United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee.

Investigation of improper activities in the labor or management field. Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Volume pt. 54) online

. (page 18 of 38)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Select CommitteeInvestigation of improper activities in the labor or management field. Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Volume pt. 54) → online text (page 18 of 38)
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Mr. HoFFA. I want to say this much for you, Mr. Kennedy, if I
may, that my experience leads me to believe that any time you draw
up this type of legislation it becomes a ruling of some committee
and we are prohibited from placing into our contract a provision, as
we currently have in most teamster contracts, provisions which state
that an employee shall not be required by his employer to go through
picket lines, and that he also shall not be required to handle hot goods
or hot cargo by his own individual action — the only reason we are
allowed, Senator, and if you will check the court records you will
find they bear me out, the only reason we are permitted to say to the
employer, "You cannot fire this man for refusing to go through the
picket line," is because there is an express provision in the contract
which prevents the employer from firing him for doing that you say
under your hot cargo pro\dsions he or the union cannot enter into
between ourselves and the employer. Thereby^ for the first time in
this history of the United States you are making every truckdriver
a, legalized strikebreaker.

Senator Kennedy, You keep saying that. Show me where that
section is in the bill. Page 67, Mr. Hoffa. I would say section 707,
line 14 —
It shall be an unfair labor practice

Mr, HoFFA. Let us just read it and see what happens. I want to
say this is not my opinion. This is the opinion of all the qualified
attorneys that we brought into Washington to interpret what they
believe would happen under this bill and after our qualified attorneys
examined the bill, only then was this letter sent out.

I would like to read this provision :

(e). It shall be an unfair labor practice for any labor organization and any
employer who is a common carrier subject to paragraph 2 of the Interstate
Commerce Act to enter into any contract or agreement, expressly or implied,


whereby such employer ceases or refrains, or agrees to cease or refrain, from
handling, using, or transporting any of the products of any other employer or
to cease doing business with same.

Under that language it can very easily be interpreted, Senator,
according to the legal counsel that we employ who handle thousands of
cases before the Labor Board, Interstate Commerce Commission, and
appeal courts, it can be interpreted under this provision that a union
official not instructing the members of an organization to go through
a picket line could be in violation of this act. On the other hand,
an employee who works for a living with his hands driving a truck,
approaches the picket line of 5,000 or 10,000 people or one person and
that individual then must go through a picket line because you have
said expressly here we cannot put into our contract a provision by
which the employee has a choice of refusing to handle unfair mer-
chandise or hot cargo and it would be very conceivable, based upon
our experience with the court, that this employee would be fired be-
cause he decided on his own initiative not to go through that picket

Therefore, we say in our letter, and we maintain it today, and I
would be happy to have our legal counsel who has handled hundreds
of cases in court sit down with you and he has sat down with you
and told you why he believes this langiiage would leave the door

Senator Kennedy. Mr. Hoffa, you have read the language. If you
can, tell me anything in this language which would require an em-
ployer to discharge an employee who crossed, for example, a primary
picket line.

Mr. Hoffa. I ]jeg your pardon.

Senator Kennedy. Primary picket line.

Mr. Hoffa. There you get into the question.

Senator Kennedy. No, the point of the matter is under the Taft-
Hartley Act a union official today is prohibited from encouraging,
directing, or requiring any of his drivers to refuse to cross a secondary
picket line. That is illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act. Now you
have suggested in this message that you are sending out a totally
misleading interpretation, and I have gone into this and your law-
yers are going over to the House of Eepresentatives and informing
the membere the way this language is that it would be required of
every teamster to cross and break any strike or any picket line that
was put up any place in the country, and that is wholly wrong. You
can't show me any words. All this section says very briefly is that
the union is prohibited from making an agreement with the employer
that that employer will refuse to handle any goods from any com-
pany which is engaged in a labor dispute with the Teamsters. It does
not say anything about his being required to discharge a teamster
who refuses to cross a primary picket line or refuses, himself refuses,
to cross the secondary picket line as long as he does not do so as part
of a joint effort of the union.

Mr. Hoffa. Senator, you miss the point completely and I would
like to suggest to save time that if what you say is your belief, and
I sincerely hope that it is, so our drivers will not be misled that you
incorporate a simple statement in this law where it will lead to inter-
pretation that all drivers, all union employees of every labor organiza-


tion, shall have a right of their own free choosing to support any
strike that he desires as an American citizen to support and that they
will not forfeit their job for supporting the particular strike.

Senator Kennedy. It is not necessary because it is not in the bill.
The more I read your 18 points, all of which distort the facts and
present an incorrect impression to the labor movement to this coun-
try, the more I am convinced the bill is not very bad. I am going to
give you one more.

No. 10, the so-called blackmail picketing

Mr. HoFFA. A point of order, Mr. Chairman. I would like to ask
the Senator one question before he cuts me off since he raised the
question in answer to the statement he just made.

The Chairman. Proceed.

Mr. HoFFA. Under this letter that w-e sent to our members if you
believe that it is incorrect and particularly in any provision you
want to discuss, our lawyers will be very happy to sit down with
yours, a committee, or a group of lawyers and debate the legal ques-
tion as to whether or not, not what is said in the law but what inter-
pretation that can be placed on the verbiage of the law will do to the
American labor movement, because under this provision as is presently
existing under the ruling of the Interstate Commerce Commission,
despite the Supreme Court ruling, our drivers are finding themselves
in a position of employers trying to discharge them for voluntarily
as American citizens reserving for themselves the right to respect
picket lines whether they are theirs or whether they are American
workers of any other union in the United States because we believe
it is our duty and responsibility to be able to protect and preserve the
American labor movement by not having ordered transportation driv-
ers become strikebreakers at the request of individuals who do not
understand transportation as such.

Senator Kennedy. May I ask you one more question : On page 33 of
the bill

Mr, HoFFA. Yes, sir; just a moment.

_ Senator Kennedy. Now this is point No, 10 in your analysis of the
bill, Mr. Hoffa, You state so-called blackmail picketing, section 702,
could be used to prohibit picket lines for wage increase. Can you tell
me where that would prohibit picket lines for wage increase which is
not extortion? It begins on the bottom of page 31, section 213(a).

Mr. HoFFA. Give me a little time, sir, I am trying to find something

^Witness conferring with his counsel,)

(At this point Senator McClellan left the hearing room.)

Senator Kennedy. Incidentally, that should be section 213, Your
letter says it is section 702 of the bill. It should be section 213, page

Mr. HoFFA, Did you say section 213 ?

Senator Kennedy. Section 213,

It shall be unlawful to carry on picketing on or about the premises of any
employer for the purpose of, or as part of any conspiracy

Mr. HoFFA. I have it. I am very happy to answer this question.
If this is in error, I will certainly call attention to it, I hope our
letter clears it up.


Senator Kennedy. The letter says that section, so-called blackmail
picketing section 702, which should be section 213, could be used to
prohibit picket lines for wage increase.

Mr. HoFFA. Under this particular provision our attorneys believe
when you say —

It shall be unlawful to carry on picketing on or about the premise of any
employer for the purpose of, or any part of, any conspiracy or in furtherance
of any plan or purpose for the personal profit or enrichment of any individual
except the bona fide increase iu wages or other employee benefits by taking
or obtaining money or other things of value from such employer against his
will or with his consent,

our lawyers' concern is this, and I have discussed it with them by
the hour, their concern is that when you draw language such as here
where you talk about personal profit or enricliment of any individual
and then you put in the exception, they do not believe that the
exception is broad enough for you to be able to put into a contract
provision which may very well deal with the question of proper rep-
resentation by stewardship committees grievances, negotiating com-
mittees, or other particular monetary payments of an employer to an
employee or to a representative who may be an elected official of
the union but who also works for the particular employer and does
not devote full time to the operation of the union.

They believe this could be construed by a judge who may not be
friendly to the labor movement and we may find ourselves with an
expensive appeal trying to avoid getting the penalty which is very
severe, I believe it is $10,000 and 20 years in jail, that if it is not
the intention of your committee to be able to say that the committee-
man, a steward, an officer running for union who works for the em-
ployer could not be paid for time off duty handling his affairs for
the company, then it should be spelled out in here and not left to the
question that some officer should get 20 years in jail or $1,000 fine by
language which could be construed by lawyers — and our lawyers
have a very peculiar habit of never agreeing with each other but
unfortunately under this provision they were all unanimous that
unless this was changed a man could go to jail for simple payment
of the employer for payment of hours, where he did not physically
work driving a truck, took up a grievance, took up a complaint, sit on
a bargaining committee.

Senator Kennedy. Section 213 (a).

It shall be unlawful to carry on picketing

Mr. HoFFA. Yes.

Senator Kennedy. This not sitting on a grievance committee, on or
about the premise of any employer for the purpose of, or as part of,
any conspiracy or in furtherance of any plan or purpose for the per-
sonal profit or enrichment of any individual except a bona fide in-
crease in wages or other employee benefits by taking or obtaining any
money or other things of value from such employer against his will
or with his consent.

I don't know how we could write language more clear to get at
the use of the picket line for extorting money.

Mr. HoFFA. The unfortunate part of it is that you cannot get those
provisions in the contract by merely negotiating across the table. It
may necessitate having picket lines in front of the employer to be
able to get what you are talking about.


Senator Kennedy. We specifically exempt bona fide increase in
wages or other employee benefits.

Mr. HoFFA. But nobody knows what "other employee benefits"

Senator Kennedy. It certainly does not mean a payoff from em-
ployer to the union leader.

Mr. HoFFA. If you recall the presentation of Mr. Zagri and Mr,
Previant in front of the House of Congress, they both suggested
that if your committee meant extortion then you should put in the
word "extortion" so that a person would know what he was going
to be confronted with in the way of imprisonment or fine. That is
what they suggested. I recently noted that the House committee
has put in the language of extortion. I think they called it extor-
tion, did they not ?

Senator I\jennedy. I have not seen the House language but I think
that this is a completely incorrect statement. What concerns me is
that I have no hope of your ever cleaning up the Teamsters Union,
Mr. Hoffa, after being on this committee for 21^ years, and your
lawyers and some of your people in different States have been carry-
ing on a drumbeat against this bill, using wholly incorrect asser-
tions in regard to what is in the bill. This letter that I am talking
about, which I think is completely inaccurate, was sent, as I have
said, to thousands of union leaders all over the country saying that
this bill would commit the labor movement into one company-dom-
inated union which would make it an adjunct of the Government to
be run by an all-power labor czar. You went up to Boston and said
I could not find my way out of a four-room apartment with 12 doors
on matters dealing with labor legislation. But after listening to your
explanation, I am not convinced you would be in much better shape in
that room.

(At this point Senator McClellan returned to the hearing room.)

Mr. HoFFA. I would like to say to you, Senator, that I have found
my way in and out of thousands of doors on negotiating committees
and on many, many picket lines in the United States. So I have
learned by sad experience, not by guesswork, not what I would like
to beliave, but by sad experience, that what you may like to read
into a paragraph, I not being a lawyer, is not often accepted by
lawyers or by judges and we must always take the position not what
we would be able to expect from an individual who was understand-
ing, an individual who was able to believe that labor organizations
were doing something in behalf of the workers, but we must recognize
that we are subjecting ourselves to the worst type of treatment by
loose-knot language wliich can be interpreted by individuals who may
not be in sympathy with organized labor throughout tliis United
States and in certain localities of the United States. Therefore, you
will find I believe, from your discussion today, of all the points we
raised you only find out of 18 points we raised, you only find 2 that you
raise question about.

Senator Kennedy. Mr. Hoffa, you are coming back next week. I
will go through this matter point by point with you. If you will
consult your attorneys this weekend — we have been at the thing quite
a long time but I have a comment to make on each one of the points
you raise because I think each one has a serious inaccuracy in it.


Mr. HoFFA. I tliiiik it might be well for the American people, for
union workers in the United States, to be thoroughly acquainted with
your views on labor and it may be even well to have in this record, sir,
your interpretation of the provisions of this law because in reading
your statement on the floor which you made outlining this law, we
failed to find one single thing of clarification to the questions that we
have raised here. I would be very happy to have our legal counsel
liere, our legislative representative here, assist me in spending as much
time as is necessary to acquaint the American people with the fact that
this is a strikebreaking union-busting bill.

Senator Kennedy. Mr. Hoft'a, this bill is not a strikebreaking union-
busting one. You are the best argaiment for it, your complete in-
difference to the fact that numerous people who hold responsible posi-
tions in your union come before this committee and take the fifth
amendment because an honest answer might tend to incriminate them.

Your complete indifference to it I think makes this bill essential.

Mr. HoFFA. Senator McClellan, I would like to say, if I may, sir,
1 would like to say that if you are trying to penalize the American
labor movement for Hoffa or for your dislike for Hoffa, then spell
it out in the law.

Senator Kennedy. We are exempting everybody but racketeers,
hoodlums, and crooks in this bill. I am not talking necessarily about
you. I am talking about people you have surrounded yourself with.
in my opinion nearly every union in the country meets the standard
in this bill. Your union does not meet it, it is the judgment of the

Mr. Hoffa. I do not accept their judgment or any issue if they are
silly enough to accept this law.

The Chairman. Just a moment. We have gone a bit afield of the
committee's mission, that is, to inquire into improper practices. Of
■course this bill is designed and has provisions in it that it is hoped
would correct a number of improper practices that we have found to
exist. I do not think that we could ever settle anything as between
Ihe witness and possibly Senator Kennedy, and I will include the
Chair, with respect to some character of labor legislation that should
be enacted.

Senator Kennedy. Mr. Chairman, I think this matter is of im-
portance. The Senate is not finished on the question of labor legisla-
tion. This whole investigation, if it has a purpose, its purpose is to
prepare the groundwork for effective legislation. The Senate will
have to meet in conference on this bill if the House acts so these
hearings in my opinion, their purpose is to attempt to indicate how
this bill might be changed and how it might be improved once the
Senate has an opportunity to discuss it. So that is why I bring these
matters up because I think the whole purpose of this hearing is a leg-
islative one.

The Chairman. It is to get information— to furnish the Senate
and the Congress with information upon wliich they might predicate
legislation; but this is not quite the forum to argue the technical
aspect of the labor bill, although we can express our opinions about
It. that is true. The drafting of legislation is one thing, and the
argumg as to its technical aspects, what effects a particular phrase or
section or provision might have, is something else. There is no harm


in discussing it so far as I know. It is perfectly proper if you care
to do it. But I was trying to get back to the development of facts
that will enlighten the Congress as to what practices are now going
on. I agree with the purpose of the bill. I have stated that many

Senator Kennedy. I don't think this hearing has any purpose ex-
cept a legislative one. It seems to me that the importance of calling
these witnesses before us is to find out whether they have engaged in
practices which should be affected by legislation. Therefore it seems
to me proper to discuss the significance of legislation. Since Mr.
Hoffa's name has been connected with this bill on the floor of the
Senate by you as well as others, I think it is appropriate that we
should ask Mr. Hoffa for his comments in an attempt to come to some
agreement on the meaning of this legislation. The point is that I
would not want the members of the public, labor movement, or the
Congress to be misinformed as to the significance of this legislation
because I think it is essential, as I think you have challenged the
spirit of what we are attempting to do by your indifference to these acts
which have come to the attention of the committee and you are also
engaged with your people in a very vigorous lobbying attempt to de-
feat the bill in the Congress. I think it is extremely important to
attempt to find out whether your objections to it are based on merit in
fact, or whether they may be destroyed.

Mr. HoFFA. I am available, sir.

Mr. Kennedy. What did you do on Mr. Glenn Smith, Mr. Hoffa ?
The letter was sent. What was done to insure that he had been removed
from office ?

Mr. Williams. I think we have answered that question many times,
Mr. Chairman. It has been answered, to my knowledge, at least three
times before today. Certainly it has been answered today quite ex-
haustively as to what has been done in the Smith case.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Chairman, it has not been answered.

Mr. Williams. The answer may not be satisfactory to your counsel,
but it is the answer as to what happened in the Smith case.

(At this point Senator Kennedy withdrew from the hearing room.)

The Chairman. Just a moment.

Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Chairman, this is a very serious question.

The Chairman. Restate the question.

Mr. Kennedy. What has been done to suspend Glenn Smith?

What we have here is that the attorney for the international union
assured the court here in Washington, D.C., that Glenn Smith had been
suspended, that Glenn Smith no longer held his position but had been
suspended from his position.

We went down and made an investigation of the union, and we
found that he has not been suspended. We found that he still held his
union position at the very time the representatives of this international
union assured the court that he had been suspended ; that on January
6, some 2 months later, still presiding at a meeting, Mr. Glenn Smith
received 6 months' salary in advance and went on a voluntary leave of

This was a fraud on the court. This is a very, very serious situation.

Mr. Williams. Just a minute. When you start flipping around the
word "fraud" I want to talk to you, Mr. Kennedy. There wasn't any


fraud perpetrated on any court, and I am going to ask you to withdraw
that statement.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Boling were suspended by the action of the presi-
dent. You have just produced two letters demonstrating that. Those
letters were drafted, as is shown on the very face, by Mr. Bergan. They
were signed by Hoffa. They were sent down to these men. The suspen-
sion was made effective at the international level.

I explained to you just a few moments ago that they thwarted the
purpose of this by this, what you call, false leave of absence, and I am
inclined to agree with you, that by taking a leave of absence with pay,
when it was unknown to the international, that they did perpetrate a
fraud on the international.

But I want you to withdraw, Mr. Kennedy, the statement that you
made that a fraud was pei-petrated on the court.

The Chairman. Just a moment.

Mr. Williams, if you will present your matters to the Chair, I will
try to pass on them.

Mr. Williams. I will ask that it be stricken from the record.

The Chairman. Read back the record and I will hear what he

Mr. KJENNEDY. Could I ask the first question that I asked the wit>-
ness in connection with this and then read the rest of it ?

The Chairman. Just a moment.

Read back the statement with respect to fraud. If this representa-
tion was made to the court that a condition existed which did not
actually exist, it could constitute a fraud on the court. Read back
the statement made with respect to fraud.

As I understand, it was represented to the court, while it msij have
been in good faith at the time it was represented and by whom it was
represented, but it could constitute a fraud on the court if it wasn't

Mr. Williams. There is no such thing as fraud in good faith, Sen-

The Chairman. Well, there is fraud in good faith. The conse-
quences of it can be a fraud upon the court. The one who actually
presented i^ might have been in good faith, but the one who reported
it to him might have been lying and knowing it would constitute a
fraud upon the court.

You will agree to that. I know you are a good lawyer, much better
than I am. I know you will agree to that.

Mr. Williams. Mr. Bergan reminds me, and I did not recall this
when I first gave you my recollection of this, that this whole matter
was called to the attention of the court by us, by Mr. Bergan in a
subsequent brief, when we learned that the suspension had not been

The Chairman. You may have later. You may have found out
that it wasn't true.

Mr. Williams. I think we are dealing with semantics, if I may say
so, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. I think so, too. But there can be a fraud perpe-
trated on the court, it amounts to that, when the fellow presenting
the matter may be in good faith, may honestly believe it, but the source
of his information may have known it was false, and therefore it
would constitute a fraud on the court.


Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Select CommitteeInvestigation of improper activities in the labor or management field. Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Volume pt. 54) → online text (page 18 of 38)