« ПретходнаНастави »
PRIORITY AND OVERTIME.
Should the priority law be abolished? Some claim if they give up a situation they are placed on equal footing with others, going to the foot of the class and working their way up again. law of any account to a union that does this? In several of the larger cities, where competition in everything is very keen, you will find firms that are always looking for good and fast men and are willing to pay them for their services. Here is an office that wants to hire this fast man, but it is unable to do so without first disposing of the average man it now has. Would the abolition of the law here in these cities, where there is always a surplus of help in all labor, caused from the fact that a great many of them will refuse to leave to look for work elsewhere over the vast amount of
territory covered by the International Typographical Union, be beneficial?
There is no business today in which priority does not prevail in some shape or form.
In mer. cantile houses, where employes come in direct contact with the public, the business and success of the house depending upon the efficiency and ability of these laborers, does it stand to reason that they would have incompetents in point of priority? For that matter, would they in the beginning have employed people whom they thought for moment could, for any reason, hesitate to assume the responsibility of heading the list ? I think not. Go to the railroads, where priority is in full force. Here you are required to pass an examination, and in some cases a very rigid one. And pass you must.
Who supposes for a minute that a railroad manager would place an incompetent in charge of human life or valuable freight? The oldest man out is always competent, otherwise he would not be there, and in the beginning would have failed in examination. But be that as it may, it seems to me as though we should conduct an examination ourselves of applicants for membership and avoid a great deal of this wrangling as to incompetency of a man carrying a card. There are stars and freaks in almost all kinds of business where ability counts for anything, and always will be. As, for instance, Standard Oil, beef trust, railroad trust and many more. Did the government change its constitution to suit these "freaks," or whatever you may choose to call them? Can we success. fully change some of our laws to meet the conditions prevailing in some congested cities? You say when you leave your office to accept temporary work in another you lose your priority. Certainly. With no priority in force, and accepting this temporary work, would not that be supervising two jobs ? As it is now, you are unable to control two positions, thereby leaving an opening for somebody else. This law affects about forty-five thousand men. Why not leave the law as it is and make it read so as to apply to subs and extra work? Few "regs," I believe, who would not give the oldest man preference for work. But the extra work, either from a foreman or by the office, has been and is today being
handled in a very unsatisfactory and improper manner, and priority should here apply. Fur thermore, I think this agitation against abolition of the law was not started for the unemployed membership, but more for selfishness and greed. You could give every man in the country today a situation and tomorrow some one would be found not working. Work everywhere is not oversupplied with help. While some in the east, perhaps, have gone hungry, men
elsewhere are recognizing the call of "time" by the gray dawn from the rising sun.
As to a man being permitted to sell his labor to any employer who may want to buy it, I don't see how a man can or would ride so roughshod over any one and at the same time keep his obligation before him. It is such liberties as these, to my mind, that create such an enthu siastic admiration for the “open shop.” I don't think a good union
man believes he should be allowed to do this. The idea can only be prompted by selfishness.
Is it possible for a man with ordinary ability to enter an up-to-date office today and master the trade within four years? I have seen machine operators and machinists who were totally unable to walk to a case and pick up a given letter. There are men with cards today who could work in an office for twenty years and then not be entitled to them. Efficiency for membership in the union today is the same as it was fifty years ago. With the progress in printing today we find a man is not taught an entire trade, but a particular branch of it. As a matter of fact, he simply becomes a mere cog in the wheel of industry. For this reason we will some time be compelled to adopt more stringent requirements for membership.
About the overtime law. In certain offices in the south and the middle west overtime goes hand in hand with regular time, six days a week and sometimes seven. The man would feel lost if it were otherwise. And the worst part of it is that he gets no compensation for it, and loses what he earns. Say we had no such law, how many situations over the country do you suppose would be opened up? In this case the "reg.” would have to hustle, and the swift, I believe, would get all that was coming to him. Offices would then have ma. terial and would arrange to have men when it suited them best. Under the law, if a man has averaged two days a week for a month or so, and is fortunate to get a week of steady work, and is compelled to put in overtime during the week, which, in a majority of cases, is not at all wanted, is it right and fair to compel this man to give out that overtime, if it has amounted to a day, to somebody else, with such slim prospects ahead of him? I don't believe it is. When a man weakens his eyes and body doing this overtime work he cer. tainly should get paid for it. I would like to suggest: Patch up the priority law. Abolish altogether the overtime law. Make the wide avenue leading to a knowledge of the trade a straight and narrow path. Why not stop receiving members into the union until able to take care of the
and figures of human beings, but with blank or unsettled minds looking out of the staring eyesfar different than conditions are with the employer of these men. These men who are rushing madly along for the dollar would do well to stop now and then to think about the end of it all. This stampeding trait we have in common with cattle and sheep. There is nothing worthy of the human understanding about it.
You do know that by industry, by respect for the rights of other men and a desire to do your full share of what is to be done in this world, you can find happiness, and happiness is enough of success for any man.
Act as an individual when it is possible. When you need co-operation, try to get the co-operation of others, or join with others who are working for an honest purpose.
Take an interest in the union, which is the science of living at peace and unity with your fellow
Be as little selfish as you can be. And remember that when the final "time" is called, whether you are at the top or at the bottom of the slug board, you will be judged according to the way you have dealt with those whom you have come in contact with. CHARLES R. GARRETT.
present supply? Overproduction without consumption is no business policy at all.
When we get into the habit of working overtime month after month, it is impossible to make some men, in their greed for success and money, to see that by so doing they are committing an irreparable injury to every member of the organization, as well as themselves. When death finally overtakes him, and the last sad tributes of respect have been paid, all we can say is: “Well, there is one man who has worked hard for success and has gone to eternal rest."
A great many are eager to get to the top. They crowd and jostle one another. Like cattle in a stampede, Insane with haste and excitement, they press forward and upward.
We tread on others as we pass and do not care. We tear down others who have climbed farther. All about is the turmoil and confusion of the mad struggle-whetting our excitement, adding to our blind desire to go on. And in that crowd there is probably not more than one man who knows where he is trying to go or why he is striving so madly to gain a higher place than others.
Of course, it is desirable to have a steady job and money; without them one becomes dependent, and dependence is misery. Every man should try to get far enough in the world to achieve an hon. est independence. If every man were satisfied with that there would be no stampede, no crowding an. other man out, no advance by putting others back, no victory at the price of the heartbreak and despair of other men. But in human nature, in its present state of development, selfishness is the dominant trait. It is selfishness that makes disa. greements between men. It is selfishness that is trying to bring about the abuse of our priority law -the desire for things men have earned and have a right to enjoy. Were it possible to eliminate selfishness this would be an entirely different world. But the quality is stubborn. Implanted originally in human nature to inspire a man to protect himself, it has been the most stubborn survivor of all the animal traits in man. We can not eliminate it from other people. We can not erad. icate it from those we know best. But we can control it in ourselves, and by holding to our present legislation and restriction we can check it in other men when it is carried to criminal extremes. While agitating this all-absorbing ques. tion of priority, any man
pause now and then and reflect what kind of conditions the abol. ishment of this law would bring about and what price he would be paying for it. Whatever the price may be, it is too costly at the expense of buman fairness.
To get it, and exchanging for it what is right and just, is a bad bargain.
To retain the present overtime law at the expense of life itself is a waste of the greatest gift of the Creator. Man was not meant to kill himself, striving for extra ems and dollars, but to live in this world and help make it better. To gain these by breaking down the mind is
as sinful as killing one's self in the same pursuit.
More pathetic than the worn-out mind and body are the grim asylums, inside whose walls walk creatures with the faces
THE COURSE IN PRINTING. The recent visit of W. B. Prescott to Detroit, for the purposes of explaining the scope of the I. T. U. Commission on Supplemental Trade Education, has proven beneficial in many ways. It has opened the eyes of the members to the advantages and necessity of improvement along that line if the craft is to meet the requirements of this progressive age.
With the talent within our ranks to develop the designer from the so-called "art" printer, and prevent the introduction of men between the customer and the compositor, whose sole duty it would be to lay out or design the job, thus making the compositors mere copy-followers, there is no possible reason why we should not afford our members the opportunities of acquiring the additional knowledge and step into those posi. tions now only too often held by men who have no knowledge of the printing trade. We are bet. ter fitted to advance to that position, with our practical knowledge of the physical possibilities of type, than those whose only knowledge is limited to designing, pure and simple. The International Typographical Union is to be congratulated on the progressive step it has taken in placing within the reach of the members this course of training, and every job printer, at least, should appreciate its value. The jobman who has kept pace with the times knows that he has been compelled to study and observe, often using the work of the designer as samples and attempting to duplicate as far as possible the effects with movable types, border and ornaments. Should he add to his knowledge the ability to design, he will follow the natural steps in the craft. Considering the price and the great value attached to the course, it would seem that every member should find it an
excellent investment to bring his work up to what is becoming known as the International Typo. graphical Union standard, and it must be a source of pleasure to the membership to have our craft taking the initial steps in a trade education idea that is so far advanced over any idea thus far offered. The employers have made several inef. fectual attempts to reach this goal, but their intentions were not so much to make a finished workman as to develop a specialty man who would prove of the most advantage to them, as employers, without regard to the benefits of the employe. The I. T. U. Course takes into consideration the welfare of the employe and thus benefits the employer as well, by supplying him with more capable workmen.
The success of the new departure is assured, and with the further development of the idea into fields not yet indicated, but possible of subjugation, the International Typographical Union will gain control of a vast source of desirable opportunities which it may offer as additional advantages to its membership. The scope of the venture can not at this time be fully appreciated, but as it unfolds its almost illimitable possibilities, under the careful guidance of its well-equipped commission, the union printers will stand higher, if possible, in the ranks of the progressive crafts and merit the approbation of employers as well as fellow unionists.
WILLIAM W. NORTON. Detroit, Mich.
THE APPRENTICE QUESTION. Newspaper Apprentices—"Well, how fare they?" Do I hear that question asked? Perhaps not. Per. haps nobody cares, but the newspaper apprentice certainly gets a good deal less than is his due, and when he is out of his time he is usually not an allround newspaper printer, but knows a part of the business; in other words, those turned out in most places since the advent of the machine usually know how to set ads and help make up forms, and there is where their knowledge of the newspaper branch ends. How does that compare with the days of old, or the days before the advent of the machine? It does not compare at all. In those old days the newspaper apprentice learned to be a newspaper printer-that is, in addition to knowing how to set ads and make up forms, he learned that highly essential part of the trade, the setting of news matter of all descriptions—local, telegraph, markets, board of trade news and all others, too numerous to mention, so that, when he was out of his time, he could walk out of the office where he learned his trade and go into any other office and the foreman would usually say 0. K. to his workmanship, and his recognition as a newspaper printer was an assured fact. Today all is altered, the cause being machine and the lack of justice in the unions in not seeing that the apprentice gets an opportunity to acquire a thorough knowledge of composition of all news matter that goes into the paper, an opportunity that these days in machine offices can not longer be gained at the case, as the case for composing news matter has disappeared and the apprentice only digs
into the case now to set heads and such matter in ads as the machine operator does not set. Where is the justice of this condition? Echo says, nowhere. And who is the fault of this condition? Echo says, the typographical unions. Now, to illustrate-I mention herein a few cases that have come under my observation: Upon the completion of their apprenticeship, these boys found themselves members of the union and also in the jobless crowd. Both of them served time in machine offices, and yet neither of them was a proficient machine operator, for the reason that they were given no opportunity to learn machines as regular machine apprentices, and what little knowledge they did get they got on their own time after their day's work was done. Here was both an injustice and a robbery. One of them went into another office to work as a sub adman and a machine operator. He made good on ads, but one day a machine operator was needed and he was put to work. Well, he was allowed to finish that day, but he never worked on the machines in that office again; yet he served his time in a machine office, and lack of fairness by the employer robbed him of what was his just due. In the other case the apprentice was a good ad. man and general floorman, and he had some knowledge of machines. A weekly printing of fice that had need of a man to work on ads and forms part of the time and machines the rest of the time gave him the privilege of serving a ma. chine apprenticeship at machine apprentice pay. Both of these cases illustrate the injustice, unfairness and robbery practised under our apprentice system, and show that some drastic and radical legislation is needed by the International Union to turn full-fledged newspaper printers out of newspaper machine offices capable of handling everything that pertains to a newsroom.
Now, what is the cause of this condition? Exploitation, robbery, commercialism and injustice on the part of employers, and cowardice, indifference and lack of interest in the welfare of the apprentice by the unions lay at the bottom of the whole thing.
Job Apprentices—Their opportunities to learn are not a whit better than the newspaper appren: tices. I know of offices equipped to turn out good job printers, but the apprentice is usually not given the chance. Most of the apprentices who have graduated into journeymen within the last sev. eral years were not rated as good job printers. Most of the offices that turned out these new ad. ditions to the journeymen force either kept the new recruit, if retained, on mediocre work, or turned him out to barnstorm in other job offices where he would be fired as soon as the emergency making his services necessary disappeared. Now this condition is not the fault of the apprentice, because most job offices keep a boy at distribution and a common grade of work during the entire apprenticeship. For that reason, he does not develop those better qualities of workmanship which he naturally possesses.
know of a case where a girl is learning the trade who has served three years, and all she has ever worked at is setting to be had. He was told at the Star office that some of their machines are going dark for want of operators, and yet thousands of union printers who want to learn machines are deprived of the opportunity, while the struck shops of the cities are turning out operators from people who have no knowledge at all of the printing trade, who will ultimately have to be taken into the unions as a measure of protection as these offices unionize, or are missionaryized by the unions. Unless a remedy is speedily found there will be soon hundreds of loyal unionists who served years at small pay to learn the trade, standing helplessly by and seeing these people running machines with union cards in their pockets and coin in their purses, while the loyal unionists will find nothing doing, and the sign “Skidoo-23" will be the welcome he will receive when he enters an office to ask for work, as for such there will be no work.
EDWARD MILLER Fort Wayne, Ind.
straight matter and distribution.
Another year and her time will be up, and where will she stand when she enters the journeymen's field unless during the next year she is given every opportunity to become a job printer? I could cite a number of other cases showing where the apprentice failed to get a square deal, but it is unnecessary, as I have said enough on the job apprentice.
The Monotype Machine-In many job offices there are monotype machines, where not a single apprentice is taught to run those machines. As the monotype machine has cut into the field of straight hand composition and the opportunities to work at such composition is rapidly decreasing, the injustice of this condition can readily be seen. The obligation to give the apprentice an education on the monotype machine, or any other typesetting device in a job office that uses such machines, is only a matter of justice, and when that is not done the job apprentice who has not been given such instruction has been as surely robbed of a part of what is his due as the newspaper apprentice who has served his time in a machine composing room, and who, when he gets out, knows no more about operating machines than a rabbit.
Technical education as taught at the Inland Printer school is all right, but good, practical education should go with it, and the International Union should see that the apprentice at the trade gets it. Dependence on the local union is a poor idea. What is needed is the big stick wielded from the International office and a system devised that will make the apprentice a proficient printer.
While talking on the apprentice I will divert to the lack of opportunity under the existing system for journeymen to learn machines. The chance is slim, and until some method is devised by the International Typographical Union that makes it an object for an employer to throw his machines open to journeymen who are not machine operators, and who, as a result, are often in dire circumstances owing to the limited field for hand composition, this condition will continue. I have noticed that the man who can run a machine has a better chance than the man who does not know how. The writer's own experience has been a lesson. I am not a machine operator, and hundreds of times chances for subbing on machines have been thrust at me and I could not do the work, while on the ad side there was nothing doing, and the result was that I got no work. Now, under a proper system, this lack of work on one side and sur. plus of work on the other would disappear, and a chance to live better would be open to the man who would like to be a machine operator, but does not get a show. This is an important matter, as the machine robbed thousands of men of jobs, and many of them are in distress a large part of the time, who, if only the opportunity to learn machines were opened to them, would have a bet. ter chance to live. Make the opportunity by some method that is fair to hundreds of men who are loyal unionists and are entitled to a chance to learn machines. Only recently a representative of one of the Fort Wayne offices went to Indian. apolis to hire machine operators, but found none
BIENNIAL CONVENTIONS. Just on the eve of another International convention I would like to advance a proposition, with a hope that some delegate will take it up and push it at the meeting.
Why not change our constitution and by-laws so as to have the International meetings held biennially, instead of annually, as at present? Then on the "off" year let an assessment be levied equivalent to the present cost of sending the various delegates to the convention, and the sum thus raised be applied to an increase in the death benefit or placed with the old age pension fund, or made the nucleus for an endowment fund, or devoted to the necessities of a constantly expanding international printers' home.
With an excellent executive council, in which all have confidence, and with our referendum scheme of voting on all important propositions, we could well do away with one-half of our conven. tions and have somewhere near $100,000 every two years which could be applied to the various needs which I have named.
Future delegates would necessarily have to get along with only half as many “piffles" as under the present system, but the lasting benefit to the union as a whole would be a mighty good investment.
Just think how much could be done with the money saved by cutting out only five conventions and devoting that sum to the benefits now so important to the membership-a more liberal old age pension, a larger death benefit, a fund which would carry a safe fraternal insurance for the union printer, and a larger and better international home. All these would do more to bring into the fold the non-union printer from the unorganized town than any other proposition we could take up, and yet our assessments would be no higher than at present.
I believe it is worth taking up. The argument may be advanced that the Inter. national Typographical Union adopted the biennial idea in 1896 and repealed it in 1898, by a referen.
dum vote of the membership. That was eleven years ago.
Since that time the organization has passed through strenuous times. It has raised over $2,000,000 for its eight-hour campaign, win. ning one of the greatest industrial battles the world has ever known. This money was cheerfully raised by the loyal members. Now we have other important matters to take up, and settle as cheerfully and promptly as we took up the eighthour fight, and we must not be hampered for the lack of funds. Our Printers Home maintenance fund may soon require $100,000 per year and more. Our old age pension law will not be satisfactory until it is made more liberal, the twenty-year con. tinuous membership clause stricken out and the weekly benefit made larger. The death benefit of $75 should be raised to at least $200.
If the membership wants these it will get them, and the need of money to carry them through in a broad-gauged and liberal manner might prove bure densome.
I am inclined to think that these questions are of far more importance to the membership at large than the annual “piffle" (for that is what it is to nine out of ten of the delegates), and their settle. ment along liberal lines will vastly increase our membership
E. W. FRICK. Pueblo, Colo.
MORE ABOUT CUBAN UNIONS. When the Boston convention last year adopted a resolution providing for the organization of local unions in the West Indies, there could have been no intention that charters should be issued to subordinate bodies composed almost wholly of ne. groes, or to organizations of mixed color, a portion only of whose members are printers, who have no scale of prices, and whose members work indiscriminate hours, regardless of International laws and minimum scale regulations. That such conditions have arisen is probably the result of the very meager information possessed by our membership as a whole upon actual conditions in the West Indies. In making the following statements regarding such conditions there as have come under my actual observation in the past ten months, I wish it understood that I have no personal feeling in the matter, but believe it is for the good and welfare of our International that this question should be frankly discussed in the col. umns of THE JOURNAL.
First, referring to Mr. Roberds' letter from Havana in the June issue of THE JOURNAL, I can add but little to the statements he has made, fur. ther than to say that I have personal knowledge that all of them regarding the present organization in Havana are true. At the time the organizer for Cuba, Porto Rico and Mexico commenced his labors, about the first of the present year, in Havana, we who were on the ground went carefully over local conditions with him, explaining that there was not the minimum number of seven Americans to secure a charter, that we all drew $30 or more a week, none worked more than eight hours a day, and that we could see no reason for organizing a local of Cubans; that if such local were
organized and we were compelled to join, we would be a hopeless, defenseless minority in an organization composed of those whose language we did not speak and whose conception of unionism was utterly foreign to ours, and that we would have no voice in its management and no power of fixing our own scale of prices, or framing the laws under which we would labor. Therefore, we requested that some provision be made whereby the American portion of the union to be formed should be separated from the Cuban.
The nega. tive answer to our appeal proving that we were already a helpless nonentity so far as the contemplated Havana union was concerned, we thereupon petitioned the executive council of the Interna. tional Typographical Union to the same effect. The receipt of this petition was acknowledged, as also the receipt of an explanatory letter which addressed to the secretary, but the answer came back that the International Typographical Union had taken action at the Boston convention, and that we had no alternative but to subject ourselves to the Spanish-speaking Cuban union—this with no guarantee that our rights would be recognized, or our welfare protected. It may be said that little damage was done by this action; that inasmuch as Havana “union" has no scale of prices, the four Americans there have been left to fix, for the present, their own scale and continue as they
True; then why organize or continue a union in Havana? There is nothing to gain, and the interests of the Americans, all of whom already receive more than any scale which the Cubans can possibly fix, have been needlessly jeopardized.
And now a few words about Jamaica, and Kingston Union. Just before the strike was called at Kingston last fall I visited that place. Walking into the composing room of the Kingston Gleaner, the largest daily newspaper in the West Indies, I beheld some of our embryo fellow members-thirtytwo of the blackest negroes that ever were seen outside the equatorial zone of Africa, none of whom, according to information I secured in the office, received as much as the minimum pay provided by our International laws before a charter can be issued, and who were working considerably in excess of eight hours a day. On the Kingston Gleaner I saw but one white man--the manager. Jamaica is a negro country, scarcely more than 3 per cent of the population being white.
Not only the printers, but the reporters and editors as well, are largely negroes and mulattoes. It is a beautiful, mountainous, tropical country, inhabited mostly by ragged, barefooted, illiterate negroes, with a lower standard of morals than I have found anywhere else in the world. It is a country where women do a large portion of the manual labor, such as bricklaying. hodcarrying, coaling ships, and loading them with bananas.
Now, what is the object of organizing branches of the International Typographical Union in these countries?
Are the West Indies a source of danger to us, in that non-union men may be secured here at some future time to man rat offices in the United