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these rosy pictures a less colorful one a picture that in-
cludes the grayness as well as the sunshine of country life.




Courtesy of The American Child



The A. E of L and the American Scene



By JOHN A. FITCH



WHAT the American Federation of Labor
has really been doing in politics since the
adoption of the famous non-partisan policy
in 1906 and what the considerations are that
influence its policy are matters not always
easy to grasp. Consequently, William English Walling has
done a real service in providing a resume of activity in this
field in his American Labor and American Democracy.* He
describes the changing political tactics of the Federation
from its launching of the "non-partisan" movement as an
exclusively trade unionist policy down to the farmer-labor
entente, which had its more definite beginnings in 1920 and
1922, and the development of the Congressional bloc. Ac-
companying this is a discussion of labor's attitude toward
the relation of government to industry and toward such
employers' policies as company unionism and an account of
such policies within trade unionism as the development of a
concern for the solution of production problems, as exem-
plified by the so-called B. & O. plan and the new wage
policy of the Federation.

It would be a satisfaction if one could separate the well-
documented facts presented in this book from the opinions
and inferences that accompany them. For the latter leave
the informed reader in a state of some bewilderment. Not
only does Mr. Walling present numerous conclusions as be-
ing those of organized labor which the reader is inclined to
challenge, but he tends to challenge them himself by the



American Labor and American Democracy. By William English Walling.
Harper & Brothers. 184 pp. Price $3.00 postpaid of The Survey.



frequent insertion of contradictory conclusions also presented
as being those of organized labor.

Mr. Walling, one of the leading American Socialists of
pre-war days, who has now abandoned his earlier faith, offers
a sort of modified Sovietism as the ideal to be worked for
in government. The beginnings of a tendency in this direc-
tion appear, he believes, in the economic blocs that have
begun to play so important a role in Congress. He attempts
to show that through these blocs an ideal two-party system
will come to prevail in Congress entirely distinct from the
traditional two-party system that will continue to exist for
the purpose of carrying on election campaigns. By a process
of carefully keeping the left and right hands from ever
knowing of the other's existence, one man will run for Con-
gress as a Republican and another as a Democrat and both
will function in Congress as labor men without their respect-
ive campaign committees ever knowing anything about it.

In discussing the election of 1924, Mr. Walling interprets
the action of the Federation in lending support to what was
potentially a new party the La Follette-Wheeler ticket
as a "deviation" from its traditional non-partisan policy.
That it was a deviation in some respects no one will deny,
but Mr. Walling makes it appear that the Federation is
bound by its non-partisan policy to support no candidate
who is not labeled either Republican or Democrat. Support
is given to the one of these two parties according to Mr.
Walling, that seems in any given case to be the "lesser evil."
Just why support of a third party as the least evil would
be a new or different policy is not apparent. Even while we



April 15, 1927



THE SURREY



are pondering this question the author seemingly rejects the
lesser evil theory, for he explains the action of the Federation
in 1924 by saying that labor found itself confronted with a
new problem because "unsatisfactory presidential candidates
and platforms had been adopted for the first time by both
the major parties." Thus we are left to assume that in
previous campaigns only the Republican candidate and plat-
form have been unsatisfactory and that the Democrats were
favored, not as the lesser evil, but as representing all that,
labor was seeking!

THE two major contentions of the book appear to be
these: That American labor is American, and that
American labor is right. Personally, I am unable to see that
the strictly American character of anything is worth contend-
ing for unless it is better than anything else. Probably the
latter is not a good reason either, but at least it is a less dan-
gerous foible. Or one could reasonably explain that a thing is
American or British or Chinese or what-not as a means of
explaining why it is the particular sort of thing it seems to
be. But Mr. Walling insists that American labor is Ameri-
can as if that in itself is an achievement justifying a consid-
erable amount of self-congratulation. He goes further; he
even insists that it is not European in any sense and particu-
larly not British. And in doing all this he contrasts experi-
ence with theory as if the two could represent any lasting
conflict if men are both intelligent and honest. Repeatedly
he makes statements like the following: "Our labor unionism
is based not upon ideas but upon experience." American
labor has "adopted neither socialism nor any other doctrine."
"Our labor movement is not an importation or the result
of a theory."

But he apparently believes that the American labor move-
ment is the best thing of its sort in the world and so he is,
in a way, justified in celebrating its Americanism. It is hard
to understand why the absence of ideas, which he insists is
a characteristic of the movement, should be considered a
cause for cheering, but it is apparent that he does so consider
it. And so he leaves the impression that American labor is
as right as can be.

Now, I submit that this is no service to the labor move-
ment, nor is it a true statement of fact. American labor
has evolved its policies out of experience, of course, just as
every other movement of any stability has done either here
or anywhere else. But it has also evolved theories and even
doctrines, without which any consistency of action or any
action at all would be impossible. No better example of this
could be desired than the discussions of wage policies in
recent conventions of the American Federation of Labor,
resulting in the development of a theory of wage payments
that Mr. Walling discusses.

NOTHER matter about which labor might be expected
_ _ to have some ideas, or even a theory, is the question of
jits relations with the employer. Mr. Walling really concedes
this also, by his insistence on the non-class-conscious character
of American labor. "Organized labor," he writes, "has been
a part of the democratic movement on the whole exploited
neither more nor less than the rest of the people, conscious
of that fact and not conscious of itself as a separate prole-
Itariat of outcasts or disinherited." Consequently, "there
(were no classes within the democratic movement, nor did
labor or the people as a whole feel that they were subjected



to any lasting class rule." In a chapter entitled Labor Chal-
lenges the Domination of Capitalism, he writes, "The Feder-
ation . . . denies that we are living under a capitalist sys-
tem." And to emphasize the point further, he asseverates,
"When 90 or 99 per cent of the American people lost, organ-
ized labor lost, when 90 or 99 per cent of the people gained
. . . labor felt that it was also gaining."

Now it takes some reasoning, one would suppose, to reach
the conclusion that there are no classes in our democracy
and that the economic regime under which we live is not
one of capitalism. Such a belief might even be de-
cribed as a theory, and if it is the belief accepted by
organized labor, then labor has been dabbling in theories
also.

BUT Mr. Walling has no sooner announced this theory
than he begins to deny it. Again and again he points out
the camp of the enemy that organized labor must face. They
are "employers," "profiteers," "vested interests," even "capi-
talists." Labor realizes that "economic or social compul-
sion" will be necessary before these foemen will "yield any-
thing either of their illegitimate profits or their arbitrary
power." It "realizes that it must necessarily take the offen-
sive" against an opposition that is "natural and inevitable"
and possessed of "colossal strength." This opposition has
many weapons at its disposal it may "starve out" the work-
ers, it uses the "blacklist," at times it controls the govern-
ment and its resistance even takes the form of "getting
judges to declare unconstitutional or otherwise nullify the
legislative remedies and reforms secured by organized labor
to protect its rights." These are rather drastic charges, but
they are not a whit more drastic than appear regularly in
the journals of conservative trade unions. It is quite true
that organized labor in this country is to a large extent con-
servative, but as long as the workers conceive of their unions
as fighting organizations, as long as they think of employers
as constituting an opposition body whom, from time to time,
they must fight, it is absurd to say that there is no class-
consciousness.

MR. WALLING has fallen into the error of assuming
that organized labor is single organic entity, speaking
with a single voice. He overlooks altogether the million or-
ganized workers outside the American Federation of Labor,
and he recognizes no possibility of difference of opinion within
the Federation. The leader whom he quotes far more ex-
tensively than any other is Matthew Woll, who, in addition
to being president of the Photo-Engravers' Union, is vice-
president of the National Civic Federation. Many of the
quotations from Mr. Woll are taken from speeches delivered
before the Civic Federation. Now, Civic Federation eco-
nomics is not distasteful to large numbers of trade unionists,
but there are at least half a million members in unions affili-
ated with the American Federation of Labor which have
forbidden their officers even to become members of the Civic
Federation, and there are many members of other unions
who do not accept its philosophy.

These other trade unionists who do not accept the doctrine
that there are no classes in America may possibly not stress
their Americanism so far as to deny that anything can be
learned from any other country. But I venture to suggest
that straight thinking and open-mindedness have never yet
made a good American into a bad one.



Such Things Can Be

A DAY WITH THE STATE DIVISION OF ALIENS
By LILLIAN SYMES



WE LIVE in an age which is skeptical of melodrama.
The unscrupulous villain and his innocent victim,
the sinister plot to defraud the trusting widow and orphan,
the foreclosure of the old homestead, the whisking away of
the comely country girl we live in a world where such
things do not happen (if they ever did) and in which con-
flict is, for the most part, subtle and devoid of action.

The busy Director of this Division of Aliens of the New
York Department of Labor can afford to smile at our
sophistication. Her world is as unbelievable as a dime novel
and as real as life. Lillian Sire and the investigators
attached to her office guard the rights of that most helpless
and inarticulate portion of our population, the unskilled
alien workers. The casual American laborer also comes here
with his difficulties, for the bureau handles complaints of
fraud and abuse perpetrated upon the helpless worker
whether native or foreign.

A host of questionable and criminal elements are forever
preying upon this group unscrupulous
employers, bogus doctors and lawyers,
notaries public who extract extor-
tionate fees, fake installment and stock
schemers, crooked ticket and money
transmission agents, fortune tellers and
the like. To look over the records of
this Division or to sit through the
hearings of the twenty or more cases
a day which pass through the office
is to realize that the strong arm
of the State Labor Department
in many cases the sole protection
worker against the most rapacious
dustrial life.

On the Director's desk lay a letter from the village police
officer of a sleepy little Catskill town where many New
Yorkers spend idyllic holidays in mountain inns and boarding-
houses. In his letter he appeals officially to the Division of
Aliens in behalf of a group of cases that had come under his
observation during the month of August. Names, addresses
and dates are given and the circumstances described in the
dispassionate language of an official report.

A HUNGARIAN woman from New York City was
employed for a time in the kitchen of a summer board-
ing-house. When she got ready to leave, she asked her em-
ployer for the sixty dollars due her. He not only refused to
pay, but when she grew insistent, beat her and threw her out
of the house. She went to the village officer who advised her
to take her complaint to the Alien Division. She started back
to the boarding-house to get her clothes, but on the way,
dazed and desperate from the beating she had received, she
was hit by an automobile. While she lay in the village hospi-
tal the police officer appealed to the Alien Division in her be-
half, concludng his letter, "If this woman had been treated
as she should have been, this terrible accident would never
have occurred." Before the Division could act, she died.



There was no claimant for the sixty dollars, no legal ground
for holding the employer responsible. He still retains the
sixty dollars and his liberty.



T 1

1 b



The Consumers' League of Neu> York
has just completed a brief survey of the
several departments under the State
Industrial Commission. This picture of
the State Division of Aliens is one of a
series resulting from that study of New
York labor laws and the machinery by
which they work. An earlier chapter
of the series appeared in The Survey
of March 15 under the title, Jobs: A
Day in the State Employment Offices.



is



of the unorganized
elements of our in-



IHAT this was not an isolated case in the "summer
boarding-house industry" is shown by three other reports
from this same officer. A middle-aged woman with a little
girl was sent from New York City to work as a cook. When
she arrived, late at night, the employer had changed his mind
about hiring her and refused to let her into the house. With
the child tugging at her skirts, she was obliged to walk the
four miles back to the village where a night policeman found
her lodgings. In the morning he discovered that she was
penniless, that neither she nor the child had eaten since
twelve o'clock of the day before. A collection was taken
and the woman and child sent back to the city with in-
structions to report to the Division of Aliens.

A young Polish woman had been hired to work in an-
other boarding-house. After working
a month, she demanded her pay. She
was thrown into the street, her clothes
after her. Carfare back to New York
was supplied by a collection taken at
the village police station.

The most flagrant cases of labor
abuse reported to the Alien Division
take place in the lumber camps in the
northern part of the state. The work
is done mostly in winter when the
camps are snowbound. The story of
Stephan Kuscovitch is, except for its fatal ending, typical of
dozens reported to the Division of Aliens.

Stephan had been employed in this small lumbering camp
for several months. Food and a bunk had been supplied
but payment had been postponed on one pretext or another.
When Stephan finally demanded his wages, he was ordered
out of the camp and threatened with death if he refused to
leave. Penniless, he started to tramp over the fifty snow-
covered miles to Utica. Overcome with exhaustion, he col-
lapsed in the snow where he lay for several hours before
being picked up by a passing driver to whom he told his
story. The "good Samaritan" offered him work at better
pay if he would come back to his ranch and fell a patch
of trees. For a month, Stephan felled trees, split logs and
sawed cord-wood. Then he asked for his pay. He was
beaten over the head by his benefactor and threatened with
a shot-gun if he didn't "clear out." Again he started for
Utica. This time he reached his destination, frozen and
exhausted. A few days later he died from the effects of
exposure.



O (



tCCASIONALLY the worker takes justice in his
own hands as in the case of another Polish farm-
hand, who, threatened by his boss for demanding his
wages, proceeded to "beat up" the employer. When a
constable arrived, the worker was arrested and thrown into



92



April IS, 1927



THE S U R V E Y



93



recently notified of his plight by a local official, has inter-
ested itself in his case.



jail. He has now served two months, awaiting trial, unable pay twenty dollars a week. When money's all paid, I will
to furnish bail or hire an attorney. The Alien Division, feel better." Each week her twenty dollars is subtracted

from the claim against her husband.

While an organized white slave traffic in immigrant girls
is probably a thing of the past, continuous vigilance is

OT all such injustices are visited upon alien workers necessary on the part of the Alien Division for the pro-
tection of the newly arrived woman immigrant from the
exploitation of unscrupulous lodging-house keepers in some
of the foreign settlements.



N



_ in isolated communities. Recently a motion picture
film shipped 250 extras to Lakewood, New Jersey. When
the men arrived at their destination at 2 A. M., they found
that no quarters had been provided for them. They re-
mained all night in the open woods in a pouring rain. Dur- OTRIKE-BREAKERS recently brought in to take the
ing the next two days, the rain continued and still nothing yj places of men on strike created a serious problem in
was done to give them shelter. The filming was called off New York City. These men had been promised their
on account of the weather and the men straggled back to
New York, many of them ill from exposure. After futile
attempts to collect their wages, they reported the matter to
the Alien Division. On the same day the complaints were



filed, the Division collected wages amounting to $960 for

them.



return fare when the strike was over, as well as their
board, lodging and generous wages while it lasted. On
their arrival here, several hundred were immediately dis-
charged, because of settlements in certain divisions. They
were left to roam the streets, penniless, hungry and



desperate. One hundred of them took up their grievances



The building or road-making firm that goes into business with the Alien Department. In a session which lasted
on a shoe-string" and then fails is one of the most diffi- until 10 o'clock in the evening, a settlement was finally ob-



cult problems of the Department. While such an employer
s compelled to furnish a bond, the companies supplying
them with material have first lien upon the bond and it is
usually exhausted before the matter of wages can be taken
up. Recently such an "over-night" building concern filed
a bankruptcy petition while owing the sum of $10,000 to
ts employes.

The alien worker is often exploited as cruelly by his
prosperous fellow-countryman as by the "hard-boiled" Amer-
can. A typical fraud was that perpetrated by two Slavic
msiness men who formed a co-partnership as steamship and
money transmission agents. Twenty-one of their fellow-
countrymen, poorly paid laborers and servant girls, deposit-
ed with them sums amounting to $3.438. The depositors



tained whereby their board and return transportation were
provided by the company. Since that time the com-
pany has agreed to submit to the Alien Division for its
approval any contract by which large numbers of men
are brought into the state for employment, temporary or
permanent.

INCE the passing of the Federal Immigration Law,
the question has been frequently raised as to whether
a division of aliens is necessary. The thousands of cases
which pass through the Division every year, of which
the ones quoted are but casual examples, should point
to the fact that an alien in a strange land, who can-
not speak its language and whose funds are limited,



lad deprived themselves in order to send this help to their cannot possibly be adequately protected by our already
relatives in Europe, for the most part women and children, congested courts of law. Nor have the courts the
who depended on aid from America for food and shelter, facilities for the rapid and accurate investigation which
The money was appropriated by the two partners. When
the matter was finally taken up by the Alien Division a
meeting of all the creditors was called
and the problem placed before them.
The two partners had no assets of
any kind.




IMMIGRANT



Woodcut by Entile Adler



cases of this type require.

Two hundred and forty-one thousand, three hundred
and nineteen foreigners entered
the United States through the port
of New York during the fiscal
year 1923-24, and the United
States secretary of labor estimates
that about 850,000 persons had
entered the country clandestinely dur-
ing that period. About one-third of
the immigrants who enter the port
of New York remain in this state as
residents. New York has and will
always have, therefore, an alien prob-
lem demanding special agencies for
its proper handling.

The Division is a clearing house for
those big and little tragedies which can
find no adequate solution in law courts
or charitable agencies. More than
any scheme for intensive Americani-
zation of the immigrant, it has within
its power the molding of alien be-
wilderment and resentment into in-
telligent loyalty and willing co-
operation.



94



THE SURVEY



April 15, 1927



Home Work



The illegal employment of children on industrial home
work has been reduced by half during the first year of
Pennsylvania's experiment with a new type of regulation
(see The Survey, April 15, 1926, p. 97). In 1924 the
state Department of Labor and Industry found that in 50
per cent of the homes where industrial home work was done
and where there were children under 16 years of age, the
children were illegally at work. In 1926, the proportion
was reduced to 23 per cent, according to a report prepared
by the Bureau of Women and Children which is to be
published soon. This drop in the proportion of illegal
child labor is more conspicuous in some industries than
in others:

INDUSTRY 1924 1926

Tags 90.8 41.4

Women's and Children's Clothing 50.3 27.4

Men's Clothing 44.3 25.8

Knit Goods 29.2 17.4

All Industries 50.0 23.5

The report attributes this gain to the cooperation of em-
ployers in enforcing home-work regulations. This has been
largely a matter of learning through investigating the actual
conditions under which the firm's work was being done in
the homes and then devising methods of supervision to meet
the needs of the various types of work. "The reduction of
the illegal employment of children in the tag industry was
directly due to the forceful methods with which with one
accord the employers in this industry met the situation. The
comparatively slight improvement in the men's clothing
industry, on the other hand, may be explained by the fact
that iu this industry instead of dealing with a few em-
ployers, the Bureau has had to make its contacts with a
large number of small contractors." 'Home work processes
are simple and children have been traditionally employed
upon them. Probably only the long, slow method of edu-
cation can bring about absolute enforcement of home work
regulations. But this report of the first year of the Penn-
sylvania experiment shows that much can be done through
the intelligent cooperation of state authorities and employers
of home workers.



INDUSTRIAL research groups, "to meet the need of students
desiring to obtain first-hand contacts with industry" are planned
for the coming summer vacation by the Y.M.C.A. and the
Y.W.C.A. Each group will meet once or twice a week "to
exchange and evaluate experiences and to discuss the wider
issues which may be found to be involved." For the students
who go into industry free lance, unattached to any group, the
Associations plan to hold a Students in Industry Conference in
the fall, similar to the one at Earlham in September, 1926
(see The Survey, Dec. 15, page 383). Groups are already
definitely planned for Chicago, New York City, Detroit, and
Philadelphia during 1927, and in St. Louis and Denver if there
is sufficient demand. The Associations point out that "The men
and women of our colleges are becoming more and more keenly



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