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that direction. It will, for instance, relieve the awful conditions resulting from irregularity of employment. For nothing is more demoralizing to the mine worker than the uncertainty of his job. To say that the average number of days worked in the bituminous mines over a period of years was 189 days does not tell the whole story. That situation means that vast numbers of men are out of work for irregular intervals and with complete lack of knowledge one day as to when another day's employment will be available. This condition of uncertainty is destructive to all personal and household planning, and to thrift, and demoralizing to family life.

What happened to the coal industry a number of years ago is now happening in other industries. The machine, combined with overcapitalization and overdevelopment, has led to a situation where production has far outstripped consumption. It is ridiculous that this should be so, and I am not unaware of the theories of certain economists that the situation is only a temporary one, and, if left alone, things will right themselves. A conclusive reply to such theories is the bituminous coal industry. We have been waiting for years for things to right themselves, and they have merely gotten worse.

The truth is that no one understands the action and reaction of the economic forces which have led, first the coal industry, and now practically all industry, into our present valley of despair. But we do know that we are in such a valley, and we do know that the drastic shortening of the work week for all industries will give work to millions of men who are now starving and will prevent a possible catastrophe to the country. This, therefore, seems to be the reasonable, the intelligent thing to do. Possibly in time to come, the theories of the economists referred to will prove to be correct, that unemployment, technological and otherwise is only a temporary phenomenon of some 10 or 20 or 50 years duration. Unfortunately, the worker must live from day to day, and his power of survival without work is measured at best by weeks and months, not by geologic ages.

Thus, the mine workers are strongly in favor of the 30-hour week proposal. Our only doubt is as to whether the 30-hour week is sufficiently short for the coal industry. As I have already noted, the coal industry, long before the present depression was offering a work week averaging from about 25 to 35 hours a week. Therefore, to make a 30-hour week mandatory, while of immense value in regularizing and stabilizing unemployment, in itself would create little or no new opportunities for sabor in coal mines. In other industries, however, the 30-hour week would create very many new jobs and, in turn, the surplus mine labor might be absorbed therein.

This brings us to another very important aspect of the Connery bill. That bill, as it stands offers no protection to the wages of the employee whose hours may be drastically reduced. If workers, whose weekly wages are now adjusted on the basis of, say, 48 hours of work each week, are limited to 30 hours a week at the former hourly rates, the result would be that their living standards would be reduced to an impossibly low level and the workers alone would bear the whole burden of the proposed change. This is generally recognized as unfair, and a frequent suggestion has been that this unfairness should be avoided by the establishment of some sort of minimum wage scale. We realize that there are certain serious objections to such a procedure, but we believe that there is another method by which Congress, while refraining from giving a wage guaranty, may offer a fairer opportunity to the affected workers to protect themselves than they now have. This, we believe can be done by the following brief amendment to the bill-namely, by inserting in line 1 of page 2, immediately after the word “day the following phrase: “ or in which it is made a condition of employment that the workers engaged in such manufacture or production shall not belong to, remain

or become a member of a labor organization or in which they shall be denied the right to collectively bargain for their wages through chosen representatives of their own.”

This amendment has been offered by the mine workers because they obviously appreciate the difficulty that might confront the Congress in the enactment of minimum wage legislation. Under our present situation in most of the large manufacturing establishments throughout the Nation we find that the force of corporation is largely used to prevent men from joining labor unions. We believe that if every protection were afforded the workers throughout the country by the enactment of legislation by the National Congress which would at least not only guarantee the right to the employee but to protect the employee in that right to join a labor union for the purpose of protecting his wage standards, that would go farther in maintaining at least present wage levels with the inauguration of the 6-hour day and the 5-day week and would guarantee a greater degree of stability in the direction of improved wage standards for industry if legislation of this description were enacted.

Mr. RAMSPECK. When you said present wage standards, you were referring to the weekly wage standard and not to the hourly rate!

Mr. MURRAY. My assumption is predicated largely upon the belief that industry generally, if the law were put into effect, would seek to reduce hourly wage rates to six-eighths of the present level.

Mr. RAMSPECK. Why do you presume that they will seek to reduce the hourly rate when it would not cost them any more money under this bill?

Mr. MURRAY. That seems to be the trend of the times. It seems to be the attitude of employers generally that where they reduce the working hours per day they apply a corresponding decrease to the daily wage rate.

Mr. LOVETTE. How do you expect to overcome this proposition at this time: If you increase the rate of wages so that the worker could be given as much for six hours a day as he is now getting for eight hours a day you would thereby place upon industry the whole burden of this proposal, and it is said that most of industry is now in the red. How would you expect industry to survive with the extra load?

Mr. MURRAY. I find from a life of experience in this game that wage reductions as an average proposition do not tend to increase markets or the purchasing power of the people.

In other words, an example of this idea is furnished in an article of January 19, written by Mr. Claude Bowers in connection with

the solution of this great economic problem of unemployment, and in that article he states with reference to the Teagle plan of providing work; and I assume that if we enact legislation providing for a shorter work week and a shorter work day the immediate effect would be to bring back to employment 8,000,000 or 10,000,000 persons, the net result of it is that the present wage structure is divided among all the people and there is no improvement or increase in the purchasing power. It would not cost industry any more to do it, but the net result is that there is a complete pauperization of wages.

Let us consider my own industry, the bituminous coal industry. The report of the Department of Labor and Industry for the State of Pennsylvania shows that out of 138,000 bituminous coal miners employed in the State of Pennsylvania, the average weekly earnings for the week ending October 15 of 50,000 coal miners was $12.44 a week, gross. When deductions were made for doctors, supplies, and other incidentals, the net gross earnings of those men amounted to about $9 per week per capita. Let us attempt to apply the 6-hour day and the 5-day week as a practical solution to the unemployment phase of that industry. We find from the statement of the Governor of Pennsylvania that the general practice prevails in the bituminous mine industry in Pennsylvania of not only reducing wages to pauper levels but the operators steal the men's coal at the tipple by dishonest weights. That is the practice. The imposition of the employers' economic force in a situation of that description does not lend itself to the maintenance of any decent wage standards; and unless some corrective action is taken by our National Congress to protect conditions of employment and wages of those mine workers, the condition is going to continue to be most deplorable and we do not know what

will happen.

Mr. RAMSPECK. Is it not true that if one has a job that is not dependable he will not spend his money as he would spend it if the job were dependable? It is a matter of certainty of employment. Now, so long as this surplus of labor exists it not only causes a depression of present wage scales but those who are employed, being afraid of the certainty of their employment, do not spend a single cent that they can save; whereas, if we had everybody employed at the present hourly rate of wages, and the employment were certain, there would be increased expenditures, and that condition would very materially tend to restore commerce and industry.

Mr. MURRAY. In an industry like bituminous mining that does not hold good for this reason: Approximately 50 per cent of all bituminous coal miners now working receive no wages at all, absolutely no money whatever. Can you conceive of a situation in any given industry that could be more deplorable than one where men are working 8, 10, or 12 hours a day, 4 or 5 days a week, and at the end of each pay period, or what should be a pay period, they receive absolutely no compensation ?

Mr. RAMSPECK. "That requires some explanation for me, because I am not familiar with those conditions. Why do they not receive any pay?

Mr. MURRAY. The commissary usually gets it all, or there are deductions for the blacksmith, for lamps, for powder, for the services of a doctor, insurance funds, house rents, and other incidentals, including groceries, received at the company's store, and when these deductions are made the worker finds himself in debt to the company.

Mr. RAMSPECK. They are in the same position as is the Negro on the Mississippi flood-control work who worked nine days and then owed the company money;

The CHAIRMAN. The colored man owed the contractor $1.05 at the end of his employment.

Mr. LOVETTE. Speaking of your proposed amendment, do you not think in view of the fact that there is a serious question about the constitutionality of the bill, and that your amendment would add another burden to it in that respect, that it would be better to see whether or not this bill, if it should be reported by the committee, would stand, and take that up in the future and let labor work this out itself by whatever means it can, such as collective bargaining, after this bill is passed and declared to be constitutional! In other words, if you do not get my question clearly, do you not think you would by your amendment add an additional burden to an already serious question of whether or not this bill, if the Congress should pass it, would be constitutional ?

Mr. MURRAY, I can appreciate the difficulties in connection with the constitutionality of the bill, but I am dealing not as a lawyer, but as a layman, with a practical solution of our economic problems, hav. ing a due appreciation of the constitutional difficulties. Congress only last week, I believe it was, adopted a resolution the slogan of which was “ Buy American.” That resolution was predicated largely upon the theory that the importation of cheap merchandise from low-wage countries into the United States was hampering our industry and aggravating our condition of unemployment. I think that is an excellent resolution.

Mr. LAMBERTSON. And then we have the importations from cheap money countries?

Mr. MURRAY. Yes; from cheap money countries. I am thinking in the meantime of this interminable situation wherein there is the constant trend toward reduction of wages in unorganized industries, because that is gradually dragging organized industries to the pauper level, taking from many industries the elements of organization that have obtained there for many years.

The CHAIRMAN. I am in sympathy with the purpose of your amendment, Mr. Murray, and suppose we add this amendment and the bill passes the House and the Senate and is signed and then goes to the Supreme Court, which would declare that part of the bill constitutional—the part which applies to the hours of labor-and said that the open-shop proposition was unconstitutional. You would not like that, would you?

Mr. MURRAY. Why not have a proviso in the legislation to protect the 6-hour day and the 5-day week, saying that if any part of the bill is found unconstitutional the other parts may stand; or we could add another section?

The CHAIRMAN. You could do that. I would say off-hand that the simpler the bill at the present time, in view of existing conditions, the better chance it has of getting through the House and the Senate. Of course, the more controversy created the less chance the bill would have. You would probably get much opposition on

your union-labor, open-shop proposals from the start. The same men who might not oppose the bill as it stands might oppose it with your proposed amendment.

Mr. LOVETTE. There is no doubt about that.

The Chairman. I am talking from the practical side, you understand, rather than the ideal side.

Mr. MURRAY. I have an appreciation of the practical difficulties, but I am looking beyond that to the great mass of unorganized industry where I find these barriers to protection that have been set up for many years broken down.

The CHAIRMAN. I understand what you desire to accomplish. I myself hold the opinion that if this bill should become law, granting a 30-hour week, wage matters will settle themselves for this reason: In the manufacturing industry, for example, where we now have differing hours in the various States, with the enactment of this law a manufacturer in any State could go ahead and successfully compete with a manufacturer in another State because he would have equality of hours. The principle of supply and demand would soon come into play, and your old question of collective bargaining would come in, and, as we know, labor has only gotten what it possesses or has possessed by forcing it out of the manufacturer. Whatever labor would be able to get out of the manufacturer under the five-day week and six hours a day is whatever it could force out of the manufacturer.

Mr. MURRAY. I have an appreciation of the difficulties that would be encountered in the enactment of legislation that proposes an amendment such as I am suggesting here, and yet we find that the trend in industry is to discharge a man when he becomes a member of a labor organization. We find that is a progressive trend from day to day, and that it is gradually breaking down the wage structure in many industrial organizations that were formerly organized.

The CHAIRMAN. In the yellow dog ” contract a man promises not to join a labor union and that if he is discharged he will not do anything to assist a labor union against evils in industry.

Mr. MURRAY. Yes; this amendment suggests a remedy for that

Mr. RAMSPECK. Labor's fundamental trouble is a surplus of labor, just as the fundamental trouble of the cotton farmer is a surplus of cotton, and until that labor surplus is absorbed there is in fact no remedy for the unfortunate situation now existing. Neither collective bargaining nor anything else will help matters so long as a surplus labor market is pressing down the wage scales.

Mr. MURRAY. That may be true, Mr. Congressman, and yet if we had possessed at the beginning of the present depression a system of universal collective bargaining in the major industries of the United States, I do not think the forces of unemployment would have been scattered so aggravatingly in this country to-day. Organized labor would have protected wage and living standard to the point of minimizing the forces of this economic depression.

Mr. RAMSPECK, I am thoroughly in sympathy with the right of labor to organize and deal collectively with employers, but you can not hold men in line when their families are hungry. They will get out of the union if necessary to obtain employment, and therefore you get back to the original proposition that so long as 12,000,000

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