognition, if any, was ever given to us, yet the C. I. O.'s sat around the table with the Board's lawyers and discussed every witness that was put on the stand with them. This hearing was held during the latter part of 1937, and we have never heard one word of the outcome. The whole thing seems to us to be a useless way to spend the taxpayer's money-to come in and hold an investigation, with the money that it costs for the people of this country, and yet that has been over a year now and they have never made any kind of a decision whatsoever; we never heard anything from it.
The CHAIRMAN. It is still hanging?
Mr. DOWLING. Yes.
Senator DAVIS. And did you have a vote?
Mr. DOWLING. No, sir; never would give us a vote, which we asked for and asked for. We had 1,200 out of 1,400 eligible employees that belonged to our independent organization.
The CHAIRMAN. Your union is still functioning, isn't it?
Mr. DOWLING. It is still functioning. The company still bargans with them, but that is when they have anything to come up; but there is very few left in the plant now; a lot of them have quit and got other jobs.
Senator DAVIS. Is the factory working?
Mr. DOWLING. I mean that not many of the C. I. O. are in there; a lot of them have come in and joined our organization since that time.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. Hood, will you give your full name and representation, and any other statement you wish to make in connection with your testimony?
STATEMENT OF 0. R. HOOD, GADSDEN, ALA., COUNSEL FOR GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER CO. OF ALABAMA
Mr. HOOD. My name is O. R. Hood; I live at Gadsden, Ala. I am a lawyer for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., a lawyer retained by that company.
I went through the hearing representing that company that has just been referred to by the preceding witness. I am here today hoping that I may be of some service to the committee in the amendment of the Wagner bill.
I feel like, personally speaking, that all of the Burke amendments should be adopted. I am not so familiar with the Walsh amendments, because I have had no connection or representation with those contending national unions, so I am not prepared to give an opinion that would be worth anything with reference to the Walsh proposed amendments.
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