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NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT
MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1939
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10 a. m., in room 362 of the Old House Building, Representative Howard W. Smith, chairman, presiding.
Prevent: Representatives Howard W. Smith of Virginia, Charles 4. Hallerk of Indiana, Harry N. Routzohn of Ohio Exlmud M. Toland, general counsel to the committee.
Charles Fahy, general counsel to the National Labor Relations Biare.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. This is the opening of the hearing of the special committee apinted at the last session of the House to investigate the National Lulur Relations Board. Mr. Toland, are you ready to proceed? Jir. TOLAND. Yes. Mr. Chairman, may I read the resolution :
[H. Res. 238, 76th Cong , 1st sess.)
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JULY 13, 1939
31. Smith of Virginia submitted the following resolution ; which was referred to be Committee on Rules July 18, 1939; referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed July 20, 1939. Considered and agreed to.
Resol red, That a committee of five members of the House of Representatives
apronted by the Speaker of the House to take testimony, investigate, and spirt to the House as follows:
1 Whether the National Labor Relations Board has been fair and impartial in its conduct, in its decisions, in its interpretation of the law (particularly qon respect to the definition of the term "interstate commerce"), and in its vings between different labor organizations and its dealings between em:I yer and employee;
2. What effect, if any, the said National Labor Relations Act has had upon Dreasing or decreasing disputes between employer and employee; upon in(ering or decreasing employment and upon the general economic condition *ite country ;
3. What amendments, if any, are desirable to the National Labor Relations Art in order to more effectively carry out the intent of Congress, bring about heiter relations between labor unions and between employer and employee, and what changes, if any, are desirable in the personnel of those charged with 2e administration of said law;
4. Whether the National Labor Relations Board has by interpretation or Prilation attempted to write into said act intents and purposes not justified og the language of the act; 5. Whether or not Congress should by legislation further define and clarify ite Ileaning of the term "interstate commerce” and whether or not further
legislation is desirable on the subject of the relationship between employer and employee.
The said committee shall recommend to the Congress such changes as they deem desirable in said act or in the personnel of those administering said act and shall recommend such legislation as they may deem desirable.
The committee, or any subcommittee thereof, shall have power to hold hearings and to sit and act anywhere within or without the District of Columbia whether the House is in session or has adjourned or is in recess; to acquire by subpena or otherwise the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, and documents; to administer oaths; to take testimony; to have printing and binding done; and to make such expenditures as it deems advisable within the amount appropriated therefor. Subpenas shall be issued under the signature of the chairman of the committee and shall be served by any person designated by him. The provisions of sections 102 to 104, inclusive, of the Revised Statutes shall apply in case of any failure of any witness to comply with any subpena or to testify when summoned under authority of this resolution.
Mr. Chairman, I ask that the resolution be spread on the record. The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. Toland, I would like at this point to note the presence of the members of the committee, Representative Halleck and Representative Routzohn. In that connection, I would like to say I have a communication from the other two members of the committee, Mr. Murdock and Mr. Healey, both of whom are detained today and not able to be here, but will be present tomorrow. Now,
are you ready to proceed ? Mr. TOLAND. Mr. Chairman, I would like to offer in evidence a list of the personnel of the National Labor Relations Board with the designation of the positions and the salaries.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, sir; it will be received.
(List of personnel of National Labor Relations Board was received in evidence, marked "Exhibit No. 1,” and is printed in the appendix of this volume.)
Mr. TOLAND. Mr. Chairman, I would like to offer in evidence a list of the attorneys now assigned to the review division of the Board, and the cases upon which each attorney has worked or is working in that division. This list is dated November 22, 1939.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, sir.
(List of attorneys assigned to review division was received in evidence, marked “Exhibit No. 2" and is printed in the appendix of this volume.)
Mr. TOLAND. Mr. Chairman, I would like to offer in evidence a list of the trial examiners of the Board and the cases that each trial examiner heard while employed by the Board.
(List of trial examiners and cases heard was received in evidence, marked "Exhibit No. 3” and is printed in the appendix of this volume.)
Mr. TOLAND. I would like to make this statement for the record, Mr. Chairman: That immediately upon entering my duties as counsel and in accordance with the requests and the wishes of the committee, communications were addressed to William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, John L. Lewis, president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, David Dubinsky, president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union, the executive secretary of the National Association of Manufacturers, and the president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, inviting them to participate in the hearings to be held by this committee.
TESTIMONY OF DR. WILLIAM M. LEISERSON, MEMBER, NATIONAL
LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, WASHINGTON, D. C. (The witness was duly sworn and testified as follows:) Mr. TOLAND. Doctor, will you please give your full name to the committee reporter?
Dr. LEISERSON. William M. Leiserson.
Dr. LEISERSON. I am a member of the National Labor Relations Board.
Mr. TOLAND. How long have you been a member of the National Labor Relations Board ?
Dr. LEISERSON. Since June 1, 1938.
Mr. TOLAND. Doctor, will you tell us what your prior business or profession was, prior to the appointment to the National Labor Relations Board?
Dr. LEISERSON. I was a professor of-oh, prior to the appointment to the National Labor Relations Board, I was chairman of the National Mediation Board, which administers the Railway Labor Act.
Mr. TOLAND. Now, will you tell us briefly your business or professional experience prior to that particular engagement ?
Dr. LEISERSON. Well, I will trace it back of that point. Prior to my appointment by the President to the National Mediation Board, in August 1934, I was chairman of the Petroleum Labor Policy Board under the N. R. A. code.
Prior to that, I was executive secretary of the National Labor Brard, which was the original Board under the N. R. A., out of which grew the National Labor Relations Board.
Prior to that, I was professor of economics at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. While I was a professor at college, a good deal of my time was given to arbitration work in various industries, which I carried on on a part-time basis.
Before taking the chair of economics at Antioch College, I was chairman of the board of arbitration in the men's clothing industry in Chicago. That is an arrangement by which they have what in effect is an industrial court for interpretation and applying their labor agreements. And half of my salary was paid by the employers and the other half by the employees, to keep me impartial,
Mr. TOLAND. Did they succeed, Doctor?
Dr. LEISERSON. I think that is the best way to keep people impartial.
Prior to that, I had service in the same capacity as arbitrator in New York City, in Rochester, N. Y., and in Baltimore, acting as arbitrator under the labor agreements of the clothing industry.
At the same time, I was working on a part-time basis, called in as Pediator and arbitrator in various industries, like printing, shoes, leather, and shirts. I did the same work in mining, and so on.
Prior to that, I was connected with the Department of Labor during the war years as Chief of the Division of Labor Administration.
Before that, I was professor of economics and political science at the University of the City of Toledo.
Before that, I was assistant director of research for the United States Commission on Industrial Relations, appointed by President Wilson in 1914.
Before that, I was a deputy of the Industrial Commission of Wisconsin, which is the labor department of the State, and my duties were connected with establishing the State free-employment offices, to do some mediation work and to make various kinds of investigations.
Before that, I went to school.
Mr. ToLand. Just tell us briefly where you went, Doctor, and what degrees you have received?
Dr. LEISERSON. There is an item in the paper this morning by the Carnegie Institution for the Advancement of Teaching that most of these degrees that are given are meaningless.
I have the degree of doctor of philosophy from Columbia University in New York, and a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin, where I did my undergraduate work.
My preliminary education was received in the public schools of New York City.
Mr. ToLand. Now, Doctor, since your appointment as a member of this Board, you have had occasion, have you not, to write many memoranda to Chairman Madden and Mr. Smith ?
Dr. LEISERSON. Oh, every day we have numerous memoranda that not only the members of the board but members of the staff exchange with one another. Mr. ToLAND. Do you have your file with
Mr. ToLand. Doctor, will you now direct your attention to the memorandum of July 24, 1939, sent to Chairman Madden and Mr. Smith by you?
Dr. LEISERSON. Before I do that, Mr. Toland, I have prepared the statement that you asked me to prepare, outlining the purposes of the act, and the way the administration is carried on, so that the picture of how these memoranda came to be written would be clear; and I have that statement reatly.
Mr. ToLand. Doctor, my request to you was to prepare a memorandum of your views of the statute and its operation, and the proceclure of the board. In view of the great deal of time that you have spent in the preparation of the same, I will ask the committee to permit you to read the statement, which is against my general recommendation that no statements will be permitted to be read, that the witnesses will be examined, and their testimony will be brought out by the question and answer procedure.
So that, that being the exception, Mr. Chairman
The ('HARMAN (interposing). Before that memorandum is read, I think the committee would like to know something about its length. I think the committee is right positively of the opinion that we are not going to sit here and listen to statements read for 2 or 3 days at a time, and before there is any relaxation of that rule I think the committee ought to know first how long the statement is going to be.
Ilow long is it, Doctor?