Page images

The CHAIRMAN. Does the activity of that committee relieve the necessity for any of the work done by the commissioner of conciliation?

Secretary WILSON. No, sir. So far as that committee is concerned, it has taken no direct active part in mediation.

The CHAIRMAN. They simply exert their influence?

Secretary Wilson. Yes, sír. They have appointed a number of men in various parts of the country as members of their committee, and they have notified us of the names of the people they have selected, and whenever we have a labor dispute in any of those localities, and we feel that the man they have can be of assistance to us in bringing about an adjustment, either because of his influence with the employers or because of his influence with the employees, we get in touch with that man and use his influence in our efforts to bring about an adjustment.

The CHAIRMAN. He is not a commissioner?
Secretary Wilson. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. He does not act as a commissioner of conciliation ?

Secretary Wilson. No, sir; except in one instance. In one instance, in the case of a strike occurring in Los Angeles, Cal., I detailed our inspector in charge of immigration at Los Angeles to act as mediator in that labor dispute, and then I appointed Mr. Weinstock as a commissioner of conciliation to assist him in carrying out the work of adjustment. Mr. Weinstock refused to accept any compensation for his work.

The CHAIRMAN. What I wanted to have made clear was this: Whether what is done through the subordinate committees of the advisory commission of the Council of National Defense relieves the department of any of the labors that devolve on it?

Secretary Wilson. It has not thus far.

The CHAIRMAN. That is, whether the creation of that organization will result in the elimination of the necessity for additional services here.

Secretary Wilson. No, sir; it will not. The position that the Council of National Defense has taken with regard to the advisory commission and with regard to the committees it has created through the advisory commission is that theỳ are purely advisory; that they may advise what should be done, and if there is any established agency of the Government for the doing of that kind of work that agency of the Government already established is the agency through which the work shall be done. Otherwise, you would lead to a .

a dupl cation, a triplication, and all kinds of multiplication of work. In all of these things I have insisted as the head of the Department of Labor, as well as a member of the Council of National Defense, that those things that the Department of Labor is authorized by law to do and has been furnished the means to do with, must be done through the Department of Labor; that we are willing to listen to their advice, and, when we believe it is the proper thing to do, to accept the advice that may be given to us by the advisory commission, or by any of its committees, but upon us rests the responsibility of doing the work that we are authorized to do, and because the responsibility rests upon us we are the ones who should do it.


The CHAIRMAN. You ask us to eliminate an executive clerk at $2.000 and to create the position of assistant to the Secretary at $1,000 per annum.

Secretary Wilson. The reason for that, Mr. Chairman, is this: Thus far, aside from the clerical work that has been done by the executive clerk, I have personally handled the selection of the commissioners. I think that is a very important part of the work. I think it is important that the man who is selected to mediate in any particular case should be the right type of man for that particular case, and so heretofore I have handled that work myself. I find that with the other duties devolving upon me it makes more work for me than I can properly handle, and for that reason I have been asking for an assistant to the Secretary in order that I might name a man who could take over that work.

The CHAIRMAX. Is this for the purpose of promoting somebody? Secretary Wilson. I have not personally decided upon any person.

The CHAIRMAN. I ask that because similar statements were made here by the head of another department-that is, that they wanted to get a certain type of man to take up certain work, and he then immediately promoted to that place a man who was already right under him.

Secretary Wilson. I have not decided upon any particular person for this position.


The CHAIRMAN. For contingent expenses you are asking $7,566, and your appropriation was $53,500.

Mr. Watson. That is inclusive of the amount stipulated for immigration. At the time of the submission of this estimate it was apparent, because of the expense that we would have to incur in connection with moving, and items incidental thereto, that we would either have to withhold the further purchase of a considerable amount of equipment that would be necessary, or incur a deficiency. It cost us something like $6,000 to move and to buy such things as we had to buy.

The CHAIRMAN. Did we not provide for the moving expenses? Mr. Watson. Yes, sir; but the provision only went to this extent: When we came to get figures on moving, we found that it would cost 100 per cent more than we figured, due to the excessive cost of labor and everything else that entered into the equation. The CHAIRMAN. Did we not give you $6,700 for moving? Mr. WATSON. It was $4,400. The CHAIRMAN. I thought we gave you more than that. Mr. Watson. That was for repairs.

The CHAIRMAN. That was in connection with the dispute about the Mills Building!

Mr. WATSON. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Then we gave you $4,400 to take care of the moving, awnings, and screens. Did you have screens? Mr. WATSON. We had shades.

The CHAIRMAN. It was for awnings and shades. How much did it cost you to move?

Mr. Watson. The cost was $6,349.
The CHAIRMAN. What did you estimate that it would cost?
Mr. Watson. We estimated about $1,400.
The CHAIRMAN. Which includes the shades and awnings?

Mr. Watson. For moving we estimated $1,900 or $2,000, but the lowest bid we got on the job was $3,940.

The CHAIRMAN. You had $600 for lamps, $750 for shades, $1,250 for awnings, and $1,800 for moving; and you say it cost you $3,900 ?

Mr. WATSON. $3,940.

The CHAIRMAN. That would leave you about $2,100 short, and you are asking for $7,500?

Mr. Watson. We had to defer from last year's contingent expenses the purchase of a considerable amount of filing furniture, for instance, for the Bureau of Naturalization for the storing of their certificates, etc. Theretofore they had been littered all over the floor, and there was no place to store them. There have been several other items like that for the purchase of necessary equipment for the bureaus that we had to hold up, and we simply had to issue an order along about May that we would not purchase anything for anybody throughout the Department, in order to avoid incurring a deficiency.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you incurred a deficiency?

Mr. Watson. No; we did not incur a deficiency for that reason. I did not feel that we ought to do it; I thought it would be better to hold up the purchase of everything, even though it involved essential things, and then come before the committee and seek authority to enable us to buy them. This year everything we buy in the market, based on our contingent estimates of last year, is from 10 to 25 per cent higher than it was last year.

Secretary Wilson. We felt that if we incurred a deficiency it would mean that the people with whom we were dealing-most of them being people who were not of large means—would have to remain out of their money, the money that they were entitled to and wait until we could get an appropriation from Congress to make good the deficiency. That was the impelling thought with us, the general desire to keep within the appropriation being behind it. That was why we felt we should forego the purchase of things needed and for which the appropriation was made, in order that we could get through without an actual deficiency.


The CHAIRMAN. The next item is :

For salaries of officers and employees in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, per diem in lieu of subsistence at not exceeding $4, traveling expenses, rental of quarters in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, including repairs and alterations thereto, contingent expenses, fuel, heat, light, telephone and telegraph service, purchase of typewriters, adding machines, and other laborsaving devices, and all other miscellaneous items and necessary expenses not included in the foregoing, $750,000, to be expended under the direction of the Secretary of Labor and to continue available during the fiscal year 1918: Provided, That the officers, clerks, and employees of the Division of Information ia the Bureau of Immigration are hereby transferred to the United States Employment Service, at Washington, D. C.


Will you explain this item, Mr. Secretary?

Secretary Wilson. The organic law of the Department of Labor authorizes us to advance the opportunities for profitable employment of wage earners. The division of information of the Bureau of Immigration is authorized to collect and publish information to aliens and others of opportunities that may be available. Acting under those authorizations, by virtue of the demands that have been made for help in furnishing the labor supply, particularly in the seasonal cccupations, we have built up the division of information from a small nucleus of an organization four years ago to a considerable organization during the past year. The declaration of war, however, created emergencies that appeared to us to make it necessary that that organization should be made more general than it is at the present time, and that instead of being attached to the division of information it ought to be attached directly to the Secretary's office. While we have utilized the authorizations contained in the immigration law for the building up of the service, we have felt that the psychology of it was wrong.

We have met, in many instances, the sentiment that the information that is being gathered of opportunities for employment was only available to aliens who were resident in the United States or came into the United States and was not available to American citizens. There has been an unsual demand for highly skilled mechanics in the various mechanical industries during the past year, and that has become more acute during the past three months. It has been necessary for us to assist in finding, for instance, the shipwrights who would be necessary in the building of wooden ships, who could be used as the nucleus of an organization for that purpose. Wooden shipbuilding had, to a very considerable extent, gone out of existence. There were still some yards, however, building wooden ships. We used our machinery, already established, and as a result we were able in a very brief time to register along our rivers, along the lakes, along the Pacific coast, and on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts in the neighborhood of 20,000 shipwrights who could be used as a nucleus of an organization to educate other carpenters in the additional knowledge necessary to make shipwrights out of them. Because of the expansion that has been going on in the Government yards, we have been compelled to cooperate with the Civil Service Com-* mission in scouring the country to secure the necessary machinists, molders, and other mechanics to increase the forces at the navy yards and the arsenals in the different part of the country. There are many plants engaged in the production of munitions and supplies of various kinds necessary for the defense of the Government.

The increase in the number of workmen at these plants, particularly of skilled workmen, has become very rapid, and it has become very necessary for us to assist in carrying out the work so that we can get additional employees for those plants. There are some difficult problems to be dealt with. During the past 50 or 60 years our mechanical establishments have made little or no provision for apprentices, and shops are not equipped for the taking in and education of apprentices. Our labor unions, on the other hand, many of them, have rules restricting the number of apprentices to be used in proportion to the number of skilled mechanics that may be used, and it will be necessary to work out the problem jointly with the employers

and employees of how to take the partly skilled man, how to take the unskilled man, and make him available for doing skilled work. That will be a part of our problem. The situation has been so intense that the State councils of defense, voluntarily organized by and with the approval of the executives of the various States, have taken up the subject matter of creating an employment service, a placement service within their respective States. They are not in a position to utilize the services of those institutions beyond State lines unless there is created some Federal division that can connect up the States into a common clearing house of information. We estimate that it will take $750,000 to extend the organization that we have to the point where it will be reasonably efficient and carry it through the current fiscal year.

The CIIAIRMAN. This, in effect, creates a national employment bureau?

Secretary Wilson. That is what it does.

The CHAIRMAN. I notice that in the contemplated organization you provide for 21 directors in the field.

Secretary Wilson. Yes. That is because we feel that in addition to a central zone here at Washington there should be a number of zones established throughout the country so that the information gathered within those zones will result in the movement of the people within those zones, who can be moved, to fill the opportunities, and that when deinands are made for workmen in excess of what can be supplied within that zone, then the central zone at Washington can get in touch with all of the other zones; when there are more workmen than can find employment within that zone, then the central zone at Washington can get in touch with all the other zones.

The CHAIRMAN. You have at present a Bureau of Information?

Secretary Wilson. A Division of Information in the Bureau of Immigration.

The CHAIRMAN. What organization has that division?
Mr. Watson. They have about 9 or 10 people.

The CHAIRMAN, I find from the legislative law that they have a chief at $3,500, an assistant chief at $2,500, two clerks of class 4, one of class 3, two of class 2, three of class 1, one at $900, and a messenger; in all, $19,310. Some other money was expended in connection with the work of the Division of Information, was it not?

Secretary Wilson. In connection with that we used the immigration fund, which was available for this purpose, for immigration inspectors in carrying on the placement work that we have thus far carried on.

The CHAIRMAN. My recollection is that you used $135,000?
Secretary Wilson. Approximately that.
The CHAIRMAX. You have that $135,000 yet, have you not?

Secretary Wilson. Yes; we have that $135,000 yet; and we propose, if this goes through, to take that organization over bodily wherever it exists throughout the country and make it a part of this common plant.

The CHAIRMAN. That would make for the fiscal year-
Secretary WILSON (interposing). $135,000 plus $750,000.

. . Mr. Watson. This $750,000 would be less a proportionate reduction for the balance of the year, because one-half of the month has already expired.

« PreviousContinue »