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aroused public conscience has had the effect of compelling the ocean transportation companies to provide more life-boats, and some protective measures are being voluntarily adopted to guard against an unnecessary loss of life upon the great sea lanes of travel; but definite legislation, such as the United States ought to enact and which it has the right to enact, should follow during this session of Congress.
The investigation has proven beyond dispute, first, that vessels will sink; second, that boats are the only safeguard when such disaster takes place; third, that boats without efficient and sufficient men to handle them are of little, if any, value.
The Titanic was like other vessels of her class; that is to say, vessels which carry passengers from and return them to ports of the United States. These passengers are, to a very large extent, citizens of this country. In the interest and for the protection of our citizens who travel upon them, such vessels ought to be, and must be, placed under definite rules, especially as to life-saving appliances and men. The Titanic did not have boats to take care of more than about one-third of her passengers and crew. The rest, who could find no place in the boats, either drowned at once, or died of exposure after hours of suffering in the water.
The investigation proves further that some four hundred more people might have been saved if the Titanic had been properly manned. Boats were loaded in any kind of way or only half loaded with passengers, and in some instances without anybody in them who knew how to handle a boat in a sea or how to pull an oar. Fortunately, it was calm; the sea was smooth, or there would have been much fewer saved than there were.
The investigation proves that the steamer California was near enough to the Titanic to see her signals of distress. The captain of the vessel has been much blamed, and justly, for his conduct. Yet there is a question, and a serious one, as to whether it was possible for him to give any assistance. Like many other vessels, to some extent like the Titanic herself, he might have had on board men whom he could not trust to handle the boats, if he lowered them, men who would have been of very little, if any, value in an effort to save the people on the Titanic.
The Senate Committee has under consideration remedial legislation. There is no doubt that hereafter a sufficient number of boats will be provided. Indeed, the companies are, probably as a matter of advertisement, certainly, in response to public opinion, furnishing life-boats as fast as they can obtain them. But there has already developed considerable opposition to compelling vessels to furnish at least two really skilled and experienced men for each boat. This is the very smallest number of really skilled men that can at all give any reasonable guarantee of safety.
We feel sure that Senator Smith and the Senate Committee will seek to overcome the objections to such requirement. There are at least two ways in which the opponents to this legislation may seek to defeat it; first, simply to use the word "skilled" without giving any standard of skill; second, to insist that such a number of actually skilled men are not obtainable. Neither of these arguments should be given any weight. A standard must
be given, and it must be sufficiently high to guarantee reasonable skill. The statement that skilled men can not be obtained should be brushed aside, because it is not founded on fact. Skilled men are driven from the sea today, not attracted to it. A change in the law can, and will, reverse this and bring back to the sea thousands of men capable to come up to any reasonable standard that can be set by law.
For a meritorious service, Senator Smith, as Chairman of the Committee of Inquiry, and as the promoter of the investigation, is entitled to the commendation of the people of our entire country. He has taken the road which, if he steadfastly and courageously proceeds, will make him the Plimsoll of America.
It will be surprising to many thousands of our old-time trade unionists to note, in the discussion between Mr. Childs and Mr. Sullivan in this number, that Mr. Childs insists that the Initiative and Referendum of this country was invented by the Oregon People's Power League. We older fellows are willing to let the very youngest of all earnest citizens have his say. But it is a duty of all students, and particularly writers, to occasionally read history-recent history, as to which they make assertions. The part that the unions took in originating the Initiative and Referendum movement in America, in adapting the system to this country, and in instructing their members in its practice, may some day be forgotten. But that day is not yet here. We commend to Mr. Childs that he consult not only the history of the American Initiative and Referendum movement, but the men who gave life and power to the Oregon People's Power League. For instance, ask Mr. U'Ren of Oregon.
In this issue of the AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST we publish special correspondence from England and from Germany showing in tangible form actual conditions which exist and conditions made by trade union effort in these countries. The AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST has endeavored to present to its readers the status, the conditions, and the achievements of the trade union movement, but it has not always been found possible to give as comprehensive a presentation as the successes of our American movement justify. We appeal to the officers of the trade unions of America, local and general, to keep the officers of the American Federation of Labor promptly and continuously informed of the growth in organization and advantages gained, the manner in which they have been secured, so that they may be collated, digested, and presented to the workers and students of this and other countries.
Elect men to Congress who are intelligent, faithful, loyal, and true to the cause of labor and to the cause of humanity.
There are now fifteen union card-holders in Congress. Why not make it thirty or more?
Legislative Committee Report.
WASHINGTON, D. C., June 19, 1912. SAMUEL GOMPERS, President, American Federation of Labor.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: In continuation of our report under date of April 18, we, the undersigned Legislative Committee, herewith submit to you a detailed report of the status of legislation before Congress of interest to the workers up to and including June 19.
Anti-Trust and Injunction Limitation Measures.-The Bartlett Anti-Trust bill, H. R. 23189, was favorably reported out of the Committee on Labor on April 22. On May 7 Mr. Bartlett introduced a resolution in the House asking the Rules Committee for a special rule to enable the House to give early consideration to this measure. The Rules Committee, on April 9, gave a hearing on Mr. Bartlett's resolution, at which Mr. Bartlett and you made arguments in behalf of a special rule on this measure, but up to this writing no rule has been reported nor further action taken by the House upon Mr. Bartlett's Anti-Trust bill.
On April 27, the Judiciary Committee of the House made a favorable report on the Injunction Bill, H. R. 23635, which was referred to in our report of April 18 as a "composite bill."
On May 2, Mr. Clayton, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, introduced a resolution to have a special rule granted by the Rules Committee for the consideration of his bill, H. R. 23635, and known as the Anti-Injunction bill. Several days having elapsed from the time of the introduction of the resolution and no action having been taken by the Rules Committee, your Legislative Committee, believing that further delay on the part of the Rules Committee would mean no action by the House of Representatives at this session on the aforesaid Anti-Injunction Bill, decided to have a petition circulated among the members of the House, requesting the Chairman of the Committee on Rules to take immediate action in granting the rule provided for by the Clayton resolution. This petition was being circulated by Representative Hamill of New Jersey, when he was requested by the Chairman of the Committee on Rules to withdraw it, as he (the Chairman of the Committee on Rules), would immediately send out a call for a meeting of the Committee on Rules and endeavor to have the special rule granted. This was done. On May 7 the Committee on Rules agreed to favorably report a special rule to the House. On May 13, Chairman Henry of the Rules Committee, made a favorable report upon the rule to consider the Clayton bill. On May 14, after a debate lasting four hours, the House adopted the rule by a vote of 174 ayes to 98 nays.
Later, on the same day, after several hours debate, the Clayton Injunction Limitation bill passed the House of Representatives without amendment, by a vote of 244 ayes to 31 nays, 113 not voting, and 6 answering present. The bill as passed by the House was then referred to the
Senate Committee on Judiciary. Special efforts have been made to obtain early action by that committee on the bill. The Senate Judiciary Committee decided to refer the bill to a sub-committee consisting of Senators Elihu Root, Knute Nelson, George Sutherland--Republicans; William E. Chilton and James A. O'Gorman--Democrats. This sub-committee declined to take action upon the bill without holding hearings, such hearings being demanded by attorneys representing the hostile manufacturers' associations, railroad corporations and other big business interests. Hearings were commenced before this sub-committee on June 11, and again continued on June 13.
Previous to the adjournment of the hearings on June 13, Senator Knute Nelson, who is acting Chairman of the sub-committee made the announcement that there would be further hearings beginning Monday, June 17, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Subsequent to this announcement being made the undersigned received a letter from the Secretary of the Judiciary Committee, notifying us that the hearings will be discontinued until further notice. Upon the receipt of this letter, inquiry was made at the office of the Judiciary Committee as to when there would be a resumption of the hearings. The Secretary stated that he was instructed to say that there would be no hearings on this bill until after the political conventions were held, as two members of the Committee were in attendance upon the Republican Convention and two members at the Democratic Convention, and no decision has yet been reached by the sub-committee above named having charge of the bill. Resolutions from organizations of labor and letters from individual members are coming in to Senators urging favorable action upon the bill. On Wednesday, June 12, Senator Martine, of New Jersey, after a short, vigorous speech, in which he emphasized the declaration of the Democratic Party in convention at Denver, Colorado, in 1908, against "government by injunction," moved "that the Committee on the Judiciary be discharged from the further consideration of House Bill 23635, known as the Clayton Anti-Injunction bill.” Objections being made by Senators Warren of Wyoming, Gallinger of New Hampshire, and Sutherland of Utah, for immediate consideration of Senator Martine's motion, it was laid over under the rules of the Senate to be taken up at another time for disposition.
On Saturday, June 15, Senator Martine called up his motion for consideration. Senator Sutherland opposed the consideration of the motion on the ground that hearings were being had, and a large number of people had requested of the Committee that they be heard in opposition to the bill. At this point Senator Gallinger moved for the consideration of a certain bill that he had pending. Senator Martine, determining to have his motion considered by the Senate, suggested to the presiding officer of the Senate, no quorum, and upon the call of the roll of the Senate it was found
that there were twenty-four Senators present and not enough for a quorum. The Senate then immediately adjourned. Senator Martine, however, gave notice that he would call up his motion for consideration from day to day until it was disposed of by the Senate.
We feel safe in remarking that the prestige of the American Federation of Labor at the present moment is as high, if not higher, than ever before in the estimation of members of Congress, and if the voice of our membership can be sufficiently aroused to demand the enactment of the Clayton Injunction Limitation bill and the Bartlett-Bacon Anti-Trust bills, we feel that the members of the present Congress will respond to that demand.
Contempt Bill.-The Clayton Contempt Bill, H. R. 22591, was reported favorably by the House Committee on Judiciary on April 27. Up to this writing no action has been taken by the House on this measure, although it is understood from the leaders of the House that it will be favorably disposed of by the House before adjournment takes place.
Convict Labor.-The convict Labor Bill, H. R. 5601, is still before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, it having been referred by that committee to a sub-committee consisting of Senators Norris Brown of Nebraska, Frank B. Brandegee of Connecticut, and Charles A. Culberson of Texas. Senator Brown, chairman of this sub-committee, has been urged to make a favorable report upon this bill at an early date. It is reported that Senator Nelson of Minnesota, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is the chief opponent to this meritorious bill of so much interest to the workers and fair-minded employers who are in competition with convict contract labor. It will be remembered that the State of Minnesota does considerable competitive business in its penitentiaries in the manufacture of boots and shoes, and of binding twine for agricultural purposes. It is suggested that Senators be communicated with by members of organized labor and that they secure the co-operation of sympathetic employers and friends in urging the favorable passage of this much-needed legislation by Congress during this session.
Civil Service Employes.-By reference to our report under date of April 18 it will be noted that the House of Representatives included all the essentials of the Lloyd Anti-Gag bill, so far as it applies to post-office employes, in the Post-office Appropriation bill in section 6 of that measure. After a vigorous debate, running several days, it passed the House while in Committee of the Whole, on a division of 132 in favor and only 1 against, the one being the Hon. James R. Mann, of Chicago, Ill. When the bill was reported to the House by Committee of the Whole, on May 3, it passed without any dissenting vote. The bill is now before the Senate Committee on Post-offices and Post-roads. The Senate committee has held hearings upon this section, at which you, President Oscar F. Nelson, of the National Federation of Post-office Clerks, and other representatives of post-office employes appeared in favor of the retention of this section in the Post-office Appropriation bill.
Department of Labor.-The Sulzer bill, H. R. 22913, was favorably reported out of the House Committee on Labor on April 20, after being amended in
some essentials. Up to this writing the House has taken no action upon the measure, although it is confidently expected that early consideration will be given to it.
Eight Hours.-The Eight-Hour bill, H. R. 9601, which passed the House December 14, 1911, and which came up in the Senate for discussion on several dates after April 11, when it was favorably reported by the Senate Committee on Education and Labor, finally passed the Senate on May 31, 1912, by a vote of yeas 45, nays 11, not voting 39. Several amendments were added to the bill in the Senate, none of which materially disturbed the effectiveness of the measure. Consequently, when it was referred back to the House the Senate amendments were accepted and the bill finally passed. It was referred to the President for his signature on June 8 and was signed by him at eleven o'clock on the morning of June 19.
Eight-Hour Provision in Fortification Bill.The Fortification Bill was reported out of conference and agreed to June 1, 1912. The eight-hour provision incorporated in that measure applicable to contractors and sub-contractors furnishing ordnance and powder for the Army, was kept intact.
Eight Hours for Post-office Clerks.-The eighthour provision for post-office clerks and letter carriers, reported by us on April 18 as being included in the Post-office Appropriation bill, was passed by the House on April 27, 1912, without a dissenting vote. It is now before the Senate Committee on Post-offices and Post-roads. President Nelson, of the National Federation of Postoffice Clerks, and you, with other representatives of Labor, have appeared before the Senate Committee in behalf of this provision. The Post-office Departmental officials have opposed the eight-hour provision, as they did the anti-gag law section of
Eight-Hour Provision in Naval Bill.-The Naval Appropriation bill was reported to the House on May 15, 1912, by the House Committee on Naval Affairs. On May 27, while the bill was before the House in Committee of the Whole, to our great surprise, but eminent satisfaction, the Honorable Joseph G. Cannon, from the Eighteenth Congressional district of Illinois, after being recognized by the Chair, offered the following amendment to the section of the bill making appropriation for the purchase of coal for the Navy:
"Provided that the coal shall be mined by labor that is employed not exceeding eight hours a day."
A lively debate ensued in which it became speedily apparent that practically every member of the House had suddenly become advocates of the eight-hour day, and when the question was taken upon the amendment offered by Mr. Cannon it was carried unanimously. In the several sections of the bill making appropriations for increase of the Navy under new equipment and construction, desperate efforts were made by many members to include eight-hour provisions. It was finally decided after lengthy debates that the Eight-Hour bill which had been previously passed by the House and which was still undecided in the Senate, should be attached to the bill. This was finally agreed to, with the understanding that the Eight-Hour act should apply to all the appropri
ations of the Naval bill providing for new vessels and other equipment. The bill finally passed the House on May 28. It is also provided in the Naval bill, as passed by the House, that the Secretary of the Navy may build any or all of the vessels authorized in the act in such navy yards as he may designate, thus carrying out in a general way the provisions of resolutions Nos. 64 and 75 adopted at the Atlanta Convention of the American Federation of Labor. The Naval Appropriation bill is now before the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs. That committee has reported the bill in an amended form to the Senate, leaving most of the provisions herein mentioned intact, with the exception that the provision for purchase of coal by the Government, mined by labor employed not exceeding eight hours per day, is stricken from the bill by the committee. President John P. White, of the United Mine Workers of America, in conjunction with the officials of the American Federation of Labor and the undersigned, have urged the Senators to retain this .provision, particularly because of the fact that the coal furnished the Government for naval use has been supplied by mining companies in West Virginia, which have operated their mines regardless of the number of hours that the mine workers are employed.
Eight Hours for Dredgemen.-The bill H. R. 15787, introduced for the purpose of extending the Eight-Hour act to dredgemen and others engaged in waterway improvements, was authorized by the Committee on Labor of the House to be favorably reported on June 4.
Employers' Liability and Workmen's Compensation. The Workmen's Compensation for Injuries bill, S. 5382, after many days' debate, finally passed the Senate on May 6 by a vote of 64 in favor to 15 against. The bill is now before the House Committee on Judiciary where extended hearings are being held, at which you and the undersigned have appeared in behalf of the bill, in order to offset strenuous opposition mustered against it. Every reasonable effort is being made to have it reported out and enacted during this session of Congress.
Immigration.-On April 19 the Senate passed the Immigration bill, S. 3175, in which it incorporated the illiteracy test, by a vote of 56 in favor to 9 against, 30 not voting, and increased the head tax from $4 to $5. This bill was then referred to the House Committee on Immigration, which committee, after prolonged consideration, decided, on June 6, to strike out all after the enacting clause and add only the illiteracy test part of the bill. Many conflicting opinions have developed in the House upon this bill. A petition was circulated by Representative Dies of Texas, in the House of Representatives, which received the number of names required by the rules of the Democratic party, for a party caucus for the consideration of this bill. No action was taken in caucus on account of no quorum.
Industrial Commission.-The bill H. R. 21094, to appoint a commission to investigate industrial conditions, was favorably reported to the House on May 16.
Musicians' Bill.-The bill House Joint Resolution 202, prohibiting the competition of enlisted
musicians with civilian musicians, was favorably reported to the House on May 15, 1912.
Taylor System.-The bill H. R. 22339, prohibiting officials of the Army and Navy and other manufacturing departments of the Government from instituting the so called "Taylor" or other high-speed working systems in the shops, navy yards, arsenals, etc., of the Government, was authorized by the House Labor Committee to be favorably reported on June 12
It is expected that the last three measures may be passed by the House during this session.
Seamen.-The Seamen's bill H. R. 23673, providing for the abolition of involuntary servitude imposed upon seamen, for efficient manning of vessels, was favorably reported out of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, May 2. We have made urgent requests for a special rule so that this bill may be considered by the House, but up to this date the rule has not been granted.
The undersigned have received assurances from Chairman Henry of the Committee on Rules that as soon as the Sundry Civil bill is disposed of in the House he will immediately call a meeting of the Committee on Rules to have our request granted for a special rule for the consideration of the Seamen's bill.
Senators, U. S., Popular Election of -On May 13, 1912, the House, by a vote of 237 yeas, 39 nays, 111 not voting, and 5 answering "present," passed House Joint Resolution No. 39, which provided for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, for the election of United States Senators by popular vote. This resolution was passed by the Senate on June 12, 1911, and after its passage by the House, was sent to the President, who signed it. We learn that the Secretary of State submitted this constitutional amendment to the various States urging its adoption by them. In order to defeat this constitutional amendment it will be necessary for thirteen States to vote against it, and we are unable at this time to express an opinion as to what disposition the States will make of it.
Second-Class Mail Matter.-The bill, popularly known as the "Dodds' bill," providing that publications by Labor and fraternal organizations shall receive the same consideration as commercial and other business publications, was included in the Post-office Appropriation bill, and passed by the House on April 22, 1912. This proviso is now before the Senate Committee on Post-offices and Postroads.
It is hoped that local organizations and members will supplement the efforts of the officers of the American Federation of Labor and the undersigned by insistently urging their Representatives and Senators to pass the bills herein enumerated during this session of Congress, and by especially calling attention to the need of the early passage of the Injunction Limitation, the Anti-Trust, the Convict Labor, the Second-Class Mail, the Work. men's Compensation, and the Illiteracy Test bills. Respectfully submitted.
ARTHUR E. HOLDER,
Legislative Committee, A. F. of L.