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and stipulations in this Act during time of war or a time when war is imminent, or in any other case when in the opinion of the inspector or other officer in charge any great emergency exists. No penalties shall be imposed for any violation of such provision in such contract due to any emergency caused by fire, famine, or flood, by danger to life or to property, or by other extraordinary event or condition Nothing in this Act shall be construed to repeal or modify chapter three hundred and fifty-two of the laws of the Fifty-second Congress, approved August first, eighteen hundred and ninety-two.
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 4, 1904. The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. John J. Gardner in the chair.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, this is the day set for the beginning of the hearings on this eight-bour bill. No applications for hearings have been made except by those in opposition to the bill, and it was in deference to the applications for hearings in opposition that a time was set for the committee to take up the bill. Mr. Clerk, is there any application on file by any body to be heard in advocacy of the bill?
The CLERK. No, sir.
Mr. GOMPERS. If I may ask your attention for a moment, I desire to say that this bill, or substantially this bill, has been before the last three Congresses and reported favorably by the Committee on Labor of these Congresses, and passed by the House of Representatives by a practically unanimous yote. We who advocate the passage of this bill believe that because of these facts, because notwithstanding the large array of local talent which has been retained and has appeared in behalf of the opponents of the bill in former Congresses, and before this committee, and in view of the fact that a large amount of time was taken up by the opponents of the bill in presenting evidence, and the opponents being unable to persuade any prolonged hearings, these hearings being very largely printed, the evidence being printed, we do not believe that it is necessary for us to present testimony in favor of this bill. Our arguments are in print and are easily accessible to the members of this committee and to the members of Congress. If the opponents were to adduce any particular new feature we would then feel warranted in asking the indulgence of the committee to give us an opportunity to submit evidence, or arguments, to disprove the contention of the opposition. And, further, in view of the fact that the Committee on Labor is very largely made up of the same members that constituted the committee last Congress and in previous Congresses-all these things taken together--it seems to us unnecessary to submit any proof or any evidence as to the advisability or necessity or wisdom of the passage of this bill.
Mr. McCAMMON. Permit to say that the gentleman who has addressed the committee was not-unconsciously, perhaps-very complimentary to this committee. This is the committee of the Fifty-eighth Congress, the Committee on Labor of the Ilouse of Representatives, composed largely of new members of Congress, new members of the committee, and it is not the same committee, not nearly the same committee, that considered this matter in the last Congress, and I take it for granted that the members of this committee desire all that is necessary and important for them to hear with regard to this bill.
Another thing: this is not the same bill that was before the former
committee, and in some respects it is not substantially the same bill as was presented for the consideration of this committee at the last Congress. It is true the central idea is the same—that is, to compel directly Government contractors to adopt a fast eight-hour system, and indirectly to compel large manufacturing interests of the country to follow suit. That is the object of the bill.
On the first division, as to Government contractors, with the permission of the chairman and the committee, I would say—I do not wish to extend my remarks at this time, but it seems opportune to say this much--that this present bill avowedly is for the purpose of compelling the shipbuilding interests and those manufacturers who supply materials for ships to adopt the eight-hour system. In other words, in this country of ours of equal rights-we believe in equal rights, all of us believe that without regard to party, and whether we have them or not is another question—it is proposed by this bill to sustain a principle which is obnoxious to every theory upon which our country has grown. If the committee will carefully read the bill it will be noticed that nearly everything is excluded, and if you go further and inquire as to the meaning of this particular bill, please read the record of the proceedings before the Senate Committee on Education and Labor of the last Congress. I say "avowedly," because time and again the chairman of the committee very plainly indicated, in fact several times he plainly said, that everybody was excluded except the constructors of ships and the makers of steel which went into the construction of ships. For that reason I think it is important, first, that the committee should understand the full scope of this bill. Therefore it should have hearings for that purpose, and I, of course, go beyond that; I feel that it is the duty of those who favor the bill to explain why such an un-American measure should be forced through this committee. On that, before sitting down, I would like to call attention to a paragraph from the argument that I had the honor of making before the committee, or its predecessor, on March 18, 1902, and I hope I will not be tempted to make any further remarks at this session.
The paragraph to which I wish to call attention is as follows:
Mr. McCAMMON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, in presenting the final argument on behalf of certain companies and individuals who have heretofore contracted with the Government, it seems incumbent on me to disclaim any opposition either to the theory of those who advocate an eight-hour system or to the practical application of an eight-hour system where the consent of the various trades and manufacturers which produce the same or nearly similar articles as are contracted for from time to time by the Government is unanimous. This consent must necessarily be practically unanimous or universal, else the advantage must be with the establishment which employs men to work ten or twelve hours in producing substantially the same product as those working shorter hours. Our opposition is to no theory, to no principle, but is directed to the vicious attempt to compel a Government contractor to be placed at a disadvantage in connection with producers in the same line of business if the bill under discussion should become a law.
The meaning of that last paragraph is, and it must be evident to every member of the committee, that it will be impossible for a shipbuilder to construct Government ships under an eight-hour system and ships for commercial use under the ten-hour system.
Mr. GOMPERS. Mr. Chairman, I take it that the gentlemen of the committee will appreciate the fact that Judge McCammon is the sponsor for the intelligence and the safety of the committee, particularly as directed by the insinuations coming from myself. As far as I am
concerned I do not thank him; I can not appreciate his volunteered defense of either the committee or the attempt to give to me a motive and a purpose that was furthest from my mind. I say again that the hearings before this committee have been as prolonged as perhaps the hearings on any other measure that has dragged through any number of Congresses in the history of our country. I know of no measure that has ever been considered by Congress or by a committee of Congress where there have been more prolonged hearings than there have been upon this bill or substantially this bill. Judge McCammon
(The speaker mispronounced the name, as he had done once before in the course of his remarks, calling him “ Judge Cammon.") Mr. McCAMMON. Excuse me; to whom do you
refer? Mr. GOMPERS. The gentleman did not go so far as to refer to me by name at all. Mr. McCAMMON. I referred to you as "the gentleman." I
I suppose that ought to satisfy most anyone.
Mr. (OMPERS. Yes; but the manner of the expression conveyed perhaps more than the words conveyed.
Mr. McCammon. You know better than that.
Mr. GOMPERS. However, we should not dispute about anything of that sort.
The gentleman appearing in opposition to this bill and who has just addressed you
said that this is not the same bill and that it can scarcely be regarded as substantially the same bill, although he admits that in a nieasure it carries with it the same principles which he immediately proceeds to attack, but he fails to say to you that the bill is a modification, if anything, of the previous bills that have been considered by this committee, and not as by indirection or silence he desired to convey to the committee that it is an extension of the provisions of the former bills.
You will have observed that in the course of a few remarks in which we are supposed to consider the setting of times for hearings, if any, the gentleman appearing in opposition to the bill, right in the beginning of this preliminary discussion as to fixing a time for hearings, if any, interjects one of the most important arguments (which in his judgment is important) before this committee. And why? It is not ditlicult to discern or infer. He desires in advance to prejudice the minds of the committee against the bill, and hopes to make it necessary that we shall be compelled to meet that argument now.
I will say that there is nothing in it; that is all. We will ansıyer it in that way--that the bill under consideration is not un-American, that it is wise, that it is good public policy, that it is safe industrially, that it is a measure of economy, and one calculated to advance the citizenship and the manhood of our people.
I do not want, however, to enter into an argument upon the merits of the bill. I say, Mr. Chairman, we hav not made any request or application to be heard before this committee upon the bill, and until we know what the opposition may have to present against it we shall rest content with the evidence that we have adduced and the arguments we have made in support of the bill, which is substantially the one now before you.
We ask and we hope and we expect that a bill which has received the favorable consideration and report of the Committee on Labor of
the House of Representatives in the past three Congresses, a bill that was passed by practically a unanimous vote of the House, a bill that in the Senate was referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Labor and at various times reported favorably by the committee-and at no time in the history of this bill has there been any unfavorable report by any committee-will be considered a bill upon which it is unnecessary to have prolonged hearings, and upon which prolonged hearings will not be permitted.
The policy not only indicated but demonstrated before previous Congresses has been to prolong the hearings, that has been the policy of those opposed to the bill; it has been their policy to make application to be heard, to submit evidence from time to time prolonging the hearings.
The gentleman who appeared this morning and who made the argument in opposition to the bill and made the point he has made, has been long connected with the opposition to this bill, but it is not quite so long a time as the time I have had the honor of being connected with those who advocate its passage, and I know the tactics that have been employed by those opposed to this bill ever since it has been before Congress.
I want to say, Mr. Chairman, that this bill is not a vicious one; it has never been conceived as a vicious bill, and it is not harbored in the minds of its advocates as a vicious bill, and in proof there is no successful charge of that character that can be made. No man can honestly and truthfully say that a bill which in its effect will help to lighten the burdens of the daily toil of the working people of our country can by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as a vicious measure.
I shall not argue this bill at this morning's session, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen. I say that we are disinclined to submit any evidence in support of this bill at any time or submit any argument in its favor. We believe that the record in print, voluminous documents, contain the arguments and evidence of both those who are in favor of the bill and those who are opposed to it, and that it is not necessary to have any further extended hearings or take any further extended evidence in regard to the pending measure. We do not believe that there is a new point or a particle of new evidence that the opposition can present-I may be doing the opponents of the bill an injustice, but, if so, it is not intentional- I do not believe there is anything new they can present in opposition to this measure which is not already in print. They hope, I believe, to take up the time and prolong the hearings and make it appear how necessary it is for you gentlemen to hear evidence and hear further arguments, and then they will prolong the arguments, and then if you should favor the bill, and we hope you will and report it for passage—they will pursue the same course before the Senate Committee on Education and Labor, they will pursue the same procrastinating course before that committee, and then employ the same means to secure its defeat by the Senate that has been employed in former Congresses.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I have nothing further to add this morning to what I have already submitted to your consideration.
Mr. Hughes. I move we call upon the opponents of this bill to proceed with their evidence and arguments.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there a representative of the National Association of Manufacturers here!
Mr. Cushing. Mr. Chairman, I represent the National Association of Manufacturers.
The CHAIRMAN. Please give your full name and take a place at the end of the table if you wish to address the committee.
STATEMENT OF MR. MARSHAL CUSHING, SECRETARY OF THE
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, we expected that the advocates of this bill would present arguments to-day in its favor, understanding that it was a totally new bill, and that the committee was new and would naturally be interested to hear arguments in favor of the bill, as well as arguments against it.
Mr. Moore and myself are here as lookers on and listeners simply to-day. We should like opportunity later on to produce witnesses against a favorable report on the bill. We should only be too glad to accommodate the committee with reference to later days. Next week, Thursday, if that is a regular meeting day, we will be on hand with our witnesses.
The CHAIRMAN. You are not prepared, then, to go on this morning? Mr. Cushing. No, sir.
Mr. GOEBEL. Speaking for myself only, Mr. Chairman, I am a new member of Congress and a new member of this committee. It is true that I can read the records of the proceedings of the former committee, but the whole subject is new to me, and I would like to hear a discussion on both sides, and a full discussion, and I think opportunity ought to be given to both sides, if they are not ready to-day, then some other day. This is an important matter, and it is one that I would like to be informed upon in order that I might make up my mind as to what is right in the premises. It seems to me that there may be some new things presented for the enlightenment of this committee outside of the testimony that was taken before. Therefore, I would suggest that we hear both sides and give every opportunity for a full hearing at such times as may be suitable and convenient to both sides.
The CHAIRMAN. I will say, Judge, that it has always been our practice to hear both sides, and, further, that the opposition has generally been presented first and then answers to the opposition.'
Mr. GOEBEL. Of course that is a mere method of procedure. I do not care how you proceed-whether the opposition is to be heard first or those who favor the bill are heard first--that is immaterial so long as there is a full discussion on both sides.
Mr. GILBERT. About how many days were consumed in the former hearings?
The CHAIRMAN. The committee took the bill up on the 15th of February and discussed it, I think, until the 9th of March, which was the day set for the closing of the hearings, and, if I remember rightly, extended them a week longer. I could not tell without referring to the record just how many days were consumed in the hearings, because I know some days we sat all day and at other times we met on Thursday and had a hearing and then had another hearing the next day.
Mr. GILBERT. It is not proposed to go over all the same line of testimony again, is it?