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The Papers of Clarence Mitchell Jr.

and of the NAACP Washington Bureau 1942 - 1978

 

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Synopses

Lion in the Lobby
Volumes I&II
Volume III
Volume IV
Volume V


Tables of Contents

Volumes I&II
Volume III
Volume IV
Volume V
 

Documents

Sample Documents I
Sample Documents II
Sample Documents III
Sample Docs III Cont..

Sample Documents IV

Sample Documents V

 
Background

Mitchell A Profile
Project Scope
Mitchell's Reports


 


Prof. Denton L. Watson

About Prof. Watson
About Us
Contact Us
Blog


 

Memorandum on COFEP Complaint against
The International Telephone and Radio
Manufacturing Corporation and the Federal

Telegraph Company, East Newark, New Jersey

To: Dr. Robert C. Weaver                                                     

Date: January 23, 1942

From: Clarence M. Mitchell

  Subject:         COFEP Complaint against the International Telephone
and Radio Manufacturing Corporation and the Federal Telegraph Company, East Newark, N. J.

This complaint was made through Mr. Milton P. Webster of COFEP. The persons complaining are: Messrs. Donald James, Robert Gitten, Raymond Bright and Wallace Wiggins. All of them signed a joint statement that they had seen an advertisement published for the company in the Daily Mirror asking for wiremen and assemblers.[1]

My conference was with Mr. J. A. Nelson, Personnel Manager. He represents both companies and stated that, although the men mentioned International Telephone in their complaint, they really had responded to a request for men to be assigned to Federal Telegraph. He insisted that the four men were not qualified and showed me their application cards. I made no comment. He was unable to explain why the individuals were told: “We are not hiring any colored as yet.” I asked this question specifically. Mr. Nelson also said that he did not see how these men could afford to commute from New York to New Jersey. He did not adequately explain why the company advertises in New York papers for workers if it does not expect to take people from there. He said that some people are gotten from New York or persons living outside of New York “read the papers.” It is interesting to note that from Mr. Nelson’s own statement, the order for wiremen and assemblers has been in his hands since September 10, 1941, and he has not yet completed it. The request is for twenty-five workers and he has only been able to get fifteen.

Negroes are not employed by either concern. Each of the plants has about 1100 persons, according to Mr. Nelson. Although he professed to be interested in the hiring of colored people, he did not appear to have any plans for doing anything about his stated convictions. I would like to suggest that this case be handed back to COFEP for its New York hearings. If you do not agree, our office can continue contact with Mr. H. C. Reamer, Executive Vice-President. The firm has recently signed an agreement with Local 447 of the U.R.E.M.W. of the C.I.O.[2}


MS: copy, HqR77, Office Files of Eugene Davidson, Assistant Director, Oct. 1941-April 1946, International Telephone.

From 4/11/41 to 1/42, Weaver was chief of the Negro Employment and Training Branch within the Labor Division of the Office of Production Management. Next, the NETB functioned in the War Production Board until 7/30/42, when Roosevelt abruptly transferred the FEPC, the NETB and its equal, the Minority Groups Branch, to the War Manpower Commission. From then until 4/24/43, Weaver was chief of the Negro Manpower Service of the WMC (RG 179, 01.469, DNA). Weaver then served as liaison officer between the WMC and the FEPC, with special assignment of developing a program for the fuller utilization of minority groups, until 1/16/44, when WMC announced his resignation. He left to become director of the Mayor’s Committee on Race Relations of Chicago. WMC News Release, 1/16/44, in HqR86, Miscellaneous Releases. Reed, Seedtime, 86-87.

Weaver hired Mitchell on 5/1/41 as his field assistant responsible for the New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania region. He subsequently promoted Mitchell to assistant director of the NETB. For the background of their relationship, see Watson, Lion in the Lobby, 122, 133-4. For more details, see “Official Steps Taken on Discrimination in Defense,” in Minorities in Defense, providing additional dates in its outline of the President’s Committee on Fair Employment Practice, the Negro Employment and Training Branch, Labor Division, OPM, and the Minority Groups Branch, Labor Division, OPM, RG 179, Records of the War Production Board, WPB 015.737, President’s Committee on Fair Employment Practice, Organization, DNA; and Current Programs of NETB, RG 179, Records of WPB, WPB 016.467, NETB Organization, DNA.

[1] Initially, the FEPC was known as the Committee on Fair Employment Practice, or COFEP. For background, see Reed, Seedtime, 10.

                In their 12/13/42 letter to the COFEP, the complainants said they had been trained at the Harlem Evening Trade School and each had approximately 10 years of experience in “radio installation, repairing, rebuilding and building.” Each had government operators’ license proving them “qualified to operate a station, to operate a ship to shore telephone, to operate police equipment, to operate a broadcasting station, and to construct.” Indeed, they were overqualified; the job they had applied for was mass production work that did not require their range of knowledge. HqR77, Office Files of Eugene Davidson. International Telephone and Radio Manufacturing Co.

[2] United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America, CIO. See Weaver, Negro Labor, 16-27, 201-2.

 

Memorandum on COFEP Request

from Mr. Eugene Davidson

February 2, 1942

To:       Dr. Robert C. Weaver

From:  Clarence M. Mitchell

Subject:  Regional Matters of Immediate Importance Discussed with Mr. [Reginald A.] Johnson

               COFEP REQUEST FROM MR. EUGENE DAVIDSON

 

Mr. [Reginald A.] Johnson discussed with me certain cases (6) which we will supply to Mr. Davidson in response to requests from him.[1] Two of these proposed cases are illustrations of employers who have changed their hiring practices or at least hire nearly in conformity with the requirements of the President’s Executive Order No. 8802. These are the Western Electric Company of Kearny, N. J., and the Federal Shipbuilding Company, also of Kearny.  In both cases, Mr. Davidson’s plans for making the “good” better will give these companies a chance to expand their Negro personnel and correct certain departmental difficulties we have been faced with.

            Four of the firms in need of disciplinary action and which we propose to submit to Mr. Davidson are:  The International Telephone Company and the Federal Telegraph Company, both of Newark, N.J.; the Walker-Turner Plant at Plainfield, N.J., and the Wright Aeronautical Company of Patterson, N.J., or the Breeze Aircraft Company in Newark, N.J. The Wright Company will possibly be used because it is likely that the training phase of the program is in need of some investigation in order to increase the admission of Negroes. The Breeze Company will be used if the most recent requests for action submitted from our office (Via Mitchell) are ignored or answered in an unsatisfactory manner. In all of these instances the final draft of material to be submitted to Mr. Davidson will be given first to you for approval. Mr. Johnson, however, will immediately notify Mr. Davidson that you have authorized the release of material.[2]

THE WESTINGHOUSE COMPANY, ESSINGTON, PA.

            In view of the alleged trouble with white employees of the Westinghouse Company over the employment of a colored machine operator,[3] Mr. Johnson and I discussed the following phases of the question:
 

a.    Mr. Harry Block, assistant to Mr. James P. Casey, labor representative on the Regional Labor Supply Committee, is to report to Mr. Johnson the results of his (Block’s) effort to secure the needed co-operation from the Union at the plant.

b.    Mr. L. B. F. Raycroft, management representative   on the Regional Labor Supply Committee, will report to Mr. Johnson on the results of contacts on the matter with plant representatives.

c.
     Mr. William W. Bardsley, chairman of the Regional Labor Supply Committee, will report to Mr. Johnson on the results of a Naval Investigation of what actually happened when the colored trainee was employed. I requested Mr. Bardsley to ask for this investigation through Commander Francis Robinson, Naval representative on the committee, since the plant has a Naval contract.

THE BENDIX AVIATION COMPANY, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

The first two trainees out of the group of nine called for interviews start to work today (Monday, February 2). I have also submitted to the management the names of twenty women who are enrolled in a light manufacturing course under the V.E.N.D. program. In addition I have submitted the name of Mrs. Leona Highsmith, who complained that she had not been employed when she made an application previously. The management has been informed that Mr. Johnson is replacing me in the area. He will take the necessary follow-up steps.

THE FRANKFORD ARSENAL, THE NAVY YARD, THE ARMY SIGNAL CORPS, AND THE ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT-ALL OF THE PHILADELPHIA AREA

            Discussion of contacts we have had with these government agencies was held. We especially discussed plans for informing Negro women of the examination for female learners being vien [given] for these agencies. Under the examination, women without previous experience are being trained for manufacturing operations. While in training these individuals will be paid by the government.

THE BREWSTER COMPANY, HATBORO, PA.

In order to clarify our progress with the Brewster plant at Hatboro, Pa., I arranged a meeting with Mr. J. Griffith Boardman, whom I understood to be the Vice-President of the company. Mr. Boardman stated he was “only a member of the board of directors” and referred me to Mr. Philip Stevenson, executive vice president. Mr. Johnson will make the necessary follow-up in this situation since we were unable to see Mr. Stevenson before I left.

THE BALDWIN LOCOMOTIVE COMPANY, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

            Being unable to contact Mr. Charles E. Acker, secretary-treasurer, on January 29 and thereafter, Mr. Johnson and I have agreed that a follow-up will be made today (Monday, Feb. 2). We are moving somewhat slowly in this, however, until such time as we have a better understanding of the situation at Westinghouse which is in the Baldwin neighborhood.

THE GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

Further contact is to be withheld pending the outcome of the Westinghouse situation.

THE NEW YORK SHIPBUILDING COMPANY, CAMDEN , N.J.

Shipbuilding Company.

THE REGIONAL LABOR SUPPLY COMMITTEE

            We discussed the technique of action followed with the Regional Labor Supply Committee.


MS: copy, MP

[1] Eugene Davidson, FEPC senior field representative, was preparing for the Committee’s hearings in New York, scheduled for 2/16, 2/17/42, which would also consider cases from northern New Jersey, a part of Mitchell’s jurisdiction. Ruchames, Race, Jobs and Politics, 27, 31, 36, 38, 41; Reed, Seedtime, 39-41. Reginald Johnson worked at the OPM with Mitchell and succeeded him in the Philadelphia office in 1942.

[2] Disciplinary action available to the Committee involved submitting the case to Paul V. McNutt, chairman of the WMC, with the expectation he would use the influence of his office to obtain compliance. If that did not work, the Committee would submit the case to the president for action. See Mitchell to Johnson, memorandum, 1/18/43; J.E. Cain, executive vice president of P.R. Mallory & Co., Inc., to Weaver, 7/8/42, indicating compliance, HqR2, Cooperative Employers folder; Weaver, Negro Labor, 202-03.

[3] On the struggle to upgrade African-American male and female workers throughout industry, see Weaver, Negro Labor, 220-23, for. Weaver’s: “When management took steps to upgrade Negroes, and white workers refused to work with them, it became clear that the responsibility for initiating corrective action lay with the union” (222).

 

Memorandum on Suspension of
War Training for Negroes in Alabama

Mr. George M. Johnson                                       November 28, 1942

Clarence M. Mitchell

Suspension of War Training for Negroes in Alabama

            In keeping with complaints received from the Southern Negro Youth Congress of Birmingham, Alabama, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Urban League, a conference was held with Dr. W. W. Charters, Chief of training for the War Manpower Commission.[1] The complaints charged that war training for Negroes had been stopped. The Southern Negro Youth Congress’s complaint stated specifically that twelve courses for Negroes had been halted. It also alleged that although numerous white persons were being trained for aircraft work to meet the needs of the Bechtel-McCone-Parsons Company, no training was being offered for Negroes in this type of work.

            After a preliminary discussion of the problem, Dr. Charters called in the following persons for a meeting on the matter:  Dr. Philip Van Wyck, assistant to Dr. Charters, Mr. Edward Ludtke, southern regional director for the United States Office of Education, Dr. L. S. Hawkins, director of war training for the War Manpower Commission and Dr. H. J. McCormick, W. P. A. regional representative whose territory includes Alabama. Mr. McCormick stated that “ regional representative” had been abolished as his title but that it was still most descriptive of his duties.

            In brief, the conference might be summed up by saying that Dr. Charters promised a complete investigation of the matter and it is my understanding that General Frank J. McSherry’s office has already begun action by sending Mr. Ernest Marbury of the operations staff into the area. Mr. Marbury, I am told, is to have Dr. Bowman F. Ashe, regional director of the War Manpower Commission, see that training in aircraft work is given to Negroes in the Birmingham area. For his own part Dr. Charters stated that he will have Mr. Ludtke and Mr. Edgar Westmorland, who is a Negro representative in the Office of Education, make a thorough investigation of the Alabama situation. This study is to be used as a basis for correcting whatever the shortcomings are. Because there is a special conference which Mr. Ludtke and Mr. Westmorland must attend. Dr. Charters stated that they could not begin work on the problem until a “Week from Monday, November 30.”

            During the conference the following matters came up for discussion and appear to be indicative of the peculiar circumstances which tend to hamper the training programs for Negroes in southern areas.

1.      Mr. McCormick stated that he was the first to raise the question which

precipitated the current difficulty. He said that during one of his visits to the area he found forty Negro W. P. A. trainees who had been on the payroll longer than they should have been. There did not seem to be an opportunity for placing them, according to Mr. McCormick. After making some effort to find jobs for these persons, Mr. McCormick said the W. P. A. decided to drop them from its rolls. Apparently, the local council of administrators took this as a cue for deciding that the course in chipping and riveting, which was what the W. P. A. people were being given, was no longer needed and so recommended suspension of this training. At the same time there were approximately forty non-W. P. A. persons on the training rolls for the same type of instruction. There is nothing so far to show that their needs were taken into consideration.

             2.  I have checked with the B. E. S. [Bureau of Employment Security] and find that both Ingalls Iron in Birmingham and the Alabama Shipbuilding and Drydock Company at Mobile have been increasing their Negro personnel. Unfortunately, the B. E. S. records do not show whether these company employed any riveters or chippers, but it is my understanding that Ingalls Iron has employed Negroes for this type of work. It is also true the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company at Wilmington, North Carolina has trained and hired a great many Negroes for riveting jobs. It is entirely possible that in an extreme emergency this last mentioned company could have been used for the placement of those trained. However, since industry generally makes use of Negroes as chippers and riveters it is entirely possible that some factor other than race caused the breakdown of the Alabama training. I venture the suggestion that such training should never have been given in the first place. The figures from the B. E. S. show the following on Ingalls Iron and Alabama Drydock:

Ingalls Iron Works, Birmingham, Alabama

Total Negro Employment Figures

               July . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 707

               August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 772

              September . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 800

              October . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 934

Occupation Increases

                  September                                          October

 Skilled                23                                                    23

 Semi-Skilled       29                                                    31

 Unskilled          748                                                  880

 

Alabama Shipbuilding and
Drydock Company, Mobile, Alabama

Total Negro Employment Figures

               July . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3,200

               August . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4,000

               September . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4,300

               October . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4,300

 

                         I was unable to obtain a breakdown on skills for Alabama Drydock, but its increases were substantially in laboring jobs and none above the semi-skilled level.

 

3.      Dr. Hawkins stated that Mr. Jed B. Yingling of the United States Office of

Education informed him that war training had not been stopped, but rather it had been agreed that the training would not be expanded and no new trainees would be added. I requested Dr. Hawkins to define the difference between this and ordering the training stopped. He did not seem to be able to define the difference. At this point Mr. Ludtke stated that the representatives of the Office of Education have been working on the Alabama situation and that they have made some progress. He showed a list, which is attached to this report, outlining types and location of training for Negroes in Alabama. According to Mr. Ludtke, the recommendation for halting training in Birmingham affected only the riveting and chipping courses.

 

4.      Mr. McCormick and Dr. Hawkins seemed to make a considerable point out of

the fact that  the local council of administrators in Birmingham had asked that the training be halted. They also pointed out that management and labor representatives “run the council.”  They admitted, however, that responsibility for making such decisions rests with the U. S. E. S., local education representatives and the N. Y. A., who form the voting membership of the council.

 

5.      In defending the efforts of the United States Office of Education in behalf of

Negroes, Mr. Ludtke responded to a previous a statement made by me in connection with welding equipment. I had pointed out that Alabama authorities were supposed to be trying to buy 18 new welding machines for Negroes, although the W. P. B. has issued a ruling to the effect that such equipment cannot be purchased by schools. It was my suggestion that equipment available for whites at present should be divided with Negroes. Mr. Ludtke stated that he did not believe there was enough equipment for whites which would permit such a division. He also said that he feels that if enough “pressure” is put behind the W. P. B. the new equipment can be purchased. I must admit that I do not share his views concerning the W. P. B., but if pressure can get these machines, it seems that the United States Office of Education has the responsibility for applying it since, if welding equipment had been purchased for Negroes when it was purchased for whites, we would not now be facing the problem.

 

                   In my opinion Dr. Charters will take corrective action in the Alabama matter. However, there still is considerable need for a planned approach to the whole southern problem of training for Negroes. Since Dr. Charters’ office will have training responsibilities, I would like to suggest that we draw up a training program which we believe will offer substantial remedy. I recommend that we then have meetings with Dr. Charters and appropriate members of General McSherry’s staff for the purpose of putting this program into effect.

Attachment


MS: copy, HqR48, Central Files. General Reports, N-Z.

[1] See “Findings and Directives” in the case of “National Defense Training Program in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia” as mentioned in Cramer memorandum, 11/10//42, to Fenton, Brophy and Ethridge. A copy of the findings and directives was submitted to McNutt because of his special relations with the Office of Education. HqR38, Central Files, Meetings. (entry 25) Meetings. See also “Defense Training for Negroes in Birmingham, Alabama,” and “The Participation of Negroes in the National Defense Training Program in Alabama,” in HqR66, Aliens in Defense, Specific Groups, Mexicans (Miscellaneous).

Another manifestation of Jim Crow-type training in the South were the dismal quality of whatever programs existed. “In the South, we expect the general poor equipment and poor facilities,” explained Herman Branson in The Journal of Negro Education. Branson’s quote from an article by John Beecher in Science and Society that was based on his observations in the spring of 1942 was revealing:

The same thing [as the situation in Alabama] prevailed in Georgia, and Tennessee and Arkansas and South Carolina and Texas. Hardly any defense training was open to Negroes anywhere in the South, and much of what was labeled defense training was close to being outright fraudulent. I might mention one course of 150 shipfitter helpers where the sole shop equipment consisted of some shipyard pictures clipped from Life magazine and a bathtub navy, purchased out of the instructor’s pocket at the five-and-ten. This particular course accounted for two-thirds of the Negro trainees in the state of Georgia. Somewhere else they were pretending to train Negro marine electricians in a shop where positively the only item of marine equipment was an eight-inch length of electrical cable. I recall also a class in motor mechanics where the students were forbidden to go into the motors – it was actually a class in alemiting, tire-inflating and windshield wiping for filling station attendants. And I shouldn’t forget the Negro defense shop so far out into the piney woods that it was next to impossible to get to, yet I heard such praises of and such accounts of the completeness of its equipment that I arranged to visit it. There I found a splendidly-equipped sheet metal shop with unfortunately no sheet metal to fabricate but only tin cans salvaged from the garbage pile. There I found also a gleaming row of electric welding machines but somebody had neglected to connect them with power.”

Beecher, “Problems of Discrimination,” 36-44, quoted in Branson, “The Training of Negroes for War Industries in World War II,” 378. See also Doxey Wilkerson, “Vocational Guidance and Education of Negroes,” in which the author provides further critical analysis of the widespread concerns about the implications of the defense program on the American economy, particularly regarding the status of African Americans; Weaver,  “Defense Program and the Negro,” 324-27; and Weaver, Negro Labor, 41-60.

 

 

Field Investigation on California Shipbuilding

Corporation, Western Pipe & Steel Company’s

Shipbuilding Division, and Consolidated Steel

Corporation’s Shipbuilding Division

November 6, 1943

To:       Mr. George M. Johnson

            Deputy Chairman

From:   Clarence M. Mitchell

            Associate Director of Field Operations

Re:       California Shipbuilding Corporation, Western Pipe & Steel Company’s Shipbuilding Division, and Consolidated Steel Corporation’s Shipbuilding Division.

            Investigation by: Clarence M. Mitchell

I. Brief Summary of Complaint

The President’s Committee on Fair Employment Practice, during the summer of

1943, received over four hundred complaints from persons employed in the shipbuilding industry of Los Angeles and vicinity. These complaints came, for the most part, from the Shipyard Committee for Equal Participation. It was charged that Negroes employed in shipbuilding trades coming under the jurisdiction of Boiler Makers’ Local 92 were being forced to join an auxiliary, A-35. Those refusing to join the auxiliary were dismissed from employment by the shipbuilding companies, according to the complaints.

The yards involved were the California Shipbuilding Company at Wilmington, the Consolidated Steel Corporation’s Shipbuilding Division at Wilmington, and the Western Pipe & Steel Corporation’s Shipbuilding Division at San Pedro.

II. Description of Parties Charged

            The California Shipbuilding Company employed 40, 421 persons as of October 8, 1943, according to Mr. Russell A. Bergemann, Manager of Industrial Relations. It builds cargo vessels and tankers.

            The Western Pipe & Steel Company employed a total of 12,285 persons as of October 9, 1943, according to Mr. W. H. Lewis, Administrative Manager. This yard is building coast guard and naval vessels.

            The Consolidated Steel Corporation’s Shipbuilding Division employs a total of 18,000 persons, according to the latest information from Mr. Clarence R. Johnson, Minorities Consultant of the War Manpower Commission in Region XII. Mr. Johnson stated that the Consolidated Company was not very cooperative and had not supplied information similar to that given by Western Pipe & Steel and the California Shipbuilding Companies.

            The employment figures in these yards as of October 1943, were as follows:           

California Shipbuilding Corporation
Wilmington, California


September, 1942                                       Current Employment
Total                                 37,000                             40,421
Non-White                            469                               3,802


Western Pipe & Steel Company
Shipbuilding Division
San Pedro, California

November, 1942                                         Current Employment

 Total                                  13,500                            12,285
Non-White                                 207                                 783

 
Consolidated Steel Corporation
Shipbuilding Division
Wilmington, California

August, 1942                                             Current Employment

Total                                     3,500                          18,000
Non-White                                     17                                 1,800

*Figures supplied by Clarence R. Johnson,

War Manpower Commission, Region XII.

Local 92 of the International Brotherhood of Boiler Makers, Iron Ship Builders and Helpers of America has jurisdiction over the following counties in the area:  In California - the counties of Santa Barbara, Kern, Inyo, San Bernadino, Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial. In Nevada - the counties of Esmeralda, Nye, Lincoln, and Clark. It is estimated that this local has approximately 40,000 members. Mr. H. G. Coryell is President of the Union and Mr. E. V. Blackwell is the Secretary and Business Agent. This union has set up an auxiliary known as A-35, which has an office in the City of Los Angeles at 4150 South Main Street. At the time I was in the City, Mr. Garner Grayson was serving as acting secretary of the union and Mr. U. S. Griggs was acting assistant secretary. Messrs. Grayson and Griggs estimated that they have approximately 4,000 persons in the auxiliary.

The California Shipbuilding Corporation, the Western Pipe & Steel Company’s Shipbuilding Division, and the Consolidated Steel Corporation’s Shipbuilding Division have closed shop contracts with the Metal Trades Council of the A. F. of L., in accordance with the provisions of the Master Agreement affecting the shipbuilding industries on the West Coast. The principal union in the Metal Trades Council, from the standpoint of membership and prestige, is the International Brotherhood of Boiler Makers, Iron Ship Builders and Helpers of America. The provisions of the contract require that the unions of the Metal Trades Council supply workers to the companies from their membership and, when they are unable to do so, the companies are free to recruit non-union workers. However, all persons recruited must become members of the union and pay dues or their employment must be terminated by the companies.

III.  Prior or Related Cases Involving Parties Charged

            From time to time, the Committee has received complaints from various individuals who charged that they were not given employment at one of these three yards. There are others who charged that they have not been upgraded in accordance with their skills and abilities. These individuals allege that they were being discriminated against solely because of race.

            Mr. George Toll, Local Manager of the U.S.E.S. in Long Beach, California, informed me that he opened the office of the Employment Service at Wilmington, California, on August 1, 1941. This office has been receiving orders from the California Shipbuilding Company, Western Pipe & Steel, and Consolidated Steel from that period up until present. Mr. Toll left Wilmington only recently. It was the function of his office to place the California clearance orders from the three companies. This included approximately eighteen (18) offices in Southern California, with the exception of San Diego. Mr. Toll stated it had been his experience that Consolidated and Western Pipe & Steel were reluctant to hire Negroes as machinists helpers and shipfitters helpers. Recently, they have begun taking Negroes in these occupations, but only because of the manpower shortage, according to Mr. Toll.

IV. Efforts of the War Manpower Commission to Obtain Compliance

            Beginning in 1941, Mr. Clarence R. Johnson, Minorities Consultant for the War Manpower Commission in Region XII, has been at work on the problems of these three yards. Mr. Johnson began his efforts when he was with the Minorities Division of the Office of Production Management and the Negro Employment and Training Branch of the War Production Board. Later, the Negro Employment and Training Branch of WPB was transferred to the War Manpower Commission, and Mr. Johnson continued his work under WMC. On February 24, 1942, Mr. Blackwell wrote the following letter to Mr. Johnson:

“In confirmation of our telephone conversation of February 23, I have instructed our Wilmington office to clear colored applicants when properly referred to that office.”

            Local 92 cleared some Negroes for employment and a few actually became members of this union because their racial identity was not known. On July 7, 1948, the union established Auxiliary A-35 and insisted that all Negroes become members of it or have their employment terminated.

V. Efforts to Obtain Compliances

            When the auxiliary was established in July of 1943, many Negroes employed at the three yards refused to pay their dues. According to Mr. Grayson of the Auxiliary, approximately 500 Negroes were terminated by the companies for this reason.

In addition to your visit to the West Coast for the purpose of holding conferences with the Boiler Makers’ and the shipbuilding interests on this problem, Judge James Wolfe, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Utah, and Mr. Daniel R. Donovan, of the Committee’s staff, went to Los Angeles in an attempt to adjust these problems in a manner which would be in harmony with the requirements of Executive Order 9346. On those occasions, the union representatives did not offer any solution which would adjust the complaints before the Committee.

            In its meeting of August 28, 1943, the Committee voted to have a hearing in the City of Los Angeles on the complaints. I arrived in Los Angeles on Friday, October 22, 1943, and remained until the morning of Thursday, October 28. During that time, I interviewed complainants and the following persons:

1.      Mr. Burt Harnish, Area Director of the War Manpower Commission, and members of his staff.

2.      White members of the Boiler Makers’ Local 92.

3.      Officials of Auxiliary A-35.

I did not talk with management or Local 92 representatives because you had already discussed the problem with them in your meeting at San Francisco on August 20, 1943.

            The results of these interviews are set forth in the following memoranda:

1.      Employment Reports re California Shipbuilding Corporation, Western Pipe & Steel Company’s Shipbuilding Division, and Consolidated Steel Corporation’s Shipbuilding Division, dated 10-8-43, 10-9-43, and 11-8-43, respectively.[1]

2.      Conference with Officials of Auxiliary A-35, 10-26-43.[2]

3.      Meeting with white members of Boiler Makers’ Local 92, 10-26-43.[3]

4.      Case of Thomas Madison Doram, 717½ E. Vernon Avenue, Los Angeles, California, Telephone: Adams 13649, 10-27-43.

5.      Conference with Mr. George Toll, Local Manager, USES, Long Beach, California, 10-27-43.

6.      California Shipbuilding Company Complainants, 11-1-43.

7.      Western Pipe & Steel Company Complainants, 11-1-43.[4]

8.      Consolidated Steel Corporation Complainants, Shipbuilding Division, 11-1-43.[5]

9.      Statement Signed by Persons Protesting Against A-35.

In summarizing, I believe I should say that there were some persons who charged the companies with discrimination, but the bulk of the charges was against Local 92 for setting up A-35. A number of Negroes who signed pledges that they would not pay dues were dismissed. It appears that some of these found employment in other places. Many of the complainants began paying dues into the auxiliary, but signed statements indicating that they did so under protest.

VI. Recommendations

            In view of the evidence submitted by complainants and other information set forth in my memoranda, it is my recommendation that the Committee proceed with the hearing.


MS: copy, HqR48, Central Files, Reports 1-2.

See head notes for cross references to the other 14 memoranda in this series and for background on the Shipbuilding Industry and Boilermakers Union.

[1] The reports of 10/8, 10/9, and 11/2/7/43 were not found.

[2] The report of 10/26/43 is published herein.

[3] This report is published under the date of 11/27/43.

[4] The two reports of 10/27 and the two of 11/1/43 are published herein.

[5] This report was not found.

 

Memorandum on Experiences

With the War Manpower Commission,

as Reported by FEPC Regional Directors

 

February 10, 1944

MEMORANDUM

 

To: Mr. Will Maslow

From: Clarence M. Mitchell

Subject: Experiences with WMC, as Reported by FEPC Regional Directors

            The following is a brief digest of the working relationships between the War Manpower Commission and the Regional Directors of FEPC as reported in our conference on Thursday, February 10, 1944. Regional Directors were requested to report on the following items.1

                                    1.         Do you have access to ES 270 Reports?

                                    2.         Do you receive ES 510 Reports?

                                    3.         Has the WMC appointed a Liaison Officer?

4.         Has WMC sent out a special Regional Instruction on the national Operating Agreement between FEPC and WMC?

5.         Is there general cooperation from WMC?

For the sake of clarity, I include the information that ES 270 Reports are statistical and narrative reports on projected labor requirements of specific plants, as well as information on current numbers of persons employed. The ES 510 is a form which the USES uses to indicate that it has received a discriminatory order from an employer. It is a docketable complaint under FEPC field instructions.

Mr. Edward Lawson, Acting Regional Director of Region I (the New England states) and Director of Region II (New York State), reported complete cooperation from the War Manpower Commission on all counts. He has full access to ES 270 Reports, receives ES 510 Reports regularly, and there are two WMC Liaison Officers. In addition, Mrs. Anna Rosenberg, Regional Director in II for WMC has sent out a model operating instruction, and Mr. Joseph Smith, WMC Region I Director, has sent out a slightly less effective one.

Mr. G. James Fleming, Director of Region III (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware), reported that he has access to the ES 270 Reports. So far, he has received ES 510 Reports from Philadelphia only, as WMC officials in Delaware and New Jersey are reluctant to submit ES 510’s. A good relationship exists between Mr. Fleming and the Regional WMC Director. A special operating instruction has been sent out and a liaison representative has been appointed.

Mr. Frank E. Hook, Director of Region IV (The District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina) is denied access to ES 270 Reports by Mr. Henry Triede, Regional Director of WMC. The WMC has not sent any ES 510 Reports to FEPC. The National WMC instruction on the operating agreement has not been sent to the local WMC offices in Region IV, nor has any special instruction been sent out on the National FEPC-WMC Agreement. There is a Liaison Officer between FEPC and WMC who cooperates so far as he can within the limitations prescribed by Mr. Triede. Mr. Hook reported that some WMC offices cooperate at the local level.

Mr. William T. McKnight, Director of Region V (Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky) reported that he has access to ES 270 Reports and that, in the last four months, he has received 160 ES 510’s from the WMC. The WMC has appointed liaison representatives in his region and special operating instructions have been sent out by the Regional Director of WMC.

Mr. Elmer W. Henderson, Director of Region VI (Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) reported good cooperation from WMC. He stated that a special instruction has been sent out to state directors by Mr. William H. Spencer, Director of WMC. Liaison duties are handled by the Director of Manpower Utilization in Region VI. In Wisconsin, the Deputy State Director of WMC serves as Liaison Officer. Mr. Henderson stated that he does not receive many 510 Reports in his region. In his capacity of Acting Director of Region VIII, Mr. Henderson reported he has very few cases in this region (comprising the states of Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas, and Nebraska) but his relationships with WMC are good there.

Mr. A. Bruce Hunt, Director of Region VII (South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee) reported that the majority of local USES offices in the region appear to be unaware of the FEPC. He stated that he has access to ES 270 information, but has not received any ES 510’s as yet. However, he believes they will be forthcoming later. The national operating instruction of WMC has been sent out with other special directions. A Liaison Officer has been appointed. Mr. Hunt said that he has a good working relationship with the Deputy Regional Director of WMC.

Mr. Roy A. Hoglund, Director of Region IX (Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas), reported that he gets ES 270 information at the Regional level. In St. Louis, he stated, he can obtain the information he requests on them although he is not permitted to see the actual report. A Liaison Officer has been appointed, but no ES 510 Reports come in. Mr. Hoglund made no report on Region XI (Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado) where he is Acting Regional Director.

Mr. Leonard M. Brin, Director of Region X (Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico), reported that WMC has sent out a weak operating instruction. WMC has appointed a Liaison Officer, but he (Mr. Brin) has received only three ES 510’s. The WMC has sent in one Form 42, reporting discriminatory training practices.

Mr. Harry L Kingman, Director of Region XII (California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon) reports an increasingly good working relationship with the WMC. Several Liaison Officers have been appointed and special operating instructions sent out. The San Francisco area is getting a good number of 510’s, and conferences to be held in other parts of the region are likely to result in an increasing flow of 510’s. Access to ES 270’s is satisfactory. WMC sanctions will occasionally be forthcoming on FEPC request.


MS: copy, LH, HqR3 Office Files of George M. Johnson, M.

1 On the first FEPC regional directors meeting, held 2/10-2/12/44, see report of 2/17/44. For the background to this text, see head notes on FEPC Relationships with Federal Agencies, WMC and USES.

 



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