Volume 1, Issue 5

Volume 1, Issue 5, Page 1

(English Only) (Newspaper Headline and Adverts not included)

Published: 8/1/1910



The wage-worker is in business. He is a merchant. He sells a commodity. It is hit labor power. A swarm of other men are in the tame business. They are offering to employer! far more labor power than the latter want. That is true of all the laborers taken together: it is in general equally true of the wage-earner of each trade. The oversupply of labor power in the market it not recognized as a fact by many laborers in America. Employers usually tell them it is not a fact. Employers are wont to say there is always a place for a good man. He only needs to seek it until he finds it, and then he must fill it to the satisfaction of the boat. Wage-worker in the course of their experience, however, have reason to learn how hard it is to find a permanent job that pays wages which will enable a man to bring up a family in decency and comfort. Even when they are skillful and steady, they find that their wages trend downward, owing to one ever-present circumstance beyond their control individually. This circumstance is that some one else is frequently willing to take their places at a lower rate of wages. It is this desire of one man (or woman) to take another’s place that is the manifestation of the oversupply of labor. The employers at a class desire to keep up this over-supply. They try to manage it in various ways. They discourage the attempts of laboring men even to prove the fact of the oversupply. The wage-worker, when discouraged in his efforts to find the good, highly paid, surely permanent situation awaiting him. reaches the conclusion that he has been the victim of a delusion. The conditions in America to-day, in all wage-working occupations, and especially in the unskilled, are by no means such as to guarantee all the steady workers fair wages if they allow the employers to play them off against one another as they offer their commodity, labor, in the market. As the wage-workers discover this fact, they ask themselves what they are to do. Personal theft, change of occupation, removal from one locality to another, such means have their place and may in instances be the salvation of the worker. Their drawbacks are uncertainty, slow-coming effects, and continual risk. There are risks” even in thrift and excessive industry. Witness the case of the young girl in the Chicago packing-house who, in order to help her little brothers and sisters, redoubled her efforts at her work, which was by the piece, and thereby earned a dollar or two more a week. The firm, in the character of one of its foremen, decided she was then earning too much, and cut down the rates. Again she speeded herself up until she increased her wages a second time by a dollar or two. And again her employers cut down her wages. She then overworked hereof to earn sufficient to maintain those dependent on her, and she sickened and died. This story is related as a fact by Miss McDowell, a packing-house settlement worker. It illustrates the certain trend of wages in every manual wage-working occupation if the employers are allowed to buy their labor at their own price. Thrift is necessary no matter what are the wages earned. Thrift it the lure way to comparative ease of mind, if not too easy circumstance! when one can earn good wages, but when the yearly earnings bring only escape from pauperism, the great principle of thrift as a social aid becomes a mockery. It takes some time for a wage-worker to settle in his mind what course is open for him to improve hit condition. Following the advice of the employing class, he for a time tries practicing economy, pleasing the employer, acquiring unusual skill, but in the end he finds himself among the mass who have not drawn prizes in this lottery, for all that the scheme yields is something more than the average for the saving, the overworked, and the pliant slave. Following the advice of one or another apostle of social revolution, he finds after years of experience that social changes come so slowly that, while he may accept the principles embodied in one or other of the radical parties, he meantime is disposed to try a promising plan by which he may improve his condition at once. We advocates of trade unionism are qualified by the proven events of the last fifty years to assure the wageworkers that unionism is, first of all, a practicable method for self-help immediately. Further, it embodies other forms of assistance. It brings men together for discussion; it disciplines them; it teaches them collective thrift and management; it leads to several distinct branches of mutual aid; it makes them a force in the community where separately they were overlooked; it enables them to influence the laws protecting women and children; in its newspapers and in its meetings it affords means of discussing social problems. The economic formula by which a union works is simplicity itself. It has been described thousands of times but must be ever in course of repetition so – as to continue to impress the multitude. Given one hundred and ten competing wage-workers to one hundred situations ‘ and inevitably the ten surplus workers, by their applications to the employers for work, will bear wages down. Given the same one hundred and ten wage-workers to the one hundred situations, and the surplus is not competing, and the consequences are comparative independence for the entire one hundred and ten. Individual application for places at the employers terms gives way to collective bargaining of the entire number. A union rate of wages and hours is substituted for the competitive rate. This is the broad outline of the argument for unionism. It is often obscured by the discussion of details, the gossip relating to personalities, the criticisms of strike methods, and the perversions of opponents. But the principles of unionism stand unaffected by the minor phases. The trade union is the best instrument of the wage-working class which is ready to hand. It has brought good results. It is as practicable as ever. There is no good reason why it should stand in the way of other means of uplifting the masses. J. W. SULLIVAN.


In an article in the Saturday Evening Post Mr. James H. Collins points out a way in which hours of labor are shortened in England And Germany. The article contains much food for thought. We quote from it below:

A great field in which labor cost can be reduced in ways beneficial to both employers and employees will be found in better arrangement of working hours. Within a generation it may become a common practice to operate two shifts of workers in the average industrial plant, instead of one shift working overtime five nights a week, which is largely the present method. The other day an impatient essayist, sighing for the good old times that probably never were, made the general assertion that every labor-saving contrivance developed by man the past century, such as the railway, reaper, web-press and typewriter, had really made man’s work harder instead of lightening the load. That may be true of essayists, but it isn’t true of wage-earners, for hours are steadily decreasing in skilled and unskilled trades alike. This general trend toward shorter hours brings a problem. The modern industrial plant represents an enormous investment. If it is run only eight or ten hours a day the whole investment lies idle more than half the time. If the manufacturer could operate twenty hours a day great economies would result. The capital needed for machinery and buildings would be less., fixed charges, such as rent, power, interest and insurance, would be a lighter item in cost of product. Great economies would be effected in the item of depreciation alone, for it is our practice in this country to replace machinery the moment something better and faster is available, and if machinery were replaced at the end of five years’ service it is obvious that there would be large gains if it could be run twenty hours a day during its life, instead of eight or ten hours. There would also * e direct savings in labor cost, because the average American factory, while running nominally on an eight or ten-hour schedule, is often forced to work overtime through sheer pressure of demand for its goods. That means extra wages for overtime, and usually a lowered production because the work force is tired. It has been shown by a European investigator that a large proportion of the industrial accidents occur in overtime work, and it is also a curious fact that automatic machinery, such as is used in textile mills, though requiring the least amount of attention from employees, will not produce goods as fast on overtime work as it will during regular hours. This same problem exists in England and Germany, and in the latter country some of the most progressive manufacturers have met it by adopting a twoshift system. The German electrical industry is one of the most highly developed in the world. It is run on an eighteen-hour day. whereby two nine hour shifts keep the plant busy from seven in the morning till two the following morning. A larger number of men are thus kept in steady employment. Goods are delivered merely. Costly overtime wages are abolished and costly overtime blunders. Throughout-put per machine is said to be greatly increased. Investment in machinery and buildings is utilized to such good pose that German electrical houses are now at marked advantages in competing with other countries. In an English machine-works, running on an eight-hour day, this two-shift plan was tried in a way that kept the plant busy fifteen hours without met time. The first shift came on at 6.30 A. M., finishing at 3:30 P. M. A second shift started at 1 P. M. and worked till 10, taking an hour for supper. So far as the factory was concerned this plan worked well, bringing about economies in fixed charges and increasing the output. But it had to be abandoned for a reason which shows how carefully such changes in routine must be calculated. The workmen’s wives protested. It threw too much work upon them. With a husband, a son or two and, perhaps, a couple of boarders. all working in that factory, divided between the shifts, the wife found herself preparing five or six meals a day. In effect, she had two families on her hands instead of one. In many American plants to-day this difficulty could be met by sending employees to the company restaurant for those extra meals.


Beware of the fellow who insinuates but does not make an honest charge; he is not only dishonest, but is a coward at heart, with a perverted mind as well. The church, fraternal, social and labor organizations are frequently rent asunder by the miserable pervert who casts insinuations against the character or motive of another. Without any reason or foundation except personal spite or aggrandisement. He is a moral degenerate who seeks to create discord, bad blood and finally dissension and constituted that they cannot or will not stand slanderous abuse. The movement needs all the best and ablest minds. And above all, needs an honest man as officers. The honest man is not afraid of an honest man who makes an honest, straightforward charge against him, but no one is safe from the miserable, contemptible moral pervert, who is always making insinuations and usually without any foundation upon which to base them and has done more to retard progress than at any other agency in operation. —Exchange.


The cloakmakers’ brave fight has pelted the second stage. It is now not merely a fight for better conditions, but a determined stand for the recognition of the union. This lone can insure the permanence of any concessions wrung from reluctant employers. At the recent conference the manufacturers’ representatives until. very possibly, have come to terms upon the question of rages, hours and other demands. Such concessions would leave them very much in their old position, they could easily make the consuming public pay over and beyond every additional dollar which higher wages and shorter hours would cost them. But to recognize the union would mean giving these concessions a lasting character. It would mean giving the union the right to watch hat these new gains remain intact and inviolate. It would mean that lie union would acquire the power to enforce their continuance; and would clearly mean that the boss would be deprived of the power he hitherto usurped to mold his employees at will, to dictate their wages and their hours and thus virtually control their very lives. Hence, the wide world over, capitalists, trusts and bosses fight so bitterly against the recognition of the union. For more than a century they have been in the habit of keeping numbers and masses of workers in subjection, bodily and mentally. Backed by courts and judges and fortified, by the laws of their own making; supported by priests and by that section of society which derives its riches, power and influence from Labor’s toil, they have usurped a sort of divine right over their helpless “hands ” and are naturally loth to give it up. The individualism of the nineteenth century has ‘fostered and actively sanctioned this anti-social right under various disguises: “individual liberty,” “freedom of contract,” “sanctity of property.” Such were the high-sounding phrases with which the possessing classes and their paid supporters have covered a multitude of sins of oppression and tyranny practised against we helpless laborer. But those times, the dark ages of labor have gone, never more to return Progress has been gradual and low but sure. We are now living in the twentieth century, at time when organization has become watchword of all parties and actions of the community. It is the one word which makes for progress all round. AH human agencies throughout the civilized world have adopted and are striving to attain it in a more perfect form every year. Without organization there can be no success and no progress. Even more so has organization become the hope, nay, the salvation of the working class—their sole weapon and only source of protection against the immoderate, wealth amassing appetite of the employing class. The rich may help themselves with money, but the poor have nothing, but their labor force and the power afforded them by joining with their fellows in a strong and effective organization. While the benefits of organization have been generally recognized in every sphere of life; while in national and international commerce, industry, scientific research, education and government the cry has ever been organisation and efficiency, organization as a right and privilege has been only sparingly conceded to the toiling wealth producers. Again and again has this right been curtailed and taken away by all manner of legal quibbles; their leaders and organizers have been persecuted and imprisoned under conspiracy laws and restrained by injunctions from carrying out what may be called a law of human society in an age of competition. Within the shop and the factory of whatever trade, organization is strongly insisted on, and the employer will grudge no expense to attain it in a high degree. This is because he feels that the better his employees are organized for the purpose of production the bigger his profits. When, however, the employees combine with their fellows in the trade, in order to secure their due share of the wealth produced, and to maintain and defend their rights, the employers use every means, fair or foul, to prevent, to hinder and destroy the trade union. Yet, Trade Unionism has confounded and survived all its traducers and persecutors. It has become a national institution and a power to be reckoned with. Not a year passes without registering an increase in its numbers and an extension of its influence. At every strike public opinion is seen to range itself more and more on its side. It has won all along the line. It has been steadily advancing and hardly receding. Just as its present influence is greater than its past so will its future influence be greater than its present. Therefore, for employers and trusts to raise the cry of non recognition; for cloak manufacturers to say that they will not recognize the union, is as though to say that they do not recognize the advancing tide or the coming of tomorrow. The plea is fast becoming obsolete and will soon appear extremely foolish. The sooner it is discarded the better it will be for all parties concerned. Properly considered the union shop may become far more beneficial even to employers than the open shop. This will be borne out by the large number of employers who have introduced it. The union shop is capable of producing harmony and discipline, thereby accelerating production. In the open shop friction and ill-will between one employee and another must constantly arise, thereby impeding production. The employer who is jealous of the influence of the union, using the open shop as a means of weakening its power, only succeeds in fostering strife and hostility, which ultimately injure his own interests. In reality he is but an intense egotist who cannot endure the idea of giving up his undue domination over his employees. The great progress of Trade Unionism is due to the fact that in this democratic country the more the people are becoming enlightened the less they will stand any kind of domination, cither political or economic. A. ROSEBURY.


Poor factory inspection and its relation to an increase in occupational diseases in the United States was recently discussed by F. S. Hoffman, statistician for the Prudential Life Insurance Company before Cornell students. He thought the tendency in the United States toward occupational diseases was on the increase. ” We find,” said he, “the proportion of the persons employed indoors is on the increase, and the proportion of those employed in the open is on the decrease. If we do not want to reproduce the conditions in Europe we must take time by the forelock and see that the danger is understood by the public, by the employee, and the State. Where facts are studied it is possible to bring these dangerous causes under absolute control. But any such programme requires trained minds. “The average factor}1 inspection is done by men who have not sufficient training, and who have not studied the trade they are inspecting but scorn the idea that anything could be gained by it. In Europe the inspecting is done by highly trained men. In Germany, where prevention of occupational diseases is so very important, the causes of diseases and the methods by. which they may be prevented are studied closely. In this country there has not been a single treatise written upon the subject. “But we are beginning to wake up. Massachusetts published a report on the unsanitary conditions of the factories of that State, and New York has made reforms, although as yet they are only crude ones. “Wherever there is a great deal of ill-health there is also a great deal of dust. Dust is the most injurious of all. If you will look into the work of the steel grinder you will find that in this country the wheels turn so that the steel and stone fly directly into the air and thus get into the atmosphere. In Europe the danger of this was seen and the wheel reversed, so that the dust goes to the ground.

NEEDED LEGISLATION. Women. The Brandeis Brief.

Mr. Louis D. Brandeis, the distinguished Boston lawyer, who, as is well known, has given his services to the State of Illinois in defence of the ten-hour law, has filed his brief with the Supreme Court at Springfield. Along with his own it bears the name of Miss Josephine Goldmark, who has collected most of the material. The legal points are not dwelt upon at any length, nearly the whole of the volume, which contains 250,000 words, being devoted to evidence and illustration gathered from all over the world as to the injurious effects of long hours upon the health of women. The brief, which is one of the most remarkable legal documents ever put forth, and certainly most interesting reading, is to be published by the Russell Sage Foundation, which has borne the necessary expenses involved in its preparation.

*Note—This hook should help on the agitation for the eight-hour day for both men and women.

Why the Conference Failed? MEYER LONDON EXPLAINS.

New York, Aug. 3, 1910. Mr. JULIUS HENRY COHEN, Attorney for the Cloak, Suit & Skirt Manufacturers’ Protective Association.

Dear Sir:

It has been impossible to submit your proposition to the organization because of the limitation of time you have imposed.  I cannot recommend the submitting of the question of wages and hours to arbitration. Any reduction of wages or lengthening of hours would necessarily affect those who have already returned to work on union conditions, and there are about 18,000 of them. Should we consent to a reduction of wages without creating a new classification in respect to skill, the members of your Association would be enabled to engage in unfair competition with those who have already signed the union agreement. In order to prevent such unfair competition it would be necessary to lower the wages of those who have already ^returned to work under union conditions, or to insist that the members of your Association pay the scale of wages proposed by the union, or agree on a new classification in regard to skill. I wish to say that the scale of wages represents the minimum, and that before the strike such wages were paid in many legitimate houses. You cannot ask the union to consent to a reduction of wages. Nor is it desirable that the conference should result in the appointment of another conference or Board of Arbitration. As it is, the prolonging of the conference has prevented hundreds of manufacturers from reaching an understanding with the union. I realize that in order to make the concession of the employers permanent and to permanently remove the evils of which the union complains, and the existence of which evils has been conceded, such as tenement house work, subcontracting, night work, charges for electricity and material, discrimination and oppression against the employee conscious of his rights, and in order to establish a living and uniform standard of wages, it is necessary that there shall be an organization of the employers and an organization of the workingmen, and that the two organizations shall cooperate as far as the law will permit to eliminate the “sweat” shop boss and “sweat” shop conditions. If your people mean well, and I am willing to admit that all of them do mean well, there should be no objection to a union shop. Our people fear that the establishing of what you designate as an experiment, a system where the employer is to give preference to union men, the employer to be the only one to decide the question of the respective abilities of the union and nonunion man, will enable the unscrupulous manufacturer to discriminate against the union man, so that his factory will become an open shop for the non-union men and a closed shop against the union men. I ask you to agree with me that there are very few employees in the cloak industry who are in principle opposed to belong to the union. In most cases a non-union man, in the cloak industry, means one who has no consciousness of his rights as a man, who, having become accustomed to the low standard of living prevailing in other countries, is willing to work for any wages that the employer will offer. It is just this very man that we must educate and uplift. It is just this very man that we must reach and get into the union, so that he may learn to fight intelligently for his rights and not become the helpless victim of the “sweater.” Let us not deceive ourselves. It is this helpless, ignorant workingman who enables the greedy, unscrupulous employer to compete with the honorable manufacturer who has a sense of right and wrong, and thus force down the standard of living. Of course, under no circumstances, will our men consent to work with the professional strikebreaker. It is impossible to conceive a more contemptible creature than the man who makes it his business to break strikes, irrespective of the merits of the strike. The union is an open union. Its initiation fees are small, and no man of good character is excluded from its membership. It has been made clear at the conference that paid the $500 in installments of $50 the union has never asked for the per month. right to control the employer’s business, nor does the union expect the employer to collect dues or to take upon himself the performance of the functions of a shop steward or union delegate. If you can advise your client to reach an understanding with the union on the questions of wages and hours, and to agree to the employment of union men, as long as the union is in a position to furnish men who can do the work required in a competent manner, I will not hesitate to recommend that your proposition, thus modified, shall be the basis of a settlement to strike. Unless my suggestions men your approval I fear that submitting of your proposition to the organization will be a mere matter of form. Very truly yours, (Signed) MYER LONDON, Attorney for the Cloak & Makers’ Union.


(Prize Song by E. Block.)

Lo! the nations have been toiling steep and rugged road, resting oft by stream and mountain bent beneath the heavy load. Gazing toward the coming freedom item the anguish and the greed. For the hope has led them on REFRAIN.

Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! For the hope has led them on. In the western strong republic, under skies pierced through and through with a light of nobler foresight, life becomes more rich and true, And a mightier strength is given to the hands that strive and do. While the hope still leads them on. Mother, prophetess, and holy, through the ages of the clan, Uttering words of potent wisdom in the ear of struggling man. Woman rose and strode beside him mi the dangers of the van Kindling hope that led him on. Now again that voice is ringing through the ever-brightening air. And her wakened heart is calling unto labors, fine and fair. That shall weave the robes of beauty \which mankind in peace shall wear, Since the hope is leading on. Forth they step and march together. forth the man and woman go, To the plains of vast achievement whew unfettered rivers flow. And their work shall stand exalted, and their eyes shall shine and glow with the hope that led them on.

There are two brands of unionism,
the compulsory and the voluntary.
What’s your brand?

Dream of Might Be.

Politics! Incidents Likely to Occur— True-Blue Union Candidates Transformed for Election Purposes Now in Our Midst.

(Zanesville Labor Journal)

The candidate presented himself to the audience of union men. “I am a friend of organized labor!” he exclaimed. “Have you a union hat?” asked a voice. ‘Well, e-r-r, you see, this is made over that, and the label is lost; but I assure you I have always sympathized with the laboring men.” “Have you a label in your coat?” yelled another auditor. “My coat is made by a union man, I am sure. At any rate, but a firm that always treats its employees right and pays them well.” “Where was it made?” called out several. “Really, gentlemen, this is very annoying.” said the candidate. I assure you that I have always been.“ “Show the label or shut up!” said one of the audience. “We have heard that guff before. Show three labels on your clothing, anyhow.” “Hear! Hear! Come through, old man! /t friend of organized labor is able to show the labels.” “Brothers,” said the chairman, “hear the gentleman out. He has something to say to you about the issues of the day and the need for union men to unite at the ballot box. Kindly be patient.” “To continue,” said the candidate, “I am heartily in favor of all laws reasonably drawn that arc for the protection of labor in field and factory. I ” “Have you a label on your shoes?” called out a lusty voice. “Did you employ a union carpenter last spring to build your auto shed?” inquired another. “Did you ever eat a meal in a union restaurant?” came from a far corner. “Gentlemen,” cried out the candidate, “I cannot speak if interrupted.” “Show us the labels, then,” replied a score. “I move you that a committee of three, Mr. Chairman, be appointed to retire with the candidate and report if he has even three union labels about his clothing,” said a union painter. “He employed a non-union painter to paint his house last year, but we will forgive him that slip if he has even three union labels out of eleven he could have.” The motion carried unanimously. The candidate retreated without waiting for the committee. This might tie called a dream, but it would result in a large number of candidates buying union clothing, even if union men do not, if this was applied a few times.

THE AROUSING GIANT. (By A. M. Kinney, Seneca, Kas.)

Hark! To the low, threatening murmur Filling the air with its sound; » Ever growing louder and firmer. Arising in waves from the ground; ‘Tis the giant Labor awaking, Bursting his shackles and chains; All his false idols forsaking, Learning to think with his brains. For ages this giant has slumbered in misery and suffering untold; Been starved and beaten and plundered, His life blood congealed into gold. In wars his sons have been slaughtered. For their master’s pleasure and fame; His daughters and wives have been bartered into lives of disgrace and of shame. But, see! A new star has risen, shining boldly out of the gloom; Lighting up the giants. dark prison— To masters a herald of doom. Even now this giant is trembling with hope and strength newly found; The bars of the prison arc bending, He is hurling his chains to the ground. He has heard that bold declaration of freedom from bondage and pain. Proclaiming a new dispensation, demanding that Justice shall reign. His pulse is jumping and throbbing. New blood coursing bis veins with • dash; Never more with groaning and sobbing Will he answer the crack of the lash. Yes, the giant at last is arousing, Ignorance will bind him no more. His masters amidst their carousing Will soon sec his hand through the door. ‘Twill not be extended in pleading but clenched as a sign to foretell the freedom of toilers succeeding This awful industrial fell —United Mine Workers’ Journal.

Manufacturers using our label on shirt-waists: H. Frank. 33 W: 17th St. A. Friedman 81-95 University PI., New York City.

There is no excuse for you wearing a Non-Union Waist. Sig. Klein of 50 Third Ave N. Y. City, sells Union Label Waists.

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