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LABOR EXECUTIVES AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVES OF WORKERS
Mr. HARRISON. Yes. From the 1,150,000 workers I have received a lot of letters, and I suppose Members of Congress have. I take it that the several representatives of the unions have received a lot of letters. Perhaps I could make a guess and say that I have received some four or five hundred or more letters. I think perhaps that would be a fair statement. And various changes in the proposed legislation are suggested, and generally suggestions are made to take care of some individual case that they want to have covered.
Now, of course, you must understand that this is our third experience to enact retirement legislation, and while we do not know a whole lot about retirement legislation, nevertheless we have been studying the matter and we have had the reactions from our membership since 1934, in June of that year, and I think we know pretty well what our people want. We have, successfully and honorably, I think, represented these railway workers in many instances for over a quarter of a century. My own organization is some 38 years old. And while we experience, all of the time, individuals that do not like what we do, we, nevertheless, I think can say honestly and sincerely that we do possess the confidence of the overwhelming majority of the rank and file of the railway workers, and I think, without question, that if this question were submitted to them with an explanation there would be an overwhelming ratification of our efforts. It must be remembered, also, that we are responsible to our people. We must submit our official conduct to review periodically in conventions just like you gentlemen have to answer to the public for your service.
Some of us have been in this business quite sometime, and 'I think it is fair to say, although I am not undertaking to make a defense of our actions, I think I can show to any reasonable man that this is the best possible solution of the problem; that we have worked out an arrangement where railway workers will actually enjoy security in their old age and they will not be worrying about what is going to happen to them because of the possibility of a court declaring unconstitutional the retirement legislation.
We have many thousands of men today who would retire if they knew they could be secure, and that is what they do not know now, but would upon the passage of the pending bill
. But supported, as I say the proposed legislation will be supported, by an agreement with the railways that they will not challenge the validity of the legislation, apparently we have got just as far in the direction of assuring the realization and enjoyment of retirement benefits for railroad workers as we can go within the limits now imposed upon us by the courts.
Mr. BOREN. You indicated, Mr. Harrison, that several thousand workers would retire if they had this assurance. Could you fix that number?
ESTIMATE OF NUMBER WHO WILL RETIRE Mr. HARRISON. There is such a dam piled up, in event the legislation is enacted, in my judgment, it will take the Railroad Retirement Board some time to catch up with the accumulations. I think there
are some 60 to 70 thousand applications now pending with the retirement board and in the majority of instances, generally speaking, they do not want to retire until they are sure they are actually going to receive a pension, without any question as to its permanency, and there will be a large number of railway workers who will retire immediately Congress passes this proposed legislation.
Mr. BOREN. Does that mean possibly 20 to 25 thousand more people will be employed by the railroads?
Mr. HARRISON. My recollection is—I should like to check up on it—that about 50,000 workers, we estimate, will take advantage of the legislation the first year. Mr.
WOLVERTON. Does the act consider ferry companies as a part of transportation systems?
Mr. HARRISON. If such ferry is operated by the railroad company and is a ferry which is engaged in transporting passengers and property as a part of the railroad transaction; yes.
Now, I should be glad to go on and try to explain the bill if there are no further questions to be cleared up on whether or not the unions are supporting this legislation.
My attention is called to the fact that I did not complete my answer to your question, Mr. Boren, You wanted to know about how many workers would be reemployed as a result of pension legislation?
Mr. BOREN. Yes.
Mr. HARRISON. I could not give you an exact answer to that question, because there are two elements I think that we must necessarily consider. We have a good many of these aged railway workers that, because of the long service they have rendered, have been permitted to continue in employment, and a reasonable number of those places left vacant by those who receive pensions, would not be filled, and the railroads would just discontinue the jobs; perhaps they may equal as much as one-fourth the total number that retire. But that situation will be cleared up within the first 1 or 2 years, and after that, of course, it will be necessary, generally speaking, for the railroads to replace every man that is retired.
Now, the number of retirements are estimated, as I say, at about 50,000 for the first year and of that number the railroads would have to employ about 40,000, bring in that number of other employees as a result of retirement. But the next year—about 20 to 25 thousand, and finally it gets down to about 15,000 a year. After the first year, 20 to 25 thousand, and finally it gets down to where it will be about 15,000 a year, so we might say that they would have to employ around 15,000, although I could not, to any degree, underwrite that statement, because all the time there is going on in the industry intensive technological improvement, and introduction of better ways of doing things, improved machinery, and it may be that for some time the railways may make such technical progress and improved management technique, as well as methods, that it would not be necessary for them to replace every one that takes a pension. But I cannot see that far into the future. I anticipate There will be some effect from that source.
AGREEMENT DOES NOT AFFECT OTHER LEGISLATION
Mr. BOREN. Does this agreement in any way affect other legislation that might be introduced as regards railway labor or the railroads?
Mr. HARRISON. I am glad you asked that question. This agreement we made with the railroads stands on its own bottom; it has no relation whatever to any other railroad legislation. It stands on its own bottom. There were no promises made by representatives of labor that anything would be forgotten because of this agreement, nor did the railroads make any promises that they would give up anything because of this agreement; it stands by itself, on its own bottom.
Now, taking up an explanation of the bill: The bill is a bill to amend the Railroad Retirement Act of 1935, and the effect of the proposed legislation, should it be enacted into law by. Congress, will be to repeal, so far as the terms of the present legislation is concerned-although provision is made later in the bill for the protection of those employees who have been granted an annuity under the existing legislation, and I shall explain that when I get to that section in the last part of the bill-the provisions of the existing law.
SCOPE OF BILL-PERSONS SUBJECT THERETO
Now section 1 might be referred to as the scope of the legislation. Section 1 makes the bill applicable to those that are defined in that section as employers. Now the employers defined in section 1 are express companies, sleeping-car company, or carrier by railroad that are subject to part 1 of the Interstate Commerce Act, and in addition thereto it' is proposed to include as employers any company which may be directly or indirectly owned or controlled by the express company, the sleeping-car company, or railway company, or under common control by one or more of such companies, when those companies are engaged in the business of transporting passengers or property for the railroad, or other service that is a part of railway transportation, such as grain elevators, private car lines, refrig. erator car companies, or other individual or body, judicial or otherwise, when in the possession of the property or operating all or any part of the business of these previously identified employers which are, express companies, sleeping-car companies, or carriers by railroad.
That, therefore, makes the act applicable to a trustee that may be in possession of the railroad's property because of insolvency. It also applies to a Federal court in the event the railroad is in receivership and the Federal court in that event, being the body in charge of the property, the act applies to the court, or the receiver, who are bound by the act just the same as the officials of the railroad company, who operate under direction of the board of directors.
Now, the language used thus far, as explained by me, is the same language, I think it could be said, that has been incorporated in the
Railway Labor Act; that was incorporated in the previous railroad retirement legislation. But at that point now we expand the application of this legislation as compared to the present law.
JOINT ASSOCIATIONS AND OTHER AGENCIES COVERED
We include such joint associations as may be formed or operated by two or more railway companies. For example, they have joint agencies that are engaged in the collection of freight bills, used as a clearing house, make deposits of funds that are collected. The agency is supported by the member railways. They have joint passenger agencies and ticket associations that are operated and supported by the railways. They have inspection and weighing and demurrage bureaus operated by the railroads. The railroads have joint organizations dealing with labor matters for railway management, and they have a joint association known as the Association of American Railways. All these joint agencies that are performing service which is incidental to railroad transportation and supported in whole or in part by the railroad companies are included as employers.
RAILWAY LABOR UNIONS COVERED
We further expand the application of the proposed legislation by including the 21 standard railway labor unions that represent the employees, and we make the railway labor unions, for the purposes of the act, employers. In the international headquarters of these various labor unions we have a staff of clerks, clerical employees and officers, and they will be given the benefit of this proposed legislation in just the same manner that they would if they were working for a railroad company. The railway unions will be the employers, exactly the same way as the railroad companies will be employers.
Mr. MAPES. May I ask you a question?
Mr. Mapes. Where is the language that broadens the scope in this bill as you have described it, distinguishing it from existing law?
Mr. HARRISON. If you will look at page 3, beginning at the end of the first line, with the words “the term”, and start reading there, you will find the expansion of the scope of the legislation.
Mr. MAPES. That sentence is practically new legislation?
Now, in addition to covering employees in the international offices of labor unions, it also covers the committees of each railroad, including express and Pullman, representing the employees and members of those unions and on various railways throughout the country, and such office staff as those committees may engage to carry on their office work. It also includes State legislative committees of the various unions; it includes, as I said before, the employees in the insurance department of the various unions when membership in the union is requisite to secure insurance. Those units must be provided for in the constitution of the labor unions and a part of union operations before they come within the language.
Now, going on to paragraph (b) of section 1, which is found near the bottom of page 3.
The ('HAIRMAN. Mr. Kenney would like to ask you a question.
Mr. KENNEY. What percentage of the total railway employees would be in the class that you have here referred to?
Mr. HARRISON. Well, as near as I can give you the information on that, there are about 1,500 employees in the offices of these unions at their international headquarters; there are perhaps another 16 or 17 hundred throughout the United States in the individual railroads as officers or members or clerks to the general committees, and then perhaps there are 225 State legislative representatives, and there are about 200 in the international insurance departments, so that I should say perhaps 36 or 37 hundred; perhaps a few more. In any event, I do not think it would exceed 4,000.
Mr. WITHROW. What provisions have you made for employees temporarily on leave of absence who may have been elected to some public office, for instance, and secured a leave of absence?
Mr. HARRISON. If you wish, I can explain that now; but I will take it up later.
Mr. WITHROW. Very well.
Mr. HARRISON. But just answering your question directly and in a very limited way, we regard an employee who has been granted a leave of absence as being in an employment relation, and he will be eligible for all the benefits of the proposed legislation.
Mr. MARTIN. Would yoù permit a brief interjection right there? Mr. HARRISON. Yes.
Mr. Martin. As a general thing, all of these existing committee employees retain their seniority rights on the railroads while on service!
Mr. HARRISON. I think that could be said to be universally true, although there may be isolated instances in some small contract that the organization holds with a railway company which does not make specific provision for granting indefinite leave of absence to employees who are selected to represent employees.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Harrison, what is the significance of the use of the word "international” in the organization you have referred to?
Mr. HARRISON. The organizations having members in other countries than the United States. For instance, in talking about my own organization—and I talk about it because I know it better than the others—we have members in the United States, in the Dominion of Canada, and Newfoundland, and Alaska; and, therefore, we are international in scope. Now, some of the unions are not international. I just use that expression,
Now, proceeding with the explanation of the bill:
Page 3, section 1, subsection (b), defines the term "employee", and that term is defined as any person who is in the service for compensation from one or more employers that are subject to the act or in employment relation thereto; and service is defined as being subject to the direction and the continuing authority of the employer who supervises the manner in which they render their service.
Now, the last half of my explanation is standard language that this committee has approved heretofore in the Railway Labor Act. But the definition of employee, as herein contained, is different from