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Special field representatives.-At the outset of the board's work it was thought that beneficial results might be obtained by having representatives, designated by the employers' and employees' groups, make preliminary investigations of complaints which were brought before the board. It was expected that these special field representatives might be successful in mediating or adjusting differences, or could prepare special reports as to the facts involved for the con. sideration of the board. Later these special field representatives were instructed to assist the parties to a controversy in preparing their cases for hearings. This procedure, while sound in theory, did not work out satisfactorily in actual practice, for the reason that it tended to extend or accentuate the original differences as to which complaints were made. As a consequence, in the procedure as finally adopted by the board the use of special field representatives was discontinued.
Administration of awards.—The policy of the board has been always to encourage to the greatest possible extent the self-administration of its decisions. In practice, however, even the best drawn awards almost always left room for divergent interpretations. If the differences were small, adjustment could be made by correspondence, but in case of major differences the sending of an examiner as an interpreter and administrator proved to be the only alternative to having the parties bring their difficulties direct to the board. The demand for such service was particularly acute in cases where an award provided for collective bargaining in a plant where collective bargaining had not previously existed. Often the parties in such cases were completely at a loss as to how to begin such a system and imperatively needed counsel with some one familiar with the processes of installing shop-committee systems.
A large number of awards specifically provided that an examineror administrator, as he came to be called-should be sent to interpret the award. In addition, a great number of requests for administrators have been received in cases where the award did not specifically provide for the sending of an administrator or where such action was contingent upon a request made by one or both parties. The number of administrators available has never been sufficient to meet all of the requests made. Moreover, the demand for the services of administrators has steadily increased as more and more decisions were rendered by the board, and at present there is a greater demand for such services than at any previous time.
In total, 180 awards and findings have been administered by the Department of Administration of Awards. Administrators have been present in person in 128 cases. The maximum number of administrators at the time of greatest activity was about 25.
The administration of the street railway awards was susceptible of a high degree of standardization. They had a common authorship-all of them were written by the joint chairmen; they related to a single industry of remarkably homogeneous character; and, usually, the employees were highly organized and both parties had been accustomed to collective bargaining.
The industrial awards, on the other hand, presented a bewildering variety of conditions, and have, in many cases, necessitated the installation of elaborate machinery for collective bargaining. A notable instance of this is the Bridgeport case, where over 60 establishments, employing 60,000 persons, were involved. It is of much interest to note that the system of department and works committees established under this award has been accepted by both parties as a permanent institution.
Another striking item in the history of the administrative work was the statement of officials of the Corn Products Refining Co. (Docket No. 130) to the administrator of the board, that the expense of the award to the company, amounting to a million dollars or more, was more than compensated for by the improved classification of occupations worked out by the board and its examiners and by the greater security of industrial relations secured by the award.
Organization of staff.—One of the most burdensome duties was that of organizing a staff. In the first place, there was the difficulty of securing capable assistants at a time when the pressure on the board for prompt action was greatest and when the man power of the country was in greatest demand for war purposes. More than balancing this, however, was the fact that the work offered in the service of the board was of a character to attract men of the highest grade.
A second and even more important difficulty was the uncertainty as to the character and amount of work which was to be intrusted to the staff. For the more or less routine duties such as the Files and Docket, Buildings and Supplies, and Auditing Divisions—the work could be forecast with more or less accuracy, but the work of the judicial and administrative examiners—which in time became the most characteristic and important branch of the staff organization- was a matter of development and could not be anticipated at all fully. Thus at the start of its work it was the evident intention of the board, itself or by sections, to hear the parties to each controversy submitted to it. The rapid accumulation of cases submitted, however, soon made such a course physically impossible, and the policy was then adopted of employing a staff of judicial examiners who might take the testimony of parties for digesting and presentation to the board. This use of examiners, however, grew up slowly, through requests of the board and its sections in individual cases, and it was not until some two and a half months after the board's organization that definite authority was given the secretary of the board to handle controversies in this manner.
Similarly, the provision of administrators to interpret the board's decisions grew out of the necessities of the moment. The award in the Waynesboro machinists' case was the first recognition of the principle that the board in making an award retained jurisdiction and might assume the duties of helping both parties to put the award into effect. Slowly this became the accepted practice of the board, and as a result the need arose for a staff of special administrative examiners to aid the parties in interpreting and applying awards.
The maximum number of employees on the staff of the board was approximately 250. This point was reached immediately before the signing of the armistice.
Special reports and archives.-Prior to the dissolution of the board detailed reports from the departments of the organization were prepared as follows: 1. Department of Procedure.
(a) Division of Complaints.
(d) Official Reporting. 2. Files and Information.
(a) Files Division.
(c) Publications Division.
(a) Division of Investigation.
(c) Cost-of-Living Division.
Three special reports have also been prepared which are likely to be of historical and scientific value. They are as follows:
1. Report on the administration of awards, by Erville B. Woods. 2. The work of the public utilities division, by Charlton Ogburn.
3. Analysis of the awards and findings of the board, by Robert P. Reeder.
The awards, findings, orders, or actions of the board in all .cases which have come before it also have been collected and arranged according to docket numbers and in bound form.
Discontinuance of the board.—The National War Labor Board, having been created as part of the war machinery, passed out of existence with the termination of the fiscal year. Its service had covered a term of barely 14 months, only one-half of which was within the period of active hostilities. During that period the board developed by the force of circumstances into a supreme court of industry. As to its success in such a rôle there can be no reasonable doubt. Over and over again it demonstrated its effectiveness in adjusting industrial disnutes and thereby securing maximum production, when such disputes menaced the success of the war. By the nature of its organization and the character of the principles followed it almost invariably was able to secure adjustment on a basis of right and justice that appealed as such to the judgment of all fair-minded
DIVISION OF NEGRO ECONOMICS.
Origin and functions.-In previous years the attention of the Department had been repeatedly called to specific labor problems involving race relations. Perplexing questions frequently arose with regard to Negroes in industry. With the greater industrial efficiency demanded by the war a more harmonious adjustment of the labor relations between whites and Negroes was imperative, especially in view of the fact that the latter race makes up over one-tenth of our total population and includes about one-sixth of the working population. It has long been the policy of the Department to avail itself of the best expert knowledge obtainable with reference to its problems. Hence a Negro adviser to the Secretary of Labor was appointed as Director of Negro Economics. His function is to advise the Secretary on matters affecting Negro wage earners and to outline and direct plans toward greater production. This step was taken not only because the advice of an expert was necessary but because it was felt that a race which made up such a large share of our industrial army and had contributed so generously to our military and naval forces was certainly entitled to a seat at the Secretary's council table when matters affecting its interests were considered. The work of this division since its establishment has amply justified its creation, and my policy has been to refer to it for advice concerning the administration of all problems peculiar to Negroes as wage earners.
Method of organization. The administration of the work of this division has had for its basic idea the view that repressive measures are inadvisable and that the interests of the races are best promoted where cooperative relations exist between white and colored leaders. The Director of Negro Economics consequently promoted the organization of cooperative committees of white and colored citizens in the States and localities where labor problems existed. The nature of such work made a field force necessary, and a staff of State supervisors of Negro economics was intrusted with the local administration of such policies as were formulated. Since many of these policies related to the employment functions of the Department the supervisors necessarily worked in cooperation with the field staff of the United States Employment Service.
The utility of the plan outlined and carried out during the war proved to be of equal value in many of the reconstruction questions involving white and colored wage earners and their relations to white employers which have arisen since the signing of the armistice.
Questions of race relations will probably affect and modify labor problems for an indefinite period. The combination of white and colored citizens as volunteers on local Negro workers' advisory committees, cooperating and advising together, and with the officials of the Department of Labor, may be regarded as a most desirable means of securing the largest results in applying to local problems the wider experiences, policies, standards, and needs of the Nation.
The two races are thrown together in their daily work. The majority of the employers and a large number of fellow employees of Negro workers are white persons. This condition gives rise to misunderstandings, prejudices, antagonisms, fears, and suspicions which must be removed by mutual understanding and cooperation. Therefore the plan and program of the Department as carried out in this matter has been based upon the principle of cooperation of white employers, Negro workers, and, wherever possible, white workers.
Conferences and field organization.—Prior to my last annual report, State Negro workers' advisory committees, made up of representative Negroes and cooperating white citizens, had been appointed in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Kentucky. Following State conferences of white and colored citizens, committees were formed in Illinois, Michigan, and New Jersey. A State conference was held in Missouri, and local committees were formed in Pennsylvania without holding a State conference. County and city committees were appointed in 10 States, making in all about 225 local committees. The State supervisors of Negro economics and the special agents working in cooperation with the United States Employment Service were continued in 10 States.
The good feeling and understanding developed through these conferences and local and State committees were widespread in their effect; so much so that on Febraury 17 and 18, 1919, I called an informal conference of 45 welfare boards, agencies, and organizations dealing with Negro life. White and colored representatives to the number of 151 responded to the call and recommended to the Department a line of procedure and a plan of work for increasing the efficiency and opportunities of Negro wage earners and for improving their relations to white workmen and white employers.
Report on Negro migration in 1916-17.-The investigation of Negro migration, undertaken under the direction of Dr. James H. Dillard, of Charlottesville, Va., as mentioned in my last annual report, has