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thought that it should not be increased, even though it is not satisfactory?
Mr. FINDLAY. Mr. Cooper, I think the majority of the coal operators of this country want to pay their miners a fair and decent wage.
Mr. COOPER. I have no doubt of that.
Mr. FINDLAY. And are perfectly willing to do that, so long as they can afford to do it.
But if they cannot sell their coal at a price which will bring in enough money to pay those wages, the economic necessity is such that they cannot continue to do it. That has been the experience of the industry in the past, and it is no different today.
Mr. COOPER. Of course, that is obvious. You have been sitting here during all of these hearings, have you not?
Mr. FINDLAY. Yes.
Mr. COOPER. And you have heard the statements that have been made here indicating that the present wage scale is not satisfactory. You have heard that, have you not?
Mr. Findlay. Satisfactory to whom?
Mr. FINDLAY. I do not recall hearing that in these hearings. I may have been absent at the time.
Mr. COOPER. You have heard the statement made by a number of operators that they have submitted a proposition to continue the present wage scale and the present hours until next April, and that has not been accepted.
Mr. FINDLAY. That is correct.
Mr. COOPER. One or more witnesses, as I recall, said that the workers took the position that they were entitled to an increase in wages and decrease in hours. You have heard that evidence, have
Mr. FINDLAY. That is the contention of the miners.
Mr. COOPER. What is the common sense viewpoint of it; if the workers are not satisfied with their present wage scale and their present hours, and are not willing to enter into a contract continuing them. What other reasonable conclusion is there to arrive at except that they will insist on an increase?
Mr. FINDLAY. I cannot, of course, speak for the miners, but I think that, in the last analysis, you will probably find that they will want to be as fair as the operators.
Mr. COOPER. I have no doubt of the 'r attitude of fairness, but what is your conclusion, what is your idea, as to whether or not they will be satisfied?
Mr. FINDLAY. I have been keeping in touch with the situation out at the Shoreham, and if anybody who has done that can figure out what will eventually be done, he is a better prophet than I am.
Mr. COOPER. I did not ask you that; I asked you what you thought about it.
Mr. FINDLAY. My personal idea is this, that the wages that are being paid now are fair wages.
Mr. Cooper. You favor a continuation of the present wage scale and the present hours?
Mr. FINDLAY. I favor that if we can get money enough for our coal to pay those wages; but when we sell coal as we are doing today,
from 30 to 50 cents a ton below cost, approximately, you cannot continue to get enough money to pay those wages.
Mr. COOPER. That is obvious; of course, if you cannot sell your products for enough to pay the present wages and conform to the present hours, of course there is either one of two things that is bound to occur. You either have to take a loss, or there has to be some adjustment, or you have to quit. There cannot be any doubt about that.
I am just trying to get your view as to what you think will occur.
Mr. COOPER. Then, of course, you have to get better prices, or reduce wages and increase hours, have you not?
Mr. Findlay. That is correct. Even if we get as good a priceyou say a better price—if we get as good a price approximately as we got under the code and maintain the present wages, from the statement I filed for the record it shows that in the producing of all of the coal produced in the United States there was only a margin of profit of 3 cents. You cannot pay any higher wages on that basis and have the industry live.
Mr. COOPER. I think that is obvious. That is what I wanted to get your viewpoint on. You cannot continue to operate your business at a loss.
Mr. FINDLAY. You cannot do it and stay in business.
Mr. COOPER. If the information given us here is correct, that the workers are insisting, and will continue to insist, on better wages and shorter hours, it is naturally going to have to result in you getting more money for your product, is it not? There is no other alternative, is there?
Mr. FINDLAY. No; there is nothing left to do. You will have to do it, if that is the case.
Mr. COOPER. If that is true, the cost of the product has to be increased?
Mr. FINDLAY. That is right. The point I was making is this, that I do not think the witnesses had any logical reason to assume that that condition would prevail just because this bill might be enacted. It might happen any way.
Mr. COOPER. That might occur in any event, if the objects to be accomplished are realized.
Mr. FINDLAY. But the point I was making is that he was attributing the total increased cost to the enactment of the Guffey-Snyder bill.
Mr. Vinson. In addition to that, 56 cents of the 60 cents increase above the N. R. A. cost was based upon an assumption that may or may not eventuate.
Mr. FINDLAY. That is right.
Mr. Vinson. Generally speaking, what percentage of the operators have agreed to continue until April 1, 1936, the prevailing wages and hours? Two or three witnesses have stated
Mr. FINDLAY. The only ones I know of have been the witnesses who have appeared before you and made that statement.
Mr. VINSON. The gentleman from Alabama on yesterday.
Mr. FINDLAY. That is correct. I believe either Mr. Francis or some other witness indicated that they would do that.
Mr. VINSON. Mr. Francis also said that in connection with the agreement that it was a matter—I do not know whether he said of horse trading or not-but that that was a matter of trading by agreement.
Mr. Findlay. You are all reasonable men, and if you can tell me how I can continue to pay the present wage scale and continue to sell coal from 30 to 50 cents under cost, you are better mathematicians than I am. I cannot figure it out.
Mr. COOPER. That is what led me to ask you the question I asked you. I cannot figure it out. You made the statement that in your opinion there would not be any increase in the price of the product. I do not see how that can be the situation.
Mr. Vinson. His statement was there would be no increased price above the N. R. A. cost.
Mr. FINDLAY. My statement was this, that on the present wage scale, under this bill, there should be no increased cost in the price of coal; in fact, I think it will be a few cents less, working it out with the formula we have worked out in this bill.
Mr. Vinson. That is as applied to the N. R. A. cost.
Mr. Vinson. That is the reason why some people may not have understood you.
Mr. FINDLAY. That is based on the N. R. A. cost. Eighty-five percent of the production of the United States for the 10 months' period from April 1, 1934, to January 31, 1935, had a total net profit of 3 cents a ton. That is under the N. R. A. I do not believe this committee wants our industry to have any less margin than 3 cents, or approximately so.
But the way this formula is set up in this bill it is not possible figure that out in any way you can figure it, with an understandng knowledge of what it says, that will get you a price any higher than the code price. That is the point I want to make to you gentlemen, and I think the other witnesses that have interpreted it in some other way have either misunderstood the language of the bill, or have not been able to understand the formula set up.
We worked on that for several days trying to get a formula which would be workable, and which would not increase the price of coal over the code price, and we think that after all that time and those efforts that we have worked out a formula which will accomplish that.
Mr. Vinson. In the main, you endeavored to use the method followed in the N. R. A., in arriving at the cost under this bill.
Mr. FINDLAY. That is correct. Some of the witnesses have tried to make it appear to be a very complicated thing. It is not a complicated thing at all; it is very simple.
We did have a good bit of delay with the code, but after working under it for several months we got it pretty well worked out.
With our experience under that, I know of no reason why we should not go along under this formula, and make it so that the bill will work out just about as the code did.
The only difference in this bill as compared with the code is that you have some teeth in the bill for enforcement. The lack of that was the reason for the code breaking down. Many of the witnesses appearing before you against the bill were before you a few weeks ago advocating the extension of the N. R. A. for 2 years, and asking for better enforcement.
Mr. COOPER. You appeared before the committee and were opposed to the extension of the N. R. A., and you based that upon your statement that the enforcement provisions were not adequate.
Mr. FINDLAY. That is correct.
Mr. COOPER. As I recall, Judge Warrum, who, according to my understanding, in greater part, wrote this bill, stated in response to a question I asked him that what was really done under this bill was to Cake the bituminous coal code under the N. R. A. and incorporate it in this bill.
Mr. FINDLAY. That is correct.
Mr. FINDLAY. That is correct; and the marketing provisions worked out are more workable than we had under the code. Here we have a final authority that fixes prices, and that is the governmental agency set up by Congress, the Commission. Under the code the various code authorities would originate their prices, and the prices were not always followed, and they tried several plans, and the Government had a final veto, but they could not fix the prices.
Under this bill, the Commission actually fixes the prices, and that is the agency the Congress sets up.
So that this problem is not a complicated one at all, so far as the industry is concerned; it is based on the code, and the only difference is that it will work more effectively and more efficiently.
Mr. JENKINS. Mr. Findlay, just what tonnage do you represent? Mr. FINDLAY. When I appeared before you, I think it was back on May 23, or thereabouts, in the N. R. A. hearings, the National Conference of Bituminous Coal Producers represented 201 coal producers in the United States and from all parts of the United States, and had an approximate tonnage of 175,000,000 tons. That represented about 62 percent of the commercial production. Captive coal was not included in that. They were all commercial operators. That represented about 62 percent of the commercial coal operators. Since that time we have had several withdrawals from our group. I think they were put in the record by Mr. O'Neill. They were principally the Pittsburgh Coal Co., the Jamison Coal & Coke Čo., and the Union Collieries, Pittsburgh.
At the request of Mr. Vinson, Mr. O'Neill, one of our witnesses, filed for the record the total list of those operators who had attended our conferences—we had several other conferences after this first one-after which I appeared before you. The total number of operators that were present at the three conferences was 288. We have had three principal withdrawals from our group. Yesterday I noted the chairman said he had been requested to file a number of further withdrawals.
While we are on that, I just want to say this, that while Mr. Vinson asked us to file the names of the people who attented our conferences and whom we had registered, and whose tonnages we had registered, we were quite reluctant to do it, because we were fearful that our opponents might bring undue pressure against some of those people through the buyers of coal or the railroads or whatnot, and get some of them to withdraw.
I do not know whether that was the result with these people that were presented yesterday as withdrawals, or not, but I do know this, that members of the committee opposing this bill did approach operators who were on our list and urged them to change their position and come over to their side.
Mr. Vinson. Do you still represent the majority of the Obio operators?
Mr. FINDLAY Yes, sir.
Mr. JENKINS. What percentage of the Ohio production do you represent?
Mr. FINDLAY. The Ohio operators represented in this conference are fully 80 or 85 percent of the total production of the State.
Mr. JENKINS. Mr. Findlay, I think that you make a very significant statement when you say that in your judgment the price of coal will not be increased if this bill is passed. Do you mean that that has a general application all over the country or do you mean that that is an average? Please explain it.
Could it be possible that in some locations the cost of coal will be advanced and in other locations be reduced, and that you are giving an average, or does your statement mean that it will not be increased very much, if any, at any place?
Mr. Findlay. I think, based on the present ratio, assuming that that might continue, that would be general throughout the country. There might be, in the correlation worked out by the Commission, some slight variation as against the correlation worked out under the code, but I do not believe that that would amount to more than a few cents a ton in any locality.
Mr. JENKINS. I think it is generally conceded, is it not, that what the coal industry needs is a little better price, and that stablized; is not that right?
Mr. FINDLAY. Absolutely.
Mr. JENKINS. You are not asking and you do not hope for any big increase? Is that not the purpose of this bill?
Mr. Findlay. All we are asking under this bill, if you will read it carefully, is approximately cost for our coal. That is all we are asking.
Mr. JENKINS. While the coal industry, with all its invested capital, insists and believes that it ought to have a fair price, the operators surely know that if they raise their price too high the competition of gas and electricity will make that much more inroad on their business.
Mr. FINDLAY. They all know that; yes; and they are not going to do it.
Mr. JENKINS. Is there any danger that in the economic set-up coming from the competition of these things the price of coal could be advanced very much; and if so, could it be sold to any great degree?