Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ance urging the passage of that bill, with no amendments to it whatsoever. This committee took no action on that bill at that time, and has not to this date.

I simply present this brief record, I could take it way back to 1945, as many members of the committee know, to show that the AFL-CIO has constantly been urging a strongly enforced FEPC. In at least one of Mr. Meany's statements, because I have not read every word of every one of them again today, he pointed out that we wanted this strong enforcement to help us take care of that small minority of unions who were still flaunting the antidiscrimination policy of the AFL-CIO. I simply cite that for the record so there can be no misunderstanding of our position.

In other words, we would welcome a stronger enforcement section in title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I also want to add, as you do, that I think the bit of hiswory which Congressman O'Hara gave is the correct history as to what happened and how title 7 happens to be in the shape that it is in, with the addition, of course, that not only did the House Judiciary Committee accept what, in effect, was a minority report of the House Committee on Education and Labor, but after the bill got to the Senate, then Senator Dirksen and others insisted on still further weakening the enforcement provisions of title 7 so that cloture could be obtained.

Secondly, I just want to comment very briefly on the existing bills before you. Our counsel, Mr. Harris, will be happy, if you want more detail on it, to comment. We do think there is a flaw in H.R. 8998 and H.R. 8999 in adding a third measure of enforcement. The procedure which Mr. Reid has just suggested, the procedure which is in the bills by Mr. O'Hara and Mr. Thompson seem to come closer to us to providing the type of stricter enforcement which this committee has always favored. This is casting no aspersions upon H.R. 8998 and H.R. 8999, but simply to point out that we think you can't have both a conciliatory feature going on at the same time you give the Commission a right to issue cease-and-desist orders and enforce its own decisions.

The last point that I want to make in these brief remarks is that I am delighted to hear-I think every member who is here today, both the members of the subcommittee and the visiting members of the full committee to hear you all state that you do not believe there should be any tie-in between H.R. 77 and action to strengthen title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is, of course, strongly our position, and we hope that the members of this committee will take whatever action is necessary to expedite the 21-to-10 vote by which H.R. 77 was reported so that this very vital issue of doing away with what we consider to be a very unfair section of the Taft-Hartley law can be brought before the Congress for a vote.

We appreciate the opportunity to be here briefly and to submit our views. I reiterate again that we certainly have no objection to strengthening the enforcement provisions, and any other parts of title 7 along the line that Clarence Mitchell has suggested here today.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. Mr. Biemiller, would you be in agreement that the effort to strengthen title VII would be far easier to accomplish if the Commission had at least a reasonable time to operate under the existing provisions of law, so that we might have them come before us with some degree of experience?

Mr. BIEMILLER. I think in answer to that question, Mr. Chairman, I would associate myself with the opinions suggested by your distinguished colleague from California, Mr. Hawkins, that I think it is wise to make sure that we are proceeding on sound ground. I think this is the primary consideration that ought to be given in this respect. We think we know what the answer is, but I think that the Commission certainly ought to have a chance to express itself on the problems that it gets into trying to administer the existing title VII.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. Would you think it would be a fair statement to make that it was the responsibility of this committee perhaps to make clear that just as this committee in 1963 and 1964 felt that stronger provisions in title VII were certainly preferable, that it would be perfectly proper for this committee to make plain that it would undertake in a reasonable and orderly fashion to reexamine the matter at an early date. Anybody who might have any fear that the passage of any other legislation might be held up pending consideration of this legislation would have their fears allayed.

Mr. BIEMILLER. We would welcome such a statement, and we would assure you that we would cooperate in every possible way in trying to get good, solid enforcement sections and any other amendments that may be needed to title VII.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. Mr. Pucinski?

Mr. PUCINSKI. Mr. Biemiller, I think we can appreciate the effort behind Chairman Powell's decision to try and move these two pieces of legislation together simply because there is a record and has been a record of discrimination in some of the unions. You described them as a very small minority of unions, in some of these so-called right to work law States, Southern States. I think what the chairman is trying to do here is to make sure that as the development of the labor movement takes place in these right to work law States, the minority groups are going to have an opportunity to participate in this development at the very outset. I presume this was his basic purpose in trying to tie these two together. And I think his concern is certainly valid. I wonder if you can tell the committee at this time what programs you have already instituted, and I know there are many, to try and prevent the very things that the chairman of this committee fears may develop with the repeal of section 14(b) in the absence of what he believes is the stronger language in the present title VII.

Mr. BIEMILLER. I think, for one thing, I would refer to the most recent move we had in this direction. I don't want to be bound to this date, but it was roughly 6 weeks ago that we had a conference of top representatives of all of the most important unions in the AFLCIO. They represented about 11 million of our 13.5 million members, those present, in which a long day was spent conferring with the Vice President, with the Secretary of Labor, and with other government officials on the best means of enforcing title VII of the Fair Employment Practices Act. President Meany addressed that conference and made it clear that the Civil Rights Department of the AFL-CIO was going to ride herd on our own unions and see to it that they did observe the nondiscrimination policies of the Government as enunciated in title VII. Before that, we had also started a program in many of the leading communities of the United States to the same effect, and we intend to follow through on this. We are following through on it. We will see to it that the full force of the AFL-CIO is put behind the enforcement of the nondiscrimination clauses of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Mr. PUCINSKI. Is it your present judgment, then, that between your own effort inspired by the leadership of the labor movement in general, coupled with the language in section 703 of title VII of the present Civil Rights Act, coupled with the fact that President Johnson has certainly appointed a Commission, that we have every reason in the world to believe is going to do a sincere and dedicated job in removing discrimination in unions—with all these factors prevailing at one time, do you feel that the possibility of any widespread, serious discrimination has been minimized considerably?

Mr. BIEMILLER. We think it has been minimized, and we would wel. come any strengthening of the law, because we want to make sure that the last vestiges of discrimination in the labor movement are eliminated.

Mr. PUCINSKI. It is entirely possible in view of your testimony and the strong assurances you have given to Congress of your efforts to move on your own without waiting for any further strengthening language in title VII with the appointment of this very strong Commission, and the statement of Mr. Mitchell and various others, it is entirely possible that this committee may want to reappraise the whole situation and in good faith move along with section 14(b). Since we are on this subject, Mr. Biemiller, would not it be your judgment that the repeal of section 14(b), itself, is going to be a tremendous boost to restoring dignity and opportunity to the minority groups in these States where they have been forgotten too long now?

Mr. BIEMILLER. That is most certainly our opinion, Congressman Pucinski. President Meany so testified when he appeared before the Select Subcommittee on Labor testifying for H.R. 77. You will find a very, very strong statement in the record of that committee.

Mr. Pucinski. It is entirely possible that in view of this very strong statement of yours, the chairman may agree that additional time is necessary for further study of H.R. $999, and move along with sec. tion 14(b) immediately.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. The gentleman refers to the chairman of the full committee, of course.

Mr. PUCINSKI. Yes.

It is entirely possible in view of your testimony today, Mr. Biemiller, that we will be able to move along on section 14(b) without further delays and then proceed in an orderly way on discussion of these recommendations in H.R. 8998 and H.R. 8999.

Thank you very much for your statement.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. Mr. Bell?
Mr. BELL. I have no questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. Mr. Daniels ?

Mr. DANIELS. Mr. Biemiller, I was pleased to hear your statement today. You have given a strong and straightforward position of the stand of the AFI-CIO on this legislation that we are considering.

I want to commend your president, Mr. Meany, and you particularly, Mr. Biemiller, for the stand you have taken.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. Mr. Hawkins?

that you

Mr. HAWKINS. I have no questions.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. Mr. Reid.

Mr. Reid. I would like to thank you, Mr. Biemiller, for coming. I think your testimony has been extremely pertinent and helpful.

I would ask just one question: From what you have said, it is very clear, and, of course, the record of the past is equally clear, would strongly welcome stronger enforcement machinery as promptly as possible with reference to the bill. I take it that if we remove the ambiguity which has been discussed previously, you would feel that something on this order would make a good deal of sense.

Mr. BIEMILLER. I will refer that to Mr. Harris.

Mr. HARRIS. I think we are quite clear, and that all of the civil rights organizations are quite clear, that we would like administrative enforcement. The role of the Commission at present is basically a conciliation role with no power to seek enforcement, itself. The question to which we don't know the answer and which we think needs some further consideration is whether the conciliation role that the Commission has now should be retained, and whether it is feasible to put that role in a Commission which also has the quasi-judicial power, the power to issue cease and desist orders, and seek enforcement.

Mr. REID. Might I ask, are you familiar with the New York State Commission for Human Rights?

Mr. HARRIS. No, I am not.

Mr. REID. That involves all of the steps in this bill, conference and conciliation, and the volunteer procedures, and then only goes to a commission and public hearing and eventual cease and desist orders flowing from the earlier stages. It has been found in New York to work very well. I think that is what is contemplated here.

Mr. HARRIS. Is this a single body that has these functions in New York?

Mr. Reid. Yes. It is the first FEPC in the United States, and it has succeeded in about 99 percent of its cases. There are very few that have ever gone to court. There is a body of law that has been built up that I think suggests this approach works.

Mr. HARRIS. I notice that the bills that have been put in have two different approaches. Some of the bills eliminate the conciliation function of the present Commission, and substitute a purely administrative enforcement role; others, such as H.R. 8998 and H.R. 8999, retain the conciliation function, but add to it the power to seek administrative enforcement. I have not reached any final conclusion, nor have any of the other groups, but I can foresee that there might be some objections by bar associations to putting that diversity of powers in one agency.

Mr. REID. If I may interject, I think the bar associations have sustained the actions of FEPC in New York and California. There is a large body of support for it. I think the real question is that we do have still a serious situation in the United States, and as responsibly and as thoughtfully as we can I think we must act more promptly. The present FEPC lacks certain teeth. There is no question of this. What we are trying to do is to provide the necessary enforcement, administrative enforcement, and deal with the problem. If we go on for another 2 or 3 years with these problems unresolved, there will be a tragic waste of resources in America, contrary to the whole thrust of

what I think the Congress and the Nation is trying to do in terms of equal opportunity.

Mr. HARRIS. We are quite clear that administrative enforcement powers are needed. What we are not so clear on is just how that should be fitted into the conciliation function which the Commission has now.

Mr. REID. Thank you.

Mr. HARRIS. I think we would think that the present Commission should be heard from on that subject and probably also the Department of Justice which has a major enforcement role under the present law.

Mr. Remd. Of course, you have about 30 States and about 15 years of experience, backed up pretty solidly by the courts, which does serve as one body of experience in this area.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. Mr. O'Hara.

Mr. O'HARA. I would like to confirm the role of AFL CIO at the time this committee was considering H.R. 405. That is they worked for, as the chairman will recall, effective administrative enforcement at that time. I am pleased to see that their position still is in favor of effective administrative enforcement. I know that when the going gets heavy on this, as it doubtless will, the AFL-CIO will be again working in favor of that kind of enforcement. I want to thank the gentlemen for appearing before us and giving the benefit of their experience and their feelings on this subject.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. The Chair has received a statement from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and a telegram from the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, which, without objection, will be entered in the record at this point.

(The information referred to follows:)

TESTIMONY OF THE STUDENT NONVIOLENT COORDINATING COMMITTEE ON H.R. 8998,

A BILL TO STRENGTHEN THE ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS OF THE FAIR EMPLOYMENT TITLE OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee is deeply concerned about this extremely important legislation pending before you. We believe that it is of the utmost importance that the presently very weak enforcement provisions of the equal employment opportunity title of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 be greatly strengthened and that this be done without delay. While H.R. S998 is not nearly as strong in a number of respects as we might desire, yet we feel that it does place some real teeth in the Commission. In particular, the cease-and-desist order power and the enforcement in the courts of appeals of such orders are substantial steps forward. The burden should not be upon the individual who is in constant danger to secure effective relief, nor should granting of such relief be dependent upon such district judges as William H. Cox of the southern district of Mississippi. Moreover, the increased coverage making the change from the present law's stairstep provisions to H.R. 8998's provisions giving immediate coverage of all unions or employers with more than eight persons is a meaningful improvement. We regret the limited language in section 717(a) and urge that it be broadened.

We emphatically state to this subcommittee our complete support of the repeal of 14!b) and point out that the right to organize effectively into a labor union to collectively bargain is just as important as the right to politically organize and elect the governmental representatives of one's own choosing, as now brought forth in challenge to the seating of the Mississippi congressional delegation. With hundreds of people being jailed in Mississippi today for their right to have a political wice no responsible Member of the Congress can deny the American people the right to organize to secure their economic rights. We therefore urge

« AnteriorContinuar »