Page images
PDF
EPUB

commerce and to the promotion of a better acquaintance and friendship between men of different climes.

I believe in the union of forces whether religious or social as in church and state, or commercial and economic as in business and labor. What is government but anity of action by individuals? And the Catholic Church is the most perfect organized body in the world. The era of universal love ardently desired by every true Christian awaits the confederation of nations when the whole world will be one country and every man a brother.

While far from approving some of their methods and policy, I believe in the fundamental principles of labor unions. Their

The workman who refuses to join a union helps to retard the betterment of all wage earners, and superintendents who refuse to deal with the union's representatives during a strike do not promote the best interests of stockholders. The best paying concerns in the world employ union labor, and make periodical contracts with the unions' representatives.

Senator Elkins has recently stated that we have solved the problem of the production of wealth but not its distribution. Advance wages sufficiently and the latter problem will be solved also. If every wage earner was a union worker and the unions were led by the brains and trained intelligence which capital employs, wages

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

a

The oldest engineer on the Arkansas Div. of the C. O. & G. (Rock Island System). He was a charter

member of Subdivision 554, which was named for him. Brother Cobb was engineer on one of the excursion trains from Memphis to Hot Springs during the Convention.--Courtesy Bro. G. C. Moore,

Div. 554. primary aim is to secure good wages, and would soon reach their highest possible good wages means prosperity for mer- limit. Outside of the economic reconchant and banker, and larger offerings to struction of society there is no other the church and charity. Labor unions way to remove the injustice complained are a country's best anti-poverty society, of by Senator Elkins. since good wages and prosperity are syn. The theory that trades unions by estabonymous. Low paid labor is a fruitful lishing a uniform rate of wages discourcause of poverty. As a rule men who age the better men and produce a dull mefeel sure of steady work at fair pay are diocrity, is, as one of the professors of temperate and moral. Union workmen political economy at Johns Hopkins Uniought to be, and I believe are, our high- versity has said, “only a theory and has est type of workmen, as regards moral never received statistical demonstration." habits as well as industrial efficiency. Even if it were a fact it would yet be better that 100 men should receive $5 per day ing of competitive concerns under one than that ten men should get $10 per management as in the case of the Stand. day and the other 90 men ouly $2 per day. ard Oil Company and the Steel Trust has, It is better to strengthen 90 weak men by eliminating the needless duplication of then to increase the strength of 10 strong human labor, augmented the country's men.

wealth and indirectly benefited the work. It has been said that labor unions are ingman. Temporarily men may be thrown trusts. Rightly administered there is out of employment as happened when the nothing objectionable in a trust, whether sewing machine and steam engine were of labor or business. If men shaped their introduced, but eventually all workers conduct in industrial and public life in get better wages and shorter hours. accordance with the teachings of Christ, However, until men become less selfish or even with the ethical principles gener- and less indolent, social welfare will really lived upto in private life, there would quire large combinations of capital in be less objection to trusts than to com- some businesses and competition in othpetition. Industrial competition by its ers. Neither monopoly nor competition needless duplications of the same work then is to be indiscriminately condemned, means an enormous waste of effort and but each kind of business, whether trust,

[graphic][ocr errors]

OLD TYPE BOSTON & MAINE LOCOMOTIVE.-Courtesy Bro. H. A. Webber, Div. 63. material whose ultimate effect is to in- trades union or competitive concern, crease the burden upon the shoulders of should be judged upon its individual labor. It violates the fundamental prin- merits. ciple of the economy and preservation of The radicals who advocate the destrucenergy, and posits the selfishness and in- tion of trusts or labor unions are as illog. dolence of man as its sole justification. ical as they who inveigh against the state, Broadly speaking it is war and is opposed the church or marriage. What the trusts to the Christian idea of brotherhood. A need is correction rather than annihilaparent does not send a half dozen chil- tion, restraint and regulation instead of dren to perform the same errand. Why license and arbitrary power. A liberal should a nation, which may be regarded profit should be allowed upon a just and as one huge family, employ a half dozen reasonable valuation of a corporation's railroads, pipe lines or factories to do the property, but it should be made impossi. work of one?

ble to exact exorbitant prices or to collect A combination or trust that enables one tribute from the public in order to pay man or machine to do the work of two, dividends upon watered stock and juggled should, if rightly managed, benefit society securities. With such a law in operation as much as the growing of two_blades of the specter of socialism would soon van. grass where one grew before. The merg- ish.

[ocr errors][merged small]

As an exemplar of all trusts whether if necessary the late Abram S. Hewitt of of capital or labor, I point with pride to New York who permitted the books of his the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engi. factory to be inspected and thus averted neers. Its members possess a monopoly a strike of iron workers for higher wages of the labor of American engineers, but which the business of the company did not they have never once abused their vast then warrant. Let them remember that power. They have demanded and se- almost every concession granted by the cured exceedingly high pay, yet unlike railroad companies to the demands of their capitalistic employers and certain trainmen has proved a benefit to the comtrades unions, they have never been panies. Laws requiring air brakes and imcharged with unreasonableness, extortion, proved car couplers and other recentexam. tyranny or the corruption of legislatures. ples. Employers should keep before them They have formed no secret alliances with the motto of “Live and let live" and the most influential and menacing of all imagining themselves in the place of their trusts—the machines of the two great workers deal with them as they them. political parties. They have met their selves would wish to be treated. Most of employers in friendly conference and set- our unfairness is due to failure to use the tled their disagreements expeditiously imagination and to put ourselves in each and without cost. Their motto has been other's places. If engineers changed the

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed]

NEW TYPE BOSTON & MAINE LOCOMOTIVE. The 1061 is run by Bro. W. V. Fisk, member Div. 63.- Courtesy Bro. H. A. Webber, Div. 63. “Give and take.” They recognize that figures on their wage bills at the end of employers have rights which the em- the month from thirty to one hundred ployed are bound to respect. They know and demanded pay for seventy days of there is a limit to the increase of wages fictitious work or "water" they would because there is a limit to the profits and have no right to complain of the execradividends of their employers. Their gen- tion of an ind nant public. Yet the eral policy has been one of moderation unsophisticated layman sees little ethical and square dealing, based upon the difference between such a transaction and Golden Rule and the principles of Chris- issuing $100,000 in stock for a mile of tianity. They have rarely, if ever, re- railroad that cost $30,000 to construct, sorted to that weapon of barbarism, the thus making the public pay for $70,000 strike, and in their struggles to obtain worth of workthat was never performed. better pay and shorter hours they have In both cases the work for which money withheld no vital fact from the public, is asked exists only on paper. thus inspiring confidence in the justice of Just a brief word in reference to an. their claims.

other topic. Last week I wrote to a railLet corporations and employers take road official whose duties oblige him to the public into their confidence, imitating ride in engine cabs every day. I asked

ance.

him if there was any drinking among the calculation, the faintest feeling of lethengineers and promised that his answer argy on the part of the engineer and should be kept confidential. I am going a wreck ensueş, shrouding a score of to violate my pledge, however, and make homes in the black pall of death. A netknown his reply. There is no excessive work of telephone and telegraph wires is drinking among engineers, and many of not more sensitive to an electrical storm them, are temperance men,

;" he wrote.

than the delicate mechanism of the God bless you locomotive engineers of human brain to an ounce of alcohol. Who whom that tribute is true. I congratulate doubts that many a disastrous railroad you upon your intelligence and sanity. wreck would have been prevented and A man who drinks to excess, even though many a dead engineer be alive tonight he may never have been drunk, is de- had it not been for the one drink taken fective in his intelligence or mental bal- by the trainmen, the switchmen or the

Before acquiring the alcoholic telegraph operator before entering upon habit, he probably had a menta! twist or his daily work. cloudiness which later became a disease putting him in the same class pathologically as the insane although regarded by

Restriction by Trade Unions. his friends as sane.

I congratulate your wives. If there is (As seen by John R. Commons, professor any woman to whom my heart goes out of political economy in the University of in deepest sympathy it is a refined Wisconsin.—In the November Outlook. ] woman who is the wife of a drunkard. Some employers say, “ We should have A woman is better dead than married to no objections to trade unions if they a drinking man. I congratulate your would organize to increase production inchildren who have not inherited disor- stead of restricting production.” Econodered nerves or feeble minds from alco- mists and critics have shown that unions, holic parents. Only last month a noted by their restrictive policies, stand in the alienist told me that a large percentage of way of progress. The unions, in defer. feeble-minded children and of the insane ence to a public opinion that judges had alcoholic parents. Many an innocent measure mainly by their effects on proyoung man or woman who is afflicted duction, defend themselves by denying with some nervous disorder or enfeebled that their policies are restrictive. But constitution is merely paying the penalty their arguments are indirect; they look of the self-indulgence enjoyed by a bibu- towards the ultimate effects of unions, lous ancestor, thus verifying the scrip- and not to their immediate effects. Ultitural declaration that the sins of the mately, the unions may be said to increase father shall be visited upon the children production when their policies force emand the children's children.

ployers to adopt labor-saving devices; but I congratulate the railroad companies. this is plainly an indirect result brought The perfectly sobriety of trainmen means about by the employer to counteract the the prevention of many accidents and the direct result of the union. Ultimately, consequent saving to the companies of also, their social effects may contribute to thousands if not millions of dollars. social progress by shortening the hours of Every engineer who is a total abstainer labor and maintaing more expensive stanought to receive extra pay. It would be dards of life; but these, again, are indirect an extremely profitable investment for results, preceded by policies which, so far the companies. I congratulate the gen- as production is concerned, are essentially eral public, whose beloved ones are daily restrictive. In truth, the characteristic placed in the safe keeping of these noble policies of anions imply restrictions of men at the throttle. Every day 2,000,000 some kind upon employers. people, or 1 in every 40 of our population, The success of unions has come about rides upon the steam cars in this country. only as they have abandoned the field of What a responsibility? The personal production and have confined themselves safety and lives of 2,000,000 people in- to distribution. It is with the distribution trusted daily to the care of our engineers, of wealth that they are necessarily conunder whose guidance passengers are as cerned, and the irrepressible conflict of helpless as a babe in its nurse's arms. capital and labor is found in the differ. Total abstinence is a small price to pay ence between production and distribution. for such a tribute of confidence, and is In modern industry it is the employer — the necessary consequence of an engi- the one who assumes the risks of business neer's hazardous employment. Nowhere - upon whom the responsibility of prois it so necessary to have a cool head and duction is placed. To meet this responsisteady nerve. No other man—not even a bility he offers inducements to the other minister of the gospel-has reasons of factors to join with him — to the capitalsuch a tremendous force to be a total ab- ists or landowner he offers interest or rent, stainer. A moment's inattention, a mis- to patentees he offers royalties, to experts

and managers he offers salaries, to work- here it is conceivable that government men he offers wages. It is his business to might adopt this policy and relieve indi. combine these factors and to afford in- viduals of enforcing it, as government ducements such that each will yield its has already done in the case of factory largest and best contribution to the joint protection and child labor, and as governproduct. But with the other contributors ment has done in Australasia along the the first question is the return they will entire line of trade union policy. The get from their productive energies, and a essential parallel is the fact that both trade union is simply a combination to lines of industrial philosophy proceed get a larger return.

along restrictions on freedom of trade and Such a combination, in the nature of bargaining, and that neither is primarily the case, can operate only by means of an agency for the production, but rather obstacles placed in the way of the free an agency for the distribution of wealth. action of employers. As individuals the If they increase production, it is because several contributors can secure the return they set other forces at work to overbal. they wish only to the extent to which ance their restrictions. they can hold back in the bargain, and Consider the changes necessary in the this is limited by the freedom which the character of a union if it should direct employer has of turning from one to an- its energies to the production of wealth.

[graphic]

C. B. & Q. HELPER ON CRAWFORD HILL, CRAWFORD, NEB. BRO. P. B. RICKARD, DIV. 183, AT TAROTTLE.

Courtesy J. A. Bacon, Crawford, Neb. other. As a combination they direct their It would in so far cease to be a trade efforts towards limiting this kind of free- union, and would become either a society dom, and this is the primary object un- for technical education, or an association derlying all the restrictions of a trade for sharing profits, or a co-operative assounion. The aim is mutual protection- ciation. or perhaps mutual aggrandizement—and Now, it might be well for unions to the methods are restrictive in the same give more attention than they do to the sense that a protective tariff on imports technical or trade education of their is restrictive. In both cases some of the members. But, apart from incidental inarguments advanced may be fallacious, struction in their trade journals, their efsuch as the argument that by restricting forts in this direction are confined almost trade you increase the amount of work solely to securing opportunity for apprento be done. I do not hold that protec- tices to learn all branches of their trade. tionism and trade unionism are parallel And here, strangely enough, it is only by in all respects. One is the policy of gov- way of restrictions the most onerous to ernment, supposed to stand for all of the employers that the apprentices are granted people; the other is the policy of individ- such opportunities. The union restricts uals acting for themselves. But even the number of apprentices to the shop

« PreviousContinue »