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SIXTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT.

To the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled.

During the past year the Board has taken a more or less active part, as the circumstances of each case seemed to require, in the settlement of 108 difficulties. A statement of what was done in each is contained in the following report of cases.

Nine cases of arbitration were referred to the Board. In these latter there have been no strikes or lockouts, or, if the controversy had begun by a strike or lockout, the employees have gone back to work before the submission to arbitration, in accordance with the provision of the statute, which requires that the employees shall be at work while the arbitration proceedings are carried on.

The volume of work during the past year was larger than during any other year since the formation of the Board. The number of conciliation cases was greater than ever, and of arbitration cases - including such as are still pending — greater than for many years. Owing largely to a clearer understanding of what can be accomplished by conference or the modern plan of conciliation in labor disputes, the results have been more satisfactory than in any former year to the parties in controversy. The value of this simple method of treatment has been much underestimated. Its very simplicity has prevented it receiving the consideration due to it.

Labor disputes have come with our modern industrial system, and are its legitimate children. When the employer worked side by side with his help during working hours, mingled with them in hours of recreation, and formed a part of their society, a certain interest in each other and knowledge of each others' needs existed, which are quite impossible when the number of employees reaches into thousands. It is not a matter of blame to be charged to either, that a sort of veil has come between the employer and employee, and that they have drawn apart; it is a necessary result of our modern way of doing business. Often in cases of differences a conference will put aside the veil and the misunderstandings and suspicions engendered by this lack of intercourse, necessitated by our modern plan of production. The most important work in settling disputes is to put back what present methods have taken away, and to remove the adverse elements which they have introduced. It has been the endeavor of the Board to obtain the best possible results through mediation, in order to ascertain what may be done by such means toward settling industrial differences without coercion, direct or indirect.

As the ability of contestants in labor disputes to cripple production, to deal harm to the other side and to the community becomes apparent, it seems plain that, other things being equal, the community which handles this problem the most wisely will be the most prosperous. The public is awakening to the truth of this fact, and is considering it with increased interest. That it is the final arbiter is freely acknowledged by all. It seems well, therefore, that we should, in Massachusetts, endeavor to educate ourselves in these vital questions, that we may not be unnecessarily weakened by disastrous conflict. If public-spirited men in different walks in life, employers, employees and neutrals,

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