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PARAGRAPH 273—FISH, SMOKED, FROZEN, ETC. Mr. RAINEY. But you think if we took off this tariff on fresh fish, they would all get together and not reduce the price of fish on account of getting their raw material free?
Mr. Davis. If you take the duty off of fish they would all get together and move.
Mr. RAINEY. Move where ?
Mr. Davis. They would get it still cheaper there, because they have got greater facilities on account of cheaper labor and
Mr. RAINEY. I am talking about free fresh fish and free green fish.
Mr. RAINEY. Would it not be to your advantage as a manufacturer if you are not catching fish to get your raw material free?
Mr. Davis. Not if our fleet of vessels was being extinguished, we would not gain anything.
Mr. Rainey. If you were not catching fish at all and simply interested in buying green fish to pack, would it not be to your interest to get your raw material as cheap as you could ?
Mr. Davis. Sure. Mr. RAINEY. And would you not get it cheaper if the tariff was off ?
Mr. Davis. Only for a short space of time.
Mr. Davis (interposing). That would only be for a short period of time; it would be just a moment of transition from this fleet to ours.
Mr. Rainey. Why for only a short period of time; is there only one firm there?
Mr. Davis. Oh, if the business was taken off, the business would be carried in the foreign bottoms and we people would not own the bottoms.
Mr. Rainey. Well, what if that was so, so far as the raw material is concerned; what difference does it make to the man who is simply packing whether his fish goes to him in foreign or American bottoms ?
Mr. Davis. What difference?
Mr. Rainey. Yes; what difference? He wants his raw material as cheap as he can get it.
Mr. Davis. Well, he would lose his vessels, and it would be to his interest to move.
Mr. RAINEY. Suppose he does not have any vessels, but is simply packing fish. You have men of that kind up there?
Mr. Davis. Yes, sir.
Mr. RAINEY. Well, he does not care whether it comes to him in : foreign bottom or not?
Mr. Davis. He may not care whether a fisherman makes a dollar or not. He is willing to have the other man sacrifice. I am not.
Mr. Rainey. Do you mean to say that these men who are not engaged as you are, in catching fish, would not compete with each PARAGRAPH 273_FISH, SMOKED, FROZEN, ETC. other, and take off the price of their manufactured product, if they could get their fish free
Mr. Davis. Would not they what? Excuse me, I did not quite catch your question?
Mr. Rainer. Would not your packers take off the tariff from the cost of their manufactured product, if they got the fish free?
Mr. Davis. The price on fish is three-fourths of 1 cent, is it not?
Mr. RAINEY. It would not make any difference; they would get together then, and keep the price as it is, would they? Mr. Davis. That would not make any difference.
Mr. Rainey. Did you not say a while ago that there was competition in the packing ?
Mr. Davis. Yes, sir.
Mr. RAINEY. And it would not make any difference, getting their raw material free at all ?
Mr. Davis. Not at all.
Mr. LONGWORTH. You say the wholesale price of fish is from 11 cents to 13 cents ?
Mr. Davis. From 9 cents to 11} cents, the jobbing price. I am not talking about the wholesale price. I am talking about the manufacturers and jobbers.
Mr. GARDNER. What kind of fish?
Mr. Davis. The retail price of that article in the markets of the United States I think is from 15 cents to 16 cents at retail.
Mr. GARDNER. Excuse me; I want to get the record straight. You are referring now to packed fish, boneless fish?
Mr. Davis. Yes, sir; boneless fish. I understood this gentleman to ask me the price of boneless fish.
Mr. LONGWORTH. There is only a difference of 4 cents in the retail and the wholesale price?
Mr. Davis. That is the price that I understand-my traveling men tell me--it is being sold at in the country.
Mr. RAINEY. You retail, too, do you not ?
Mr. LONGWORTH. I thought you were only a wholesaler. I asked you that question.
Mr. Davis. I run a large retail store, the largest in our city.
Mr. HARRISON. Are there any other questions, gentlemen? Mr. Gardner, you have only 14 minutes remaining. The committee has consumed most of the time your witness has been on the stand; but as it is now 1 o'clock, without objection, the committee will take a recess until 2 o'clock, and Mr. Gardner will resume the stand for the remaining 14 minutes.
Mr. GARDNER. I can get through in less time than that, if the committee wishes to stay here.
Mr. HARRISON. Would you rather finish now? Well, if you think you can finish in the 14 minutes, you may proceed now.
PARAGRAPH 273—FISH, SMOKED, FROZEN, ETC. Mr. GARDNER. Yes; I am just going to say, that to the best of my recollection, that out of two vessels, one back in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and the other vessel in Gloucester, the difference in price is very great. The same firm built the Clintonian, of Gloucester, and the Clintonian, of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, on exactly the same model, exactly the same finish and speed, so far as I know. The Nova Scotian vessel cost a little less than $10,000, and the Clintonian, of Gloucester, cost a little over $15,000 under precisely similar circumstances, as they have been told to me.
Mr. PETERS. Do I understand, Mr. Gardner, that the vessels built in Essex and Nova Scotia were made out of the same wood ?
Mr. GARDNER. I will just put on the stand Capt. Norman Ross, just on this one point. I put these figures in the record some years ago, when the reciprocity treaty was up. I had not meant to put Capt. Ross on the stand except for that particular thing he knows about.
TESTIMONY OF CAPT. NORMAN ROSS, GLOUCESTER, MASS.
Norman Ross, having been first duly sworn by the chairman, testified as follows:
Mr. PETERS. Mr. Gardner just gave the committee the prices on fishing vessels constructed in Nova Scotia and in Essex; and I asked him the question whether they were built out of the same material.
Mr. Ross. Well, no; they are not built of exactly the same material; they can not get the material down there.
Mr. PETERS. Down where?
Mr. Ross. In Nova Scotia. They import a lot of their material, plank and fittings, for their vessels down there.
Mr. PETERS. Down there," you mean Nova Scotia ?
Mr. Ross. Yes, sir. But there is a big difference. The Clintonian of Gloucester cost $15,000, and the Clintonian off the same lines and built the same way.
Mr. JAMES. The last witness testified before the committee that our vessels built here were much better and stronger, and lasted longer?
Mr. Ross. They do not seem to last. When our vessels are 10 years old we have to get rid of them.
They run them there from 12 to 15 years. The crews are more used to them, and they run longer.
Mr. James. You think he is mistaken in his statement that our vessels are better and last longer?
Mr. Ross. Yes; they are better and stronger; but it is the crews; they seem to want a little more here than they do there.
Mr. Rainey. Free ships would help you a little there?
Mr. Ross. I suppose it would, but you would have to invent the Nova Scotian man to go into them. The Americans won't. They do not like
spruce. Mr. RAINEY. I do not understand.
PARAGRAPH 273-FISH, SMOKED, FROZEN, ETC.
Mr. Ross. They have spruce over there, while ours have oak. Mr. JAMES. What, in your judgment, would be the difference between what an American fishing vessel costs and one built in Nova Scotia, as it relates to the cost of producing the fish per year?
Mr. Ross. Well, the cost in the vessels would be a little over onethird; but on the producing of the fish, it would be I think a good deal more than in Nova Scotia, because they can man their vessels and fit them cheaper than we can in every respect. Moreover the crews in Nova Scotian vessels all own small shares in them. Mr. JAMES. Own small shares in them—they are part owners ? Mr. Ross. Yes, sir; part owners. Mr. James. Have they got any protective tariff over there?
Mr. Ross. I guess they have. I am not much versed in that part of it. It is out of my line. Mr. JAMES. None of our fishermen are so fortunate as to be
part owners ?
Mr. Ross. They are at present. I do not know how long it will last.
Mr. JAMES. So that over in Nova Scotia, where they have free trade in fish, the fishermen are fortunate enough to be part owners of the vessels. It does not look like the tariff has hurt them very much ?
Mr. Ross. Well, they own small shares; they help to build the boats; they are all builders; and that is what they get, a share in the vessels.
Mr. JAMES. Yes. It is not bad over there, after all ?
Mr. GARDNER. Yes; I have got Mr. Field. There is a duty on fish in Canada.
Mr. James. I think not.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN P. FIELD, OF GLOUCESTER, MASS.
John P. Field, having been first duly sworn, testified as follows: Mr. HARRISON. You may proceed, Mr. Field.
Mr. FIELD. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the Committee on Ways and Means, my mission here is in behalf of the interest of the labor element of the American fishermen. And I wish to give you some idea of the difference in the wages paid the American fish skinner and cutter and what is paid the fish skinner and cutter in Nova Scotia. A short while ago I had an offer from a concern in Nova Scotia to act as foreman of their plant at a salary of $15 per week. I told them that the fish cutters and fish skinners in Gloucester would make $15 a week, and in fact a fish skinner working by the piece would beat $15 a week. Later on they sent another letter PARAGRAPH 273_FISH, SMOKED, FROZEN, ETC. telling me that they gave fish cutters $8 and $9 per week and that the fish skinners received for skinning the fish 15 cents per hundredweight.
Now, the American fish skinner receives more than 30 cents per hundredweight when averaged up, which is more than twice what the laborer gets in Canada. And the fish cutter in America gets $15, $16, and some, I believe, get $17 a week.
Mr. James. Who is your chief competitor in manufactured fishcanned fish, cake fish, and dry fish?
Mr. FIELD. Who are our competitors ?
Mr. FIELD. The Halifax Salt Fish Co.-another firm; not the firm I spoke of briefly-wrote me and offered me a position as superintendent of their plant--the Halifax Salt Fish Co. (Ltd.), of Halifax, Nova Scotia, a large plant, on conditions that I get recommendations. So I immediately referred them to my employer. They wrote the firm, the Gorton Pew Co., of Gloucester, and Mr. Carroll, the general manager, recommended me as a capable man to superintend their business in Nova Scotia.
Then, I received a telegram asking me when I could come down, and at what wages. I immediately wrote them that I could come down in two weeks and that the wages would be $20 a week, and just because I said $20 a week, I have not heard from the Halifax Salt Fish Co. from that time to this.
Mr. JAMES. Just a moment there. Mr. Gardner said a moment ago--and I recognize him as an expert on this fish situationMr. FIELD. Yes, sir.
Mr. James. That there was a tariff on fish in Nova Scotia, and in Canada; and if that is true the tariff does not seem to have helped the labor much, if they are working for wages as you say. How do you account for the fact that you attribute the high wages paid here to the laborer to the tariff, and yet liken us to a situation where low wages are paid, under a tariff, as Mr. Gardner says, in Nova Scotia ?
Mr. FIELD. Well, all the fish that I refer to, in regard to the tariff, is the manufactured article, in regard to the labor side of it. I am taking up the labor side.
Mr. JAMES. Well, that does not make any difference? The tariff is on the manufactured article if he is right. I am taking the premise that he lays down, that there is a protective tariff on manufactured fish in Canada, and you follow right on and show us the low wages over there?
Mr. FIELD. That is easily accounted for.
Mr. JAMES. And I ask him, how is it, if the tariff makes higher wages, that they do not pay higher wages there?
Mr. FIELD. You asked me how it is possible for the Nova Scotia dealers to pay such low wages?
Mr. JAMES. I am asking you how it is, if you attribute the high wages here to the tariff', how is it that the tariff does not have that same effect in Nova Scotia ?
Mr. FIELD. I attribute the high wages paid here to the fact that the labor element is organized in America.