Registry N'o. 1218--8-03
NATIONAL RECOVERY ADMIINISTRATION
PROPOSED CODE OF FAIR COMPETITION
POTASH AND BORAX
The Code for the Potash and Borax Industry
in its present form merely reflects the proposal of the above-mentioned
industry, and none of the provisions contained therein are
to be regarded as having received the approval of
the National Recovery Aldministration
as applying to this industry
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1933
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents. Washington, D.C. - Price 5 cents
AS SUBMIITTED ON AUGUST 31, 1933
NATIONAL POTASHI PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION AND) NATIONAL
BORAX PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION
PROPOSED CODE OF FAIR COMPETITION FOR THEF
POTASH AND BORAX INDUSTRIES
To effectualt.e the policy of Title I of thae N~ational Indusltrial
RecoveryS Act, to reduce and relieve unemployment, to maintain
adequate scales of wages and hours of labhor consistent with Amer~ican
standards of living, to eliminate unfair competitive practices, to
promote the fullest possible utilization of thie present productive
capa~cityv of the industries, to encourage increased domestic production.
and consumption, to conserve natural resources, and in other respects
to rehabilitnt~e and to protect the Potash ancd Borax industries; t~he
following provisions are established as a code of fair competition for
the Pot~ash andc Borax< industries:
This code is filed by the NPational Potash Producers Associa t~ion, a
voluntary association representing practically one hundred percent
of t~he liners and/or manufacturers of Potas1h in the United States,
and by the National Bor~ax Producers Aissociation, a voluntaryT asso-
ciation representing miners and/or malfnufacturers producing 95%
of the borax in the United Stantes. These aIssociat~ions impose no
inequitable restrictions on adnuission to membership mn their organ-
izations and are truly representative, of the Potash and Biorax: indus-
This code is not designed to pr~omlot~e monopolies or to eliminate or
oppr~ess small ent.er~prises and will not operate to discriminate against
them and othlerwMise observes Sec. 3 (a) of the National Industrial
The term Potash Ind ust ry3" as used herein is defined to mean the
.mining or manufacturing of potassium or potash salts from natural
deposit.s con taining potash salts; the term '"Borax Industry") as ulse I
herein is defined to mean the mining or manufacturing of boras or
boron compounds from natural deposits or raw materials containing
borates; the term '"Employrees"' as used herein shall include all
persons employed in thie conduct of suchr operations, except the staff
officials; the term "Eff'ective D~ate"' as used herein is defined to be a
date two weeks after the code has been approved by the President.
On a~nd after the effective date, the minimum wa~ge. thant shall be
paid by employers in the potash and borax industries to any of their
employees shall be at thle rate of $17 per wveekc for 44 hlour~s of labor,
except certain, types of transient common Inbor emnployed inter-
rnittently in New M~exico, where it is thie practice to adopt prevailing
~ages paid by t~he Agricultural Industry.
On and after the effective date, employers in the potash and borax
industries shall not operate on a schedule of hours of labor for their
employees, in excess of 44 hours per w~eek;, provided that during
temporary periods of peak production or during emergencies result~inga
from sickness, epidemic, or plant break down or during periods when
unusual maintenancee is required, the mlaximum hours per week; ma y
Office employees are included inl the benefits of th~is code. Th e
existing amounts by which wages in the higher paid classes exceed
wages in the lower paid classes shall be maintained; employers in the
potash and borax indurstries shall not employ any :minor under the
age of sixteen years.
Employ~ers in the potash and borax; industries shall comply withlt
the requirements Sec. 7 (a) of Title I of the National Industrial
Recovery Act as follows: "(1) That em-ployees shall have the right
to organize and bargain collectively through :representartives of their
own choosing, and shal be free from the interference, restraint, or
coercion of employers of latbor, or their agents, in the designation of
of such :representatives or inl self-organization or in other concerted
activities for the purpose of collective bargainig or other mut~uatl
aid or protection; (2)\ t~hart no mpnloyeeP andJ no one se~king emoployv-
mnent shall be required as a condition of employment to join a ny
conmpny~ ulnion or ton re~frai from ;nommg, orgamzmgnr or niassistm a
labor organization of hzis owcn choosing; and (3) that employers shall
comply with the maximum hours of labor, minimum rates of pay,
and other conditions of employment, approved or prescribed by t.be
In order to keep the President fully informed as to thet observance
or nonobser~vance by the potash and bornx industries of this Code of
FaRir Comrpeti;tion each nperson enngaged in the potash and borax indus-
tries will furnish reports in substance as follows and in such form as
may be hereafter provided:
(aL) W~ages and hours of labor.-Muonhl :returns showing actual
hours wrorkecd by groups of emplo-yees and minimum wveekly rates of
(b) Reports of productio.-Ront.-1otly :returns showing production
of each. commodity and for each grade of product in terms of the
commnonly used unit.
TCo further effectuate~ the policies of the Act, the NP\ational Potash
Producer~s Associationl and National Borax P~roducers Associa.tion are
organrized to cooperate with the Administrator as planning and fa.ir
practice agencies and m~y from time to time present, to the Adminis-
t rator recommendaI(1ittions tending to effectuate the operations of t~he
provisions of this Code and the policy- of the. National Industrial
Recovecr _Act, andr in prarticu~la~r alongt the following lines:
1. Reconunlend nations as to such further action by thie c Am in istra tor
as mlay be required to secure the proper obsenrvnce of the Code and
prmonte the proper balancingr of production and consumption and the
stabilization of their industries and employment.
2. Reconunllendations for the making of requirements by thie
Administrator as to practices concerning methods and conditions of
t rad ing in the potash an~d bora x i n dust ries, and the naming and report-
ing of prices which m ay be ap~propri a te to promote e stabilization of such
industries anrd to prevent and eliminate unfair and destructive comll-
3. Investigating and infoirmiing the Admiiinistrator on behalf of the
potash and borax industries as to the importation of competitive
articles into the U~nited States in substantial quantities or increasing
ratio to domestic production on such terms or under such conditions
as t~o render ineffective or seriously to endanger the maintenance of
4. Recommendations for dealing with any inequailities, practices,,
or methods of doing business that may- otherrwise lr~ise to endanger
t~he st~abiliza t.ion of such ind ust ries and of production and employment.
5j. Cooperate wr\ith the Administrator i m making investigations as
t.o the functioning and observance of anly of ~theprov-isionls of this
Code and to report, the same to the AGdministrator.
Such recommendations, when approved by the Aidministrator, shall
have the same force and effect as any other provisions of this Code.
This Code! ad all the prov-isiods thereof are expressly made subject
to the right. of the President, in necordance wiFth the provisions of
Clause 10 (b) of the Nationral Industrin7I Recovery Act, from. time to
time to cancel or modify any order, a approval, license, rule, or regula-
tion, issued under Title I of said Act, and specifically to the right of
the President~ to cancel or modify his appr~ovall of this Code or any
conditions imposed by him upon his alpprovail therieof.
Such of the provisions of this Code as are not required to be included
therein by the National Indulstrial Rtecovery Alct may1J, w~ith the
approval of the Presid-ent, be! modifiedor e'liminated as changes in
circumnstances or experience may indicate. It is contemnplnted that
from time to time supplemlen t ary provisions to thlis Code or, addit ionall
codes will be submitted for the approval of the President to prevent
unfair competition in price and other unfair anld dlestructiv-e comlpeti-
tive practices and to effectuate the other pur~poses and policies of
title I of the National Industrial Recovery Act consistent with the
PRODUCERS OF POTLASH-
1. American Potash and Chemical Corporation (Searles Lake, Calif.).
2. United States Potash. Company (near Carlsbad, Ne~w Mexico).
3. United States Industrial Chemical Company (by-product from molasses
as an incident in the! Inanufacture of alcohol-Baltimnore, Maryland).
Production of potash in the United States
[Quantities in tons of 2,000 lbs. of pure potash (KzO)]
Year Corpra Uh C o Total
tion and others
1928. ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ...... 55, 214 None 5, 186 6 ,
1929~........................................... 56, 054 None 5, 53661 0
1930.. ......................................... 57, 730 N~one 3, 540 61, 270
1931...................... ...................... 49, 563 1 9, 027 I 3, 500 63, 880
1932............................................ 34, 187 1 24, 303 1 n3, 500 61, 900
1 By difference.
PRODUCERS OF BORAX OR BORON CO1MPOUTNDS
1. Pacific Coast Borax Company (Mine at K~ramer; refinery at WC1ilmingtonr
2. American Potash and Chemical Corporation (plant: Trona, California).
3. West End Chemrical Company (plant: West IEnd, California).
4. Stauffer Chemaical Company (plant: San Francisco, Calif.).
5. Borax Union, Inc. (plant: San Francisco, Calif.).
6. Pacific Alkali Company plantn: Bartlett, California).
7. Sterling Borax Company (plant: New Brighton, Pa.).
8. Chas. Pfizer & Company (plant: Brooklyn, New York).
EXPLANATORY RIElllORANDUM ON POTASH
At the end of this memaorandumn there is a short summary of the world potas~h
industry which, we respectfully aski the Administrator and his associates to suppl-
ment, if time permits, by reading readily accessible government publications
dealing with the potash industry.
THE AMERICAN POTASH INDUSTRY IN ICELATION TO UNEMPLOYMENT
The following statement in reference to the American Potash. industry explains
employment in the potash mines and plants and it is believed that it justifies
a relaxation of the requirements as toJ maimumjlll hoCurs as compared with the
number of hours which may be prescri bed as mas imuml n in other Aivestern localities.
Potash is now produced in the United States from natural deposits of potassium
salts by the American Potash and Chemical Corporation, in the Searles Lake
region of California, about 185 miles northeast of Los Angeles, and by the United
States Potash Company in the neighborhood of Carlsbad, Ne~w Mexico, about 180
miles northeast of El Paso. As the natural potash. deposits and thne plants of the
producing companies lie in. desert regions, considerable distances from centers of
population, it is not easy to secure men for emergencies or peak production, and
the opportunities for regular employees to pass their leisure time in beneficial,
wholesome, and worthwhile recreation and diversion are limited. Emp~-loyees
have been perfectly content to work six days a wveek, in fact prefer thle six-day
The potash producing enterprise operating at Searles L~ake (Trolna) in Cali-
fornia has engaged in its operation, since 1916 and normally employs over 400 men.
It has housing facilities for its employees and can even provide for a reasonable
number of additional employees.
The Carlsbad operators have been operating their property since 1931.
They have become employers of labor in the depression period. Over 400 are nown
employed and another property now being opened will be in operation within a few
months and wiill employ a considerable number of men. The operation already es-
tablished at Carlsbad has now progressed to a point where it can and will employ
a reasonable number of additional men and bring the working week to a maxi-
mum of 44 hours, but this change can only be made at considerable cost at; a time
wvhen the company's finances are required for development of its mine and refinery.
It cannot provide housing facilities for all of its employees. Because of lack of
potable water, most of its employees must reside in Carlsbad, Newv Mlexico, nearly~
20 miles from the scene of their em~ployment. The development of potash prop-
erties near the town at a time when capital has not been. availab~le for hou,~sing
facilities has resulted in an acute shortage of residences and rooms for both ma rried
and single empl~loyees. This condition cannot be? quickly remedied.
In Califo~rnlia, at Trona, the normal work is performed by a force of recgular emp-
ployees.. During peak periods of shipping, maintenance, and office w\ork, the nlor-
mal force is maintained at a point below the force whiich would be required to take
care of peak demands under normal working hours to avoid lay-inga off meln when
work. is slack. This results in the company policy of permitting the normal force
for workingr over time to take care of peak requirements until production operations
have become normal.
Both Carlsbad and Trona operation of mines and refinleries bring mnys~\ emecr-
gencies and the wear and tear on the plants is considerable. This statement, is
particularly true as regardsl refininrg machinery which. quickly corrodes and is
otherwise impaired by the natural material which, it handles in its processes of
refinement. It is necessary to operate the plants 24 hours a day. Thley can-
not be operated otherwise for the reason that too much time is lost in, starting
an1d stoppling~ the machinery. Th~e solutions must be heated and while hiot are
satulrated w\itht potash. In cooling off during the shut-down period the potash
crystallizes out and blocks up pipe lines and apparatus. Therefore, whenever
a. shutdown is anticipated the plant is run several hours without producing any
potashn. On thne other hao nd, in resuming operations this process must be reversed
and thie plant cannot produce the refined product until all solutions are hot.
Also, both. product in process and finished product tend to cake upon standing.
The materials must be kept in motion to prevent blocking up the apparatus.
In potasrh producing localities the plant and mine operations emp~loy all labor
normally belong~ing to the industry and at Carlsbad is provided a new field of
employment. not a.vailable to labor before the depression.
Use of leisure time.--As already stated the sources of labor at Trona and at
Carlsbad are respectively Los Angeles and El Paso. In each case these sources
of labor are almost 200 miles away from the potash operations. The potashi pro-
ducing communities are in desert areas. The emnploymlentt of idle time in these
communities presents perplexing problems. The Tra~na company furnishes
reasonable recreation facilities for its employ-ees, such as, swimming pool, golf
course, tennis court, lighted for night playing, baseball field, lighted for indoor
baseball, dancer floor, rifle range, motion picture theater, and pool hall. At
Carlabad there are simlilar rop~portunities for recreation, and in addition a lake
available for sw\immning and boating. Under the existing schedule of wrorkiing
hours pe~r weeki emlployeecs are reasonably satisfied with the forms of diversion at
their command and do not freqluently- take long trips away from home. If two
days per week should become the emuployees' allotment of leisure time it is ex-
pected that t~hey would go to El PaSo) antd over intoC Juares, Old Mlesicil, from
Carlsbad,. and to Los Angeles froma Trona, seeking these larger places of enter-
tainment and recreation. In the case of the Carlsbad employees much of their
money would be spent in a foreign country. MJany employees going away for
two days would doubtless ~find it impo:ssible for one reason or another to get back
for the resumption of their work at the close of the new rest period. It is almost
certain that both the potash producer and employees could suffer loss and in-
convenience in these isolated communities through. having more leisure time than
thle employees can properly enjoy.
MIaximum H'ours of Emrploymusti.--In view of the labor con~rditiojns as just set
forth, the potash industry recommends in its code a 44-hour basis of work for its
employees. Generally speaking, this would be a five and a half day weekr of
eight hours a day for five days and four hours the sixth day. At Trana, in Cali-
fornia, employees are~ now substantially on a 48-hour basis in the production and
maintenance depanrtments. In certain other departments, such as the office, the
normal basis is 44 hours per weekr. In the New Mexico operations the mining
and refinling de3partments are operating on. substantially a 56-hour basis per nvok~l,
in other departments the hours are substantially less but average at least 50
hours per week.
It is believed that under all the unusual conditions under which. the industry
is nown op~eratingr the 44-hour-per-wveek basis is the one that should be adopted.
Even this should subject to the qualification that during unusual conditions such
as emergencies, epidemics, temporary peak periods, the maximum may be
exceeded temipora rily.
Effect ona Emnploymnentr.--The Trona (California) operation emp ~lo s a force of
about 4110 men. A 44-hour basis will increase the number employedri at this plant
by about 40 men. The increase at the Carlsbasd mine and plant on the proposed
basis will be about 70 men, over 400 no~w being employ-ed. In the Carlsbad section
another ~development is being made but it is not ready for production.
M/ninimutn~m Wages.---The pot ash i nd usrt ry has maintained throughout the depres-
sion a relatively high scale~ of wages. W~Cages have not been at the depression
level as in, many ot her industries, only one reduction of ten per cent having been
made at the Trona plant. The minimum wag~e scale paid at the Trona plant is
$17.28 per week, for common. Mexican L~abor an-d the lowest rate paid to unskilled
white labor $21.60). The skiilled labor wage rate is far in excess of these two
minima. The samle observations applyr? to wage scales maintained at Car-lsbad
w~ith the exception that transient common Mexican labor is employed inter-
mittently at the rate of 15Q per hour. This wage rate is already in excess of wvages
paid similar Ilabor in that general locality in New Mexico by the agr~icu~ltulral
industry, and an increase in this wage rate would ulndoub)tedl work to the dis-
advantage of the agriculltural indust.ry, hence no change is proposed here with
respect to the wages of this type of transient labor. TChe industry, however,
stands ready to adv~ance wasges for this class of labor, keeping it in line at all
times with other industries emnploying the same labor.
The code provides a minimum wage, with the exception noted, of $17.00 per
week. As stated, however, this minimum is not important for the great majority
of the employees already receive far in excess of that amount. It should be borne
in mind, too, that at Trona and to a small extent at Carlsbad living quarters are
furnished at slightly below cost. There are other special facilities and services
furnished particularly at T'rona. At Carlsbad improvements in living conditions
can be expected as capital is available for further hlousinlg development.
Efect on production costs.-The code of the industry does not propose to changec
thef total weekly compensation paid to the employees, e~ven. though the maximum.
working hours are substantially decreased. This will represent in fact a sub-
stantial increase in the hourly wage rates at the plants for all the producing
companies. Consequently, the industry will be compelled to bear the increased
production cost, which it can ill afford to do under present circumstances unless
it is protected from foreign competition. The total increased production cost
annually on the suggested basis for th~e Trona plant will approximate 870,000;
whereas the total increased production cost for the United States Potash Com-
pany will be approximately one hundred thousand dollars per year.
BRIEF HISTORY or PoTASa PRODUCTION
In this country potash production is essentially an infant industry. The
following is a brief account of the history of the industry:
Introduction.-FEor fifty years prior to the world war Germany had a monopoly
of the potash trade of the world.' In 1857 the Prussian Government sank a
shaft to mine potash. From this time on and even up to the present time, the
German Governmaent has dominated the potash industry under the supervision
of the Prussian Minister of Commerce and Industry (later under the Mmnister of
Prior to 1915 all of the postash salts consumed in the United States w~ere
imported from Germany. Early in 1915 an embargo against the export of
potash from Germany eliminated the supply of potash, which was essential to
industry and indispensable to agriculture, until the end of the world war.
Sales of German potash in the United States.--For many- years sales of German
potash have been controlled by the German Potash Syndicattes. In 1908 th~e
Schmidtmann mines entered into a contract to sell potash to American pur-
chasers at a lower price than the syndicate price. This caused the German
Government to introduce a bill in the Bundearath to invalidate the American
contracts. This question was later settled through diplomatic channels, but
the Americans had to pay a higher price for potash than the contract they had
made with Schmidtmann.
In 1910 the Imperial German Government enacted a new potash law which
invalidated the favorable American contracts in spite of protests of the United
States Government and also gave the Imperial Giovernmzent direct control of
the potash industry. This all resulted in the Americans not onlyT losing the
profits on the contracts above referred to, but they had to payr anl additional
surtax of several million dollars to the German Government to obtain. potash,
which sharply emphasized the danger of their complete dependence upon
Search for potash in the United States.--Thle Congress of the U~nited States,
in 1911, was moved by this controversy to appropriate funds to conduct a search
for potash within the borders of this country. This search was instituted jointly
by the Geological Survey and the Bureau of Soils. Studies were! made of:
(1) Salines in, the arid West.
(2) Alunite Deposits.
(3) Insoluble potash bearing silicates.
(4) Cement and blast-furnace dusts.
(5) K~elp and other vegetable materials.
(6) Salt deposits in the Permian Basin in W~estern T'exas and Southeastern
This search was interrup~ted by the attempts during the wNar to produce potash
from. various sources.
In 1912 D~r. J. A. Udden, of the University of Texas, discovered potassium
chloridec in the brine from a deep w~ell in the so-called Permlian Basin in W'est
Texas. Following this discovery, potash wvas recognized in the cuttings or drill
r The woorldl pot:reh indlustry is well described in the D~epartmoent of Comnmeroe, Trade Promonlon
series #33, Potas~h--Sl ifielnne of Freig~ht Control and Economic needl of D~omestic Development, by
HI. M. Hoar, 19"'6.
wat~ers from a, numtbefr of oil wells in this basin, culminating wnith the discovery of
sylvite in cuttings from a we~ll near Carlsbad, N~ewv Mexico, in. 1925.
In 1926 an Act of Congre~ss authorized the expenditurer for potash exploration
by the Geological Survey and the Bureau of 1\lines, of $100,000 per year for
five years. A total of 24 core-drill tests wrere3 made and the existence of potash
salts over a large area of the Permian Basin was confirmed.
Coincident w-ith the exploration of the governmental agencies, a series of oore-
drill tests near Carlsbad, New Mlexico, were conducted by interests which later
formed the Unit~ed States Potash Companly. These tests outlined a large coma-
mnercial body of potash salts, which body has been confirmed by Iundergroundl
mining. Later the Potash Company of America conducted core tests which, in.
1932, developed a, commercial body near that of the United States Po~ltash
Development of potash supplies durrinlg th~e World War.-D-Iurinzg the war the
scarcityv of pot~ash wavs felt both in agriculture and industry, and the Americaan
productiion of potash began during this period. A feverish building of plants to
manufacture potash salts followed the German, embargo on thne exiportation of
potash. By 1918, 128 plants were producing only one fifth of the pre-war potash
requirements of the U'nited States. The principal production came from the
saline lakes of California and Nebraska w~ith some production from kelp, cement
dusts, silicate rocks, and distillery and sugar refinery wastes.
Efect of close of World War on potash production in the United States.-Follow-
ing th close of the World War the markets of the United States were again open
to the foreign producers. Potash was offered at prices lower thari cost of Amoer-
ion-n production. MLost of the Americabn plants which could only live onl war
prices, closed at or shortly after the end of the war, and by 1921 only two plants,
producing in substantial quantities, remained. One of these, the American
Potash and Chemical Corporation, used the brine of Searles ILake, California, for
raw material, and thre other, the Uni~ted States Industrial Chemical Company,
made its potash! from thae wFaste of a distillery. Pre-war prices were resumed
and have been maintained since 1921. There is no tariff protection.
After the w~ar the Fren~Ich Government se~questered the AlsaLtian. potash mines.
In 19241 the French Government purchased the German interest in, the seques-
tered mines for a large sum of money to be liquidated in 20 years. The mines
will ultimately be turned over to the management of an exclusively French
organization but in the meantime they are operated under the Minister of Publie
After the World War, the Germaan syndicate sold in America through the
Potash Importing Company of Amaerica, and t~he French through their own office.
La ter the German syndicate canceled the contracts of the Potash Importing Com-
pany and announced, with the French, that the German and Fre~nch were~c opening a
joint offie to sell Potash in America. This led to a suit wF~ith the United States
Government. Thre Frenlch defense wvas that the French Government owned the
mines; therefore, a sovereignr government could not be sued. This resulted in a
new company being formed by thie French and Germans in. Holland, the N. V.
Potash Export, My. which was to handle all American Potash sales, and a consent
decree with the Unitted States Government' was taken. This company is oprrat ing
at the present time.
About 1920 an effort wa mzade to rehabilitate~ thie Polish Potash mines. These
mines are producing nowv in a smaall way but have some potentialities, and very
recently the German syndicate has concluded an arrangement with the Polish.
In 1917 Potash deposits were found in Russia. These are being developed and
show great promise.
Recently, Potatshn development in Spain has proceeded at a fast rate, and one
Spanish mine has probaby the highest grade ore in the world. Due to the
extremely low wages paid (about $6.00 per weekr) and the low scale of living, the
Spanish Potash industry offers and is giving serious competition to the United
States producers. The Spanish producers and to a lesser extent the other foreign
prod ucers have a decided ad vantage due to low water and rail rates. T'he nominal
par of a peseta is 19!;od and the value today is 11.8 which gives them a tremen-
dous advantage in the exchange.
Production of the remaining tw~o plants in the United St~at~es increased steadily
from 1921 until 1929, particularly that. of American Potash and Chemical Cor-
poration at LSearles Lake, which ait this time initiated a further increase in its
productive capacity, which hats never been utilized to full capacity biecauselof
decreased consumption by agriculture.
The core drill tests of theF United States Potash Company in New M~exuico dis-
closed commercial deposits of potash salts and in 1931 shipments of p~otash salts
from this source began. A refinery for production of high grade mouriate of potash
commenced shipments late in I932.
The explorations of the Potash Company of America in N\ew Mexico have
resulted in the comnmencemenlt of siink~ing of a shaft. Potash salts for the fertill-
zer trade will probably be avanilab~le from this shaft when completed. Experi-
men~ts on the recovery of cement dust are being conducted by several of thie cement
plants and the United States Geological Survey reports that the cement plants
are likely to become an imp~ortalt, factor in thne future.
Over 50- of the potash. is now supplied by foreign producers. During 1932L,
for example, the Trona plant and the Carlsbad plant each supplied about 20%
of the American market whereas the German and French producers supplied
about 54%0. The remaining tonnage wras supplied by thie United States Indus-
trial Chemical Company as a byproduct and more recently by Spasnish producers.
The domestic production in. 1932 was sharply curtailed. The Spanish importat-
tions during that year had the effect of limiting American production.
There are appended hereto tables showing the fo~llow~ing facts:
(1) Pmroducltion of Potfash in the U~nied .Statpe from 1915 to '1932, inclusive.
(2) Imports of Potash into the U~nited States from 1928-1933, inclusive.
(3) Consumption of Potash in the United States from 1928--1982, inclusive.
Principal problem of the industry.--At the present time the chief problem
facing the industry is the control of importations from foreign countries, p~ar~tic~u-
larly Spain. In foreign countries, where living conditions are entirely dillerent
from those in effect in this country, potash can be produced cheaper, and with
water, transportation can be an exceedingly effective competitor with Amlerican
industry. At this time it is particularly important that foreignl potash pro-
ducers be not permitted to ship into the country and sell at prices and in such
volume thaat will injure the American industry, thus destroying the industry
and detrimentally affecting labor. The National Potash Producers Association
assumes that the Administrator will, under the provisions of the National Indus-
trial Recovery Act, take steps to keep foreign competitors from controlling the
industry as soon as thne American industry presents information to him showing
that foreign importations into the United States are injuring the American
industry, preventing its normal growclth and development, thre~ateninlg employi-
ment, and portending other dangers.
As a means of making shortly a recommendation. to carry out the above,
the code provides that the Potash Association shall make inquiries and investi-
gations and present to the Administrator reports with recommendations for his
NOTEs.--From 1922 to 1930, inclusive, all but a maximum of 5,000 tons annually of pure potash (KsO0)
were produced at Searles Lake. Production from New Mexico potash field began in 1931.
Imports of potassium salts into the United States and possessions
Used in chemical and Used chiefly in
fertilizer industries fertilizer industry
Short tons Short tons Short tons Short tons
(salts) (KsO) (salts) (KsO0)
1928.....- _-_--_---___.......__. __. _._ __ ______ 975, 661 330, 493 931, 616 310, 000
1929........ ___ ....___ .____... ___.. 929, 470 324, 638 870, 502 297, 000
19.30..... -------------------------- .. .. .. ... 979, 006 342, 084 933, 324 322, 000
19331....--- --------------------------.. ... 577, 195 214, 785 528, 764 194, 100
1932 1.~...---- ------ ------ ------ -..... ...... .... 330,964 113, 505 287, 538 95, 980
1933 r ....... .------- 115, 210 39, 919
I 1932-Potash Salts used chiefly in chemical industry-information not available %6 of KaO may not
agree writh government's ~final figures.
i 193~3-FPirst 5 months.
Source of information:
1928-~-31--U.S. Bureau of Mines annual bulletin.
19323-3-U.S. Dept. of Commerce~-Statements 2815, 2862.
April 4, 1933--U.S. Bureau of Mines M.M. Report No. MMS-186.
Consumption of potash in the United States
[Short tons pure potash (KsO0)]
Sales i %m-
1928.. ........... ........~... .............. ...~ ....~ ...~ .... ... 45, 216 330,493 37 70
1929.......... ................_........ ........ .....~........._ ..) 47, 364 324,63 7,0
1930........~.......................................... 46, 716 34201 388,787
1931............. ......................... ........... 4 5_.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 237 21,2 6,6
1932... .. .. .............. .............................. 54,185 113,505 167,69054, 18
Potash salts produced in United States, in tons of 2,000 lbs.
[Figurs are from U.S. Mineral Resources]
1915~.. .. ... .. .. .. .
1920 ... ... ...
1923...~...... .. -
1924 .___. _.... .
1925 .... ..... __
1926 .. ........ _
1928 ... ...........
1929. ........ ~
1930- .. .. .....
1931 ....... ___
1932.. .. ..... ~
60, 380 .
EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM ON BORAX
There are seven companies producing borax and boron compounds, but\ the
great proportion of the borax is produced by two companies: American Potash
and Chemical Corporation, Trona, California, and the Pacific Coast Borax.
Company, with mines at Kramer and refinery at WFilmington, California. Sub-
stantially all of the primary production of borax in the world is produced in the
The labor situation of the American Potash and Chemical Corporation has
already been explained in the memorandum dealing with Potash. and it is, there3-
fore, unnecessary to refer further to that plant. So that some knowledge of oper-
ating conditions of the other large company producing borax may be known, the
following statements are made portraying labor conditions of the Pacific Coatst
Borax Company. This memorandum will be supplemented later, giving similar
information for the other companies producing borax and generally explalinig
the problems of the industry.
Labor.--All of the borate ore mined and thne production of borax from brines
occurs in desert reg~ionsl of California. This makes for a scarcity of available
labor on short notice which may be required by the fact that the Borax or ore
produced in the United States not only covers the domestic: but the maajor por-
tion, of the world's requirements as well. For this reason it is difficult to gage
at all times the necessary production to meet such. fluctuating demands. The
inabilityv to obtain labor at short notice has resullted in the necessity of the regular
labor force having to work overtime as occasion requires. It is rlequeted~ that
consideration be given to this feature in prescribing the weekly hours of labor
as well as the fact that labor in such remote regions does not have the facilities
or advantages for the enjoyment of leisure time to be had in more populous sece
tions. Too much leisure is likely to make for discontent.
We believe it desirable to also point out that most of the companies also have
to provide housing and boarding accommodations. Any enlaremntll~f of labor
beyond the point already provided for would require a capital investments for
these additional facilities with additional allowance to cover the peak periods of
employment when extra labor might be necessary.
We further request that exceptions to the maximum hours of labor per wneek
he allowed to cover emergency operations due to declays in obtaining additio-nal
and temporary labor. Operations at somne places are in a continuous eycle of 24
hours per day, making it necessary at times to have repair and maintenance men.
work overtime to keep the: shut-down period to a minimum.
;I1a.r il, ,; an Hours of Employment.--The mine and con cen t rat i n plant at K~ramer
is operating on a 56-hour-per-wieek basis. The force has been contented wvith
such hours of labor anld in fact have expressed some concern at shorter hours
being adopted. As before stated opportunities for varied leisure a~re not to be
had and the men employed have always been accustomed to such. conditions.
TIhe refinery at W~i lm i n t on, Cal ifornia, is nlow opera tingL on an average of about
47 hours per week. It is proposed to reduce hourrs of labor to a 4-h~~our-per-w~eek
schedule requesting the p~ri\ilege of temporary exceedment when emecrgencies
arise and extra labor cannot be obtained.
Mlin~,rcimu WaVbges.--Even though~l the working hours pecr w~eek are sharply
reduced under the present proposal, it is not proposed to reduce thle mlinlimlum
weekly w\a ge. TChe minimum wage in the code is set at $17.00 per weekr but this
is considerably- lower than that at present bing~ll paid to a large majority of theF
employeec~-. Consiideration should also be givenl in. the w~age scale to the fact that
most Compan~fllies; furnish atccomodations, meals, and supplies at or under cost.
.Effctl on P~roduction Costs.-T-che fact that the borax p-rouclingj complllanies do
not internd to reducer weekrly Cconspen-at:lf ionll while lec~rea-inlg t he mlaximumllr number
of hours means that; there w\ill be a resultlant .ubstant ial increase in production
costs for wages. TIo this increase should be added, the increased cost of ot her
items required in the production and packing of borax products which it is im-
possible to determine at present.
The attention of the Admlinistrantor and his associates is respectfully directed
to a publication issued by the D~epartmenmt of Comzmerce, giving further informna-
tion respect ing boratx and boron compounds. This publication is identified as
I.C. 64199, dated September 1931, and issued by the United States Bureau of
111ines, Depart ment of Commerce.
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