Page images
PDF
EPUB

NOTE OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT.

In the preparation of this report helpful service was given by thousands of business men of our Commonwealth, and not a single request for statistics or information was utterly disregarded. Almost every one gave that quick and full response which befits those having at heart the interests of the State and willingness to still further advance them. Grateful appreciation of those services is here expressed and unqualified assurance given that our every future effort, augumented by such patriotic assistance, will be devoted to the promotion of the mutual interests of the State and is citizens.

J. L. R.

PART ONE.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND SPECIAL

ARTICLES.

IN RELATION TO LABOR.

The Act of May 11, 1874, creating the Bureau of Industrial Statistics imposed the duty of careful and "impartial inquiry into the relations of capital and labor, in their bearings upon the social, educational and industrial welfare of all classes of working people, and to offer practical suggestions for the improvement of the same." The law also obligated the Bureau "to collect, compile and publish such statistics in regard to the wages of labor and the social conditions of the laboring classes as may enable the people of the State to judge how far legislation can be invoked to correct existing evils." These provisions have been well executed in some particulars, but seem to have been neglected in other respects, or to have been inadequate in their application to some features of the industrial life of the State. Some of these neglected factors now demand most earnest consideration.

A conscientious purpose of this Bureau will be to perform such offices for and to secure such action in these neglected spheres as will, it is hoped, very materially improve the general welfare of the State. To properly accomplish these objects an earnest endeavor will be made to regard every phase of occupation as being upon a common plane, and to treat each one with the utmost impartiality. This is in accordance with the belief that the conservation of the rights of every class of citizens will assure the greatest measure of contentment and consequent prosperity and happiness of the entire citizenship. When it will be fully understood, and so acknowledged by word and action, that every element of our people is receiving its proper rights and privileges it will not be difficult to impress all the elements with their sense of duty and obligation or to ask and expect from all a cheerful acquiescence to proper demands for the performance of the duties due the State. The existence of such conditions would easily make it possible to protect and advance the mutual interests of capital and labor, and to permanently maintain the industrial peace of our Commonwealth.

It is most gratifying to here make record of the fact that during the past year the business relations of employers and employes cf this State have been more satisfactory than in many other like periods of time. Considering the very large number of people employed in our varied industries, and the diverse thought of these masses, the relations have been mainly harmonious and for the best interests of each class. This excellent state of affairs gives hope.

ful promise for a contented future. As each class will more fully understand its proper relationship, its actions will give evidence of better attitude, thus inducing still more cordial relations, lessening, if not wholly preventing, industrial friction or strife. Capital and labor are rapidly beginning to understand how much better it is when they fully recognize their mutual dependence upon each other, and how foolish it is to encourage contention which is never a resultant of permanent benefit.

Unbiased observation has produced the belief that the majority of employers of this State are actuated by a sincere purpose to treat their employes justly and properly. So, too, there is unmistakable evidence of the friendly attitude of labor.

Each appears willing to strive for the advancement of mutual interests. And there is now, in many industries, scarcely any point of difference except the matter of wages, which matter can usually be satisfactorily arranged if both parties will avoid excited disputations and frankly consider their affairs, with a view of peaceful settlement.

A strict regard for and the observance of the rights of others, whether pertaining to property or to manhood, will permit suggestions of agreements which can be accepted readily by all, no matter what may be the agencies of settlement. And whether there be union of labor, or proper combination of capital to advance and maintain respective interests, neither should forget, if occasion for such action should arise, that, very often the most helpful act that each can perform is to make such reasonable concessions as would prevent loss of time or the production of property, upon whose value both so largely depend. Every means should be used to prevent an industrial disturbance, and it should be remembered that whoever assumes that such disturbances can be created and continued without regard to the general interests of the public lacks in patriotic feeling and the best qualities of good citizenship. Whoever has the power to prevent such conditions and fails to properly act, persistently holding to possible preconceived views, against later and more deliberate judgment or just demands, is not a true American citizen and may even deserve to be called a public malefactor.

Strikes and lockouts should be avoided as curses of evil and as relics of an unenlightened age. The usual results of both and their attendant effects are of so little benefit or permanent advantage to either of the contending parties that there is no justifiable reason for their occurrence. Like the internal wars of nations, sorest of evils, come, if come they must, so that they may quickly lead to peace, which at its worst is better than the best of wars.

The ultimate end of all good government is to give to every constituent the exact measure of privilege and justice to which he is

ers.

entitled by the fundamental or constitutional forms of his state or nation. Therefore it is essential that the interests of every class of people should be given exact attention. If citizenship has massed itself into an aggregated body for the betterment of its conditions, it is equally proper that the collective mass be given the same just consideration. Accordingly this Bureau has endeavored to place itself upon as friendly relations toward organized labor as it has ever manifested for the welfare of those employing labor, either as individuals or as corporations.

Hearty appreciation of this purpose has been shown by organized labor, and it is confidently hoped that in the future the Bureau will have as complete and generous co-operation from those sources as are now so unstintingly given by corporations and other employ

The Pennsylvania branch of the American Federation of Labor has already pledged itself to such action. At its last annual meeting it adopted the following resolution without dissent:

"Resolved, That it is the sense of this Convention that all affiliated unions should co-operate with the State Bureau of Industrial Statistics in the collection of accurate data concerning labor conditions in Pennsylvania."

In line with that purpose the Bureau has also received the following statement from the president of the State Federation:*

“In a great industrial state like Pennsylvania, with its many varied and important industries, and its millions of population, it is not unexpected to find a great diversity of opinion concerning the relations that should exist between employer and employe. And, notwithstanding the fact that we have evoluted from the spinning wheel of our grandmothers, to the high tension power loom, propelled by electricity; from the sickle to the self-binding harvester; from the slow sailing vessel to the modern steamship, crossing the Atlantic in five days; from canal hoat transportation to the electric locomotive; and from the pony express to wireless telegraphy and flying machines, we still find those who blindly adhere to the antiquated doctrines of political economy, which taught that the rate of wages can not be regulated by any system of bargaining, but necessarily depends on the size of the bank account and generosity of the empolyer.

“The fallacy of this doctrine has been so amply demonstrated by the enforcement of a system of collective bargaining by the trade unions, that those who still preach the wage fund doctrine have come to be regarded as economic monstrosities.

"Reckless financeering, such as precipitated the financial panic in October, 1907, and the subsequent industrial depression from which we have not yet recovered, have caused employment to be

*E. E. Greenawalt, Lancaster, Pa.

« PreviousContinue »