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ers sat on one side of the table, the printing side on the other, the good bishop at the head of the table, and he read his decision. As he read, one side would look at the other as much as to say, “Well, that's reaming you in good shape, isn't it?" The decision would have made the printing industry unworkable. The bishop did not know that, because he did not know anything about the industry, but the employers knew it, and the unions knew it. Now, they were gentlemen, gallant. They thanked the bishop for the splendid influence he had brought into their dispute. He was ushered out of the room, and one of the employers said, "Now, what in the hare we going to do about it?" So they sat down at the table and straightened it all out, right then and there.
They were the only ones who could do it, because they had a practical knowledge. And in this field of industrial relations and forms of organization, what men will do under certain circumstances-all the knowledge of economic and legal theory is of no value at all and is apt to be a serious handicap to anyone placed in authority to determine what those relationships shall be.
Mr. ToLand. Thank you very much,
Mr. Frey. I do not know where Mr. Toland picked up the term “doctor." I am not a doctor. [Laughter.] The only one—the individual who started the use of that term was Mr. John L. Lewis. More laughter.] He used it in the hope that it would smear my reputation as a practical man. (Laughter.] But he has learned since then that I have a little practicability left in me, and a little resistance left in me, and a little knowledge of what American institutions are.
Mr. TOLAND. Mr. Frey, I certainly did not call you "doctor" with the desire to smear you, and no other witness that has appeared or will appear will find that there will be any intention on my part or on the part of my staff to smear.
Mr. Frey. Oh, Mr. Toland, if you gathered from what I said that I inferred you had attempted that-no. I knew that you had heard other people call me "doctor."
Mr. TOLAND. Yes; I had.
Mr. HallECK. Do you not believe, Mr. Frey, that it is always better to overrate a man rather than underrate him—to bestow upon him a higher title?
Mr. Frey. A trades-union official who acquires the reputation of being too intellectual loses the confidence of the rank and file. We keep close to the boys. (Laughter.]
Mr. MURDOCK. I would like to have you express your opinion or conviction, Mr. Frey, with reference to the present powers of the Board to determine the bargaining unit. Do you think they are too great and that their powers should be curtailed by amending the law?
Mr. Frey. I not only think they are too great, but I think they are in the wrong hands, if you want a frank statement. Now, let me say this: In 1937 the convention of the Metal Trade Department adopted my recommendation that we should seek to have the Wagner Act emended by striking out that paragraph which left it to the Board's discretion as to what the unit for representation should be, and in its place insert the provision of the Railway Act of 1926, which had been held constitutional by the United States Supreme Court. That provision leaves no discretion to the Railway Labor Board; they must hold every craft and every class, so that each group have the right to determine for themselves whom they desire to have as their representatives.
The national administration at that time was opposed to any amendment. The Secretary of Labor made the public statement that she was opposed to our amendment. The convention of the American
. Federation of Labor by a unanimous vote had favored the enactment of that amendment.
The Committee on Education and Labor of the Senate and the Committee on Labor of the House gave us no opportunity to be heard. They nullified the right of petition by admitting it was in the Constitution but could be voided by declining to give a hearing.
It is my conviction-it is my conviction that had that one amendment been made to the Wagner Act in 1938, that one amendment, all that has developed since would have been unnecessary; that the additional amendments presented by the American Federation of Labor would have been unnecessary; that one amendment taking the discretion away from the Board and compelling the Board to see that every group of workers had the same right to determine who should represent them. We would have saved ourselves all of these unpleasant remarks, because there are some members of the National Labor Relations Board whom I like personally. It is not pleasant for me to get up and say that I think they are wholly incompetent. I do not like to say publicly that I think that they have injured the cause of labor and collective bargaining and the trades-union movement as much as any agency that was ever antiunion. I do not like to say that they were not qualified by experience, and so on, but when the opportunity comes before a committee, it is my duty to those I represent to state not only my opinions but my convictions as to what has gone wrong, and give the reasons why.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Frey, I think that at a later time, when we have the evidence in as to facts, we will perhaps like to have you come back and make your suggestions as to desirable changes in the law and whatever remedies you might suggest.
Mr. Frey. Congressman Smith, in any way in which I may be of service to you, I shall be very glad.
The CHAIRMAN. We would probably like to have you come back later on.
Mr. TOLAND. Thank you very much, Mr. Frey.
TESTIMONY OF ROGER ROBB, ASSOCIATE COUNSEL OF THE
SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, WASHINGTON, D. C. (The witness was duly sworn and testified as follows:)
Mr. TOLAND. Mr. Robb, will you give the reporter your full name, please.
Mr. ROBB. Roger Robb.
Mr. TOLAND. Where do you reside, Mr. Robb?
Mr. TOLAND. You are a member of the bar of the District of Co!umbia, the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, and of the Supreme Court of the United States, Mr. Robb?
Mr. Robs. That is correct.
Mr. TOLAND. How long have you been a member of the bar of the District of Columbia ?
Mr. ROBB. Since 1931.
Mr. TOLAND. During the period from 1931, prior to your connection with the staff, were you connected with the office of the United States district attorney for the District of Columbia ?
Mr. Robb. That is right. From 1931 till 1938, I was an assistant in that office.
Mr. TOLAND. You were an assistant to the district attorney?
Mr. TOLAND. And you are associate counsel of the staff of this committee?
Mr. Robs. That is right.
Mr. TOLAND. In the course of your duties, Mr. Robb, has it become necessary for you and other members of my staff under my direction to make examinations of certain files and records of the National Labor Relations Board ?
Mr. Robb. Yes. We examined a great many of those files, Mr. Toland.
Mr. TOLAND. Now, Mr. Robb, directing your attention to the file of the case that is known as Berkshire Knitting Mins did you, in the performance of your duties as associate counsel, examine personally the contents of the formal and informal files of the Berkshire Millx care?
Mr. Robe. That is right. That case was No. (-385, Berkshire knitting Mills, Reading, Pa. I have here two folders of the informal file.
Mr. ToLand. Before I proceed further, Mr. Chairman, with that line of questioning, may I make a short statement as to the company and the file at the Board? (Reading :)
The Berkshire Mills are the largest manufacturers of hosiery in the world. They employ about 6,000 workers. In the fall of 1936 a controversy arose between the company and the American Federation of Hosiery Workers. Local No. 10. The union claimed that the company was paying wages which were less than union wages and less than those which had been agreed upon under the N. R. A. code. The union also complained that the company was violating union rules with respect to employment of apprentices.
Although the union had less than 500 members in the Berkshire plant, the union (alled a strike and the mills were picketed by several thousand people who were recruited from other plants in the Reading area. It appeared that other hosiery companies closed their plants so that their employees could picket the Berkshire Mills, the idea being force the Berkshire Mills to raise wages and thereby increase their costs of production so that the other mills could compete with them.
Mr. Robb, in connection with the Board file of the Berkshire Mills, did you also personally make an examination of the file of Edwin S. Smith ?
Mr. Robs. That is right, Mr. Toland. I should say, not in that connection specially, but while I was examining
Mr. TOLAND (interposing). That is my next question. And in the course of that inspection did you come across a file or folder in the Smith file containing memoranda and correspondence relating to Berkshire Mills?
Mr. ROBB. That is right. That folder was a folder marked with the letter "E” in a drawer which was labeled "Subject File" in Mr. Smith's file which he turned over to us. I personally saw that correspondence and personally was the one who found it.
Mr. TOLAND. Is it a fact that in the files of Edwin S. Smith and the informal file of the Board there are correspondence and memoranda and data disclosing that in the fall of 1936 Edwin S. Smith assisted the union in attempting to persuade customers of the Berkshire Mills to boycott the Berkshire products?
Mr. Robe. I will answer that question in this way: The informal file reveals that in October 1936 the union did undertake to boycott the Berkshire products by picketing various stores, both in Reading and elsewhere.
In the file of Mr. Smith there is correspondence between Mr. Smith and one John Edelman, who was one of the active officers of the union, in which Mr. Edelman advised Mr. Smith that such a boycott was to be undertaken. There is correspondence then between Mr. Edwin S. Smith and Mr. Louis Kirstein, who was an official of a store in Boston, Mass., named Filene's, in which Mr. Smith transmitted to Mr. Kirstein the information and material which Mr. Edelman had in turn given to Mr. Smith.
Mr. TOLAND. Mr. Robb, with respect to the point of time of the correspondence of Mr. Edelman to Mr. Smith, and the correspondence of Mr. Smith to Mr. Kirstein, was there any charge filed by the union with the National Labor Relations Board ?
Mr. Robb. You mean at that time?
Mr. TOLAND. Does the file disclose any correspondence or material disclosing that other employees of the Board in addition to Edwin S. Smith solicited the union to file charges against the company under the act?
Mr. Robs. I will answer that question in this way, Mr. Toland, by saying that on October 5, 1936, Mr. Nathan Witt, who was at that time assistant general counsel to the Board, wrote to Mr. Samuel G. Zack, who was the regional director in the Board's office in Philadelphia, pointing out to Mr. Zack that the strike in the Berkshire Mills seemed to constitute an unlawful restraint of trade.
Mr. TOLAND. In connection with what statute ?
Mr. Robi. Mr. Witt did not mention the statute, but I assume he meant in connection with the Sherman Act. Thereafter, there was certain correspondence between Mr. Benedict Wolf, who at that time was the secretary of the Board, and Maj. Stanley Root, who at that time was the regional director in the office in Philadelphia, in which Mr. Wolf asked Mr. Root concerning the possibility of filing a charge.
Mr. MURDOCK. I did not get that last answer. I think if you would talk directly into the microphone, Mr. Robb, it would help.
Mr. Robb. I beg your pardon, sir. Mr. Wolf wrote to Major Root. Mr. HALLECK. Who are those people!
Mr. TOLAND. The regional director, and Benedict Wolf was former secretary of the Board, before the present secretary, Mr. Witt. Mr. Root was the regional director in Philadelphia.
Mr. Robb. I can read that letter to you. I have a copy of it.
Mr. Robb. Very well. Mr. Wolf wrote Major Root in Philadelphia, inquiring whether or not anything in the Berkshire Mills situation would be a possible basis for filing a charge of unfair labor practices against the company, and asked Major Root to report, which Major Root did.
Mr. TOLAND. Mr. Robb, do the files disclose that Mr. Edwin S. Smith, Nathan Witt, and other Board employees conferred with the union attorney as to the form and content of the charges?
Mr. Robs. There are in the files reports and memoranda, Mr. Toland, which indicate that that was true; yes, sir.
Mr. TOLAND. Now, I ask you to direct your attention to the informal report, to the 28th day of September, and to a memorandum that appears therein, being an informal report to the Board at Washington from the Philadelphia regional office.
Mr. Robs. I have that in the file.
Mr. TOLAND. And I ask you to examine as I read excerpts, and to state if the excerpts are true and accurate:
Informal report. Berkshire Knitting Mills-Wyomissing, on the outskirts of Reading, Pa.
September 28. American Federation of Hosiery Workers declared a strike, effective October 1, in the Berkshire Knitting Mills, the world's largest fullfashioned hosiery manufacturing plant, charging that the company had violated the manufacturers' voluntary N. R. A. code, and that the employees were compelled to work excessive hours for wages below the scale.
Is that a true and correct excerpt of that report?
Mr. TOLAND. I ask you to look at a report or communication dated the 29th day of September, and ask if there appears in the file a statement by the manufacturer denying the charge?
Mr. Robb. That is right.
Mr. TOLAND. I ask you to look for a report dated September 30, and state whether or not there is a memorandum or communication stating that union representatives stated that a mass picket would be thrown around the Berkshire plant the next morning, and that other union plants in the Reading area would be closed so that their workers might participate in the picket line?
Mr. Robb. That is right.
Mr. TOLAND. I direct your attention to the first day of October, and ask you if in the file appears a communication or a report, “Disorder at the Berkshire plant near Reading, over 4,000 pickets having gathered outside the plant."
Mr. Robs. That is right. Mr. TOLAND (reading): The local police called upon the sheriteMr. Robb (interposing). “Police force." Mr. ToLAND (continuing): The local police force called upon the sheriff, who, with his deputies, was unable to keep order, and the State police were brought in. Forty persons were hurt, none seriously, in the rioting.