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J. Keir Hardie, 251; Jean Jaurès, 251; Edouard Vaillant, 252.
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Woman and Child Labor, 254 ; Infant Mortality, 267; Com-
mission on Industrial Relations, 269; Earnings in the United
States, 275 ; Standard of Living, 278; Property Incomes, 280 ;
Low Wages and Prostitution, 282; Social Insurance, 286;
Industrial Accidents, 290; Workmen's Compensation, 292;
Scientific Management, 297; Co-operation in the United
States, 300. Public Education :--Compulsory Education, 306;
penditures, 308; Health of School Children, 309; Federal
Aid for the Common Schools, 311; Democratizing the
Schools, 313; Vocational Education, 315; Community Cen-
ters, 317; Academic Freedom, 319; Immigration, 322; Pro-
hibition Movement in the United States, 323.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Economic Imperialism, 325; War, Militarism, and “Prepared-
ness,” 329; Labor and the Democrats, 332; Graduated Income
and Inheritance Taxation, 335; Public Ownership of Public
Utilities, 342 ; Trend Toward Public Ownership, 343; Facts
of Public Ownership, 346; Woman Suffrage, 350; United
States Government, 356; Commission Form of Government,
360; Proportional Representation, 365; Initiative, Referen-
dum, and Recall, 367; State Constabulary, 368; Public Em-
ployment Offices, 368; Naturalization, 372; Meaning of Con-
servation Movement, 375.
THE LABOR MOVEMENT IN THE
By FRANK MACDONALD. The Trades Union movement in this country has seemingly been the most chaotic that exists anywhere. At times it has come perilously near, in the earlier days, to reflecting the curious and often wildly absurd forms we see in some American religions, legislation, social experiments and the administration of law.
Lynch law is typically American. It has been used without stint against the unions. Then there is a mass of Federal laws, State laws of 48 different kinds, county laws and municipal ordinances. Somewhere in this mass could be found a law that could be directed against the unions. But slowly out of the disorder and fighting every step of the ground against those in whose favor the laws were framed, the trades unions have brought the working class, even the unorganized, to a clearer understanding of what is their right and what is necessary to the general social welfare.
They have done it at a cost of suffering, of life and of wealth that is incalculable. In the hundreds of experiments that have been made in organization there was always at least a lesson. Little unions have come forward, attempted certain reforms and have passed away. Great unions, apparently capable of wielding invincible power,.have suddenly disintegrated, and the work of organization had to be started again. The American people are the most disorderly, uncertain of purpose and wasteful in the world. The American people include those whose ancestors came here with the first Europeans and those who arrived yesterday. They are of every race and every color and speak dozens of different tongues. But it does not matter what the color or the language may be, each is a potential wage worker and it has been the task of the Trades Unions to organize them and drill them into an efficient army of Labor in defense of Labor.
The Problems. First of all, the workers had no protection under the law. The little strikes that occurred in the earlier days were not the result of Trades Unionism but were the revolts of a few individuals here and there. The Trades Union is the product of the machine. Whitney's invention of the cotton gin made the textile business possible on a large scale, and necessitated a big supply of labor. Howe's invention of the sewing machine produced a revolution. In 1830 there were only about 20 miles of railroad in this country, and it is during this period that the American Trades Union begins its first halting attempts to protect the wage workers.
The carpenters and joiners and the shipwrights had formed organizations early in the century, and in 1833 the carpenters' strike in New York led to the formation of a general trades union. In 1825 the New York women tailors struck, and women have made labor history in the clothing industry since that time. In 1836 the Lowell mill girls went on strike because the cost of board had been increased from $5 a week to $5.50 and there had been no increase in wages. These are all significant incidents as they show that necessity had aroused the wage workers and they show that the number of wage workers was steadily increasing.
Practically all the unions, with a few striking exceptions, previous to the Civil War were short lived. But it is during this time there occurred the events that make the great American labor problem of to-day. This is the richest country in the world, and it has the richest and in some respects the poorest people in the world.
Previous to the Civil War the process of monopolizing was in full swing. The land grabbers, the mine and forest grabbers opened the way for the oil field and water power monopolists. So the American labor movement has not only had to struggle against the individual employer but against great aggregations of wealth and the legislative power that wealth gives.
The history of the American labor movement forms a library. Its variations are endless, and its history as told in strikes and lockouts is one long series of outrages and injustice. Trades Unions have not only had to protect themselves in the factories, but they have had to fight for labor and social legislation from the beginning. When this legislation was obtained they had to fight for its enforcement.
They have had to fight the lawmakers and the judges, the police power and those who usurped police power. Nothing has been won without a bitter struggle and that struggle is only now approaching its climax.
The Workers Had No Rights. In England, which had developed a leisure class that could afford to be philanthropic, labor legislation was due in a great measure to the efforts of those who realized the inhumanity of the conditions under which the workers toiled. America had no leisure class of like impulse, so the workers in the beginning had to do their own fighting.
The wages fight is always the basis of the struggle, for it is an attempt to make income square with the cost of living. Our first unions were formed by little groups of men who demanded some slightly increased share of the wealth they were producing, and they needed that increase in order to live.
At the same time there steadily grew the consciousness that the hours of labor were murderous. The day's work was from sunrise to dark and then an hour or two by candle light, and this six days in the week. The demand for a twelve hour day was greeted with savage opposition as a violation of the rights of property. It was conceded reluctantly by first one and then another employer, and would never have been observed if the fight for an eleven hour day had not immediately been started.
Today, when hours have been reduced, the great Ten Hour movement will seem a curious thing to many. Yet it was one of the hardest of all the fights, and employers and officials alike regarded it as leading to the destruction of American institutions and American liberty. Where the trades are not organized even in our time, and where there is not a combination of the workers of a State for the protection of all the workers, such restrictions of the hours of labor as there are on the statute books are not observed.
The Trades Unions have not only had the task of fighting the battle for fewer hours of work, but they have had to stand on guard and see that the law did not become a dead letter. Much of the wealth made in New England industries, and now possessed by the older and highly respectable families, had its origin in the merciless driving through many hours of the men, women and children in the factories.
The Women and Children. Northern people view with horror the opposition in the south to the Keating Child Labor bill. There is not so much of philanthropy in this as there is the realization that the south, with its child labor, has an advantage not possessed by the north. There is no limit to the number of hours the women and children toil in tenement industry, and if the north did not possess a strong labor movement, no one can believe that there are not employers in plenty who would take advantage of this supposedly cheaper labor so that he could more advantageously compete in the open market with his goods.
Women were forced into the textile mills, the shoe shops, the sweatshops, the department stores, the meat packing establishments, the cigar factories, and now into the munitions factories and the foundries. American male workers
opposed their entrance into industry, and the early trades unions fought against their joining them. Fortunately the opposition to membership did not prevail, and women workers are a mighty fighting force in the trades union movement.
Trades Unionists in all except a portion of the south, won their demands for a limit to the age at which a child can enter the factory or store, and they also got their demands concerning night labor of women and children. In the large cities the object now is to prevent tenement work and the farming out of work, at low wages, to women and children in the country districts as is done in a few industries.
Where the workers do not combine, or where the combination is weak and there is union only under terrible stress, there is a reversion to the old and vicious conditions that prevailed before the unions began to exercise their power. Some American mill and factory towns_have tenements as foul as those which existed in the Five Points, or in certain east and west-side districts of New York before the agitation for tenement house regulation was begun. So long as the workers do not form permanent organizations and maintain them these conditions will continue.
Preventing Waste. The struggle for a higher standard of living means the prevention of the waste of human life. The shorter work day tends to the physical and mental improvement of the workers. Improved dwelling places give the workers an incentive to still better conditions. The curtailment of the once unlimited power of the "boss” increases the self esteem and respect of the workers. Better and safer factory conditions have led to the demand for better social conditions.
Labor legislation and labor control of working conditions are the two most encouraging things of the present time.
There is another factor that has been a great influence in bringing about the demand for more and ever more labor and social legislation. That is the organization of the various benefit funds of the unions and the increasing number of unions which maintain their own homes for the sick or disabled, the growth of pension funds and the existence of such organizations as the Workmen's Sick and Death Benefit Society and the Workmen's Circle.
It is a mistake to think that the workers are thereby lifting a burden from the shoulders of the capitalists, and paying for things the capitalists would otherwise have to meet in the form of increased taxes. The control of their own affairs by the workers leads inevitably to his determination ito control still more. The industrial insurance societies