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increase. There is also a growing public restlessness with and distaste for strikes, particularly in major undertakings where the economy is adversely affected. There is a growing body of opinion that some new formula should be devised whereby just and equitable settlements of major labour disputes can be found without strikes. Until such a formula is found, a heavy responsibility lies with conciliation and mediation agencies to reexamine their techniques and develop their effectiveness to the highest possible degree.
MEDIATION AND CONCILIATION COMMITTEE
N. D. COCHRANE, Manitoba, Chairman.
W. W. REID, Prince Edward Island. [Accepted.]
President CATHERWOOD. Thank you, Larry, for your effective pinch-hitting here. Are there any questions or points for discussion?
DISCUSSION Director ROUMELL. Since Commissioner Barker was good enough to mention the meeting of the National Association of Labor Mediators, and Michigan happens to be the host State this year, I should like to take this opportunity to say that the meeting to be held on Mackinac Island at the Grand Hotel will furnish perhaps one of the most unique meeting places for that association; although I understand that it is their second visit there.
I wish to comment on one thing in the report. It is this matter of public employees. We in Michigan have a Public Relations Act which became effective July 1965; a lot of problems and difficulties seem to have developed out of it. There are areas of great concern on the administration of the act, as well as basic rights to the employees and the employers. I think that a meeting between the industrial committee and the mediation committee of our association should be held here to discuss these laws, because they are interrelated. This is a very important and unique opportunity for the association to get into a very significant field for the future of all States.
President CATHERWOOD. Thank you for the suggestion and for the invitation.
Commissioner BACHMAN. May I add another point. The Commissioner of Alabama is on the executive board of the Association of Mediation Agencies.
President CATHERWOOD. Thank you.
[Following several announcements by President Catherwood, the session adjourned.]
JULY 26-MORNING SESSION
Presiding: MARTIN P. CATHERWOOD, Industrial Commissioner, New York
Department of Labor The Tuesday morning session of the IAGLO convention convened at 9:10 a.m. in the Century Room of the Monteleone Hotel, President Catherwood presiding.
President CATHERWOOD. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to have two separate panels this morning, one after the other, separated by a coffee break. There will be floor discussion.
The four participants on the first panel are Rocco Alberto of Massachusetts; Ray Anderson of Nova Scotia ; Carl Mattei of New York; and F. A. Van Atta of the U.S. Department of Labor. Ernie Webb, as the chairman and organizer of the panel, although he is unable to be here, has been in touch with the individual participants and has suggested the specific phases of safety with which they might be concerned. It is a pleasure, therefore, to present as the first panelist, Rocco Alberto, Commissioner of the State of Massachusetts.
Panel: INDUSTRIAL SAFETY
Rocco ALBERTO, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Labor
I was pleased, but somewhat surprised, to be invited to speak to you people today, inasmuch as my service as a commissioner has been short, and in a field as broad as this, even with a labor background, I very soon realized that the administration of some hundreds of labor laws is vastly different from the knowledge acquired by a labor organization by its limited experience with the statutes.
In Massachusetts, we have no department of labor, but rather a department of labor and industries—a dual responsibility, although most of our statutes are for the protection of the working people. A proposal was made by former Governor Herter in 1953, when the State Department of Commerce was established, that our department be changed to a Department of Labor, but the legislature refused to accept the change.
Labor laws are not the only responsibility of my office. I have, of course, the large Division of Industrial Safety with statutes and regulations in the hundreds—the minimum wage law, probably similar to your own, presents problems in the wage orders; a Division of Apprentice Training; and a Division of Occupational Hygiene, which serves employers in the field of consultation and advice with the consequent benefits to employees by the improvement of health conditions in factories and other establishments. This division is composed of doctors, chemists, industrial hygienists, engineers, and other specialists in the field of air pollution. Most of its investigations are conducted at the request of employers. This work must necessarily expand with the increased use of nuclear energy in industry and schools.
Our Division of the Necessaries of Life compiles statistics on the prices of rent, fuel, and other commodities and publishes a monthly cost-of-living index, which is distributed to industry, government, labor organizations, and other interested parties. It also investigates circumstances relating to the prices of fuel, rent, and sale of commodities and conducts hearings on individual complaints filed with the department by consumers.
There is a subdivision which enforces the Motor Fuel Sales Act. This statute regulates the sale of motor fuels and lubricating oils. This requires constant policing to insure the public getting the quality of products it pays for. Samples of gasoline and oil are taken to our laboratory for analysis; frequent prosecutions and substantial fines result in most dealers staying in line.
Our Division of Standards is engaged primarily in protecting consumers from illegal practices by vendors, mostly retail outlets, in the sale of food, fuel, and other commodities. We have control of all weighing and measuring devices throughout the Commonwealth. Our inspectors are in the field at all times inspecting the accuracy of such devices, reweighing and pricing food items, so the consumer will be assured of getting what he pays for. The statutes are very extensive and contain criminal penalties, which are imposed by the courts when we find it necessary to bring complaints.
This division calibrates all bulk milk tanks and prepares and distributes to producers, dealers, and governmental agencies conversion charts which are used as the basis for payment for milk to producers by dealers.
Hawkers, peddlers, and transient vendors are regulated and licensed by the same division. The fees charged to these persons are almost enough to make the division self-sustaining.
Our industrial relations problems are handled by the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration, which was established in 1886. There are three members, one each representing employers, employees, and the public. Besides supervising the work of the conciliators, they sit as a board of arbitration on those labor controversies in which the parties agree to submit to impartial arbitration. Eight conciliators, assigned to separate areas, devote their time and efforts to prevent a controversy from reaching the strike area and to try to persuade the parties to submit to arbitration. They sit in with employers and employees during contract negotiations, so that every possible step will be taken to prevent an interruption of work. I suppose this system is similar to that in most other States.
There is, of course, no compulsory arbitration in Massachusetts. But we do have a statute which prohibits any interruption in the production or distribution of food, fuel, water, electric light or power, gas, and hospital or medical services. This chapter contains detailed procedures which must be followed by employers and employees, right up to seizure of the plants by the State, so that the public will be protected against hardship or suffering by being denied these essential goods and services, while the rights of labor are fully preserved.
I have spent some time on this outline of our department so that you may compare its duties and responsibilities with those of your
More than likely, my obligations cover a wider range than most States.
We now come to the phase of administration on which I have been requested to comment: Should standards be statutory or by codes or regulations?
The ideal enforcement code, of course, would be to have all regulations in the statutes written in such clear wording that there would never be a doubt as to whether a violation had occurred. This would be Utopia. I see not the remotest possibility that it will ever occur during the lifetime of anyone in this room, at least not in my State. We were enacting labor laws about 100 years before we established a so-called Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1869. Yet we have never been able to eliminate the necessity of regulations to implement the statutes since our legislature, in 1913, authorized this department to investigate conditions of employment and to make reasonable rules, regulations, and orders for the prevention of accidents and occupational diseases.