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the Education and Labor Committee to pass as soon as possible this session of Congress the strengthening FEPC provisions and the repeal of section 14(b).
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 11, 1965. Hon. JAMES ROOSEVELT, Chairman, General Subcommittee on Labor, House Education and Labor Com
mittee, Rayburn Building, Washington, D.C.: Reurtel about June 15 hearing, Chamber of Commerce of the United States appreciates invitation to testify on H.R. 8998. Proposed legislation raises questions we did not consider in developing views expressed to Senate in May 12, 1964, letter on title VII, H.R. 7152. Sudden introduction of new amendments to title VII and scheduling of hearing could not be anticipated. We are in no position to comment on new bill on such short notice and therefore respectfully decline your kind invitation.
THERON J. RICE,
Legislative Gencral Manager. Mr. ROOSEVELT. The committee will meet in executive session at 9 a.m. in the morning and in open session at 10 a.m. in this room.
(Whereupon, at 7:24 p.m. the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene in executive session at 9 a.m., Wednesday, June 16, 1965, and in open session at 10 a.m. the same day.)
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY, 1965
MONDAY, JULY 19, 1965
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
GENERAL SUBCOMMITTEE ON LABOR
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 9:45 a.m., pursuant to notice, in room 2261, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John H. Dent presiding.
Present: Representatives Dent, Hawkins, Martin, and Bell.
Mr. DENT. The General Subcommittee on Labor will come to order. I would like to read a statement prepared by Mr. Roosevelt, the chairman of this subcommittee, for the record at this point.
On July 2, 1965, title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became legally effective.
Title VII contains those provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Hearings into employment discrimination commenced in this committee. In the 87th and 88th Congresses this committee reported bills to ban job opportunity discrimination. Appreciating the difficulty of enacting two major civil rights acts in one Congress, the chairman of this subcommittee presented a statement and a proposed amendment to the Judiciary Committee which would have integrated H.R. 405, 88th Congress, into the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
With minor changes the Judiciary Committee accepted this proposal. With further modification, including the addition of discrimination in employment based on sex, the House passed the Civil Rights Act incorporating equal employment opportunity.
Subsequently title VII was altered drastically and the entire bill was passed. The authority of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to prevent employment discrimination has been substantially curtailed.
These hearings are intended, therefore, to examine closely the administrative and enforcement provisions of title VII. We also wish to draw attention to the problem of discrimination because of sex. This amendment to title VII originated on the floor of the House. There was a paucity of meaningful debate and the legislative intent is unclear. This one problem has caused enormous difficulties which it is our hope to alleviate.
Seventeen members of this committee have introduced bills to prohibit arbitrary job opportunity discrimination. This evidences the great concern that is felt in this area better i han any speech.
These 17 bills reflect our desire to eradicate discrimination in employment in the most effective and reasonable manner possible. We welcome constructive criticism which will help us to achieve our goals.
That is the end of the statement by the chairman. At this time acting in his behalf, we will call the first witness, Mr. James B. O'Shaughnessy, speaking for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. O'Shaughnessy, will you come forward, please ?
I understand that you passed out statements on your position in the matter so you may follow whatever procedure you believe will give us the benefit of your testimony this morning.
STATEMENT OF JAMES B. O'SHAUGHNESSY, ON BEHALF OF THE
ILLINOIS STATE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE; ACCOMPANIED BY ROBERT M. PERRY, MANAGER, LABOR RELATIONS DEPARTMENT, ILLINOIS STATE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Dent. With unanimous consent I am sure that your full statement will appear in the record as it is written. So you may read or summarize from it as you please.
(The document referred to follows:)
STATEMENT OF JAMES B. O'SHAUGHNESSY FOR THE ILLINOIS STATE CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE ON H.R. 9222 (EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY ACT OF 1965)
My name is James B. O'Shaughnessy. I am a partner in the Chicago law firm if Schiff, Hardin, Waite, Dorschel & Britton. I am a member of the Labor Relations Committee of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, and am author. ized to speak here today on behalf of this 110-member committee as well as the chamber's 70-member board of directors. I am accompanied today by Robert M. Perry, manager, labor relations department of the State chamber. Mr. Perry also has served since its inception as a member of the advisory committee to the State FEPC.
The Illinois State Chamber of Commerce is a Statewide civic association with membership of almost 20,000 business and professional people representing some 8,000 companies located in every section of the State of Illinois. The State chamber appreciates the opportunity to offer its views on the highly controversial section of the Civil Rights Act dealing with equal employment opportunities. While it may not serve the purpose of this subcommittee, or the State chamber, to refer to the "controversial" nature of this section, the fact remains that this section is controversial. It is our basic contention that proposals made in H.R. 9222 will not contribute to the lessening of controversy, a goal of all who are sincerely concerned with equal employment opportunities, but will have the reverse effect.
Therefore, it will be our main contention that now is not the time for any consideration of changes in title VII. Just as was the case in 1961 when the Illinois FEP statute was enacted, "initial business receptivity" to title VII, even during its short life of 19 days, has been good. We are confident that good receptivity to the Federal statute will continue.
We, therefore, seriously question proposals in H.R. 9222 for (1) extending the coverage; (2) giving to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission more authority than exists at present; and (3) eliminating State commissions from the fair employment practices scene-for all practical purposes.
Before the assumption is made that the Illinois State chamber is opposed to equal employment, let me quote to you from some editorial comment which appeared in a well-known magazine of national circulation. "Something new and revolutionary is happening-many ranking industrialists have taken the lead in campaigning against job bias. Even more extraordinary a leading U.S. business organization has made a film that tells businessmen that it is time to replace the traditional system of hiring by race with a new pattern of hiring by merit." The quotation, gentlemen, is from the August 1951 edition of Ebony magazine, then and now one of the leading publications aimed at Negro readers. The business organization mentioned was the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce. The film referred to was our initial effort to educate the business community to the importance and the good business sense of equal employment and of hiring based on merit. Since that initial film we have conducted long-range educational programs throughout the State. A year ago we invested some $32,000 in the production of a second movie entitled "Challenge' dealing with the implementation of merit programs within companies. The film has had wide acceptance, including not only the Illinois business community, but industry in other States, the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and the Employment Security Commission of the Federal Government—which purchased four prints of the film for use in training its employment personnel in dealing with business and industry. A brochure explaining the film is attached.
These facts are presented to indicate our sincerity in this field. We do not hold ourselves forth as historical exponents of compulsory legislation designed to end discrimination in employment. We do hold ourselves forth as historical exponents of equal employment for all—regardless of race, color, religion, or creed-or the hiring of the best qualified person for the job. It is from this background that we can truly say that the cause of equal opportunity for all is moving forward on an increasingly promising note. We would be naive to contend that passage of the Civil Rights Act has not had a certain role in accomplishing further equal opportunity. It has been said that because this law deals with employment problems, it is to employers that we must look for its success, however.
CHANGES IN TITLE VII UNTIMELY, INAPPROPRIATE If this statement has any validity, and we feel it has, then we müst question the attempt to repeal a vital section of the Civil Rights Act which went into effect only 19 days ago and with which those coming under the law and those in charge of its enforcement are not yet familar. We respectfully urge, therefore, that any consideration of changes in this statute be delayed for at least 2 years. It is incumbent on this subcommittee to consider all the facts and especially incumbent on it to consider the opinion of the one group that can insure equal employment opportunity—the industry, business, retail, and professional community. These various sections of American life just happen to think that changes in title VII at this time are untimely and inappropriate.
It was just a year ago that Congress locked in the great debate on the civil rights bill. As the commentator in our merit film “Challenge” states in the opening scene "debate was long and hot. Tempers flared, and not only on the House and Senate floor. Civil rights groups demonstrated, dramatizing racial discontent, pressing for passage. After the longest filibuster in history, the act was passed and became the law of the land. The Civil Rights Act is a challenge to all of us, but one part, the controversial title VI, is a special challenge to all employers to eliminate discrimination in every aspect of employment.”
We like to feel that we had a small role to play in the drafting of the final version of title VII, for after 4 delegation trips to Washington and numerous conferences of our labor relations committee, we developed 16 pages of suggested amendments to the section, and many of them found their way into the statute. Although business does not like regulations, and seem to be able to create more jobs for people if left free from excessive controls, it was felt that the final version of title VII was fair and equitable to all concerned.
Yet, even with title VII, even with State fair employment practices laws and numerous regulations facing business today, the fact remains that this highvoltage human relations problem is not going to be solved by Government edict. Persons with an extremist outlook, on either side, are not going to solve this problem. The problem calls for objectivity, diplomacy, planning ahead, and, to a large measure, calls for positive action by American business and industry. Such positive action is being taken. Let the business community show what it can do-in conjunction with the present title VII.
An examination of H.R. 9222 indicates that there are three major areas of change; namely, lowering of coverage to employers with eight or more employees; extensive revision of the section dealing with prevention of unlawful employment practices (sec. 6), and an evident attempt to eliminate State commissions from the fair employment practices scene.
First, we are unalterably opposed to lowering of coverage under the statute. Since the inception of the Illinois law attempts have been made, in spite of legislative history which indicated that none would be made, to lower coverage.