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are jointly engaged as joint venturers or in the relationship of contractors and subcontractors in such construction, alteration, painting, or repair at such site, and there is a labor dispute, not unlawful under this Act or in violation of an existing collective bargaining contract, relating to the wages, hours, or other working conditions of employees employed as such site by any of such employers.”
(H.R. 9373, 86th Cong., 2d sess.) A BILL To amend section 8(b)(4) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 8(b) (4) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, is amended to add the following proviso at the end thereof: “Provided further, That nothing contained in clause (B) of this paragraph (4) shall be construed to make unlawful, where not otherwise unlawful any strike or refusal to perform services at the site of the construction, alteration, painting, or repair of a building, structure, or other work and directed at any of several employers who are in the construction industry and are jointly engaged as joint venturers or in the relationship of contractors and subcontractors in such construction, alteration, painting, or repair at such site, and there is a labor dispute, not unlawful under this Act or in violation of an existing collective bargaining contract, relating to the wages, hours, or other working conditions of employees employed as such site by any of such employers."
Mr. PERKINS. A quorum is present, and we will proceed.
I want to say at the outset this morning that the subcommittee had a preliminary get-together yesterday. Not all of the members were present, which constitutes the present Subcommittee on Labor, but several members were present. We talked over some of the witnesses who wanted to be heard and the clerk informed us of the witnesses that he had already scheduled. It looks as though he has some 40 or 50 witnesses scheduled.
It was agreed among the members present that these hearings would be concluded by February 29. I informed the members of the subcommittee present yesterday that it was my purpose and my intention to complete the present hearings and I hope we will be able to make a report to the full committee at the conclusion of the hearings on February 29,
Now, there may be many other witnesses who want to be heard. If that be the case, I will find time as chairman of the subcommittee to work those witnesses in sometime between now and February 29 in order that we can conclude these hearings as we have already planned. I hope we will be able to start promptly at 10 o'clock and on several days it will be necessary to go forward with the hearings in the afternoon. If it is necessary we will hold night hearings on a few occasions in order to complete these hearings.
This bill is of such importance, I feel, that we should make our report and get it before the full committee with the hope that the full committee will take action at the earliest possible date.
We have with us this morning as the first witness the president of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, the Honorable Richard J. Gray, who will testify in support of H.R. 9070, H.R. 9089, H.R. 9100, H.R. 9123, H.R. 9140, H.R. 9175, and H.R. 9373, all of which are identical. These bills have already been introduced and they are now before this subcommittee.
Mr. Gray, if you will come forward, we will proceed. We will be delighted to hear you at this time. The purpose of the hearing, as I understand, is to reverse the decision that was handed down in the Denver Building and Trades case, which prohibited a union in the construction industry from striking or asserting its economic power under the language of the National Labor Relations Act, requiring an employer to cease doing business with another person.
I take it that Mr. Gray's testimony will be along the line that picketing at a construction job is not a secondary boycott, which it was the intent of Congress to prohibit. We will be delighted to hear you at this time.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD J. GRAY, PRESIDENT, BUILDING AND
CONSTRUCTION TRADES DEPARTMENT, AFL-CIO; ACCOMPANIED
My name is Richard J. Gray, and I am president of the building and construction trades department of the AFL-CIO, representing approximately 3 million building and construction trades workers.
These workers are employed in practically every town, hamlet, and various political subdivisions of the States of our country:
This statement is presented to the subcommittee today in accordance with an invitation from Congressman Perkins for the purpose of giving testimony with respect to these proposals to reverse the Denver Building Trades rule. This appearance is being made on behalf of the building and construction trades department of the AFL-CIO, which was established in 1908 and is made up of 18 national and international unions representing approximately 3 million building and construction tradesmen who are located in almost all of the cities, townships, and other communities throughout the United States.
The legislative object of the bills is to remove the present inequitable restriction in the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, of the economic activity of building and construction unions at the site of building and construction jobs. It will be recalled that the House Committee on Education and Labor in the last session of Congress reported favorably on section 702(c) of the Elliott bill H. R. 8342, in the 1st session of the 86th Congress, which would have corrected this injustice by reversing the rule laid down in the case of Denver Building and Construction Trades Council (341 U.S. 675 (1951)). It will also be recalled that although other portions of the committee bill were not supported by a majority, that a clear majority was recorded in favor of validating common situs picketing in the building and construction industry.
The justification for tsis legislative proposal can be described simply and briefly: The employees of a factory can engage in peaceful picketing in a labor dispute. Construction workers are effectively denied this basic freedom because of a technicality in the new law which did not take into account special facts of the building and construction industry. Section 8(b) (4) of the act forbids, among other things, concerted economic activity by a union where an object thereof is “forcing or requiring an employer *** to cease doing business with any other person. The typical job in the building and construction industry is not carried forward by a single employer with different departments for different types of work. There are numerous contractors on the single jobsite performing the different types of work required to complete the building or project. Consequently, if the Electricians' Union pickets a building job site because of a dispute with the electrical contractor and the carpenters employed by another contractor concertedly refuse to cross the picket line, it has been held, in the Denver Building Trades case, that section 8(b) (4) is violated because the picketing is said to have as an object the inducement of the contractors on the jobsite to cease doing business with each other. Yet the employees in the electrical department of a factory can picket the factory site, even though the carpenters employed in another department concertedly refuse to cross the picket line. Picketing at a construction jobsite does not constitute a true secondary boycott.
There is a solid legislative history supporting the proposal to reverse the Denver Building Trades rule, which dates back to 1954. I am sure that the members of this committee are aware of the fact that since 1954 the President of the United States has recommended that the Denver Building Trades rule be reversed in three separate messages. The proposal has also received the approval of the House Committee on Education and Labor and the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. It would appear appropriate, at this point, to describe the legislative context in which the bills, which are the subject of this hearing, were introduced.
The bills, which are identical, are listed as follows:
H.R. 9070 was introduced September 3, 1959, by Mr. Thompson of New Jersey.
H.R. 9089 was introduced September 4, 1959, by Mr. Kearns, of Pennsylvania
H.R. 9100 was introduced September 4, 1959, by Mr. Perkins, of Kentucky.
H.R. 9123 was introduced September 7, 1959, by Mr. Pelly, of Washington State.
H.R. 9140 was introduced September 8, 1959, by Mr. Osmers, of New Jersey.
H.R. 9175 was introduced September 10, 1959, by Mr. Halpern, of New York.
H.R. 9373 was introduced January 6, 1959, by Mr. Reuss, of Wisconsin.
At the commencement of the 1st session of the 86th Congress, January 29, 1959, Mr. Kearns introduced a bill, known as H.R. 3540, which would have reversed the rule in the Denver Building Trades case. Section 503(a) of the bill would have made the same modification in section 8(b) (4) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, as is proposed in the current bills, H.R. 3540, page 60, lines 8 to 18.
As has been previously pointed out, this committee reported favorably on the Elliott bill, H.R. 8342, which would have accomplished the same object in somewhat different language, section 702(c), page 65, line 18, to page 67, line 20.
The House adopted the Griffin-Landrum bill, as a substitute. This bill did not contain any relief from the Denver Building Trades rule.
When the Senate-passed Kennedy-Ervin bill and the House-passed Griffin-Landrum bill were referred to conference, a substantial issue developed as to whether such relief should be provided for the building and construction trades.
On Friday, August 28, 1959, Senator Kennedy introduced Senate Resolution 181 which would have instructed the conferees on the part of the Senate to insist upon language in the conference report which would have reversed the Denver Building Trades rule—daily Congressional Record, pages 15, 905–915, 906.
On Monday, August 31, 1959, the following telegrams were exchanged between the Secretary of Labor and the president of the building and construction trades department, AFL-CIO:
AUGUST 31, 1959.
This is in regard to that portion of Senator Kennedy's resolution of Friday for instructions to Senate conferees on labor reform bill which requests instruction re reversal Denver Building Trades rule introduced in conference by Senator Prouty, Republican, of Vermont. As you know, President Eisenhower, in his Presidential messages on January 11, 1954, January 23, 1958, and January 28, 1959, advocated reversal of Denver Building Trades situs picketing rule. Senate Labor Committee in 1954 approved President's request in s. 2650 see Senate Report No. 1211, 83d Congress, 2d session. Griffin-Landrum bill now before conferees attempts to close Taft-Hartley secondary boycott loopholes which are to disadvantage of employers. We feel this loophole to disadvantage of building trades unions should also be closed in accordance with President Eisenhower's numerous requests. Language for reversal Denver Building rule now before Senate is verbatim from section 503(a) of administration's bill, S. 740, introduced by Senator Goldwater, Republican, Arizona ; also section 503(a) of Congressman Kearns, Republican, Pennsylvania, both introduced January 28, 1959. My query is, do you, as Secretary of Labor and labor spokesman for the administration, still endorse section 503(a) oí S. 748 introduced by Senator Goldwater on January 28, 1959? Doubt exists in the Senate on this point as to the administration's position. Request you wire reply to this query today.
RICHARD J. GRAY,
AUGUST 31, 1959.
This is in answer to your inquiry re the administration's position and my position with relation to section 503(a) of administration's bill, S. 748, introduced by Senator Goldwater and also companion bill introduced by Congressman Kearns. Our position remains unchanged and we advocate the passage of the administration's recommendation.
JAMES P. MITCHELL, Secretary of Labor.
It should be noted that the Secretary of Labor has repeated this statement of the administration's position in his recent press conference of January 14, 1960.
It appears that the merits of the proposal we are supporting here today were fully considered by the conference committee and that such proposal was not included in the conference report only because a point of order had been raised.
Mr. PERKINS. If I may interrupt you again, Mr. Gray, Mr. Kearns just left the room, but he and I both were conferees at the time and I recall distinctly that it was discussed at that time by the conferees. I feel that your statement is correct because if my memory serves me correctly, the reason this amendment was not adopted was because we were informed by the Parliamentarian that the amendment would be subject to a point of order and it would be knocked out on the floor. That was the reason. Mr. Gray. That is my understanding, also.
GRAY The following statement made by Senator Prouty on the floor of the Senate, Wednesday, September 2, 1959, is helpful in understanding the situation which confronted the conference:
I regret that more was not done to ameliorate the problem of employees in the construction industry. Because of the peculiar nature of this industry, rights enjoyed by other segments of organized labor have not been available to workers in the building trades and to me this represents a definite inequity.
For this reason I proposed an amendment which has been recommended by President Eisenhower since 1954, has the full support of the Secretary of Labor, and was included in the administration's labor reform bill.
I believe this amendment might hav, deen approved by a majority of the conferees had it not been for the fact that we were informed this morning that a point of order would be raised against it in the House and that the point of order would be sustained. (Daily Congressional Record, p. 16,256.)
The omission from the conference report of the proposal to reverse the Denver Building Trades rule was accompanied by a commitment for its consideration in the 2d session, of the 86th Congress, which was stated by Senator Kennedy on the floor of the Senate Wednesday, September 3, 1959, in the following language:
We have secured a commitment from the leadership of the House and Senate that in January a bill which the Senator from California, Mr. Kuchel, and I will introduce tonight and which Representative Thompson will offer in the House, on the Denver case, concerning situs picketing, will come to the floors of the House and Senate. (Daily Congressional Record, p. 16,416.)
The Kennedy-Kuchel bill, known as S. 2643, was introduced in the Senate on September 3, 1959, and the Thompson bill, H.R. 9070 was introduced in the House on the same day. It will thus be seen that the bills pending before this subcommittee represent an item of unfinished business which was transferred over to this session for conclusion. We respectfully urge that this subcommittee and the full committee favorably report these bills, both on their merits and because doing so will aid in discharging the commitments made last session.
This committee has reviewed the merits of the proposal and has declared itself in support thereof. Cogent reasons are set forth in the report of this committee, 85th Congress, 1st session, House Report No. 741, for the reversal of the Denver Building Trades rule.
At the heart of the matter lie the special and unique facts of the building and construction industry. President Eisenhower, in his message of January 11, 1954, recognized that situs picketing, which is the subject of the pending bills, does not constitute a true secondary boycott. "He stated: