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rxas Mhorrurr An Independent Liberal Weekly Newspaper 10c per Copy SEPTEMBER 7, 1955, AUSTIN, TEXAS We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. No. 20 The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth. Thoreau VOL. 47 HINNEY Bumblebees, Bluebells and the Greek Poets . The Post’s Salty Sage Offers H. Up Odd Bits of Information in the Purest of English Prose and Verse HOUSTON There is a newspaperman here who 1010 like a starving Welch poet, who reads Latin, makes ar- rowheads, and. picks wildflowers, whose knowledge of the things about him is encyclopedic, and who sets it down for readers of the Houston Post in perhaps the purest and prettiest English prose available in Texas. Hubert Mewhinney, or as he is -better known to Post readers, H. Mewhinney,, has a vast curiosity and an immense audience. He is that maverick among menan unambitious, scholarly splinter of a guy whose primary obsession has been living and learning. Some years ago he set about to learn every species of tree in East Texas–there are more than 100 of them and he did it by prowling the woods in his spare time. At 50 he keeps on storing up odd information. He became interested in archaeology and, more specifically, the arrowheads of Texas Indians. He learned to make his own arrowheads, then invented a contraption for shaving flint. He has made 5.000 arrowheads, and boasts that he’s a better arrowhead maker than the Indians were. Once after the Post’s capitol correspondent, William Gardner, had completed a swing through Texas during a particularly .tense gubernatorial campaign. he dropped in at the Post. The staff converged on him to talk of politics, but when he reached Mewhinney’s desk the conversation took a sudden turn. “Are you familiar with a flint pit in the hills west of Austin?” Mewhinney asked iiixn. -I’m interested in the flint for arrowhead making purposes.” Gardner said he wouldn’t know a flint pit if he fell in one. Mewhinney is the Post’s authority on jnSt about everythinggovernment regulations. classical and contemporary literature. paleontology, ornithology, coons hunting, bumblebees, doodlebugs. He writes about tycoons and bums and tidelands oil or any other subject that strikes his or the Post’s fancy. He has been on and off the Post since 1935. He used to write a column, “Meeting All Corners.” which appeared irregularly for several years. In it, he answered all sorts of questions. \(Example: How do you tell a male cockleburr from a female cockleburr. Answer: The female has newspaper business, reporter, rewrite man, sports editor, movie critic, beat man. Recently he took a turn as police reporter. Later, he was taken ill and an operation was necessary. The cops were the first to volunteer as blood donors. HE CALLS HIMSELF “an aging and frustrated pedant,” although he has consistently poked his low-pressure wit at pedantry and chicanery in any form. And his sagacity is a curious sort in that people love the guy. He has little patience with stupidity, but he is never unkind. Tracing his newspait is rare to find anything but admiration for him among his cohorts. Mewhinney has been the subject of sketches in Time and Life magazines. When his column was appearing regularly, Time reported, a good many people recognized him from his picture. Schoolboys used to tug at his sleeve on buses and say, “Gee, aren’t you Mr. Mewhinney?” Mewhinney’s usual answer: “Yeah, what of it?” Mewhinney the man is difficult to distinguish from Mewhinney the myth. He has acquired the reputation of being a ‘character,” but he is a full man and has lived, according to his standards, a full and logical life. He smoked Bull Durham because he liked Bull Durham. Now he has switched to filter tips “because I’m getting old and my lips are sensitive.” He sometimes shows up at the Poet in denim work shirts because he is planning a field trip to the woods that day. He is a fragile looking fellow, and this belies his ruggedness. He lives for days in the brush country hunting a particularly good deposit of flint or watching cowbirds or examining the shrubbery. He is an excellent shot with a gun, although he kills only to eat. His prose is almost elegant in its simplicityhonest, pure, and personal. He would as soon knock out an article on “How to Drown a Bumblebee”a pastime “of doubt ful morality” which he pursued in his younger days in Bell County.-as turn out a four-part treatise on the tidelands con troversy \(a te project he undertook only after. reading two million words in le gal briefs and law yers’ writes easily of Ar istophanes at Aga thon’s banquet or an eye-witness . account of a doodlebug’s as sasination of an ant. He is also responsible for giving Hbus ton a phrase of self-description ‘ which has been repeated in nearly every maga zine article about that sprawling Baby AUSTIN THE LABOR DAY celebrations around the state call to mind the question, exactly where is labor in Texas this year ? How many workers are organized, and in what trades? What trades are largely unorganized ? -And what is the status of Texas labor law? Texas labor not on the farms is about two-thirds as organized as the working people around the rest of the country. Of the 2,260,000 non-agricultural workers in Texas in June, 1955, about 420,000 to 440,000that is, about 20 percentwere in unions. The national average is 30 per cent. The American Federation of Labor has 300,000 Texas members, of whom about 100,000 are affiliated with the State Federation of Labor. The State C.1.0. Council has about 85,000 members among the roughly 110,000 Texans who belong to the national C.I.O. Railroad workers account for about 60,000 Texas union people, but all but 30,000 are estimated. by railroad union officials to be affiliated with the A.F.L. or the C.I.O.: the balance are affiliated with the State Joint Railway Labor Legislative Board \(composed of the railway trainmen, locomotive engineers, firemen and enginemen, conductors and brakemen, clerks, and maintenance The future of unions in the South is now getting attention from national labor leaders. Walter Reuther. national president of the C.I.O., will make major speeches in Houston Oct. 13 and in Dallas Oct. 14. He may discuss the extent of organizational plans in the South. William’ Schnitzler, the secretary-treasurer of A.F.L., came to Texas for the State Federation convention recently. There are almost no unions in the retail and wholesale trades, the service industries, and farm laborers. Many of the 1,800,000 unorganized workers are actually supervisors who would not be eligible for unions, or they may be in areas not traditionally susceptible to unionism, like banking, real estate, and the self-employed. The total also includes professional peopledoctors, lawyers, accountants. professors. Thr C.I.O. is strongsst among Texas Petroleum workers, the A.F.L. is strongest among the chemical workers, and the two about evenly divide the transportation workers. A.F.L. craft members may be teamsters, carpenters. plumbers and pipefitters, electrical workers, operating engineers, iron workers, painters, boilermakers barbers, mail carriers, firemenskilled tradesmen throughout the ion on Buffalo Bayou. Some years ago a reader wrote and inquired: “Could you tell me if there are any candle light and wine places in or around Houston where a Gypsy violinist strolls from table to table ; fairly hypnotizing the patrons?” Wewhinney’s crusty answer: “If anybody tried that wine and fiddle music here, the joint would go broke. Houston is strictly a whiskey and trombone town.” Why he stays in Houston no one is sure, unless it’s because he likes whiskey and an occasional trombone. Another reader once asked if he didn’t think there were better places to be than in Houston. “It depends on what you are looking for,” Mewhinney replied. “The hills, for instance, are higher at Austin, but the pay is higher in Houston.” MEWHINNEY was born on a farm in Bell County, where he acquired his interest in nature. He came upon the University of Texas campus in the early 1920s, and his school chums still talk dreamily of those wondrous days. Then it was the “local renaissance,” and an article in the Alcalde, U.T.’s exstudents magazine, described that period, “When the Muse Was Awake.” He had a reputation as “the Byron of the Campus” and exercised a good many demons be long list of skills. About 34,000 of the Texas C.I.O. members work in oil, chemical, and atomic industry: another 22,500 are in the telephone industry, 20,000 in automobile and aircraft manufacture, and 11,000 in steel and metal fabrication. Then there are the woekers in the maren -time service, breweries, clothing, textiles, lithography, and newspapers; the electric, paper, wood, and furniture industries; and rubber and plastic and stone and allied products, and transportation. From the broader viewpoint of occupations, about half of Texas’s manufacturing workers are covered by collective bargaining. The independent unions have their strength in the petroleum, food, machinery, and paper industries. Humble, Magnolia, and other “Standard group” oil companies have “company” unions. In non-manufacturing fields, according to a study by Dr. Frederick Meyers of the University of Texas, unionization is virtually 100 percent in the telwhone and telegraph industry and in the railroads. About 80 percent of the workers are under contract in the transit industry and the interstate common carrier trucking industry. Only about one-fourth of the eligible workers in electric utilities are unionized. The State Federation of Labor says there are about 100,000 A.F.L. members in the construction. industry about half the total so employed in Texas. Meyers makes the interesting point that in the manufacturing industry, three-fourths of all workers represented by A.F.L. unions are in industrial units that is, they are organized along industry lineS ‘instead of craft lines. Of course, the A.F.L. has more members in the crafts than in manufacturing. How HAS unionism taken hold, and where has it met most resistance? Meyers’s study suggests the generalizations: Since about 60 per cent of Texas ‘establishments employing 250 or More work AUSTIN Tuesday Texas consumers began paying 19 out of every 20 cents with which the State or Texas will acquire $100 million in new revenue in the next two years. Laws passed by the last Legislature and ‘going into effect Sept. 6 made the following changes to yield the indicated revenue over the next two-year period: State gasoline tax, up from four to five cents a gallon, $55 million; state beer tax, fore he was expelled for reasons not quite clear to this day. They said he could enunciate Swinburne perfectly, that he smoked Herbert Tareyton cigarets, that he could contradict his professors and get away with it. He teamed with a fellow named William P. Gaines, and their little army of local literati was soon known as the Gaines-Mewhinney Brigade. In those days Clarence Darrow had boasted that the basis of his education had been reading The Golden Bough. There was an abridged edition out at the time, itself an imposing work, but Mewhinney startled nearly everybody by reading all twelve volumes and seven titles. He quoted from it then and still does. He studied comparative literature, classical languages, and was editor of The Longhorn, inconoclastic forerunner Of the Texas Ranger magazine. He startedout in newspapers on the Austin American-Statesman. For a while he was a movie critic, and the cinema offerihgs at that time did not please him. Once he was fired from the newspaper because he had been rough on one of them, He retired to a country shack on Barton Creek with a friend, and the friend =brow tells this story: ers are organized, but only about 10 per cent of those employing less than 250 workers, unionization has been more frequent in larger establishments. The rate of union growth in Texas since 1933 has been faster in Texas than anywhere in the country except possibly -California, and unionism will continue to expand as industrialization does; but when industrialism in Texas levels off, unions will meet more organizational resistance from the smaller or the older establishments to which they will then turn. Much recent union growth has come in mu industries characteristic of a developing industrial economy in transportation equipment \(about three-fourths under metals, and chemicals \(two-thirds unionery, and fabricated metals \(upward from food, lumber, textiles, and printinghave all been slower to unionize, each showing less than one-fourth coverage. Location of a plant in a rural area does not inhibit unionization unless it is a small plant. Larger national firms or complexes of firms are-more susceptible to unionizationno matter where they areperhaps because of less ideological opposition. Meyers found that establishments were organized roughly in order of high-to-low wages. He found that workers,with farm backgrounds are actually .quicker to unionize than city workers and exploded the myth that racial and cultural sameness contributes to susceptibility to unions. “The Texas Gulf Coast labor force is an a dm ix t u r e of Catholic Louisiana “Cajuns,” Catholic Latins, Swedish Lutherans. immigrants from old Protest Czech and German speaking communities, with Anglo-Baptists and Negroes from East Texas, yet it is significantly better unionized than the industry in North and East -up seven-tenths of a cent a bottle \(prob$19 million; state cigarette taxes, up from four to five cents a pack, $17.5 million; driver’s license fees, up from $1 to $2, and other license fees also increased, $2.5 million; and corporate franchise tax, up from $2 to $2.25 per $1,000 capital assets, $6 million. The first four revenue changes yield a total of $94 million compared to $46 mile lion from the corporate franchise tax. THE LABOR MOVEMENT IN TEXAS Higher Taxes for Texans