JULY, 1917

The War and Union Labor

Union Leaders Controlling Less Than Ten Per Cent of Labor,
Demand That They Represent All Workers
On Government Boards

Immediately after the declaration of war with Germany, says American Industry in War Time, and while preparations were being made to carry on the war to a successful conclusion, organized labor made definite demands on the Government for representation in its war councils.



Of the 18,654 manufacturing plants officially reported by the
Naval Consulting Board capable of munition manu-
facture, 1,867, or only ten per cent, are union shops.

In an article on "American Labor's Position in Peace or in War," which appeared in the official organ of the American Federation of Labor (pages 278 and 279), for April, 1917, signed and possibly written by the President of the Federation, the following demands were voiced:

"Whether planning for peace or war the Government must recognize the organized labor movement as the agency through

which it must co-operate with wage-earners. * * * It is fundamental, therefore, that the Government co-operate with the American organized labor movement for this purpose. Service in Government factories and private establishments, in transportation agencies, all should conform to trade union. standards."

In view of the above demands that the Government recognize the "organized labor movement" as directly representative and responsible for all labor in the United States, and parti

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Of the 2,796 plants capable of manufacturing ammunition,
powder, and explosives, personal equipment, gun car-
riages, aeroplanes, machine tools, etc., 72, or only
two and one-half per cent, are union shops.

cularly labor employed in the factories capable of manufacturing munitions of war, it is edifying to read the Kernan Report (Senate Document No. 664, 64th Congress, Second Session), which is graphically illustrated on the next page. Just what organized labor really represents is clearly shown.

For a number of years the union leaders have claimed that they represented a large body of men and women organized into unions, and insisted that they should have an important part in all affairs affecting industry, and thereby affecting labor. The Government very readily consented to this arrangement, and, especially through the Council of National Defense, organized labor has been given representation.

Anyone who will take the trouble to look over the Committees appointed in connection with the Council of National Defense, or any other committees appointed directly by the Government, will find that labor, as represented on these Councils and Committees, is distinctly and almost wholly union labor or organized labor. The fact that a certain limited number of workers are organized and obey the rules and dictates of certain leaders does not give to this organization the right to speak for all labor in the United States, nor does


Of the 527 plants capable of shipbuilding and making marine equipment, 17, or only]three and one-half per cent, are union shops.

it give to organized labor leaders the right to dictate to the Government or to the public what shall or shall not be done during the war.


There has been such abundance of protests by organized labor as to its rights that there may be confusion in the public mind as to the part which organized labor will bear in carrying on the war. This can be best determined from official reports, and these official reports put an entirely different complexion upon the situation from what may be gained from various announcements of the leaders of organized labor.

Senate Document No. 664, 64th Congress, Second Session, contains a summary of establishments capable of munition

manufacture, prepared by the Naval Consulting Board, and which is the basis of the calculations embodied in the so-called Kernan Report. These figures speak for themselves. This report shows the number of establishments capable of munition manufacture in the United States as 18,654, and the number of union shops 1,867. The percentage of union shops to the total number of establishments is just about ten per cent.


Of the 301 plants capable of manufacturing electrical, optical and lighting equipment, 12, or only four per cent, are union shops.

The report also shows that the number of establishments for the manufacture of ammunition, powder and explosives, gun carriages, limbers and caissons, personal equipment, tools, gauges, punches and dies, machine tools, aeroplanes and balloons is 2,796, and in this number there are only seventy-two union shops.

The number of establishments for shipbuilding and marine equipment is 527, of which seventeen are union shops. The number of establishments for electrical equipment and optical, communicating and lighting equipment is 301, of which twelve are union shops. Munition establishments in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut number 2,860, of which 259 are union shops. Munition establishments in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania number 3,356, of which 410 are union shops. Munition estab

lishments in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin number 5,009, of which union shops number 374. Munition establishments in eleven Western States number 3,159 shops of which 387 are union.

These various establishments will bear the brunt of supplying the country with munitions during the war. Only about one-tenth of these establishments are operated with union labor, and the other ninety per cent do not recognize organized labor or unions of any kind. Is there any reason, therefore, why the ten per cent of unionized shops should be given a one hundred per cent representation, so far as labor is concerned, on Government Committees and Government Commissions?


For thirty years David S. Kaye of 2419 North Washtenaw avenue has been an electrical contractor in Chicago. He has managed to make what he calls a "fair living" through the wiring of old residences and stores-jobs, he declares, that in no way have come into competition with union labor.

Last Tuesday morning Kaye and his son Harold started work on one such "small job" in a store near California and Milwaukee avenues. They had been at work only a short time, Kaye said, when a representative of local 134 of the Electrical Workers' union came into the store.

"I'll see you don't get away with this job," Kaye quotes the business agent as threatening.

Kaye and his son continued their work in the store yesterday. "As we stepped out four men surrounded us," said Kaye last night. "Two grabbed Harold and one seized me. I broke away and ran to a near-by drug store to call the police.

"One of the men followed me in and beat me over the head with a pistol. Harold also broke away and another man also pulled out a gun. I believe he attempted to shoot, but the cartridge didn't explode."

Police captured two men after a chase, E. J. Garrell, 4758 Carroll avenue, and E. A. Woodart, 2850 North Francisco avenue, business agent of the union.-(Chicago Tribune)

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