Original Document
Original Document
Senate Subcommittee hearings on repression at Rossiter, PA, 1928.



...Present: Senators Gooding (chairman of the subcommittee), Pine, Wheeler, and Wagner.
Present also: Mr. A. J. Musser, vice president and general manager of the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corporation; Mr. F. D. Welsh, superintendent of the same company; Mr. Philip Murray, international vice president of the United Mine Workers of America; Mr. Patrick J. Fagan, president of district No. 5; Mr. James Mark, president of district No. 2.

....Senator WHEELER. We were interested to know why it was that the injunction was granted preventing the holding of religious services up here in this church. It seemed, to us at least, as a rather unusual thing.

Mr. MUSSER. Well, have you read the bill of injunction?

Senator WHEELER. No, I have not had the chance.

Mr. MUSSER. If you had read it you would have found that it very clearly provides that we take no exception to any religious services held inside the church building. The exception we take, and what we asked the court to do, was to restrain the people from assembling outside of the building, on the church lot–which, by the way, we donated to that church about two years ago for the nominal consideration of $1, two lots. At that time the church was a regular organization, presided over by a doctor of divinity, a very high type man, under the name of Magyar Presbyterian Church. For some reason and I do not know just what, but Mr. Welsh does, I think that man got out. This present congregation, if it may be so called, does not represent the denomination to which we donated the lots.

Senator WHEELER. What is the denomination at the present time?

Mr. MUSSER. I could not tell you about that.

Senator WHEELER. Does it belong to the Methodists, or Presbyterians, or Baptists, or what?

Mr. MUSSER. No, I could not tell you about that. I understand the congregation is made up of some Catholics, some of them Italians and they may also be Catholics but I do not know about that. But it is made up of people of different denominations and of no denomination. The man who conducts the services I think I am safe in saying is not a regularly ordained preacher of any denomination.... Further than that, people are not restrained from congregating in that particular lot alone but on other lots. It so happens that those are the only lots and the only surface which we do not own and on which they could congregate and from which point they could see the operation down here by means of field glasses. It is across this ravine here, and they can see men going in and out, and by singing whatever it was, it was intended to intimidate our men.

Senator WHEELER. What particular objection would you have to their singing?...

Mr. MUSSER. The objection is that if you have men working here, and if when they come in the morning and go out in the evening, they hear these songs and see this crowd of a hostile nature, it affects them just as much as if you had a servant employed in your home, and every time that servant goes out of your home some one stands across the street 20 or 30 feet, or 100 or 150 feet, and sings or does anything else for the express purpose of annoying that servant, and when the servant returns the same thing happens. Those services were arranged, and I think you can understand that, to be at the time when the men went to work in the morning and came out in the evening. It was a thing that had never been known before to hold services at those particular hours. The intent was very clear and plain.

Senator WHEELER. Mr. Musser, I assume that you have gone out and employed men to work in your mines, have you not?

Mr. MUSSER. Yes, sir.

Senator WHEELER. And this injunction prevented, as I understand it, and I may be wrong about it and if so I want you to correct me, this injunction prevented these other men from even going and speaking to your men, the men that were working here, and asking them to desist from working here.

Mr. MUSSER. Well, I am not clear just as to the language of the injunction in that respect. It was intended to prevent intimidation of our men who were working and were willing to continue working.

Senator WHEELER. What do you mean by intimidation?

Mr. MUSSER. By attempting to get those men to stop work.

Senator WHEELER. Either by persuasive methods or otherwise?

Mr. MUSSER. By whatever means they were using....

Senator WHEELER. That is, you intended to prevent anybody from talking to any man working here and saying to him, "Now, in my judgment you should not work in that mine."

Mr. MUSSER. No; I do not think the intent was quite as strong as that....

Senator WAGNER. The injunction, however, does prevent that very thing, as I read it. It prevents any parading, any marching on any of the public highways leading to the mines, or any picketing, which would include even peaceful picketing, peaceful picketing as Senator Wheeler indicated by persuasion, or any attempt to win over a worker to their side of the controversy, I mean, to the side of the solicitor. Do you regard that as being justified or that the court is justified?....

Mr. MUSSER. Well, I do not profess to understand the legal phrase, and all that sort of thing, but I would say this–

Senator WAGNER (interposing). Just offhand, as an American citizen, would not that be repugnant to your ideas of liberty and the right of free speech? I mean, if the injunction went to that extent. I can understand how you would resist any efforts at intimidation, but I am speaking of this other way. Suppose I should approach one of these men, as a striker, and simply by way of persuasion and argument attempt to convince him that my side was better for labor than your side, and that I was standing for bettering labor conditions and for a higher scale of wages and a higher standard of living. Now, if I did no more than that, don't you think that would be within my rights, and ought to be within my rights, under the American idea of freedom of speech?

Mr. MUSSER. Personally, Senator, I would say that it was.

Senator WAGNER. But the injunction restrains that very thing.

Mr. MUSSER. The injunction had this in mind, however, not as you have described it, and that would be a very peaceful and courteous persuasion; but that was not the type of picketing that led up to this. It was all set up in the injunction

Senator WAGNER (interposing). As I view this injunction I do not hesitate to say publicly that I think it is an absolute interference with the right of free speech. ...I have been in a good deal of litigation, both as judge and attorney, and I can tell you very frankly that I never saw any injunction so comprehensive as this one.

Senator GOODING. Nor so drastic.

Senator WHEELER. The thing about it is, and the point we are interested more particularly in, is that it breaks down respect for our courts, and I want to say that any time you break down respect for our courts among the people of this nation, then you are breeding anarchy.

Senator GOODING. What is the distance from the lots that you speak of connected with the church to the tramway or pathway along which the men go to work?

Mr. MUSSER. About 1,500 feet, Mr. Welsh, is it not?

Mr. WELSH. I think so.

Senator GOODING. Do you think the men going along there could hear them singing upon the hill?

Mr. MUSSER. Oh, yes, you can look out that window and see it.

Senator GOODING. He might hear a noise, but do you think he could hear the words of the songs?

Mr. WELSH. Oh, yes.

Senator GOODING. There is not much left for a man if you stop him from speaking, and stop him from talking and stop him from singing. They are about the limit of human effort to get a question before one's opponent in a matter of this kind. I say, then if he cannot do that certainly there is not much left for a man to do.

Mr. WELSH. What about the men who are working? Are they to have no consideration? It certainly annoys them.

Senator WHEELER. So far as that is concerned every man in every line of industry is annoyed. No one is annoyed any more than we Senators are, but we do not go out and get an injunction and try to prevent people from annoying us....

Senator GOODING. Those hymns were out of the regular hymn books used in the church, were they not?

Mr. MUSSER. Personally I could not answer that question.

Senator GOODING. Could you answer it, Mr. Welsh?

Mr. WELSH. I believe they were, but modified sometimes to suit the situation.

Senator GOODING. And 1,500 feet away?

Mr. WELSH. Yes, sir.

Senator WAGNER. I might mention this while I am in this critical state of mind: Is it an unavoidable situation, having an injunction outstanding for a period of six months without giving those enjoined even a hearing as to whether the injunction should stand or not?

Mr. MUSSER. I do not think there has been any delay.

Senator WAGNER. We have had the matter presented to us in this way: That Judge Langham said he would not hear it until both sides agreed upon a date. That makes it very simple upon the part of one side to delay a hearing by preventing an agreement.

Mr. MUSSER. I can assure you that our attorneys have made no attempt to delay any hearing, neither in the case of this injunction nor any other.

Senator GOODING. We have been given other information here to the effect that delays have been brought about from time to time on some very flimsy excuse. You will please this subcommittee very much if you would say to the attorneys that your company is anxious to have this injunction passed upon and bring about a hearing at an early date.

Mr. MUSSER. As far as we are concerned, we have no reason for delay.

Senator WHEELER. I should now like to get at one other phase of the complaint made here, and that is this: What was the object of your reducing wages? I simply want to get your viewpoint of it.

Mr. MUSSER. Well, that is rather a long story, but I will try to make it brief. We were here representing, and I mean by that our corporation and a few others who were working up to the Jacksonville agreement, a property paying its labor anywhere from twenty-one percent to a much higher percentage above the rates everybody else was in our district were paying, as well as other contiguous districts. A few companies, those which carried out this agreement, represented one percent of the output of central Pennsylvania. Of course, the commercial men could not go into the market, and we could not go to the railroad company, and sell coal in competition with the other ninety-nine percent, who were putting out coal at a cost for labor twenty-one percent lower than we could produce ours.

Senator WHEELER. So far as your company was concerned you were not interested in reducing wages provided other companies had kept up their wages, is that it?

Mr. MUSSER. We were not, and that proposition was made to the officials of the United Mine Workers of America many times, that we were not interested in pounding down wages so long as we could stay in business in a competitive way.

Senator WHEELER. I have heard it said that Governor Fisher is a stockholder in your company.

Mr. MUSSER. Governor Fisher was a stockholder to some extent, that is, to the same extent that I am. He held one share in order to qualify him as a director.

Senator WHEELER. He was a director of the company?

Mr. MUSSER. Yes, sir; and nominally vice president. But he had nothing to do with the management of the company. He did not act as an executive officer and never signed a paper as vice president.

Senator GOODING. But drew a salary for services rendered?

Mr. MUSSER. He drew a salary as our counsel. He was general counsel for the railroad company in Pennsylvania.

Senator GOODING. For the New York Central Railroad Company?

Mr. MUSSER. Yes, sir. And he was also our local attorney in Pennsylvania prior to his election.

Senator WHEELER. Do you know whether he was attorney for any of the rest of the coal companies?

Mr. MUSSER. I think he was. He was practicing law in a general way, and I am quite sure that he was attorney for some others.

Senator WHEELER. Mr. Musser, will you tell us this: The New York Central Railroad Co. is not in such financial distress itself that it had to reduce wages of these men?

Mr. MUSSER. Senator Wheeler, we do not have any objection, either so far as this business was concerned or so far as the New York Central Railroad Co. was concerned, to paying men on a $10 a day basis if that would put us in a competitive position. But it does not matter whether they own this coal property or do not own it, if I must go to them and say: "I must reduce the cost of mining coal twenty-one percent to meet the conditions in other mines in this district." They would say: "You will either have to do it or shut down the mine."

Senator WHEELER. That is a business proposition, then, as I understand.

Mr. MUSSER. We were faced with this very thing, either of shutting down the mines or of getting on a competitive basis with other coal mines. We certainly could not maintain ourselves on a basis of cost twenty-one percent above all the other mines in this section.

Senator WAGNER. When did Governor Fisher resign from the company?

Mr. MUSSER. About the time he went into office. I know that his resignation is with our secretary, who is in New York.

Senator WAGNER. Is he still a stockholder in the New York Central?

Mr. MUSSER. I do not know....


Senator WHEELER. While the clerk is getting the pay rolls, let me ask you this: As superintendent of the mine do you find that you can get as efficient help at the present time as you could under organized labor?

Mr. WELSH. We have done so. As a matter of fact, our labor has been improving, and it is almost entirely from right here in Pennsylvania, and they are experienced and practical miners.

Senator WHEELER. Are they colored or white?

Mr. WELSH. They are entirely white. We have never employed colored men. We have drawn the line at Mexicans and Spaniards and people of that class.

Senator WHEELER. You do not feel that the Mexicans and colored are as efficient miners as white miners?

Mr. WELSH. Colored men are very efficient miners in many cases, but it makes a very undesirable element in the community. We take great pride in our schools, and take great pride in our churches, notwithstanding what has been said about this injunction, and we contribute to them. We contributed $22,000 to a school building in addition to our contribution by way of taxes. We do not want to bring in colored men and undesirable people and decrease the standing of the community, and particularly the schools.

Senator WHEELER. And you feel that the bringing in of colored labor into any community has a demoralizing effect?

Mr. WELSH. I do, and I would not do it.

Senator WHEELER. Is it not a fact that it lowers the standard of morality of the people as a whole to bring in a large number of colored people.

Mr. WELSH. I have not had any actual experience, and have never employed them, but from what I have observed in other places I think that is the result.

Senator WAGNER. Their way of living, their accommodations, the way they sleep and live generally, make a great deal of difference in the matter of the morality of the people.

Mr. WELSH. You are entirely right.

Senator WAGNER. You have special policemen employed on application to the Government, or do you have deputy sheriffs?

Mr. WELSH. We have not had coal and iron policemen commissioned during my experience, which has covered a period of 30 years, until–

Senator WAGNER (interposing). Do you employ anyone?

Mr. WELSH (continuing). They had been recently commissioned.

Senator WAGNER. Did you employ other outside police assistance during the time?

Mr. WELSH. Yes; we employed deputy sheriffs.

Senator WAGNER. How many?

Mr. WELSH. Well, at one time we had at our several operations I think about seventy or seventy-five, including watchmen. In order to make it clear let me say that here is a property of 5,000 acres, and we have six outlying points, a distance of two and three and as much as four miles, where there are shafts leading down into the mines, and where there are ventilating fans, and we have men there day and night, who are deputized as deputy sheriffs. They perform no police duties but are simply watchmen, you might say.

Senator WAGNER. Let me ask you this: What do you pay your deputy sheriffs and do you pay it directly to the sheriff of the county?

Mr. WELSH. No; these men are all on our pay roll. Of course, in that way, we assume responsibility for their compensation.

Senator WAGNER. Has the man that you pay any connection with the sheriff?

Mr. WELSH. No; we simply offer to pay a certain man $6.50 a day and put this man on our pay roll.

Senator GOODING. Did you ever at any time secure your deputies from the sheriff's office?

Mr. WALSH. Of course, the sheriff always looks them over and approves them, and sometimes he recommends a man when we ask him to deputize, because he thinks they are better men.

Senator GOODING. Have you ever paid the sheriff for the men that you employed as deputies?

Mr. WELSH. I think that perhaps the first week that we had deputies we paid the sheriff; but subsequently, in order for us to take the responsibility for the compensation, we paid the men direct....

Senator GOODING. We have found this to be the policy at some other mines: That the company paid the sheriff $7.50 and the men got $5. You never had that condition at this mine?

Mr. WELSH. No, not unless it was in this first period I told you about.

Senator WAGNER. That was what I was interested to know about. Did you pay the men $6.50 a day in that first period?

Mr. WELSH. Yes, sir; we did.

Senator WAGNER. How was it paid?

Mr. WELSH. The sheriff rendered a bill and we paid that bill for the first two weeks" period.

Senator WAGNER. Did you inquire of the men how much of that $6.50 they secured?

Mr. WELSH. No, sir; but, as I said, it was $6.50 from the beginning.

Senator WAGNER. Where did the difference go?

Mr. WELSH. I don't know anything about that.

Senator WAGNER. You don't know whether it went into the public treasury or the sheriff himself got it?

Mr. WELSH. I don't know anything about that....

Senator WHEELER. To whom did the deputy sheriffs report?

Mr. WELSH. To the sheriff.

Senator WHEELER. And not to your company?

Mr. WELSH. Except to the superintendent.

Senator WHEELER. I have found in some instances that the deputy sheriffs, and, of course, all of the coal and iron police, reported to the coal company rather than to the sheriff of the county.

Mr. WELSH. Well, they did not report to us, except if one discovered anything that he thought should be brought to our attention, then he reported to the local superintendent.

Senator WHEELER. In a case of an arrest or anything of that kind, to whom did he report? To the sheriff? And did he turn the party over to the sheriff or to your company?

Mr. WELSH. Oh, no; I never knew of it until afterwards.

Senator WHEELER. You did not know anything about it at the time, and the man was turned over to the sheriff and was taken to the county jail, rather than being turned over to the company and put in the company jail.

Mr. MUSSER. We do not maintain a company jail, do we, Mr. Welsh?

Mr. WELSH. No, sir.

Senator GOODING. Are your present deputy sheriffs reporting to some company officer or the sheriff?

Mr. MUSSER. No, sir.

Senator GOODING. Is it not a fact that they are reporting to Major Taylor at the present time?

Mr. MUSSER. No; I do not think the deputies are reporting to Major Taylor, except some men he furnishes, probably 40 men.

Senator GOODING. Do you know who Major Taylor is?

Mr. MUSSER. Yes, sir; Major Taylor is a man who had done considerable work in the Government service, I believe, and I think some up in Alaska in connection with the United States mails. And then he was for a time employed in the Pittsburgh district doing police duty, and then he came to....[central] Pennsylvania from the Pittsburgh region. Some one has suggested here that he was employed by a group of operators to recruit a police force and to have more or less supervision of it, particularly in counties where the sheriffs did not take that responsibility. That was not true in this county....

Senator WHEELER. Summing up, Mr. Musser....the only reason you terminated that wage scale was because of the fact that other coal companies terminated it previously, and in order to meet their competition you felt that you had to do it?

Mr. MUSSER. Other companies had terminated it previously, and many other companies never had been bound by that, and had worked as open-shop mines. I think I have made it quite clear that we had no fight with organized labor. We were in this game before organized labor came into Pittsburgh, and we were among the first to make an agreement with them.

Senator WHEELER. You recognized the union for many years?

Mr. MUSSER. Almost thirty years. I will frankly say, and have told the officers of the union, that we prefer to operate union mines, and have gone out of our way to make an agreement with them. We went to the very extreme limit the last time.

Senator WHEELER. You feel, do you not, that organized labor has helped to raise the standard of living of the American workingman generally throughout the country....As a matter of fact, they would be working longer hours in the United States, and would not have the same standard of working conditions had it not been for organized labor.

Mr. MUSSER. That is generally true. It is also true that Judge Gary reduced the steel mills from a twelve-hour day to an eight-hour day without the pressure of organized labor back of him....

Senator WHEELER. Don't you think that the Government, itself, in the Adamson law, changed the basis of labor from ten hours to eight hours for a day? That that was done through legislation, and had much to do with bringing about the eight-hour day all over the country?

Mr. MUSSER. Perhaps so.

Senator GOODING. Two million men were employed at that time.

Mr. MUSSER. Yes, sir.

Senator GOODING. Eight hours in a day is enough for men generally and certainly for coal men.

Mr. MUSSER. I do think so, and in a practical way it works out that way. At some outlying point we are tempted to do it, perhaps, but we do not work men twelve hours as a general thing, although they would do it if we allowed them to do so. We feel that it is better to put on three shifts of eight hours each. Of course, it costs more, but we are inclined to think that the men render better service. We were not interested in getting more hours per day, or in pounding down wages; we were only taking care of ourselves in a competitive way. If this district in central Pennsylvania had been fifty percent or more union we could have gone along that way, and we would not have had any objection to $7.50 a day or any other rate....

Senator WHEELER. Do your men live in company houses?

Mr. WELSH. Some of them do.

Senator WHEELER. And do they deal at the company's store?

Mr. WELSH. Some of them do and some do not.

Senator WHEELER. Do you have bunk houses for your men to live in?

Mr. WELSH. We do not. There are boarding houses, but no bunk houses or camp houses.

Mr. MUSSER. I should like for you gentlemen to get this information, because it is different from what you have read in the newspapers. You have been misled. It does not make any difference; if he elects to go to the store and spend some of his money, on the strength of what he has been told around, of course we give him that opportunity. And if he elects to come around and pay his rent in cash, that is entirely satisfactory. This smith work is a part of his legitimate expenses, and he pays it. But this amount here [indicating on pay roll] has nothing to do with his earnings.

Senator WAGNER. We heard that there were some very high prices in company stores because the men absorbed all the money they got in purchases of goods, and then there was a great discrepancy in some places we investigated between the earnings during the time of the Jacksonville agreement and afterwards. And also in the matter of steadiness of working hours of the men; they seemed to be more steady in their work, as to the number of hours put in before than after the Jacksonville agreement; showing that there was a more shiftless lot afterwards, and that the men before that were putting in six days work.

Senator WHEELER. The situation so far as there being work for them to do was this: They said it was during the period of 1925. We noticed any number that worked ten, eleven, and twelve days in the two weeks, and even more, whereas afterwards there were some that worked three and four days a week.

Mr. MUSSER. It might be accounted for in this way: If labor is recruited through employment agencies, and those agencies pick up every fellow that comes along. But we are not trying to pick up that kind of men. We get our labor in a different way. We do not use the employment offices. We try to get our labor here. We do not bring in colored labor and inefficient people and men who do not know how to live. The coal commission, I think, determined that a miner's expenses did not exceed 6 per cent, that it varied from two percent and three percent to six percent as a maximum.

[At 12:20 p.m., the subcommittee, accompanied by Vice President and General Manager Musser and Superintendent Welsh of the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corporation, and Messrs. Murray, Fagan, and Mark, of the United Mine Workers of America, left the superintendent's office...and motored to the Magyar Presbyterian Church....]

Senator GOODING. [to A. J. Phillips, Pastor of the Church of God, Rossiter, PA.] Will you be kind enough to make your statement to the committee in your own way, taking up your observations here, and what you and your congregation have gone through, and just tell the story, making it as clear as possible. The members of this subcommittee are very anxious to have all the information they can get as to the conduct of your services, the interruption of your services, either inside or outside, if any held on the inside were interrupted.

Reverend PHILLIPS. I will make it as brief as I can. In August 1926, I held my first services here as a Bible reader. I rented this building from the Hungarian congregation....Then the people became interested in the Bible reading, and at six o'clock Sunday evenings we met. Finally, we met outside to have a song service with the children. From that time on until after this strike started in, there was one morning, when they were about ready to go to work, I thought to myself I would walk over and see what was going on in town here. I walked over, and a few days after that Mr. Welsh and I had a conversation out here on the street. ...He told me that I could not come here. I said, "Why?" He said, "You are trespassing." I said, "Where?" He said, "Right here," and I was standing on the street in front of the building....So I went down to an attorney and stated the circumstances to him, an attorney at Punxsutawney. He said, "They can not keep you from going to that church if you are paying the rent for that building. You can go when you please...." So then I had a graphophone that I had used in my summer bible school with the children. We got to running that, together with some hymn songs that I had and the boys got to singing....Then they suggested one day: Why not sing in the open air....But we only sang one morning and one evening when the State troopers called out board members and our local officers together in the hotel over here, where they were boarding, and the first thing I knew I got word through our official officer that we must refrain from singing outside. I said, "Why?" They said, "Because singing hymns intimidates the workmen over there." Well, –

Senator GOODING (interposing). Did you sing anything of an intimidatory character?

Reverend PHILLIPS. Nothing but what I sang for you today...

Senator WHEELER. For instance, "Nearer My God to Thee?"

Reverend PHILLIPS. Yes, sir.

Senator WHEELER. And "Standing up for Jesus?"

Reverend PHILLIPS. Yes, sir. And "Onward Christian Soldiers," that was another one. Those were the songs, and there was no change made, except just as I told you awhile ago, and we sang them as they were written. Then after I had considered the matter, I went down again to consult an attorney about it. He says, "To stop singing religious songs? Why, that is as bad as in Mexico! It is the most unusual thing I ever heard of...." This was about the middle of the week, and I came back and told my congregation, and of course they all felt good over that. I said, "For my part, I feel like conducting singing outside, too." They were all with me. We went outside to try singing there again, and we sang the balance of that week on the hillside. Then I posted notice for an outdoor meeting at the hotel, and they estimated that we had about 1,000 people present. The State troopers came up to me about the time I made the announcement of the first song, that we were just going to sing, "Where He Leads Me I Will Follow," and just as I announced it the State trooper taps me on the arm and says.... "What is the object of this meeting?" I said, "Because the people desire to have a street meeting." "Well," he says, "according to my idea it is intimidating." I said, "Well, if this intimidates these people at Rossiter, or anybody at all in Rossiter, just a few simple songs and prayer, then they better prepare for Judgment, because they will be more intimidated there than here. ..." Well, we had that meeting. The next week we began out here the same, and the next, the following Sunday, instead of going to the side of this road we held our meeting in the church....Then the first thing I knew, Mr. Malcolm, the sheriff, came with the paper in his hand....I just kind of felt what it was. I said, "Would you be qualified to swear to every statement in that injunction?" He just walked out....I walked over and rang the bell and we had services as before, and went on out and continued the meeting on the outside. It only lasted about a week and a half until they came in with another paper and read it to me, that I had to go to Indiana on the 12th of November because of contempt of court....It said something about inflammatory and hostile songs. We never sang that kind of songs. We did gather to sing hymns, but they were certainly not that kind of songs....

Senator GOODING. Has there been any violence in the town here that you know of, on either side?

Reverend PHILLIPS. No violence, but–

A BYSTANDER. Oh, yes; some of our people have been beat up down there.

Mr. MARK. Oh, yes; we can give you the names of several who have been beat up and otherwise mistreated....

Reverend PHILLIPS. There was one evening, and I can't tell you right now when it was from my own knowledge, but nine State constabulary or coal and iron police, two on horses and seven walking on foot, chased our people right down on the side of the road, and they crowded the people off the road, and–

A BYSTANDER (interposing). Brother Phillips, it was January 11.

Reverend PHILLIPS. They were pushing them along, and driving them, and one of our young men tramped on his little sister's foot while they were driving them off. Those fellows just drove right along down there and pushed the people off the road. They were going home from church. Well, now, as to this tear bomb question: I came in here one morning, and I had come alone at the time, and when I opened the basement, which was where we have our week meetings, I smelled something but I didn't know what when I opened the first door. Then when I opened the next door it flew in my eyes, and the tears began to run down my cheeks. I thought of tear bombs. I reported it to a man here, and he told me it was a tear bomb. I opened the windows and it was still strong. I didn't know where it came from. Finally I found that it was in the coal bin. The people gathered that morning with great difficulty. We had to discontinue the service, and at ten o'clock I called some of our men in. Then I saw the State police down on the railroad, and we whistled to them. I told them there was something up here and I wanted them to tell me what it was. So the man came in and sniffed the air a little bit and said "Gas...." I have some of the coal preserved in a jar, and it gives off fumes, it was that strong, even yet. I have it at my home now....


Senator GOODING (chairman of the subcommittee). How long have you been in this camp?

Mr. NAGGY. Twenty-three years.

Senator GOODING. What is your occupation at the present time?

Mr. NAGGY. Miner....

Senator GOODING. Go ahead and tell the subcommittee your story.

Mr. NAGGY. Well, on the 17th day of January, I was playing with a German police dog in the yard, and I saw one fellow going down the street, and when I was about ready to bring my dog in, and my dog went on the porch of my house, and I said to him, "Dempsey, come on in." This fellow was away from me about 100 feet, away from the house and....he throwed a flashlight on the porch, and the dog started to jump around and bark. That fellow came to the porch and said, "You were sicking the dog on me." I said, "No." He said, "Shut up. I am going to take you to Indiana..." Well, I took the dog in, locked the door, and went upstairs. In about three minutes after I went into the house there comes up some more guys, and it sounded as if they wanted to break the door in.

Mr. MARK. Who were they?

Mr. NAGGY. They was three deputy sheriffs....My mother came down and she opened the door and they comes in, and I was standing behind my mother, and one fellow grabbed me back here [indicating] and said, "Come on. You are under arrest." My mother told him, "What for?" And when my mother told him that, he pulled out a gun and aims to hit me. I says, "You don't need to grab me like that. I will walk along with you like a man." But he didn't pay no attention at all to that, and grabbed me like that [indicating], and hit me right here [indicating] on the head, and then I fell down.

Senator WHEELER. What did he hit you with?

Mr. NAGGY. I aint sure, but I think it was a blackjack.

Senator WHEELER. Have you the scar there yet?

Mr. NAGGY. Yes, sir. When he hit me there I think sure I was going to die. And if he had hit me a little farther this way I would have lost my eye. He hit me right here and my jaw aint been any good hardly since, and he hit me in the nose, and the bone in my nose is no good since. I had to go through an operation....He took me down to the police station, and he saw the bad shape I was in, and then he takes me to the doctor, and the doctor fixes my head up. I said, "Doctor, please look at my jaw. I think it is broke." The doctor examined my jaw and said it was all right that it wasn't broke. ...Then that fellow brought me back to the police station, and he put handcuffs on me, and put me in a car and took me to the Indiana jail.

Senator WHEELER. How long did he keep you there?

Mr. NAGGY. It was eleven o'clock at night when he put me in there, and eleven o'clock the next day it was when I got out. ...


Senator WHEELER. ....Is it not customary, or is it customary–and I will put it this way–in this State to grant as drastic an injunction as that without a preliminary hearing at all?

Mr. MACK. It is a customary and proper injunction on affidavits [sic], bill, and bond.

Senator WHEELER. You say it is customary?

Mr. MACK. I say so; yes.

Senator WHEELER. And the court, in this case, upon affidavits [sic], without giving the defendants any hearing before he granted it at all, issued an injunction preventing them from even peaceful picketing?

Mr. MACK. Not from peaceful picketing, no.

Senator WHEELER. Oh, yes; I read the injunction.

Mr. MACK. I beg your pardon, but the word "peaceful" does not occur in the injunction....The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has held that peaceful picketing would not be restrained.

Senator WHEELER. But this injunction restrains all kinds of picketing....The injunction that this judge of yours granted did not make any distinction between peaceful picketing and any other kind, and consequently under the law that injunction restrains peaceful picketing as well as any other kind of picketing just for the reason that it did not differentiate between them....I do not think the injunction issued in this case can be justified in any court anywhere in the United States of America....

Senator WAGNER. Mr. Mack, when you submitted your bill with affidavits, you also submitted the form of injunction that you wanted the judge to sign?

Mr. MACK. Yes, sir.

Senator WAGNER. Did the judge modify your form of injunction in the slightest way?

Mr. MACK. Not as I recall.

Senator WAGNER. He just gave it to you as you presented it?

Mr. MACK. Yes, sir.

Senator WHEELER. In other words, he signed on the dotted line?

Mr. MACK. No; I would not say that. The judge, when the bill was submitted and when the injunction affidavits were submitted, took the bill and the injunction affidavits and went over them carefully in connection with the prayer, and then signed the prayer and fixed the date for the preliminary hearing of evidence, and approved the bond....

Senator WAGNER. ....Don't you think it is an extraordinary situation where even a judge would not set a time for a hearing, because you represent clients who are not concerned with an immediate hearing. Of course you had all that you asked for. You had all that a final judgment in the action could give you, so far as the restraining feature of your action was concerned, so that you had all you wanted. But don't you think there was a duty imposed upon the judge, knowing that so drastic an injunction was outstanding, based only upon affidavits, without ever having witnesses on either side confronting him to ascertain the facts, and that he should have set a date ...

Mr. MACK. I stated, Senator Wagner, that I considered that the facts and conditions existing at those mines justified the injunctions as issued here by the court, and I think so yet.

Senator WHEELER. You do not think that it is ever proper, do you, to prevent free speech entirely in this country, whether in violation of the Constitution or not ...? Don't you think it is a violation of free speech when I, as a striking miner, can not go to a man and say to him, "I wish you would not go to work there, because we are striking for better wages, for better living conditions, for better sanitary conditions," if those are the facts, "and so I wish you would not go to work there"

Mr. MACK. I do not consider that that has anything to do with free speech. I consider that is intimidation....But when there were some workmen brought to the works at Rossiter, or in any other mines, or they come there, and not one person but usually a crowd meets him or them and says, "We don't want you to go to work here. You are taking bread out of the mouths of our children"–that is intimidation, I should say.

Senator WHEELER. Your injunction did not forbid only crowds doing it but you forbade and likewise enjoined an individual going to any other individual and saying to him in the most peaceful and simple manner–

Mr. MACK (interposing). No. ...

Senator WAGNER. I am giving you my interpretation. You restrained picketing, you restrained a man from trying to persuade another man to join his cause, and then having closed his mouth, as I interpret your injunction, you then close the press to him, because in another section you also restrain him from advertising in the newspapers his grievances. Now, if you shut the press to a man, and if in addition to that, because you say at some meeting you think some inflammatory something may be done, something to inflame the passions might be said, and therefore your conclusion is that you will stop all meetings of any kind, because, forsooth, somebody might make a speech at some meeting which was in the nature of arousing the passions or prejudices and might be conducive to unlawful acts.

I take it that because anyone at a church at any time makes a speech which might result in lawless acts, persuading the use of force, or an attack upon the Government, that because that one speech was made you think it proper to go into the court, which is my interpretation of this injunction, and restrain that church from ever holding any kind of meeting. Is not that the result of it?

Mr. MACK. Will you let me answer about the church first?

Senator WAGNER. Yes.

Mr. MACK. We have nothing in our injunction that interferes in any way, shape, or form with any service that was conducted in that church, or that might be conducted in the future, absolutely nothing, sir.

Senator WAGNER. You prevent any meetings being held.

Mr. MACK. In the church? No.

Senator WHEELER. But on the church property?

Mr. MACK. Only on that one part of the church property, the rear end of the lot, where they may look down onto the main track to the mine. That is the only place. ...I think that Senator Wagner has possibly mixed to some extent the restraining order or injunction with the sheriff's proclamation. The injunction as I recall, and I think I am correct in it, has not anything to do with meetings in the sense of meetings of a public nature, only of congregating and assembling. The sheriff's proclamation, however, does forbid meetings or gatherings such as you have described. And with the sheriff's proclamation I might say that this coal company has nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do with it. It was issued by the sheriff on account of the industrial unrest throughout this county, and adjoining counties, he seemed to indicate.

Senator WAGNER. On what theory were they restrained from advertising in the newspapers?

Mr. MACK. I will tell you the theory and it was this: The men who either sought work or were about to seek work, either at the Rossiter mine, where you were to-day, or some other mines, would say to the superintendent or somebody in authority at the mines, We can not come to work because of these advertisements in the paper. If we go there we do not know what the result will be. We are afraid of those fellows. When we come home they will beat us up. And after we go away they will frighten our families. ...

Senator GOODING. Let me ask you a question right there: Don't you think that men going to work have a right to know the conditions that exist at a mine before they go?

Mr. MACK. Yes, sir.

Senator GOODING. And you deny him that right when you say these men can not advertise.

Mr. MACK. Is this Senator Gooding?

Senator GOODING. Yes.

Mr. MACK. Senator Gooding, every man who entered the employ of any of the operators that are around here to-day knew exactly the conditions at that particular mine before he went there.

Senator GOODING. Who told them the conditions?

Mr. MACK. The person that asked them to come to work.

Senator GOODING. Yes, I see; but you don't consider that the organization had no right to advise them of the conditions that existed there?

Mr. MACK. ...Yes; I do consider that the union had the right to advise them in a proper way.

Senator GOODING. Is not the use of the columns of a newspaper the proper way?

Mr. MACK. If used properly, possibly so. But they can be used the other way.

Senator GOODING. You denied them the right to use the newspapers.

Mr. MACK. I say that the United Mine Workers of America, or any other organization, that is opposing any industry which is working, has no right to insert anything in the public press over its signature which will tend to keep men away from that place of work.

Senator WHEELER. Why, that is a ridiculous proposition.

Mr. MACK. It may be, but you are asking for my opinion. ...

Senator GOODING. The class of men we have seen employed at some of the mines, not here but around Pittsburgh, would make me think that they never read a newspaper, and a lot of them are colored men, and they would know nothing about the local conditions. They are just passing through the country, and picked up and sent out to those mines, and have no chance to know conditions until they get out there. This subcommittee talked to two colored men, and they said they did not know anything about the conditions out there at all until they arrived at the mine. One of them said that he went in a bunk house at the barracks, which were not over twelve feet wide and twenty-two feet long, and nine of them slept in that one bunk house. And there was such a bad condition there that this man left the mines without accepting employment and went back to town. Those men did not know the conditions. Now, then, surely it seems to me an American citizen has the right to know the conditions in the simple word that Senator Wagner has suggested might be used in an advertisement, but which you say would be dangerous to the best interests of society.

Mr. MACK. I think that you, Senator Gooding, did not quite understand what I said. I said from my own experience that an advertisement such as Senator Wagner suggested would deter a man from seeking work who wanted to go to work. That it would put a man in fear...

Senator WAGNER. I want to get your idea. Suppose I was there as one of the strikers, and five or six of these workmen came along and I said: Wait a minute, men, I want to address you. Now, remember that I am one of the strikers. The company has brought in other men. And suppose I go on and say, "The company has reduced our wages below that which we think is fair compensation for our services. We are getting an unjust portion of the profits of industry, and we are fighting for a higher wage." You have accepted employment at a lower wage, and I ask you to join with us in this fight we are making for higher wages and better conditions. Now, do you say that that would be an unlawful act on my part?

Mr. MACK. As I understand your proposition, Senator Wagner, you are the person who stops me, and I am in the crowd that is going to work.

Senator WAGNER. Yes; you are going along and I say: Gentlemen, can I speak to you?

Mr. MACK. This is what I would say to you about that, Senator Wagner: The Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has said, and it is the law of Pennsylvania, that you have no right to stop me on my way to work, that my time belongs to my employer.

Senator WAGNER. And when you say that then I stop.

Mr. MACK. That is what I would say.

Senator WAGNER. But I am asking you whether or not my act is illegal?

Mr. MACK. Yes; in Pennsylvania it is...

Credit: Report of the Subcommittee on Interstate Commerce Pursuant to Senate Resolution 105, 70th Congress, 1st Session (1928), selections from pp. 265-335.
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