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doing on the positive side of bringing about better performance, and better efficiency
Mr. Gray. Somebody termed them the 10 commandments. If you go back from 1938 to the end of the war, we had some large projects, and competitive bidding went out of the way and some nice juicy contracts came in. Some of those employers shut their eyes to the nonworking shop steward and all of that rigmarole that we have done away with with these 10 commandments. But after they got back into competitive bidding and they had to earn their job, we were charged with featherbedding and every one of those practices that they helped create.
Incidentally, I know there are some fine people connected with the Associated General Contractors; 2 years ago I addressed their Dallas convention and I told them just as I am telling you here and now, and I read the 10 commandments that we had adopted a month earlier. I said: "We would like your cooperation on this. But because we are doing this, we don't want the thing construed as an admission on the part of labor that we are responsible for the conditions that you have complained about and which the press is yelling so loudly about.”
So that is what we did. After the enactment of the Taft-Hartley Act, we set up this national joint board for the settlement of jurisdictional disputes in a peaceful manner. That is costing us about $80,000 a year. The employers put in half and we put in half. We have kept hundreds of cases settled without any industrial strife away from the National Labor Relations Board. If we ever kick that out of the window, you would need to appropriate a lot more money for the National Labor Relations Board to handle these cases.
I think labor has done many things of that character. You hear nothing today about the apprentice training program of your highly skilled workers in the building industry. Who are the people who bear the expense for that? You go back to the turn of this century, and there were very few cities, first class cities, with the exception of the big metropolitan areas like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston, where a boy could go to any school and learn related subjects. The result was the majority of the people that have supervisory jobs in the construction industry in those days came from the British Isles, the Scandinavian countries, or Germany. So under the Smith-Hughes Act, we set up schools where the boy got extension education in his trade, and I organized one of nine schools in 1920 in Albany, N.Y., and for 7 years I taught the practical work in it, and a man named Mr. Simon taught the related subjects. I didn't get a penny of remuneration for it. I am only one of several people around the country that did the same thing.
Mr. PECINSKI. There is no question that you are one of the most highly respected members of organized labor. It is your belief, then, that passage of this legislation would provide or produce greater industrial peace in the building trades?
Mr. GRAY. I am sure it would.
Mr. Gray. Could I interrupt to talk about a subject. In this school I was connected with, we used to set aside one night a month, and we had 35 boys in the class, and we would take them up and I'tried to get a banker, and a material supplier, and a contractor from the em
ployer ranks to come in and lecture those boys or talk to them. Of course, we would have skull practice before, and the first thing he wanted to tell them was what à union man should do, and I said, "We will teach them about that. You talk about some of your problems." I said, "Some of these boys are going to be future officers of the union and some are going to be future contractors, and he may be coming down looking for credit from your bank. Wouldn't you reduce the hazard of risk if you could tell him of some of these problems that you have had and some of the experiences that you have had with employers borrowing money in your bank when they were not properly trained to carry on a business? Wouldn't that be helpful?”
I lectured them, if I couldn't get somebody, I told them myself on the responsibility of a trade unionist to other segments of our society, in a democracy like ours. I am proud to say there are about 15 of those 35 boys that are responsible contractors, and one of the boys that was in that class is an international representative of our union. I think he has a broader base to work from,
I think that is a contribution to our society generally. When you develop those types of people it is helpful. The city would only furnish the salary for one instructor, the one who taught related subjects and union had to get the other instructors, either pay them or someone to donate their services.
Mr. PUCINSKI. My final question is this: Earlier the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Kearns
Mr. PERKINS. Let me say this to the gentleman, that we certainly want you to question Mr. Gray, but we are trying to keep it from be ing repetition and we have four people from Congress waiting here to testify.
Mr. Pucinski. I have just one question. Earlier the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Kearns, had introduced a story from the New York Herald Tribune and one from the New York Times, regarding Mr. Meany's statements. I would like to ask if you would like to comment on a story in the Post this morning by Jack Turget, of the New York Daily News, in which it states that President Meany said today, he offered to supply nonunion Negro electricians to smash discrimination in the AFICIO local but was rebuffed by the White House Committee headed by Vice President Richard Nixon, and finally Mr. Meany says:
The Nixon Committee was perfectly willing to smear unions, but did nothing when I offered to supply workers to bring this issue to a head.
Would you care to offer any comment on that?
Mr. Gray. I would not, because I don't think that I am qualified to answer, and I don't have knowledge enough of just what transpired other than the newspaper article, and I wouldn't want to comment on just a newspaper article. Mr. PERKINS. We have certainly enjoyed your testimony.
Mr. Gray. Mr. Sherman would you like to make one short statement.
Mr. SHERMAN. That is in connection with this little discussion we got into earlier about the man with the building who wanted to dig the ditch. I think, as you well pointed out, and others have, that those problems are taken care of in normal relations between people, but I do think I want to make it clear that from our point of view we are talking about the job regardless of the particular relations between the owner or the builder and the like, and certainly we would not like to see the legislation written in such a way as to permit the evasion of its intent by having the owner, let us say, let some of the work direct to the nonunion contractor in order to avoid the scope of relief that we are asking for.
Mr. PERKINS. Thank you very much.
Mr. GRAY. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your patience with us this morning, and also the members of your committee.
Mr. PERKINS. I am sure I can speak for the full subcommittee that we have enjoyed your appearance, because from the standpoint of your educational training and experience over a period of approximately 55 years, you have made a great contribution to the committee.
Mr. GRAY. Thank you.
Mr. Perkins. You are a great leader, and we appreciate your appearance.
Mr. PUCINSKI. I was so impressed by his testimony that I am going to introduce one of those bills myself.
Mr. PERKINS. Congressman Thompson has been waiting for a long time to testify this morning, and he was one of the members of the conference on the Landrum-Griffin bill.
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK THOMPSON, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am Representative Frank Thompson, Jr., of the Fourth District of New Jersey. I appear before the joint subcommittee on behalf of my bill, H.R. 9070, which I introduced on September 3, 1959, the day on which the Senate passed the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959.
The question of giving relief to building trades unions by reversing the Denver Building Trades rule has been before Congress for many years. I have supported the proposal because it seemed to me that it was a matter of simple justice to give the building trades unions the same economic rights which are enjoyed by unions in other industries.
During the consideration of the Kennedy-Ervin bill by the House Committee on Education and Labor, I was a sponsor of the proposal to amend the National Labor Relations Act to permit common situs picketing in the building and construction industry. It will be recalled that the full committee acted favorably on the amendment and included it in the committee report designed as House Report No. 741, 86th Congress, 1st session. The matter was fully considered and the committee recognized the merits of the proposal.
The conference committee on the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, of which I was a member, also devoted substantial time to discussion of this issue. There appeared to be a majority in favor of including the proposal to reverse the Denver Building Trades rule in the conference committee report, but it was omitted because we were advised that a point of order would be raised and sustained.
Now, section 702 (a) of the Elliott bill would have eliminated the inequitable restrictions on picketing in this industry by reversing the Denver Building Trades rule which is reported in 341 U.S. 675. The need for correction of the injustice caused by the application of section 8(b) (4)(A) of the Taft-Hartley Act to this industry has been recognized in three messages of President Eisenhower recommending reversal of the Building Trades rule. I refer to the Presidential messages of January 11, 1954, January 23, 1958, and January 28, 1959.
Unfortunately, the Elliott bill did not carry and was substituted by a bill called Landrum-Griffin, and therefore the Denver Building Trades rule did not appear in such a way that the conferees could take it up
During the conference, the chairman was a member of the conferees, and he will remember that we thought that this Denver Building Trades section could be kept in the conference report. There were conferences with the House and Senate parliamentarians and unhappily we got a ruling saying it was not germane since it did not appear. It was at that time that a majority of both sides, of all of the conferees, agreed that this relief should be granted although there was no formal motion in the conference or anything reduced to writing in the conference on the subject.
My understanding at the conference was that not only did the conferees agree, but that various individual conferees discussed the matter with the leadership on both sides of the aisle in both Houses, and that it was agreed that this matter would be taken up early.
I would like to commend the chairman for his expenditious carrying out of his part of the understanding. On the basis of those informal understandings, I introduced H.R. 9070, as I said, on September 3, the day that the conference report was adopted.
Now, although the question of common situs picketing has been fully analyzed and considered by this committee, there are a few points which I would like to emphasize.
The basic complaint of the building trades union is that in special facts of the building and construction industry their right to picket has been nullified. In the building trades, the different kinds of work are usually performed by different contractors. Therefore under the statute, it has been held that picketing because of a nonunion condition in a particular trade has as an object the inducement of one employer to cease doing business with another, although both are engaged in the same job. The Supreme Court held that the broad language of section 8(b) (4) (A) of the act required this result. Three dissenting judges thought otherwise, and in the interest of expediting the testimony, I have my colleagues who are waiting including my colleague from New Jersey, Mr. Osmers who has introduced identical legislation, I will just refer to the dissent of Justice Douglas in that
Justices Reed and Jackson joined him. Judge Clark, of the Second Court of Appeals a former dean of the Yale Law School, took the view that even the broad language of Taft-Hartley Act as originally written did not compel the artificial and technical result which is embodied in the Denver Building Trades rule, and my statement cites his opinion.
The substantial division among the Federal judges on this matter is further demonstrated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the Denver Building Trades case at 186 Federal Reporter, Second, page 326. Judge Fahy, for a unanimous court, adopted the view stated by the dissenting opinion of Judge Clark which I have previously referred to. Although one judge, in this court, dissented on another point, he agreed with the court that the literal construction of section 8(b) (4) (A) produced an anomolous result.
Now that the issue is before the Congress on the basis of policy rather than on interpretation of language, it would be advisable to legislate in the light of the substantial economic facts of the industry. Our national policy favors the organization of labor unions to carry forward the process of collective bargaining. The reversal of the Denver Building Trades rule would at least permit the building trades unions to secure the opportunity to endeavor to bring themselvs within the protection of this policy.
The need for this relief is all the more urgent because the building trades unions have been unable to utilize the certification election process for the purpose of organizing:
Again, the special facts of the building and construction industry have produced a result which is different, in this industry, as distinguished from manufacturing employment.
The temporary and intermittent nature of employment on building jobs just does not lend itself to the election procedures which are available to groups permanently employed.
The National Labor Relations Board made efforts to hold elections in various areas but all such efforts were unsuccessful. The only elections which have been held are those which tend to recognize existing relationships which have been in effect for many years.
I believe it would be well to take notice of the fact that the legal situation with respect to organizational rights has changed since the proposal to reverse the Denver Building Trades rule was first presented to Congress. In the last session of the Congress, there was enacted legislation which restricts organizational picketing in all industries, including the building and construction industry. The provisions of my bill do not affect these restrictions. It must, therefore, be realized that the object of my bill is to secure equity and fairness for the building trades. They will continue to be under the same restrictions which are applicable to other industries. The proposal to reverse the Denver Building Trades rule is intended to relieve them of the additional restriction which results from the application of that rule.
In conclusion, I think it is also well to recognize that in the discussions of the conference committee account was taken of the fact that employers having agreements with labor organizations expressed themselves in support of the proposal to reverse the Denver Building Trades rule, because they did not consider the type of picketing involved to constitute a true secondary boycott. This of course is also the view which has been expressed in three separate messages delivered by the President. You are, of course, aware, Mr. Chairman, that on February 5, 1960, the Secretary of Labor informed the chairman of the full committee of the administration's support of this legislative proposal.
Mr. PERKINS. Are there any questions?