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furnish work and maintain order in penal institutions. The State, after building imposing institutions satisfying to popular pride, foolishly or inhumanly, or both, met the costs problem by selling its convicts for private exploitation. Manufacturers discovered they had a good thing in convict labor with such other perquisites as State- furnished factories, heat, light, maintenance of discipline. This slave labor was a menace to free labor. The part trade unionists played in changing this State policy and developing State functions, Dr. Whitin estimates as follows:
"Organized labor with its long and persistent agitation against the unfair competition of convict goods upon the open market probably has been the strongest force toward the development of the State's function in the care of the prisoner. As the control of the State upon prison industries has become greater, the power of labor to restrict them through control of the State Legislatures has also become greater, and the history of most of our States shows that, when labor is once aroused to an antagonism to any specific form of commodity manufactured in prison, sufficient influence can be brought to bear to abolish its manufacture.
"This opposition to unfair competition forced labor to a program of constructive reform for employing the convict. In the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1894 the labor unions secured the passage of a "State use" regulation providing that the labor of the prisoners should not be sold or leased but that the State should produce those things which the State could consume."
Taking up the question of control exercised by the State, boards or wardens, the writer declares:
"Reform in penal administration today lies therefore in building up the systems of control more firmly on a centralized system of authority, so definite in its form, that responsibility for evil doing can be definitely located, and which by some method of recall can be made to respond to the highest standard of moral action upon which the majority of people in the State may agree."
Dr. Whitin discusses the use of convict labor as an element in reducing the cost of maintenance of the inmates, upkeep of the institution, and articles for use in the institution, showing that since the sheriff is often allowed a certain amount for maintenance per person, a private system often exists in the guise of a public system; that during the last few years there has been a general movement for the State's assumption and operation of the industries in which prison labor is employed. Continuing, the Doctor says:
"This movement has had the hearty support of the American Federation of Labor which, together with resolutions passed and speeches made, contradicts the assertion that if it were not for the fact that the contractors fought the unions industrial efficiency in the prisons would be impossible. Probably the clearest declaration of principles that can be enunciated upon this point by organized labor is contained in the following resolutions passed unanimously by the Illinois State Federation of Labor at a convention at which fraternal delegates were in attendance from Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin:
""We believe with modern criminologists:
"That nearly all of the prisoners in penal institutions are morally sick people and can be cured; that the primary purpose of confinement is reform and not punishment; that it is cheaper in the last analysis to reform the prisoners and that the efforts of the State and State officials should be toward this end.
"That the labor of these prisoners should not be exploited for the benefit of any private individual or for the State itself; that many of these prisoners sent to prison
leave behind them dependent families, whom the State is compelled to support either by private or public charity.
"That some system of compensation should be arranged whereby the State would charge itself at the prevailing market price for all products manufactured in its penal institutions, crediting each prisoner with the amount thus earned, so after deducting from such the cost of maintanance of the prisoner and other necessary costs for maintenance, the balance, if any, should be paid to the family of the prisoner, or the person suffering financial loss through the crime of the prisoner, or kept and paid to the prisoner at his discharge.
"That the provisions of the present law should be extended so that not only State institutions, but institutions in counties, cities, and other political subdivisions of the State and school districts should be compelled under a penalty to secure wherever possible everything they need by prison labor.
"And in addition to the foregoing, the State should provide a method for the care of prisoners when discharged or paroled whereby they may secure employment, or provide a place where they may remain until they do secure employment in order that they be not compelled to fall back into crime.'"'
The distribution of the commodities produced by convict labor presents the problem of the market for these goods. What this market shall be, the effect of the goods upon this market, and the effect upon the consumer and free labor of the use of the market-"these," says Dr. Whitin, "are the most troublesome questions connected with convict labor discussion."
This has been the phase that has confronted free workers who have been suffering from the competition of convict labor. Dr. Whitin supplements his discussion of the phases of penal servitude with most illuminating and vivid sketches of experiences and persons encountered in collecting the data for the book. It is this human interest and personal touch that intensify and objectify the significance of the problem and the reforms suggested. Penal Servitude is of special interest to trade unionists, not only because of the subject dealt with, but also because of the cordial recognition given the service of organized labor in pointing out these evils and aiding in their reform.
Well done, National Committee on Prison Labor. Well done, Dr. Whitin.
The Trade Unions are the natural growth of natural laws, and from the very nature of their being have stood the test of time and experience. The development of the Trade Unions, regarded both from the standpoint of numerical expansion and that of practical working, has been marvelously rapid. The Trade Unions have demonstrated their ability to cope with every emergency-economical or political-as it arises.
We assert that it is the duty, as it is also the plain interest, of all working people to organize as such, meet in council, and take practical steps to effect the unity of the working class, as an indispensable preliminary to any successful attempt to eliminate the evils of which we so bitterly and justly complain.
Trade Unions in Germany in 1911.
BY HANS FEHLINGER, MUNICH.
HE conditions of trade have been satisfactory during the last year, and generally speaking, the work-people of this country have been continuously employed, periods of unemployment being of short duration. Industrial prosperity had a favorable effect on the development of trade unions which continued to make steady progress in membership.
In 1911, the average membership of all trade unions was 3,042,203, which is an increase of 354,185 members on the previous year. This membership was distributed over 137 national unions and a few "independent" local unions. However, the trade union movement in this country is not a united one. It is split up into several groups, according to the political and religious views of the members. The most powerful group in regard to members as well as in regard to industrial influence, is represented by the 51 national unions affiliated with the "General Commission of Trade Unions of Germany" or to make it shorter, the German Federation of Labor, whose President, Carl Legien, recently toured in the United States. Next in importance comes the Federation of Christian Trade Unions, consisting of 23 affiliated unions. This group favors a close connection between the labor movement and the churches, especially the Catholic Church, by whose representatives the Christian trade unions were founded.
The "Hirsch-Duncker Trade Unions" are called after two Prussian liberal deputies, who, about 1868, assisted in the establishment of these unions, which stand for harmony between labor and capital. They had very little success during the comparatively long period of their existence and doubtlessly, they will never play an important role. The number of unions belonging to the Hirsch-Duncker group is 18 national unions and 7 local unions. Besides, there exist about 40 unions not belonging to any of the federations just mentioned.
The table below shows the membership of each group of unions, and of all unions, in the year 1910 and 1911:
Forty-seven unions show increases and four uniors only show decreases, namely, those of the mirers, furriers, shipwrights, and wood engravers; but their losses were slight. Some unions made remarkable gains; thus the building trades unions, having jurisdiction over bricklayers, masons, plasterers, building laborers and some smaller trades, increased its membership from 242,648, to 295,688, or by 53,040; the metal workers' union increased from 464,016 to 515, 145, or by 51,129 members; the transport workers' union increased from 152,954 to 195,249, or by 42,295 members; the general factory workers' union began the year with 167,097 and ended with 189,443 members--an increase of 22,346. Each of the remaining unions gained less than 20,000 members. While the gains may be regarded as satisfactory, there is still plenty of room for propaganda work among the unorganized work-people of every trade or industry.
At the close of 1911, the fifty-one national unions comprised 11,669 local branches. The building trades union alone consisted of 1,051 local branches; the wood workers (with a membership of 182,750) had 874 local unions; the miners had 816; the carpenters, 758; the painters, 724; the general factory workers, 542, etc.
Trade union organization among women workers made considerable progress during 1911. The average number of female members increased from 161,512 in 1910 to 191,332 in 1911, being an increase of 29,820 or 18 per cent. Of the total trade union membership in 1911, females formed 8 2 per cent. The distribution of the women unionists may be seen in the table below:
Number of Members. 1910.
German Federation of Labor... 2,017,298
The total membership increased by 354,185 or 13 per cent. But the membership of the HirschDuncker group decreased 12 per cent, while the German Federation of Labor and the Christian trade unions increased their membership by 15 per cent each.
In the following lines a more detailed account will be given of the German Federation of Labor. The annual average membership of the unions affiliated with the Federation increased from 2,017,298 in 1910, to 2,320,986 in 1911. At the close of 1911 the aggregate membership was 2,400,018.
Female members form a majority of the total membership in the unions of pressmen's assistants, retail clerks, and artificial flower workers.
The total income of the 51 national unions affiliated with the German Federation of Labor was $17,164,000 as compared with $15,327,000 in 1910. The total expenditure of the 51 unions amounted to $14,292,000 as compared with $13,792,000 in the previous year. The net gain on the year's working was thus $2,872,000, which, when added to the balance at the beginning of the year, namely, $11,915,000, brings the total funds at the end of December, 1911, up to $14,787,000.
Trade Unionism in England.
[Exclusive Correspondence of AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST]
LONDON, August 30, 1912.
HE British Trade Union Annual Congress opens on September 2 at Newport. It will be attended by 502 delegates, representing 1,967,109 organized working men and women. This shows an increase in the numbers represented over last year of 304,976. At the same time there is a decrease of 21 in the number of delegates, and furthermore, as a result chiefly of amalgamations, fewer unions are represented. As, according to the latest board of trade figures, there are about 3,000,000 members of trade unions in this country, it will be seen that a large number, either compulsorily or voluntarily, are not represented at the annual convention. Altogether the increase in trade union membership last year was remarkable, the average gain being over 23 per cent. The previous largest increase was in 1907, when it was just under 14 per cent.
The premier position amongst individual unions is achieved by the seamen, whose union at the end of last year was three and a half times the size it was at the beginning of the year. The group of unions representing canal, dock, and riverside workers showed an increase of 187 per cent during the twelve months. General unskilled laborers' organizations nearly doubled their membership. Railwaymen's unions increased their membership by 60 per cent. The only appreciable decline is shown by the South Wales miners, who retrogressed 12 per cent.
Returning to the congress, there are no fewer than thirty-two resolutions down for discussion. The question of hours of labor will come up under a motion whereby the congress will instruct its parliamentary committee to draft a general eighthour bill to be brought before the House of Commons. Furthermore the campaign of local demonstrations to educate public opinion upon this question will also be urged. A wider resolution will urge that, in view of the continued increase in the cost of living, the congress declare in favor of all trade unions taking early and simultaneous action to obtain an increase of $1.25 per week for all grades of workers and to further reduce all working hours to forty-eight per week with a strict limitation of overtime.
Resolutions which will probably mean an important discussion have also been tabled on the
question of political action and direct action. The congress will be asked to reaffirm its support of working-class political action, and to declare for a larger share of representation, national and local, in view of the continued centralization of social and industrial questions in the hands of the government and local authorities. Those unions and delegates that are more in favor of what is known here as direct action and the general strike, will urge their respective theories.
Another resolution, which will probably secure unanimous support, is that calling for the amalgamation of present trade unions by industries and urging upon the parliamentary committee to call conferences of unions in the various industries to the end that there may eventually be only one union for each industry. This is a matter the building trades workers have taken special interest in, and they are already hard at work trying to combine the seventy odd unions coming under the building trades' category into one great centralized association. An interesting motion will be that of the steam engine makers who will seek once more to secure the congress's support for the abolition of the half-time system whereby children of school age are allowed to attend school only for half a day, putting in the rest of the day at work in the mills, etc. A purely political resolution will be put forward by the parliamentary committee proposing support for the government's new electoral reform bill which is to be produced next year. The resolution stipulates a number of things that the government must incorporate to secure labor support for the measure, one of these being female suffrage.
The London transport workers' strike came to a sudden and unexpected finish almost immediately after your correspondent's last letter was dispatched. The men had to accept defeat, but the victory for the employers was so expensive that it might almost be called a drawn battle. It is now known that the strike was originally precipitated before precautions had been taken to secure the co-operation of other unions in the country. Furthermore, the strike took place hastily and was not allowed to mature in the way which was being arranged behind the scenes. The first steps were to be taken by the seamen and firemen, who were to inaugurate a national campaign for an increased manning scale for English ships, a proposition
which, in view of the great "Titanic" disaster, must have secured public support. Then, in the event of trouble, the other transport trades were to have come in until the dispute became one of national importance. Instead of this well-laid plan being allowed to complete itself and choose its own date for inauguration, war was declared suddenly and in the wrong section of industry, as already detailed in the AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST. Marvelous self-sacrifice and endurance were shown by the tens of thousands of poorly-paid men who struck.
British coal miners held a special conference on August 15 and 16, upon the question of the working of the wages boards set up under the Minimum Wage act. This act of legislation was passed, it will be remembered, at the time of the national coal strike of last spring and secured the calling off of the strike. The wages boards were to fix a minimum rate for coal getters in each mining district and it was practically understood that no rate was to be under $1.25 per day. Whilst the act has perhaps gone too far for the coal owners it has not gone far enough for the men. One result of the measure has been that in South Wales, where the men worked for many years under a monthly contract, they now work under a twenty-four hours' contract. With few exceptions no award has provided for paying $1.25 per day to adult workmen. Furthermore, the arrears to be paid under the award which was retroactive are not being paid with any promptitude. Many coal owners are coercing or bribing their men to contract outside the provisions of the act, either by dismissing them, or refusing them work or by offering increased tonnage rates or percentages. Generally grave dissatisfaction was shown at the conference and the executive committee of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain was empowered to convene another conference to deal with the difficulties. In the meantime it was resolved to render all possible assistance to any dis
trict that might be resisting any attempts on the part of owners to violate or evade the provisions of the act.
The annual convention of the United Textile Factory Workers' Association was held on July 29. President Mullin dealt in his speech mainly with the Insurance Act. Although perceiving that the measure contained faults, he expressed his satisfaction with it. In some other trade union quarters the act is regarded with much suspicion. The rest of the business of the conference was conducted in private, but the meeting pledged itself to support a forty-eight hours' bill and the abolition of fines in cotton mills.
The third triennial conference of the International Federation of Keramic Workers was opened in the British pottery district on August 26. Since this federation was formed six years ago international conventions have been held in France and Italy. The federation includes the pottery trade organizations of the main countries of Europe and the nine delegates present represented England, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, and Denmark. The national reports presented were chiefly interesting for their references to the ravages of tuberculosis in the pottery industry in Germany. There 50 per cent of the deaths of pottery operatives were from diseases of the respiratory organs. No special regulations are enforced to protect the work-people in Germany, Austria, or France.
Regret was expressed that the American organization had not affiliated especially as the American pottery industry with its growing export of ware to Europe is increasing in importance. Several letters had been addressed to the American potters inviting them to join the international federation, but the answers had not been encouraging, it was reported. The English delegate rather deprecated the reproaches levelled at the American potters as they tended to embitter. He did not think that the Americans could long keep up their present position of isolation.
DISTRICT AND GENERAL ORGANIZERS.
Number Commissioned Organizers, American Federation of Labor, 1,663. District No. 1.-Eastern.
Comprising the States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and the Province of New Brunswick, Canada. Organizers, John A. Flett, P. F. Duffy, Frank H. McCarthy, Henry Streifler. Joseph Minszewski, Thomas Reagan, Charles A. Miles, J. D. Pierce.
District No. II.-Middle.
Comprising the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the Province of Quebec, Canada. Organizers, H. L. Eichelberger, William Bork, H. T. Keating, Hugh Frayne, Thomas H. Flynn, Placido Comunale, Anthony J. Kwaterski, Joseph Tylkoff, John L. Lewis, Cal Wyatt.
District No. III.-Southern.
Comprising the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama. Mississippi, and Louisiana. Organizer, William E. Terry.
District No. IV.-Central.
Comprising the States of West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Organizer, J. J. Fitzpatrick.
District No. V.-Northwestern.
Comprising the States of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Manitoba. Organizers, Emmet T. Flood, John D. Chubbuck.
District No. VI.-Southwestern.
Comprising the States of Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
District No. VII.-Inter-Mountain.
Comprising the States of Montana, Wyoming, Colo. rado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah. and Idaho. Organizer, Charles Perry Taylor.
District No. VIII.-Pacific Coast.'
Comprising the States of Nevada, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and the Province of British Columbia.
Organizers, C. O. Young, J. B. Dale.
Porto Rico and Cuba -Santiago Iglesias.