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opinions of one or two of the delegates. Mr. P.
Walls, of the National Federation of Blast-furnace-
men, writes as follows : *

" If I thought that such a body {i.e. the Civic Federa-
tion) would attempt to assume the role of arbitrator or
in any way interfere in the technicalities of a dispute, I
would have nothing to do with it ; but its sole function
is to use every means possible to bring contending parties
together, particularly before the real rupture takes place
or before it becomes too great to be easily healed. I
have no hesitation in saying that had there been a

* Report of the Mosely Industrial Oommission, p. 20.


similar institution in this country, it would have saved
many thousands of pounds to both capital and labour and
many a bitter tear."

Mr. Geo. N. Barnes, of the Amalgamated Society
of Engineers, writes ; *

" I believe that a Civic Federation anywhere is a good
thing, if founded on the principle of free public conference
and discussion, on the part of men honestly trying to
find a way out of industrial and social ills and provided
it does not in any way weaken organisation."

The opinion of Mr. D. C. Cummings, of the Iron
and Steel Shipbuilders' and Boilermakers' Society, is
as follows : t

" I heartily approve of the formation of such bodies
as the Civic Federation and would at all times lend my
assistance to the formation of any similar body at home,
having for its object the obtaining of Industrial Peace
by reason and common sense, aided by intelligent public
opinion. The formation in Great Britain of a body
similar to the Civic Federation is well worthy of a trial."

The chorus of hearty approval with which the
National Civic Federation is greeted, clearly shows
that it is doing good work, and this no doubt is largely
due to the relative lack of other voluntary systems of
conciliation and arbitration in the United States.
Voluntary systems of very considerable importance
do of course exist and do good w^ork, and if no men-
tion of them is made here, it is only because there is
nothing so peculiar about them, as to justify a claim

* Report of the Mosely Industrial Commisbion, p. 77.
t Report of the Mosely Industrial Commission, p. 89.


upon tlie very limited space at my disposal.* It will
be seen that the principle on which the National
Civic Federation rests, is the equality of interest in
industrial disputes of employers, employees and the
general public. It is upon this same principle that
compulsory arbitration is largely based, but the
method of solving the difficulties in the two cases is as
different as can be. The National Civic Federation
stands essentially for conciliation, and no well-
wisher of industrial peace could withhold his
support from it. It would seem doubtful whether
similar institutions would succeed equally well in
other countries. The success of the organisation
depends largely upon a relative want of conciliation
facilities ; upon employers and employees having

* The best general account of private conciliation and
arbitration in the United States will be found in the French
Report, De la Conciliation et de 1' Arbitrage, etc., and in
the Reports of the American Industrial Commission. The
account in the Reports of the Royal Commission on Labour
is very short. J. D. Weeks, Industrial Conciliation and
Arbitration in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, deals
with the subject thoroughly up to 1880. Oilman, Industrial
Peace, gives more recent information on one or two points
than any of the above reports. For details of what is taking
place in special industries the reader may consult the follow-
ing : T. A. CarroU, Conciliation and Arbitration in the
Boot and Shoe Trade, in the Bulletin of the U.S. Depart-
ment of Labour for January, 1897 ; as well as the articles
in Peters, Labour and Capital : O. M. EidUtz, Volmitary
Arbitration : Experience in the building trades ; H. W.
Hoyt, Voluntary Arbitration : Experience of the Founders ;
W. L. Douglas, Voluntary Arbitration : Experience of a
Shoe Factory ; T. J. Hogan, Voluntary Arbitration :
Experience of Stove Manufacturers ; and M. Fox, Voluntary
Arbitration : Experience of Iron ^Moulders.


reached a stage wliere they prefer peaceful to warlike
methods of settling disputes, and where the right
spirit of friendliness and sympathy exists between
them, which is so essential to successful conciliation ;
and upon the public being sufficiently interested in
industrial affairs and understanding them well enough
to be able to form a correct opinion of any case,
when supplied with full information and being willing
to give their moral support to the party they consider
in the right. In Chapter VIII. a short discussion
will be found, as to whether conditions exist in the
United Kingdom, favorable to the establishment of a
Civic Federation. With regard to other countries, it
is difficult to say anything definite, as much of the
information is lacking, upon which an opinion could
be based.*

The Chicago Board of Arbitration.'^ — One of the
most recent private boards of arbitration in the
United States is the Chicago Board of Arbitration.
The Board was completed in June, 1902, and is com-
posed of the heads of seven employers' associations
and the heads of the seven corresponding labour
organisations, all being connected with the "team-
ing" industry. The manner in which this board
becomes involved in a strike is very interesting,
and turns upon the fact that there are few

* For details about the National Civic Federation the
reader may consult the Reports of the Conferences held
under its auspices (see BibUography) ; the Monthly Review,
the periodic pubhcation of the Federation : and the Report
of the Mosely Industrial Commission.

-j- For details see the Monthly Review, April, 1903;


industries in the country which do not employ
teamsters. The common mode of procedure is as
follows. When a strike occurs on the plant of a
manufacturing company, the strikers at once throw
out picket lines. As soon as a teamster appears with
a load of coal or flour, or starts away with a load of
the manufacturer's product, the picket intercedes on
behalf of the strikers, asking the driver to deliver
nothing to or for the manufacturer. The teamster
telephones to his local president and the manu-
facturer telephones to the team owner, who in turn
notifies the president of the association for the sub-
division of " teaming" concerned. Officers of both sides
then go to the scene of the trouble and try to
bring about, either a settlement, or the submission of
the matter to their board of arbitration. If the
conciliatory efiorts of this joint committee are not
successful and if the strike continues, the teamsters,
honouring their contract with the team owners, decline
to be interfered with by the pickets and continue
their work.

The board, as one of its first duties, brings about, if
possible, a conference between the two contending fac-
tions, and in these efiorts, supported by the influence
of its members and the standing it has attained in the
eyes of the Chicago public, it is generaUy successful.

The man to whom the board owes its origin and its
success is Mr. John C. Driscoll, who, as mediator,
has settled many disputes without the board being
called. According to the Monthly Review, settle-
ments between individual team owners and teamsters


are occurring daily, from three to seven cases or
disputes being handled every day in Mr, Driscoll's
rooms. A good many of the cases dealt with by the
board are mentioned in the Monthly Review for April,
1903, and nothing is more remarkable than the success
which has attended the efforts of the board and Mr.
Driscoll in settling disputes after strikes have already
begun. It appears that nearly every dispute which
has arisen in Chicago in any line has been settled by
the board in a manner satisfactory to both sides.

Other Coimtries. — Generally speaking, private con-
ciliation and arbitration are developed to a very small
extent only in countries other than the United
Kingdom and the United States. The French system
is fairly well developed ; in Belgium there is one good
example in the " Chambers of Explanations " of the
collieries of Mariemout and Bascoup, and these owe
their origin to Mr. Julien Weiler, a mining engineer
at the collieries, who helped to organise the
chambers in 1877. In Germany there is practically
no private conciliation and arbitration at all. It is
noteworthy that in all these three countries there
exist systems of Government conciliation and
arbitration for disputes arising out of existing con-
tracts, as well as for disputes arising out of the terms
of future contracts.*

* For details of the systems of private conciliation and
arbitration in France, Belgium and Germany the follow-
ing may be consulted : Reports of the Royal Commission
on Labour, De la ConciUation et de 1' Arbitrage, etc., and the
Reports of the American Industrial Commission. (What
German system does exist is omitted in these reports as too
unimportant to be mentioned.)





Ant one investigating the subject of industrial
conciliation and arbitration some ten 7eara ago or
more, was in the fortunate position of being able
to dismiss tbe question of compulsion in the briefest
manner,* Now the position is very different. No
essay on conciliation and arbitration would be com-
plete without a discussion of this very important
question. It has passed out of the realm of theory
into that of practice, and it can no longer be said of
it that it is not " definite or practical enough to bear
serious examination." On the contrary, the problem
has assumed such importance as to require a double
discussion ; in the first place, it is necessary to

* The following passage from the Recommendations of
the j^oyal Oommission on Labour, Fifth and Final Report
(1894), Part I., §299, may be quoted as an illustration : —

" In the case of the larger and more serious disputes aris-
ing with regard to the terms of future agreements, frequently
between large bodies of workmen on the one side and em-
ployers on the other, we have had to consider, in the first
place, suggestions for the compulsory reference of such dis-
putes to State or other boards of arbitration, whose awards
should be legally enforceable. No such proposal, however,
appeared toj'us to be definite or practical enough to bear
serious examination,'


consider theoretically, whether compulsory arbitra-
tion is desirable, and whether it is feasible in a large
industrial country ; and in the second place, practi-
cally, what success it has achieved in Australasia,
where it has been at work for several years. In this
chapter the various kinds of Government conciliation
and arbitration are to be discussed, and the theoretical
questions connected with compulsory arbitration
will receive particular attention ; the next two
chapters will be devoted to the consideration of
practical legislation.

Although all State arbitration can be classified as
voluntary or compulsory, it is necessary to recognise
that it can take various forms, in each of which the
degree of compulsion may differ, though for practical
purposes the term compulsory arbitration is applied
to the one kind only, in which the parties to a
dispute are obliged to refer it to arbitration and
the decision is legally enforceable. This will be re-
ferred to again below, and here I wish to enter into
the question of the kinds of Government conciliation
and arbitration by considering the recommendations
of the United States Industrial Commission with
regard to the various proposals for extending
the practice of conciliation and arbitration, and
making it more effective by means of legislation.
The first proposal considered by the United States
Industrial Commission was that for the establishment
of State boards and the increase of their powers.
The commission was of the opinion, that results of no
little importance could be accomplished by such

U 2


boards had they adequate powers, particularly with
regard to the right of calling for evidence. The
serious effect of prolonged industrial disputes upon
the public welfare may justify a certain degree of
inquisitorial investigation, especially as to some
classes of disputes, such as those affecting quasi-
public industries, or those involving large numbers of
persons, or those resulting in violence or other serious
public injury. The commission suggested the estab-
lishment of a national board of arbitration and
conciliation, composed of persons familiar with the
conditions of labour and industry, who would devote
their whole time to these duties alone and who could
supplement in many ways the work of State boards.
The second proposal, which came before the com-
mission, was one to extend by means of legislation
voluntary methods of collective bargaining, arbitra-
tion and conciliation within the several trades them-
selves. Whilst recognising the desirability of
extending voluntary methods of adjusting difierences
as to labour matters, the commission was of the
opinion that mere legal authorisation of such methods
had no significance, seeing that all such laws in the past
had proved dead letters. On the other hand. State
boards may encourage employers and employees
to establish voluntary boards of a more informal
character. It is both practicable and desirable
that some department of Stat-^- should obtain and
publish as complete information as possible concern-
ing the working of voluntary systems ; and it might
even be desirable for the State to require those who


participate in such systems, to report from time to
time to the State authorities.

It is interesting at this point to compare the re-
commendations of the American Industrial Commis-
sion with those of the Royal Commission on Labour.
The latter was opposed to the establishment of State
boards, but expressed the belief that a central depart-
ment, possessed of an adequate staS, might do much
by advice and assistance to promote the more rapid
and universal establishment of trade and district
boards, adapted to circumstances of various kinds.
On this point, it will be seen, the American Commis-
sion practically confirmed the recommendation of its
English predecessor. *

The third proposal placed before the Industrial
Commission was one dealing with the enforcement
of voluntary agreements between employers and
organisations of employees, and of the decisions of
arbitrators, where the parties to disputes voluntarily
submit to arbitration. In favour of this it was urged,
that the responsibility of both parties in collective
bargaining and arbitration would be greatly increased,
and that employers and employees, who are now
unwilling to resort to these methods, because they
have no certainty that the agreements and awards
will be carried out, would be more inclined to enter
into them. On the other hand, many employers

* The recommendations of the English and American
Commissions will be found respectively in the Fifth and Final
Report of the Royal Commission on Labour, Part I., and in
the Nineteenth and Final Report of the Industrial Commis-


and a large majority of working men are opposed to
compulsory enforcement of agreements and awards
of arbitrators. Boards in the past, which were
equipped with powers to render legally enforceable
decisions, have not been successful. Nevertheless
the commission expressed the opinion that permissive
measures, enabling those employers and employees
who desired to do so to enter into legally enforceable
agreements, would be advantageous.

The fourth proposal considered by the commission
was one to compel efiorts towards the settlement of
disputes by conciliation and arbitration, before the
cessation of employment by either the employer or
the employees. The commission seemed to be favour-
able to this suggestion in theory, but strongly doubted
whether it is practicable. It was of the opinion
that the success of conciliation and arbitration
depends primarily upon their being voluntary-;
but even leaving this question aside, the workmen
would be opposed to the suggestion, because prompt
action in striking is often a condition of success.
There would also be difficulty in applying such a
measure to cases where union and non-union men wer6
employed in the same establishment, for there might
be a division between them, as to a selection of arbi-
trators or as to other causes of action. In the same
way, employers and employees in difierent works and
difEerent localities might not agree. Lastly, the sys-
tem would encounter, to a considerable extent, the
same difficulty in enforcement as compulsory arbitra-
tion itself. In the face of these difficulties the


commission recommended, that sliouid it be found
desirable to enact some legislation of the kind indi-
cated, it would be as well to limit the measure to the
quasi-public services, such as transportation, and to
those of unusual influence upon the public welfare.

The last proposal considered was one for compulsory
arbitration with legal enforcement of decisions. The
commission expressed itself as unfavourable to com-
pulsory arbitration proper, though it considered that
it might be desirable to adopt it with regard to inter-
state carriers, provided the principle of limited com-
pulsory arbitration was generally adopted.

Having . now seen the various forms which State
interference in industrial disputes can take, we may
proceed to examine more closely the case for and
against compulsory arbitration. Firstly, we may ask
ourselves, on what grounds compulsory arbitration
has been put forward as a remedy for industrial war-
fare. Those in favour of compulsory arbitration
state their case somewhat as follows : Industrial
warfare is exceedingly expensive and involves in loss,
not only the parties concerned in the dispute, but also
the general public. Hence the latter is fully justified
in seeking a solution for the evil. Private conciliation
and arbitration have failed ; voluntary State concilia-
tion and arbitration have failed ; nothing remains but
compulsory arbitration.

Admitting freely that strikes and lockouts are a
great evil, and that the general public is justified in try-
ing to find a remedy, we may turn our attention to the
statement that voluntary conciliation and arbitration


of all kinds have failed. The Hon. W. P.Reeves*
lias attempted to show that England's position in
this respect is very undesirable. " Voluntary ar-
rangement has been earnestly urged and patiently
tried for many years in England. What is the out-
come ? Eleven thousand strikes in thirteen years."
It is hardly necessary to remind the reader that a
single figure produced like this one to prove the failure
of voluntary conciliation and arbitration in England,
can carry no conviction with it at all. Statistics are
only valuable in economics if they ofier a field for
comparison, and it is very noticeable that Mr. Reeves
produces no such figures at all ; for had he done so,
the great growth of industrial peace in England during
recent years would have been evident.f Comparative
statistics tend to show that voluntary conciliation and
arbitration have been exceedingly successful in Great
Britain, and none of Mr. Reeves's arguments appear
to be convincing. He seems to imply that all case

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Online LibraryDouglas KnoopIndustrial conciliation and arbitration → online text (page 7 of 18)