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Mr. HALLECK. Have you had any connection with any of the railroad brotherhoods other than that connection?
Mr. ROYSTER. I related that I was chairman of-
Mr. COLE. Mr. Royster, you supported the present law, did you not?
Ma. RoYSTER. Yes, sir; we stood solidly behind it.
Mr. ROYSTER. We would like to see that present law stand with the good things that are in this law amended to it. That is what we would like to see, but we do not feel it is fair to the rank and file of the employees to crucify them by giving away those 11 points that have been enumerated.
There is no need of it. This legislation can be had from the Congress, I feel that the Congress is willing, eager, would be glad to give us the benefit of this legislation.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Royster.
STATEMENT OF FRANK E. MCALLISTER, COUNSEL FOR THE
RAILROAD EMPLOYEES' NATIONAL PENSION ASSOCIATION, CHICAGO, ILL.
Mr. McALLISTER. I appear here as counsel for the Railroad Employees' National Pension Association.
Mr. BULWINKLE. How many members belong to this assocation?
Mr. MCALLISTER. They run into the thousands, Congressman. I do not know just exactly what the membership is now. I have been associated with them for the last 2 or 3 months and I was their first counsel at the time the movement was initiated. Mr. Royster would be in a better position to answer that than I am.
I take it from the sentiment that has been expressed around here that this committee is very much in favor of the passage of this act, and I appear as I would perhaps appear before a somewhat hostile jury, so I ask you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, to bear with me while I call attention to the various phases of this act, which we are not in accord with.
I do not want to be captious about it, but I do believe this act is open to the gravest criticism, and I believe more than that, that this committee and this chairman should not be awed by the fact that there is an agreement between the 21 standard railroad brotherhoods and the railroad executives of the class I railroads.
In the last analysis, the men who are in the shops and on the engines and in the yards of the railroads are going to pass upon the fairness of this bill and they are going to express themselves in no uncertain terms.
I am a veteran member of the Order of Railroad Telegraphers and I am not at all in accord with the stand taken by that organization in this particular.
Mr. BULWINKLE. You do not mean that as a threat to the Members of Congress, do you!
Mr. MCALLISTER. No, Your Honor; no indeed, Congressman. I am just simply saying that I hope that the committee will afford me a full hearing on that matter and give weight to what I have to say, because I do believe Mr. Harrison made the statement here the other day that they had to answer, answer to their constituency for their action here in their conventions, and I say that they will have to answer.
There will be a response from this. These men are vitally concerned. The men working in the yards and shops and on the engines do not understand the intricacies of the legal verbiage and many of the provisions of this act, but they will understand them when it comes to a practical application of it.
Mr. BOREN. You do not represent any of the railroad brotherhoods?
Mr. MCALLISTER. No; not a one of them. But
Mr. BOREN. I just wanted my specific question answered for the record.
Mr. MCALLISTER. Now, with reference to this agreement as to not challenging the constitutionality of this act: I do not think that is worth very much. The fact that the class I railroads have agreed not to challenge the constitutionality of this act does not mean that it cannot be challenged by a small railroad, by a railroad employee who is not a union member, and objects to these deductions, or by a stockholder of a railroad who objects to the railroad deducting these payments, and it may even be brought up by any Federal judge who has a railroad under 77 who instructs his trustees, the trustees of that particular railroad. There are five or six in Chicago now which are not deducting these payments.
The constitutionality will come up then, and it will go to the Supreme Court. I expect to see this legislation challenged in the courts. I think it will stand up. I think it is constitutional.
Just last month the Supreme Court of the United States did: a complete somersault in the minimum wage law and overruled the Adkins case and I defy any lawyer to find the distinction used in that case. They just simply overruled it.
So far as the Social Security Act is concerned, I do not think we have to wait for a decision on that.
Mr. MAPES. I do not care to discuss the Supreme Court issue here, but as long as you have referred to it, the Court in its opinion did make a distinction, did it not? Assuming that the members of the Court are lawyers, they have already made the distinction.
Mr. McALLISTER. Yes; they always extinguish the old case under the method of giving a distinction.
Mr. Mapes. When you defy any lawyer to make a distinction, there are lawyers, quite eminent lawyers, who did.
Mr. MCALLISTER. You have to search with a microscope to find it. Now, so far as the Social Security Act is concerned, I believe that this bill is unique in that railroading is unique. There is something more involved here than the mere social welfare of the cit
izenry. The safety and efficiency of the railroads are involved in this act, and I think it could be supported upon that ground.
The two most dangerous features in the act as amended, following the decision of Justice Roberts in the decision holding the Retirement Act unconstitutional, are the including of the gratuity pensioners and the including of the employees of the various rail. road organizations.
We are for that. But, they are, according to the original decision in this case, very remote from interstate commerce and its operation.
Now, so far as the tax bill is concerned, it is quite possible that the Supreme Court may consider that along with this bill and hold the two acts to be in para. They have that right if they want to. After all, the two are very much connected. But, I do think this act will stand up.
Now, we are in favor of the old act. Our association has always been in favor of it and sponsored it from its inception. The old act has many benefits we do not get here, as enumerated by Mr. Royster. Take for example, under the old act, a man of 50 starts out with a pension at one-fifteenth, increases one-fifteenth with every year. Lots of men 50 years old have 30 years' service.
I started working as a telegraph operator when I was 19 years old, and at the age of 49 I would have had 30 years of service; but under the present act I would have had to wait a long time before I would be able to receive or be eligible for a pension if I had continued in that employment, if I had been discharged for any petty infraction of the rules of the established practices of the railroads, or if physical examination had disclosed that my eyesight or hearing were not quite as good as they used to be; and I had been discharged for that reason, then I would have had to wait until I was 65 years old before I would get the pension, and I would have to do the best I could, shift for myself in the meantime.
Now, gentlemen, if you consider what that means to a railroad employee who follows a highly specialized line of endeavor. He is fitted for no other occupation or employment. A railroad engineer or a telegraph operator, or conductor, would have the greatest difficulty finding work in other avenues, especially after he had reached the age of 45 or 50. This particular loss from the old act is one of the most serious ones that we have to contend against, because it does penalize the men between 50 and 60.
Mr. KENNEY. What difficulty does a railroader have in shifting his job from one railroad to another?
Mr. McALLISTER. We have what is called seniority, Mr. Kenney, and by losing out with one railroad he loses what is called his seniority rights, which entitle him to preference as to runs or certain occupations. When he goes to another railroad he goes in as an entirely new man. He goes in as a new man and goes on what is called the extra board, or the extra list, taking whatever crumbs of employment he may find; and the policy of the railroads has been for many years not to employ men who are over 35 or 40 unless the heavy business of the railroad would absolutely justify it, and then usually only temporarily.
Mr. HALLECK. Mr. Chairman-
Mr. HALLECK. Is it not true that the proposed legislation would take care of those people who quit work by reason of physical disability ?
Mr. MCALLISTER. Mr. Halleck, that definition is the most cruel one in the act.
Mr. HALLECK. Well, is that not correct?
Mr. MCALLISTER. No. It provides that they do when they are permanently and totally disabled for regular employment for hire.
Now, that means for hire in anything. To be just and fair, it should read his regular employment for hire. That man must be absolutely paralyzed in order to qualify under that provisiontotally and permanently disabled for regular employment for hire, is the reading of the bill.
Imagine what that means.
Now, Mr. Mapes raised the question of the civil-service matter. Now, whether the machinery of this act carries into operation and results in lots of political sinecures for incompetent spoilsmen is not so much our concern. We can leave that subject to your committee. We are vitally concerned with the eligibility of pensions and methods of computing the pensions and the annuities.
Mr. BULWINKLE. May I ask you, is there more than one pension organization like yours? Is there another one also ?
Mr. MCALLISTER. I know of no other, Congressman, except ours. We have followed this for all these years since 1929 and 1930, and as Mr. Halleck has said, when a fair and equitable and just pension system is devised and the act goes into effect, there will be no further use for our organization,
Mr. BULWINKLE. You collect dues ?
Mr. MCALLISTER. Yes, sir; that is the only way we can carry on this work.
Mr. BULWINKLE. What do your collections amount to?
Mr. MCALLISTER. That I could not say. Mr. Royster would know about the financial affairs of the organization.
Mr. BULWINKLE. What is your salary?
Mr. McALLISTER. I have not received any salary as yet. I will be on a per diem.
Mr. BULWINKLE. What have you been promised as a salary?
Mr. McALLISTER. I have been promised a fair, reasonable compensation, according to the scale of the Chicago Bar Association.
Mr. BULWINKLE. You are not a regular counsel?
Mr. McALLISTER. I am now, yes; and have been for the last 2 or 3 months, and I also was when the organization was first instituted.
Mr. BULWINKLE. You are not paid any retainer, then?
Mr. McALLISTER. No. I am appearing here on a per diem, representing this plan.
Mr. MAPES. Mr. Chairman-
Mr. Mapes. Just for information, are the members of your association generally members of the railroad brotherhoods ?
Mr. MCALLISTER. Yes; they are all almost entirely members of the various railroad brotherhoods.
Mr. MAPES. They pay dues to your association and to the brotherhoods?
Mr. MCALLISTER. Only to the brotherhooris. Of course, they pay dues to the brotherhoods on an entirely different basis. They are members of a union organization to which they pay dues for the purpose of the solidarity and unionism, getting better wages, better working conditions, better hours, and to further themselves in that way.
Mr. Mapes. Your statement in answer to other questions was that there were thousands who were members of your association, standing alone, as compared with the million of those belonging to the brotherhoods; that statement does not empress one with the size of your organization.
Mr. VICALLISTER. That may be true. The brotherhoods represent over a million employees, and, of course, they represent those employees in their negotiations for wages and schedules for the various railroads and express companies. We are highly specialized. We have but one object, and that object is to obtain a fair and just pension system for the railway employees.
Mr. Mapes. Apparently a very small percentage of the employees belong to your association.
Mr. MCALLISTER. I do not think it is so small.
Mr. O'BRIEN. What are the dues which an individual pays to your organization?
Mr. MCALLISTER. I cannot say.
Mr. ROYSTER. I should judge less than 5,000; between 4,500 and 5,000.
Mr. BULWINKLE. Is the number any less now that it formerly was?
Mr. Royster. Oh, we had 'in the neighborhood of, I should say, 40,000 members; and I want to make this point while I am on my feet, if I may, Congressman, that the membership of our association is comprised largely, to the extent, I would say, of 98 percent of the membership of the 21 standard railroad brotherhoods.
Mr. HALLECK. Mr. Chairman-
Mr. HALLECK. Might I ask one of the gentlemen whether or not these views they are here expressing have heretofore been submitted to the rank and file of their organization?
Mr. ROYSTER. Our rank and file, the members of our association, are in harmoony with this, and I have not
Mr. HALLECK. Is that your opinion or have you submitted it to them?
Mr. ROYSTER. I have not submitted it in this form, because I did not know what I would have to submit. This bill is young. It has not any age. We have not had an opportunity to submit a statement on the contents of this amending bill; but it will be submitted to them in its entirety and do not interpret this as a threat or anything of the kind—but, gentlemen of the committee, the railroad employees will write you fellows individually and they will tell you what their sentiments are. They feel free to do that, and I am sure that you will be glad to hear from them.