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111-a decrease of only 26,560. National and international organizations are required to pay per capita tax only upon their full paid-up membership, and therefore the 1,946,347 membership reported does not include the members involved in strikes and lockouts, or those who were unemployed during the fiscal year, for whom tax was not received. Forty-three national and international unions of the 110, showed an increase in their average membership over last year of 46,772 members, which is an encouraging growth. Thirtythree organizations showed no increase. Thirty-four organizations showed a decrease of 118,019 members. The directly affiliated local trade and federal labor unions showed a decrease of 3,077 members. The decrease in the membership of the directly affiliated local trade and federal labor unions is confined to the nine local unions that joined international unions and the local unions suspended for non-payment of per capita tax. A number of the suspended unions will be reinstated during 1916. Year Membership Year
Membership 1897 264,825 1907
1,538,970 1898 278,016 1908
2,020,671 1906 1,454,200 1915
1,946,347 Finances. The following are the receipts and expenses for the twelve months ending September 30, 1915:
RECEIPTS. Balance on hand September 30, 1914.
$102,492.81 Per capita tax
8,028,54 Interest on funds on deposit
2,340.00 American Federationist
36,731.27 One-cent assessment to defray expenses in the United Hatters' case
15,777.24 One.cent assessment to organize women workers 5,373.95 Defense fund for local trade and federal labor
14,257.98 nded and suspended unions and fees for charters not issued
890.53 Reinstatement and initiation fees
5,804.47 Money received and not receipted for.
858.50 Premiums on bonds of officers of affiliated unions 5,190.74
48,723.57 American Federationist
11,982.43 One-cent assessment to organize women workers 9,192.62 Reinstatement and initiation fees
303,985.95 Cash balance on hand Sept. 30, 1915..
70,132.39 RECAPITULATION. In general fund
$12,744.56 In defense fund for local and federal labor unions
57,387.83 Cash balance on hand Sept. 30, 1915
$70,132.39 On account of amount advanced on office building loan from defense fund
40,500.00 Balance on hand Sept. 30, 1915, including building loan $110,632.39
THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR
CONVENTION, 1915. Of more than usual interest to the entire country as well as to the world of organized labor was the A. F. of L. Convention of November last. To the outside public, the proposal for a Labor Peace Conference, and the attitude of the delegates on the questions of "preparedness,” immigration, Pan-American relations and other questions_with an international bent were of the greatest interest. To labor, the heated controversies over legislation for the eight hour day, industrial unionism and the proposal to apply the principles of the referendum and recall to the election of the officers of the A. F. of L., were perhaps, of the most vital importance.
Labor Peace Conference. A most hopeful decision or rather re-decision, from the standpoint of the internationalist, was the adoption by the convention of the suggestion of the Executive Council to hold a Labor Peace Conference immediately after the cessation of hostilities in order to inject something of the human element in international relations and demand "the democratic control and democratic organization of international agencies and international methods."
“During the previous history of the world,” the report of the Council truly states, “international relations have been left for professional diplomats and politicians. As a result this field has not been organized, and there are few permanent agencies for dealing justly, comprehensively and humanely with international questions and rights."
The Council proposed that every national center affiliated with the International Federation of Trade Unions send two delegates to the Conference, and that unaffiliated organizations be also represented. The Convention adopted the recommendation and authorized the Council to appoint the president of the A. F. of L. and another delegate to attend. It also urged that the trade union movement maintain strict neutrality in the present crisis, for "after all, down deep in the hearts of all real unionists lie that fraternal spirit and world-wide brotherly love, genuine sympathy and kindly regard for the welfare of our fellow workers, regardless of place and nationality.”
In considering the Central and South American countries, the Council recommended closer relationships with the labor movement than had been in existence heretofore, especially in view of the affiliations which the employing classes of the various countries will have with each other in the near future. It commented favorably on the pro-working class attitude of Carranza in Mexico. Toward the people of Porto Rico, the Convention assumed the internationalist position, by urging Congress speedily to pass legislation which would grant citizenship to the people of that island, and relieve them from the oppressive social and economic conditions under which they were living.
The delegates also went on record against the discriminations under which the Jewish race in various European countries were now suffețing.
In regard to immigration, the Convention repeated its well known position in favor of the literacy test, on the ground that unlimited immigration would lower the American standard of living and, furthermore, that "ability to read is a qualification that should reasonably operate to protect the alien against the misrepresentations and false promises held out to them by the unscrupulous agents of conscienceless exploiters.”. It urged its members also, to work for a more extensive Asiatic exclusion law, and against employing or patronizing Asiatics in any manner whatsoever.
“Preparedness.” It was not, however, until the question of "preparedness” was reached that the convention witnessed a genuine cleavage of opinion among the delegates. The Council had previously reported on the Dick military bill, declaring that it had not been wrongly applied in the twelve years of its
existence, and that a vigilant labor movement could prevent its injurious use. It had also expressed its belief in the need of a small standing army to be supplemented by a citizen soldiery, democratically organized and controlled. It must, however, be said in passing that the recent agitation for "preparedness” has met with a distinct disapproval of the rank and file of the labor movement. In numerous cities where "preparedness" parades were held the labor unions have declined the invitation to participate and have used the opportunity to declare their opposition to the extension of the spirit of militarism which the advocates of "preparedness" were trying to bring about through influencing public opinion.
The discussion at the Convention was begun as a result of a resolution introduced by Adolph Germer of the Illinois Mine Workers, now National Secretary of the Socialist Party, urging the Federation to protest "against the introduction in our public schools of military propaganda” and to "call upon the workers to desist from affiliating with any branch of the military forces.” In defense of his resolution, he declared that the Trade Union movement of America was the only one that was not anti-militaristic; that Europe had been plunged into war because of her preparedness; that there were powerful interests in this country endeavoring to use the schools, movies, theaters, civic organizations, to forward their pro-militarist schemes; that there was no fear that the crippled and maimed of Europe would desire war with us after the European conflagration was over, and that the chief danger was the use of the military forces in developing our foreign trade. “And I,” declared Delegate Germer, "absolutely refuse to go to a foreign nation to shoot other workers or be shot by them.”
President Gompers, who concluded the debate, asserted that he had been a pacifist for many years, but that the sight of the workers of Europe hurling themselves at each other's throats, caused him to revise his opinions. He believed that an international court whose decrees were enforced by boycotts, would be the outcome of this war, but was of the opinion that the republic should be prepared for emergencies. "A people,” he continued, “unwilling to defend the institution of self government are not worthy to have a republic." He pleaded for the Swiss citizen army plan, and claimed that it would be dangerous to the liberties of the country to leave the military forces in the hands of the select few. All the speakers asserted that they were bitterly opposed to war and to militarism, The motion of Delegate Germer was defeated.
The Tilt Over the Eight Hour Law. The liveliest debate held during the Convention was that dealing with the eight hour law, at the conclusion of which the Convention reaffirmed, by a small majority, its action of the previous year, placing itself on record against legislative enactment for the shorter work day. This action of organized labor is, to many, one of the most inexplicable decisions of the convention.
The resolution in favor of the eight hour day law was introduced by Delegate John J. Fitzpatrick, who represented the Illinois Federation of Labor. The Committee in reporting the resolution unfavorably declared that labor had won its first battles through the repeal of laws by which the conditions of labor were determined by legislative and judicial authorities, and that wage earners must depend on their own economic organizations for securing the shorter work day. This is the only effective method, and, at the same time, "it enables unionists to maintain their independence and their resourcefulness."
In behalf of his own motion, Delegate Fitzpatrick declared, that, in his opinion, labor should use both its political and economic power, to attain its end in this fight. Most of the people in this country are unorganized and cannot fight for the eight hour day industrially. “There is no ray of hope in their lives and still we are going along regardless of the interests they may have in the premises. We have organized two million men after a hard struggle and a great number of years, practically within the period of the average man's life, and then we say to these others, 'Live on in hope that some day our organization will reach you and bring you within our beneficent fold.'”
.That the leisure which an eight hour law would bring would conduce to the strengthening rather than the weakening of the labor movement, was the contention of Delegate Barnes of the Cigar Makers Union. “It is the best man at his trade,” said Delegate Barnes, “that headed the roster of the labor movement in every community., Because he was skilled and independent he had more time for thought. Those who have the most leisure will be the quickest to organize. There is a growing public sentiment in the direction of the eight hour law, and we want to coin that sentiment into law.
Now the American Federation of Labor goes to the doors of the legislatures and says: 'Let us alone; we will fix John D. Rockefeller and his blessed son; we will take care of the steel industry. You gentlemen representing legislation, keep your hands off!'
You are going back one hundred years and assuming the position of the master class regarding legislation, I don't know just