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picture is presented of our Government, positive in many things, but irresolute in its determination to sift thoroughly the situations resulting from aggravating union labor demands. It should without bias investigate the result of facts revealed and effect decisions without fear or favor. Each surrender brings nearer the time when another must be made. In each case the basic demand by the unions is that, regardless of expense to the public, the Government, although at war, should use its power to preserve for them the sole right to determine the methods to be employed in promoting the labor affairs of Government. Where does the manufacturer expect to emerge under such conditions? Liberty of contract will become a memory and anarchy will reign supreme. Does our Government prefer not to understand that manufacturers have met every reasonable demand for increased wages, and that a strike called for any other motive is, with the nation at war, only a form of treason which will nullify the most brilliant military conceptions and operations.
A Surreptitious Scheme to Unionize All Industry
One of the newer problems confronting individuals who are opposed to organizations having Governmental powers, without Federal impartiality, is presented in the U. S. Public Service Reserve, a division of the Department of Labor, substantially held in the grasp of union representatives. The purpose of the Reserve is to register all persons available for emergency service by having the individual sign an application containing his address and answers to a variety of occupational questions.
The literature of this enrollment bureau has been skillfully prepared, and the casual applicant will not realize that in the answers filed he has recorded his industrial status in an atmosphere surcharged with unionism. This statement needs no explanation if one recalls that the present Secretary of Labor has practically stated that his Governmental position was created to assist union men in the solution of their problems. In event then of both an open and a union shop requiring
mechanics to complete a Government contract, and applications are made to the bureau, where will preference be given?
I do not assert that the system cannot be operated in an impartial manner under proper administration, and I agree that it should be to the interest of the Government to supply both applicants without discrimination, but unfortunately the interests of the Government and those of organized labor do not always agree.
There is no question as to priority in the minds of union leaders. I quote from the 4th annual report of the present Secretary of Labor under the heading of “Policy as to Strikes and Lockouts.”—
“To promulgate in any manner information concerning workmen wanted where a strike exists or is threatened would be inconsistent with the purpose prescribed for the department by its organic law. * * * Such a policy would be equivalent to directing wage earners to places already sufficiently supplied with labor. For wherever there is a strike or one is imminent that fact alone is evidence prima facie that there is no real scarcity of labor there. Conditions of employment are in dispute, and that is all. This involves the question of profitable employment to wage earners. The wage earners who have experience at the place and in the employment whence the demand for more labor comes do not look at the offered employment as profitable is manifest from their refusal to continue in it at the offered terms, and that they are qualified for it is evident from the fact that they have been doing it satisfactorily.”
Brief analysis of this statement conveys the deduction that the U. S. Government will not assist you to operate your plant, even for its own requirements, notwithstanding the apparently earnest plea for co-operation made by the same Secretary of Labor before various bodies. The situation is dangerous for manufacturers, who, anxious to co-operate with the Government under all conditions, are willing to ignore average antagonism.
As a substitute for the existing distribution of labor by union representatives in the Public Service Reserve why not urge the creation of a non-partisan, absolutely impartial committee, divorced from the Department of Labor and free from antagonisms, who could handle necessary enrollment most equitably for all concerned and effect a reserve force both available and mobile to some degree?
Every effort should, therefore, be made through this plan or some other to check the added unrest which will inevitably follow the present persistent effort of the Reserve staff to suggest temporary change of occupation without definite opportunity, to the steady, loyal, dependable workmen now in your shops.
The Country's Call The duration and demoralization of the war is so uncertain that it seems inadvisable to try and gauge with any degree of accuracy what will happen when a declaration of peace makes necessary the readjustment of the status of enormous forces of labor.
Grim war has in some measure affected every inhabitant of the civilized world, and the restoration of political balance must have most earnest, careful and thoughtful consideration when viewing the industrial problem which will inevitably confront us.
Indefinite as that day is, we have meanwhile a bounden duty to perform. We cannot fail to respond to our country's call for service; nor hesitate at any personal sacrifice which will help us to win the war.
And we must energize those among us who are afflicted with apathy, and make them understand how seriously our country is involved in the issues to be decided. We shall see to it that the ablest and best trained among us be charged with the direction of those responsibilites upon which so much depends; and finally let us realize that it is our portion to stir in the heart of every one the ideals of patriotism, democracy, truth, honor and loyalty which contribute to the support of the country which we love.
NATIONAL FOUNDERS' ASSOCIATION An Outline of the Proceedings of the Twenty-First Annual
Convention at New York, November 14-15, 1917
Service to the country and the necessity of an independent labor market, free from uneconomic closed shop restrictions, for the efficient production of war supplies, were the main subjects of discussion at the Twenty-First Annual Convention of the National Founders' Association at the Hotel Astor, New York, November 14th and 15th. The loyalty of the members and the resources of their industrial plants were pledged to the government in a telegram to President Wilson, with a plea for the maintenance of industrial and labor conditions as they existed prior to the war; that "any action to the contrary, whether of industry shirking its duty or labor interposing restrictions of production and attempts to change existing conditions should be regarded as treason and punished as such.”
President Barr in his report, which appears as the leading article in this issue, dwelt upon the fact that industrial equality and liberty can be maintained only through the open shop and that upon this foundation our national efficiency and prosperity depend. He pointed out the dangers in the contracts which had been made between certain government departments and union organizations and the inevitable catastrophe to the government in its war preparations if closed shop restrictions were to be insisted upon. His address ended with a plea for personal service to the government. “We cannot fail to respond,” he said, “to our country's call for service; nor to hesitate at any personal sacrifice which will help us win the war."
Another outstanding feature of the Convention was a series of motion pictures showing modern molding machine practice and labor saving equipment. The pictures were taken under the direction of the Committee on Foundry Methods and show actual working conditions. They will be available for exhibition in the future by local foundrymen's associations, foundry