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If a dispute arises in such a plant as far as one of the unions is concerned, it is argued that the unions can put up a picket line, and close down the whole plant. Do you have any comment on that argument?
Mr. Rains. There have been some interesting cases. I have the citations available, I think, if I am not mistaken. The testimony of the last speaker before the committee in its hearings yesterday made reference to the citation itself, Mr. Mahin, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He pointed out the case, and there are other cases in the works where the picketing in that type of situation you have described, Mr. Griffin, was allocated to a particular entrance, where a particular trade would be coming and going, and therefore presumably you sealed off the effect of that picket from the rest, and the men were permitted to walk through the line.
I like that case you pose, sir. It illustrates in my opinion the vital necessity for eliminating picketing common situs on the building trades because it brings home the lasting effects that have been entrenched in the American mind, that it is a dirty thing to cross any picket line. My wife, who is here present today—it is my good fortune she joined me in Washington-was a great liberal and for years, although she is married to a man who is fighting daily for his bread at the bargaining table with labor, won't walk through a picket line because she was raised in the thirties. I won't give her age away. She was raised when the whole literature in this field was redundant with the abuses of management. Eighty-five million dollars was spent by big industry in spying on labor construction. But we are in 1960. That is part of our heritage. It is in the past, but not in the minds of many of us who are in that age bracket of 40 to 60 where we remember—except for me—that crossing a picket line is a dirty thing, and no liberal person and no righteous person, no religious person, no right thinking person would cross that line.
There are enough workers in this economy today who are in that age bracket and who feel uncomfortable walking through the picket line. Of course, there are picket lines and picket lines. There are those who think that the picket line must heap abuse, if not physical violence, and the like. Physical violence in the picket line is understood even by the magistrates and criminal courts as being something different from the normal violence, because the industrial dispute is fraught with emotion. They might forgive an action on the picket line that they would not forgive in normal daily intercourse.
I say putting a picket on a construction site puts an immediate signal to our already overconscious group of workers who police the construction industry contract. One delegate cannot cover the whole country. The men, themselves, every working foreman for management is a member of the union. The foreman is a member of the union in most of the trades. He polices the contract. They police each other to death. If you pick up one thing that does not belong to somebody, have you got a card! If you don't have a card, everything stops.
Is this the industry that we have to help organize? For heaven's sake, we are living in an era where we are not looking at the trees, because we are in the woods. This is the oversimplification that I approach and say in all sincerity that it is astounding to me in 2,000 pages of testimony before this committee, and in similar hearings before the Senate Committee on Landrum-Griffin where there was some discussion of this material, secondary boycott, that nobody seems to remember that it is 1960, that this trade is organized, and that these people all belong to the union, those who are in it, and the union is trying to preserve the jobs for those who are in it and for no one else.
The whole issue of the union hiring law came to light through the fact that there were no people coming up who could not join the club, and who felt that they had a right to a job. That is where the building trades began to be pinched a little. The building trades management and labor-management, perhaps, labor, certainly-would say give us none of your aid. We don't want Government legislation. We are doing fine. We have done it long before Wagner and TaftHartley and Landrum-Griffin. But that does not change the situation that they, too, are in America. That they, too, are part of the American economy. That their actions also impinge on our economic welfare.
Mr. GRIFFIN. At that point you have touched on a point that should not be ignored. It is no secret that some of the building and construction unions, including locals in the Washington area, very definitely discriminate on the basis of race in the admission of people to membership
Mr. WIER. And color.
Mr. GRIFFIN. And color. In this morning's Washington Post, I was interested to read that Mr. Meany of the AFL-CIO said he had personally telephoned Labor Secretary James Mitchell and offered to recruit qualified nonunion Negro electricians to help break the racial bars of a Washington construction union. We would certainly be somewhat naive of we were to sit here and assume that this proposed bill has no relationship whatsoever to the problem of discrimination in admission to union membership. Do you have any comments on that?
Mr. Rains. As I say, the last thing I am qualified to talk about is internal union operations, but I will feel always qualified to protest discrimination.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Suppose Mr. Meany should put nonunion colored electricians on a job. What would happen under the bill?
Mr. Rains. I think there is nothing that lends more credence than personal experience to an opinion. I I had a contractor come to me who had a half dozen permitmen in New York City working for him. These were men who knew how to be electricians. They worked with electricians but without the full membership we talk about. They could not have the full health and welfare benefits. I think that has been corrected, but at that time there was some question about that. They were not members. That contractor therefore was not an electric contractor approved by the list of contractors held by the union.
The marriage is a very complete one there. Even the Government is involved. They are all having a wonderful ball, and they are all dancing to the tune of this marriage waltz, but the little contractor who is not in can't join. The employer is a binder that binds for newspapers. So there is a time element in his putting out a magazine section. It has to be done in 3 days or he has not got a business. He has to move from one place to another because he is thrown out after
50 years, and it is a tremendous thing to move all his equipment. It all has to be hooked into electricity. So he has the floor of a whole building and he is one of the biggest binders. He is union, has been for 35 years, and he hires this contractor who gives him a fixed bid on installing the electricity to effect the switch in machinery from the one place to the other. Local 3 comes around and tells him that he has got to get rid of that contractor. He has to get a contractor who is in the union. It doesn't say we will make him a union contractor because he offered to join the union. He offered to sign a union contract and have his men become members and was rejected. "We will give you a union contract, but you use our men.” “Well,"
" he said, "all right, I will go along. I have these six fellows working here. How many can I keep?" "You can keep one, and we will send you
12 more." “But I don't need 12 more. I have a fixed contract. I can't pay 12 more.” “You pay 12 more or you don't work here.” So he throws up his hands.
First he files charges and the client is involved. We discover in that building the feeder lines go up and down above this floor and below this floor, and there are other Local 3 electricians in that building. I cannot see advising a client under those circumstances to go to the Board or go anywhere else. I said, "Mr. So-and-so, capitulate. You have no practical choice. I hate to say this to you, but if you start fighting this thing, there will be all kinds of snafus and this electrician will tell you that, and he did. So you will have to drop him and take one of the contractors."
The union sends a contractor around and the contractor says, “I don't work on a fixed price. Ours is just cost plus." He said, “What
“ does that mean?” “It means the price of our labor, whatever the union thinks we need, plus the material.” The job was estimated at $12,000 some odd by the little fellow with good wages, equal to that of the union,
I must admit that the fringes were not there and they were important. Let us say there was a possible 20 percent loss there in making it a cheaper job. The union put its contractor in and after some monthsmonths, not days and weeks—the cost climbed to $160,000. I don't think the job is done yet.
What is he going to do, give up a $5 million business because he is having a dispute on installing the electricity? Some day in the year 1960 this job will be completed, and he will put this down as an extra cost of operating. The practical considerations are there and they do control. There is nothing you can do about it.
Apropos of your question of discrimination, is it going to help the cause of opening the doors to race, color, and creed in the labor union, to permit the picket line at the construction site? If it will, then I will concede we should say "Yes." But our experience is that they don't open the door and they don't seek organization. They simply seek a stronger and broader and more powerful weapon, and I don't blame them. But I don't think it is justified in this day and age.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Because of the time, I am not going to ask any more questions.
Mr. PERKINS. Thank you very much, Mr. Rains.
Mr. Rains. Thank you. May I express my personal appreciation for elimination of frustration. God knows, I cannot talk this way
at the bargaining table. I hope if Mr. Gray is here he will forgive my personal needs to give vent to frustration which I cannot give vent to normally.
Mr. PERKINS. You have consumed an hour and 15 minutes. Mr. Rains. I want to thank you on behalf of the association for whom you have given me the time. I will send my supplemental statement as quickly as I can. Thank you. (Supplemental statement of Mr. Harry H. Rains follows:) SUPPLEMENTAL STATEMENT OF HARRY H. RAINS
MINEOLA, LONG ISLAND, N.Y., March 7, 1960. Hon. CARL D. PERKINS, Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor-Management Relations, Committee on Educa
tion and Labor, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAB REPRESENTATIVE PERKINS : It had been my intention to submit a formal statement to supplement my verbal presentation and testimony before the House Subcommittee on Labor-Management Relations on the morning of February 18, 1960. However, upon reconsideration, I found myself in agreement with Congressman Wier's comment that I had “covered the waterfront” on the subject of the hearing in my appearance.
Accordingly, I ask the committee's indulgence in simply incorporating this letter and its brief reference to specific points in support of my verbal statement as part of the reported proceedings in lieu of a more formal statement.
Therefore, I urge the attention of the Congress of the United States to the following points :
1. It would seem that before any remedial legislation is passed we ought to know what “evil” we are remedying. The argument advanced for this legislation seems to be that the Denver Building Trades case should be reversed because it prevents construction unions from pursuing organizational activities that are permitted the industrial unions. The short answer to that argument-perhaps too obvious to argue-is that the construction unions do not pursue organizational activities like the industrial unions. The Denver case is typical enough. In that case, the union was attempting, by economic pressure, to force a nonunion subcontractor, and his employees, off the job. The means employed were pressure against the general contractor. The Board found such action violative of the act. This is a typical situation in the construction industry. It is not typical organizing. The union was not out to convince the nonunion employees of the benefits of union membership. They were not out to get these employees to join their union. They simply wanted those men off the job and their own men in. I would submit that this is not an objective consonant with the purposes of the act. We have, in the past, amended our Federal labor laws to outlaw certain means, even though conceding that the ends are worthy. It would be strange to make a legislative exception to allow means for ends that are not even justifiable.
2. Insofar as the proponents argue that Denver Building-type cases have shackeled the construction trades' attempts to organize, there seems little evidence to support such a view. It has been a fact that the construction industry is for the most part organized and dominated by the craft unions. In their volume "Labor Relations and Productivity in the Building Trades" Professors Haber and Levinson were able to report that “n all 16 cities surveyed in the summer of 1952, union strength in commercial, industrial, public and semipublic work was close to 100 percent, with large apartment buildings only slightly weaker.” Further, it must be recognized the craft unions are the stable factor in the industry and their hiring halls are in most cases the only dependable source of skilled labor. The employer as well as the employee must come to them. The employers for the most part are small and even in association are hardly on equal terms with the interunion area building trades councils. This imbalance of economic strength has reduced collective bargaining in the building trades to the grumblings of employers about restrictive work rules. As for the money items, the employer has become merely the agency by which increased labor costs are transmitted to the general public.
3. That the construction trades should be seeking legislative aid at all is noteworthy. It is a matter of history that the construction trades have never had to rely upon the law for support. Their economic muscles have been
strength enough. The instances where 8(b) (4) have been found by the National Labor Relations Board are but a small percentage of the many situations where the construction trades have by no more than the request of a visiting delegate secured the dismissal of a subcontractor and his employees from a job site. There are few contractors indeed who have the temerity to endure à stoppage on a construction project, with the accompanying violation of contract commitments, deadline dates and possible adverse weather conditions, and pursue their present legal remedies. I have known few who would think of refusing a delegate's request, let alone wait until the union posts pickets. Further there are few situations where I, as an attorney, could, in good faith, advise a client to pursue such an action in the face of the practical realities of the situation. The truth of the matter is that the law, as it now exists, is hardly effective. Eliminating the legal sanction removes the last means by which the few hardy employers can insist on equal job opportunities for nonunion employees.
4. The construction trades' practices with regard to maintenance of discriminatory hiring halls and membership practices have long been the subject of criticism and recently of legislation in the new reform legislation. The prac tices of second-class union citizenship, of A, B, and C members, of permit men, practices that provide for taxation without representation have been found obnoxious to our democratic processes, let alone our labor policy. It has made for situations so that we find today, George Meany attempting to recruit Negro nonunion craftsmen and get them employed on a Washington, D.C., construction project to destroy racial discriminatory practices in one District of Columbia craft local. It hardly needs saying that with the proposed legislation, picketing the site of such construction and the accompanying stoppage by the other crafts would be protected.
The Landrum-Griffin legislation promises to eliminate many such practices. It is hardly a propitious moment to pass legislation that will, in effect, underwrite such practices by assuring the practitioners a virtual monopoly over job opportunities. A position, I might add, they virtually have already.
5. The bill itself is so broadly written that there seems to be no limit to the activity permitted so long as it has to do with construction. It is not clear how far this bill allows product boycotts, and if it does, how far from the site of the construction to the producer. This confusion is perhaps a natural result of the lack of justification for its enactment. If we know what we don't want, we know what we want the legislation to do. If the "evil” we are remedying is vague, then the application of legislative remedies can't be limited to the evil intended to be eliminated.
Permit me to thank you for your consideration and the opportunities afforded for presenting a management viewpoint on the legislation in question. Respectfully yours,
HARRY H. RAINS, Attorney at Laro Mr. PERKINS. The next witness is the gentleman representing the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey, Paul J. Brienza. I notice you have a prepared statement.
STATEMENT OF PAUL J. BRIENZA, MANAGING DIRECTOR; ACCOM
PANIED BY JOHN D. LAWRENCE, PRESIDENT; VINCENT J. APRUZZESE, ASSISTANT MANAGING DIRECTOR AND GENERAL COUNSEL; AND RICHARD J. CASEY, ASSISTANT MANAGING DIRECTOR AND ASSOCIATE COUNSEL, BUILDING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY
Mr. BRIENZA. Sir, I hope it won't take more than 8 minutes. I would like at this time to be joined at the table by Mr. Apruzzese and Mr. Casey, and also with me is the president of our association, Mr. John D. Lawrence, of New Jersey.
Mr. PERKINS. Very well.