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Railway Unions Seek, by Threats, to Prevent Securing of Evidence Unfavorable to Themselves
Labor union officials have blocked the efforts of the Interstate Commerce Commission to get evidence in recent hearings. Officials of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers have been the worst offenders. In the locomotive headlight investigation the Commission found that locomotive drivers called as witnesses were intimidated by Brotherhood officials and members and that it was impossible to get the testimony or to punish the witnesses and those who intimidated them. The Interstate Commerce Commission has been hearing cases for many years and never met any serious difficulty until it ran counter to the dominant will of the train-crew unions.
In this locomotive headlight case the heads of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers have chosen for some reason to espouse the cause of the makers of powerful electric headlights. Experienced drivers on double-track and four-track Eastern roads say these headlights blind the drivers when trains pass each other and they also make it hard to see and distinguish signals at night. Locomotive drivers who run on single-track railroads like the powerful headlights because they show stray cattle and other obstacles at a great distance and minimize the risks of head-on collisions. Both views are probably correct. Powerful headlights may be best for single-track railroads and less dazzling headlights may be best on multiple-track railroads with block signals and trains passing frequently at full speed in opposite directions. It is a question to be decided on the testimony of experienced locomotive drivers.
William H. Rother of Indianapolis, a locomotive driver for thirty-seven years, testified before the Interstate Commission. a few months ago that he had driven locomotives with strong electric headlights for six years and found they made signals show false colors and that they blinded the drivers completely
when meeting and passing each other. This evidence did not please Grand Chief Stone of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and he directed that charges be preferred against Rother. John T. Heller, another locomotive driver in Indianapolis, gave similar testimony and was expelled from the Brotherhood. These acts of intimidation are sanctioned by the "Constitution and statutes" of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, which provides:
"Any member or division refusing to sustain the official acts or instructions of the Legislative Board, or who circulates or signs any petition, or who by verbal or written communication to railroad officials or others, calculated to injure or interfere with legislative matters offered by the Legislative Board, or at any time makes suggestion to railroad officials or state legislators, that may be detrimental to the interests of the B. of L. E. or any train service organization, shall be expelled."
In the face of that clause and of the acts of brotherhood officials who can deny they hold themselves above the law and the law makers of the land?
-New York Commercial.
A. F. OF L. ATTEMPTING TO ORGANIZE
The American Federation of Labor is now undertaking a nation-wide campaign to organize the 400,000 government employes. R. E. Peabody of the U. S. Immigration Service is at the head of the movement. "We won't have to strike," said Mr. Peabody, "they will listen when we wave 400,000 votes over their heads." "If your demands are backed by the American Federation of Labor, Congress will take heed," said Oscar F. Nelson, Illinois state factory inspector, at a Chicago meeting.
While the union labor vote has been proven many times to be a myth especially in the general election last fall, it is apparent that the union leaders are confident the bluff will continue to work on Congress.
MEASURING THE WORKMAN'S PHYSICAL
FITNESS FOR HIS JOB*
Suggestion for Simple and Inexpensive System Applicable to Few or Many Workmen in Large or Small Plants
Before an examination is made, the physician should be advised what work the employee does or, if an applicant for work, what he is expected to do, in order that the doctor may study the person's physical fitness with definite relation to the work he will perform.
The practical value of this arrangement is apparent at various stages of the examination and comes into play at its very beginning. As an instance, Harry Maxwell, applicant for position as mechanic, presents himself to Doctor Burton for examination. Harry enters the examination room and stands on the scales to be weighed and measured. While the doctor jots down his name, age, weight and height, the question uppermost in the doctor's mind is whether there is anything the matter with Harry that would make it unsafe for him to take the job. The doctor knows that the man who secures that particular position must be strong and active enough to handle fairly heavy parts, must have good eye-sight and hearing and must be normal in other common physical elements.
The doctor begins his examination by handing Wells' reading chart to Harry. He directs him to read at usual reading distance the small print, first with one eye alone and then with the other; he similarly tests his distance vision by means of Snellen's standard chart mounted twenty feet away. Satisfied with this, the doctor inspects Harry's eyes to determine his field of vision and to detect any diseases that may exist. "If," says the doctor, "you were applying for a position as a toolmaker who must do much fine and close work, I would test your eyes more rigidly."
A laborer's eyes need less attention. The eyes of the furnaceman and the arc welder are examined with special considera
*"The Spirit of Caution" (Aug-Sept.) issued by the Conference Board on Safety and Sanitation, composed of the National Founders' Association, National Metal Trades Association and National Association of Manufacturers. Concluded from the November Review.
tion for the extraordinary heat and glare which they must encounter. The efficiency of color vision is sometimes an important factor, and the ability of cranemen and industrial locomotive operators to see clearly at long range or to focus their vision quickly, must be assured in order to prevent accidents.
When eyes of illiterates are tested, Snellen's modified chart is used, with certain characters placed in various positions. The applicant is asked to indi
cate by his fingers or by corresponding models the kind and position of the character pointed out on the chart.
In answer to a question, Doctor Burton tells Harry; "I often find persons whose eye-sight is not even sufficient for the common tasks that laborers perform; those with defective vision must of course secure suitable glasses to make them able to do their work, to save their eye-sight and to prevent eyestrain which often brings on headaches. In a surprisingly large number of cases, I find workmen who think they have full vision but who are entirely or practically blind in one eye. If eye tests had been common in industry in these workmen's early life, the sight of the now useless eyes could have been saved. No; the tests are always very simple. Yes; we sometimes find cases of trachoma; these call for special care in order to protect other workmen from the contagion of this dread disease as well as to induce right treatment."
The doctor next holds an Ingersoll watch at varying distances from Harry's ears, to determine by this simple instrument how well Harry can hear. This test is essential from the
safety standpoint, for a wholly or partially deaf person cannot safely work with or around machinery. His defect would be apt to contribute to his own or to another's injury.
The doctor then inspects Harry's ears, tongue, nose and throat to discover if there is any disease in these organs, or if there are enlarged tonsils or other abnormalities. A clean bill of health in respect to these items is quickly indicated by check marks on the card.
The inspection of the teeth is made more carefully than Harry Maxwell thinks necessary. But the doctor explains: "Comparatively few people realize that decayed teeth are feeders for all sorts of serious diseases. The record of one dentist alone showed that 18,170 out 19,177 work-people examined by him had decayed teeth.
"The great danger lies in the fact that persons with bad teeth cannot thoroughly chew their food. This leads to indigestion which in turn clogs mental and physical power, and in its turn makes the person stupid and inefficient. Worse than this, the germs from decayed teeth get into the blood, develop abscesses which send the germs in increased quantities to the lungs and heart and cause serious sickness; they also attack the joints and cause rheumatism. Persons with decayed teeth also have most trouble in recovering from the effects of ordinary wounds. And yet, decay of the teeth is to a large extent preventable, and teeth which are already decayed can be replaced or repaired."
This explanation hits Harry Maxwell hard, for like thousands of others, he was not on friendly terms with a tooth brush and never had a dentist clean his teeth. That twinge of rheumatism which lately began to bother him is accounted for, and he begins to guess why he suffers from indigestion. The doctor marks on the card the location of several nasty looking cavities that need to be filled, and makes Harry promise to buy and use a tooth brush and tooth powder at once, and to have his teeth fixed as soon as he can.
"I will tell you some good reasons why we examine your chest," says Doctor Burton. "If you were a weak-chested man