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Mr. ROOSEVELT. Without objection.
My name is Herbert Hill, and I am labor secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, whose national office is located in New York City at 20 West 40th Street. I wish, first of all, to thank the committee for this opportunity to appear and to present testimony on the urgent need for the passage of a Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Act.
The recent report on employment issued by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights noted that the Negro worker is “trapped in a vicious circle of discrimination.” For more than a decade I have worked extensively in the southern region of the United States. In the course of my work I have had an opportunity to directly observe the operation of this "vicious circle" in the many Southern States. I recognize that problems of racial discrimination are not limited to any one region of our country. I realize that civil rights represent the great unresolved social problem of the whole American society, but there can be no doubt that in the Southern States there currently exists the most extreme, rigid, and systematic pattern of employment discrimination to be found anywhere in the United States. Whatever the problem may be elsewhere, in the South the Negro worker continues to be the victim of a tradition of white supremacy which is deeply rooted and gives way but slowly to the forces of social change and to the requirements of a modern industrial society.
Industrial management and organized labor are both responsible for the continued existence of the pattern of emplo;ment discrimination throughout the South, as well as agencies of the various States and Federal Government. While it is true that an immense industrial development has been taking place in the Southeastern States since the end of World War II, a most disturbing aspect of the rapid growth of the manufacturing facilities in the South has been the serious inability of the Negro worker to register significant employment gains in the industrial plants that are transforming the southern countryside.
Investigations indicate that in the textile industry, still the basic manufacturing industry of the South, Negroes remain in a most marginal position. Among the 400,000 textile workers in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina there is apparently not a single Negro employed as a weaver, spinner, or loomfixer.
One might have anticipated that southern industrial development taking place in areas of heavy Negro population would result in greater use of available Negro labor. Unfortunately, this has not occurred. For example, according to State government figures, the number of textile workers employed in South Carolina was 48,000 in 1918 and 122,000 in 1960, while the percentage of Negroes in the textile labor force fell from 9 percent to 4.7 percent over this same period.
On July 6, 1961, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed complaints against major textile manufacturing companies with the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity. But, because of the intransigence of the owners of the southern textile manufacturing industry, no change has taken place in the systematic pattern of discrimination in this industry.
It is necessary to state that the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity has very limited powers in carrying out the intent of Executive Order 10925 which requires equal employment opportunities by all contractors doing business with the U.S. Government. The President's Committee, which was established as the enforcement agency under the Executive order, is operated without statutory authority. Thus, its impotence becomes evident when confronted by the powerful financial and political forces in control of the textile industry.
In heavy industry, the gains of Negro labor throughout the Southern States are also most limited. Negro employment is negligble in such major industrial operations as the General Motors plants in Atlanta and Doraville, Ga., and Ford Motor Co. plants in Atlanta, Memphis, Norfolk, and Dallas. In these large manufacturing plants Negroes are almost exclusively employed as sweepers, janitors, or toilet attendants. Four Negroes were promoted for the first time into production jobs in the General Motors Chevrolet Division in Atlantaonly within the past 10 weeks as a result of action by the NAACP. The Fisher Body plant of the General Motors Corp. in Atlanta remains totally "lily white” and plant security guards prevent Negroes from even entering the hiring oslice to file applications for employment. The recent employment study made by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights confirms our opinion that very little progress has been made for the southern Negro in heavy industry. The Commission's findings are summarized in part in its latest published report, as follows ("Employment: 1961 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report No.3," pp. 65–66):
This Commission's investigations in three cities—Atlanta, Baltimore, and Detroit--and a Commission hearing in Detroit revealed that in most industries studied, patterns of Negro employment of Federal contractors conformed to local industrial employment patterns. In the automotive industry, for example, even though each of the three manufacturers contacted had adopted a companywide policy of nondiscrimination, employment patterns varied from city to city. In Detroit, Negroes constituted a substantial proportion—from 20 to 30 percent, of the total work force. Although their representation in “nontraditional” jobs was slight, all companies employed them in all classifications other than management positions, and one company employed Negroes in administrative and management jobs as well. In Baltimore, each of the companies employed Negroes only in production work and not above the semiskilled level-as assemblers, repairmen, inspectors, and material handlers. In Atlanta, the two automobile assembly plants contacted employed no Negroes in assembly operations. Except for one driver of an inside power truck, all Negro employees observed were engaged in janitorial work-sweeping, mopping, carrying away trash. Lack of qualified applicants cannot account for the absence of Negroes from automotive assembly jobs in Atlanta. Wage rates are relatively high for the locality and the jobs are in great demand. The work is at most semiskilled and educational requirements are extremely low (present employees averaging a third-grade education). There are indications too that, in the same geographic location, patterns of Negro employment are substantially the same in plants of Government contractors as in plants of noncontractors.
The Commission's report notes that in a sample
Of all manufacturing and assembly plants in Atlanta, Baltimore, and Detroit there was no appreciable difference between Federal contractors and noncontractors in the proportion of Negroes employed or in the types of positions in which Negroes were working. A similar conclusion was drawn on the basis of questionnaire surveys of Federal Government contractors by the Commission's State advisory committees in six southern States-Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
A major problem for Negro workers in southern manufacturing industry is the operation of separate racial seniority lines in collective bargaining agreements entered into by management and trade unions. Investigations of the status of Negro workers in papermaking, in chemical and oil refining, in steel and tobacco manufacturing, as well as in other important sectors of the southern industrial economy make very clear the fact that in these manufacturing operations Negroes are usually hired exclusively in classifications designated as "common laborer" or "yard labor” or “nonoperating department” or “maintenance department." These are the euphemisms for the segregated all-Negro labor departments established by the separate racial promotional lines currently required in collective bargaining agreements throughout much of southern industry.
As a result of these discriminatory provisions, white persons are usually hired initially into production and skilled craft occupations which are completely closed to qualified Negro workers. The Negro worker who is hired as a laborer in the "maintenance department or "yard labor department” is denied seniority and promotional rights into production classifications and is also denied admission into apprentice and other training programs. In these situations Negro seniority rights are operative only within certain all-Negro departments and Negro workers therefore have an extremely limited job mobility. Thus, a Negro worker with 20 years seniority in a southern steel mill, papermaking factory, tobacco manufacturing plant or oil refinery, may be "promoted" only from "toilet attendant" to "sweeper." In addition, because of the operation of separate racial seniority lines, the Negro worker is frequently the victim of dishonest and inaccurate job classifications, wage differentials and denial of the right to develop job skills based upon seniority promotion.
The pulp and papermaking industry is one of the fastest growing manufacturing industries in the South today. Here, too, we find that company management and the trade unions which have jurisdiction in this important southern industry are responsible for a rigid pattern of discriminatory practices including separate racial promotional lines in union contracts which limit Negro workers to unskilled, low-paying job classifications and which violate their basic seniority rights. The two dominant unions in this industry are the United Papermakers & Paperworkers Union and the International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite & Paper Mill Workers Union, both affiliated with the AFLCIO. In virtually every papermill in the South where they hold collective bargaining agreements these two unions operate segregated locals and include discriminatory provisions in their union contracts.
A compelling example of the operation of segregated locals with separate racial seniority lines is to be found at the huge plant of the Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp. in Savannah, where thousands of persons are employed. This plant has the largest single industrial payroll in Savannah. Other examples are the plants of the International Paper Co. in Georgetown, S.C., Moss Point, Miss., and Panama City, Fla.; the Stone Container Corp., Mobile, Ala.; the Georgia Kraft Paper Co., Macon, Ga.; Owens-Illinois Glass Co., Valdosta, Ga., and many others. For years efforts by the NAACP to eliminate these discriminatory practices by organized labor and industrial management have been to no avail. The national AFL-CIO has taken no
action in this matter, and the international president of the United Papermakers & Paperworkers Union has on two occasions refused the request made by the executive secretary of the NAACP to even discuss efforts to eliminate these vicious practices.
In terms of manufacturing man-hours the tobacco industry of the South is most important and here, too, we find a rigid pattern of separate racial seniority lines in all collective bargaining agreements between the major tobacco manufacturing companies and the Tobacco Workers International Union, AFL-CIO. In one of the largest manufacturing plants, that of the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co. in Durham, N.C., we find that all colored workers are employed in unskilled and janitorial jobs with limited seniority rights operative only in all-Negro menial classifications. Recent investigations made by the association indicate that in this tobacco manufacturing plant, as in so many others, Negroes are initially hired only as sweepers, janitors, and toilet attendants and that there is not a single Negro employed as a cigarette machine operator.
On October 10, 1961, the NAACP, acting on behalf of our members in Durham, filed complaints with the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and called attention to the fact that all Negro workers belong to segregated Local 208 of the Tobacco Workers International Union, while all white workers belong to local 176 of the same union and that in virtually every tobacco manufacturing plant organized by this international union there exists segregated locals and discriminatory job practices and the average annual wage of the Negro worker is far below that of white workers employed in the industry.
Negro railway workers throughout the South are the victims of a traditional policy of job discrimination as a result of collusion between railway management and the operating brotherhoods. Typical of these practices is the situation currently confronting Negro workers in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Memphis, Tenn. In St. Petersburg, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and in Memphis, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad Co. have entered into an agreement with the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen to deny qualified Negro railway workers opportunities for promotion and advancement,
It is interesting to note that the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, an AFL-CIO affiliate, removed the "Caucasian only” clause from its constitution in 1959. IIowever, this was apparently for public relations purposes only, as the union continues in most cities to exclude qualified Negro railroad employees. Frequently, in collusion with management, Negro brakemen are classified as "porters” and then refused membership in the union under the pretext of their being outside its jurisdiction. This, however, does not prevent the Trainmen's Union from negotiating wages and other conditions of employment for these so-called "porters" who have no representation in the collective bargaining unit.
Another extremely serious problem confronting Negro workers throughout the South is the discriminatory practices of State employment services. The operation of State employment services in Southern States is characterized by a rigid pattern of racial segregation and discrimination. These 'States include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and, partially, in Virginia and Tennessee. All job orders are racially designated and all job referrals are made on the basis of race. Major industrial corporations operating with Federal Government contracts cannot possibly be in compliance with the President's Executive order banning employment discrimination where such contractors in the South are using the facilities of the State employment services.
It is interesting to note that the U.S. Government is 100-percent responsible for the operating costs of all State employment services.
Federal funds are disbursed by the Department of Labor, which administers the Federal-State employment services program. It obviously makes no sense for the administration to issue Executive orders banning employment discrimination while agencies of the Federal Government subsidize such discriminatory practices. The association has repeatedly called upon the Department of Labor to take decisive action to eliminate the broad pattern of discrimination and segregation in the operation of State employment services.
As many traditional sources of Negro employment rapidly come to un end as the result of automation and other technological changes in the economy, Negroes must, of course, look to those areas of the economy where there are expanding job markets. Among the most important of these is the building and construction trades. However, here where there should be new employment opportunities for colored workers we find the old-line AFL craft union tradition of racial exclusion and segregation a major barrier in securing employment opportunities for Negro workers.
Gunnar Myrdal, in the “American Dilemma,” makes the following comment, which has as much validity today as it did in 1942. The situation has been altered only very little. "I quote:
The discriminatory attitude of the organized building crafts is the more significant at the present time, since they dominate the American Federation of Labor—a circumstance which is behind the reluctance of this organization to take any definite action against exclusionist and segregationist practices. (“American Dilemma," Gunnar Myrdal, Harper Bros., New York, 1944, p. 1102.)
Myrdal also commented:
That the American Federation of Labor as such is officially against racial discrimination does not mean much. The federation has never done anything to check racial discrimination exercised by its member organizations (ibid., p. 402).
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in its report of employment inequities has documented the extent of discrimination and segregation within organized labor. The report states that the efforts of the AFL-CIO have proved to be largely ineffective in curbing discrimination and that the impact of discrimination by trade unions, especially in the skilled craft occupations, was a basic factor in contributing to the concentration of Negroes in menial unskilled jobs in industry and to their virtual exclusion from the construction and machinist crafts and for the vulnerability of Negro labor to employment crises. The report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concluded by calling for Federal legislation to prohibit racial discrimination by organized labor, stressing the inability of the American labor movement to take action on its own initiative against racist practices.
The fact is that the little progress which has been made in the last 5 years has been largely the result of protests by Negro civil rights agencies acting on behalf of Negro workers. The national AFL-CIO