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The CHAIRMAN. It will be received for the record, and inserted at this point.
(The amendment referred to is as follows:) AMENDMENT TO THE MERCHANT MARINE Act, 1936, PROPOSED BY INDUSTRIAL
UNION OF MARINE AND SHIPBUILDING WORKERS OF AMERICA No contract for the construction or repair of any vessel paid for in part or whole directly or indirectly by the United States Government or any of its agencies shall be let to any contractor if it shall be made to appear that said contractor is guilty of any breach of the National Labor Relations Act, or, having been found guilty of such breach by the National Labor Relations Board, has not complied with the terms of any order or decision of the said Board; and immediately upon a finding by the National Labor Relations Board that such contractor is guilty of an unfair labor practice as defined in said Act, the said contract shall be canceled or performance thereof by the contractor suspended until compliance by the said contractor with any order or decision of the said Board. In every such case any damage suffered as a result of delay in construction or otherwise because of any strike or suspension or cancelation of the contract shall be imposed and collected from the said contractor.
Mr. VAN GELDER. That is all I have to offer, unless there are any questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions by members of the committee?
Senator Gibson. You made reference to Japan. Are you familiar with the progress made by that nation in building its merchant marine in the last number of years?
Mr. Van GELDER. În a general way; I know that they have built up a very modern merchant marine—at least, compared to ours. Senator GIBSON. A superior merchant marine?
Mr. Van GELDER. I should say so, so far as speed and efficiency, certainly.
Senator Gibson. Is it not a fact that the wages in Japan are considerably lower than they are in this country or in European countries?
Mr. VAN GELDER. Undoubtedly.
Senator Gibson. You said that men were being laid off. Is that due at all to the incipient depression through which we are passing?
Mr. VAN GELDER. I believe it is partly due to that.
Mr. Van GELDER. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Emerson will not be here until a little later. He is over at the House committee, testifying there, right now.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well. Is there anyone else from the C. I. O. union?
Mr. Mort. Borow. Myself, Senator.
STATEMENT OF MORT. BOROW, ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN
RADIO TELEGRAPHISTS' ASSOCIATION, NEW YORK, N. Y.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, Mr. Borow. Please give your name to the reporter.
Mr. Borow. My name is Mort. Borow.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, sir. You represent the American Radio Telegraphists' Union, do you?
Mr. BOROW. Yes, sir.
Mr. Borow. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I appear on behalf of the American Radio Telegraphists' Association, an organization composed of citizens employed in every branch of the communications industry, with offices and representatives in every major city and seaport of the United States, and many towns as well. The A. R. T. A., as the association is generally known, is affiliated with the C. I. O. and its subordinate units representing the various crafts engaged in the maritime transportation industry of this country, This association is interested in the legislation now being considered by the Congress to amend Public Law 835, Seventy-fourth Congress, commonly known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, because it directly affects the membership of its marine division, the vital interests of all the workers in the industry, and certain basic rights of the American citizenry as a whole. The A. R. T. A. is particularly concerned with this legislation because it is the bona fide union representative of the men who man the communications facilities of the vessels of the American merchant marine the radio officers.
The A. R. T. A. appears here in opposition to the proposed amendments to the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as contained in Senate bill 3078.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you mean by "the amendments”? Mr. Borow. I shall elaborate and explain just our full position on this, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean certain amendments? You are here to oppose certain amendments? What I want to know is whether you are opposing the bill in its entirety.
Mr. Borow. We are opposing the bill in its present form, as it is printed in this committee print of S. 3078. With certain amendments that we should like to offer, naturally that would change our position with respect to this legislation.
The CHAIRMAN. All right; proceed.
This association supports in full the official statement of the New York Maritime Council as presented by Mr. Joseph Curran, president of the National Maritime Union. Similarly, the association bases its general objections on the grounds indicated: First, that the labor sections are coercive in nature and were inspired by shipowners who desire to avoid dealing with legitimate unions; second, that the amendments would institute a system of virtual compulsory arbitration of labor disputes and would destroy present satisfactory mediation machinery; third, that the training-ship proposals disregard the offers of cooperation by maritime unions and would instead substitute military supervision by men unversed in the merchant marine; fourth, that the amendments run counter to American tradition and would impose a severe hardship on both labor and capital by authorizing substantial building in foreign shipyards; and fifth, that it is inexcusable to lift the $25,000 a year limitation on shipping officials' salaries in this "sick industry” supported by Government subsidies.
Inasmuch as the radio officers have a somewhat confused status and really an indiscriminate status under the law as it is not written and under the proposed amendments, the A. R. T. A. earnestly believes that the consideration of any amendments to the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 should include, as in S. 3078, the following:
That on page 5, line 12, there be added, after the semicolon, the following words; or the Federal Communications Commission.
As the radio operators on ships come under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission and also are licensed by that Commission, we feel that it is vitally necessary to add this wording to this section of the bill.
Senator ELLENDER. To what section were you referring?
The CHAIRMAN. All right. And you have the language, there, which you have suggested?
Mr. BOROW. Yes, sir.
Senator WHITE. Will you please state your proposal again? I did not have the text before me, before, and could not follow you. Are you proposing a new subsection?
Mr. Borow. No, sir; I am proposing an addition,
Senator WHITE. That is what I asked. Are you proposing a new subsection? Will you state that again?
Mr. Borow. The proposal is, sir, that these words be added: or the Federal Communications Commission. Senator GIBSON. In what line?
? Mr. Borow. That is line 12. In other words, as amended this part under "3" will read as follows:
(3) Licensed officers who are members of the United States Naval Reserve shall wear on their uniforms such special distinguishing insignias as may be approved by the Secretary of the Navy; officers being those men serving under licenses issued by the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation; and as amended: or the Federal Communications Commission.
Senator Thomas. In other words, your amendment would simply be consistent with the present law and would make the law consistent with the present regulations? It would not change a single thing, would it?
Mr. Borow. Oh, yes, sir.
Senator White. All it would do would be to require that the licensed radio operators on the ship shall wear insignia approved by the Federal Communications Commission? Is that it?
Mr. Borow. No, sir. Senator, I believe my following testimony will explain in detail just what this will provide.
Senator White. All right.
Mr. Borow. The A. R. T. A. proposed that the Congress adopt this amendment providing for the legal recognition of the radio operator as an officer, thus recognizing by law what already exits in fact. Herewith it submits its reasons supporting its claim for such recognition:
In the standard agreement which the American Radio Telegraphists' Association has signed with the leading American steamship lines, the following paragraph is included:
Each radio officer employed by the company shall receive the same courtesies, privileges, vacations, accommodations, and food accorded to the licensed watch officers employed upon vessels owned and operated by the company.
In an agreement entered into between the Association of Wireless and Cable Telegraphists of Great Britain and the British Engineering and Allied Employers' London and District Association, which includes the Marconi International Marine Communication Co., Ltd., the Radio Communication Co., Ltd., and the International Marine Radio Co., Ltd., of Great Britain, on June 24, 1937, there appears the following paragraph:
For purposes of social standing, accommodation, messing arrangements and attendance, and so forth, the radio officer-in-charge shall be deemed to be on an equal standing with the second officer or senior second officer where more than one second officer is carried.
It is highly significant that the radio officer of the American merchant marine is the only licensed man aboard the vessel who is not rated by law as an officer, while on nearly all foreign vessels, the radio officer enjoys an official standing equal to or above that of the second officer of the deck department. In some cases he stands next to the master of the vessel.
Since the advent of radiotelegraphy as an aid to navigation, the radio . officer has enjoyed the privileges and accomodations of an officer in almost all American vessels of the merchant marine. He was given this status because it was recognized that he had responsibility over a very important department of the vessel. Radio officers dine at the same table with the captain on all cargo vessels, tankers, and in the main dining saloon on many passengers vessel. On the larger passenger vessels, the radio officer usually dines with officers of the deck department, and in this respect is recognized as of equal standing with such officers.
There are many other reasons why the radio officer should enjoy the same rank and social standing as does his foreign colleague on vessels of the leading foreign nations.
The radio officer in nearly all cases has at least a high school education, while a large number have some college training. It is necessary to attend school for a year or more before a radio officer is able to pass the examination and obtain a second-class license. It is then necessary to have 1 year's satisfactory service before he can take the examination for a first-class license. Experience demonstrates that at least 5 years is necessary before an operator is able properly to assume charge of the radio department of a passenger vessel.
The long period of preliminary training required and the expense involved make it imperative that the radio officer be compensated for this outlay of capital and loss of time. Compared to a deck officer who begins as an ordinary seaman, earning wages from the beginning without the expenditure of money for tuition and living expenses, the radio officer's status and remuneration are unenviable to say the least.
The education and ability that are necessary for one to become capable of assuming charge of the radio department on a merchant vessel compare favorably with those necessary for assuming charge of a watch on the bridge or in the engine room department; and the importance of his department as a necessary adjunct to the successful navigation of the vessel makes it imperative that the radio officer be recognized as such by law as well as by custom.
In heavy weather, thick fogs, hurricanes, and disaster, the importance of the radio officer is recognized by everyone. A perusal of the great marine disasters of modern times shows clearly that the average radio officer is second to none in judgment, coolness of mind amid great confusion among others, dependability, and courage in the face of death. The little monument in Battery Park, New York, bears witness to public admission of the heroism of the members of our profession. Great disasters, such as the sinking of the Titanic, the Vestris, or the burning of the Morro Castle, have impressed the minds of all with the outstanding courage and devotion to duty of the members of our fraternity who have stood steadfast in the face of a great calamity.
The American Radio Telegraphists' Association respectfully requests the United States Congress to recognize the responsibility of the radio officer in the merchant marine, and grant the radio officer that measure of justice for which we hereby appeal, by placing him in his rightful legal rank—that of an officer.
I have here an excerpt from a table taken from page 89, pamphlet No. 13, of Merchant Marine Statistics, published by the United States Department of Commerce, 1936, and showing the comparative wage scales paid to American and foreign radio officers. This table is submitted primarily because rank and social status in the merchant marines of the world powers are reflected mostly by means of their economic remuneration. I shall not take the time of the committee to read these figures, but I should like to submit this for the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well; it will be received. (The paper referred to is as follows:)
Comparative wage scales paid to American and foreign radio officers
[NOTE.--This scale is submitted primarily because rank and social status in the Merchant Marines of the
world powers are reflected, without exception, by economic remuneration]
Danish Dutch French German
Japan | Norway
72 55 79
84 60 73
NOTE.-This table is taken from page 89, pamphlet No. 13, of "Merchant Marine Statistics,"published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1936.