« PředchozíPokračovat »
destitute. Other men are now coughing away their lives, unable to support their families and looking forward only to death. These facts cannot be denied, they cannot be covered over by statements that the tunnel had no dust but on the other hand had marvelous safety devices. There stands the record of death and suffering and want.
Behind that record other facts stand.
First, the New Kanawha Power Co., Union Carbide & Carbon subsidiary, had geologists who had made test bores and who knew that the tunnel was to go through pure silica and then they enlarged the tunnel of project no. 2 from 32 to 46 feet at the location of the richest silica deposit. This was to enable them to take out more valuable silica rock, which was loaded on cars at the tunnel mouth and shipped on the C. & 0. tracks down to Alloy, W. Va., plant of the Electro Metallurgical Co., where it was stored in the yard. It was so pure that it was used without refining. Knowing that this was pure silica, these contractors, with 30 years' experience, must have known that there was danger of silicosis for every man who worked in that tunnel. As Attorney Bock, of Townsend, Bock & Moore, Charleston, pointed out at the Donald Shay trial in Fayetteville, “the engineers of the New Kanawha Power Co. used masks when they went daily in the heading gathering samples of rock."
Second, the men did not know of the danger they were being sent into, because E. J. Perkins, superintendent of Rinehart & Dennis, did not post notices of the danger as required by law, so that the workers did not voluntarily assume the risk. Many of the workers came from agricultural communities in the South where the disease was unknown. They were not experienced tunnel men or hardrock miners who would have known. Their testimony is universal that it was not until the "ambulance was clanging day and night to the Coal Valley Hospital” that they realized there must be something wrong. Then, there were various diagnoses, one doctor finally hitting upon the word "tunnelitis.” When the men realized the danger, it was too late.
Third, as Dr. Emery R. Hayhurst, chief of the division of hygiene of the Ohio department of health says: “These men need not have died.” There are safety devices available which would have saved all or most of the lives lost and those which will be lost.
It is agreed there was a 24-inch ventilation duct in the tunnel either all or part of the time. Some say it was not put in until the State mine-inspection service forced it on the company; and the men tell of the times after it was put into use when it was not functioning. All the men agree that it was totally inadequate, as does Dr. Hayhurst. The men tell how they would go to the mouth of the tube, as they call it, to get a breath of fresh air as a group of chickens go to a dish of water for a drink. There they could get the effect of the feeble flow of air coming into the tunnel; back a few feet it was lost in the clouds of silica dust. The tube was full of holes, as no one disputed at the trial.
Interesting evidence was given by W. C. Boxley, a contractor who testified for Rinehart & Dennis. He was then driving a tunnel working only 20 men, half the size of the Gauley Bridge tunnel and he used a 24-inch vent tube with a 24-inch fan. In silica, at Gauley Bridge, a 24-inch tube was used and only an 18-inch fan.
Again, the amount of dust could have been cut down by the use of wet drilling throughout. This was one of the most hotly fought points of difference at the Donald Shay trial, the executives testifying that there was wet drilling and the men who did the drilling testifying that most of it was dry drilling. Charley Jones told me of the men warning the foreman when the State inspectors came so that the dry drilling could be stopped. He did not realize then what was going on before his eyes: That it was going to destroy the lives of his three sons and his own health—the men were just "trying to keep the bosses in the clear”, as he explained it to me. Here again is a disputed point where the final deadly results seem to arbitrate the differences in testimony. Only one man who worked in the tunnel, a foreman, testified for the company at the Shay trialand he was racked with the silicosis cough as he testified.
As to the most important point in the neglected protection of the health of the men there was no difference of opinion. Clearly the men were not furnished respirators or masks. The men say that some of the engineers wore masks when they came into the tunnel, and one told me that he bought himself a mask when he saw the head men wearing them. But the 2,000 men who went into that silica tunnel in all ignorance of what it meant to them in the future were given no masks of any kind. There is absolutely no debate on that question.
Two years ago there was much debate as to the amount of silica dust in the tunnel. Now the men who swore there was no dust and those who said there was are impartially the victims of that dust, and it would seem pointless to prove the fact any more effectively than the witness, death.
In summary, the men did not and could not have known of the danger they underwent. The company did know the danger they were sending these men to face. They deliberately failed to furnish sufficient protection. The results have been devastating in their deadliness.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Mr. Lambertson, you are the senior member of this committee; have you any questions?
Mr. LAMBERTSON. No; not right now.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Miss Allen, were you denied access to any court record in West Virginia ?
Miss ALLEN. No, sir.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Any records that you asked for from the courts you received; is that true! Miss ALLEN. I did not ask for any.
Mr. RANDOLPH. But you were denied no records that you asked for?
Miss ALLEN. No, sir.
Mr. RANDOLPH. You have made the statement here, Miss Allen, yesterday, that the undertakers' records of burial had been destroyed ?
Miss ALLEN. Yes, sir; I did.
Mr. RANDOLPH. By whom do you believe they were destroyed, or do you have any information as to that?
Miss ALLEN. No; I have not. That is simply what was said in the testimony at the first trial.
Mr. RANDOLPH. No information has been given as to who would be interested in having them destroyed or their reasons, the reasons they might have been taken?
Miss ALLEN. No; I cannot amplify that statement but merely repeat it as it was given to me.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Now, you have mentioned the company doctor; who was that?
Miss ALLEN. Dr. Simmons and Dr. Mitchell were both company doctors.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Do you mean company doctors in the sense of the word as applied to the contractor!
Miss ALLEN. Dr. Simmons was the doctor for the New Kanawha Power Co. and the Electro-Metalurgical Co. I just mentioned that today.
Mr. RANDOLPH. I am sorry.
Miss ALLEN. Pardon me; it is the contractor, for the contract, and the Electro-Metallurgical Co.; Dr. Mitchell for the contractor.
Mr. RANDOLPH. And you say these company doctors diagnosed the trouble causing the deaths as pneumonia ? Am I right in that?
Miss ALLEN. I know that was on the death certificates of some.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Now, Miss Allen, how much time did you personally spend in the vicinity of the Gauley Bridge Tunnel ?
Miss ALLEN. I spent in the summer of 1934, the month of August.
Miss ALLEN. I was there just to investigate this case.
Mr. RANDOLPH. And, you were not representing any group or foundation; just representing your individual interests?
Mr. LAMBERTSON. You paid your own expenses, did you?
Mr. RANDOLPH. The reason I asked that question, I believe in your testimony you said that you were connected with the Jacob Reis organization ?
Miss ALLEN. I have been connected with that organization since October 1934 to the present date, and I took 2 months off in July and August without pay. Mr. LAMBERTSON. Please amplify that. How are you
How are you connected with that organization; are you an employee?
Miss ALLEN. Yes; I am. A permanent member of the staff. My title is that of a social worker.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. You draw your regular salary?
Mr. RANDOLPH. I hope, Miss Allen, I am not cluttering the record, but I really never have heard, personally, of the Reis settlement. Would you just tell me about their line of work!
Miss ALLEN. They have done no work in West Virginia at all; they are just a settlement house for a community on the lower East Side of New York City.
Mr. RANDOLPH. You made the statement yesterday, I believe, that men were dying like flies?
Miss ALLEN. Yes.
Miss ALLEN. That is what I was told. And what I found out as I talked to man after man. They are rather hopeless; they sit around. You will find them by the roadside and just waiting to die. They know they have it and there is no hope for them.
Mr. RANDOLPH. However, Miss Allen, you mentioned Drs. Hayhurst, Huey, and Harless. By whom were these men employed or appointed ?
Miss ALLEN. As I understand it, they were appointed by the court as an impartial board to examine the men.
Mr. RANDOLPH. And the last doctor, Dr. Harless, was from Ohio, I believe you said !
Miss ALLEN. Yes; he is a silicosis expert, an outstanding authority, on silicosis.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Well, can you give us what the report was, just in brief?
Miss ALLEN. As I was told they found at least 150 of the 300 men they examined had silicosis.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Are there any records that those men have which are available, showing that, do you know?
Miss ALLEN. They testified that.
Miss ALLEN. If they were appointed by the court, they must have given that testimony to the court.
Mr. RANDOLPH. You are not certain of where the testimony was given?
Miss ALLEN. No.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Now, you spoke of the dust being so thick that they could not see more than 10 or 15 feet ahead of them from the tunneling. Was I right in getting that information from you yesterday?
Miss ALLEN. Certain of the men testified they could not see more than 10 or 15 feet ahead of them; yes.
Mr. RANDOLPH. I understand that they had a buzzer system—someone had a buzzer system—and that they would drill dry, but when an inspector came or was approaching the tunnel, they would buzz to the men inside and wet drilling would begin. Do you have any knowledge of that?
Miss ALLEN. I never heard that. I simply heard that the men themselves acted as lookouts to warn the foremen.
Mr. RANDOLPH. This firm of contractors, Miss Allen, do you know anything about the firm's standing in connection with this sort of work?
Miss ALLEN. I simply know that it is a large firm in Charlottesville, Va. I heard in the summer of 1934 that it was bidding on a Federal job in Grafton, in Taylor County. It is simply a large traveling contracting firm that bids all over the country for jobs.
Mr. RANDOLPH. You do not know anything about their standing, then, with the industry, do you?
Miss ALLEN. No. Mr. RANDOLPH. Miss Allen, you have mentioned yesterday Robert M. Lambie.
Miss ALLEN. Yes.
Mr. RANDOLPH. I know Mr. Lambie personally, and I always had a high regard for his integrity and his honesty. You have made some statements, I believe, which would indicate a change of position on his part, due to certain pressure which was brought from certain sources. Would you tell me just little more about that?
Miss ALLEN. I am sorry I cannot amplify it. It is in the court's records.
Mr. RANDOLPH. That is all.
Mr. Dunn. Miss Allen, I understood you to say yesterday that you had visited some of the sheds where the men were compelled to live?
Miss ALLEN. Yes.
Mr. Dunn. Did I understand you to say that they were about 10 by 12 feet, and 15 men were compelled to sleep in them?
Miss ALLEN. Yes; what I read yesterday, I think the figures show that. Yes; 15 men. The man who told me that was Mr. Gibson, the deputy sheriff of Fayette County, 1928 to 1932, and I looked at them myself and they were very small.
Mr. Dunn. Were there white men sleeping in those camps?
Miss ALLEN. They had separate camps for the whites and the colored.
Mr. Dunn. I also understood you to say that men were driven by force to do this work.
Miss ALLEN. The colored men told me about this “shack rouster”, as they called him, this deputy sheriff, I think a man by the name of McCloud.
Mr. Dunn. What was the deputy sheriff's name?
Miss ALLEN. He was licensed by Fayette County, on the records of the New Kanawha Power Co.
Mr. Dunn. Was any statement made in court that the men were compelled to do this work by force?
Miss ALLEN. I do not remember myself. Mr. Gibson, who was also a deputy sheriff, told me of McCloud himself. I was talking to some colored
men, and they added to the testimony. Mr. Dunn. Do you know how many hours a day they were compelled to work?
Miss ALLEN. Yes; there were 10-hour shifts, but the men told me they were made to work until they had cleaned up all that they were supposed to do during that day, clean out the muck and have it ready for the next shift coming on. Sometimes it would be 12 hours and more, and they were not paid for overtime.