« ForrigeFortsett »
and if they decide that the average annual wages received by anthracite mine workers are sufficient to enable them to live, maintain and educate their families in a manner conformable to established American standards and consistent with American citizenship, we agree to withdraw our claims for higher wages and more equitable conditions of employment, providing that the anthracite mine operators agree to comply with any recommendations the above committee may make affecting the earnings and conditions of labor of their employees. An immediate reply is solicited.
Chairman. T. D. NICHOLLS,
MAY 8, 1902. JOHN MITCHELL:
Not only from our standpoint, but from yours as well, the matter has had such full and careful consideration in all its features at our several interviews last week as leaves little to be discussed. In addition, my letter of February 20 can not fail to make it clear to you as it is to us that the subject can not be practically handled in the manner suggested in your telegram.
E. B. THOMAS.
MAY 8, 1902. JOHN MITCHELL:
Your message of this date received. You fail to state in it that the notices posted by this company not only agree to continue paying the 10 per cent increase granted our mine employees in 1900 until April 1, 1903, and thereafter subject to sixty days' notice, but it also states our mining superintendents will take up and adjust any grievances with our employees. The reasons why we can not grant your demand have been most fully explained in our recent conferences and my letter to you of February 18 last. In view of all these facts I am sure you can not expect us to concur in either of the propositions contained in your message referred to.
W. H. TRUESDALE.
PHILADELPHIA, May 9, 1902. JOHN MITCHELL:
I was out of town; therefore the delay in answering your dispatch.
By posted notices, the present rates of wages were continued until April, 1903, and thereafter subject to sixty days' notice. Local differences to be adjusted as heretofore with our employees at the respective collieries. By written communications, by full discussion before the Civic Federation, by protracted personal conferences with yourself and the district presidents, we have fully informed you of our position. We gave you the figures showing the cost of mining and marketing coal, and the sums realized therefrom in the markets, in the hope of convincing you that it was absolutely impracticable to increase wages. To your suggestion that the price of coal should be increased to the public, our answer was that this was not only undesirable, but in view of the sharp competition of bituminous coal it was impossible. We offered to permit you or your experts to examine our books to verify our statements. Anthracite mining is a business, and not a religious, sentimental, or academic proposition. The laws organizing the companies I represent in express terms impose the business management on the president and directors. I could not if I would delegate this business management to even so highly a respectable body as the Civic Federation, nor can I call to my aid as experts in the mixed problem of business and philanthropy the eminent prelates you have named.
GEO. F. BAER.
NEW YORK, May 8, 1902. JOHN MITCHELL, Esq.,
President United Mine Workers of America, Scranton, Pa.: Your telegram is received. The concessions made by the mine operators in your last strike added to the wages of the mine workers six millions of dollars or more per annum. You now propose changes adding a charge of many millions more and suggest that you will make a further demand a year hence. The public will not meet such advances by submitting to an increase in the price of coal, and the operators can not meet them without such aid. I must, therefore, decline your proposition.
R. M. OLYPHANT,
President. No further communications have been received.
APPENDIX D.-REPORT OF MR. E. E. LOOMIS, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE COAL MINING DEPARTMENT OF THE DELAWARE, LACKAWANNA AND WESTERN RAILROAD COMPANY.
DEAR SIR: In compliance with your request, I beg to submit the following report, which I trust may be of some value should the anthracite companies be called upon to consider the readjustment of affairs, i. e., wages, hours of service, recognition of the miners' organization, etc., in the anthracite region this spring.
Mr. Mitchell, president of the United Mine Workers of America, in his annual report at the thirteenth annual convention, stated: “I am
of the opinion that the question of the eight-hour workday, recognition of the organization, and a minimum day wage scale should be the paramount issue in the anthracite field.”
As he is the acknowledged leader of the miners' organization, we believe his sentiments will prove to be the sentiments of the whole body, as the organization has the majority of its men under good control.
The first question the companies will probably be called upon to face will be the eight-hour day with ten hours' pay.
The adoption of the eight-hour day would in no way benefit the miner or miner's laborer. On the other hand, it would tend to work to his disadvantage, as he is a contractor working on his own time. The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western pays its miners for the number of cars or cubic feet of coal mined, regardless of the hours worked by the breaker, and endeavors to employ miners enough to keep the breakers supplied with coal.
If the miners adopt any rules to limit the amount of coal they are to send out, which they have done in some cases, we are forced to employ additional miners and open up more chambers. This is expensive, as we are compelled, in turn, to employ additional drivers and runners, purchase more cars and mules to wait on these
with no appreciable benefit in the way of tonnage.
We have recently adopted the plan of checking miners in and out of the mines, and we find they actually remain underground only about one-half breaker time. In other words, when the breaker is scheduled to work eight hours, the miners average from four to five hours underground, including the time it takes them to go to and from their chambers or places of work, waiting to get up the shaft, etc.
We have selected at random the names of a few miners employed at our different mines the last half of January, 1902, and prepared a statement showing their earnings per hour for actual time inside, taking their total earnings, deducting supplies, and allowing one-third of their total earnings for laborer (which, according to established rule, is supposed to be about wbat miners pay their laborers), and find our men are earning all the way from 35 cents an hour to 90 cents per hour, according to their skill and ambition. In one district the average was 45 cents per hour, and in another 65 cents. (See statement attached.) You will therefore note that these men are earning in some instances more than twice as much per hour as our railroad locomotive engineers working around the breakers in mine service, who receive $3.25 per day of twelve hours, or only 271, cents per hour. In fact, miners in many instances by working four and five hours earn much more than locomotive engineers working twelve hours. For the hours he labors he is the best paid artisan in the State to-day. Where can we find a skilled mechanic, carpenter, molder, plumber,
blacksmith, engineer, either railroad or stationary, who can command the sum of 50 cents per hour for his labor? Yet this is a low figure, in a great many instances, of what our best miners are actually receiving per hour for their labor. In other trades it is customary for men to serve an apprenticeship, both long and arduous, procure tools expensive in character, and then receive in this vicinity the following rates of wages: Carpenter, 30 cents per hour; plumber, 37+ cents per hour; molder, 277 cents per hour; blacksmith, 25 cents per hour. It
may be said that on account of the risk the miner runs he ought to receive additional compensation. The risks that are borne by the miner, while hazardous, are no greater than in many occupations. He is surrounded by all the safety devices modern science can devise for his protection. In the Wyoming region the mines are well ventilated, and, if he obeys instructions and the law, he is as safe underground as any man engaged in any kind of manual labor on a railroad, in a shop, mill, or factory. It is safe to say that 99 per cent of the men injured inside the mines are injured through their own gross carelessness.
These are the actual conditions of the anthracite miner in this region; the same man who has been pictured by many writers recently (who know nothing of the facts) as the person who before the sun rises must be deep down in the caverns of the earth, breathing noxious gases, laboring under the most dangerous conditions it is possible to conceive, remaining there until the evening shades have long since ceased to fall, before he could return to his home, etc.
To my mind, the work of the anthracite miner is not to be compared with that of the bituminous miner. The former, in the majority of cases, drills his coal, blows it down, and leaves his laborer to clean and load it. To do this, as has been shown above, takes him but a few hours. The bituminous miner, on the other hand, he s, in most cases, to work in thinner veins, and, if working at pick mining, has to lie on his back or side and undercut his coal, after which he drills and blows it down, and then picks up his shovel and cleans and oads it. He spends much more of his time inside and works much harder.
The men who would be affected by the eight-hour day and ten-hour pay are those known as company men. Anticipating this eight-hour agitation, we adopted some months ago the plan of hiring all men and boys by the hour. All payments, blanks, etc., are now made on that basis.
The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western mines worked an average of 1,985 hours during the year 1901, which is equivalent to 1981 ten-hour days, or 248 eight-hour days. By taking the days our mines actually started up and averaging the hours worked on those days, we find they averaged but 7.83 hours per day during the year.
This disposes of the “long-hour" argument so far as this company is concerned, and leaves the eight-hour day only an excuse for an increase of 25 per cent in pay, which is unwarranted, as can be shown by a comparison of rates paid workmen in and about the mines with those of other callings who bring into play the same amount of skill and who are called upon to share a like amount of risk.
Outside we have ashmen, fuelmen, culm dumpers, oilers, loaders, laborers, etc., who receive 16 cents an hour. The work performed by these men, in my judgment, is nowhere near as hard as the work of the railroad trackman, working under the constant eye of a boss, and who receives but 12 cents per hour.
Our outside men not only have an opportunity to work breaker time, but frequently are employed after the breaker shuts down, for which they are compensated for the hours they work. Assuming, however, that they work but eight hours a day, they are then earning more than the trackmen are earning in ten hours working on the railroad, alongside of the breakers, dodging trains, etc.
Breaker boys receive from 5 cents to 10 cents an hour; the majority of them about 8 cents an hour. These boys are from 12 to 15 years old. Compare these wages with boys of the same age in newspaper offices or mercantile establishments throughout the country, and you will find they are receiving higher wages and working much shorter hours.
Take, for example, the boy employed by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western at 8 cents per hour, who worked an average of 248 eighthour days. You will note that this boy earned for that number of days more than an office boy working at $15 a month every day in the year except Sundays. In other words, he actually worked about two months less time—in many cases shorter hours—and received more pay, and did not have to have the education.
The majority of our firemen receive but $1.72 per shift of twelve hours, or equal to 14 cents per hour. They make practically full time, however, which, on a basis of 365 days in a year, would net them $52.213 per month. In the majority of cases pump runners, engineers, etc., are selected from our firemen, so that the position is looked upon as a step toward promotion, and is naturally much sought after by other laborers about the collieries, even though they may be receiving a higher rate per hour.
It has been the practice for years for firemen to alternate or change their shifts every week. In other words, one shift of firemen would work days this week and nights next, and so on. In making this change it was necessary for one shift, every other week, to work an excessive number of hours. This we have arranged to correct, however, by dividing the long or fourteen-hour shift into two short shifts of seven hours each, allowing the men full pay for the short shifts.