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Mr. MITCHELL. We have close to a half million, Mr. Martin. We do not count people who haven't paid their dues, but still carry membership cards. If we counted them, I feel certain it would be about a million.
Mr. MARTIN. How many, Mr. Biemiller, do you have in the AFLCIO
Mr. BIEMILLER. The AFL-CIO is composed of about thirteen and a half million members.
Mr. MARTIN. Now you have made this statement here, and it is an example of organization. How do you go about to poll your memberships as to their views ? What I am trying to get at is whether or not you actually reflect the rank-and-file membership. Has this statement been composed by a small group of directors or executive committee? How did it come about?
Mr. MITCHELL. May I start off the answer on that, Mr. Martin? I would like to add also that while I represent the NAACP, I also represent the leadership conference, which is a combination of about 90 organizations, and their memberships combined would reach to a figure that I would not be prepared to state, but it would be somewhere over in the million category, or more. But I would like to point out how we do arrive at these conclusions.
We take a poll of our members. Some of them arrive at such conclusions in convention. It so happens that the NAACP has just had a convention, and this would represent the views of those persons who attended the convention.
In addition, we poll the organizations through their representatives who meet with us in Washington, usually on a weekly basis, and sometimes more frequently, so I would say that this statement does not represent the view or views of a small palace guard. It represents a substantial cross section, and the will
Mr. MARTIN. You polled 500,000 of your NAACP members, here, in regard to all these points, and you have agreement among them?
Mr. MITCHELL. I would say very respectfully, Mr. Martin, that I think that all of us know that if in the Congress of the United States a piece of legislation passes, and the majority of the Congress votes for it, we call that the will of the Congress, and I would say that we as organizations operating in the same democratic pattern would speak accordingly. I couldn't say—
Mr. MARTIN. Are you telling me that you have actually not polled all 300,000 members in regard to the statement you are making?
Mr. MITCHELL. I don't think it would be fair for me to answer the question the way that you put it, and therefore, I will say that we have arrived at these conclusions by the normal and known democratic processes, and I would not believe that anyone could honorably chalsenge that this represents the view of our constituents.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. ROOSEVELT. The gentleman doesn't really intend to discredit the testimony of the witness on this ground, does he? Because after all, we listen to the chamber of commerce, and we don't ask the chamber of commerce whether they have talked to every single member of the chamber of commerce across the United States?
Mr. MARTIN. I am not trying to discredit his testimony.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. I just wanted to be sure.
Mr. Martin. I am trying to get some information as to how you go about compiling these recommendations you make. How do you do it in the AFL-CIO?
Mr. BIEMILLER. We would be very happy to explain that to you, Congressman Martin. The AFL-CIO is governed by its biennial convention, meeting every odd year. We will meet again this year. This position has been maintained consistently by the AFL-CIO since the merger was completed in 1955, and it was a position that was maintained by both the AFL and the CIO when they were separate organizations, prior to the merger.
Resolutions are discussed by resolutions committees and by the convention. Delegates are there. There has never been a dissenting vote on this question of FEPC legislation. There you find representatives of the 130 affiliated and international unions, and representatives of the 50 State organizations and of the almost 900 city and county organizations that are affiliated.
Mr. MARTIN. Are you saying to me, Mr. Biemiller, that you have had a unanimous agreement, for instance, in regard, let's just state one point, point 5 here, in which you point out that the present act excludes anyone who is a member of the Communist Party, and you want that exclusion amended? And you mean to tell me that you
had unanimous agreement on that point ?
Mr. BIEMILLER. If you mean unanimous agreement of every single person that belongs to the AFL-CIO, of course not, but we do in terms of our structural procedure.
Mr. Martin. As I will venture a guess that if you took a poll of the people in the United States, that you would come up with far more that disagreed with your viewpoint in regard to point 5 than agreed with it.
Mr. BIEMILLER. We also, however, happen to have the Supreme Court of the United States in agreement with us on this matter, on very comparable legislation, and this is the only point we are raising.
That we think that you have in this bill, in this law at the present time, a section which, when it reaches the Supreme Court, would be declared unconstitutional. The same thing has just happened, under the Taft-Hartley law.
Mr. MARTIN. Some of the recent decisions of the Supreme Court have not been in full agreement with the thinking of the people of the country, either. I get too many letters about that.
Mr. BIEMILLER. But we happen to be a constitutional democracy.
Gentlemen, this is a fine statement, and while other members of the committee have developed some of the other points, I am interested in one point here regarding the problem of discrimination against middle-aged workers. Now vesterday, the very distinguished chairman of the New York Fair Employment Practices (Commission, Jr. Fowler, and also a member of the Illinois FEPC, Mr. Kemin, both stated that they felt that the time has come when the Civil Rights Act ought to include a bar on discrimination because of age, particularly in the age group over 10.
As you well know, the Secretary last week issue an excellent report pursuant to the instructions of the Congress, when we approved the
Civil Rights Act of 1964. Those of you who have read that report can have no doubt in your mind that one of the major problems in America today is faced by the middle-aged worker.
We are not talking now about old workers. We are now talking about workers 42, 44, and 46, and in early fifties—breadwinners who still have young families to bring up, to educate, to house and to feed, who can't find employment, simply because of the mounting tendency in America by private corporations to refuse to hire a worker beyond 40.
Now I would like to get some comment from you gentlemen as to whether you share the views of Mr. Fowler and Mr. Kemp and the Secretary of Labor, who said that the time has come when we want to do something about this problem. Do you think that this committee should give serious consideration to including age in this bill?
Mr. MITCHELL. Mr. Rauh is going to comment on that. Mr. RAUH. I would like to comment on this from the point of view of the leadership conference, and then maybe Mr. Biemiller and Mr.
ris ould say a word about it, from the view of the AFL-CIO. I wish Mr. Martin were still here, because I would like him to hear the answer, and he will recognize that we are careful in not trying to indicate positions for people that we have not been able to go into these problems with.
The leadership conference on civil rights and the NAACP have devoted their efforts to matters of minority groups. They have never gone into problems of this kind. For example, on the voting rights bill, if you recall the other day on the floor a question of an amendment by Congressman Cramer came up, a question of clean elections, fraudulent elections. Well, as citizens, we had some views on that amendment, but when we were asked by Congressmen how we felt about that amendment, we said it wasn't directly related to civil rights.
Mr. PUCINSKI. If I may interrupt you on that point, I am amazed that you took that position, because there is no question that the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Celler, made an excellent record, an excellent point that that was a veiled effort to frustrate the registration drives in those areas where registration drives are most urgently needed, and I think that Mr. Celler's point was well taken.
I regret to hear you say, now, that you didn't take a position on that. I certainly took a position on it.
Mr. Rauh. I was trying to illustrate how careful we are, Mr. Martin to the contrary notwithstanding, not to take positions that aren't directly related to civil rights and that are not directly cleared with all the organizations.
With that preface, I have to state to you that the age problem has never been considered at a civil rights leadership conference meeting, or by the convention of the NAACP. As such, we are simply not in il position to indicate a view of the organization. It is conceivable that one of the constituent organizations would have gone into this problem, and would be able to be of help, but we have to state that we did not consider this matter, and that we are trying to be careful about not overstating exactly what representation we have here.
Mr. PUCINSKI. I would strongly recommend, then, that you hold a meeting of your leadership conference, and go into this subject for this very reason: That certainly Mr. Fowler pointed this out yesterday, Mr. Kemp, and I am sure that if we were to ask the other FEPC
commissioners around the country, this age problem is going to become the very escape hatch that people who want to continue discrimination because of race, color, ethnic background, will use.
Under the present law you have covered race, religion, ethnic background, and sex, but as long as you keep age out of this thing, how convenient is it for an employer to tell an employee or an applicant for a job that “We are awfully sorry, we don't hire people past 40!” And so, I would submit to you that a member of the minority groups who has been discriminated against in employment up to now, for many years, as long as there is permissive discrimination because of age, really has two strikes on him.
Now you have tried to help him with this bill by removing discrimination because of race, but you now have given those who want to practice discrimination a new escape hatch. They can say, well, we don't practice discrimination because of race, religion, or ethnic background, or sex, but we do have regulations dealing with age. Therefore, I think that this bill will continue to be a very weak bill until you close that escape hatch.
Mr. Rauh. Well, sir, I would only like to suggest on that point that the minute he hired a white 41-year-old fellow, we had him. In other words, you have the same problem in the labor situation at the National Labor Relations Board. An employer can say he is not hiring a man because he is 40, but if he hires a nonunion man because he is over 40 and won't hire a union man over 40, we have him, and I think you would have the same situation here.
I am not expressing an opinion on whether age should or should not be in it. That is something that I am very glad, Congressman Pucinski, that you have got so much concern about, but I would say that I don't think you are going to get away with discrimination on that, because the minute he hires a white man in the range he will not hire a Negro, then I think he has violated the law that you passed last year.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Very good. Now I can appreciate the fact that the leadership conference did not want to get itself involved in this question. I would like to get a reply from Mr. Biemiller, though, because his membership includes people who are being displaced by automation at the age of 43, 45, 48, 52. This is that tragic contingent of Americans, where the Commerce Department, in a recent study, said that with a man who loses his original job, unless he has a tremendous skill, which is very much in demand, his chances of getting another similar job, if he is beyond the age of 45, are 6 to 1 against him.
And so this is a problem that I am sure will be of great interest in the labor movement. I wonder, Mr. Biemiller, if you would like to comment ?
Mr. ROOSEVELT. The time of the gentleman has expired, but Mr. Biemiller can make a brief reply, if he would like.
Mr. BIEMILLER. Congressman, I checked the records of our last two conventions and find there has been no resolution of this question inside the AFL-CIO. There is a curious statement in the last convention resolution that we believe in the enforcement of any existing legislation against discrimination on the basis of age.
I have no doubt this matter is going to be discussed rather thoroughly at the 1965 convention, but, as of this moment, there is no official position of the AFL-CIO on including the question of age in the current legislation.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. You are perfectly satisfied to let the Congress work its will on this subject You are neither for it nor against it.
Mr. BIEMILLER. Correct.
Mr. BELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just like to welcome my good friend, Clarence Mitchell, and Mr. Biemiller, and Mr. Harris, and Mr. Rauh to this committee, and thank you very much for your very fine statement. That is all.
Nr. ROOSEVELT. Mr. Hawkins?
Mr. Reid. Mr. Chairman, I, too, would like to welcome my friends, Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Biemiller, and merely ask, Mr. Chairman, whether H.R. 9222 includes all of the provisions that you and I thought should be in the legislation initially?
Mr. RoosEVELT. I am not sure it is exactly the same, but it is pretty generally the same. The testimony this morning that these distinguished gentlemen have given us included a number of other suggestions, some of which I am sure you will be interested in. We will be happy to have you sit with us when we meet in executive session on the bill.
Mr. Reid. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. ROOSEVELT. Gentlemen, we want to thank all of you very much. We very greatly appreciate the time you have given us, and the thoughtful addition to our study of the problems.
Mr. BIEMILLER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. The committee will now have the pleasure of hearing from the Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, the Honorable Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. Mr. Chairman, would you come forward?
STATEMENT OF FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, JR., CHAIRMAN, EQUAL
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION; ACCOMPANIED BY TOM POWERS AND DICK BERG
Mr. SCHEUER. Will the chairman yield?
Mr. ROOSEVELT. Yes, sir. I recognize the gentleman from New York, Mr. Scheuer. The distinguished member of the full committee.
Mr. SCHEUER. May I take this opportunity to welcome my fellow New Yorker and the distinguished Chairman of the Commission to this gathering. I have known him for several decades, both as a friend and as a colleague in every good cause worth fighting for in our city, and he is known to us all, and respected by us all for his gallantry, his intrepidity, his fighting spirit, for decency, for equality, for equal opportunity for all Americans, and I am very happy that he is appearing before us today.
Mr. ROOSEVELT. Thank you very much. The gentleman from New York, Mr. Reid.
Mr. Reid. I, too, would like to welcome the distinguished gentleman from New York, the Chairman of the Civil Rights Commission, and I believe very strongly that New York stands wholly back of the the work of this Commission, and is anxious to see it strengthened in