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Atlanta, and there the motion was made that Mr. Cowherd, since this indictment had been found against him, could no longer come to Gadsden and represent his clients, and that therefore the hearing be adjourned to Atlanta, Birmingham, or somewhere else.
Contention was made all day over there before this man Feidelson. We contended that Goodyear had nothing whatever to do with the indictment, knew nothing of it, and that we didn't practice law that way, nor did we try labor hearings that way.
A good many times up until that time, Wilbur and Collendar, the Board's trial examiner and the Board's attorney, adjourned court temporarily, with the statement that they had a long-distance call from Washington. Now they didn't state whom the call was from nor whom they had talked with. In Atlanta, after we got through with the day's hearing over there, these two gentlemen, so they said, went to Washington in an airplane. No ruling was announced at Atlanta. Some 2 or 3 days elapsed and they came back to Gadsden and there the ruling was announced, overruling the motion to move the hearing. Now, whether they got the inspiration from Washington to make that ruling or not, I don't know. We were pressing and pressing hard proof of the character of Cleere, of Morton, of Parker, of others who had testified, to what we conceived to be falsehoods. So all of a sudden the hearing was adjourned, under the announcement that the trial examiner and the Board's counsel were called to Washington. They came back within 2 or 3 days and came to the hearing again and when they appeared, the trial examiner, or rather the Board's counsel, came with a book in his hands, the first time he had had any book.
So, of course, being a lawyer, my curiosity was aroused to know what that book was, and I found that it was Wigmore on Evidence. So I said, "Mr. Collendar, you, of course, know the terms of the Wagner Act, by which the rules of evidence have been greatly relaxed, the act specifically providing that the rules of evidence applicable to courts of law and equity should not be applicable to these labor hearings and to the Labor Board, and you are surely not coming here now with Wigmore, insisting on the strict enforcement of the rules of evidence in view of that fact."
He made a motion-I haven't undertaken to bring any of the record here because it is so large, but I think I could probably state the effect of a great deal of it-he made a motion, as I recall, to exclude all the testimony taken of the prisoner in Atlanta, all the testimony taken of the prisoner in the State penitentiary at Alabama, the testimony relating to this dynamite, and all similar and such testimony, or most of it.
I do not believe that the testimony of Dr. Shulhofer, relating to this note, was excluded; I don't believe that was included in the motion.
The CHAIRMAN. What about the testimony concerning the character of the witness?
Mr. HOOD. Every bit of it, as I recall it, was included in Mr. Collendar's motion, and after we had argued it back and forth all day, after I had called attention of the trial examiner time and again to the provisions of the Wagner Act, its relaxing of the rules concerning the admission and rejection of evidence, and after I had
called attention to the declaration of the Ninth Judicial Circuit-I believe it is-Court of Appeals, their definition or ruling as to the meaning of that term or provision of the Wagner Act which seemed to have been generally accepted, the trial examiner sustained the motion. Senator BURKE. What was the basis of the motion, on what ground was it moved to exclude that testimony?
Mr. HOOD. Of course, I can only give you my recollection. I think I can tell you, however, the substance or essence of it. I assume that both of you are lawyers.
Senator BURKE. That is right, I think.
The CHAIRMAN. I, a lawyer?
Senator BURKE. Well, one lawyer.
Mr. HOOD. If so, as Senator Burke will know, under the old strict rule of evidence with reference to establishing a man's character, strictly speaking, the testimony of the inmate of the Federal penitentiary, the Federal Penitentiary at Atlanta and the penitentiary at Montgomery, Ala., and of these other acts and occurrences which had not resulted in an indictment and conviction, were not admissible. So that was the rule, stated by Wigmore, the rule that was relied on, and the rule, as I understand it, that the trial examiner based his ruling on.
Senator BURKE. In other words, in this case, as a result of the motion made after the conferences in Washington, the strict rules of pleading and practice and proof
Mr. HOOD (interposing). Were applied to us.
Senator BURKE (continuing). Were enforced so far as the exclusion of this testimony was concerned?
Mr. HOOD. That is right.
Now I haven't begun to tell you all of the occurrences there, showing bias, bias of the worst type. But I have told you enough.
However, I will not stop with what I have said. I have been practicing law nearly 50 years. In that time I have appeared in almost every court of every character, from the Supreme Court of the United States on down. I have appeared before Senate and House committees, I have appeared before Federal bureaus, I have represented here in Washington, before two House election committees, in which I represented the Democrats in contested-election cases, the contestants being Republicans, and in which the committees were overwhelmingly Republican, and the House was overwhelmingly Republican. I never have-in all that experience-I never have in all those years and before all these courts and various and sundry bodies, seen or witnessed as great bias as in this labor hearing.
We came to Washington to argue the case orally before the Labor Board. Now, you bear in mind that this labor hearing began aboutsometime in August 1937, and ended on the 1st day of December 1937. We came to Washington and argued, undertook to do it-they first gave us 30 minutes, but after some importunities, they did grant us 1 hour to discuss a record containing between 8,500 and 9,000
And just here, gentlemen, permit me to make this statement. It may be recognized, sanctioned by Congress, but I don't believe it isapparently one woman here in Washington was the official court reporter or stenographer of that Labor Board, and she farmed it out or gave it out or had representatives take the proceedings before
this hearing down there. Well, we had heard so much about these hearings before the trial examiners that we didn't know just what kind of treatment was going to be accorded us, so we went to the expense of employing an independent stenographer, and that man Wilbur is to be commended, because he did not undertake to prevent this independent stenographer from taking those proceedings. I am told, many of the trial examiners do prevent it.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know of any that did?
Mr. HOOD. Not personally; no, sir.
Senator BURKE. I could cite you a few cases.
Mr. Hoop. I think, Senator, if you will make the inquiry that you will find plenty of cases, from what I have heard.
Senator BURKE. It has been done in a great many cases.
Mr. HOOD. Now, coming back to Washington, the hearing was set for 10 o'clock, I believe, on a given day-no; I am informed it was 4 o'clock. Anyway, we went around to some office building in the city and went up to a certain floor to this labor hearing. We walked about and finally found a window or door and a girl in there, and we asked her if we could find the Labor Board. She pointed down a long hallway and said, "Go on down that hallway and at the end of it, down there, you will find a room."
Well, we went down there and the door was locked, but after shaking and making some effort to get in, someone in the inside opened it and we were admitted. Off to the left of the door that we went in was a door leading into a side room. I could hear people talking in there, but don't know who they were and what they were talking about. Shortly there was an old friend of mine, I think he is connected with the Labor Board, that came in there and shook hands with me, and while he was there Mr. Madden and one of the Smiths, not the one that has been recently-whose name has been recently withdrawnbut the other one, Ed; is that his name-anyway, they walked in. I had looked around for Mr. Collendar, for Mr. Cowherd, for Mr. Markstein, and none of them were there.
So Mr. Madden and Mr. Smith sat down behind a table over there. I noticed our great record stacked up on the table in front of them, and he looked over at me and said, "You may proceed."
"Well," I said, "gentlemen of the Board, we represent the respondent, the Goodyear people here, we came here prepared to make a reply argument, to undertake to maintain our rights in this hearing. Where is Mr. Collendar?"
"Well," he said, "Mr. Collendar is not here."
In fact, as I recall it, he said it wasn't customary for the Board's counsel to appear before them.
"Where is Mr. Cowherd?"
Well, he didn't know; he wasn't there, nor was Mr. Markstein. Now, to go back a little, after the hearing had been closed and before this man Wilbur possibly had any chance to review the record, to make any findings or report, we got a notice through the mails that the Board of its own motion, Senator, had removed that hearing, taken it out of the hands of Mr. Wilbur, and put it in its own hands. So that was the condition that we were working under when we came to Washington to undertake to argue, to make this one-sided argument in this one-sided hearing.
Well, we proceeded. Of course I was laboring under great embarrassment; I had never been treated that way before. These men, Madden and Smith, began and continued to ask what I conceive to be very insulting questions, certainly they were very inconsiderate of me, although my head was white. They went along with these questions which indicated that somebody, or that they, had got some smattering idea of some things that were contained in the record. So I stopped and asked if they had read the record and if I recollect correctly, and I think I am right, neither one of them had read it, and I have no idea that they had even looked into it.
So we proceeded, and finally Mr. Madden squared himself back and looked at me and said, "Sir, I would be afraid to go to Gadsden or Alabama as Chairman of the Labor Board to hold a hearing down there, afraid that I would be mobbed or lynched," or something to that effect.
Now, Senator, I have always felt proud of my citizenship in this country, and of the privilege my country had given to me to represent my fellow citizens in the courts and hearings of this country, but I want to tell you, if you will pardon me, that this man from Ann Arbor, Mich., this printer, spoke in the language here today that is being spoken by the small-business man, not these great corporations like Goodyear-of course, they can more or less take care of themselves, although it is very expensive. That record alone costs Goodyear more than $4,000. Goodyear paid to these reporters, or to this woman here in Washington for reporting for the Labor Board that
Has the time come in America-and I am not the only one asking this question, I come from the far South, I come from that section that has devotedly for many years supported the Democratic Party, done it at times against our judgment, perhaps, but we did it because we felt that the Democratic Party was the party of all the people, of everybody, rich, poor, union and nonunion alike, but never did I believe, as I came up in my young manhood, that my party or any other party in America would ever put into the hands of a board made up as this Board was made up, the broad power to destroy to a great extent the industry of this country.
They say that the act is all right. I want to say, Senator, that there is no law under God's heaven that is all right that isn't fair toboth litigating parties.
So I believe that this act ought to be amended in several particulars, amended first with an eye single to fair trials. If the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is a large corporation, if it does employ thousands and thousands of people in this country, is that any reason why it shouldn't be given a fair trial?
I wouldn't advocate the repeal of the Wagner Act. One of my Senators asked me, since I have been up here, "Are you in favor of the Wagner Act?" I said, "Yes; with proper amendments."
I realize this is a new day, that we can't live back in the old days, but I also believe in the Constitution, and although our courts have gone on and on and on in the definition of commerce, in the definition of what, directly or indirectly, affects commerce, until now the States, instead of being the sovereigns that they once were, and the Federal Government the instrument of the States, the State governments are almost lost.
I don't suppose that the C. I. O., if they have all the membership they claim, that it would amount to over 2 or 3 percent of the population of this country. If we combined the membership of the C. I. O. and the A. F. of L. we haven't got over 7 or 8 million, against the 130,000,000 people in this country.
So the time is coming, if you will pardon me, that the business interests of this country, and when I say that I mean the little fellow, I mean the little fellow that was down here in this Government hall a year or two ago that came very near tearing the roof off of it, I mean the little farmer, I mean the people throughout this country-that they are not going to tolerate what is going on in this country. They will rise in their wrath, as they have in the past, as they did back yonder in the beginning of the Revolution.
I thank you for your consideration and attention to what I have said. I wouldn't strike down collective bargaining. I don't think my client would advocate any such thing as that, but I would beg of the Congress of the United States that no further emphasis be laid on class, that all class legislation be eschewed, and that we have legislation in this country that will apply to all alike, all classes alike, for you know that we have no real fixed classes in this country. Men who are workingmen today may be captains of industry tomorrow-or at least that is the way it has been in the past. And may that condition continue.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. FRANK DOWLING. I have another statement here by Mr. U. M. Gilbert, our former president, the former president of our organization, that I would like to have put into the record, if that will be satisfactory.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; that may be done.
Does it give his name and address, and his connection?
Mr. DOWLING. Yes.
(The statement referred to above follows:)
STATEMENT OF U. M. GILBERT, FORMER PRESIDENT, ETOWAH RUBBER WORKERS'
I have been requested by Senator Burke to present to you what I know of the operation of the National Labor Relations Board of Gadsden, Ala.
For some time prior to the passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 the employees of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. of Alabama had bargained with the management of that company through a joint conference committee plan. As far as I know, there was not at any time any dissatisfaction with the operation of this form of representation.
Shortly after April 12, 1937, when the National Labor Relations Act was held constitutional by the Supreme Court the company announced that the operation of the plan was incompatible with the provisions of the act and it would therefore be dissolved.
About this time the United Rubber Workers of America, Local No. 12, a C. I. O. affiliate, began a very aggressive membership drive in the plant. Some of us who desired a collective bargaining plan, but one of a variety different from that of the C. I. O., set out to organize an independent group of our own. The organization meeting was held on April 19, 1937. The name Etowah Rubber Workers' Organization was chosen and temporary officers elected. On May 1, 1937, our first general meeting was held at the Municipal Auditorium in Gadsden and officers were elected for the ensuing year. I was elected president. During this period we had conducted an active membership campaign ourselves and soon had 1,200 paid-up members out of about 1,400 eligible employees, thus disproving the widely circulated claims of the U. R. W. A. that they had a membership of between 60 and 80 percent of the employees.