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which had worked satisfactorily in the Schuylkill and Lehigh regions for many years. Under this sliding scale the wages of the miners were regulated by the market price of coal.
In April, 1901, the operators agreed to continue the advanced rate of wages until April, 1902.
Under date of February 14, 1902, the United Mine Workers of America, in a letter dated Indianapolis, Ind., invited the representatives of the railroads and coal companies operating in the anthracite districts of Pennsylvania to “a joint conference of operators and miners on March 12, at Scranton, Pa., the object of the conference to be the formation of a wage scale for the year beginning April 1, 1902, and ending March 31, 1903.”
The presidents of the various coal companies promptly replied to this letter. The replies were all addressed to John Mitchell, president, and others, at Indianapolis, and are as follows:
MR. BAER'S LETTER.
PHILADELPHIA, February 18, 1902. GENTLEMEN: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of February 14, from Indianapolis, inviting this company to be represented at a joint conference of operators and miners on March 12, the object of the conference to be the formation of a wage scale for the year beginning April 1, 1902, and ending March 31, 1903, and in which you express the hope “that the methods employed by the miners' organization in adjusting the wage scale in all districts where it is recognized and contracted with will commend themselves to us.”
In the judgment of the companies I represent it is impracticable to form a wage scale for the whole anthracite region. The mining of anthracite coal is entirely different from that of bituminous coal. How far success has attended your organization in creating a uniform scale of wages in the bituminous regions satisfactory to all the interests concerned is a question which it is not necessary to discuss, but the dissimilarity between anthracite and bituminous mining is so great that it does not follow that any success attending the creation of a uniform wage scale in the bituminous region could be repeated in the anthracite fields. Each colliery in the anthracite regions, by reason of the peculiar nature of the veins, their pitch, water conditions, depth, and quality of coal, and its accompanying impurities (which vary in each colliery, sometimes amounting to 2 tons of refuse to 1 ton of merchantable coal), is a problem by itself, and it is not possible to create a scale of wages covering the whole anthracite field which will be just to the operators and to the mine workers.
The distinction between the bituminous and anthracite mines is recognized in the Pennsylvania laws regulating mining, which have been enacted primarily at the solicitation of the mine workers. Special laws are created for each. In the anthracite field a bituminous coal miner can not be employed, no matter what his skill. The act of 1889 in express terms requires an examination of all persons who desire to be employed as miners in their respective districts in the anthracite regions, and only when such person has received a certificate from the examining board can he be employed as a miner. The law made an exception in favor of the persons employed in an anthracite mine at the time of the passage of the act, and so drastic is this legislation that every person applying for a certificate entitling him to be employed as a miner is required to produce evidence of having had“ not less than two years' practical experience as a mine laborer”that is, a mine laborer in the anthracite fields.
This company does not favor the plan of having its relations with the miners disturbed every year. The proposition to unsettle all the labor conditions of the various anthracite districts each year by holding a conference between persons who are not interested in anthracite mining and can not bave the technical knowledge of the varying conditions at each colliery, is so unbusinesslike that no one charged with the grave responsibility of conducting industrial enterprises can safely give countenance to it.
We will always receive and consider every application of the men in our employ. We will endeavor to correct every abuse, to right every wrong, to deal justly and fairly with them, and to give to every man a fair compensation for the work he performs. Beyond this we can not go.
The experience in the past year has not been satisfactory. There can not be two masters in the management of business. The objection to your proposition is not alone the impracticability of forming a uniform scale of wages, but it is to the divided allegiance it creates. Discipline is essential in the conduct of all business. It is of vital importance in mining operations, where the disobedience of one man may endanger the lives of hundreds of his fellow-workmen. You can not have discipline when the employee disregards and disobeys the reasonable orders and directions in the conduct of business of his superior officer, relying upon some outside power to sustain him. Two or three unreasonable men can, because of this divided allegiance, stop the operations of a colliery in the belief that their organization will support them, whether right or wrong
Your organizations have no power to enforce their decrees, and thereby insure discipline, and we have no power to maintain discipline except the power to discharge. The moment we exercise this power we would be subjected to an inquisitorial and ineffective supervision, without any certainty as to how or when it will be possible to reach a righteous decision or to enforce that decision when reached.
A careful analysis of the results of last year's operations shows that the efficiency of our own mines has decreased 1,000,000 tons, because the contract miners have worked only four and one-half to six hours a day. The number of tons produced by each miner has decreased from 11 to 17 per cent. The average shows a decrease of about 124 per cent. This has added an increased burden on the company and a loss of wages to the workers.
With no disposition to interfere with labor organizations in all honest efforts to better the welfare and condition of the working classes, we respectfully decline to join in any conference for the formation of a wage scale for the next year. Yours, truly,
GEO. F. BAER,
MR. TRUESDALE'S LETTER.
NEW YORK, February 18, 1902. DEAR SIRs: This will acknowledge receipt of your communication of the 14th instant, asking this company to be represented at a joint conference of operators and miners to be held on March 12, at Scranton, Pa.
In reply, beg to state that it is not the present intention of this company to be represented at such conference, if held.
The policy and practice of this company is, and always has been, to deal directly with all classes of its employees through committees or other representatives of them duly accredited as such and also in the employ of the company, on all questions concerning wages, hours of service, and other conditions pertaining to their employment.
No good or convincing reason has ever been given, nor does the management of this company conceive of any that can be, why the employees in or about its mines should ask to have their wage matters singled out and handled in the radically different way suggested from that fixed by the company in dealing with all other classes of its employees.
The situation and conditions vary so widely as respects the mining of anthracite coal in the different fields, the several districts of each field, in the different mines in each district, and in the numerous veins of coal in each mine that it has been found necessary during the years of experience in mining anthracite coal to establish a great variety of rates of wages and allowances of different kinds in order to adjust the wages equitably as between men working under these varying conditions.
It must be manifest, therefore, to anyone familiar with these conditions and the practice that has grown up under them, that it is entirely impracticable to adjust these wage questions in the anthracite regions in any general convention or mass meeting composed of all the mine owners in the anthracite fields and representatives of all their employees, or in any other manner than as heretofore, i. e., direct between employer and employee.
As far as we are at present advised by any of our men working in or about our mines, they are well satisfied with their present rates of wages, their hours of work, and the general conditions under which they perform their work for us. They are prosperous, contented, and we believe recognize that they have been fairly and equitably dealt with on all questions that have been brought to the attention of the management by representatives acting in their behalf.
This company must therefore decline to depart from its settled policy in dealing with its employees, and put itself in a position with respect to its mine employees where it may at any time involve itself in the troubles or misunderstandings of other anthracite mine owners who may not deal with their employees in the same broad, liberal spirit as bas always characterized the transactions of this company with its employees in every department. Respectfully,
W. H. TRUESDALE,
MR. THOMAS'S LETTER.
NEW YORK, February 20, 1902. DEAR Sırs: Acknowledging the receipt of your favor of the 13th, requesting our presence at a conference of operators and members of your association at Scranton on March 12, and referring further to statements in your letter, two of which should be promptly corrected, viz:
You state that “As the time is approaching when the verbal contract entered into between you, representing the coal operators, and the committee representing the anthracite mine workers will expire, and believing it to be of mutual advantage to all parties at interest to preserve harmonious business relations and industrial tranquillity by, if possible, more fully determining the wages which should be paid and the conditions of employment which should obtain in the anthracite field, we have been delegated by the representatives of the anthracite mine workers to write you and the presidents of other coal-carrying railroads with the purpose in view of ascertaining if you would join us in arranging a conference of the representatives of the anthracite coal interests and representatives of the mine workers, to discuss and agree upon a scale of wages for the year beginning April 1, 1902, and ending March 31, 1903.”
If you will recall what passed at the interview between you and me last year, you can not fail to recollect that no contract was entered into, as well as my distinct, positive, and unequivocal statement to the effect that I represented no interests whatever other than those controlled by the Erie Company, and that I did not represent nor assume to act for other than the coal companies controlled by the Erie. That other companies did finally take similar action to the Erie, and continue the rate of wages then in effect, is quite true, but that I entered into any arrangement with you to that effect is incorrect.
You further state that “You will, no doubt, recall that during our last conference the hope was held out by you that, if conditions in the anthracite field permitted, there was a probability of the representatives of the mine owners considering favorably our proposition for a general joint conference.”
Recalling what passed at that interview and your claim at that time to the recognition for which you are now asking, I distinctly stated that confidence was a plant of very slow growth, and it was not to be expected that an association such as you represented could assume to at once enjoy that confidence and respect upon which all business understandings must necessarily be based; that if longer and more intimate knowledge of the workings of your association should show that it was entitled to such confidence, that would be a matter for future consideration.
With this in mind, we have, during the past year, carefully observed the workings in the anthracite field of your association, which claims to control and number in its membership a large majority of the anthracite miners.
I regret to say that the result of these observations and the experiences of the companies which I represent has not led to the conclusion that a conference and the inauguration of the methods you now propose would be at all beneficial to either our companies or the employees. So far, the apparent effect of your association has been that at no time during the last twenty years has a greater spirit of unrest and agitation prevailed among the anthracite miners than has existed during the past year. Notwithstanding the advance in wages, the fair treatm that has been accorded, the patient and friendly disposition manifested toward the various committees, the depreciation in the quantity of work produced per man has amounted to about 12 per cent, and from April to October 1 there have been no less than 102 interruptions of work occasioned by unwarranted demands and agitation by members of your association, resulting in a loss of over 900 days' work and over 600,000 tons of production; most of them were brought about by unwarranted causes, and there has been an apparent disposition on the part of the younger element to keep the whole territory in a condition of unrest, a condition that is certainly not for the best interests of either the corporations or the employees. In some cases mines have been closed for long periods, and some of them are still closed, because the members of your association decline to allow men not belonging to that organization to work in the same mine. Not only that, but in