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If you were to make this investigation and comparison, you would be forced to the conclusion that labor organizations have a high regard for their agreements and a keen desire to fulfill them. Several well known authorities have estimated that for every one agreement violated by a labor union, there have been ten violated by employers. This may be an exaggeration, but there is lots of evidence to show that there is truth in their statements. For recent cases, we need only refer to the railroads, the printing employers, hundreds of building employers, and to the packers and mine owners who deliberately and admittedly broke wage agreements to which the government was a party. In this connection, we may take the word of Mr. B. C. Forbes, the financial authority, whose relations with business men and employers cannot be disputed. Writing in the Philadelphia Public Ledger in July, 1920, Mr. Forbes had this to say about contract breaking:
I have never known commercial morality to be as low as it is today. Legal Departments of various banks are working overtime trying to effect settlements in cases where commercial firms and employers have not lived up to their contracts. Business men complain loudly when trade unions occasionally break an agreement. But today there are ten business contracts broken for every labor contract broken. Even large responsible employers and concerns will search for any pretext to lie down on a contract if the prices have moved the wrong way.
So, we are bitterly opposed to the incorporation of labor unions for the reasons which I have just given, and we oppose it for these additional reasons :
First, business men are not compelled to incorporate; yet it is proposed to compel the unions to do what is optional with business men and employers. Second, incorporation would place an additional and deadly weapon in the hands of unscrupulous employers with which to obstruct and cripple labor. Third, if the unions were incorporated they would be constantly menaced by the receivership process and their property and funds would always be at the whim of unfair and hostile courts. This same danger to business corporations does not exist. Their activities are clearly defined in their charters. But the activities of a trade union cannot be defined because it is a social institution; it cannot be separated from the human beings who compose it. Therefore, if incorporated it would be thrown into the courts again and again on the slightest pretext by any detective or spy, and a biased judge would decide that the union's activities are not sustained by the declarations contained in its articles of incorporation.
Further, if incorporated, the National and International labor organizations would be under the jurisdiction of the federal courts. This would permit injunction judges of the Anderson type to sit in judgment on a union's policies and its ideals. In fact, incorporation would chain the unions to courts whose bias blinds them to an expanding and developing life, and whose administrations are choked by their legalisms, and whose eyes are utterly without social vision.
The Spy Business
H. H. Broach
Taken from a Labor Day Address.
Now the enormous size of this spy and strike-breaking business is astounding—it is almost unbelievable. On all sides we are surrounded by sneaks and blackmailing scoundrels; and large employers recruit and retain whole armies made up of cast-offs, gutter-snipes, degenerates and criminals, herded from the hellholes and dives of our cities, then arm them to the teeth to club, to browbeat and shoot peaceful, law-abiding citizens in our various communities.
Step by step, with witness after witness, it was again shown at Herrin how these elements are equipped with the latest implements of war-hand grenades, machine guns, high-powered rifles and shot guns; how they drive around the country in automobiles, yelling like drunken, crazed Indians—shooting, cursing and committing murder, rape, and arson, abusing and insulting women, searching all persons and vehicles, holding up farmers and driving off their stock, and closing up public roads and having a wild, merry time. And more black pages have just been written into the history of the rotten business during the hearings conducted in Chicago by Frank P. Walsh. It was again brought out how the cowardly sneaks called "operatives," are so thick in our labor organizations that they stumble over and report on one another; how they draw pay from rival agencies and steal one another's reports and files; how they pick the pockets of each other, always playing a game of cross and doublecross, creating imaginary situations and fake organizations, and then scaring gullible employers into giving them big sums of money to destroy a "danger" that never existed. And again it was shown how they manufacture and throw bombs, force strikes, deliberately incite violence, smash plate glass windows, destroy property, and report all sorts of wierd and threatening tales to employers, and raise Hell in general.
And all this is nothing new. The labor press of the country has been filled, year after year, with such exposures.
Investigation after investigation has disclosed that these stool-pigeons and armed guards are the real heart of our labor riots—at the very bottom of most of our labor troubles, and the very inspiration of so many of our horrors. They are the positive instigators of violence, certain violence; they always foment it-invariably exciting and encouraging the very thing against which they are supposed to guard. Over and over again these facts have been proved; they were brought out even before Pinkerton provided his detective and armed guards for the Battle of Homestead Mills in 1902. Government investigators, and investigating commissions, brought out the same facts in the railway strike in the 80's; in the coal strike of 1900 and 1903; in the strike at McKees Rock in 1909; in the Bethlehem steel strike of 1910; in the various strikes in the textile mills; in the numerous strikes in the mining camps of Idaho, Colorado, West Virginia and other states; and the same facts were brought out in the steel strike of 1919, and in a large number of others. In each and every one of these cases, including the bloody affair at Herrin, and the recent horrors in West Virginia, the spy and the armed guard have played their roles—provoked violence, caused bloodshed and murder, and left terror in their wake.
Whenever I speak on this subject, it is difficult for me to drive from my mind the horrors that occurred when the spies and agents of Baldwin-Felts ran their armored train through West Virginia, belching forth a rain of fire and lead into the bodies of helpless men, women and children. Nor can I forget the time when the death-dealing, machine-gun-mounted automobiles were sent racing through the mining camps of Colorado, throwing balls of fire into the tents which sheltered women and innocent babes. An eye witness to the bloody Ludlow massacre described it in this way:
In one black day the Ludlow tent colony, sheltering 1,400 human beings, was wiped out of existence. Until dark the machine guns “fanned” the doomed camp.
Either from torch or bullet the flimsy canvas coverings burst into blaze, forcing mothers and little ones to choose between death by shot or death by flame. A boy sprang into the open to save his sister. His head was blown off. Frenzied women, clasping babies, ran for cover like hunted rabbits, calling upon older children who were too paralyzed with fear to follow. Others, huddled like rats in the safety pits, were burned alive.
Now the amazing thing is that apparently intelligent employers have considered the spy and armed guard business profitable; and they continue to “fall for” the cheap, dime novel deceptions of the sneaks and reprobates who prefer to be known as "operatives," "harmonizers" and "conciliators." They keep paying them huge sums of money for "inside information," and for copies of labor publications and reports that anyone could receive for a postage stamp. They have helped these lying renegades and ex-convicts to build up a great industry, reaping huge profits, by perpetuating discord, suspicion and hate, and by frightening ignorant, foolish employers into keeping them living off the fat of the land. They have allowed this great harmony-destroying industry to grow to the point where thousands upon thousands are now devoting themselves exclusively to gaining the confidence of working men only to double-cross and betray them, to win the friendship of a labor official only to "frame" him at the first opportunity.
Indeed, "There is far more money in industrial spying than there ever was in crime," said Mr. Coach, head of a big Cleveland agency. This is the same Coach, it will be remembered, who purchased the Columbus Labor News and then edited it to encourage the very strike that he was paid by the street car company to prevent and later break. The Pinkerton Spy Agency agrees with Mr. Coach, and it now claims to carry on its industrial spying through more than 35 branch offices scattered throughout the country. Before becoming chief spy for the government, William J. Burns himself maintained, and there is evidence to indicate that he still maintains, more than 40 branch offices in various cities. So large and influential is the Sherman Agency that it got its employees exempted from military service, and in a single year paid an income tax of $258,000. It will be recalled that in 1917 this same agency published a book, bearing Mr. Sherman's name, which proved to be so damaging it was withdrawn almost at once. Here is one of the statements it contained: “It is comparatively easy to start dissatisfaction among leaders, which increases to the extent that every union meeting results in a fight. These occasions allow our secret operatives to illustrate that the leaders are out for personal gain.” During the steel strike these instructions were issued to its agents: “We want you to stir up as much bad feeling as you possibly can between the Italians and the Serbians. Spread data among the Serbians that the Italians are going back to work. Call up every question you can in reference to hatred between nationalities.” On another occasion its “operatives” were instructed to “stir up some report on the Western Electric Company. (Chicago.) Tell us that the agents are ready to organize there, because we want a contract with the Western Electric Company. Appear before Committees and Locals and say that conditions are rotten. Supply the workers with literature. Get dissatisfaction started.”
Here are some more instructions recently issued by the Chicago office of the Sherman Agency to its "operatives":
Stir up some trouble with the Buda Motor Company at Harvey, Illinois, because we want a contract there. Stir up trouble with the Stewart Speedometer Company also. Appear at the organization committees and say that conditions at such