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him yesterday. If I am the general contractor and I get the award for a $2,500,000 project, I take the whole job on, and then I offer bids for the electric, sheet metal, plumbing, fitting, asbestos, if it is in there, and I have the final selection of the contractors. On public work that is a little different; the lowest responsible bidder. But on the private work, the contractor himself can insure himself with the one exception that might cause a dispute, and that is sheet metal products being made in some other city come to the job from a nonunion shop. Then you have a dispute again. In our city the general applications that contractors rather than having a dispute not give a bid to an organization that they feel would cause a dispute on the job. It would be better to pay a little more and take the second bidder and not have a labor dispute. Isn't that the way it works?
Mr. BRIENZA. Congressman, if you are a union contractor you are going to pick up union subcontractors.
Mr. WIER. That is what I said.
Mr. BRIENZA. Our contractors in New Jersey who are union are union throughout. But to refer you back to the statement I read, we also have this particular situation with our public law in the State whereby a general contractor is working alongside of a nonunion contractor not of his own choosing, because this nonunion contractor happens to be the responsible low bidder on the public job.
Mr. WIER. On the public job.
Mr. BRIENZA. That is right, and this is where we have a tremendous amount of problems.
Mr. WIER. I made the differential between public and private work. Mr. BRINEZA. It is a big differential. Mr. A PRUZZESE. May I offer a comment, Mr. Chairman? Mr. PERKINS. Go ahead. Mr. APRUZZESE. I would like to address myself to the question of Congressman Griffin about the difference between the industrial union situation with one employer and the construction industry, when you mentioned the word "control". I think that describes it aptly. To the extent that the single industrial employer has entered into collective bargaining agreements that may lead to labor difficulty, he at least has been party to the framing of those conditions. In the construction industry, that is not the case. Without regard to the public job or the private job, because of the bargaining relationships in this industry, the electrical contractors deal with their group, the structural people deal with their group, you have different segments of the industry bargaining their own contracts and then they all come into one melting pot, so to speak, on a private job. This is where the problem is created. When we talk about the existing collective bargaining contract, and the right to picket that job for a violation of that agreement, which this would allow what the unions do in their contracts is to use a trickledown theory to get the general contractor to make all his people live up to his agreements and the subcontracting employers have provisions where the unions try to make them flow to the top where they will not go on a job or sign a contract with a general contractor unless this work is done in such and such a fashion. In either event, if these provisions are violated by either the general or the sub, resort to the picket line is had, and you have this tremendous clash created simply because these contracts are bargained between different groups, no one group having control over the other groups, and by allowing this picketing situation, it creates havoc on a common situs job where they already have a right to picket under lawful circumstances, and it should not be expanded in this area of these situations.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Why are the building trade unions not satisfied with the right to picket which they have now? I wish I had been here when Mr. Gray testified the other day. Perhaps I will have a chance to question him later.
Úr. BRIENZA. Because that only permits them to picket under certain rules and regulations which means they can only picket when the nonunion man is on the job.
Mr. GRIFFIN. The rules seem quite reasonable. The picketing union must indicate on its signs the subcontractor with whom it has the dispute. They picket only when he or his workers are on the job, and they must picket in an area that is reasonably close to where that subcontractor is working on the job. What is wrong with those rules? They seem very reasonable and do not prohibit picketing at a construction site.
Mr. BRIENZA. It is kind of tough to recruit men these days, Congressman.
Mr. Casey. If I may make the brief observation, they want more control than the law allows them, and this will give them that result.
Mr. GRIFFIN. I have heard some union people say these rules are not clear enough; that they are too complicated, and so forth. Some are not quite sure whether the NLRB rule laid down in the MooreDrydock decision afford protection. For that reason, I wonder whether they should be written into the law in some way so there could be no question about picketing rights at a construction site.
Mr. Casey. Very recently we had a situation which will answer your question partially. Å flooring subcontractor had a difficulty with a union on a hospital, a $21/2 million job. All the workers who were to work at this hospital had to go through a single approach. The flooring union put a picket on the job and it was good. It knocked down the entire job because there was in actuality a dispute, and it had to be settled before the picket line could be removed. The case was presented to the Board. They turned it down directly. This is a single entry problem where everybody is using the same approach and there is a legitimate dispute, therefore the picketing is proper. This in reverse answers the proposition you make.
Mr. BRIENZA. Congressman, there is one point. This vehicle is not so much that these unions want to recruit the individual employees. They want to recruit the employer to be union. They are forcing the employer to make sure his employees are union. I did not hear that clearly defined. This is the point we think that this approach is. Unions perhaps have gotten a little lazy lately and they don't want to sell their wares to the individual. They want a red carpet approach to organizing. This is what this gives them. Remember, we are union contractors in the State of New Jersey. We hire union subs and all union material, et cetera.
Mr. Casey. This is clearly evidenced by the actual fact that in New Jersey 95 percent of the housebuilding is done under nonunion open shop conditions. There is a vast area for legitimate organization.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Do any of the building and construction trade unions in your State discriminate in the admission of members on the basis of race or color?
Mr. BRIENZA. To my knowledge, no.
Mr. Casey. This is difficult to answer because as the previous speaker said, we are not inside the fence. We have had many problems where union members crossed from Philadelphia, New York or other areas into our area. Some of them have been met with the fact that you must give preference to local New Jersey residents because of our laws, especially in the public work area. But as a general rule they have maintained that they have the right to decide the standards of competency. On this basis they approach this problem of discrimination. We are
not in the position to say whether they do or don't. Mr. GRIFFIN. I have no further questions. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. The committee will stand in recess until 10 a.m., tomorrow.
(Thereupon at 11:45 a.m., a recess was taken until Friday, February 19, 1960, at 10 a.m.)
CONSTRUCTION SITE PICKETING
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1960
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to recess, in room 429, Old House Office Building, Hon. Carl D. Perkins (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Perkins and Wier.
Staff members present: Russell C. Derrickson, acting clerk; and Charles M. Ryan, general counsel.
Mr. PERKINS. The committee will come to order.
I have before me this morning a copy of a letter that was addressed to the Hon. John F. Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, and signed by Philo Wright of the Roofing Contractors Association, which was put in the record over in the Senate and Mr. Wright in the letter to Senator Kennedy states that, "If appropriate, you may tender the extra copy of this letter to the appropriate House Committee which is considering H.R. 9070."
At this time I am submitting the copy of this letter for this record from Mr. Wright addressed to Senator Kennedy. (The letter referred to follows:)
SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN ROOFING
Detroit, Mich., February 4, 1960.
MY DEAR SENATOR KENNEDY: Our attention has been directed to S. 2643 and companion bill H.R. 9070. We are told that passage of this legislation would erase certain inequities in unionized subcontractor construction trades which have arisen out of an NLRB interpretation on the so-called Denver Building Trades case. If our understanding of these alleged inequities is correct, we believe that passage of the indicated legislation would be beneficial both to management and to labor. Accordingly, we respectfully request that this legislation be carefully and favorably considered.
If appropriate, you may tender the extra copy of this letter to the appropriate House committee which is considering H.R. 9070. Very truly yours,
PHILO D. WRIGHT, President. Mr. PERKINS. Our first witness this morning is Mr. A. C. Thornton of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. JOHN VAN AKEN. Mr. Chairman, according to our information Mr. Thornton was scheduled for 11 o'clock and Mr. Fry was scheduled for 10 o'clock.