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AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR

Warning to Advertisers!

Protect yourselves from being defrauded. Read the following Report of the Executive Council and action of the Convention of the American Federation of Labor, at Scranton, Pa., on December 14, 1901, in reference to DECEPTIVE PUBLICATIONS:

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NUMBER of souvenir books have been published in which the name of the American Federation of Labor has been used without authority or sanction of any kind from either the American Federation of Labor or its officers. The good name of our movement is thereby impaired, the interests of our fellow-workers injured, and fair-minded business men imposed upon and deceived. During the year we have endeavored to impress upon all that the only publication in which advertisements are received is our official monthly magazine, the AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST; and we have also endeavored to influence a more straightforward course by those who have transgressed in the direction indicated. In this particular we have not been as successful as we should be pleased to be enabled to report to you. However, we are more concerned with the future than the past; and in order to be helpful in eliminating this cause of grievous complaint, we make the following recommendations:

FIRST That we shall insist that no body of organized labor, nor shall any person issue a souvenir book claiming that such book or any other publication is issued for or on behalf of the American Federation of Labor.

SECOND-That any city chosen by a convention of the American Federation of Labor to hold the convention following shall not directly or indirectly through its Central Labor Union or otherwise issue a souvenir book claiming that such book is issued for or on behalf of the American Federation of Labor. THIRD-That in the event of any such souvenir book being projected or about to be issued, directly or indirectly, by the Central Labor body in the city in which the convention was selected to be held, in violation of the letter and spirit of these recommendations, the Executive Council may change the city in which the convention is to be held to the one which received the next highest number of votes for . that honor.

FOURTH-That the Executive Council is hereby directed to prosecute any person or persons in the courts who shall in any way issue souvenir books, directories or other publications in which the name of the American Federation of Labor is used as publisher, owner or beneficiary.

FIFTH-That it be again emphasized that the AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST is the official monthly magazine of the American Federation of Labor, and is the only publication in which advertisements are received. EXECUTIVE COUNCIL, A. F. OF L.

Report of Committee to Convention on the Above Report.

Perhaps there has been no more prolific source of dishonesty perpetrated in the name of organized labor than that involved in the publication of souvenir books. Unscrupulous projectors have victimized merchants and other friends of the movement in a most shameful fashion, and your committee heartily agrees with the strictures of the Executive Council upon the subject. We emphatically agree with the suggestions offered as a remedy and recommend their adoption. As an additional means to this end we would recommend that there be published in a conspicuous place in each issue of the AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST a notice to the effect that the American Federation of Labor is not sponsor nor interested in any souvenir publication of any kind.

ERATION

Adopted by the Convention of the American Federation of Labor, December

14, 1901.

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Vol. XVIII.

Federationist

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DEVOTED TO THE INTERESTS AND VOICING THE DEMANDS OF THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT

JULY, 1911.

SCHEMES TO "DISTRIBUTE”
IMMIGRANTS.

By SAMUEL GOMPERS.

In his annual report, issued a month ago, the New York City Commissioner of Licenses, Herman Robinson, discusses the problem of free public employment agencies. He does not think they would be a success in New York City. Mr. Robinson points out the fact that the several philanthropic labor bureaus established in New York, all conducted at a financial loss, have not, even to the slightest extent, supplanted the private agencies. In the Commissioner's opinion, these philanthropic intelligence offices are undoubtedly conducted more conscientiously than public bureaus could be. This conclusion of the Commissioner is valuable inasmuch as his opportunities for forming a judgment in the matter are as good as those of any other person in the United States, whether in public or private position. He is close to the great source of the supply of cheap adult male labor seeking employment, immigration. He is the supervisor of all the New York City private labor agencies, which, operating for many States, have their share in supplying the largest population in the world with male and female wage-workers. A large proportion of those who thus obtain positions, it is to be observed, find only casual employment, and, consequently, moving continually from place to place or from job to job, pass through the employment agencies again and again.

What is the meaning of the persistent and wide-spread promotion in this country of the scheme for State and philanthropic employment bureaus?

No. 7.

What motive animates the active promoters of the scheme? Have our philanthropists who give money to "help the jobless man to the manless job" any idea of the broader effects on the country of their immediate local charity? What class of wage-earners are chiefly the beneficiaries of either State or philanthropic bureaus in obtaining work? Are the interests of any capitalists served by such agencies?

To these questions we shall indicate at the outset what in our opinion are the correct replies. But because we put forth that opinion without labored preliminary it must not be inferred that it is given hastily, without well weighing the necessary evidence. The subject has long received our attention. As we proceed we shall bring to bear on the matter sufficient testimony to establish good grounds for our judgment.

If the reader will but give due weight to the fact that the transatlantic steamship combine is one of the greatest "pools" in the world, and that it is without cease reaching out for dividends, to be obtained by every business method possible, he will have a key to the secret of many of the activities of individuals and organizations, and even foreign governments, in relation to the distribution of laborers in the United States. If the reader will also bear in mind that the industrial trusts, the employers' associations in the centres of population, and the mining and railroad interests aim at employing the cheapest effective manual labor, he will find himself taking account of the proportion of newly-arrived non-English speaking laborers among their workmen.

The number of immigrants landing in the United States for the last six years has averaged more than a million a year. That is: 1905, 1,026,499: 1906, 1,100,735; 1907, 1.285.349; 1908, 782,870; 1909, 751,786; 1910, 1,041,570. Passengers other than cabin (that is, third-class passengers) who departed from United States seaports in the last six years averaged about 350,000 a year. The figures are: 1905, 334,943; 1906 282,068; 1907, 334,989; 1908, 637,905; 1909, 341,652; 1910, 177,982. The total revenue to the steamship companies from coming and going third-class (steerage) passengers, is to be seen therefore as running up toward $50,000,000 a year.

At this point the question may be asked: Is it probable that, to forestall possible decrease in dividends, the steamship combine would engage in efforts to mitigate the obvious effects of immigration in overstocking the labor market in the congested districts of the United States? In reply, in order to estimate such probabilities, it may be asked: Have the steamship companies been engaged in any efforts to bring over immigrants, merely for the dividends arising from their passage money? Here is the answer from the "Report of the Commissioner General of Immigration, 1910:"

"The reasons for this enormous increase in immigration from southern and southeastern Europe were stated clearly and in some detail in the report for 1909. It is to a very large extent induced, stimulated, artificial immigration; and hand in hand with it (as a part, indeed, of the machinations of the promoters, steerers, runners, subagents, and usurers, more or less directly connected with steamship lines, the great beneficiaries of large immigration) run plans for the exploitation of the ignorant classes which often result in placing upon our shores large numbers of aliens who, if the facts

were only known at the time, are worse than destitute, are burdened with obligations to which they and all their relatives are parties, debts secured with mortgages on such small holdings as they and their relatives possess, and on which usurious interest must be paid. Pitiable indeed is their condition, and pitiable it must remain unless good fortune accompanies the alien while he is struggling to exist and is denying himself the necessaries of decent living in order to clear himself of the incubus of accumulated debt. If he secures and retains employment at fair wages, escapes the wiles of that large class of aliens living here who prey upon their ignorant compatriots, and retains his health under often adverse circumstances, all may terminate well for him and his; if he does not, disaster is the result to him and them."

Next in order is the question, To what extent do employers of labor on a large scale hire newly arrived immigrants? Suggestions for the answer are to be found in such facts as these:

John A. Fitch in his volume, "The Steel Workers," describing workingclass conditions at the Carnegie Steel Company's plants in the year 1907, says that of the 23,337 men in the works, 7,479 were foreigners unable to speak English, 14,019 were unnaturalized, and only 5,705 native born white Americans.

The Boston Common, April 29, 1911, describing a strike of grinders of the American Axe and Tool Company, at East Douglas, Massachusetts, said that the cause of the strike, was a cut of 333 per cent in wages. It quoted George Peckhander, boss grinder, who led the strike, as saying: "Most of the men have not been making more than a living even under the old rates. I know lots of them who on the average did not make over seven dollars a week for the past year." The Common goes on to say that "an early death" is said to be inevitable for any man who sticks at the grinder's trade, and sums up: "The situation in short is this. Young men are paid seven dollars a week for work that costs them their lives within seven years." The Common further says that the American Axe and Tool Company is a trust, and that its present force at East Douglas is made up of Poles and Finns. The most important point made in the page article of the Common regarding conditions at East Douglas is this, in an editorial note: "There are perhaps fifty villages in Massachusetts in which factory conditions resemble those so vividly described in this article."

The Survey of April 1, 1911, in a careful study of conditions among the bituminous coal miners and coke-workers in western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia (by W. Jett Lauck), says that perhaps the most significant fact of the situation is that, as in the other soft-coal fields, as well as in the southern anthracite region, these miners are not Americans, but as a rule recent immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. The writer also says: "Of the employes in the bituminous mines of Pennsylvania in 1909, only 15 per cent were native Americans or born of native father and 9 per cent native born of foreign father, while 76 per cent, or slightly more than three-fourths, were of foreign birth. What is more significant is that less than 8 per cent of the foreign-born mine workers were English, Irish, Scotch, German, or Welsh. The majority were from southern

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