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The CHAIRMAN. I think that statement should come in with the witness testimony, instead of starting out by reading the statement.
Mr. TOLAND. I would be glad to recommend to the committee that the witness be permitted to summarize the statement, in view of the fact that I requested that Dr. Leiserson prepare a memorandum.
The CHAIRMAN. I wonder if you could not summarize that statement in about 15 minutes, and let the whole statement go in the record ?
Dr. LEISERSON. It is a closely written statement, and I think, Mr. Chairman, that it will be quite impossible for the committee to understand my answers to the particular questions, which I will be glad to answer, about any of those memoranda, without having a picture of just how those memoranda came to be written, and their purposes, and how the Board operates.
, Mr. TÓLAND. Doctor, before I question you about the memoranda, supposing you tell in your own way just how it came about that you prepared the memoranda that I am going to examine you about.
Dr. LEISERSON. That is what this statement is intended to do, in a wav, to show the different departments and the procedures that the Board follows.
Mr. TOLAND. I have glanced at the statement. It covers a great field, and it also bespeaks the operations of the Board by members of the Board prior to your appointment, in general terms. I have 10 objection, Doctor, for you to summarize, and state how it came about that you prepared the memoranda.
Dr. LEISERSON. I do not quite understand, Mr. Chairman. I did not know that I was to appear here until last Thursday, and I was not sure what was wanted; and I was told about these memoranda, and I talked it over with Mr. Toland, and I was asked to prepare this statement, and I put in a lot of work on it. I will be glad to skip parts of it.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish you would, Doctor. I do not want this to be understood as any precedent. We are not going to sit here and listen to a lot of previously prepared statements. That is going to be a rule of the committee.
Mr. TOLAND. I would like to say this, Mr. Chairman, that I would prefer that no statement be read in the course of the hearing.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Doctor, if you will cut it down as much as possible.
Dr. LEISERSON. All right.
The National Labor Relations Act is a simple law, designed to accomplish a simple purpose. It is intended to afford to employees the same right of human association, the same freedom to associate with their fellows for common benefit that employers enjoy in their manufacturers' associations, chambers of commerce, and trade associations. A labor union is nothing more than a trade association of employees. I think the Labor Relations Act is a good law. We shall be proud of it in the future, just as we now are proud of our public schools, compulsory education, and workmen's compensation acts, all of which were vigorously denounced as socialistic when they were first advocated and when the first steps were being taken to put them into practical effect. I do not think that the act needs to be amended in any important respect.
It is indeed regrettable that we should ever have reached the condition that made it necessary for Congress to enact the National Labor Relations Act. Most of the great industrial nations of the world do not have any statutes of this kind. The reason is, apparently, that in those countries it did not occur to the great bodies of employers that they had the right to deny to their employees the freedom of organization which they claimed for themselves. It may be recalled that a few years ago a judge in England denounced the managers of an American corporation for trying to bring to that country some of our practices of labor spying and coercion directed against employees' organizations,
In this country, however, employers who enjoyed the right of associated activity took it upon themselves to restrain and interfere with any similar activities on the part of their employees; they felt it was a management prerogative to destroy their employees' organizations. They even appealed to the courts to protect what they thought was their constitutional right to restrain organizational activities of their employees, so that it was necessary for Chief Justice Hughes in the Texas & New Orleans case to pronounce that employers had no constitutional right to interfere with the right of employees to have organizations represent them in dealing with management.
This decision was made in 1930, and it upheld the constitutionality of the Railway Labor Act of 1926. Two years later Congress found it necessary to declare the public policy of the United States with respect to organization rights of employees. It did this in the following words of the Norris-LaGuardia Act:
Whereas under prevailing economic conditions, developed with the aid of governmental authority for owners of property to organize in corporate and other forms of ownership association, the individual unorganized worker is commonly helpless to exercise his freedom of labor, and thereby to obtain acceptable terms and conditions of employment, wherefore, though he should be free to decline to associate with his fellows, it is necessary that he have full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of his own choosing, to negotiate the terms and conditions of his employment, and that he shall be free from the interference, restraint, or coercion of employers of labor, or their agents, in the designation of such representatives or in self-organization or in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid of protection
This stands as the declared public policy of the United States. It is to be noted that this declaration of policy was adopted before there was any New Deal administration, and that its wording was later incorporated in the National Labor Relations Act.
But the Norris-LaGuardia Act was primarily concerned with unfair labor practices of labor organizations, not with unfair practices by employers. The courts had developed a body of law to restrain improper concerted activities by employees and union leaders which they enforced by injunctions. Many union people have gone to jail for improper conduct under this law, and whatever may be our opinion of the Wagner Act, it is well to remember that no employer has yet gone to jail for violating it, although many have been guilty of violations. I mention this here because of the charges that are frequently made that the Wagner Act is one-sided and does not protect the employer. There is plenty of law dealing with unfair practices by labor organizations. But in enforcing this law by the injunction process, the courts had developed policies and procedures which Congress saw fit to modify and clarify. It did not, however,
take away the right of the courts to restrain improper conduct by labor organizations.
Although the Norris-LaGuardia Act declared the rights of emplovees to be free from interference and restraint in their organizational activities, it did not implement any administrative machinery by which workers' rights might be protected against trespass by their employers. This Congress undertook in 1934, when it amended the Railway Labor Act of 1926, to afford a full measure of protection to railroad employees. A year later, the Labor Relations Act was adopted extending the same protection to employees in other interstate industries.
Everything that is prohibited to employers by the Wagner Act also is prohibited by the Railway Labor Act. If one is unfair or onesided, the other is equally unfair and one-sided. If we consider it one-sided to have a law confined to dealing with labor's rights only, then the Railway Act is more one-sided than the Labor Relations Act, for it prohibits employers from petitioning for elections among employees. Indeed, it excludes them even from being parties to representation disputes among employees. The Labor Relations Act is more lenient in this respect. The Board makes employers parties to representation cases before the Board, and it is permissible for the Board to accept petitions from employers for employee elections; and that is now done. If Congress is to amend the Wagner Act so as to relax or to abolish any of the protection it affords to employees, then it will no doubt have to adopt similar amendments to the Railway Labor Act, and perhaps also to modify the declared policy of the United States in the Norris-La Guardia Act.
As I had occasion to state to the Senate Committee on Education and Labor some months ago, the three laws—The Norris-LaGuardia Act, the Railway Labor Act, and National Labor Relations Act-are not disconnected statutes. They are related, built one upon another, and together they constitute one solid structure of congressional policy for the protection of legal and property rights of employees. If one is changed, the others will also have to be changed, and so on.
I think it would be a very serious error if Congress were to change its declared labor relations policy and to amend the Wagner Act in ans vital respect. Such a course would involve turning back the pages of history, retracing the progressive steps we have taken, and going back to the days when labor law was class legislation in favor of employers only. It might be well to remind those who are attacking the Government interference that is involved in the Labor Relations Act that Adam Smith, who first promulgated the doctrine of individual liberty and private enterprise in systematic form, wrote in his Wealth of Nations in 1776 that labor laws were necessary for the protection of working people because the governing classes were employers and property owners who saw to it that laws were enacted in their favor.
In our own country, until about a century ago it was not only an anfair labor practice for working people to organize to improve their conditions by bargaining with their employers; it was a crime. The members of a society of shoemakers in Philadelphia in 1806 were found "guilty of a combination to raise their wages,” fined, and assessed costs. In 1842, however, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, reversing a conviction for labor conspiracy, ruled that a combination of employees to improve their conditions is not essentially different from a combination of people to fight the evils of intemperance. Workmen may join together and refuse to work in a shop where liquor is furnished, or refuse to work with an employee who habitually uses liquor, the court reasoned, so also may they combine to refuse to work for wages they consider too low, or to work with an employee who will accept lower wages.
Other courts subsequently took the same view, and for nearly a hundred years the legality of labor organizations has not been questioned. But, until recently, the freedom of working people to organize meant only freedom from prosecution by the Government. Employers were free to destroy unions by spying on those who joined them, discharging members, refusing employment to union men, imposing "yellow dog" contracts on employees, and organizing company dominated unions with forced memberships. Management, bargaining collectively for great numbers of stockholders, was protected in its right to insist on bargaining individually with helpless workers in need of jobs.
The legal rights favored the employer, and class strife was the inevitable result. Congress and the States attempted to put employees and employers on the basis of equality before the law in the matter of bargaining, but the Supreme Court declared the early efforts in this direction unconstitutional.
Mr. TOLAND. Doctor, may I interrupt you?
Mr. TOLAND. I would like the record to show at this point that, with the exception of a few minutes' glance at your prepared statement, at 20 minutes to 11 Mr. Ross furnished counsel for the committee for the first time with several copies of your statement. Go ahead, Doctor
Dr. LEISERSON (resuming). In the cases of Alair v. United States and Coppage v. kansas, the Court held that an employer's right in his business included the right to discharge or discriminate again-t employees for any or no reason. Apparently neither Congress nor the State legislature could protect employees against emplovers who used their economic position to trespass on the rights of those who worked for them.
The CHAIRMAX. Doctor, will you suspend just a moment? Mr. Fahy wants to make a statement.
Mr. Fany. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, in view of the statement made by Mr. Toland, I would like to call the committee's attention to something that perhaps it has not noticed, that while Dr. Leiserson is reading his statement, and before the memoranila previou-ly referred to had been introduced into the record before ibe committee, Mr. Toland furnished the press with copies of some of the memoranda.
The CHAIRMAX. Go aheail, Doctor.
Dr. LEISERSON (resirming). Apparently, under these decisions, neither Congress for the State legislatures could protect employees against employers who used their economie position to trespass on the rights of those who were to work for them. The courts could not hear caps of employees discharged for exercising their legal right to join labor organizations.
The labor relations acts changed all this. The basis for the change was laid by the Supreme Court itself in 1930, in the Terust Vern
Orleans case already mentioned, when it ruled that the decisions in Aduir v. United States and Coppage v. Kansas were not applicable because employers had no constitutional rights to trespass on the rights of employees. In making this decision the Court had to con
sider a contention of the employer that no property interest was | intolved in the right of the employees to choose their own represent
atires for bargaining. The answer of the Court was that if it is zietes-ary to show a property interest, then
We are of the opinion that there was such an interest with respect to the *ftiog gi representatives to confer with the employer in relation to contracts of service,
Citing this decision, a United States district court ruled in 1935, in che l'irginian Railway case, thatThe right of self-organization and representation in the matter of rates of jay, hours of labor, and working conditions is a property right, the loss of shith would result in irreparable damage to complainants.
This decision later was upheld both in the circuit court of appeals and in the United States Supreme Court.
In a hundred years, therefore, the labor policy of the United States has been developed and changed by slow steps from one in which organization for collective bargaining was held to be a crime to one in which it is protected by law as a property right with the sanctions that surround private ownership of property. Shall we now undo all this development and retrace our steps so that the property rights thus achieved may be taken away from employees by their employers! Fairness and justice in labor relations cannot be achieved or sustained without regarding the property rights of employees every bit as sacred as the property rights of employers. The three acts of Congress—Norris-LaGuardia, Railway Labor, and Labor Relations Act-together with the supporting decisions of the courts, are designed, I take it, to establish and maintain a național labor policy of treating the employees' property rights as equal in sanctity to the employers' property rights. Turning now to the specific provisions of the Labor Relations Act, the meat of them is contained in section 8, which lists five prohibited unfair labor practices. These are:
1. Employers must not interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights to self-organization, to form or join labur organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing;
2. Employers must not dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute to the financial or other support of it. That, of course, refers to the wellknown company union;
3. They must not discriminate in hiring, discharge, or in any condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization; 4. They must not discharge or otherwise discriminate against employees who file charges or give testimony under the act; and, finally,
5. Employers must not refuse to bargain collectively with representatives of employees designated in accordance with the act. Congress was not original in making up this list of practices. It did not just think them up as a good list to prohibit. It found that