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Mr. Dunn. What was their salary?
Miss ALLEN. It started out at 40 cents and dropped to 25 cents an hour.
Mr. Dunn. Do you mean that 40 cents an hour was the highest price paid for labor for work done in that tunnel? Was that the highest figure they had given their employees? Miss ALLEN. Yes.
Mr. Dunn. Miss Allen, when did they start construction of this tunnel?
Miss ALLEN. They started it, as I understand it, in 1930. I think a little preparatory work was done in 1929, probably the engineers plotting the course of the tunnel.
Mr. Dunn. Is it completed now?
Miss ALLEN. The last reports were, I think, that the steel and concrete work has been completed.
Mr. Dunn. How many men were employed in the construction of that tunnel? I believe I understood you to say about 2,000?
Miss ALLEN. That was just on tunneling. I have the figures here, if you are interested.
Mr. Dunn. Can you give me approximately how many were employed ?
Miss ALLEN. On the whole job, the total number of white men was 1,700, and the total number of Negroes was 3,100.
Mr. Dunn. Out of this number, how many have contracted this disease; what figure has been given to you?
Miss ALLEN. Well, I would judge from the number of men suing them—that would be the only figure I would have—those suing the company, and that reaches a total of, well, we have 255 suits after the first 300 suits, and that makes a total of 555 suits instituted.
Mr. Dunn. Well, there may be 1,200 or 1,500 that did not sue?
Miss ALLEN. Yes. The men scattered all over the country and perhaps they do not know what they have.
Mr. Dunn. I understood you to say that these unfortunate men who have contracted that disease are really in need of assistance, and it is very hard for them to get it, and that some of the men are going from door to door, soliciting food?
Miss ALLEN. Yes.
Mr. Dunn. What would you say the condition was in that location generally? Is that the condition of practically every man who has contracted that disease ?
Miss ALLEN. Well, the relief situation is pretty bad down there. The relief office is quite far from Gauley Bridge and the men have to walk about 14 miles, and they get down there and find the relief officer cannot take care of them, most of them. The victims share with the ones who are able to work, and I have seen George Huston coming back with a loaf of bread in his arms that he got from a colored friend who was working, making very little and giving what he could to his friends, more than he could afford.
Mr. Dunn. You have met these people personally?
Mr. Dunn. Were you present in court at any time?
Miss ALLEN. At the end of May the statute of limitations was invoked by the Supreme Court rule and many of the cases are thrown out because they were not instituted within a year after the injury occurred. Of course, the men did not know; it had not been diagnosed, the symptoms develop later in silicosis. The first men who instituted suit and who died have been paid off and some received a part of the first settlement.
Mr. Dunn. It was said if the company had obeyed the laws of the great State of West Virginia probably these unfortunate men would not have contracted this disease. Do you believe that there was a deliberate violation of the laws in the State of West Virginia by the contractors ?
Miss ALLEN. I am sorry. I do not know enough about the laws of West Virginia to say as to whether, if they had been more adequately enforced, they would have covered the situation.
Mr. Dunn. I understood you to say that one man testified that in the tunnel he was working, the pipe that provided air was a 24inch pipe and in another tunnel it was only an 18-inch pipe. Was that statement made in court by one of the foremen who worked for the company?
Miss ALLEN. Barkley is a contractor; and he was using in his tunnel 24-inch tube-ventilating tube with a 24-inch fan. Rinehard & Dennis were using an 18-inch fan with a 24-inch tube of canvas that got holes in it that occurred from rocks during the blasting and for other reasons.
Mr. Dunn. I understood you to say yesterday that some of the men you approached asked, "What are you going to do for us?”
Miss ALLEN. Yes; they all say that, everyone.
Mr. Dunn. Undoubtedly they know something has been started here in Congress.
Miss ALLEN. Now, yes; they do. They have said that to me for the last 2 years, “What are you going to do for me?”
Mr. Dunn. What do you think we are going to do about it?
Miss ALLEN. Well, I think you are throwing the light of enlightened public opinion upon this tragedy which will perhaps develop into legislation that would correct practices of this sort. Actually, as to what is being done for the sufferers, I understand many organizations have become interested in it through hearing about this investigation. The Red Cross is talking about going in there, and other organizations.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. We do not know, ourselves, what we are going to do until we hear all of the evidence.
Mr. Dunn. That is correct. We have become interested in these unfortunates because it is not only our duty as persons obtaining a salary for our services, but for the sake of humanity.
Miss ALLEN. Yes; from the humanitarian viewpoint.
Mr. RANDOLPH. I'think all of the committee will commend you for that attitude.
Mr. Dunn. I want to thank you personally for the good work you have done.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Were you ever in this tunnel yourself!
Miss ALLEN. I went down in 1932 to see what I could and they were just lining the mouth with steel and concrete. I walked down in there among the men while they were hammering the steel together and riveting it.
Mr. GRISWOLD. That was after the drilling was done in that particular portion of the tunnel ?
Miss ALLEN. Yes.
Mr. GRISWOLD. You were never there at the time tunneling was going on when the dust was hanging in the tunnel ?
Miss ALLEN. No; I was not.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Have you ever observed the rock structure that they brought out of the tunnel?
Miss ALLEN. Yes; I have.
Mr. GRISWOLD. What did they do with what they got out of the tunnel from tunneling and blasting; where did they remove it to?
Miss ALLEN. In tunnel no. 1 the silica percentage of the rock was so high it was a very valuable deposit, and they enlarged the tunnel at the point of the most valuable
part, where it ran 99.4 percent and loaded it into cars on the C. & O. tracks, I understand, and took it down to the Electro-Metallurgical plant.
That was in the beginning, when you see, this was back in 1932, and at that time the New Kanawha Power Co. was, substantially, what I am sure you would call a public utility. It had obtained a license from the State power commission to develop this power for general sale to public firms that wanted it.
Mr. GRISWOLD. They were developing the power. What I am trying to get at, Miss Allen, is did they use this silica that they obtained from the tunnel; did they afterward sell that and use that in commerce? That is what I am endeavoring to discover.
Miss ALLEN. They used it in the electro-processing of steel.
Mr. GRISWOLD. This particular tonnage that they obtained from this tunnel, did they use that, sell that and use it, do you know?
Miss ALLEN. It was stored in the yard, and I imagine it is being used in this plant.
Mr. GRISWOLD. To your knowledge, they never sold it to any other concern or corporation and shipped it out of there, or used it there in the manufacture of anything?
Miss ALLEN. I could not say on that point, but I was interested in the fact, because I think it points to the tie-up between the New Kanawha Power Co. and the Electro-Metallurgical Co., before the Electro-Metallurgical Co. bought the New Kanawha Co. out.
Mr. GRISWOLD. For what purpose do they use silica ?
Miss ALLEN. Well, the New Kanawha Power Co. manufactures electro-metallurgical products, and it is used in manufacturing.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Now, as to this disease that they have, will you tell the committee the symptoms of that disease that would be observable by the layman?
Miss ALLEN. Yes. They are very indefinite, such as heavy breathing, lassitude, red-rimmed eyes, bad eyesight—it affects their eyes. That is all I should say that would be observable.
Mr. GRISWOLD. That is the redness of the rims of their eyes?
Mr. GRISWOLD. And in its more advanced stages, what symptoms are the most noticeable ?
Miss ALLEN. The falling off of weight, a considerable amount in a very short time, even from the beginning. In the most advanced stage, the men get down so that they have no flesh left on them at all. As they express it down there, the men get so they are all hide, bone, and leaders, which means he is just skin and tendons and looks like a living skeleton. I took that picture in August of 1934, and I received word that this man died in November, and had lingered on in that condition for about 5 months in bed.
Mr. GRISWOLD. You mentioned the case of Shirley Jones. What doctors was he treated by?
Miss ALLEN. Dr. Harless was the family physician, an independent doctor.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Not a company doctor?
Mr. GRISWOLD. Did he make a diagnosis in the case of Shirley Jones?
Miss ALLEN. After the X-ray of the lungs, he was the man who discovered it was silicosis. He asked some experts on this point, I understand, and made trips to Washington and around the country. I think he went to Johns Hopkins and to a medical college in Chicago. He was away on such a trip when I was down there.
Mr. GRISWOLD. He made a diagnosis of silicosis in this particular case of Shirley Jones?
Miss ALLEN. As I understand it, yes. He was the one that diagnosed it.
Mr. GRISWOLD. You have never heard anything as to the basis of his diagnosis, or anything of that sort, have you, in the case of Shirley Jones?
Miss ALLEN. You mean the medical basis?
Mr. GRISWOLD. Yes. I am asking this question because of the fact that the early symptoms you describe of the disease, are the same symptoms as those of several other diseases that are prevalent in the South.
Miss ALLEN. Yes; that is true. It is very hard to diagnose. They can simply do it by X-raying the lungs and there are certain peculiar formations in this disease. Would you like me to describe simply the process of the disease ?
Mr. GRISWOLD. We would. That is what I am trying to get at.
Miss ALLEN. They breathe in this microscopic dust and it forms a nodule that begins—that first blocks off the blood supply, forming this scar tissue. Once the disease has started, it cannot be stopped. It is this progressive formation of scar tissue.
Mr. GRISWOLD. That would be the same sort of scar tissue that occurs in an arrested case of tuberculosis?
Miss ALLEN. They call it fibrosis of the lungs. I would not know the difference between those except this is progressive and it keeps destroying tissue until it has destroyed the capacity of the lungs, until there is none, and they finally strangle to death and have no lungs left.
The lungs sound, if you tap on a man's chest, it feels very hard and you hear a sort of a metallic sound. Well, it is very peculiar.
Mr. GRISWOLD. What treatment do they use, or have they ever made any attempt to give any studied treatment for silacosis in those places where they do attempt treatment?
Miss ALLEN. I suppose it is simply a matter of rest where they have not been exposed enough to have scar tissued.
Mr. GRISWOLD. After they acquire it.
Miss ALLEN. All of the doctors agree there is no arresting the disease. There is no stopping it once it is started.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Do they not have something that they use to relieve it or alleviate it or anything of that sort? After they have the disease?
Miss ALLEN. You can only alleviate it, I should say, through drugs and rest.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Would not your questions be more proper to be put to a physician?
Mr. GRISWOLD. I am trying to find out about it. This lady has testified about these cases.
Mr. LAMBERTSON. Is she a physician?
Mr. LAMBERTSON. You are asking highly technical questions and I would like to hear a doctor testify.
Mr. RANDOLPH. May I interrupt at this point? Mr. GRISWOLD. Yes. Mr. RANDOLPH. Somewhere, I have read recently, in connection with a study of the mine situation in West Virginia, because I have the sand mines in my district, that no respirator is effective against rock dust of any kind, that no respirator has been approved by the United States Bureau of Mines up until late in 1934. Do you know whether that is true or not?
Miss ALLEN. No; I do not; but I do know that respirators are the simplest safety devices and that more elaborate safety devices have been recommended. A mask would be the simplest sort that could be provided, but that probably would not be sufficient.
Mr. RANDOLPH. Would you tell us at this time, if you know, and perhaps it is not a fair question, how many West Virginians actually worked on the construction of the tunnel?
Miss ALLEN. No; you will have to ask a West Virginian who is more familiar with the numbers in that particular locality,
Mr. RANDOLPH. You will say though that the majority of the labor was imported, was it not, from other States!
Miss ALLEN. I could not say. I do not have that information, even information to the extent that a majority was imported. I do not have that information.
Mr. RANDOLPH. I believe you spoke about the mines not operating in that territory to any extent; did you say that?
Miss_ALLEN. Not operating?
Miss ALLEN. No; there are some mines up Gauley River that I know of go on and off as they get orders. When they fill a contract they close down until they get another contract, as I understand it.