Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

giving advance notice to the mine foreman when possible." I never found a "possible" case yet. It has always been impossible.

When we return I firmly expect that some of these days the mine workers' organization will see things in a different light and we will cooperate together over at our mines just the same as we have always done before, that we want a little understanding about this matter of arbitrating disputes and wages when we can not agree, and we want a little more control of our own men. We do not want to be a dictator, but we do want to have a reasonable business control over our men.

Senator GOODING (presiding). Is that all?

Mr. William P. BELDEN (Cleveland, Ohio, counsel for the Ohio operators). Mr. Chairman, as counsel for the Ohio operators I would like to ask this witness a question or two.

Senator GOODING (presiding). All right, you may proceed.

Mr. BELDEN. Judge Wildermuth, I noticed that in expressing your opinion as to the desirability of union labor you seemed to place considerable emphasis on conditions in eastern Ohio. I want to ask you if those special conditions as you view them somewhat influenced your view in that district?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. My statement was that under the conditions existing in eastern Ohio I would prefer in eastern Ohio to operate our mines with organized labor.

Mr. BELDEN. Now Judge Wildermuth, you are also connected with coal mining companies which operate in West Virginia, are you not?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. I am.
Mr. BELDEN. What district do you operate in in West Virginia?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Logan County.

Mr. BELDEN. Conditions in Logan County are different as to labor from those in eastern Ohio, are they not?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. They are.

Mr. BELDEN. Are you operating in Logan County, W. Va., on a union or nonunion basis?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. Open shop.

Mr. BELDEN. How large a production does your company have on the open-shop basis?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. About a million tons a year. Two mines.

Mr. BELDEN. Yes. Now how long have you been operating mines on an open-shop basis in West Virginia? Mr. WILDERMUTH. Ever since we opened up in the district.

Mr. BELDEN. So that you have had many years' experience in operating open-shop mines as well as Union mines, have you not?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. I have.

Mr. BELDEN. Have you any opinion as to the relative desirability of open-shop labor and union labor; as to efficiency?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. As I said a while ago, the efficiency of a man does not depend on his carrying a union card. It depends on the man himself, it depends on the system under which he works, and it depends on his supervision. Whether or not a man

Senator WHEELER. And somewhat on his employer?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Supervision of his employer.
Senator WHEELER. Yes.
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Absolutely. Does that answer your question?

About 15 years.

Mr. BELDEN. Yes, sir. So that when you speak of the relative efficiency of these two classes of labor those views have got to be qualified by the conditions in different districts, have they not?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. They have.
Mr. BELDEN. That is all.

Senator COUZENS. Do you prefer to operate as you are in West Virginia, or as you did in Ohio?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. Senator, operating in the open-shop districts in the State of West Virginia I would prefer to operate our mines open shop. The men in West Virginia are men that are open-shop men. I might say that 30 per cent of our men have either gone from the union by reason of being dissatisfied, or kicked out. Now they know if the union is ever established down there they would not be permitted to continue. There are about 30 per cent of our men that have worked under open-shop conditions all their lives, and they are just as much wedded to it as are the union men who have been raised in the union districts. The balance of our men are distributed between men who probably would just as leave work under one condition as the other, and a percentage of men from Ohio and the other union fields who are now idle and who tell me that they are working in West Virginia simply until the settlement is made in Ohio, when they will come back.

Senator Couzens. What wages do you pay in the West Virginia field?

Mr. WildERMUTH. Our base wage is $4.40 a day.

Senator WHEELER. That is even higher than it is in some places in the Pittsburgh district then, is it not?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. I am not familiar with the wages except as I have heard them here, Senator.

Senator WHEELER. I see. Judge, let me ask you this. not feel that organized labor in this country has been responsible to quite a large extent for our high standards of living? Mr. WILDERMUTH. Well, Senator, to a certain extent, yes.

I believe the laboring organizations are responsible. I believe the civic organizations are responsible to an extent. I believe that the employers are responsible. And I believe there has been wise legislation on the part of our legislative bodies that has not been influenced by any of those.

Senator WHEELER. Well, do you not think that very few are passed by legislative bodies excepting from the pressure that is put upon the members of the legislative bodies and the advocacy of them by labor organizations?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. No, Senator. My impression of a legislative body is that a large proportion of the legislative men are interested in civic and economic conditions, and that they are honestly trying to remedy conditions wherever possible. Senator WHEELER. Well, I agree with you quite thoroughly,

I naturally, but the view that I want to bring to you is this. My judgment about the matter, from my experience, is that it has been the labor organizations that have brought the facts to the attention of the legislative body. I have never found any operators in experience in legislative bodies coming to us and saying that "you ought to pass a law for the purpose of shortening the hours of labor or better

Do you

ing the conditions of the workingmen in this particular line of industry.” Now, there may have been such things, but if there have been I have never come in contact with them.

Mr. WilDERMUTH. Well, Senator, I think that results from the fact that where the labor organization is after a law, they are after something that compels the employer to do something.

Senator WHEELER. Exactly.

Mr. WILDERMUTH. On the other hand where the employer himself has worked out a situation that he thinks is better he does not come to a legislative body and ask permission to do it. He simply puts that into effect himself.

Senator WHEELER. Yes; but when he puts that into effect in his industry he can not do it generally unless all of the men in that particular industry follow suit, and unfortunately many of the men in that line of industry do not want to follow suit, but they want to go along under the old system that they have been following.

Mr. WILDERMUTH. Well, Senator, I find that employers of labor talk these matters over and they really are interested in the condition of their men. It is only the occasional employer of labor that thinks entirely of dollars. They are interested in their men, the same as any one else. And they do talk these things over. Why, Senator, I am a member of an organization of men that without any warrant of law or request of any legislature voluntarily put a certain industry on an 8-hour basis when it was working more than that.

Senator WHEELER. Well, you ought to feel very proud of it, and I think you are an exceptional man in industry to do that sort of thing, because I do not find that most of them do that sort of thing.

Mr. WILDERMUTH. Well, Senator, I do not take any special credit; if there is any special credit due I will give it where it belongs. It belongs to the Logan Operators Association, because that is what they did in the Logan coal district of West Virginia.

Senator WHEELER. Well, they ought to be given credit for it.

Senator GOODING. Do I understand the base in West Virginia is $4.40?

Mr. WildERMUTH. Our base-rate wage is $4.40; yes.
Senator GOODING. Your base wage is $4.40?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Yes,

Senator Gooding. Do you think that is a fair wage for a man with the increased cost of living at the present time that he is forced to meet, with a family that he must clothe and send his children to school and live in the condition that he ought to live?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. Senator, I would say

Senator GOODING. Will it give him the American standard of living that he is entitled to?

Senator WHEELER. With the high cost of living?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. Senator, I would say that that wage should not be less than that. Now you and I can sit around and determine what would be a fair wage.

Senator Gooding. Now Judge, another thing. Taking into consideration at the same time the unsteadiness of his employment owing to the overproduction, which is a very serious matter with him?

Mr. WILDERMUTH. Senator, I can only speak of the unsteadiness of employment from our own mines. Our own mines, the officials will tell you, through a course of years, work practically constantly.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Senator Gooding. Well, you are more fortunate than others. We are discussing the industry as a whole. It must be looked at by the committee, it seems to me, as a whole. We found in our investigation in Pennsylvania that most of these coal miners had very large families.

Mr. WILDERMUTH. Yes.

Senator GOODING. I am wondering how they are going to get by on $4.40 a day.

Mr. WILDERMUTH. Well, Senator, if you have occasion to look into the earnings of the various industries, taking that base of $4.40 & day, it is pretty hard for some of the other industries. I have been interested in this thing. I do not want to tire you or bore you, but you take that base wage, say the base wage of $5 a day, compares pretty favorably with other industries. You know your Government here has given a great many statistics. Take your engine service. Here is a railroad engine service. That is your engineer. Eightynine cents an hour. About a cent less than we pay a mule driver under the Jacksonville scale. I do not want to bore you. I have quite a list of them here.

Senator GOODING. You are not boring us at all. The committee is very much interested in all this line of information.

Mr. WilDERMUTH. I have been very much interested. You take iron and steel: In 1926 skilled labor, 68.9 cents an hour; unskilled labor, 49.8 cents an hour. Now you take the unskilled labor, say 50 cents an hour, working eight hours, it is $4 a day in your steel.

Now you take your skilled labor: Eight hours a day, at 68.9 cents an hour, is in the neighborhood of $5 a day for your skilled man in your steel industry.

Take your automobile manufacturers: Skilled labor, 69.2 cents an hour; unskilled, 51.8 cents an hour.

Take your electrical apparatus manufacturers: Skilled labor, 65.7 cents an hour; unskilled, 47 cents an hour.

Take your foundry and machine shop products: Skilled labor, 63.8 cents an hour; unskilled, 49 cents an hour.

Foundries: Skilled labor, 67 cents an hour; unskilled, 51 cents an hour.

Machines and machine tools: Skilled labor, 61 cents an hour; unskilled, 47.2 cents an hour.

Heavy equipment—why, I have got two more pages.

Senator GOODING. All right, we would like to have them for the record.

Senator WHEELER. Put them in the record.

Mr. WILDERMUTH. All right, sir. May I ask permission to have a copy of this put in the record? I will be perfectly willing to have your stenographer make the copy.

Senator GOODING. Yes; give it to him.
Mr. WiLDERMUTH. I hope I have not bored you with it.
Senator Gooding. No; it will be very helpfui.

(The statement presented by Mr. Wildermuth for the record is as follows:)

Statement showing average hourly and weekly earnings of labor employed in various

industries

[blocks in formation]

Class I railroads:

All wage earners, fourth quarter 1925.
Train and engine service, fourth quarter 1925.
Skilled shop labor, fourth quarter 1925.

Unskilled labor, fourth quarter 1925...
Iron and steel manufacturing:
First quarter, 1926

Skilled

Unskilled
Agricultural implement manufacturing:
First quarter, 1926—

Skilled

Unskilled Automobile manufacturing: First quarter, 1926–

Skilled.

Unskilled
Electrical apparatus manufacturing:
First quarter, 1926–

Skilled

Unskilled.
Foundry and machine shop products:
First quarter, 1926--

Skilled

Upskilled.
Foundries:
First quarter, 1926–

Skilled.

Unskilled.
Machines and machine tools:
First quarter, 1926-

Skilled

l'nskilled. Heavy equipment: First quarter, 1926

Skilled.

Unskilled. Hardware and small parts: First quarter, 1926 --

Skilled

Unskilled
Cotton Manufacturing:
North-
First quarter, 1926–

Skilled

Upskilled
South-
First quarter, 1926–

Skilled.

Unskilled
Hosiery and Knit goods manufacturing:
First quarter, 1926–

Skilled.

Unskilled
Silk manufacturing:
First quarter, 1926–

Skilled.

Unskilled
Wool manufacturing:
First quarter, 1926–

Skilled.

Unskilled.
Leather tanning and finishing:
First quarter, 1926--

Skilled

Unskilled.
Boot and shoe manufacturing:
First quarter, 1926–

Skilled

Unskilled. Chemical manufacturing: First quarter, 1926

Skilled.

Unskilled.
Paint and varnish manufacturing:
First quarter, 1926–

Skilled.
Unskilled.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »