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Statement showing average hourly and weekly earnings of labor employed in various
Paper and wood pulp manufacturing:
Unskilled Furniture manufacturing: First quarter, 1926
Authority: National Industrial Conference Board Treatise on “Wages in the United States," published May, 1926, their reference No. 115.
NOTE.-In every instance the statistics covering the latest perod shown have been used in the above statement.
Senator WHEELER. I want to ask you one question. If the West Virginia and the southern fields would raise the wages of their miners down there then there would not be any question but what the coal operators in Ohio and Pennsylvania could pay a higher wage, would there?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. That would depend entirely on the supply an) demand. If the total number of mines in operation in the combined organized and unorganized districts are just about sufficient to meet the demand we could work together in splendid harmony. But with the great excess capacity for production you can not bring that about. And unless, as the fellow says, you can repeal the law of supply and demand, I do not see what legislation you can enact that is going to be helpful.
Senator WHEELER. Then you think the only thing to do is to just simply let the industry go ahead as it has until the little fellows are kicked out and a few companies get a private monopoly?
Mr. WildERMUTH. Well, the little fellows are hanging on better than some of the big ones, Senator.
Senator WHEELER. That is because the big fellows have overcapitalized; is that not so?
Mr. WildERMUTH. I know some that are pretty slippery.
Senator WHEELER. Some are pretty slippery because of mismanagement or overcapitalization; is that not it?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Well, I think as a whole the coal industry is fairly efficiently managed. Of course when you find an industry in the condition it is to-day it is easy to ascribe that condition to anything. But there is only one thing you can ascribe it to, and that is the greatly increased capacity for production, as I see it.
Mr. WARRUM. You spoke about the comparatively steady employment that the men get in the Logan mines on this $4.40 base rate of pay.
Mr. WILDERMUTH. You will pardon me, I had reference to not only our Logan mines but our Ohio mines. Both of those have operated very steady.
Mr. WARRUM. Do you think that if the whole industry was put on the $4.40 basis with its over development, over production, that there would be steady employment for the men at $4.40 a day?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. No, I do not.
Mr. WARRUM. No. If they were all together on that equalized basis they would be working two or three days a week, would they not?
Mr. WiLDERMUTH. Yes. But speaking from the union side, I would like to have a competitive rate so I could chase some of the nonunion men out of the business, and speaking from the other side I hope they do not get it. So there you are.
Mr. WARRUM. Yes. But in the industry as a whole they would still be working about 150 days a year, would they not?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Well, our work runs nearer 300 than 150. But you are absolutely right. I do not mean to evade your question.
Mr. WARRUN. All right, sir.
Mr. WilDERMUTH. As long as you have this tremendous capacity for production you can not run your mines steady. That is selfevident.
Mr. Warrun. Now let me ask you a further question. I want to make this very brief, Mr. Chairman.
Senator GOODING (presiding). All right.
Mr. Warrun. Are you supplying any of the contracts for service from your closed-down Ohio mines by your Logan operations?
Mr. WildERMUTH. No, our Logan coal is a different sort of a coal. Mr. WARRUN. Yes.
Mr. WILDERMUTH. It goes to different places. But some of our neighbors in West Virginia are supplying all our trade.
Mr. WARRUN. Then when you spoke a moment ago about the commercial market that your Ohio mines were furnishing having been demoralized by West Virginia operations, did you refer to the operations of your own mines in Logan County?
Mr. WildERMUTH. I did not.
Mr. WILDERMUTH. We do not come in direct competition; that is, No. 8 does not. It is the northern West Virginia field that is our competitor.
Mr. WARRUM. You are conversant with the labor situation in Logan County, W. Va., are you not?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Fairly so.
Mr. WARRUM. Yes. Is it not a fact that a union organizer can not come into Logan County to organize the mine employees there?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. I do not believe the miners there would let him come.
Mr. WARRUM. Well, do you think it is the miners or operators?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. 'I think it is the miners, as well as the operators.
Mr. WARRUM. Exactly. Now, you have paid a tonnage price into a pool for the operators of Logan County to maintain guards in Logan County, have you not?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. I have not, sir.
Mr. WARRUM. Has that been done by any of the operators down there that you know?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Not to my knowledge.
Mr. WARRUM. Do you know whether or not they do maintain armed guards through Logan County?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Why, we maintain—we have got a deputy sheriff on our plant.
Mr. WARRUM. How many?
Mr. Warrum. And how about the other coal operators there, do you know?
Mr. WiLDERMUTH. I think there are a great many of them that have a deputy sheriff, a resident sheriff.
Mr. WARRUM. Is that to keep out union miners or organizers? Mr. WILDERMUTH. No, sir; that is to keep order in your town. Mr. WARRIM. Yes.
Mr. WILDERMUTH. In our town we have practically 2,300 people. Now we pay this deputy sheriff ourselves. There is no roundabout way-we pay him his salary. He works under the sheriff and he maintains order in the town. Of
course we try to get a little work out of him besides that, and we do. He is our house inspector.
Mr. WARRUM. Is it not a fact that Don Chafin, the sheriff of Logan County, enjoyed the benefit of a pool that was raised by assessing coal produced in that county 10 cents a ton for the employment of deputy sheriffs?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Not to my knowledge.
Mr. WILDERMUTH. No. We had a deputy when Chafin was sheriff, but we paid the deputy. And I feel absolutely justified in doing it. We had no peace officers there except the deputy sheriff. He resides there.
Senator GOODING. You have constables there?
Mr. WiLDERMUTH. No, sir. There are constables near there, but none in the town.
Mr. Warrum. No. I read you from Senator Kenyon's report made to the Senate a few years ago—1922:
The operators have been guilty of practices also, in portions of this region, that can not be justified. The system of paying deputy sheriffs out of funds contributed by the operators, as the testimony shows has been done in Logan County, where a large number of deputy sheriffs were paid not out of the public treasury but out of funds of the operators, is a vicious and un-American policy and a practice that should cease.
Were you interested in this investigation that was made and upon which this report was predicated ?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. No; I was not present at the investigation.
Mr. WARRUM. Did you ever hear that that charge was made in the report by Senator Kenyon?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. No. If the charge was made it is wrong. The deputy sheriff—if you have a deputy sheriff at your mine, just the same as your watchman at your bank, it is your duty to pay him yourself and not depend on any organization to pay him.
Mr. WARRUM. I will read you further: Public officers should be paid out of the public treasury. It is rather freely admitted that the purpose of this plan is to prevent men coming into the county to organize the United Mine Workers. Men have been driven out of the county who attempted so to do. It would be difficult to imagine how any industrial peace could be brought about by such tactics. It would be just as logical to have Members of Congress paid by certain interests or to have judges of the courts paid by other interests. Undoubtedly this system has helped to bring about some of the friction that has been created. We do not hesitate to denounce this practice as contrary to the genius and spirit of our institutions and to urge that it be discontinued.
Has your attention ever been called to that report made by the Senate committee in 1922?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Why, just as I hear it now. But understand, in expressing my opinion I do not hold any brief for anything or any organization or any act of an organization that I believe is wrong. As far as the employment of a deputy sheriff is concerned I believe it is perfectly all right. We do it in West Virginia and we do it in Ohio, and the miners know it.
Mr. WARRUM. Do you think it would be possible from your knowledge of conditions, civic conditions in Logan County, W. Va., for organizers of the United Mine Workers to come into that county and hold public meetings?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. No.
Mr. WARRUM. Do you think all the danger to the organizers would come from the laboring men down there?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. No, it would come from the State as a whole. In a friendly way. The most unpopular thing in the State of West Virginia is the miners' organization. It is not because of the organization itself, but it is because of the unfortunate history that has been had with some of the men connected with the movement in the past. There have been men there that never should have been there, and there have been men there like Mr. Tetlow-and God never made & nicer man than Tetlow—and men of that character. Mr. WARRUM. Well, do you not think that he ought to be down there to preach the gospel of the union miners?
Mr. WITDERMUTH. Why, I have gone down with him many times.
Mr. WARRUM. This Mr. Tetlow that you speak of so highly, he is an Ohio man?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Yes.
Mr. WARRUM. Do you think he could come into Logan County and hold a meeting in an attempt to organize the nonunion miners in that county?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. No.
Mr. WildERMUTH. Yes, I know he could not. The miners would mob him.
Mr. WARRUM. Oh, the miners would?
Mr. WARRUM. If he would suggest that $4.40 was not a fair day wage and that the wages ought to be increased, and that by a union of all the mine workers they could secure an increase in wages, you think that they would turn on him and rend him, is that the idea?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Well, they would be inclined to say that $4.40 and work is better than $7.50 and idleness.
Mr. WARRUM. That is all.
Senator WHEELER. Let me ask you this: Do you believe that a man ought to be driven out of West Virginia if he wants to go down there and ask the men to join a union?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. No, sir. Why certainly not.
Senator WHEELER. I understand that even two lawyers who went down there representing the mine unions were driven out of Logan County.
Mr. WildERMUTH. Well, Senator, if you have a peaceful condition existing in your household, your home or your town, all of us, you know, are not anxious to have a disturbing influence come in or have some influence come in to upset the even tenor of the business, or the home or the organization. It would be resented. It is resented there
Senator Gooding. Even if they are there advocating the principles of organization and free speech? Is not the principle of free speech a fundamental principle in America? Does not a man have a right to exercise free speech any place in America? He ought to be given that right.
Mr. WildERMUTH. Sure. Understand, I am not defending this. He was asking me what is taking place. I will defend what I believe in, and the rest of it I will not defend.
Senator GOODING. Do you not believe if labor were not permitted to organize in this country that the conditions of labor in America would be but little better than that of slavery?
Mr. WILDERMUTH. No.
Mr. WILDERMUTH. Well, Senator, I think they have had a great deal to do with it.
Senator Gooding. I think that if you would let the selfish interests of this country have their own way the conditions of labor would be but very little better in time. If they were not permitted to organize or to advocate the principles of organization, as you are doing in West Virginia, there would not be any labor organizations in America and what would the condition? They would not have the right to defend their rights anywhere or any place.
Now, is there any other industry besides the coal industry where they are permitted to employ peace officers for the enforcement of the peace?