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Senator WHEELER. As a matter of fact, why do you think that the Government of the United States should purchase mine-rescue cars for the coal operators? Why should not the coal operators themselves provide their own mine-rescue cars? Why should the Government interfere in that particular if you are objecting to its interfering in any other particular?
Mr. Conn. Well, it happens that mine-rescue cars which are now in use are to be utilized in connection with the cement industry to this extent, to assist the cement industry in training its men so that they can be more useful in preventing accidents.
Senator WHEELER. What you want to do is to have the Government of the United States spend some more money in teaching the coal operators how they should train their men in order to protect them in the mines?
Mr. Conn. That is only a suggestion that money could be expended in that direction for the benefit of humanity.
Senator WHEELER. But that is the very thing we are suggesting that this legislation should be passed for, for the purpose of benefiting humanity among the coal miners, and because the coal operators themselves apparently have not seen fit to do it, or have not been able to do it, one or the other; as well as to help the general public.
Mr. Cons. This bill raises another question which is of particular concern to us. Is this bill the entering wedge for a general domination of industry by Government? Will it be extended to anthracite coal, to petroleum, to timber, to iron? Must we of the structural supply industries-cement, brick, lime, slate, granite, marble, sandstone, limestone, sand and gravel, and other basic materials-submit to a similar dictatorship?
The cement industry has many points of similarity to coal. We are a somewhat smaller industry and also a younger one. In the past 25 years our production has increased tenfold and our annual product is now valued at the mills at nearly $300,000,000. Our plants are scattered over 34 States. Our product is low priced and our marketing radius is limited. Demand for our product is somewhat seasonable. Fortunately, during the dull months, we can stock our product although this involves a considerable expense.
There is also an overproductive capacity of some 25 per cent. The cost of our product to the consumer shows but little increase since the early years of the century, while wage and supply costs are several times as great. Nevertheless our product has steadily increased in uniformity and in quality.
The industries responsible for the production of the basic raw materials on which the wealth and prosperity of our country are founded are conscious of their duties and obligations to the Nation. If they are permitted, I am convinced they may be relied upon to do everything that good judgment dictates to be in the general interest much more effectively than that objective can possibly be hoped for through Government control.
Senator Black. You state that there is an overproduction of 25 per cent. Are you talking about your industry alone?
Mr. Cons. The cement industries.
Senator COUZENS. But do you want a tariff on cement ?
Senator COUZENS. I just wanted to know how much tariff you wanted to protect the cement industry, was all. You do not have to answer it now. I suppose you will be answering that question though at the next session of Congress.
Senator WHEELER. The cement industry is practically controlled in this country by a trust, is it not? Mr. Conn. I do not think so; sir. Senator WHEELER. You do not think it is? Mr. Conn. No, sir.
Senator WHEELER. Well, is it not a fact that when you have overproduction your industry gets together and shuts down your factories until demand catches up with production ? Mr. Conn. No, sir. Senator WHEELER, You do not? Mr. Conn. We do not.
Senator WHEELER. Do you think there is a similarity between the cement industry and the bituminous coal industry at the present time?
Mr. Conn. There is, as it seems to me, some similarity in the industries themselves.
Senator WHEELER. In what respect?
Mr. Conn. In the fact that cement is produced in a great many States, and the length of transportation is controlled by the low cost of the product, which is in some cases higher than the product itself. In these respects the cement and coal industries seem to be somewhat similar.
Senator WHEELER. And they are the only respects in which they are similar?
Mr. Conn. They are the only things that occur to me just at this moment.
Senator BLACK. What company are you with ?
Senator BLACK. It buys its coal I presume from Pennsylvania mines?
Mr. Conn. The most of the coal that we are using comes from West Virginia.
Senator BLACK. How many men do you employ, if you know? Mr. Conn. About 300 men.
Senator BLACK. Has there been any decrease in the last year or two?
Mr. Conn. In the number of men employed ?
Mr. Conn. I think there has been no appreciable decrease. We are not producing as much cement this year as we did the previous year, but I believe there has been no appreciable number of men thrown out of work.
Senator BLACK. The most of your men I presume are men who have been with you for some time?
Mr. CONN. A large percentage of them; yes ; .;
Senator BLACK. Do you yourself know whether there has been *any increase in employment of men in the last year or two in respect of men 'who have just recently come into the country, Mexicans or other foreigners ? Mr. Conn. In so far as our company is concerned, no. Serator BLACK. I meant your company. Mr. Conn. There has been no increase to my knowledge.
Senator BLACK. You have been using practically the same men all the time? · Mr. CONN. Yes, sir.
Mr. LEWIS. In reference to mine rescue cars, you know, do you not, that as an ordinary proposition they are merely for rescuing the dead?
Mr. Conn. I do not think I do know that. Mr. LEWIS. Have you ever heard of their rescuing anybody after they were dead in the mines? You do know that we kill 2,509 men a year in the bituminous coal industry, and did you ever hear of any of these mine rescue cars rescuing any dead men?
Mr. Conn. No.
Mr. LEWIS. Now, there is a very vital point there. Would not it be better in your view to create a situation in the bituminous-coal industry whereby the operators could afford to make their mines safe and prevent miners being killed rather than trying to rescue them with cars after they are dead ?
Mr. Conn. That sounds very reasonable.
Senator COUZENS (presiding). The committee will next hear Mr. Charles H. MacDowell, president of the Armour Fertilizer Works, Chicago.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES H. MacDOWELL, PRESIDENT ARMOUR
FERTILIZER WORKS, CHICAGO; MEMBER NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT COMMITTEE, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. MacDOWELL. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I appear before you as a representative of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, but before presenting to you the opinion of its membership on the principles underlying Senate bill No. 4490, I should like to indorse the statements just made to you by Mr. Conn and Mr. McWhirter.
Let me say at the outset that the companies with which I am associated are large consumers of coal. During the recent bituminous coal strike, which continued officially for nearly 18 months, we were at all times able to obtain adequate supplies of coal at reasonable prices and of satisfactory quality. So that I may say that as far as our experience as a consumer is concerned there is no acute coal problem.
The Chamber of Commerce of the United States as the accredited mouthpiece of the business men who make up its membership is entrusted by them with the task of assembling the opinion of a widely representative group of business men throughout the country upon questions national in scope and of timely interest and of general
application to industry and business, particularly when those questions involve Federal legislation. The business opinion thus obtained is at the service of legislative and other governmental agencies for. whatever consideration the opinion of the business community may justly be entitled together with other viewpoints in the deliberations of legislation. In so doing the organization is exercising the privilege. of all citizens to be heard on public questions, and, moreover, it is performing a service which business believes, in any proper conception of teamwork, it owes to the agencies of government.
We are mindful of the fact that Congress is made up of publicspirited and able men constituting a representative cross section of the public represented by them. We are also mindful of the fact that they have been designated to act for all the people, and the proper attitude of business men in presenting their views upon legislative issues should be that of a desire to present facts and opinions drawn from practical business experience to assist in the finding of sound and fair solutions.
The gentlemen who have immediately preceded me have already pointed out to you that the American business community believes in the general principle that government should refrain from entering the realm of business to undertake those things which can be successfully performed in the public interest by private enterprise.
That principle, of course, is the idea which we would emphasize in our discussion of the measure pending before you, because the proposed measure does, in our opinion, involve such an invasion.
Moreover, business men are more and more coming to realize that if government is to refrain from encroachment upon business, business men must have a broad conception of their own public responsibility. They must not only entertain such a conception of this public responsibility but they must likewise use all the means at their command to assure the proper and adequate discharge of this responsibility.
The activities of this national organization of business men in stressing this idea of the public responsibility of business and the measures which it is advocating among business men themselves, I think, may be of interest as bearing upon what I understand to be a main contention of the bituminous coal industry that it is competent without Government interference, and without Government control, to set the coal industry in order and work out its problems.
President-elect Hoover well stated the case when he said: While our industry and commerce must be based upon the incentive to the individual, yet the national interest requires a certain degree of cooperation between individuals in order that we may reduce and eliminate industrial waste, lay the foundation for constant decrease in production and distribution costs, and thereby obtain a fundamental increase in wages and standards of living.
Our organization of business men does not wish to take the attitude of merely opposing something which has been proposed with respect to the coal industry. The national chamber's greater interest is in offering constructive suggestions. For years it has actively promoted the principle of team play between business and government and among various groups of industry. It has formulated and promulgated principles of business conduct which have commanded the most thoughtful attention of the entire business community. There
is ample evidence to encourage belief that business men of this country are more and more assuming their full share of responsibility not only for the management of their business in the interest of their stockholders but with a full sense of their obligation to the public and to their employees as well.
Definite progress has been made in setting up, in various industries, standards of business practices that put these principles into effect.
It is for such purposes that trade associations were formed and our organization, which is itself an association of over 1,600 trade and commercial organizations, including those which represent the coal industry, has been active in fostering this idea.
At its annual meeting four years ago this organization, in adopting 15 fundamental principles of business conduct, committed itself to business self-regulation in these words:
Business should render restrictive legislation unnecessary through so conducting itself as to deserve and inspire public confidence.
This is not a mere phrase intended for public consumption and not for practical application. We are convinced that the majority of successful business men who have adopted this principle as their own have done so in the utmost good faith and with the fixed purpose not to stop at subscribing to it but of living it; realizing that it is fundamental to prosperity.
Another principle of business conduct then adopted runs thus:
The foundation of business is confidence, which springs from integrity, fair dealing, efficient service, and mutual benefit.
In adopting these principles business professed its belief that “the expressions of principles drawn from these fundamental truths will furnish practical guides for the conduct of business as a whole and for each individual enterprise.”
From an early date in its history the national chamber has actively advocated the practical application of these principles. It was in sympathy with, and indorsed the original proposal to create a Federal Trade Commission to advise and assist business in regulating its activities in conformity with law. The progress made by business and by the commission in such regulation has been slow. But there has been progress.
Representatives of the coal industry will inform you of their plans and progress in this direction so it is not necessary for me to repeat those details, but I would like to call to your attention a resolution recently unanimously adopted by the national chamber. It reads:
The Chamber of Commerce of the United States urges the elimination of all wasteful practices and trade abuses through the formation in each trade of a joint trade relations committee, composed of representatives of every branch of that trade. Such committees should seek out and define trade abuses and cooperate with the Federal Trade Commission in their elimination.
This is a definite program of business systematically to accomplish self-regulation.
The program is a practical one; practical men can follow it. It is based entirely upon the application of common sense to business problems. It will result in improved standards of conduct in our business relations, and a clearer understanding and a more abiding confidence on the part of the general public.
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