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One of the most serious conditions that the committee found was the interference of the iron and coal police at post offices located at coal mines on the company's property, usually in connection with its office and store.
The statement of John Weiss, who operated the general merchandise store at Smithdale, Pa., was taken. He told of going to the post office for his mail. He said he made trips there daily for a number of years and upon one occasion found six or seven coal and iron police there, who would not permit him to enter. They pushed him back when he tried to crowd in to get his mail. The post office where this took place is located on the Pittsburgh Coal Co.'s property.
The committee then took the statement of Orville L. Branthoover, a farmer, of Smithdale, Pa. Mr. Branthoover said on the morning of May 18, 1927, he went to the post office at Van Meter. The postmaster gave him a letter and he stopped to read it, when he was approached by a coal and iron police and ordered to move on. He was told that he was trespassing. Mr. Branthoover replied, stating that he was only waiting for the morning mail train which had not yet arrived. While protesting with the coal and iron police he was placed under arrest for resisting an officer, handcuffed, and dragged around in a brutal manner. He was beaten with a blackjack until his nose was broken and dragged into court. A neighbor went his bond for $500. Later the case was settled by the coal and iron police paying all the court costs and the lawyer's fee.
The committee then took the statement of William Mattes, a mill worker. Mr. Mattes said he went to the post office at Bruceton to send a money order and while waiting for the postmaster to fill the money order out he was approached by the coal and iron police and asked what he was doing there. He was told that 15 minutes was all he would be allowed to remain in the post office, to get his business done and get out. He was also told that if he indulged in any back talk he would be thrown out.
The committee took evidence from other witnesses who told similar stories about being interfered with while going to and from the post office in the strike days.
The committee then took the statement of Miss Eleanor Pusker a student at Imperial, Pa., who told of being insulted and roughly treated by the coal and iron police.
Your committee then took the statement of Mrs. Myrtle Spurlock, which shocked every member of the committee. She stated that she lived at Labelle and that her husband worked for the Pittsburgh Terminal Coal Co. She went to the post office to get mail one day and received a letter from her brother advising her that he was ill and asking her to come and bring him home. A coal and iron police gave her the letter and then read it over her shoulder. He said, "I see you have bad news” and offered to take her in his car to get her brother. She gladly accepted his offer and, after making arrangements to have her two children taken care of, they started for Vestabury. When she found her brother he was much better and the coal and iron police refused to permit him to ride back home with them. On the way back she said he stopped the car in a lonely spot and between sobs Mrs. Spurlock told the story of her struggles with him to protect hersolf against his brutal treatment. In a day or so later her husband was discharged.
Other witnesses readily testified to the brutal treatment received at the hands of the coal and iron police.
At 3.15 o'clock the committee discontinued these hearings and at 4 p. m. motored to Indiana, Pa., a distance of about 65 miles. They arrived at Indiana about 6.15 p. m., and went to Hotel Moore. While having dinner, word was received that Judge Langham, president judge of the court of common pleas of Indiana County, Pa., was in the lobby and would be pleased to meet the committee.
After dinner the committee met Judge Langham and expressed the wish to interview him regarding his injunction. The judge expressed a willingness to be interviewed, and the committee, together with the judge, a State senator (Hon. Lee S. North) and the mayor of Indiana (Hon. Bert H. Lichteberger), retired to a parlor of the hotel where Judge Langham was questioned as to the injunctions he had issued against the coal miners at Rossiter from singing hymns in the open and on lots that were owned by the local miners union. It was brought out that the injunction prevented the miners from advertising in newspapers, from picketing, or singing hymns on their own lots.
At 10.15 p. m. your committee adjourned.
At 9 o'clock the morning of February 27, your committee motored to Rossiter, Pa., and made our first stop at the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co.'s office. Here we met A. J. Musser, vice president and general manager, and F. D. Welsh, superintendent.
Mr. Musser advised us that the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co. was a subsidiary of the New York Central Railroad Co. He said that his company had been a party to the Jacksonville agreement and that the contract was carried out in good faith until it expired on March 31, 1927. Mr. Musser stated that they not only carried the Jacksonville agreement out in good faith but that for three months after its expiration the company tried to reach an agreement with the union miners, and failing in that they made a reduction from the Jacksonville agreement of 21 per cent, which is considerably higher, Mr. Musser believed, than is paid at the present time by any other coal company in Pennsylvania.
The committee was very much impressed with Mr. Musser's spirit of fairness, and if the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co. had not been a party to the injunction issued by Judge Langham, the visit of your committee to Rossiter would not have been necessary.
Mr. F. D. Welsh, the superintendent of the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co., advised the committee at this point that the earnings per day per man at Rossiter Mine No. 1 was $6.09 and at Rossiter Mine No. 3 $5.39. Here at the Rossiter Mines, however, as well as in the other districts visited, it was found that very few of the men, worked full time.
Mr. Musser was then asked just how far the church and the lots, in and upon which the singing had been prohibited by the injunction, were located from the company's property. Mr. Musser replied that the distance was about 1,500 feet from where the men had to pass to go to and from the mines. Mr. Musser further said, "the people are not restrained from congregating on that particular lot alone but on all other lots. It so happens that those are the only lots and the only surface which we do not own and on which they
could congregate and from which point they could see the operation down here by means of field glasses. It is across this ravine here, and they can see men going in and out, and by singing whatever it was, it was intended to intimidate our men."
The committee found so much bitterness in its tour of inspection through the coal fields of Pennsylvania against Judge Langham's injunction, especially that part prohibiting the singing on property owned by the local union at Rossiter, that they decided to visit the church to try to find out just what manner of hymns the miners had been enjoined from singing.
The committee, accompanied by Vice President and General Manager Musser, Superintendent Welsh, of the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co., and Messrs. Murray, Fagan, and Mark of the United Mine Workers of America proceeded to the church on the ground where the miners had been enjoined from singing hymns.
Your committee found the church crowded with union miners and proceeded at once to interview Rev. A. J. Phillips. Reverend Phillips was asked to give the title of the hymns that were sung in the open by the miners and was asked to sing some of them.
The first hymn was No. 166 entitled “The Victory May Depend on
The next hymn was No. 66, entitled "Sound the battle cry.” The next hymn was No. 266 entitled “Nearer my God to Thee.
The committee then listened to the singing of hymn No. 44 "Stand up for Jesus.”
Reverend Phillips admitted that they had changed the title of hymn No. 10 from “I'm on the Winning Side" to We are on the Winning Side." This was the only hymn that was changed, the committee was advised.
Reverend Phillips said he was a regularly ordained minister of the church of God, having its headquarters at Anderson, Ind.
The committee then adjourned to the grounds back of the church where these hymns had been sung, from which point they could view the offices of the coal company and the entrance to the mine, and it was considered very doubtful by the committee that the singing could be heard so as to distinguish the words of the song in the company's office, unless the winds were very favorable.
We took the evidence of a number of witnesses assembled there, all of whom told the same story about the rough treatment of the coal and iron police and some of them exhibited ugly scars that they will carry to the grave.
Your committee then motored back to Indiana, where we interviewed a number of the operators, as well as Mr. James W. Mack, attorney for the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corporation. Mr Mack defended the injunction. He was asked some very pointed questions by the Senators on the committee who are lawyers, namely, Senator Wheeler and Senator Wagner.
Your committee then interviewed Mr. Charles O'Neill, secretary of the Central Pennsylvania Coal Producers' Association.
Mr. O'Neill admitted that up to about two years ago he had held & position with the United Mine Workers of Pennsylvania and had been president of the local miners organization at Indiana.
Everywhere your committee made an investigation in the Pittsburgh district we found coal and iron police and deputy sheriffs visible in great numbers. In the Pittsburgh district your committee understands there are employed at the present time between 500 and 600 coal and iron police and deputy sheriffs. They are all very large men; most of them weighing from 200 to 250 pounds. They all are heavily armed and carry clubs usually designated as a "blackjack.”
Everywhere your committee visited they found victims of the coal and iron police who had been beaten up and were still carrying scars on their faces and heads from the rought treatment they had received. Your committee found more or less evidence of bootlegging in the places it visited; and in one community especially it seemed as if the morals of that community had been broken down entirely.
Everywhere your committee visited in the Pittsburgh district they found the slimy trail of an organization known as the “Ohio and Pennsylvania Relief Society." The more suffering and distress your committee found, the more sure it was to find the Ohio and Pennsylvania Relief Society active, offering food and clothing to the distressed miners, and at the same time preaching its doctrine of disloyalty, the breaking of injunctions by mass picketing, and the destruction of the organization of the United Mine Workers of America, together with the destruction of the Government itself.
At first the union mine workers accepted relief from the Ohio and Pennsylvania Relief Society but upon learning that its object was to destroy the union and next the Government, they all refused to accept assistance from the agents of this dangerous organization.
Your committee found that the Ohio and Pennsylvania Relief Society had held meetings in the Pittsburgh district in which a special effort was made to organize the young boys and girls into an organization known as the “Young Patriotic Workers of America."
In no place did your committee find where the coal and iron police or the deputy sheriffs, although they existed in great numbers, had made any effort to curb the activities of this disloyal organization. The only efforts your committee found that had been made to rid the Pittsburgh district of these agents of the most dangerous organization this country has ever known came from the striking miners themselves. Your committee was impressed with the courage and determination of the miners to stand up for what they believed was their due an American wage making possible an American standard of living
Your committee heard but little complaint about the living conditions that the miners had been forced to accept while standing up for what they believed was their right, and the splendid courage of the women was especially noticeable to the members of your committee, for we all know and understand that when hardships and privations enter the home the mother's lot is always the hardest to bear.
Your committee found no starvation in the Pittsburgh district, yet evidence on every hand was that the food was none too plentiful and was of necessity the cheapest that could be purchased. Your committee believes the conditions existing in the Pittsburgh district
and other coal fields in the United States are of a most serious nature and dangerous to the best interest of our citizenship.
Very little time was given by your committee to the economic side of this controversy, but we have every reason to believe that the coal industry generally in this country is not in a prosperous condition, and we most respectfully urge that the investigation by the whole committee be searching and severe in every detail, looking forward to some solution by legislation that will put the great coal industry of America on a reasonably prosperous basis.
F. R. GOODING, Chairman.