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have fattened on the poorest of the workers. The 'union workers do not have to resort to the industrial societies.. They can belong to their own and at the same time obtain a measure of economic protection. The union worker does not have to go to the almshouse when he is old or ill, as more of them now have their own resorts and union homes. They are forming within present capitalist society a new order of things in which the welfare of all is considered.
. Each year the unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the big railway Brotherhoods pay out millions of dollars in relief or death benefits. At the same time they stand between the whole working class and a violent lowering of the standard of living. Through their efforts the country is gradually finding itself and awakening to the understanding that the human being is the most important thing in the world.
An Army of Mercenaries. America is not militaristic but it has the most menacing standing army that exists in any country. This is the strike breaking or detective force, ready to do anything for money, ready to go anywhere, and preying upon the whole population.
The only effective opposition offered them is that which comes from the trade unions. Every unionist is against police and military power being lodged in private hands. Yet it rests there. In the proceedings of the last convention of the American Federation is the following: “Patience is a virtue. But wrongs, injustice and denial of
а rights deserve neither patience nor tolerance.
“The working people of the United States-organized and unorganized-are wonderfully patient; they have been blacklisted, jailed, robbed and killed. Unscrupulous employers have mistreated them in every way ingenuity can devise. The lust for more profit and power has ruined mentally, physically and morally many men. Large employers of labor and many small employers have during recent years delegated part of their legitimate functions to other concerns. They have surrendered the actual management of their affairs to outside parties. They have been deceived and robbed through impositions upon their credulity by scheming agencies labeled "information bureaus," "secret service companies," "detective agencies," "auditors and inspection companies,” and other concerns representing themselves as employment agencies.”
New York's Classified Telephone book lists over 125 of these agencies, all maintaining offices, all with a body of men :
on call, and all ready for anything from breaking a strike, to spying on employees or any other dirty work.
They are ready any time to start for the coal mines of West Virginia (and during the Kanawa strike they went there in an armored car), to a clothing strike in Philadelphia, a teamsters' strike in Chicago, or any other place they are ordered to. They have shot up towns, assaulted and in many instances murdered strikers in cities. They were the men who fired on and murdered the strikers at Roosevelt, and they do the beating up in clothing or any other strikes. They break the picket line and make way for the scab.
It is in their determination to put an end to this that the trades unionists again have shown that they are the vital, living force in social betterment.
The Press. Ayer's Newspaper Directory lists 250 labor publications, with a circulation of over 2,000,000. Some of them are splendidly gotten out monthly magazines, as carefully edited and finely printed as any publications. Besides carrying technical and trade news they have articles of general importance and interest. The growth of the labor press has been steady and the improvement of it has been
measureless. In 1828, nearly 90 years ago, The Mechanics' Free Press appeared in Philadelphia. It could have had only a few hundred circulation, but it was the advance guard of the labor press.
Conclusion. The American Trades Union can claim vast credit for having, when American capitalism, relentless and greedy for profits made possible by the introduction of machinery, resisted all efforts to reduce the northern workers to a worse condition than the slaves of the south; for having resisted constant efforts to lower wages and battled valiantly for increased wages; for having started to pull the workers out of the slums of the city and the styes that clustered around the factories of the industrial town; for having worked for fewer hours, against child labor, against night work for women and children; for having forced factory improvements, tenement improvements and for having repeatedly compelled the city authorities to pay attention to street and other conditions in the tenement districts.
They have organized and administered their own system of relief, and in spite of serious lapses and defections have done it well.
They have now turned their efforts to obtaining social legislation that will improve the condition of all,
There are now in this country at least 3,000,000 and with the efforts made to organize so-called unskilled labor, the number will increase. Temporary checks and setbacks have been constant in the labor movement. They have not prevented it from forging ahead. Local, trade, State and national federations have grown to power, and then been crushed or have gone to pieces because of foolish efforts, corruption, inefficiency, social conditions or other causes. The Knights of St. Crispin, the Knights of Labor and others have exercised power only to be swept away.
Industry in this country is more minutely divided than in any other, and little, individual organizations have grown up within an industry, amalgamated, separated, fought and come together again.
The whole swirl of American life is reflected in the Trades Union.
And yet it has gone on, accomplished much, and now sets itself to still greater tasks.
For all the heartache in it, in spite of the wrangling and jealousies in the ranks, in spite of blunders, the organized labor movement has attained a momentum that is sweeping society on to things that are good for labor, and therefore good for society.
THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR.
"Whereas, a struggle is going on in all the nations of the civilized world between the oppressors and the oppressed of all countries, a struggle between the capitalist and the laborer, which grows in intensity from year to year, and will work disastrous results to the toiling millions if they are not combined for mutual protection and benefit;
"It, therefore, behooves the representatives of the Trade and Labor Unions of America, in convention assembled, to adopt such measures and disseminate such principles among the mechanics and laborers of our country as will permanently unite them to secure the recognition of rights to which they are justly entitled.
“We, therefore, declare ourselves in favor of the formation of a thorough Federation, embracing every Trade and Labor Organization in America, organized under the Trade Union system.”
Objects—“Section 4. An American Federation of all National and International Trade Unions, to aid and assist each other; to aid and encourage the sale of union label goods, and to secure legislation in the interest of the working people, and influence public opinion, by peaceful and legal methods, in favor of organized labor.”
Character. The character of the American Federation of Labor, which was organized in 1881, though not named "A. F. of L.” until five years afterwards, was influenced to no'small extent by the character of its predecessor—the Knights of Labor. This organization, which reached its zenith in 1886, came to grief largely because of its combining in the local assemblies laborers of all varieties and many employers and non-wage-earners; its dual organizations of labor assemblies and trade assemblies; its over centralization; its frequent participation in sympathetic strikes and its peculiar political ventures.
The A. F. of L. desired to avoid these pits. It therefore sought to preserve the distinctive character of each trade, kept out, at least at first, of politics; eliminated the dual organization and organized a loose federation of trades, in which the component parts have complete liberty of action.
The A. F. of L. is in reality a federation. Local unions are generally affiliated with it through the nationals. At the end of 1915 it contained 110 national and international unions, 44 state federations, 673 city central bodies, 489 local trade and federal labor unions, 21,887 local unions, 5 department and 389 local department councils. Its membership, was reported as 1,946,347. The number of organizers employed during 1915 was 1,754.
The real factors in the conduct of the Federation are the conventions, called annually on the second Monday of November-between election and the opening of congress. National and international organizations are represented therein by one delegate for approximately every 4,000 members.
The officers of the Federation are a president, eight vice presidents, a secretary and a treasurer, each elected the last day of the convention. All elected officers must be members of unions connected with the Federation. The responsible administrative work rests with the Executive Council, composed of the eleven officers. The council watches legislative measures, initiates legislation, schedules speakers and performs many necessary administrative tasks.
National and international unions must pay to the Federation two-thirds of one cent per member per month; local trade unions and federal trade unions, ten cents, five cents of which must be set aside for strikes, etc. State and Central bodies pay $10 per year. All national unions are supposed to instruct their locals to join the Central labor bodies and state organizations in their vicinities. Seven wage workers of good character favorable to trade unionism, whose trade is not organized and who are not members of any body affiliated with the Federation, may form a local body to be known as a “Federal Labor Union.”
The State Federations look after legislation in their respective states and urge more effective organization among the workers. The city councils--meeting generally once a week and composed of representatives from the various locals in their vicinity-look after the general organized labor interests of their respective communities.
The federation also possesses five departments whose objects it is to get various unions to co-operate for mutual advantage—the Union Label, the Building Trades, the Metal Trades, the Railway Employees, and the Mining Departments. Each department, after its establishment, supports itself and manages its own affairs, and has its representative at the meetings of the Executive Council.
The Union Label Department, organized in 1909 for the purpose of inducing unions to have the label placed on their products and unionists to purchase goods bearing the union label, had affiliated with it in 1915, 39 national and international unions. The Bakery & Confectionery Workers were reported to have issued during the year 630,170,000 labels, and the tobacco workers, 446,794,950. The department in its educational campaign, issued 200,000 pieces of literature, scheduled a number of stereopticon lectures, held union label exhibits, etc.
The Building Trades Department, organized in 1908— though an evolution from a similar organization formed in 1903—contains most of the trades engaged in building, and the Metal Trades, those in the metal industries. The Mining Department contains the United Mine Workers, Western Federation of Labor, Brotherhood of Steam Shovel and Dredgemen, Iron, Steel, and Tin workers, and the Machinists.
Although most of the unions connected with the Federation are trade organizations, there are a few industrial unions, including the United Mine Workers, the Brewery Workers, and there is ever more discussion regarding industrial unionism in the ranks of organized labor.
Growth of Membership..... The average paid up and reported membership for 1915 is 1,946,347, a decrease of 74,324 members, the first decrease there has been in the total membership of the organizations affiliated to the American Federation of Labor since 1908. While the average membership for the year shows a decrease of 74,424, the September membership of the year was 1,994,