Chicago Public Policy.

Labor, capital and the public : a discussion of the relations between employes[sic], employers and the public online

. (page 1 of 14)
Online LibraryChicago Public PolicyLabor, capital and the public : a discussion of the relations between employes[sic], employers and the public → online text (page 1 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


;^^^^H




B-" ■






:^1) Tim



aJBLIC:



/&««»,




tP



6




at'?



■1?2






>



GIFT OF




LABOR, CAPITAL and the PUBLIC



A Discussion of the Relations
Between Employes,
Employers and the
Public.



240 PAGES, CROWN OCTAVO

CLOTH BOUND

PRICE ONE DOLLAR



PUBLIC POLICY PUBLISHING CO.
1; CHICAGO

1905



#f/



Ohio Qtalfi rSol



CONTENTS.



Page.
A New Emancipation i

English and American Labor Unions 2

Militant Stage of Trade Unionism 7

A Plea for Fair Play Between Capital and Labor 11

The Middle Ground in Labor Questions 13

Natural Checks to Labor Union Abuses 18

Work ; a Grand Ideal 35

Unions Educating Unions 39

Hatred of the Rich 41

Socialism Destroys Prosperity 43

Australia's Promise and Peril 44

Labor Unions and Socialism 48

Who Are Responsible ? 50

John Mitchell on Violence 52

Trades Unions and Industrial Freedom on the Pacific
Coast 56

Merit Labor Unions 60

Sensible Talk to Workers 62

Enemies of Unionism 66

The Dawn of Reason in Labor Problems 69

Is It the "Trusts" or the Unions? 71

Limits to the "Closed Shop" 79

The Crimes of Miners and Mine Owners 81

Colorado's Evil Days 84

Some Conditions of "Joy in Labor" 87

The Joy of Doing One's Part 88

Good-will in Labor Relations 90

Force and Exclusion Policies Doomed 93

No Monopoly of Labor 95

Failure of Compulsion 96

A Feature of the Colorado Situation to Be Emphasized.. 97

Trade Unionism in Public Employment Halted loi

Whose Fault Is This? 102

iii

281980



Page.
That "Right of Contract" Problem 103

Employers' Associations 105

English Unions and the Open Shop 107

The Open Shop Issue Settling Itself no

Why So Many Strikes ? 113

Labor Strikes Always With Us 117

Boycott Against Employer Perpetually Enjoined 119

Arbitration vs. the Trade Agreement 139

Arbitration, Conciliation, Trade Agreement 140

Governor Peabody's Recital of Colorado's Woes 153

Governor Peabody's Defense • • • I55

Every Workman Should Have Opportunity to Win on
His Merits 170

A Progressive Step in Unionism 172

Labors Interest in Law and Order 174

Industrial Wastes of Labor Wars 176

Mutual Loyalty 177

Employer and Employe an Industrial Unit 180

The Route to Trade Prosperity 183

Preference for Superior Workmen 187

Merit Unions 191

Enforcement of Law the First Requirement 195

Peaceable Settlements of Strikers' Demands 201

National Shop Regulations 205

A National Shop Regulation System Is Necessary 207

The Rights of Children 212

Children Should Not Be Confined in Workshops 214

The Open Shop 218

Index to Authors and Articles 221



IV



INTRODUCTION.



The group of editorials and special articles brought
together in this volume express a considerable variety
of opinions, but with substantial unity in the general
point of view. All but one of them have appeared
during the year 1904, and all in the columns of
Public Policy. All of them have to do with the rela-
tions that exist and those that ought to exist between
employes, employers and the public.

In writing a few words of introduction, by the
editor's request, I do not mean to imply entire agree-
ment with all the views expressed or all the conclu-
sions reached ; neither, I assume, would Mr. Foote
care to occupy any such position of wholesale indorse-
ment. But, if I understand the editorial purposes of
Public Policy correctly, its aim is to exert a broadly
educational influence, and, while seeking to direct that
influence along certain general lines of "progressive
conservatism," it recognizes that public opinion is
passing through a formative period on these matters
and that light must be sought from many sources if
the truth is ever to stand revealed.

In these pages will be found many of Public
Policy's own editorials, many selected from other
representative Journals, and a number of special arti-



cles dealing much more in detail with phases of the
labor problem that are foremost in the public mind.
If the impression is given, from these discussions as
a whole, that too much attention is paid to certain ex-
cesses and abuses that have cost the labor movement
so heavily in the last few years, it is but just to say,
as I have no reason to doubt, that the purpose is
wholly friendly and in no sense partisan or an-
tagonistic. No real kindness is done to any move-
ment by ignoring or smoothing over any clearly mis-
taken tendencies which, if unchecked, would swing it
off into the byways of trouble and disaster.

Personally, I am even more drawn to the method
of emphasizing the hopeful tendencies, the better side,
of any movement of large possibilities for good, such
as trades unionism, in the belief that to point out and
keep to the front the successes, the good results of
wise and fair dealing, patient and temperate conduct,
will more and more impress those who need the les-
sons of such experience, as many thousands both of
workingmen and employers do. But it is necessary
that, hand in hand with this ''good example" educa-
tion, should go an equally clear exhibition of the
suicidal folly of any policy based on unreason, mis-
representation, misinformation, prejudice, bitterness
and passion. Getting men to look upon this picture
and then upon that, making the contrasts vivid and
real, is probably the most effective method in the
whole process of educational guidance from worse
to better courses.



VI



The progressive, hopeful side is by no means ig-
nored in this compilation. Indeed, the darker side
could be made a minor factor but for the unfortunate
fact that in the last two or three years we have had
many outbreaks of lawlessness and arbitrary practices
in connection with labor troubles in certain quarters,
which cannot be ignored, and if not resisted at every
step might easily become chronic. There is reason
to believe the tide is now running the other way, and
it is none too early for all good citizens to be at
work, building a sea wall of moral and educational
influence against its possible return.

The purpose of this book is to help in just that
work by addressing itself to employers, to wage-
earners, and to that "outside public" not identified
with either group, seeking to bring to each a better
understanding of the viewpoint, motives and peculiar
problems of the other. The desire has been, in mak-
ing these selections, to show in clear and simple
fashion, with much practical illustration, some of the
underlying principles upon which fair and peaceable
relations between employers and wage-earners and
the community at large must rest. It is impossible,
of course, to cover the whole field of such a problem
as that in a volume prepared on the present plan ;
on the other hand, it is very probable that the ad-
mittedly fragmentary treatment, the popular style,
the variety of topics and their close relation to actual
happenings familiar to everybody, are just the things
to give it the direct, practical influence among work-



VII



ingmen and employers, which is so often wanting in
more exhaustive and carefully wrought-out treatises
on the general industrial situation, or in the more or
less abstract outgivings of the lecture hall and the
college classroom.

President Eliot, a short time ago, characterized the
problem of industrial strife as ''this greatest of public
questions — far greater than any political question now
before the country, far greater than any probable or
discernible question of foreign warfare, because this
warfare is at home, and because it touches in the most
intimate way the very truest interests of human
society."

Every intelligent, fair-minded effort to lessen this
strife by making clear the terrible cost, the folly, the
needlessness of it all, and the conditions (or some of
them at least) on which friendly and honorable rela-
tions depend, has an important part to play in the
forward movement of the time.

Hayes Robbins.

Winchester, Mass., September 4, 1905.



Vlll



A NEW EMANCIPATION.



The indications that the workers of this country
are about to experience the blessings of a new emanci-
pation are growing continuously. This emancipation
is in character the same as that for which there has
been a universal and ages-long struggle. It is an
emancipation of a kind that humanity must ever seek,
an emancipation from the errors of ignorance. Even
now large numbers of honest-hearted, intelligent-
minded members of trades unions are wondering how
it became possible for those who have become their
leaders to lead them so far astray from correct prin-
ciples that have been evolved from the experience and
conflicts of all human existence. They will find the
source of this power of leadership over them in their
abdication of their reason, done when they accepted
the dictation of others and ceased to think for them-
selves. Only by this process has it been made pos-
sible to their leaders to require them to commit acts
which in their hearts they know to be violations of
the fundamental principles of individual liberty.
Every workingman who aids in depriving another of
liis right to work on such terms as he may be willing
to accept, when and where and as long as he pleases,
aids in forging manacles for his own hands. This
fact is being understood by thousands of workingmcn
who are counting the losses they have sustained
through obeying the dictation of ignorant or corrupt

I

1



leaders. It has always been true that, when the blind
lead the blind, both fall into the ditch.

One evil of the situation during the past few years
has been the cowardice of public representatives and
officials who have failed to enforce laws because they
wanted to win the votes supposed to be controlled by
organized labor. The evil was really deeper than
this ; its source was in the apathy of the people. There
has been a lack of healthy and vigorous public senti-
ment that would give to every public representative
an official reason to believe that for every vote con-
trolled by organized labor that might be diverted from
him on account of his actions in honestly and intelli-
gently enforcing all laws, three votes would be at-
tracted to him for this same reason from the great
mass of honest-hearted, fair-minded people who con-
stitute the governing majority in this American re-
public.

Emancipation from the tyranny of ignorance and
corruption is to-day the true war cry of those who de-
sire to enjoy their rights to life, liberty and the pur-
suit of happiness.



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LABOR UNIONS.



editorial: new york journal of commerce.



The statement on "Labor Unions and British In-
dustry" issued by the bureau of labor at Washington
presented in an instructive way the progress that has
been made through experience in labor unionism in

2



\



England, in comparison with the backward state of
labor organization in this country. The author of
the statement, ]\Ir. A. Maurice Low, is well known
here as a writer on English affairs in American peri-
odicals and on American affairs in English periodi-
cals. His information and opinions were derived
from both employers and workingmen, and apparently
fairly reflect the consensus of views. Though it may
not be exact to say that "in the United States the
unions are at the present time passing through the
stage which is part of the history of unionism in
the United Kingdom a quarter of a century ago," it
is evident that ''organized labor" in England has
learned many lessons by experience which it has yet
to learn in this country. But the circumstances and
conditions in the two countries have been in most
respects so widely different that a fair comparison is
hardly possible, except in the spirit at present dis-
played by union leaders. Great Britain is in com-
parison with the United States a much smaller, more
compact and more densely peopled country, with less
diversity of interests and employments, but much
more advanced in the relative development of mechan-
ical and manufacturing industries. Its labor unions
have grown up chiefly in populous industrial center^
and have been composed mainly of skilled workmen
in "trades." We do not hear of teamsters' unions
and striking cabmen, or the organization of excava- ^
tors and other unskilled laborers in Great Britain.J
Moreover, the social traditions there are such that
workingmen seem to consider themselves a distinct

3



class in the community, destined to pass their lives
as wageworkers generation after generation, while
the theory here is that a man is not doomed by birth
or breeding to remain in any class if he has the
capacity to work his way out of it.

In England labor organization has been in a strict
sense trades unionism, and the purpose has been to
organize the competent men in the several trades so
as to produce a solidarity that will enable them to
exact terms and conditions of labor that were deemed
fair in each trade, and to obtain legislation consid-
ered necessary for the protection of their rights and
interests. Trade organizations have not been so
affiliated or confederated as to give one control over
another or a voice in its management, and while
there has been a bond of sympathy and common pur-
pose between them, they have not been wont to sup-
port each other by sympathetic strikes or boycotts.
They have been little addicted to using coercion or
intimidation to bring the competent men of a trade
into its unions, and so far as they formerly resorted to
that they have found out its lack of wisdom as well
as of justice, and have abandoned it. In their early
days they resorted easily to strikes which were not
unattended with violence, but they have learned the
folly of that and in recent years they have sought to
avoid strikes and to prevent violence and violation of
law as a matter of policy. They have to a large de-
gree abandoned the attitude of antagonism and hos-
tility to employers, or to capital, and sought to obtain
agreements on the ground of mutual interest by "col-

4



lective bargaining." This has induced a sense of re-
sponsibility and a respect for contracts which afford
the most notable contrast with the spirit of some of
our labor unions. The result is a much better sys-
tem of management than has yet been developed in
this country, for no arbitrary power is given to walk-
ing delegates or business agents, but difficulties with
employers are soberly considered by executive com-
mittees which are made up of the most capable men
in the unions. They have learned the serious con-
sequences of bitter disputes and contests and the
wasteful loss of strikes, and endeavor bv every rea-
sonable means to avoid them and to settle them peace-
fully when they cannot be averted. These gains are
largely a matter of the last few years, rather than of
a quarter of a century, and one of the most impres-
sive lessons was derived from what is known as the
great ''engineers' '' or machinists' strike, which did
so much injury to British industry.

The errors of English trades unions have been
largely economic, and through their discussions, their
friendly conferences with employers and the choice of
their ablest men as leaders in their councils and repre-
sentatives in public bodies, including the British Par-
liament, they have been learning to correct these.
But some of them linger, and our labor unions are
much more apt to copy the errors than to accept the
lessons of experience. In former times they made the
mistake of resisting the introduction of labor-saving
machinery and improved methods for the increase of
production on the ground that they diminished the

5



demand for labor. This is one of the faults least
imitated in this country on account of the larger op-
portunities for work, and now it seems to be outgrown
in England; but workmen there have not wholly got
over the cognate error of restricting production by
limiting the amount to be done within certain hours
or in return for an established rate of wages. It is
said in Mr. Low's statement that it is now ''reluctantly
admitted by the most intelligent among labor leaders"
that "in the past" the trade unionists "penalized the
more efficient workman to the extent that it was
impossible for him to profit by his superior natural ad-
vantages, higher skill or greater industry," and it is
implied that this is not so in the present. But a work-
man is quoted as saying thaf "if there were no unions
the best man among the workmen, the man who
could do the best work and who is willing to work
hardest, would get along best and make the most
money, just the same as he does in any other class,
but the union won't let us do that." That is the most
grievous industrial and social error of the British
trades unions, and, strangely enough, it is the one
most insisted upon by some of the unions in this
country, where every man is supposed to be free to
avail himself of his capacity and his opportunity to
rise in the world. The respect in which labor unions
here lag deplorably behind those in Great Britain
is in their intolerance toward non-union men, their
use of lawless and iniquitous methods, such as at-
tacks upon person and property, the sympathetic
strike and the boycott, and this is due to a leadership

6



which is distinctly inferior in abihty and character
to that of the British trades unions. But except at
a few points, in large cities and manufacturing and
mining centers, unionism is a much smaller factor in
the industrial life of this country.



MILITANT STAGE OF TRADE UNIONISM.



EDITORIAL : WALL STREET JOURNAL.



A report of very great interest and importance has
been made to the bureau of labor at Washington by
A. Maurice Low, in regard to labor unions and Brit-
ish industry. There has been, from time to time, much
written on this subject from the various standpoints,
and the belief has very generally prevailed that no
small part of the decay in British industry, to which
leading English statesmen have recently referred, and
which has led to the Chamberlain program of a pro-
tective tariff, has been due to the exactions of the
trade unions. Mr. Low's report goes to show that
while this is in large measure true, it is a passing con-
dition, and that the labor unions of Great Britain have
entered into another stage of development and are
reaching the point where they realize the necessity of
co-operation with, rather than war upon, capital.

Mr. Low reports that the labor unions when started
in England soon became a militant society, whose main
object was to better the condition of its members at
the expense of employers, and without regard for the

7



rights of employers and the equities involved. The
labor leaders were men who were trying to embitter
the relations between members of the unions and the
employer. That era, he says, has passed. The fight-
ing trade union leader has been succeeded in England
by a leader who is no less courageous, but who is cer-
tainly more intelligent. This new leader has given
time and thought to the study of industrial questions,
and comprehends that if the wage-worker is to im-
prove his condition it is essential for him to maintain
friendly relations with his employer, to make strikes
as few as possible, and to do nothing foolishly to re-
strict the conduct of business or increase the cost of
production, and thereby help a foreign competitor.
Mr. Low admits that the appeal to force, the strike
on one hand and the lockout on the other, is by no
means an archaic weapon in England to-day, but both
sides recognize the wastefulness and folly of resort-
ing to force and endeavor by every means possible to
secure a settlement of difficulties by an appeal to rea-
son and the employment of methods of conciliation.

Mr. Low apparently conducted his investigation
with care and impartiality and with patient investiga-
tion of both sides of the labor problem. His report
contains a mass of details tending to sustain the conclu-
sion which he has reached.

It is needless to say that his conclusion, if it is, as
it appears to be, in accordance with the facts, is of
immense significance to this country. The United
States has been able to attain a commanding industrial



position in the world by means of methods far in
advance of those adopted in older countries. Our
capitalists have been ready to adopt every possible
improvement and to substitute at the earliest oppor-
tunity and regardless of expense the new machine or
tool. They have built expensive plants, only to aban-
don them as soon as constructed because new inven-
tions or methods have been discovered which would
cheapen production. Moreover, there has been in this
country a larger use made of human muscle and hu-
man brain, so as to get out of them the largest possible
results in the shortest space of time. Consequently,
in spite of our protective tariff and the high rates of
wages paid in this country, we have been able to place
the products of our manufacturers in many quarters
of the globe in competition with the poorer paid labor
of Europe. This has been the result, in large part,
of the fact that the American factory and mill have
been from top to bottom a thinking machine. Not
merely the financier supporting it, and the managers
controlling it, but every grade of workman down to
the lowest have been encouraged to think, and a pre-
mium has been paid upon suggestions of improvement.
Now in England the conditions of the past have been
very different from those prevailing in the United
States, and that is the reason why England has fallen
behind in the great contest for commercial supremacy.
In England the capitalist has not expected or encour-
aged the average workman to think, and, on the other
hand, the average workman, through his trade unions,

9



has persistently antagonized the introduction of new
machinery and labor-saving devices.

The significant thing, however, is that England has
learned her folly. Her statesmen have waked up to the
realization that something must be done to prevent
further decay. Her employers are realizing the ad-
vantages of collective bargaining, which is one of the
great results of trade unionism, and are beginning to
introduce many American methods. The trade unions
have begun to realize their folly in antagonizing ma-
chinery and in pursuing a policy of war against capital.

Now in the United States, immense as have been
our strides in other respects, we are still in the pre-
liminary or middle stages of the labor problem. We
are undergoing an experience which in England, ac-
cording to Mr. Low, has been passed. Here, in spite
of many efforts at conciliation, some of which have
been very successful, the attitude of capital and labor
is that of two opposing armed bodies. We are in the
militant stage of the labor problem. England has
passed that stage and has entered into that of concilia-
tion and co-operation. The significance of this state-
ment is very plain, and the lesson it teaches is vital.
Unless the United States intends to lose the advan-
tage which it has gained, capital and labor must stop
making war upon each other, and while retaining the
advantages of organization on both sides, shall sub-
stitute conciliation and co-operation for acts of war.



lO



A PLEA FOR FAIR PLAY BETWEEN CAPI-
TAL AND LABOR.



Under the title of ''The Middle Ground in Labor
Questions," the editor of the Wall Street Journal gives
publication to a letter from James Kilbourne, com-
menting upon the advice given to workingmen by
Samuel Gompers to resist any attempt to reduce their
wages or to increase their hours of labor. This advice
was given by Mr. Gompers in his annual address be-
fore the national convention of the Federation of La-
bor, at which time he was a candidate for re-election
as president of the organization. When workingmen
are imposed upon by being urged by a trusted leader
to follow such a policy, which is indefensible from an
economic standpoint, prudence and common sense not
only demand that unnecessary and unreasonable re-
ductions in wages should be avoided, they demand that
information shall be supplied to both employers and
employes from which they can form correct opinions.

There are extremists in both classes. Some employ-
ers are as eager to get the largest possible amount of
work for the least possible pay as some employes are
to get the largest possible pay for the least possible
work. The vocation of employer or of employe does
not of itself change nor sanctify human nature. But
there is a science of economy that is being gradually


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryChicago Public PolicyLabor, capital and the public : a discussion of the relations between employes[sic], employers and the public → online text (page 1 of 14)