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But, finally, 2 weeks after they went back to work, and I never heard anything from them until last fall, the year was up, and then I got a petition from the A. F. of L. So now the Cohoes plant belongs to the A. F. of L., and they negotiated a contract and which I signed around March 15, I believe, of this year. The people in Ballston, the case was tried on appeal, before the second district in New York. We appealed from the order of the National Labor Relations Board and to the circuit court of appeals of the second circuit. This court unanimously reversed the findings of the National Labor Relations Board and the trial examiner in each and every respect and dismissed the order.
Now, the only thing is, Senator, I have no malice in my heart, but it has taken me a long time to make my money. It cost me $80,000 to fight this case, something that I had nothing to do with, and you know the way_taxation is today how long it will take to accumulate $80.000. But I was caught between the fires of two unions, the Government supported C. I. O. and the employees' organization on the other hand. How could I act? I couldn't ask for a hearing, I couldn't talk to my employees, they would come to me and ask what to do, and I would say, "Go away, you are a criminal if you speak to me on that question."
They come to me about marriage, about births, about financing their hospital bills, and I always gave them money.
Of my thousand employees I can call every one of them by their first name; but I will tell you what it has done in Cohoes, where they are all French Canadians, they are all good friends of mine. Today, when I go in they turn their heads down, they don't speak to me, and if I go up to give them an order, the second man has to come up and see that there is no secrecy between the boss and the employee. That is the thing that hurts me. I grew up with those people, built up the organization with them, and just because some organizer comes along and claims he has the protection of the United States Government and tries to make those people believe I am taking advantage of them, that is the thing that hurts me.
And here is another thing. Every time the National Labor Relations Board at New York was about to issue a letter or an order to our company, the C. I. O. organizer advised their members 3 days in advance. When the final order came out they came to me and told me, "The Board has decided against you; it will be mailed to you in 2 or 3 days."
I said, "Where did you get that information?" Mr. Strabel, the organizer for the C. I. O., was the man they said they got that from. So what chance have you, Senator? The reason I got in touch with Senator Burke-I have heard him on the radio, never met him in my life until this morning; I knew there must be a place somewhere for an honest man in business, the little-business man. I know that this Government doesn't want to cut down and kill off individual initiative, but that is what you are doing. Seniority rule is the worst thing in the world, and I will tell you why. I have a thousand people, and every year I take in 50 young people. Every organization must have young blood in order to succeed. But under the seniority rule you can't weed out the older or infirm, you must keep them on, you must have reason or just cause before you dismiss them. Therefore, the younger people don't come in the organization, no new ideas, no new blood.
So what is going to happen? There is going to be a decay. 1936 and 1937, before this trouble, I paid a Federal and State tax of $80,000; in 1937, after the Wagner Act was validated by the Supreme Court, I employed the same people and after paying the social-security and unemployment taxes, I made $1,785 on nearly $2,000,000 worth of business. The first 5 months of 1939 is worse than the 5 months of 1938. But I am keeping 700 people employed. the pay roll is $12,000 a week at present time, but I pay $480 penalty every week, 3 percent for New York State unemployment and 1 percent for social security. So they impose a penalty of $480 a week on me for trying to keep 700 people employed.
Now, I am not here to suggest what is to be done. I know something has got to be done if business is to survive in America. I know you people don't know what is going on outside, and the only way you can know is by hearing the experiences of someone who has gone through these things, these ordeals, and I hope that you people never have to go through that yourselves.
The CHAIRMAN. How are labor relations working now?
Mr. MOONEY. Perfectly; because under the order the 178 people were not returned to work.
Senator BURKE. The circuit court of appeals reversed the Labor Board on all counts?
Mr. MOONEY. In its entirety.
Senator BURKE. And you are getting along all right?
Mr. MOONEY. Absolutely.
The CHAIRMAN. You are working under contract now?
Mr. MOONEY. With the A. F. of L. in Cohoes and the-by the way, it is interesting to note that the Employees Welfare and Protective Association didn't take their case to the court, the circuit court, because they didn't have any funds, but they still upheld that organization.
The CHAIRMAN. That is, the circuit court upheld their contentions? Mr. MOONEY. Yes; and we have an agreement, a working agreement, with them, and here is what I do. I go one step further. I set aside 20 percent of my net earnings and distribute it pro rata on the day before Christmas to each employee employed. I don't know what more anyone else could do.
Senator BURKE. Aren't you mistaken about the date of that sitdown strike at Cohoes? I believe you said it was June 14, 1937, didn't you?
Mr. MOONEY. That is right.
Senator BURKE. That was 2 months after the Wagner Act had been validated, and that was the reason that I wondered about it, as it had been stated here before this committee that the only reason workers engaged in sit-down strikes was that employers were contesting the validity of the Wagner Act.
Mr. MOONEY. Don't you believe that; because this was 2 months after the Wagner Act was validated by the Supreme Court, was sustained.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Mooney.
We will stand in recess until 10 o'clock Monday morning. (Whereupon, at 4:30 p. m., a recess was taken until 10 o'clock Monday morning, June 12, 1939.)
AND PROPOSED AMENDMENTS
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR UNITED STATES SENATE
S. 1000, S. 1264, S. 1392, S. 1550
BILLS TO AMEND THE NATIONAL LABOR
JUNE 12, 13, AND 14, 1939
Printed for the use of the Committee on Education and Labor