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CITY OF KANSAS CITY, Mo., January 19, 1962. Congressman JAMES ROOSEVELT, Chairman, Special Subcommittee on Labor, House Education and Labor Com
mittee, House Office Building, IVashington, D.C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN ROOSEVELT: The Kansas City Commission on Human Relations is on record as being in favor of the principle of fair employment legislation. We favor a reasonable FEPC law with enforcement powers, and urge your committee to permit the Members of Congress to consider and vote on such legislation without undue delay.
Because of administrative, time and financial limitations, our commission cannot present oral testimony on this matter. Sincerely,
ROBERT T. ADAMS, Executive Secretary.
COMMUNITY & SOCIAL AGENCY EMPLOYEES UNION,
LOCAL 1707, AFSCME, AFL-CIO,
New York, N.Y., January 19, 1962. Hon. JAMES ROOSEVELT, Chairman, Special Subcommittee on Labor of the House Education and Labor
Comunittee, House Office Building, Washington, D.C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN ROOSEVELT: We are respectfully enclosing a statement adopted by Local 1707, Community & Social Agency Employees Union on a bill to establish a Federal fair employment practices law.
May we request that this statement be read and incorporated in the body of the hearing record. Respectfully yours,
ALVIN CHENKIN, President.
STATEMENT OF LOCAL No. 1707, COMMUNITY & SOCIAL AGENCY EMPLOYEES UNION,
Local No. 1707, Community & Social Agency Employees Union, is a local union composed of members of all races, religions, and nationalities. It is the policy of this union through its standing committee on civil rights and its executive board to combat discrimination wherever it exists-on the job, in the classroom, or in the community.
We have attempted in our contractual relations with our employers to institute nondiscrimination clauses barring discrimination in hiring, upgrading, or conditions of employment. Through educational campaigns conducted in our union we have attempted to alert our membership to the dangers of discrimination. We have done this not through abstract talks about equality but by example as a union and in our day-to-day work.
As a union which organizes workers of social agencies and community organizations, we deal with firms that generally maintain enlightened employment policies. Many of the firms with which we negotiate are exempt from the provisions of the New York State Fair Employment Practices Act but aware of their social responsibility. They have hired workers in many categories without regard to race, religion, or national origin. However, even these enlightened employers have been guilty of discrimination in hiring for professional, supervisory, and administrative positions.
There are in the New York area members of minority groups qualified for employment in a variety of professional and skilled jobs who have been unable to find employment because of discrimination. We have evidence of Negro college graduates working as elevator operators and maintenance men. Can America truly be called the land of opportunity when millions of Americans are denied their God-given rights because of the color of their skin, or their place of worship, or their country of origin?
As a trade union, we are conscious as other segments of the American economy of the need for full production and for the efficient use of our Nation's resources. Discrimination and the denial of opportunities to certain groups of Americans is not only wasteful and inefficient but results in less production and a lower standard of living for all of us.
Among our members are social workers who daily witness the results of discrimination. The Negro, who is “last hired and first fired,” is hardest hit in periods of recession. At the present time, Negro unemployment, is double that of white unemployment. Because of job discrimination, there is a greater proportion of disease, delinquency, and crime among these discriminated against. It is clear that without the opportunity to make a living many other rights are denied : decent housing, decent education, and decent medical care.
Clearly, the most direct method of ending widespread employment discrimination is the passage of a Federal Fair Employment Practices Act. Passage of such legislation is long past due. Fifteen and a half years have elapsed since the final report of the Fair Employment Practices Commission was issued June 28, 1916. This wartime FEPC, established in 1941, made a number of observations in its final report which are worth recalling at this time:
The majority of all discrimination cases can be settled by informal negotiations.
When the National Government makes clear that its authority will be exercised against offenders, discriminatory practices are the more quickly ended.
Community educational efforts on racial problems are essential though different situations cannot be resolved by education alone.
The plea of prevailing social patterns is no excuse for entrenched discrimination.
A public hearing is essential toward ending discrimination where negotiation has failed.
No device will solve the problem short of the enactment by Congress of Federal fair employment legislation.
A year later in 1947, President Truman's Committee on Civil Rights in its report to the President also recommended the enactment of a Federal Fair Employment Practice Act prohibiting all forms of discrimination in private employment based on race, color, creed, or national origin. It pointed out that the provisions of such a law should include both educational machinery and legal sanctions. For enforcement purposes, the administration of the act should be placed in the hands of a commission with power to receive complaints, hold hearings, issue cease and desist orders, and seek court aid in enforcing these orders. The act should contain definite fines for the violation of its procedural provisions and should apply to labor unions and trade and professional associations as well as to employers.
We feel that even 15 years later, these guidelines are still applicable. The key to an effective law is in its enforcement provisions. This has been learned from observation of the various State fair employment practices laws. Where enforcement is clearly spelled out and followed through, dramatic progress has been made in changing patterns of discrimination.
It is our sincere hope that an effective Federal fair employment practices law will be enacted this year and that Congress will recognize its responsibility in righting the grievance wrongs which are daily being committed by the denial of equal job opportunities.
STATEMENT OF Hon. CARL ELLIOTT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE
STATE OF ALABAMA
Mr. Chairman, I sincerely appreciate this opportunity to give my views on the equal employment opportunity legislation now under consideration by this subcommittee.
I view this bill as another attempt at so-called civil rights legislation, similar in design to the previously defeated Federal Fair Employment Practice Acts of years gone by, and I oppose it. I have opposed it in the past. I opposed it, as H.R. 4453, of the 81st Congress in 1950. I oppose it today.
I oppose this legislation for several reasons. First of all, the scope of this bill is clearly unconstitutional. It wrests from the hands of the State and local authorities the constitutionally guaranteed power to police. It invades the right of the State to provide for the public morals, welfare, safety, and health of its citizens. It insinuates that sovereign States do not have the legal machinery nor take the moral responsibility to insure to their citizens the equal protection of the law. This assumption is patently false.
Second, the bill seeks to invade the personal conscience of any employer whose business affects commerce and who employes, ultimately, 25 or more persons. It would, by its terms, place on a small businessman, who chose a friend or neighbor for employment, let us say over a member of a minority group, the
burden of proving that his motive was not one to discriminate. It would deprive such a businessman of his right to be free in the conduct of his business affairs. It would deprive him, for instance, of the right to select his small staff of employees on the combined bases of optimum skill, teamwork, and congeniality.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I believe it is clear that underlying this legislation is an attempt by certain regions of our country to impose their standards and mores on another region. But I would suggest that the proponents of this bill have an imperfect understanding of the problems of my section of the countrythe South.
I would say that no man of good will could claim that the condition of the Negro in America is what it might be. His condition could be, and should be, improved upon in every section of the country. And no man knows that better than the southerner. But it is also true that the Negro has experienced, over the past three generations, great strides of progress, both intellectually and economically.
I say that the proponents of this bill view the problems of the South imperfectly. While we of the South can share their goals, we cannot share their methods. These methods were conceived in the big city, by cosmopolitan an urban minds. Shock troops and mass demonstrations and massive, sweeping legislation all have the thrust and pneumatic punch designed to influence the city dweller who is used to the quick and restless pace, the big noise and the great power of city life. These are the tools of the city and perhaps they will work there.
But these tools, these methods, first bewilder and then anger the southerner.
The South was late to enter the industrial period of development in our country. Big cities are just beginning to emerge. The backbone of the South is still the small town or community. Ours is an area which is largely rural and often depressed by labor surplus. In my congressional district of Alabama, for instance, seven of the nine counties have been certified by the Area Redevelopment Administration as depressed areas and the remaining two are now under study.
Mr. Chairman, my district and my State have been characterized largely by mutual trust, confidence, friendliness, and cooperation between the two races. I would venture to say that there are more acts of good will between the white and colored people every day in Alabama than in any big northern city. But today, the big city tactics are bringing to the South a kind of pressure which makes it impossible for us to work out our problems. No one can solve problems with a gun pointed at his head—or a bayonet at his throat. These tactics bring with them much suspicion, and much fear.
This legislation is not enlightened to the problems of the South. It seeks to force the kind of relationship and association for which the members of neither race are ready and which neither race wants.
Certainly there exists a problem. No one denies that. But the proponents of this and similar kinds of legislation fail to understand that it is a southern problem and one which the South must solve for itself and without the intervention of misunderstanding northern cities.
For these reasons, Mr. Chairman, I must oppose the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity. Thank you very much.
STATEMENTS OF HON. JEFFERY COHELAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. Chairman, it is a great pleasure for me to express my support for the measure which your committee is presently considering; a measure which would further prohibit discrimination in the matter of employment.
As you know, last year I introduced legislation in the House to establish a Fair Employment Practices Commission; legislation designed to carry out the important pledge of the 1960 Democratic Party platform to secure for everyone in this country of ours the right to equal opportunity for employment.
Mr. Chairman, I believe that there is no more important problem confronting us today than to insure that all Americans—regardless of their race, religion, ancestry, age, or sex—have equal opportunities for equal treatment. In brief, to carry out the fundamental pledge of America that all men are created equal.
There can be little question that during the past year we have taken constructive steps forward to insure equal opportunities in employment. Presi
dent Kennedy's Executive order on March 6 banning discrimination within the Federal Government and establishing the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunities has already begun to make its mark, as the members of this committee so well know.
Twenty-two States, including my own State of California, have already established fair employment practices commissions of one type or another, and in many of these States constructive action of a substantial nature has been taken.
This does not mean, of course, that our task is completed. Many persons are not covered by the actions taken to date, and in many cases the action taken is insufficient. A gap between our goals and our realizations continues to exist, and in the rapidly changing world which we live in today, the demand to close it is more urgent than ever before.
Mr. Chairman, several important points have been established as the result of the hearings conducted by your committee this last fall :
1. Employment discrimination of some type exists in almost every industry; discrimination not only regarding initial employment but advancement opportunities as well ;
2. Employment discrimination adversely affects nearly 50 percent of our Nation's population;
3. Employment discrimination unquestionably contributes to our ever mounting welfare assistance costs.
In California, over 1,380 complaints and requests for investigation of alleged discrimination in employment have been filed since the State's Fair Employment Practices Commission Act was signed by Governor Brown in April of 1959.
A distinguished member of the California Commission, C. L. Dellums, has pointed out to me that of the first 921 cases in which a determination was made as to whether or not discrimination had occurred, unfair employment practices were corrected in 334 cases, or 36.2 percent. The other 587 cases were dismissed, although as Mr. Dellums pointed out, in a great number of these cases, conference and educational contacts brought about a greater awareness of the problems and available solutions in the area of employment discrimination.
California has benefited from the existence of its State FEPC in many ways. Employers, employment agenices, unions and workers are influenced in their practices by the mere fact that there is a law. Investigation and conciliation of cases has brought certain direct results. Education, for its part, is beginning to create a truly favorable atmosphere for equal opportunities. Involved here is not only majority acceptance, but incentives, efforts, and qualifications on the part of minority people as well.
Mr. Chairman, I am justly proud of the progress which the California Fair Employment Practices Commission has made in reducing employment discrimination in my State during its short period of existence. It is obvious, however, that even if FEP commissions operated in every State, which of course they do not, that there would still be an essential gap and role for a Federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission to fill. I am referring obviously to our everincreasing percentage of interstate commerce which must, of necessity, be dealt with on a national level. Even on the intrastate level, as members of the California FEPC have emphasized, Federal legislation would be beneficial. I am pleased to see, however, that this committee has made it very clear that in States where there are effective FEP commissions, the Federal Commission would derer to the State body.
One final point needs to be made. As my good friend, the noted Governor of California, Pat Brown, has stated: “There is no question here of an untried, experimental, pioneering statute such as the Congress must consider from time to time. Fair employment law is today on the books of 20 States and a number of cities. In most of these jurisdictions the laws have been operative a decade or longer. There has been ample time to observe, test, and evaluate and the main conclusions are clear.
"First, fair employment legislation works. It accomplishes significantly the purposes for which it is established ***
“Second, the typical fears and anxieties of opponents are groundless. The safeguards in State and city enactments, similar to those in the proposed Federal law, prevent abuse of powers."
Mr. Chairman, this is vitally important legislation which your distinguished committee is now considering. It is consistent with the principles upon which our country is based. It is consistent with the principles which we hold high to our world, and I urge you not only to approve it but to press forward with all of your vigor for its enactment.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA,
January 25, 1962. Hon. JAMES ROOSEVELT, Chairman, Special Subcommittee on Labor, Committee on Education and Labor,
House Office Building, Washington, D.C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN ROOSEVELT : Through Mr. Schermer, director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, I have been kept fully informed of the progress of your subcommittee in drafing a Federal equal employment opportunities bill. I understand from Mr. Schermer that the draft bill is a good one, and that there is every reason why I, as mayor of Philadelphia, should endorse the bill and urge its support.
As you know, the city of Philadelphia adopted a fair employment ordinance in 1948, one of the first in the country. In 1952, under the provisions of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, a city commission on human relations was established. Among its chief functions has been the administration of the Fair Employment Practices law and the promotion of equal employment opportunities. That law and the Pennsylvania Fair Employment Practices law, which was adopted in 1956, have proven to be of tremendous economic and social benefit to all the citizens of our city and State.
We believe that Federal guarantees to equal employment opportunity are essential to the continued economic growth and development of the Nation's economy. Justice demands that no citizen be handicapped by the accident of color, religion or national origin.
Mr. Schermer tells me that he hopes the provisions for cojurisdiction with the State and municipal agencies will be more explicitly stated than now appears in the draft of the bill. Except for that reservation, I heartily endorse the bill and urge that every possible effort be taken to press for its adoption.
Please keep us advised of hearing dates and of the progress of the bill so that we can lend our support in the most effective manner. Sincerely,
STATEMENT OF THE UNITED STATES SECTION, WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE
FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom reaffirms and reiterates its longstanding position on the necessity for the proposed legislation of Representative Roosevelt. We strongly endorse such legislation, because we are dedicated to the ideals of peace and freedom. One without the other cannot be meaningful.
There is nothing more basic to peace and freedom than the right to work. We are aware that this basic right is denied to millions of American citizens for no other reason than because of their race or color. More must be done to right this wrong.
The Federal Government can do a great deal in this field of civil rights. Our Government has done much but apparently not enough. A few concrete suggestions follow :
1. The Federal Government can amend the National Labor Relations Act so as to deprive labor unions of their certification as representatives of employees if they descriminate against workers because of race or color. It is well known that some labor unions make it impossible for Negroes to enter certain trades or crafts, or if they do enter, to keep them in the lowest levels of employment. Discrimination based on race should be prohibited.
2. Many Negroes are prevented from employment because they are deprived of schooling and apprenticeship training. Without adequate preparation they cannot qualify for such trades. The Federal Government should withhold all support from schools which practice racial discrimination.
3. The Federal Government spends billions of dollars in contracts to private industry for defense and other public works. Antidiscrimination provisions exist in many of these contracts. But it is well known that these are not strictly enforced. The Federal Government has the means of enforcing these