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PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOSEPH Ross, PRESIDENT, DAVIDSON BROS., INC.,

DETROIT, Mich. My name is Joseph Ross of Detroit, Michigan, president of Davidson Bros., Inc. We are a corporation doing in the neighborhood of $120 million annually. We operate a chain of economy department stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, and New York.

lo coming before you today, I must make it clear that I represent no one but myself. I do not represent the retail industry. I do not represent any segment of the retail industry. I have spent nearly 30 years of my life in many forms of retailing; large department stores, a high fashion specialty store, small city department stores, chainstores, discounting. In the course of my retail career, I have lived in New York City, N.Y.; Newark, N.J; Dallas, Tex.; Denver, Colo.; Atlanta, Ga.; and now in Detroit, Mich.

I bave been asked to testify in connection with your consideration of the fair employment practice bills introduced by Senator Clark and Senator Humphrey. I am no lawyer and will not presume to pass upon the procedural content of these two bills and the significance of the differences between them. I would prefer to speak as an individual retailer on the problems with which both of these bills are concerned.

I think the retailer today is in the horns of a very tragic dilemma. He has been trained all of his life in the tradition of his craft to be a useful citizen in his community, but never to get involved in controversial issues. In thousands of communities throughout the United States, he will chair the local capital fund drive for the hospitals. He will spark the local community chest campaign. He will work in numerous ways for the benefit of his local community; but, because he has been trained since young manhood to understand that, like the Lord, what the public giveth, it can take away; he has learned to steer clear of any question on which the public is divided. Let others be the decisionmakers in this area. He will concentrate only on the kind of communal good on which his friends and neighbors are united. So it is that few economic classes of our society have exercised upon the local scene a more benign, constructive, and, indeed, inspirational influence than the American retailer.

All of a sudden, through forces entirely outside of his control, he is placed in a situation where, to his horror, he finds himself in an impossible stance for a retailer. He is the storm center of a controversial issue. Generations of his dead ancestors, whisper to him, "Do nothing! Let someone else decide this question.” But, alas, today, if he does nothing, he has taken as unequivocal and positive a position as if he did something. History has thrust him into the one role which, above all others, he shrinks from playing; that of a decisionmaker in controversial community issues. But he is, in fact, a decision maker whether he makes a decision or not. In vain, he asks himself, "Where did I disobey the rules of my profession to get into this position? What have I done wrong?" He retreats behind a curtain of silence, secrecy, incommunicability to hide his confusion and to await the next blow of his unique ordeal. For his ordeal is unique in business. It is no trick for a defense industry to embrace fair employment practices, if it means a big defense contract. It is no sacrifice for manufacturers and producers of nonconsumer products and nonidentifiable consumer goods to take on the mantle of an equal opportunity employer. But a retailer who is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't who is in the front line of confrontation with the public; has no previous training, background or experience to equip him to know how to cope with this problem.

Mr. Chairman, I have come here today because I believe that a good law is a shield as well as a sword, and that, while many minority groups need the sword of the law to win them on equal job opportunity in America, so do many businesses need the shield of the law to protect them from agonizing crossfires of a fickle public opinion.

It is for this reason, among others, that I favor a Federal fair employment practice bill. I do not think that individual retail stores should be either the object of praise or the subject of criticisın in relation to matters of human rights and human dignity. I do not think that individual stores should reap any rewards or suffer any penalties because of their stand on these matters. I do not think that this is a legitimate area of competition between stores. I think that this should be a matter of reasonable law with which every store must comply, rather than a matter of the individual predilection of the individual store. I think it should be like the "no smoking" signs which places the onus

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on the law rather than on the building or the theater or the store in which the sign appears. I think that the enactment of such legislation will not only impose on all stores an equal burden of compliance, but it will confer on all stores, as well, an equal benefit of liberation from a moral and political opus in which the retail business has unnecessarily become involved.

Mr. Chairman, if you were to ask why I favor a Federal law. I would have to reply that, in general, I favor a government of laws enacted and enforced as close to where the people live and work and play as possible. I favor a minimum of Federal laws. However, I think the right to have equal access to job opportunities, the right to live and work in a society where one can have a realistic hope of personal growth, without regard to one's race, creed, or color is a very fundamental right, as fundamental as the right to worship as one pleases, the right of free speech, or the right to earn a minimum wage : and this right is a basic part of one's American citizenship. All citizens living in this country should enjoy equal protection of this citizenship right and I do not think it is practical or feasible to insure this kind of equal protection without a Federal law. In my own career, for esample, I have lived and worked in six States. The Census Bureau teils us that 14 million Americans have moved into a new State since 1955. In other words, today the individual is often affected unequally by the variation in the fundamental law of the various States where he finds himself. Secondly, we are faced with varying situations in the individual States on the question of fair employment practice. In some States, there are no State fair employment practice laws so the individual has no protection. In other States, the adequacy of the law varies and so the individual citizen has unequal protection. Cer: tainly, a Federal law should at least serve the purpose of equalizing the enforcement of this basic right; leaving to the State body the function of enforcement where the State law is adequate; supplementing the function of the State body where the State law is inadequate, and superceding the situation of no State law, by functioning in those States where the individual citizen has do other protection.

Thirdly, from the point of view of our business, I think a Federal law would simplify our company's problem of compliance. We are spread out in three States. Retailing has become more and more a multi-State operation of giant individual corporations, many of them operating in many more states than we do. If fair employment practice is going to be the law of the land, I personally would think that the large chains of department stores or variety stores or discount houses or mail-order houses would be better off administering a company program of compliance with a single law, than administering a program of compliance with a bewildering variety of State laws.

Let me say, in addition, that the theory of acting only on the complaint of the individual has at least one weakness, in that we simply cannot accomplish our objective, one person at a time, one by one. For whatever reasons there may be, we are living in a period in history which demands a faster pace of social change and social accomplishment than this. Moreover, the stigma which falls upon one business particularly a retail store, when it is cited for noncompliance, even though its complaint-free competitor across the street is equally noncompliant but gets off scot free, is an unconscionable and unjust means of applying law. At some point, I think, we are going to have to look to ways of initiating industrywide enforcement rather than waiting for complaints to bring about individual company enforrement so that we can move faster, and so that all companies in a given industry will suffer the burdens and enjoy the benefits, equally, or uniform enforcement of the law.

I would say to you, therefore, Mr. Chairman, that if either of these bills before you were enacted, our company would be in compliance.

In the past 12 months alone, our Negro employment has risen 40 percent over the previous year, even though our total employment has risen by no such figure. We have several hundred Negroes in our employ at all levels of the company job structure; stock people, sales help. clericals, programers in our electronic data-processing department, layout artists in our advertising department, pharmacists, store display managers, assistant department manager department managers, assistant store managers, and the vice president and personnel director of our company is a very remarkable Negro woman. We have selected our Negro executives carefully, and we find that, by and large, they have what I would call a tremendous historical as well as personal drive. Br that I mean they are motivated by the role they feel they play in the history of their race as well as by considerations of personal ambition. This is a very strong and productive motivation. In my contact with our employees, I sense a desire to be judged on the basis of their total individual performance rather than on the basis of a Negro performing.

The tremendous increase of Negroes attending not only Negro colleges in the South, but State and city universities in the North, has resulted in an unbelievably large number of Negro college graduates available for work; but these Negro college graduates are invisible to business. By and large, they have studied to be ministers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, social workers, because these areas have been the only avenues of employment open to them. And you would perhaps be amazed at how many times the Negro post man who delivers your mail is a college graduate. Negroes have not studied in business schools to any significant extent because the opportunities in business have been historically closed to them. If one wants to seek out these Negro college graduates, therefore, one cannot look for them in the traditional places where one would find potential white executives. Rather, one might well begin with the Post Office. One might seek out the potential ability of a substitute Negro teacher on the local school board waiting list, or an underpaid social worker. Unfortunately, one will find many Negro college graduates hiding their lights under a bushel in mediocre or unskilled jobs because they have no other employment opportunity. One must root these people out from wherever they are and give them this kind of a chance.

Insofar as unskilled Negroes are concerned, there are many unskilled Negroes who are underachieving, whose performance is not up to their true native potential because of lack of opportunity and the impact of a society which works against the development of this individual potential. Traditional testing methods have a built-in cultural bias which obscures if not obliterates these basic abilities and general aptitudes. New employment interview techniques often will reveal these abilities. With a little time and extra care, our employment office has found unskilled Negroes with this kind of potential whom we have placed in our company.

I am not suggesting this kind of program is easy or that it does not involve difficult, painstaking adjustments. Some Negroes, who lack specific on-job experience, will need a little extra help and training. The point is that, in most cases, they will respond gratefully and productively to this help and training.

I have often been asked what the public reaction has been to our merit employment program, and the answer is nil. We sense neither any improvement nor dropoff in our volume of business as a result of this program. When the weather is good, our business has been good. When the weather is bad, our business has fallen off. We have received a minuscule number of letters warmly praising us and minuscule number of unsigned, crank letters damning us.

I am personally convinced, from my own experiences, both in the North and in the South, that most of the public is far more sophisticated than its business and political leaders. We tend to underestimate the broadening impact of modern methods of communication upon individual thinking. I believe most of the American people, everywhere, have no confidence in the practicality of attempting to turn back the clock and retreat to yesterday. Nor do they even believe it is possible to hold fast, athwart the explosive volcano of today. I think, in the hearts of most American people, there is a very simple conviction : that our Nation can only achieve its true destiny if the American dream comes within the reach of all of its people, and that it's best we get on with this job.

STATEMENT OF JOSEPH ROSS, PRESIDENT, DAVIDSON BROS.,

INC., DETROIT, MICH. Mr. Ross. My name is Joseph Ross. I am president of a group of department stores which operate in Michigan, Ohio, and New York State and which do about $120 million worth of business.

I must emphasize that I am coming here as an individual and that I do not represent the retail industry or a segment of the retail industry.

I think that the retailer has been over the past 2 or 3 years on the horns of a very tragic dilemma in that all his life he has been trained to be a useful citizen, but never to get involved in controversial issues.

As a useful citizen, I think he has played a unique role in terms of his contributions to the ethos and to the well-being of the local community throughout the United States.

All of a sudden, through forces entirely beyond his control, he is placed in a situation where he finds himself in an impossible stance for a retailer. He is the storm center of a controversial issue, and this is something he does not want to be.

He would like others to decide this question for him and he is in a much more difficult position than the average employer in that he has a direct confrontation with the consumer, that he is damned if he does and he is damned if he doesn't.

It is for this reason that I favor a Federal fair employment practice law-this reason among others. Because I believe that a good law is a shield as well as a sword, and that while many minority groups need the sword of the law to win them an equal job opportunity in America, so do many businesses need the shield of the law to protect them from the agonizing crossfires of a fickle public opinion.

I do not think that individual retail stores should be either the object of praise or the subject of criticism in relation to matters of human rights and human dignity.

I do not think that individual stores should reap any rewards or suffer any penalties because of their stand on these matters. I think that the enactment of this kind of legislation will not only impose on all stores an equal burden of compliance, but it will confer on all stores as well an equal benefit of liberation from a moral and political onus in which the retail business has unnecessarily become involved.

From the point of view of our business, I feel that a Federal law would simplify our company's problem of compliance. We are spread out in three States. Retailing in general has become more and more a multi-State operation of giant individual corporations, many of them operating in many more States than we do.

If fair employment practice is going to be the law of the land, I personally think that large chains of department stores or discount houses or mail-order houses would be better off administering a company program of compliance with a single law than administering a program of compliance with a bewildering variety of State laws.

Furthermore, insofar as many of the State laws do not embody an initiatory power, I feel that a Federal law would be of advantage because I think that there are many disadvantages to a States fair employment practice law which is based upon doing something only on the basis of a complaint of an individual.

I do not think that we can accomplish our objectives here, one person at a time, one by one. For whatever reasons there may be, we are living in a period in history which demands a faster pace of social change and social accomplishment than this.

Moreover, a stigma which falls upon one business, particularly a retail store, when it is cited for noncompliance, even though its complaint-free competitor across the street is equally noncomplaint but gets off scot free, is an unconscionable and unjust means of applying law.

At some point, I think, we are going to have to look to ways of initiating industrywide enforcement rather than waiting for complaints to bring about individual company enforcement so that we can move faster and so that all companies in a given industry will suffer the burdens and enjoy the benefits equally of uniform enforcement of the law.

Now, whatever of these two bills is passed, Mr. Chairman, our company would be in compliance. We have made a very concerted effort to insure fair employment practice in our company.

In the past 12 months alone our Negro employment has risen 40 percent over the previous year, even though our total employment has risen by no such figure. We have several hundred Negroes in our employ at all levels of the company job structure-stock people, salespeople, clerical, programers in our electronic data processing department, layout artists in our advertising department, department managers, assistant store managers, and the vice president and personnel director of our company is a very remarkable Negro woman and I would want you to know that she is not vice president “in charge of the Negro problem.” She is a vice president performing a longestablished job in our company.

We have selected our Negro executives carefully and we find that by and large they have what I would call a tremendous historic as well as personal drive. By that I mean they are motivated by the role they feel they play in the history of their race as well as by considerations of personal ambition.

This is a very strong and productive motivation. In my contact with our employees I sense a desire to be judged on the basis of their total individual performance rather than on the basis of a Negro performing. I have read a lot in the newspapers recently about the shortage of skilled, qualified Negro personne. And I want to voice my disagreement with that fact, Mr. Chairman.

Unfortunately, it is true that qualified skilled Negroes are invisible, but they are there, there are invisible for a whole number of historical reasons, but in the past 10 years there has been a tremendous increase of Negroes attending not only Negro colleges in the South, but State and city universities in the North.

This has resulted in a large number of Negro college graduates available for work, but they are invisible because they have studied by and large to be ministers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, social workers. These areas have been the only avenues of employment open to them.

Many of the Negro postmen who deliver our mail are college graduates; the Post Office is the largest employer of Negro college graduates in the United States.

Negroes have not studied in business schools to any significant extent because the opportunities in business have been historically closed to them. And, therefore, in looking for qualified, skilled Negroes you have to look in different places than you would look for qualified white people and I think you have to establish not a lower criteria, but a different criteria in determining who a qualified Negro person is.

You can look for them, for instance, in the Post Office. You will find them in a substitute Negro teacher in the local school board waiting list or an underpaid social worker.

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