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Mr. PERKINS. All right. Come around, Mr. Roy Fry.
Will you identify yourself, please, for the record and proceed in your own manner. You have a prepared statement. Do you wish to submit the statement and summarize it, or how do you wish to proceed?
STATEMENT OF ROY FRY, OF FRY & SON, CHICAGO, ILL. Mr. Fry. I wish to submit this statement for the record. I am Mr. Roy Fry from Chicago. I am the sole proprietor of a firm doing
a business in the waterproofing business.
Mr. PERKINS. Sit down and be at ease, Mr. Fry. Proceed.
Mr. Fry. I would just like to speak on this secondary boycott provision here.
In 1945 after coming back from the service I joined a firm that was previously owned by my mother, Lillian Fry, and my father and I both had membership in Local 11, United Slate, Tile & Composition Roofers, Damp and Waterproofers Workers Association. Shortly after I joined this firm local 11 started giving us a bad time. They told us that we couldn't go north of 47th Street, that we had to stay on the outside of Chicago, and in general they just gave us a bad time.
In 1947 the Gwinn committee came to Chicago and my father testified before the Gwinn committee on this fact. After my father testified before the Gwinn committee, local 11 started really giving us a bad time and they fined me a day's pay and my dad had to take a withdrawal card, and then they just practically had us out of business. They led us to believe that if my mother sold the business to me and my mother and dad got out of the business they would give me a contract and leave us alone, so I purchased the business and
my mother and dad got out of the business, but local 11 refused to give me a contract at this time.
Then, in 1952, local 11 started putting pickets on the jobs and they had me just about out of business until I filed secondary boycott charges. In September the National Labor Relations Board had local 11 sign an agreement and they ceased their picketing.
After they ceased the picketing local 11 still went around to my contractors, told them that I wasn't union, and that if they continued to give me work they would have trouble; they would shut their jobs down. This caused me to lose some work, but I was still able to work.
Then later on local 11 caused their members to quit doing work for contractors for whom I was doing work. In other words, if I did work for a certain contractor they wouldn't put a roof on for him, and this caused me to lose a number of contractors again and once again we filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, the secondary boycott, and local 11 signed the agreement and we were able to get some of these contractors back, but they still continued going around to my customers and telling them that I am not union and that if they continue to use me they will have trouble.
After local 11 expelled me on charges that were filed by one of the members, this member that filed the charge and his sister started up a business on the south side, the same business that I was in, and local 11 used to go around to my contractors and tell them that Fry wasn't union and "if you continue to use him you will have trouble." After
the local 11 members would leave this new contractor would follow right behind him, within 5 minutes sometimes, and this continued and I lost a lot of work that way.
With this secondary boycott through the National Labor Relations Board I have been able to keep in business and I have been able to make a fair living for my wife and family. We have repeatedly offered to sign an agreement with local 11. I have offered to use their men, and I didn't ask for any special favors. All I ask is the same consideration that any other man who has a contract with local 11 has, but they continue to pour these favors on these two competitors of mine,
I have filed an antitrust suit, but the case hasn't come up yet, against local 11 and these two favored waterproofing contractors, and if this exception to the secondary boycott provisions, this H.R. 9070, is passed, I am sure that local 11 will start picketing me and within a few days will have me out of business. As I say, since I am willing to join their union and willing to abide by all their regulations and everything, it doesn't seem fair to me that a law like this would be passed and within a few days would practically put me out of business.
(The statement referred to follows:)
STATEMENT OF Roy FRY OF FRY & Son My name is Roy Fry. I am sole proprietor of a firm doing business under the name of Fry & Son in Chicago, Ill. My firm is engaged in the business of waterproofing and dampproofing new building foundations in northern Illinois and Indiana. I employ only 1 to 3 employees, depending on business conditions. Under the rules set up by the National Labor Relations Board we do not do sufficient business to be classified as “engaged in interstate commerce.” However, we do considerable business with the contractors who are engaged in interstate commerce under the NLRB rules.
My mother, Lillian Fry, was formerly the sole proprietor of the firm. My father was a member of Local No. 11 of the United Slate, Tile & Composition Roofers, Damp & Waterproofers Workers Association, A.F. of L., working for my mother's business. Upon my return from the service in 1945 I started working for the firm. Shortly thereafter local No. 11 started attempting to limit the areas in which we could do business. When we insisted on taking jobs wherever we could find them, local No. 11 started causing trouble on the jobs which we did. They also insisted that we employ more men than were necessary to perform the work. When the Gwinn committee was in Chicago in 1947, my father testified before that committee about this trouble. Shortly thereafter, the union fined me 1 day's wages. They also terminated our contract with the union and refused to furnish men for our work. They then told everyone we had no contract and said I could not work for the firm. I kept on, however.
In the latter part of 1950 the union expelled me from membership on the ground that I had not complied with their rules relating to the number of men who must be employed on a job. Since my father and I were both unable to get back into local 11 at this time, we then joined local 786 of the Teamsters Union. We did this so that no one could say we were not union labor.
After I was expelled from local 11, a new firm was formed in our area for the purpose of doing dampproofing work. The business is being carried on by the same individual (and his sister) who preferred the charges which were the basis of my expulsion from local 11.
After the formation of the competing firm, the union instituted a practice of going around to the contractors for whom we did work and warned them not to employ us on their jobs. The representatives of local 11 would be followed closely by the newly organized competitor who would ask for the contractor's work immediately after the union representative warned them not to do business with us. As a result of these activities we lost quite a number of jobs which we otherwise would have had. We were advised that if the business were turned over to me, local 11 might take a different attitude. I then bought the business and became sole proprietor. The union still refused to sign a contract with us and became even more aggressive in their activities against us.
Finally, commencing on June 7, 1952, local 11 started picketing the sites of jobs which we had done for various contractors who were engaged in interstate commerce. This picketing continued intermittently until September 7, 1952. On September 19 our attorneys filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board under section 8(b) (4) of the National Labor Relations Act. A little more than 1 month later, on October 21, we finally obtained a settlement agreement from the union in which they agreed to cease their secondary picketing activities.
The settlement agreement was a great help to us. Before obtaining it I was very close to being completely out of business as a result of the secondary picketing activities. We sent copies of the settlement details to the contractors with whom we did business, and many of them resumed the use of our services.
Shortly afterward, representatives of local 11 resumed their attempts to put me out of business, but they did not engage in any more picketing. They resumed their practice of telling contractors that we were nonunion and that they should not do business with us. On several occasions they have threatened the contractors with trouble if they continued to do business with me. This caused us to lose some jobs, but my attorneys advised me that direct inducement of contractors, rather than their employees, was not a secondary boycott at that time.
Later on, local 11 commenced work stoppages among their members who were working on jobs where my firm had done the dampproofing. Again I filed secondary boycott charges against local 11. After these were investigated and the NLRB was prepared to issue a complaint against local 11, they finally signed another settlement agreement and agreed once again to cease secondary boycott activities against me. Even after this settlement, however, they continued to contact my customers and urge them not to employ my services. They did this because they were no longer permitted to picket or create work stoppages against me.
All of the time that local 11 was trying to drive me out of business they continued to permit two other firms (including the south side firm sponsored for the purpose of driving me out of business) to operate. Another man in Chicago tried to go into the dampproofing business and I understand that local 11 can. celed his contract and put him out of the business in very short order. In order to further protect my business, I have filed an antitrust suit against local 11 and the two favored dampproofers, but it has not yet come to trial.
I am not an attorney, but I understand that H.R. 9070 is designed to make an exception to the secondary boycott provisions of the National Labor Relations Act by permitting picketing or striking of any employer at a construction site where a labor dispute exists, if the picketing or strike is not otherwise unlawful or in violation of a contract. This is the exact type of activity that very nearly put me out of business a few years ago. If this activity is legalized by Congress, I have no doubt that local 11 will place pickets on every job that I do and that I will have no customers in a matter of a few hours or days.
I have repeatedly offered to sign a contract with local 11 and to hire local 11 members. They have continued to refuse me a contract down to this very date. Fortunately, the secondary boycott provisions have protected me sufficiently so that I have been able to remain in business and make a living for my wife and family. If H.R. 9070 is passed by Congress, local 11 will be handed a weapon which is certain to end my business. I have great difficulty in accepting this as the American way of life.
Even aside from H.R. 9070, I am fearful that the “hot goods” exception for the construction industry and the primary picketing proviso to section 8(b) (4) (ii) (B) contained in the Landrum-Griffin act may have given construction unions unwarranted powers in the construction industry. My attorneys have advised me that these provisions may be used against me in the future. Rather than broaden the power of construction unions at this time, I feel that your committee should consider removal of the special favors that the last session of Congress gave them. Unless this is done, construction unions will be so powerful that no employer will be able to operate in the construction field without their blessing. Special favors such as local 11 has conveyed on my two competitors will be rampant.
Mr. PERKINS. Mr. Wier, any questions?
Mr. WIER. I was just wondering because there was considerable difficulty with that plant when it first came into Minneapolis. I think now they are organized and operating, but there was a lot of difficulty with them.
Mr. Fry. I don't know anything about that.
Mr. PERKINS. Is there anything else, Mr. Fry, you wish to tell the committee?
Mr. Fry. That's about it. The only thing I say is that I just hope that you don't pass this bill and put me out of business.
Mr. WIER. On the other hand, it is going to put a lot of unions out of business if we pass it.
Mr. Fry. I don't think so. This would put a weapon in their hand and if you don't have their blessing, like my two competitors do, you are out.
Mr. WIER. And if we don't pass it, the employers, the contractors, will bring in fly-by-night contractors on a job and tear down all the conditions and the wages in the community. Is that right?
Mr. Fry. No, I don't think so, no.
Mr. Fry. No, it hasn't. You see here by this case of mine with local 11 that if they don't want you in their union and they don't want you to be in that business, they can put you out of business overnight if they want, even though you do try to get along with them. I have been a union man ever since I went to work. I have nothing against the unions. I am a member of the Teamsters Union, Local 786, and my employees are members of that union.
Mr. WIER. Did you ever have any trouble with so-called shakedowns?
Mr. FRY. No.
Mr. WIER. So that you didn't have any difficulty that you did something unethical or illegal?
Mr. Fry. No. Business agents of local 11 told me if I had stayed south of 47th Street, which is in Chicago, I would have been sitting pretty. I figure that I should be entitled to go any place in the city of Chicago or State of Illinois and Indiana that I feel like going to. If I have a contractor and he has a job up in Skokie, and that is north of 47th Street, then I must say, "Well, gee, I can't go up there."
Mr. WIER. Are you a member of the employer organizations in Chicago of the roofers or waterproofers?
Mr. Fry. No, I am not.
Mr. WIER. Are you in bad with the employers, too?
Mr. FRY. No. You have to have a contract with local 11 to belong to the Roofing Contractors Association.
Mr. WIER. Some place down the line there has erupted a disagreement between you and local 11 then?
Mr. FRY. I didn't hear you, sir.
Mr. WIER. I say somewhere down the line a disagreement arose between you and local No. 11?
Mr. FRY. There is a disagreement between local 11 and me, that is right, which I have tried to correct. I have given them every kind of guarantee that you possibly could give them. Before we filed this antitrust suit I went up and talked to the members of local 11 and asked them for a contract, told them I would live up to all their provisions, and said, "All I ask for is the same consideration that any other contractor that has a contract with local 11 has.
Mr. WIER. Then your position before this committee is based entirely, as I understand it, on the fact that the union wanted to limit you. You said you were a member of the union?
Mr. FRY. Yes.
Mr. WIER. So the union wanted to limit you to a territory, which you couldn't accept?
Mr. FRY. That's right.
Mr. WIER. And were those the charges that were filed against you? You had a hearing, didn't you, when you were kicked out?
Mr. FRY. You mean charges that expelled me from the union? Mr. WIER. You were a member and if they dismissed you from the union you must have had a hearing.
Mr. FRY. They dismissed me from the union through charges by this man that formed this new outfit. He filed charges with the union that I was working alone, and I have repeatedly denied these charges and I had proved that we had hired members from other unions when local 11 refused to send us men, and we paid them the roofers' scale. We used to call the local and they would say they didn't have anybody, and they refused to send us any men.
Mr. WIER. How much of your roofing do you do alone?
Mr. WIER. Not at all?
Mr. FRY. No, sir.
Mr. WIER. That is all.
Mr. PERKINS. That is all, Mr. Fry. Thank you very much.
Mr. PERKINS. Our next witness is the president of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, Mr. A. C. Thornton.
Mr. VAN AKEN. Mr. Thornton will be here in just a few minutes, sir. Our train was late in getting in this morning and he thought he wasn't scheduled before 11.
Mr. PERKINS. All right. We will wait for him.
(A brief recess.)
Mr. PERKINS. You are Mr. Thornton? You may proceed.