« PreviousContinue »
and then, a resort to a punishment which is not within pure view of the Board, for nowhere is it stated in this Wagner Act or in the NorrisLaGuardia Act, that it is any part of the business or authority of the Board to attack a business by trying to take away its customers. The punishments it can impose are not to boycott and destroy a business, but to prevent some particular wrong or injury.
Now, a man that will do that, a Board that will do that thing, furnishes the indubitable evidence that it is prejudiced, that it is controlled by ulterior and vindicative motives, and that it is utterly unfit to sit as a tribunal anywhere under the American flag.
It is the kind of thing that is resorted to by racketeers who come to a man and demand certain compensations or money, and tell him, if he does not give it, they will destroy his business, they will not permit him to sell his goods, wares, or industry. It is on a parallel, and a Board that will do things of this kind ought to be inducted into the racketeers' union, if one exists.
They write a letter to Filene Store, of Boston, a very large store, in which they attack the Berkshire Mills Co., and ask the Filene Co, to bring pressure upon the Berkshire Co. Pressure for what? Manifestly, pressure to make them yield to the demands of some union. Now, here is a concern, let us take this for a moment, I have learned a little bit about merchandising, not much, but here is a concern that has to plan its business, buy its goods, its raw materials, employ its labor, encourage overhead, and it must have customers, and when you can take away from it important customers, you destroy that business, you put it into bankruptcy, you turn its labor out of employment. Here is a Board supposed to represent the United States and the justice and majesty of our laws, resorting to methods of that kind.
Well, here is the firm of Weiss & Klans Co. They were engaged in business which made it desirable for them to get Government contracts, and efforts are being made to blacklist that company so that it can't get Government contracts, although it is not only entitled to get them if it bids properly, but it is to the advantage of the Federal Government and the people of the United States that they should get them, if they are the lowest and best bidder. Now, this action is in no manner justified by any letter, line, or syllable of the law; it was purely an arbitrary act, and it goes to show how dangerous a thing it is to confer authority upon people who are willing to abuse it.
Here is another instance and I am calling the attention to just a few. This is not news to this Board, but you have asked for my opinion and I am trying to give it to you in the mildest language Í know how to employ.
We set up in this country, an institution to loan money to companies that were in financial trouble. Why? Wholly a new thing in our governmental functions but it is being done and largely, I think, approved because it was desirable that companies that were in financial difficulty might be tided over and not closed down and hot, therefore, destroy the opportunities of labor.
Well, they'd gone down there, and they'd tried to have loans withheld from companies that have not been tried, so that they could go bankrupt because somebody had made an accusation against them. Now this book is full of these things. This report ought to be read by every Member of Congress. It ought to be printed in every newspaper of the United States, in substance and effect. But we
come to another thing that is charged here, and I take it upon substantial grounds, that they have taken the money of the people of the United States, your taxes and my taxes and everybody's taxes, and have been expending as much at $2,600 a month for attorneys to lobby with reference to this very measure that is now pending.
Well, when I was in the Senate, which was under a different regime than we have now, we were trying to pass laws down there to make it illegal to lobby, anybody that was a paid lobbyist had to make some sort of a registration of himself. He was supposed to be on the borderline of a crook. That was the atmosphere we had at that time. It may not have been entirely right. Now, we take the money of the people of the United States and hire a lot of lawyers to go over and prevent a change or alteration or an amendment to this bill.
Now, that sort of thing is not only immoral, but it is clearly illegal, and if the penalties of the law were visited as they should be, it would result in the removal from office of every one of these gentlemen who were party or privy to this infamous transaction.
Mr. ROUTZOHN. Does the Senator know that the Labor Board endeavors to justify its lobbying action with the excuse that all of the other bureaus do the same thing?
Mr. REED. I didn't have that information, although I have had a suspicion of that kind, and I think most of the people in the country had.
Mr. ROUTZOHN. That still doesn't make it right, though, does it, in your estimation?
Mr. REED. That is like one thief excusing himself for stealing a horse by saying somebody else stole a mule. If that is going on in this country,
then-and I am not going into politics—if that is part of the New Deal, they had better perform a surgical operation and cut the cancer out.
Now, I am not going to refer to other matters in this report, but there is—and you have asked me for my opinion as to amendments. I would not want to undertake to give this committee a comprehensive analysis of this bill, but there are two or three things that, if they are not taken out of the law, will result in great wrong, and they have resulted in great wrong. The first thing that I think we ought to do is to make this bill appear not as a bill attacking everybody who has a business or an industry, but I think the preamble to the bill is very unfortunately drawn. It really is so susceptible of the construction that it is a general indictment of all people who employ labor. Now that is a doctrine that is utterly untenable and no such implication should be in any law. That, however, in my judgment, is not the most important thing, and I am only going to mention two or three things.
In the first place, the law ought to be changed so that any person put to trial must be tried in accordance with the rules of law and evidence. When you go out of those rules which have been developed in the course of a thousand years of jurisprudence, you are absolutely certain to introduce into every controversy, matters that are improperly there and that prejudice the cause of justice. The next great question, in my judgment, is the weight to be given to evidence. To say that a court is to be bound by the decision of a board if there is any evidence to sustain it, is to say that justice may be outraged every day in the year. As Judge Otis says in his opinion, susceptible of the construction that one witness may swear in a certain way, and 20 may swear the other way, but the mere finding of the Board is conclusive upon the courts, is to say that your rights are not to be measured by the facts as they exist, but by a misconstruction of those facts by a board or tribunal. That certainly ought to come out of this law. There ought to be a clarification of the rights and privileges of plant unions.
Now, regardless of its connection with this case, when I read in the law the provision in the Wagner Act that the employees of a certain factory or institution could organize and that then it would be the duty of the employer to deal with them and with them alone, it seemed to me that that created a sort of a democracy in labor that would be very desirable. They would no longer be subject to attack by the greater organizations. Their rights would be secured, and they could gain the protection of the law and of the courts. That ought to be made so plain that there can be no controversy about it in the future. The act ought to be amended so that in any case, where the rights of a citizen are being outraged, that the jurisdiction of the courts should be restored so that those rights can be protected, and until you do that, you do not have the rule of law, but you have the rule of bureaus and bureaucracies that change overnight and that may rely for their decisions upon the prejudiced opinions of some underling.
But there is one thing that is in all this discussion that I want to ask a word about, and that is the right of a citizen of the United States to express his opinion to any other citizen of the United States with reference to any subject or matter whatsoever, provided he does not, in the doing of that, in the expression of that opinion, impinge upon the rights of some other person, or the public, to say, as it is now being attempted, that an employer cannot talk to his employee, cannot express an opinion to his employee, cannot seek to persuade that employee not to join a labor union, is to deny the right of free speech.
This right of free speech doesn't exist on behalf of the man who works at the lathe and is denied to the man who may be his employer. The right of those two men to change their views and to do it frankly and freely, without any limitation, must be preserved. Now, that has nothing to do with coercion. If, in using his right to speak, an employer were to say to one of his employees, "If you dare to do this, that, or the other thing, I will discharge you,” that is coercion, and properly can be forbidden by the law. But the mere right to make an argument, to present reasons, is of an entirely different character, and yet this Board and its subordinates have been holding to the doctrine that a man can't even talk to his employee.
Now, this right of free speech lies at the foundation of all our rights. As was said by a learned judge, the right to think is of very little value if you cannot express your thoughts. The right of free speech is not limited by the public opinion of the day. The chief benefit of the right of free speech is that ideas shall be expressed which may be contrary to the general opinion of the day. Strike it down, limit it, qualify it in any way, and you have driven a dagger through the heart of the liberty of the people of this country. It is
even more important than the liberty of the press, because the right to speak is a right which inheres in every being that is born, and he can exercise it; whereas the liberty of the press, of course, is more limited as an instrumentality for each individual, and I say, as Jefferson said, that I would rather live in a country where all the rights of the people were sought to be extinguished and preserve the liberty of the press than to preserve all the safeguards the law can create.
But the right of the individual, the right of the man who works for me—and I don't mean I have got employees except in my officeto come to me with his requests, and my right to go to him and suggest things that I think ought to be done, those two rights must be
preserved in this country, and if they are not preserved, if this doctrine of freedom of speech is ever circumscribed or cut down, the people that will first feel the deadly effect will be the people who work with their hands and their brains for a living. Because always in the end of life and in the end of experience, the man who is without much money and who is obliged to rely upon his daily effort for his living is the first man that feels the effect of oppression, and oppression's greatest enemy is freedom of speech, and liberty, civilization's greatest friend, is the free exchange of ideas, and no Congress and no legislative body has any right to say that because a man works for another, they cannot discuss their mutual business and affairs.
Now, gentlemen, I have taken too much of your time. You gave me a large order and I have tried to do what I can about it. I thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Before we adjourn, Mr. Toland, I question when we get the court record of this case.
Mr. TOLAND. We'll have it here.
The CHAIRMAN. To show in what form that offer of proof was made and have the actual document here.
Mr. TOLAND. Now I do think that there is one thing that should be said in connection with the making of a part of our record, this stenographic record. A petition has been filed with the court and also the Board has an additional copy of the record, if we made the transcript
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). I don't want to make a transcript of part of the record. All I want to do is to know for the purpose of this record, in what form that proof was offered and rejected, and what the record shows about it.
Mr. ToLand. Mr. Ingraham, do you have the record! Have you found that?
Mr. INGRAHAM. As I understand, the record that's been sent over here from the Board office does not contain the offer of proof. Now the Board has it, evidently, some other place in their office. Where is that, gentlemen? Mr. Miller called his office, Mr. Faly. What did you
find out about that, Mr. Miller? Mr. TOLAND. We will have it Monday morning, I understand. In the room
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). I am not interested in the record, or keeping it, or anything of that kind. I just want to know what was the procedure and whether that actually, the rejected testimony, and what you expected to prove, was ever put before the court itself.
Mr. TOLAND. Well, we will have the record Monday morning at 10 o'clock, and I will read that part into our record.
The CHAIRMAX. In connection with that, I'd like some explanation of why it was not in the record now, that was sent up here to us today.
Mr. TOLAND. My understanding is that that part of the record that contains the offer of proof is in the room that is locked, and that the employees in charge have gone for the day.
The CHAIRMAN. This is all one record. Why is one record in one place and another part of the record somewhere else?
Mr. Fany. I have no knowledge of the circumstances under which the record came up, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. TOLAND. I am satisfied that we will have it at 10 o'clock Monday morning
Mr. Routzohn. I think I can explain some of that. (The witness, Senator Reed, was excused.)
The CHAIRMAN. I'd just really like to know, if it is possible to know it, whether anybody in Washington ever found out what Mr. Ingraham was seeking to prove by the witnesses who were not permitted to testify.
Mr. TOLAND. The review attorney is here.
Mr. Fahy. Mr. Attorney, the Board decision does show that that matter was before the Board and was referred to in the decision.
Mr. TOLAND. Mr. Miller, will you take the stand again and state for the record this point based upon your connection with this case, your recollection as to the offer of proof and that part of the record, and whether you examined it?
TESTIMONY OF NEWTON BARR MILLER, ATTORNEY, NATIONAL
LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, WASHINGTON, D. C.-Resumed
Mr. MILLER. Yes, sir. The offers of proof were in the record as exhibits in the case. They were examined by me and each of those offers of proof was presented in full to the Board. The Board considered each offer of proof in the case.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you mean, they were “presented to the Board"?
Mr. MILLER. I mean by that that they were physically before the Board and that I also stated orally to the Board what those offers contained.
The CHAIRMAN. So all the Board ever knew about it was what you said the offers contained; is that right?
Mr. MILLER. Not that I know of; no, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Now you are not undertaking to say that you don't know that the Board ever read all that stuff in the 2 hours that you were discussing it?
Mr. MILLER. The offers of proof were comparatively short, Chairman Smith, and I do not know for a fact that the Board did not read those.