There may be doubt in the minds of others, but David S. Andron, attorney for the Federation of Kosher Shop Owners in Greater New York and affiliated organizations throughout the country, is convinced the kosher meat industry will have its own NRA code by August.
Andron on Friday gave The Jewish Daily Bulletin a comprehensive picture of what took place in Washington this week at what he described as an informal code hearing, the result of many preliminary informal hearings with officials of the National Recovery Administration.”
The conclusions which the Federation attorney drew from the sessions were in many cases in direct opposition to those set forth in Thursday’s issue of The Bulletin by Joseph Belsky, secretary of the Hebrew Butcher Workers Union, who declared there is strong probability that the kosher proprietors will be refused a code on the ground that they are not numerous enough to deserve one.
BELSKY IN CAPITOL
Belsky, according to Andron, was in Washington during the hearing but did not attend the actual sessions. The workers union was represented by Attorney Louis Waldman, the lawyer for the Federation said.
Facts contained in the following account of the Washington hearing were given to a Bulletin reporter by Andron. Many of them are recorded, in a voluminous transcript, received in New York Friday, of what went on during the sessions.
The hearing was held at the Hotel Washington, with Deputy Administrators Irwin S. Moise and George Carlson presiding. It concerned not only the kosher butcher trade but the entire retail butcher industry.
The set-up was somewhat as follows:
The butchers (all of them, including the kosher dealers) were in Washington for the purpose of obtaining a separate and distinct code, entirely independent of the food and grocery code now in operation for the entire retail food and grocery industry.
Further, the kosher butchers, motivated by the conviction that they are confronted with problems which necessitate an entirely different set of provisions from those which would fit the requirements of the non-Jewish dealers, were demanding a separate code of their own, not in any way connected with the non-kosher regulations.
The National Retail Meat Dealers (the association of non-kosher butchers) at a caucus meeting preceding the Hotel Washington hearing gave unanimous endorsement to the kosher dealers in this demand.
Andron succeeded in having the following paragraph incorporated into a resolution adopted by the National group:
“Because of the special requirements of the Hebrew religion regarding dietary laws and other practices, the kosher butchers have a number of trade practices, methods of employment and other distinctive elements differing materially from the meat dealers, and recognizing this fact and in order to provide for their special needs and requirements, the Retail Meat Dealers favor the establishment of separate and distinct Code Au### to deal with its own activi### and to provide for the formu###on of a supplemental code of competition applicable to the ###butcher industry under its administration for the kosher butcher industry in such a manner as may seem desirable subject to the approval of the administrator.”
Once adoption of the above paragraph had been effected, the kosher and non-kosher delegates found themselves working for a common endâ€”recognition of the retail butcher trade as an entity distinct from the general food and grocery industry.
In this they met stern opposition from the Food and Grocery Chain Stores of America, whose executive officers, John A. Logan, represented it at the hearing, and from the Food and Grocery Code Authority, whose spokesman was its chairman, C. E. Janssen. Aaron H. Kaufman and Congressman Emanuel Celler represented the non-kosher butchers.
MANY GROUPS REPRESENTED
Andron, in his plea for a separate kosher code, spoke for the following organizations, in addition to the Greater New York Federation: the Washington Hebrew Butchers Association, the United Hebrew Butchers Association of Baltimore, the United Kosher Butchers Association of Massachusetts, the Boser Kosher Butchers Protective Association of Philadelphia, the United Kosher Butchers Associations of Rhode Island, of New Haven, Conn. , and of New Jersey, the Association of Hebrew Butchers of Chicago and the United Kosher Butchers Association of St. Louis.
“Without a code,” the attorney declared at one point in his presentation of his case before the presiding deputy administrators at the hearing, “the kosher butchers are on the verge of starvation. They have plenty of representation to warrant a separate code authority.”
In substantiation of this claim he pointed out that he was speaking for 8,000 butchers, doing an annual business of $160,000,000.
In a short history of previous attempts at obtaining separate recognition under the NRA, Andron recited how, exactly one year ago, Major Dunning of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration asked for a statement representative of the general opinion of the kosher butchers throughout the United States.
PROMISE NOT KEPT
In accordance with this request, the attorney said, communications were sent to Chambers of Commerce throughout the country and a central organization was gathered together. Subsequently this association framed an amended code, which it presented to the administration, he said, and which brought forth the promise of a prompt decision.
This promise, Andron told the presiding officers, never was kept.
Although the retail butcher trade at present is presumably under the jurisdiction of the food and grocery code, the Federation representative declared, there has been little evidence of that fact. He pointed out that in his own case he had heard of only one kosher butcher in all Greater New York who was asked for an assessment by the grocery code authority.
The lawyer expressed strong doubt that the food and grocery code can answer the purposes of the kosher butchers and cited the fact that aside from the fact that the latter dealers sell different meats and utilize different practices, there frequently is a direct conflict of interests between the kosher men and those in the other branches of the retail food industry.
ON VERGE OF STRIKE
He warned the presiding deputies that 5,000 kosher butchers in Greater New York, forced to extreme measures by economic distress, now are on the verge of a strike, and that a satisfactory and adequate fair competition code, framed expressly for the kosher business, is the only solution to their difficulties.
During the course of the hearing NRA experts, called to testify, advocated the grant of a separate code for the kosher dealers and in every case bore out Andron’s claims, the attorney told The Bulletin.
After sessions which lasted many hours and extended into the early morning Deputy Administrators Moise and Carlson asked that spokesmen for all interests represented at the hearing turn in briefs by July 12. Thereafter they will make their recommendations to General Hugh Johnson, NRA administrator, who will hand down a final decision some time in August, Andron believes.
The Federation attorney is fully confident that his organization’s plea will receive a favorable response.
SEEK SELF GOVERNMENT
“For the past thirty or forty years,” he said, “the kosher butchers have sought to establish self government. Until the present time and during these many years, due to many corruptive influences and to the work of external leaders they have been kept from realizing this hope.
“What they have not accomplished so far will undoubtedly come to fruition in the code now ready for adoption. What they could not achieve through thirty years of work they now have within their reach.
“The code will solve the many conflicts between labor and industry and establish a firm ground on which to meet and adjust the many problems and difficulties which confront the industry in its relationships with the meat packers, the slaughter houses, the government agencies and the various other organizations with whom they come in contact.
“There is no doubt that the code at the present time will do much to avoid the many emergency measures which until now they were forced to employ.
“It will give to this industry the government which it requires and the position which it deserves.
“During the past year we have established a national association, with affiliated organizations throughout the United States. Until the national conference was called we could not get two butchers on one street to hold council together. Now we have our ramifications in every important industrial center in the United States.
“There is concentrated interest and concern in the industry. There is a mutuality of interest and each member of the industry knows that only with his competitors’ salvation can come his own.
“The time is psychologically correct for the establishment of the code and for its effective and appropriate administration.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.