Page images

a trifle at that particular time to the iron magnate.

According to a government estimate, the total "water" in the capital stock of the billion dollar trust amounted, all told, to about $600,000,000—more than half its total issue of securities.

During the nine years which followed its organization, the steel trust earned profits of more than a billion dollars.

In 1910, at least 22,000 employees of the Steel Trust worked twelve hours a day for seven days in every week.

More than half of the employees of the Steel Trust earned in 1910 less than $617 —or about $50 a month.

Twenty-one per cent. of the employees of the Steel- Trust earned in 1910 less than $549 a year—or about $45 a month.

Mr. Carnegie's personal share of the price paid for the Carnegie Steel Company was $207,000,000. It would take an ordinary steel workman, working twelve hours a day and seven days a week and earning $600 a year, just 350,


OF DIRECTORS OF THE STEEL CORPORATION. He says the treatment accorded steel employees compares favorably with that of any other line of industry

in this country.


(HE firm of J. Pierpont Morgan

was paid $70,000,000 for its services in organizing the bil

lion dollar Steel Trust—the 1 United States Steel Corporation—in 1901.

As part of the service for which this incredible sum was paid the Morgan firm agreed to the purchase of the property of the Carnegie Steel Company for $420,000,000—about twice the amount for which Mr. Carnegie had agreed to sell the same property one year before. And Mr. Carnegie has never ceased regretting that he was too modest in selling his business for $420,000,000. "I was a fool to sell at the price," he told the Stanley Steel Committee of Congress last fall. "I might have got a hundred million more.”

No doubt Mr. Carnegie is right. A hundred million dollars, more or less, was


By Henry OM.Hyde

000 years to equal the Laird of Skibo's steel fortune. Ten thousand such workmen would toil for thirty years to raise the same amount.

These figures are taken from various official governmental reports. The figures as to hours of labor and wages are from the report of the Federal Bureau of Labor, made in 1910, and cover only 90,000 of the more than 200,000 total employees of the trust.

This report says:


Working hours were reported for 90,564; of this number 44,993 had a working week of 72 hours or over, which is, in effect, at least a 12-hour day for six days a week. Approximately one-third of all the employees had a regular working week of more than 72 hours, which practically means some work on Sunday. Over 22,000 had a working week of 84 or more hours, which means at least 12 hours every day in the week, including Sunday. Approximately three-fourths of




all the employees had a working week of over 60 hours; 11 per cent. of all the employees had a working week of just 60 hours; while only 16 per cent. had a working week of less than 60 hours.

To what extent are the payment of $70,000,000 in promoter's profits and the issuance, all told, of $600,000,000 in "watered" securities—on all of which dividends must be earned—responsible for the wage policy of a company which pays to tens of thousands of its employees a less yearly wage than will buy the actual necessities of life for the average family?

To what extent are these facts responsible for making a twelve hour dayand, to a considerable extent, a seven day week—necessary to the successful operation of the trust?

[graphic][merged small]


Within the works at Pittsburg. The room is aglow with the white-hot metal in the converters.

To what extent are the Carnegie men to lower or remove the tariff on libraries and other benefactions actually steel, so long as dividends must be earned paid for by men who work twelve hours on hundreds of millions of "water?" a day to earn $50 a month ?

In the steel industry—alone among the To what extent will it benefit these great industries of the United Statesis WHAT STEEL DIVIDENDS COST


there absolutely no recognition of labor of the United States Steel Corporation unions. The 300,000 workmen of the finally destroyed. steel trust are entirely without union or- It is idle and worse than useless to rail ganization.

at Morgan and Carnegie. Almost any The present situation is the best pos- one of their most violent critics would sible illustration of the work of the most hail with yelps of delight an opportunity enlightened and most powerful capital- to pick fifty or a hundred million dollars ists in the country when they are left with off the corporation plum tree. Men who a free hand to deal exactly as they please know Mr. Morgan declare that he has a with their own employees.

high sense of personal honor. The little Previous to 1892, the year of the great gray Scot has become benignity personiHomestead strike, iron and steel workers fied. They simply took advantage of were pretty thoroughly organized into conditions. unions. When that strike broke out, the Once the steel trust was organized and majority of workmen-outside of the its tidal wave of securities poured into the blast furnace men—did no work on Sun- public market the real harm was done. day. While the twelve hour day was What follows is inevitable. most nearly general, a very large number Many processes in iron and steel makof men worked ten hours a day and there ing are necessarily continuous. The mills were hundreds of eight hour jobs.

cannot be shut down at the end of ten After the strike of 1892 was won by hours and opened again the next mornthe Steel mills, more and more of the ing. They must be operated—as to many men were put on a twelve hour basis. departments—for twenty-four hours in Gradually the remaining unions were weeded out. But not until 1910— nine years after the organization of the Steel Trust - was the last remnant of the labor organi zations in the mills




each day, if economy and organization are to gain the largest profits.

Mills running twenty-four hours each day may be manned by two shifts, working twelve hours each, or by three shifts, working eight hours each. With the necessity of earning dividends on an enormous capitalization always before them, the most humane managers can be understood when they insist on working their men twelve, rather than eight hours a day.

These managers themselves feel the stigma which attaches to them and their great industry when the twelve hour day is made continuous for seven days in a week. Nearly

POURING THE METAL. two years ago, W. B. Dickson, First Vice-President of the Steel Corporation, since that time, the steel trust and many called attention to this reproach and, of the independent companies have adopt

ed a plan which is intended to give every workman one day's rest out of each week.

The twelve hour day, however, remains practically universal in the steel mills. And, year by year, as the "speeding up” process continues—the process under which the payment of bonuses for “big produc. tion" to superintendents and other bosses, the workmen are more and more severely driven—the strain on the rank and file in the mills grows constantly greater.

The volume on "The Steel Workers” in the Pittsburg Survey, published by the Russell Sage Foundation, says:

"It is not entirely due to the marvelous ingenuity of American engineers that steel production has increased at such a remarkable pace. The speed of the men who man the plants has played its part. Devices to develop it, possibly not bad in themselves, become, in their combination, when there is no restriction in the length of the work


day other than the full RED-HOT STEEL BEAM Drawn OUT TO A LENGTH OF NINETY FEET. round of the clock dial, a



« PreviousContinue »