[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]







AUGUST 24, 1912.

[blocks in formation]

CAMUEL GOMPERS, President of the

American Federation of Labor, who

has been leading the fight for the adoption of Labor's Sections in the Clayton anti-trust bill, which bill has already passed the House of Representatives and is now pending in the United States Senate, has issued another strong appeal to every organized worker to assist in securing the passage of this measure, by communicating with and insisting upon the United States Senators from their respective States supporting the measure. President Gompers' appeal follows:

No great advance in human freedom was ever won without a struggle. Human freedom, real freedom of the individual to order his own life and to seek his own personal welfare has comc only through the

associated efforts of those who had comimon difficulties and kindred interests.

The establishment of freedom for one group has always meant the loss of pr lege or special advantage to another group. Freedom puts an end to exploitation. Those who profit by the privilege or special advantages do not surrender without a struggle what custom has accorded them. They demand the They demand these established privileges and advantages as rights. They fight for them, for they mean wealth, power. Nor are they deterred from their insistence by the fact that they are trampling upon human rights and subordinating human beings to wealth.

Such are the forces which are now opposing the efforts of America's workers to sccure the rights accorded to free men and

[ocr errors]

greater opportunity for the protecting of the intensity of the demand for the immetheir own interests and the promoting of diate enactment of the labor sections of the their welfare through the labor sections of Clayton bill as passed by the House. the Clayton anti-trust bill.

It is the duty of each worker to see to it The intensity of their opposition, the open that his Senators are informed of labor's and covert attacks upon the cause of labor position and demands. Act at once. prove that the exploiters of humanity real- After long years of struggle, discourageize that the enactment of the legislation ment and heartache, victory is now in will be of real value to the workers in their sight for the hosts of labor. The Clayton struggle for justice and a better life. anti-trust bill, H. R. 15657, passed the

If our enemies are so thoroughly con- House of Representatives June 5, 1914. vinced of the value of this legislation that The labor sections of that bill secure to they are exerting every possible influence America's workers rights which experience to defeat it, how much more insistent and has proved essential to the continued existtireless must be the efforts of the workers ence of their organizations for self-help. to secure its achievement.

Experience with legislation and legal Those who profit by exploitation are em- proceedings has demonstrated that real ploying every manner of argument and freedom for those who work demands the every influence upon individual Senators to establishment of this fundamental principle: delay action or to secure amendments of Labor power is not a thing and can not be the labor sections that will rob them of property. When workers were owned even their value. They are using their financial as the plows and the oxen, they were power and industrial influence to create a

things, property. Now that workers are

legally free they are human beings, not public sentiment unfavorable to trust legis

property. Their labor power which is inlation. They are trying to create oppo

separable from living bodies is not propsition to all trust legislation that they may

erty. continue to pile up profits by depriving

Yet laws, legal precedents, judicial interworkers of wages, safety, leisure, that should be paid them.

pretations, have been under the influence

of the traditional philosophy under which Men of labor, you can not secure greater

labor was property. In the recent past the freedom and greater opportunity without a

concrete issue which involved this trafight. Their price is tireless, insistent

ditional classification of workers and their determination and unyielding effort.

labor-power as things and property has been Every worker in America will gain by the application of anti-trust legislation to the legislation. Each owes a duty to him

organizations of workers. self and to all his fellow workers. No free

Under the decision of the United States born man expects others to secure his

Supreme Court in the Hatters' case, the rights for him--he will fight for them him

terms of law intended to apply to persons self. He will do his duty.

dealing in commodities were interpreted to Each worker must do his duty in regard

apply to the normal activities of associated to securing the enactment by the Senate of workers. Existence of collective bargains the labor sections of the Clayton anti- was held to be evidence of unlawful retrust bill as passed by the House. Each straint of trade. Under the Sherman worker should write to his own Senators anti-trust law labor organization can be demanding the enactment of the bill as dissolved, their members fined and impassed by the House. Then each should prisoned, and the funds of the organizasee to it that his labor organization, either tions squandered upon civil suits and claims by resolution or some communication, pre- of threefold damages secured. These sents to the Senators similar demands for conditions deny existence to many organithis legislation.

zations of workers by the very practical The United States Senate must be con- method of making the costs of that existvinced of the need for this legislation and once more than wages will permit.

In order to secure to the workers the legal right to organized existence it is necessary to remove organizations of work ers from the provisions of the anti-trust laws. This exemption is based upon recognition of the principle that workers are human beings, consequently their labor power can not be property.

Section 7 of the Clayton Bill, H. R. 15657, provides this exemption. That this section was adopted by a unanimous vote of the House of Representatives sitting in Committee of the Whole demonstrates that public opinion is convinced of the justice of labor's contention. It is as follows:

“Section 7. That nothing contained in the anti-trust laws shall be construed to forbid the existence and operation of fraternal, labor, consumers, agricultural or horticultural organizations, orders or associations instituted for the purposes of mutual help and not having capital stock or conducted for profit, or to forbid or restrain individual members of such organizations, orders or associations, from carrying out the legitimate objects thereof, nor shall such organizations, orders or associa tions, or the members thereof be held or construed to be illegal combinations or conspiracies in restraint of trade under the anti-trust laws.”

This section, which contains the basic principle upon which the workers must build their structure of freedom, is the industrial Magna Charta of America's workers. It legally establishes an essential right, places it beyond dispute, and thus prepares the way for further constructive endeavor.

Not only must the workers have the right to freedom, but they must have a right to activities for which freedom is only preparatory. Freedom is not an end in itself, but is a means to greater opportunities and greater development. Workers do not desire the right to organize just for association itself, but because it is the means, the instrumentality, for self-help and self-development.

The activities of labor organization have been greatly hindered and curtailed by pernicious abuses of the injunction

process. By holding that labor is property, courts of equity have usurped jurisdiction and power to restrain workers from doing things which they had a lawful right to do and which were necessary to promote their interests. Injunctions have forbidden workers to use public highways, to assemble to consider peaceably their wrongs, to pay strike benefits, to induce other workers to join the strike, to exercise the right of lawful assemblage, free speech and free press. Because they disregarded unwarranted and unconstitutional commands of judges, workers have been fined and imprisoned by the judges who issued the orders.

In order to prevent this abuse of judicial power which for years was rampant and has only yielded to public opinion, aroused and enlightened by the workers themselves, legislation limiting and regulating the issuance of injunctions is necessary. Sections 18-23 of the Clayton bill are known as Labor's Bill of Rights. These are :

“Sec. 18. That no restraining order or injunction shall be granted by any court of the United States, or a judge or the judges thereof, in any case between an employer and employes, or between employers and employes, or between employes, or between persons employed and persons seeking employment, involving or growing out of a dispute, concerning terms or c01ditions of employment, unless necessary to prevent irreparable injury to property, or to a property right, of the party making the application, for which injury there is no adequate remedy at law, and such property or property right must be described with particularity in the application, which must be in writing and sworn to by the applicant or by his agent or attorney.

“And no such restraining order or injunction shall prohibit any person or persons from terminating any relation of employment, or from ceasing to perform any work or labor, or from recommending, advising or persuading others by peaceful means so to do; or from attending at or near a house or place where any person resides or works, or carries on business or happens to be, for the purpose of peacefully obtaining or communicating information, or of peacefully persuading any person to work or to abstain from working; or from ceasing to patronize or to employ any party to such dispute, or from recommending, advising or persuading others by peaceful means so to do; or from paying or giving to, or withholding from, any person engaged in such dispute, any strike benefits or other moneys or things of value; or from peacefully assembling at any place in a lawrul manner, and for lawful purposes; or from doing any act or thing which might lawfully be done in absence of such dispute by any party thereto, nor shall any of the acts specified in this paragraph be considered or held unlawful.

"Sec. 19. That any person who shall willfully disobey any lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree or command of any district court of the United States or any court of the District of Columbia by doing any act or thing therein, or thereby forbid den to be done by him, if the act or thing so done by him be of such character as to constitute also a criminal offense, under any statute of the United States, or at common law, shall be proceeded against for his said contempt as hereinafter provided.

“Sec. 20. That whenever it shall be made to appear to any district court or judge thereof, or to any judge therein sitting, by the return of a proper officer on lawful process, or upon the affidavit of some credible person, or by information filed by any district attorney, that there is reasonable ground to believe that any person has been guilty of such contempt, the court or judge thereof, or any judge therein sitting, may issue a rule requiring the said person so charged to show cause upon a day certain why he should not be punished therefor, which rule, together with a copy of the aftidavit or information, shall be served upon the person charged with sufficient promptness to enable him to prepare for and make return to the order at the time fixed therein. If upon or by such return, in the judgment of the court, the alleged contempt be not sufficiently purged, a trial shall be directed at a time and place fixed by the court. Provided, however, that if the accused, being a natural person, fail or refuse to make return to the rule to

show cause, an attachment may issue against his person to compel an answer, and in case of his continued failure or refusal, or if for any reason it be impracticable to dispose of the matter on the return day, he may be required to give reasonable bail for his attendance at the trial and his submission to the final judgment of the court. Where the accused person is a body corporate, an attachment for the sequestration of its property may be issued upon like refusal or failure to answer.

. "In all cases within the purview of this act such trial may be by the court, or, upon demand of the accused, by a jury; in which latter event the court may impanel a jury from the jurors then in attendance, or the court or the judge thereof in chambers may cause a sufficient number of jurors to be selected and summoned, as provided by law, to attend at the time and place of trial, at which time a jury shall be selected and impaneled as upon a trial for misdemeanor; and such trial shall conform, as near as may be, to the practice in criminal cases prosecuted by indictment or upon information.

“If the accused be found guilty, judgment shall be entered accordingly, prescrilsing the punishment, either by fine or imprisonment, or both, in the discretion of imprison the court. Such fine shall be paid to the United States or to the complainant or other party injured by the act constituting the contempt, or may, where more than one is so damaged, be divided or apportioned among them as the court may direct, but in no case shall the fine to be paid to the United States exceed, in case the accused is a natural person, the sum of $1,000, nor shall such imprisonment exceed the term of six months.

"Sec. 21. That the evidence taken upon the trial of any person so accused may be preserved by bill of exceptions, and any judgment of conviction may be reviewed upon writ of error in all respects as now provided by law in criminal cases, and may be affirmed, reversed, or modified as justice may require. Upon the granting of such writ of error, execution of judgment shall be stayed, and the accused, if thereby sen

« ForrigeFortsett »