The Oklahoma Labor Unit (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Vol. 7, No. 27, Ed. 1 Saturday, December 26, 1914 Page: 1 of 4

"The strongest bond of human sympa-
thy outside the family relation
should be one uniting all working
people of all nations, tongues and
kindreds." (Abraham Lincoln, )
"A man willing to work and unable
find work is, perhaps, the saddel
sight htat fortune's inequality el
hibits under the sun."
(Thomas Carlyle)
NO. 27.1
A strong protest ust low wages,
long hours and iinpi • working con-
ditions; a world wid ivement aris-
ing from a laudable "e tor better
living conditions and , apid rise of
prices as compared w wageB, are
some ot the causes outlined by the
Federal Commission on Industrial Re-
lations for the present industrial un-
The commission issued its first an-
nual report this week. The report out-
lines in detail the result of its inves-
tigations and treats at length on the
question of collective bargaining,
which, it says, Is generally favored by
employers and employes, and ac-
knowledged by employers to be re-
sponsible for the improvements in in-
dustrial conditions in the last half cen-
Nine cardinal causes of industrial
unrest most generally agreed upon
by employers and employes alike
were presented to Congres Monday
by the commission on industrial rela-
tions, now holding hearings in Den-
ver, in its preliminary report as fol-
"Largely a world-wide movement
arising from a laudable desire for bet-
ter conditions. Advanced by repre-
sentatives of labor, socialists and em-
ployers, and generally indorsed.
"A protest against low wages, long
hours, and improper working condi-
tions in many industries. Advanced
1 >y practically all labor representa-
tives and assented to by many em-
"A desire on the part of the work-
ers for a voice in the determination
of conditions under which they labor
and a revolt against arbitrary treat-
ment of individual workers and a sup-
pression of organization. This was
almost uniformly approved by labor
"Unemployment and the insecurity
of employment. Generally advanced
by witnesses from every standpoint.
"Unjust distribution of the products
of industry. Advanced by most labor
representatives and agreed to by most
Misunderstanding and prejudice.
Agreed to by employers and employes.
"Agitation and agitators. General-
ly advanced by employers but defend-
ed by labor representatives and oth-
ers as a necessary means of educa-
"The rapid rise tn prices as com-
pared with wages.
"The rapidly growing feeling that
redress for injuries and oppression
cannot be secured through existing in-
"In addition," says the report, "it
has been stated by many witnesses
that the tremendous immigration of
the last quarter century while not it-
At the meeting of the Civic Federa-
tion held in New York on Saturday,
Dec. 12, President Gompers, of the A.
F. of L., took part in the discussion
on the necessity of taking steps for
national defense. He took up espe-
cially an assertion by Dr. Jordan that
"the war in Europe is the heaviest
price the world ever paid for a series
of blunders, the chief blunder consist
ing of spending $10,000,000 a year for
ten years before the war as peace in-
surance. It was merely laying in a
stock of liquor for a man already
"I want to say for the American
workingman that we have no action
of working for disarmament," Mr.
Gompers said.
"We realize that the American
workingman would have to bear the
brunt of any war we might start, or
that might come against us. But at
the same time we realize that if any
one of us went out of this hotel, for
Instance, and met outside a drunken
bully with a gun, some of us would
have to catch that bully and disarm
liim or shoot him, or else he would
kill us.
"So the American workingman looks
cheerfully upon war for his country as
one of his burdens, and he accepts the
costs he has to pay in the form of
childhood unprotected, early widow-
hood, and a long list of maimed and in-
jured workers.
"All we ask is that you who are not
workers realize that for war you need
strong bodies, and you can't get them
if you give your workers starvation
wages. That for war you need fever-
resisting men, and that that kind of
man doesn't come from the slums.
self a direct cause of unrest, has
served to accentuate the conditions
arising from other causes by creating
an oversupply of labor unfamiliar with
American customs, language and con-
While it presents no conclusions,
leaving these for later work, the com-
mission, after more than a year's in-
vestigation covering all phases of In-
dustry throughout the country in
which more than 500 witnesses rep-
resenting all relations of capital and
labor were examined, presents the
"Is there need for changes, improve-
ments and adaptations, or must en-
tirely new legal machinery be devised
for the control of UxTustry?"
The final report and conclusions of
the commission will be submitted
next August, when its mission is con-
These nine agreed causes were the
result of the examination of 514 wit-
nesses divided in interests as follows:
Affiliated with employers, 181; affiliat-
ed with labor 183; not affiliated with
either group, 150. The witnesses in-
cluded seven members of the Indus-
trial Workers of the World and six
representatives of the socialist party.
Under other captions the report pre-
sents a summary of causes of unrest
as given by employers and workmen.
On the principle of collective bar-
gaining the investigators found virtu-
ally all witnesses, with the exception
of those representing the Industrial
Workers of the World, to be in ac-
cord. As to any suggested method of
application of that principle, however,
wide divergence of opinion was noted.
In this connection the report adds:
"A majority of the best informed
witnesses who have appeared before
the commission have insisted, how-
ever, upon the necessity of securing a
proper basis upon which such collect-
ive bargaining can be carried out. It
is impossible to analyze these sugges-
tions at this time, but it may be well
to note that practically all of the most
experienced witnesses have insisted
upon the necessity for strong organiza-
tion of both employers and employes
as a fundamental basis for the suc-
cessful conduct of collective bargain-
"The testimony of a majority of the
employers was in favor of a rule sim-
ilar to that of the Canadian Indus-
trial Disputes act, which prohibist
strikes and lockouts in public utilities
pending investigations by the mediat-
ors, assisted by representatives of the
empolyers and employes. Such a law
is uniformly opposed by the repre-
sentatives of labor."
Regarding trade unions and employ-
ers' associations, the commission an-
nounces that It is making a compre-
hensive study of a large number of
typical organizations. The commis-
sion says: "Against many of these as-
sociations and unions grave charges
of serious import to the welfare of the
country, if they be proved true, have
been laid before the commission, and
it is only by the most painstaking, im-
partial and unrelenting examination
that the facts can be developed, and
such examination we are now prose-
The commission's experts also are
looking into questions of unorganized
labor, scientific management in shops
as it affects employes, women and chil-
dren in industry, land problems, un-
employment, social legislation and la-
bor and the law. Of unemployment
the report says:
"Nothing comes so clear to the com-
mission as the imperative necessity of
organizing a market for labor on a
moderate business basis, so that there
will be no vacant jobs and idle work-
ers in the same community at the
same time, or within distance where
the transportation is practicable. The
consensus of opinion is that legisla-
tion for a national system of labor ex-
changes is an immediate necessity.
The plan of the commission proposes
to establish a bureau of employment
in the Department of Labor, which
would co-operate with state and mu-
nicipal employment offices, regulate
private agencies doing interstate busi-
ness, and establish clearing houses
uniting all labor exchanges into one
national system."
Proposals for constructive legisla-
tion, the report announces, will be sub-
mitted to Congress covering labor ex-
changes, industrial education, voca-
tional guidance and apprenticeship,
safety, sanitation, health of employes
and administration of laws relating
thereto, smuggling of Asiatics, media-
tion, conciliation and arbitration, wom-
an and child labor, minimum wage,
hours of labor, agriculture and farm
labor, social insurance, especially
workmen's sickness and invalidity in-
surance and labor and the law.
The following letter setting forth •
few of the declarations of the Phila-
delphia Convention has just been is-
sued and sent out by President Gom-
pers and Secretary Morrison ot the
A. F. of L.
At the Philadelphia Convention of
the Ameririm Federation of Labor,
many matters affecting the interests
of our organizations, as well as the
Interests of the wage workers of the
entire country, were considered;
among them the following, to which
your attention is especially directed:
That affiliated national and inter-
national unions shall explain thor-
oughly to their membership the power
of the union label, and to advocate
and insist upon the proper union edu-
cation of all trade unionists as to their
duties in demanding union label goods.
Upon the resolution dealing with the
subject of American laundries and res-
taurants conducted by aliens, the con-
vention recommended that all trade
unionists and their friends should
patronize union restaurants and laun-
dries, and in connection with the gen-
eral subjectmatter, the convention re-
affirmed the declaration of the Seattle
Convention as contained in Resolution
No. 28, of that convention, as follows:
"Resolved, That we favor a literacy
test, so that immigrants may be re-
quired to be able to read and write
the language of the country XBora
whence they come, or in some lang-
uage or tongue."
All organized labor was urged to in-
sist upon and work for the publica-
tion of all school books under strictly
fair conditions, particular attention
being called to the fact that the text-
books and maps gotten out by the
Rand and McNally Company of Chi-
cago are published under non-union
Organizers and affiliated organiza-
tions were asked to inaugurate an
active campaign for the organization
of school teachers throughout the
A special request was made for the
active co-operation and support of all
organized labor for the Commercial
Telegraphers' Union of American in
its effort to organize the men of thai,
Assistance of the organized labor
movement was pledged to the Cigar-
makers' International Union in its ef-
fort to organize the employes of the
American Tobacco Company.
Directions were given for renewed
efforts to organize the stenographers,
typewriters, bookkeepers and office
assistants, recommending to all trade
union officials who employ such
workers that they give active support
and assistance to the unions of the
calling already organized by the fol-
lowing means:
"(a) To assist in the organization
of their workers; (b) when employing
new workers appl^ to the union for
those already members, if any such
are out of employment and competent
for work required; (c) to periodically
look for the union cards of their work-
ers, so that they will assist the strug-
gling unions in keeping their mem-
bers' dues paid without unnecessary
effort; (d) to enter into union shop
agreements with the union where the
union is in the habit of making for-
mal agreements; (e) to give extra
work done outside the office to union
members where possible."
Endorsing the Casey Bill, H. R. 17,-
855, or legislation of similar import ac-
ceptable to the organized farmers for
the establishment of an industrial al-
cohol commission, and an appropria-
tion by Congress to demonstrate con-
clusively the practicability of farm
alcohol distilling.
Requesting the active co-operation
of all affiliated national and interna-
tional unions, state federations ot la-
bor, city central bodies. In behalf of
the United Brotherhood of Leather
Workers on Horse Goods, In its cam-
paign for organizing the men of the
The convention condemned the use
of official seals of the organizations
of labor by privately owned papers,
and called upon all state bodies and
city central bodies to withdraw all
seals now being printed in privately
owned papers. The various depart-
ments of the A. F. ot L. were asked
to take similar measures with their
respective local councils.
In dealing with the effort to organ-
ize tho employes of the various stato
institution controlled by the State
Board of Administration of the State
of Illinois, to secure for them one day's
rest in seven, reasonable compensa-
tion for labor performed, an annual
vacation of at least two weeks, ade-
quate housing facilities for employes,
a practical tribunal for the redress of
grievances, the convention declared in
favor of similar agitation being con-
ducted through the proper channels,
such as the State Federations of La-
bor, the city central bodies, and the
A. F. of L. organizations, in the other
states throughout America.
The convention unequivocally de-
clared that bakery wagon drivers and
laundry wagon drivers come under the
jurisdiction of the International
Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs,
Stablemen and Helpers of America;
that all affiliated organizations should
govern themselves accordingly, and
all state federations of labor and city
central bodies shall be given notice
that local unions having within their
membership teamsters coming under
the jurisdiction of the International
Brotherhood of Teamsters will not be
seated until such members are trans-
ferred to their proper jurisdiction.
It was recommended that every ef-
fort be made by the A. F. of L., and
state federations and city central bod-
ies for the passage of laws by the va-
rious state legislatures for the free
textbook system.
It was ordered that the stato fed-
erations and city central bodies should
be requested to use their best en-
deavors to have laws enacted by the
different state legislatures requiring
that in the workshops in which are
employed upholsters and mattress-
makers who work on furniture, mat-
tresses, railway cars, and automo-
biles, the filling material shall be pick-
ed in separate rooms, and also that the
use of materials for the filling of mat-
tresses which are injurious to the
health of the people shall be prohibit-
The Congress of the United States
having designated the second Sunday
in May as Mother's Day, the conven-
tion recommended that the state fed-
erations and city central bodies should
urge upon their respective legislatures
the enactment or adoption of laws or
resolutions for the various states, des-
ignating the second Sunday in May as
Mother's Day.
The state federations and city cen-
tral bodies of the Pacific and Inter-
mountain states were urged by the
convention to be vigorous and ener-
getic in their efforts to secure the
enactment of such legislation as will
prohibit the employment of white
women under any conditions by As-
Your earnest and active co-opera-
tion and assistance are urgently re-
quested in carrying out the letter and
spirit of the declarations of the Phila-
delphia Convention as regards the
matters to which reference is above
made, for your help and co-operation
will largely contribute to giving to our
movement a very great impetus and
wider power and influence for good.
Our New Year's Wish
At this, the season of good cheer, we wish all our friends
and readers the compliments of the season.
At this, the closing of a year's struggle, may you find the
pattern you have woven beautiful with the work of your own
We hope you have found therein, achievements equal to
your opportunity, strength stronger than your temptation, all
failures surrounded with a stronger courage—a victory obtained
from each defeat! And upon every ambition may there shine the
light of hope. '
In the new year to come may you acquire some wealth, and
such health that you will rejoice in the joy of living! And, if it
be for your greatest good, in the lovely plan of this same year
may you trace with faith and joy the golden thread of your
heart's desire.
All of these things for you, our friends, we wish—yea, and
even more.
Chicago, Dec. 24.—The man with
the scoop shovel, and his hardships
and poverty, was under the spot light
at the arbitration hearing, in which
65,000 employes of Western roads fig-
ure, in Chicako last week. Tho man
in the locomotive cab who shovels
coal into the fiery, red maw of his
pot engine hour after hour and day
after day, sometimes as many as
thirty tons a day, told his story for
the benefit of the arbitrators.
And beside him at the hearing was
the railroad hostler. The hostler is
the inconspicuous fellow who grooms
and oils and cares for the locomotive
while it rests in the roundhouse. It
is said that few people ever hear of or
see the railroad hostler but, according
to testimony at the inquiry, if the host-
ler is incompetent or ignorant and
turns the locomotive over to the en-
gineer in an unsatisfactory condition
at any time, a serious disaster may
It was the scoop shovel artisan,
however, who perhaps attracted the
most attention. There was Henry
Rose, a fireman on the Chicago and
Northwestern road, running out of Ks-
canabe, Mich, who told the story of
frequent lay-offs, loss of seniority, long
and tedious trips requiring a vast
amount of shoveling, and low pay. It
was Hose who said he had not been
able to get work for a month or six
weeks and if it had not been foi aid
given him by relatives he and his
family would have been in a starving
A typical hostler was P. J. McClory
who works for the Chicago Junction
Railway. He told of laboring twelve
hours a day and getting 16 1-3 cents an
hour, or $2.00 for a day's work, lie
wanted more money and needed it but
was forced to work twelve hours each
day to obtain his meager $2.00.
Another hostler, Prank Halloway,
of Chicago, working for the Burlington
road, testified that he receives $.100
a day but is forced to work twelve
hours to acquire that sum. Mr. Hallo-
way said that in 1913 he had worked
every Sunday but three and had kept
on the job all holidays including
Christmas day that he might support
his family. This witness said ho had
tried to keep up the pace this year,
that the strain had been too great of
late, however, and had caused him dur-
ing 1914 to lay off a total of thirteen
An epitome of the points made by
the firemen and hostler witnesses fol-
Their occupation is exceedingly pre-
carious insofar as steadiness of em-
ployment is concerned.
They are under paid even during the
periods when they do work.
The installation of heavier locomo-
tives has reduced the earnings of in-
dividual firemen and likewise has
cut down the fireman's working force
by from 50 to 60 per cent.
During the last two or three years
the cost of living has materially in-
creased not only at home but away
from home where firemen must be
when their work keeps them out on
the road.
Three instances of enginemen fin-
countering surprise tests were men-
tioned during the week's testimony.
B. P. Young, a halfbreed Indian and an
engineer on the Union Pacific road
in Kansas, told the story of running
into the unexpected red switch light
on two occasions about a year ago.
Once he was running his train near
New Cambria, Kans., and the other
time it was near Salina, the same
state, where the test was sprung. Both
times his engine was going at a good
rate of speed when the quick Hash
of red startled the engineer and
caused him to put on the emergency
brake. The first time he was within
fifty feet of the switch, he said, when
the red light was turned on him. Both
these tests were fakes and given to
see if Mr. Young had his eyes open.
The witness said that he was under
the impression that the Kansas law
against surprise tests was in force at
the time.
It remained for O. F. Modenbach, a
fireman on the Oklahoma division of
the Rock Island Railroad, to relate an
even more impressive story. On the
stand Saturday Mr. Modenbach said
the surprise test was given his engine
crew at two o'clock in the morning
during a heavy snow storm and with
a thick haze obstructing the view. The
red light flashed up at a passing track
where there was a switch and appar-
ently thrilled the engineer and fire-
man with horror, for Modenbach said
they gave the engine the "big hole"
and with death ahead of them, as they
thought, the engineer and fireman
leaped from the cab.
Modenbach went head foremost into
a ditch, skinned his nose and receiv
many bodily bruises. Luckily he
caped with his life. The engineer '
thrown violently against a part of
locomotive and tossed oat upon
hard ground, breaking his collar bol
It was a surprise tost after all but tl|
did not allay tho hurts of either
Tho engineer lay prostrate la a hi
. I
no pa) from the company during i|
idleness. The witness also stat|
that this surprise test had been
stigated by the trainmaster who,
far as the witness knew, had not be
reprimanded for the foolhardy de|
by any of his superiors.
Another feature of the week whil
apparently attracted some attend!
was a statement made by Warren [
si.-n.', Grand Chief < r tin- BrotherkJl
of Locomotive Bnglneera that the ral
roads in Weatern territory sponsor!
system of virtual blacklisting.
Stone did not put it quite that stro{
but turned the phrase in this way:
"If you will excuse the term, it I
legitimate blacklisting. I mean by tl|
that demerit marks against an e
neer or fireman which have been
celled by the man's good work are hei
against him by other railroad
panies when he sj'eks employme|
from them. We win show by one
i lit- best operating officials in Westel
territory that responsibility in case [
accident is shifted by high compan
officials again and again, evetn to ti
most inconspicuous employe in t|
Mr. Stone said in this conneetiM
that Hi'- Southern Pacific RallroaflB
few years ago had actually caused |
strike among the employs because
long «• itablished unfair diiciplinarhl
methods. Another point of the sanf
nature was the accusation that Grail
Chief Stone made ? gainst tho sau|
company regarding vario"**, ord*
Southern Pacific officials had given
prevent employee not only from hol|
ing public offices but even aspiring
same. Mr. Stone gave concrete e
amples of this.
The first part of tho week was d|
voted f" freight engin<era and the u|
plea ant \ Icia itudi a of t heir poaitioi|
were dwelt upon by many witnessi
from various parts of the countrl
(irand Chief Stpne emphasised ti|
following points:
Substitution of heavy locomotlv<|
for lighter onea lias increased hours <
service, added to the work and ma<|
the responsibility greater.
Since 1910 when the first of til
huge locomotives were install<|
wages have augmented but slightly.
The tonnage per train behind til
immense Mallets or Mikados is greats"
by from 30 to 60 per cent than in 1911
The productive efficiency of freiglj
engineers, therefore, at this time
much greater.
In his annual report, Secretary Rel
of I he I >epart ment of Coi I
United I
in their old age to its faithfu^J^i
ploy cs.
"In spite of the occasional loss
accentuating the disadvantages of aI
impaired service, the discouragemeJ
of a ret irded rate of promot on f(|
young and deserving employes
' 1
ho ail
\ ice ' hey are able to render does n<F
reach the average standard I
younger employee of the same clef
and grade.
to make an I
of thos' who have given the be
years of their lives to the governing!
would face poverty and want.
tem of pensions for superannuate
emplo I
profitable movement. That such
ernment so as to be ultimately
to have be^

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Zeigler, C. C. The Oklahoma Labor Unit (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Vol. 7, No. 27, Ed. 1 Saturday, December 26, 1914, newspaper, December 26, 1914; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. ( accessed September 21, 2018), The Gateway to Oklahoma History,; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

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