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would amount to $70,000,000, or twice the capital of the company. It will be seen that such a demand as this can not safely be submitted to arbitration, but must be met by those who are charged with responsibility for the company's property. The result of compliance therewith would necessarily be not only to absorb more than the company's net earnings, but also to greatly raise the price of coal to the public.
In justification of this startling demand the Mine Workers allege increase in cost of living and increase in the price of coal and excessive profits realized from the business. These assertions are made generally without the support of any facts or figures. It has already been shown that there is nothing in the claim regarding the cost of living; that the price of coal has fallen, and that the profits of the business are very moderate. The Mine Workers also rely upon an increase in wages in the bituminous coal regions. The facts are that in those regions the miners' wages were reduced during periods of commercial depression and have recently been approximately restored, but in general are not yet equal to those paid in the anthracite regions. Inasmuch as there has never been any reduction in the anthracite regions, the suggestion is without force.
The matter of the charge for powder upon which so much stress is laid has been already explained. It has always been an element in the rate of wages. The Mine Workers urge that the price of powder shall be reduced from $2.75 to $1.50 per keg, making a difference of $1.25 upon each keg. As a keg of powder is on an average sufficient for 15 tons of coal, this would mean an advance of 8} cents paid to the miner upon each ton of coal; cost of production would be increased by that amount. This must therefore be regarded as merely an element in the general demand for increased wages. The so-called matter of dockage has been already explained. In that connection it should be said that the Mine Workers demand that wages shall be based not upon a ton of merchantable coal but upon a ton sent out by the miner, irrespective of whether it is coal or refuse, and subject to no deduction or “dockage” save by agreement between a representative of the company and an independent representative of the miners. This, of course, is another element in the demand for increased wages. Such a system would impose upon the mine owner, in the absence of an agreement to deduction by the miners' representative, the obligation to pay for whatever worthless rubbish might be loaded into the
One very significant feature of the United Mine Workers' demand is that there shall be no favoritism, and “ that no miner shall at any time have more than one breast, gangway, or working place, and shall not get more than an equal share of cars for work.” The object of this is, of course, to place all miners on an equality; the skillful and the unskilled are to be treated alike.
The United Mine Workers demand that the company store and the company doctor shall be abolished. This company has had no such features, certainly for the last thirty years; there are very few such stores anywhere in the region, and it is optional with the miners whether to deal with them. These suggestions are therefore misleading generally and, so far as this company is concerned, are wholly without application. The Mine Workers demand also compliance with the State law providing that all industrial concerns shall pay their employees semimonthly, and in cash. This company always pays
its employees in cash. Payment is made monthly, on precisely the same day in the month at each colliery. The miners have never expressed a desire for semimonthly payments, but, on the contrary, have frequently requested that the monthly system be continued. Inasmuch as the amount paid out in wages at the collieries is very large, aggregating over $400,000 per month, the monthly system is more convenient, and has been continued in the absence of any objection upon the part of the miners or any request upon their part that the semimonthly system be adopted.
The company has received no communications whatever from its own employees with reference to the matters of which the United Mine Workers complain. Within the last month it received two printed circulars suggesting numerous changes in the direction of increase of wages, the effect of which has already been stated, signed by individuals unknown to it, and not even stating what official position, if any, they claimed to hold among the Mine Workers. The foregoing facts show that it was not practicable to yield to such demands. Upon September 12, 1900, at 4.42 p. m., it received a telegram from Indianapolis, Ind., signed "John Mitchell, president; W. B. Wilson, secretary and treasurer United Mine Workers of America, proposing that “the whole.question of wages and conditions in the anthracite coal fields be submitted to arbitration.” A communication from Mr. Mitchell to the newspapers states that forty-eight minutes afterwards-namely, at 5.30 p. m. of that day—the present strike was ordered. The company always confers with its own employees, either individually or collectively, and in whatever branch of its service, with reference to any suggestions which they desire to make. This it expects to continue to do, but it has had no such opportunity so far as concerns the matters now involved. So far as it is aware, its employees have for the most part been deterred from work not by any dissatisfaction regarding the scale of wages, but by indisposition to be subjected to the abuse and ill-treatment to which an independent stand in the matter would expose them.
In conclusion it may be said that the company has for the past twenty years paid to its employees at the collieries wages which have never varied with the fluctuations in its business; which compare
favorably with wages paid for similar labor, and which have been mutually satisfactory. In these circumstances, the United Mine Workers, an association originating elsewhere and in a different industry, have come in to arouse discontent by putting forth demands which have no warrant in present business conditions and which are so extravagant that it would be ruinous to grant them. While the Mine Workers are permitted to combine to raise the cost of production, the mine owners are prohibited by law from combining to raise the price of the product accordingly. The object of the Mine Workers is to obtain control of the entire coal production of the country. The present onslaught upon a great industry where those concerned were all at peace is but a slight indication of what would follow from such a gigantic combination of power. No organization in the country would approach in power one having absolute control over its fuel supply, and none could be so destructive of its industrial independence and prosperity.
APPENDIX B.-CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN MR. JOHN MITCHELL, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA, AND MR. OLYPHANT, PRESIDENT OF THE DELAWARE AND HUDSON COMPANY, RELATIVE TO PROPOSED CONFERENCE IN MARCH, 1901.
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
New York, March 6, 1901.
Indianapolis, Ind. DEAR SIR: Upon February 15, 1901, I received a telegram from yourself reading as follows:
“Would you kindly wire if your company will participate in a joint conference with anthracite miners during the month of March for the purpose of agreeing upon scale of wages for period which would be mutually agreeable to operators and miners? A reply would oblige.”
Upon the next day I answered said telegram as follows:
“I understood that matter of wages was satisfactorily adjusted last October, and we have no present intention of departing from the arrangements then made. I therefore see no object in the conference which you suggest, even if that method of procedure were desirable, which seems very doubtful."
I am now in receipt of a letter from yourself dated February 26, 1901, stating that it is addressed to me “for the purpose of inviting your company to be represented at a joint conference of mine workers and mine owners which has been called to meet at Hazleton, Pa., on March 15.” You do not state by whom this joint conference has been called, and I am unable to learn of any mine owners who have participated in calling the same. My dispatch above set forth indicated that, so far as this company was concerned, I did not deem it necessary or desirable to call such a conference.
As the result of the strike of last October wages were increased 10 per cent, and in connection therewith the price of powder was reduced, and these arrangements were accepted as satisfactory. This company has no intention of departing from them. It therefore seems unnecessary to have a conference for the purpose of limiting their duration to "a definite and specified length of time," as you suggest in your letter. As regards the grievances concerning other matters, which at the time of the strike were asserted to exist, they were in great part without application to the business of the company and seemed to be based upon a lack of familiarity therewith. So far as they had such application they have been taken up by the company with its own employees and adjusted with them in such manner as the best interests of all concerned seemed to render practicable. This has been in accordance with the constant practice of the company to confer with its own employees and make every possible effort to meet their views regarding questions affecting its business.
I note the favorable views which you express in regard to the character and effect of your organization and have given them the consideration which your letter requests, but do not think it would be useful to enter into a discussion as to whether they are well founded. Such expressions of opinion as I have heard from bituminous operators lead me to think that your views are not shared by the other parties to the 66annual agreements” of which you speak. As regards our own experience, since the general strike of last October was settled by an arrangement which was understood to be generally satisfactory certainly local strikes have been more numerous than before.
I note also the statement that your motive is “of obtaining fair wages and equitable conditions of employment for mine employees, as well as reasonable profits for those who have their money invested in coal properties.” These are, of course, the fundamental results to the accomplishment of which have always been directed the efforts and the ability both of those who are employed in the business of this company and of those who have the property intrusted to their care. They are worked out by constant conference among the employees and officers of every kind. It does not seem that the interests of the employees have suffered. During the year 1900 this company paid out in wages of all kinds about $10,500,000, while it distributed among its stockholders $1,750,000. These payments on each account will probably be larger during the present year.
This is the method of conducting the affairs of the company which is contemplated and established by the law. As at present advised, I question whether it would be improved by entering into arrangements which do not have the legal quality of agreements or contracts as you describe them, and the terms of which would be settled by parties having little acquaintance with the mining operations of this company and practically none with its affairs generally. I think that experience has shown that conferences such as you suggest are apt to lead to excessive demands, based largely upon failure to appreciate the complicated facts and relations which go to make up any large industry; that the excitement which they produce renders recession from such demands very difficult; that disturbances are apt to follow which are injurious to the properties concerned, but are peculiarly unfortunate in their effects upon the employees and upon the public, which not infrequently is the greatest sufferer; that after such disturbances have passed away, if the losses which they have caused be compared with the results which have been accomplished it will be found that they have been of little or no advantage, and that any readjustments which have resulted have no binding or continuing force, but, like the conduct of the industry generally, are necessarily controlled by the general laws, compliance with which can alone make any business successful.
I have written thus at length because I desired to answer your letter in the spirit in which it was written, and to indicate why I answered your dispatch with the statement that I did not deem the general conference suggested to be desirable, and now that, as you say, it has nevertheless been called, why it does not seem to me judicious or proper to take part therein. So far as concerns conferences with its own employees in any branch of its service regarding questions of mutual concern, I may again say
that the officers of the company are and will be at all times ready and willing therefor.
Yours, very truly,
APPENDIX C.-CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA AND OPERATORS; LETTERS AND TELEGRAMS; OPERATORS' CLAIMS.
The United Mine Workers of America, with headquarters at Indianapolis, Ind., was an organization of bituminous coal miners. About 1899 they sent emissaries into the anthracite coal fields, and began the organization of the anthracite coal miners.
In 1900 they felt themselves strong enough to inaugurate a strike. The strike was settled by the operators agreeing to make a 10 per cent advance in wages. This agreement abolished the sliding scale,
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