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It is very heartsickening to hear that the Olin-Matthews Co. was unable to secure an agreement with the power company that would have permitted them to locate in southern Illinois but did force them to take their plant East.
I also hear that the Kaiser Co. is locating another aluminum plant in the East and if top State and Federal people cannot bring enough pressure on the local power company to work out a satisfactory solution for companies of this kind then I am afraid that we will always have an oversupply of workers in this area. If this office can be of any assistance to you in helping to secure more employment and other companies to move into this area please do not hesitate to call
(Letter dated December 30, 1955, to Mr. Goffrey Hughes, Southern Illinois, Inc., Carterville, Ill., from Mr. Emery Earl Hood, business agent, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 160, Murphysboro, Ill. :)
I am happy to hear that you have been asked to appear before the Senate subcommittee, as I feel that you too have a complete understanding of the problems of southern Illinois.
I hope that at some later date labor representatives are given an opportunity to present their problems at a hearing. I am confident no group of people is as closely associated with the unemployed as the representatives of labor. It is we who must listen to the heart-rending stories of misfortunes, and sympathy is all we have to offer in most cases.
If asked to give the number of unemployed in our group, the answer would be misleading, as no true picture could be given to such a question. Plumbers, pipefitters, and welders are classed as a skilled craft and cannot be trained overnight. As these men are in demand in other sections of the country, there is no way of knowing the number of people working away from home and their families still living in southern Illinois. But I am certain that if there was any work in this area I would have 300 men available immediately.
I hope your trip is successful and I feel the only labor shortage in southern Illinois is in your department, as we need more men like you.
(Letter dated December 31, 1955, to Mr. Goffrey Hughes, executive director, Southern Illinois, Inc., Carterville, Ill., from Mr. Ward T. Bryant, FST-BA, Local Union No. 758, International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers, Cairo, Ill. :)
In reply to your request to the employment problems confronting me as Business Representative of Iron Workers Local Union No. 758, Cairo, Ill. I must say that the employment situation is critical.
Since this being the end of the fiscal year it is possible that I can quote you the exact number of our membership, which is 389 and out of this 389 membership the exact figure for employment of our membership in southern Illinois, southeast Missouri and Kentucky is 41 and we have contended with this situation for the past year here in southern Illinois, southeast Missouri and Kentucky. The membership of our people that has been unable to find work in southern Illinois, southeast Missouri, and Kentucky, this number being 348, I would say 200 of this number have left their homes and families seeking work to the north; the balance of this number still being at home drawing unemployment compensation.
Hoping this covers the information you needed, I remain.
(Letter dated Dec. 31, 1955, to Mr. Goffrey Hughes, executive director, Southern Illinois Inc., Carterville, Ill., from Mr. Albert Blome, Sr., business representative, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local Union No. 268 Southern Illinois, Belleville, Ill. :)
With your reference to your letter of the 29th, following is a statement as to employment problems with which we are confronted as a business representative for Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 268 which comprises 38 counties in southern Illinois.
In 1953 alone it was necessary to place about 35 of our members from the lower part of the State on jobs in the industrial area of East St. Louis with quite a few being added to that number since then. About 30 percent of these men have now located their families in this area due to the fact that there was not sufficient work near their homes to support them.
During this past week, 6 sheet metal workers, from as far south as Metropolis, were sent to Centralia for about 1 week's work on an oilfield job there. Of course, when that work is completed we will have to try to place them some place in this vicinity again. It is a common practice in our craft, as it must be in some others, that men from southern Illinois must travel a hundred or more miles in order to obtain work.
I hope this is the information you desire and wish you every success in attracting industries to your area.
(Letter dated December 30, 1955, to Mr. Goffrey Hughes, executive director, Southern Illinois, Inc., Carterville, Ill., from Mr. Guy Price, financial secretary and business agent, Retail Clerks Local 896, Harrisburg, Ill. :)
I am answering your letter I received from your office December 29, concern. ing the status of our particular craft, the retail clerks, and the hardships we are having due to no coal mines in our area employing the men that we used to have which this makes business bad and it keeps lot of our people only working part time.
As a representative of one of the finest bunch of people in the world, the retail clerks, it would be wonderful if the Government could see fit to work out some kind of a program by bringing factories or by helping southern Illinois get back on its feet.
Mr. Hughes, I have less people now working in the stores here in Harrisburg and in the surrounding small communities, than I had in years. Also we have had several merchants in this area go out of business due to so much unemployment. I know organizel labor in southern Illinois will do their utmost to solve the unemployment situation in southern Illinois.
I wish you a lot of luck on your trip to Washington on January 6. Hope to hear from you soon.
(Letter dated December 31, 1955, to Mr. Goffrey Hughes, executive director, Southern Illinois, Inc., Carterville, Ill., from Mr. Hartley Wiseman, president, International Glove Workers Union Local 101, Metropolis, Ill. :)
In regard to your letter asking for information concerning labor difficulties in our union.
We have been organized and have had a contract with our employers The Good Luck Glove Co. since 1943. We have had a union-shop agreement since 1953.
We have 500 members and have always found the company reasonable and fair to bargain with. We haven't been able to obtain all we have asked for but I believe the company has been fair in regard to wages and working conditions as found in our industry, the work-glove industry.
Up to this point I have tried to present a reasonable and factual account of the situation in southern Illinois as I understand it. Now I should like to offer some recommendations for solutions to our problems. Our task, simply stated, is to find ways and means of restoring 20,000 unemployed people to gainful and productive employment. One great contribution to that end would be to cure the coal industry. Below, I shall offer a suggestion that will cost an amount equivalent to the excess cost of general public assistance for a 5-year period.
SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS FOR THE COAL INDUSTRY
Five southern Illinois counties have known mineable coal reserves of 16,713,472,000 tons-Illinois State Geological Survey Bulletin No. 78, published 1952. During 1954 those same 5 counties produced 16,113,000 tons. Simple arithmetic indicates, at the 1954 rate of
production, a 1,000-year supply. It is landlocked up in these counties am talking about.
Coal is bulky and needs freight advantages and concessions. I propose that the inland water barge routes be extended from the Mississippi River, up Big Muddy River to the site of the proposed Rend Lake, and thence up to the Franklin-Jefferson County line. I also urge that Beaucoup Creek be canalized from its mouth on Big Muddy River to a point where it flows under the Illinois Central Railroad, southeast of Pinckneyville, Ill. Also, consider opening the Big Saline River up to Equality.
See map showing inland waterway of Ohio and Mississippi Valley, with suggested improvements marked in red. (The map follows:)
See map above - "The history of declaration by the Federal Government of the Big Muddy River as navigable goes back more than 50 years. Currently, this River is considered navigable to mile 37.5 above the mouth, and this status is defined by a letter of the Chief of Engineers, dated 8 January 1931." Letter (1. February 1956), Col. George E. White, Jr., Corps of Engineers, St. Louis.
Now, see Fig. 2 - A map of the principal waterways of the United States Army Map Service, Corps of Engineers, Department of the Army 300445 1942 (3-49). Notice that practically every state east of the Mississippi River has inland waterways completed and in use.
Southern Illinois industrial development has suffered because of such competition to the point that our economic survival requires that we complete the canalization of Big Muddy River and the Beaucoup Creek. See Fig. 4 on next page.
Mr. HUGHES. The reason we recommend things like this are we are disappointed when we learn that the big aluminum companies come and look in our area and then go some place else. Those other places where they go are naturally benefited. We do not want to take anything away from them but we do know that the aluminum industry is expanding greatly. There is room for us to share in that great market.
These newspaper headlines stimulate me to urge these much needed improvements:
Olin Mathieson Expands Activity in Related Fields"-announced plans to build a primary aluminum plant in the upper Ohio Valley. They have barge transportation, water in great quantities and coal nearby.
"Kaiser Corporation Plans Plant in Coal Area $120 Million Aluminum Reduction Factory To Be in Ohio Valley"-to be built at Ravenswood, W. Va.
They went to Ravenswood, W. Va. Those people have the advantages of inland waterways, coal, all in the same location. There is a map of the inland waterways of the United States and right in here we have a great coal field of a thousand years' supply, and we are landlocked, and we are asking that we do not have anything others do not have, we are just asking that we get an equal break and equal opportunity to compete so that we, too, may share in the proposed expansion of the aluminum industry.
The Reynolds people went to Sheffield, Ala. Recently the Alcoa people announced over along the Ohio. We do not propose to take anything away from other areas that are equally deserving, but we do seek the opportunity to compete on an equal basis.
Mr. BOLTON. Would the gentleman yield at that point, Mr. Chairman, or would he wish to continue his testimony?
Mr. HUGHES. I yield.
Mr. BOLTON. Is it your point, sir, that the coal of this area is landlocked, and has no transportation and therefore the aluminum industry did not come there because it could not get other supplies where the coal was or because the coal could not be moved sufficiently for the aluminum industry?
Mr. HUGHES. I think it could not get the raw products, the bauxite up the river to the coal. That is one of our main contentions, we are not so much interested in shipping coal out as we are to bring the raw products up. I think that is where we would be greatly helped by having canalization.
Does that answer your question?
Mr. BOLTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUGHES. I would be glad to have you cut in at any time. Over on page 15 you will find another map, the inland waterways of the eastern United States. Up in southern Illinois, if you will notice, there is an indication that Big Muddy River is considered navigable. Down below, you will find statements by the Corps of Engineers and the law of the State of Illinois that it is navigable but has not yet been developed. We are asking that that be developed as one of the keys to our economic problem.
On page 16 you will find a detailed map of the proposed canalization of Big Muddy River and the Beaucoup Creek. This will cost
some thirty or forty millions of dollars, paid for over a period of 40 years, it would cost about the equivalent of 1 month's relief per year for 40 years. We are spending over a million dollars a month on general assistance in those southern counties.
(The map follows:)
Mr. HUGHES. The cost of this proposal-with necessary accompanying dams for impounding water on the upper Beaucoup Creek and in the proposed Rend Lake on upper tributaries of Big Muddyshould not exceed $30 million.
Our people see newspaper accounts of proposals to give $56 million as an outright gift for the construction of a dam on the Nile River in Egypt. They also read a United Press report, dated November 29, 1955, Engineers approve Wabash River dams-proposing ex