« AnteriorContinuar »
Senator NEELY. And you are still opposed to the Government's exercising any supervision or control of the industry, are you not?
Mr. HAWTHORNE, I am in favor of the Government continuing the supervision that has been exercised over the industry under the N. I. R. A.
Senator NEELY. Then you have changed your mind since 1932?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. I am not in favor of the Government entering into detailed regulation of the commericial activities of the coal industry through such direct agencies as is proposed in this bill that is before your committee.
Senator NEELY. Specifically, then, you are opposed to the Coal Commission?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. With the functions it has in this bill; yes.
Senator NEELY. You are opposed to district committees or regional committees?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. Well, I am opposed to the assignment of duties to those committees as set up in this bill. On the other hand, I think that a much larger control of the affairs of the industry could be left to district or regional code authorities committees than is given to the district committees in this bill.
Senator NEELY. For instance (and I hope that my beloved friend, Senator Stanley, will not object to my referring to his State), would you let Harlan County, Ky., establish its district board, and would you be willing to submit to the competition of Harlan County's nonunion field without governmental assistance ?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. The set-up now provided is that any subdivision
Senator NEELY. Would you be willing to have Harlan County, Ky., set up a district board of competition against your coal associations ?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. Well, to answer you more specifically, I would be in my own business quite indifferent to that, but I think that the competitive districts with Harlan County would be amply protected in any objections they might have by having an opportunity to come here to Washington and lay their objections before the Administrator. When the present proceedings were set up there geographical boundaries and areas were passed upon and approved by the National Industrial Recovery Administration. The code provides for that and requires it.
Senator NEELY. Do you know anybody connected with the Government service who has approved of the practices that prevail in the Harlan County, Ky., field at the present time?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. I am not familiar with the practices that prevail. Senator NEELY. Did you not hear a witness describe them during the progress of this hearing?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. I have heard it referred to, Senator, but I have attended only a few meetings of the committee here.
Senator MINTON. Do you have these mine guards around your mines?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. We have a system in West Virginia of State police.
Senator MINTON. Paid by the company but given police powers? Is that what you mean?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. No; State police or State officers.
Senator NEELY. The Senator did not ask you about the administration by the State. He asked you if you had mine guards on your property.
Mr. HAWTHORNE. Well, we have through these properties usually on each property an officer. Sometimes those officers may have duties they perform and receive compensation from the companies. Sometimes they do not. Their compensation is entirely taken care of and their time is taken up with their official duties.
Senator NEELY. But Senator Minton's question was do you have on your property private policemen paid by your company? Can you not answer that question yes or no?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. No.
Mr. HAWTHORNE. No; except in the sense that I stated, Senator, that officers sometimes receive part of their compensation from the company.
Senator MINTON. Do these conditions described here in the last day or two of miners living in hovels and wearing sugar sacks on their feet for shoes exist in your area?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. They do not.
Mr. HAWTHORNE. Our field has been going for 50 years, and my experience with it goes back for over 15 or 20 years, but Í think Í can say no to that question; that they never existed.
As I said, for the last 16 years, on checking up we have paid practically on an average the same wages that we are paying now. We have for the most part in towns and villages comfortable homes.
Senator MINTON. Owned by the company?
Senator MINTON. Do these policemen supervise these homes and keep people away from them unless the company o. k.'s the people ?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. I do not think I have ever heard of an instance of that kind through our own fields.
Senator Minton. Do you maintain these company stores where they sell everything to the miner that the miner has to buy?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. We maintain company stores. We have independent competitive stores right through the same community. You understand, Senator, that in our territory the mines are opened up in the unsettled mountain sections, and when an operator goes in to open a mine he has to put through all the conveniences and necessi. ties required for the proper conduct of that village.
I might say on the question of houses that we have a standard rate that has prevailed for many years in renting houses: $2 a room per month, so that the miner pays $6 or $8 or $10 per house.
Senator Minton. Do you pay them in money or give them credit at the store?
Mr. HAWTHORNE. We have a credit system and if a miner needs goods in the store he goes into the store and buys his goods, and when payday comes he draws his balance in money.
Senator MINTOX. If any!
Mr. HAWTHORNE. If any; and there usually is. I might also say that that system is used as a means of extending credit. When credit is needed, and when the mines are not working, the employees of the companies in these towns and villages are reasonably provided for.
We, so far as our field is concerned, take definite exception to the industry being regarded as a starvation one, as our people generally, and have over a period of years, received wages usually better and higher than those paid in other industries to which the employees might turn for employment, such as sawmilling, work on the public highway, work on the railroad; and, of course, we draw some employees from sections where there are mills—we have none in our section, but in neighboring communities—a hundred mills, or something like that, where you run into a mill section. We pay, I think I can safely say, a higher prevailing scale of wage and have over a period of years. Shall I continue with my general statement, Mr. Chairman?
Senator NEELY. Yes; proceed.
Mr. HAWTHORNE. Title I of this bill contains innumerable provisions for the protection of existing mines. Every mine is to have a quota and new mines may not be opened except after showing of public interest—a monopoly of the business is given to existing mines.
Title II is presented upon the theory that mines are to be purchased and closed. The theory is in conflict with the theory of title I.
The bill seeks detailed regimentation of business administration. It violates the sound principle that the Government should confine its activities to the broad guidance of economic policies. It should foster and protect commerce but not control it. The bill would make the weak the prey of the strong at the expense of the public. It will tear down the good-will, industrial understanding and the cooperation that has been developed in this industry under the N. R. A. It will stimulate strife between sections of the industry and furnish the means by which the strong may grow stronger through Government cooperation in inflicting their will upon the weak. It will be an agency of strife and not of peace. An instrument of destruction and not of construction. It is unwisely conceived, unsound in its theory and should not receive favorable consideration.
Mr. Chairman, may I have just a moment to answer a question? Senator NEELY. Yes.
Mr. HAWTHORNE. You asked me a question and got me somewhat disturbed because it was a subject with which I was not familiar in detail, the matter of wage rates, and so forth.
I find that I have a memorandum prepared for me from the Bureau of Statistics, taken from the Bureau of Labor, which shows that in 1931 the coal loaders in West Virginia were receiving $4.36.
Senator NEELY. The committee is familiar with that information. What I was trying to obtain was specific information as to the wages you paid at your own mine.
Mr. HAWTHORNE. I shall try to get that information for you, Senator.
Senator Neely. Not wages that prevail in the industry, because that has been available to the committee throughout the hearing, Mr. Hawthorne. I want information as to the amount which you paid your coal miners or day laborers in 1932 and the amount that you paid them for similar services during the first year after the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act.
Mr. HAWTHORNE. I shall be very glad to get that information for you, Senator.
Senator NEELY. We shall be very much obliged to you if you will do that, Mr. Hawthorne.
(The information requested is as follows:)
INFORMATION REQUESTED FROM H. R. HAWTHORNE AS TO WAGES PAID BY THE
POCAHONTAS COAL Co.
1932: Average daily earnings of miners (coal diggers), $3.90. Motormen's wages, $3.60.
1934: Miners (wage earnings), $6.05. Motormen (wages), $4.76.
SOME COMPANIES THAT SHIP BOTH COMMERCIAL AND CAPTIVE COAL OPERATING IN
SUBDIVISIONS OF DIVISION 1 UNDER BITUMINOUS COAL CODE
Smokeless subdivision no. 1:
Koppers Coal Co.
Kingston Pocahontas Coal Co. Southern subdivision no. 2:
Inland Steel Co.
Nellis Coal Corporation. Northern West Virginia subdivision :
National Coal Co.
Cambridge Coal Co.
Wheeling Township Coal Co.
Wheeling Steel Corporation.
Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.
Northwest Mining & Exchange Co. (Thin Kramer mine). Information from members of the marketing committee of the different subdivisions.
When I was before the committee, Senator Davis asked that I put in the record a statement of the annual production of captive coal. The Bureau of Mines report for 1932 shows:
Mines producing captive coal exclusively produced 35,248,000 tons.
Mines producing coal moving partly captive and partly commercial produced 27,356,000 tons.
Senator NEELY. Mr. Chester Leasure is recognized.
Mr. LEASURE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee: I appear in the place of Mr. Henry I. Harriman, president of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States.
Mr. Harriman was unavoidably detained from the city and was unable to be here to present this brief statement on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. He asked me to present his regrets to you gentlemen for his inability to be here and asked for the privilege of filing this brief statement for the record.
Senator NEELY. It will be received.
Senator MINTON. What has been his experience in the coal business?
Mr. LEASURE. He has none whatever. This merely goes to express the opinions of the members of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States on issues involved in legislation similar to this in previous Congresses.
Senator MINTON. Is that a statement of his views or å statement of somebody else's views given to him?
Mr. LEASURE. It is a statement of the views of the general principles of this legislation as they have been declared by our members in previous years when similar legislation was before Congress.
Senator MINTON. Then they are not Mr. Harriman's views personally?
Mr. LEASURE. Not at all.
Senator MINTON. Are the members of your association that express those views operators?
Mr. LEASURE. They are all sorts of business men, operators, and consumers of coal. We hold no brief for the coal operators as such.
Senator MINTON. Does the statement show in itself the source of the information that Mr. Harriman incorporates in the statement !
Mr. LEASURE. Yes, sir.
STATEMENT OF HENRY I. HARRIMAN, PRESIDENT OF CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE
Mr. HARRIMAN. The question, how to bring about statisfactory conditions in the bituminous coal industry which, because of its magnitude and the nature of its product, is one of the Nation's basic industries, is not a new one with the (hamber of Commerce of the United States. Conditions of instability existed in this industry long before the present depression. We are aware of the difsicult problem of developing policies that will protect the large investments in the industry, the welfare of the large number of employees, and assure the public ample supply of coal at reasonable prices. Thus, we are not unsympathetic toward those seeking a solution.
The bituminous coal mining business has physical factors that make the problem particularly difficult-extensive coal areas, and widely dispersed ownership of mining lands, large numbers of operating units, great diversity in location and accessibility of mines, breadth and thickness of seams, and quality of product. Wide seasonal fluctuations in demand for coal require peak production in winter, which imposes an excess of productive capacity upon the industry and for the same reason causes wide fluctuations in employment. In addition there is always present the pressure upon owners of coal lands, exerted through taxes and carrying charges, to bring coal lands into production when market conditions are favorable. These are only a few of the factors which raise a question as to the wisdom of sweeping under strict Federal regulation an industry of such magnitude and complexity.
Notwithstanding the important position the coal industry occupies in the industrial life of the Nation, it cannot be assumed that it is invulnerable to unwise Government policies. It is assailed on many fronts by keenly competitive commodities such as oil, natural gas, and hydroelectric power. If it is to maintain its position and make its full contribution to national welfare, it must be afforded free opportunity to develop the highest efficiency in all its operations from the production to the greatest distribution and the utilization of its product.
The hampering and retarding effect of Government control and regulation we recognize. On a previous occasion the Chamber expressed its position with respect to control of the bituminous coal industry in a resolution, which says
Regulation and control of the coal industry are proposed in diver's ways by bills which are pending before Congress. We, therefore, consider it appropriate to reiterate the position of the Chamber of Commerce of the United