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COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
WILLIAM C. ADAMSON, Georgia, Chairman. THETUS W. SIMS, Tennessee.
JOHN F. CAREW, New York. WILLIAM A. CULLOP, Indiana.
ARTHUR G. DEWALT, Pennsylvania. FRANK E. DOREMUS, Michigan.
JOHN J. ESCH, Wisconsin. GEORGE F. O'SHAUNESSY, Rhode Island. EDWARD L. HAMILTON, Michigan. DAN V. STEPHENS, Nebraska.
RICHARD WAYNE PARKER, New Jersey. ALBEN W. BARKLEY, Kentucky.
JOHN A. STERLING, Illinois. SAM RAYBURN, Texas.
SAMUEL E. WINSLOW, Massachusetts. ANDREW J. MONTAGUE, Virginia.
JAMES S. PARKER, New York. PERL D. DECKER, Missouri.
HOWARD SUTHERLAND, West Virginia. CHARLES P. COADY, Maryland.
CHARLES H. DILLON, South Dakota.
WILLIS J. DAVIS, Clerk. 2
INTERSTATE COMMERCE ON RAILROADS.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., Wednesday, January 17, 1917. The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. William C. Adamson (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you ready to proceed, gentlemen ?
Mr. HOLDER. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Gompers intends to appear before the committee later. While waiting for him, if it meets with the approval of the committee, I suggest that you hear Mr. H. B. Perham.
The CHAIRMAN. How much time do you desire, Mr. Perham?
There seems to be quite a diversity of opinion in regard to the eight-hour law.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Some say it is constitutional and others say it is not, but there is no doubt that it limits you to eight hours. There is no doubt about that, in my mind. It covers everything that was in that bill. If you can tell us anything about how to avoid the interruption to business through disputes of the two classes of railroad operatives, I will be glad to hear from you on that point.
Mr. PERHAM. Yes. It was upon the points covered in this bill 19730 that I desired to speak.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. The committee does not care to hear anybody on that first section. That is in there for a specific reason.
Mr. PERHAM. I actually have nothing new to offer in connection with the eight-hour question.
The CHAIRMAN. We do not care to hear from you on that, either. Mr. PERHAM. You have heard me so frequently on that that I am afraid I am beginning to bore you.
The CHAIRMAN. If the Supreme Court ever holds the bill to be unconstitutional we may hear somebody on that again.
Mr. PERHAM. Now, there are certain features of this bill to which I should like to address myself, such as the matter of the men remaining at work during investigations and the matter of military control of railroad men. Those are features that I would like to protest against as vigorously as I can.
The CHAIRMAN. We understand that all these trainmen protest against them. Tell us what you want to do. We are not wedded to any particular thing. If that is not the way, tell us what is the way.
Mr. BARKLEY. I would like to offer this suggestion. Mr. Perham says that he is against these things. The mere fact that they are against them is not sufficient. I would like to know why.
The CHAIRMAN. Not only that, but if their reasons are good ones, it is our patriotic desire to settle these questions fairly. Tell us what is a better thing to do than that?
Mr. MONTAGUE. He said he wished to address himself to two sections of the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. No; he said he wanted to protest against two features in this bill.
Mr. MONTAGUE. He wanted to address himself to two sections. I move that he be permitted
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). There is no use of a motion. The committee would like to hear his reasons.
Mr. MONTAGUE. The chairman did not permit me to get through. Of course, if I am out of order, I will not press the matter. I suggest, however, that this witness be allowed to state in his own way what he has to say about the sections to which he has referred.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to know how much time that is going to take.
Mr. PERHAM. Ten minutes will be sufficient for me.
The CHAIRMAN. If there is no objection, Mr. Perham will proceed without interruption.
STATEMENT OF MR. H. B. PERHAM, PRESIDENT ORDER OF RAIL
Mr. PERHAM. In section 13 will be noted the following words: And for thirty days thereafter it shall be unlawful for the employees to declare or cause or practice a strike, or for the employer to declare or cause or practice a lockout.
Then, further along in the same section, it speaks of the penalty to be imposed in the following words:
Any employee violating this section, or any officer or agent of any organization of employees violating this section, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.
It is that feature that we do not like. It is our idea that the only remedy we have for adjusting grievances, the only one we have ever discovered, is to quit our employment simultaneously. There has been a great deal of advice given us as to other methods by which our grievances could be adjusted. We have tried many, but we have discovered none, except by going out of employment and unitedly ceasing to work. That, now, is to be taken away from us for a certain period. The laws of other countries are quoted as precedents for this proposed enactment. We wish to point out to you that in other countries they have no such constitution as we have here. In most of those countries the government is monarchial. It might be acceptable to citizens there to give up the right to cease employment and to refrain from going on a strike, but they have different ideals. We have one provision in our Constitution that prohibits involuntary servitude. The legislation before us provides for it and puts a penalty upon us for its violation. We think that perhaps in Canada that may be acceptable to the people there, simply because it is under a monarchial form of government and because that country has no constitution such as
we have. There is nothing forbidding it.