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INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF COMPOSITION ROOFERS
SLATE AND TILE
ROOFERS. As to the difficulty between the International Brotherhood of Composition Roofers, Damp and Waterproof Workers of the United States and Canada and the local unions of the International Slate and Tile Roofers' Union
of America, in Boston, we beg leave to report that an amicable adjustment of this difficulty has been reached, the Roofers' Union of Boston having applied for and been granted a charter by the International Brotherhood of Composition Roofers. SHEET METAL WORKERS-SLATE
AND TILE ROOFERS. The subject-matter of Resolution No. 170 is the complaint made by the representatives of the Sheet Metal Workers as to the members of the Slate and Tile Roofers doing work which comes under the jurisdiction of the first named organization. We beg leave to report that the Slate and Tile Roofers' Unions has instructed its members to discontinue doing such work.
representatives of the parties in interest. In the report made to the Executive Council under date of September 15, Organizer Ford says: "If I may presume, without being presumptuous, it appears to me that a thorough investigation of both organizations, local and international, is in order, with a view to re-organization of the International Union. The only solution to this chaotic and deplorable condition that I can see from my connection with the case is that above mentioned."
Of course, the matter or re-organizing an existing international union is matter which should be approached with the greatest possible care, but that some action that will be helpful to the workers of the trade is necessary no one disputes.
This matter is referred to this convention for consideration and action.
PAVERS AND RAMMERMEN. To the subject-matter contained in Resolution No. 38 relative to the International Union of Pavers and Rammermen and its contending local unions, the Executive Council gave its consideration, and a representative of the American Federation of Labor was selected to meet with the representatives of the contending parties for the purpose of settling the matter in dispute by arbitration. Conferences were held between the various representatives, and after hearing the testimony on both sides, an award was made which is as follows:
"That the officials of the Pavers and Rammermen's International Union are justified in their act of suspending local unions No. 10 and No. 19."
The local unions in interest, however, refused to accept the decision of the arbitrator and have formed independent unions. We recommend that efforts be made to bring about an amicable adjustment of this difficulty.
MARBLE WORKERS-TILE LAYERS.
The subject-matter contained in Resolution No. 130 is in reference to the dispute between the above named organizations. We desire to report that after conferences with the representatives of the two organizations an adjustment of the difficulties existing between them has been effected.
MOVING PICTURE MACHINE OPER
INTERNATIONAL LADIES' GARMENT
WORKERS. The subject-matter contained in Resolution No. 174 relates to the controversy between the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and local union No. 10 of that organization.
It was decided that Organizer Ford be selected to arbitrate the difficulties between the conterding parties in accordance with an agreement between them. Organizer Ford, after considering the matter, made an award by which it is claimed the International Union failed to abide. Organizer Ford was further instructed to bring the matter contained in his award to the attention of the Executive Board of the Central Federated Union of New York as well as to the
Resolution No. 32 of the Norfolk Convention, relates to the question of jurisdiction over Moving Picture Machine Operators. After considerable correspondence between President Gompers and the executive officers of the Stage Employes, and Electrical Workers, the representatives of these organizations met in conference with
President Gompers at Washington and an agreement reached. Later it developed that the Actors' organization also made claim for jurisdiction over the picture machine operators. A conference was thereupon held in New York City, when it developed that the Theatrical Stage Employes at their last Convention had repudiated the agreement entered into between them and the Electrical Workers. An effort is now being made to have representatives of these three organizations meet in conference with President Gompers as early as possible after the close of this Convention, BROTHERHOOD OF RAILWAY CLERKS-CHARTER APPLI
CATION. The Brotherhood of Railway Clerks made application for charter.
The representative of the Interior Freight Handlers and Warehousemen's International Union protested against its issuance, claiming that their International Union covered Railway Clerks. These matters came before the Executive Council, and we directed that a conference be held by the representatives of both organizations with President Gompers in an effort to reach an agreement relative to jurisdiction claims. Without commenting upon the matter we are of the opinion that arrangements should be made by which the charter should be issued. INJUNCTION-ANTI-TRUST LAW DE
CISION. When the injunction was secured by the Buck's Stove and Range Company against the American Federation of Labor, and others, in December, 1907, we, the Executive Council, directed that the name of the Buck's Stove and Range Company be discontinued in the publication of the “We Don't Patronize" list in the American Federationist. Later, when the Supreme Court of the United States rendered its decision in the Hatters case, the publication of the “We Don't Patronize" list was discontinued by the authority of the Executive Council.
This was done because under the Supreme Court decision any firm published on that list might bring proceedings against any of the organizations and the individual members of the organizations, as well as the Executive Council, and that the publication of a firm on that list would furnish the evidence upon
which a suit for damages might be instituted. We did not feel that we had a right to subject the men of labor to the damage suits, fines and imprisonment which that decision declared could follow under the law. This entire subject is more fully set forth in the personal editorial written by President Gompers addressed *To Organized Labor and Friends," pages
192-193 and 194 of the March, 1908, issue of the American Fed. erationist.
The Norfolk Convention authorized the Executive Council to levy an assessment upon all affiliated organizations for one cent per member for a legal defense fund in the injunction proceedings brought by the Buck's Stove and Range Company, and authorized the levying of such additional assessments as may be necessary. We levied but
assessment of one cent per member, and preferred to issue an appeal for voluntary contributions for the legal defense fund rather than to levy another assessment. The total receipts on this assessment and the voluntary contributions amounted to $27,487.96.
We authorized the retaining of Hon. Alton B. Parker and Messrs. Ralston and Siddons as our counsel. In the contempt proceedings against Samuel Gompers, Frank Morrison and John Mitchell, as officers of the American Federation of Labor, and the latter also in his capacity as President of the United Mine Workers of America, the same counsel defended them. Argument and decision upon the contempt proceedings are set for November 10th.
l'p to date we have expended for attorneys' fees, attorneys' expenses, traveling, etc., court reports, printing of appeal, etc., etc., $19,474.19. You will thus observe that there is exceedingly small balance, and we are at a loss to provide such additional funds as may be necessary to further carry on the legal defense.
The discontinuance of the publication of the “We Don't Patronize" list, or its revival, and this entire matter, are referred to this Convention for such advice and action as you, after due consideration, may deem advisable.
LABOR'S CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE.
With the constant abuse of the injunction writ by the courts, culminating in the injunction issued by the Supreme
Court of the District of Columbia, at the instance of the Buck's Stove and Range Company against the American Federation of Labor, its officers, affiliated unions, their memberrs, and all who might sympathetically aid us in our cause, the situation became most acute among our fellow workers and friends, for it denied us the right of the essential guarantees of the Constitution, including the denial of the right of free speech and free press.
Closely following upon that the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Danbury Hatters case, decided that the Sherman Anti-Trust Law applies to the voluntary organizations of the workers, with the several damages of fine and imprisonment involved.
To formulate and bring in some direct form the agitated state of mind of our fellow unionists, we held a meeting of the Executive Council and authorized President Gompers to invite in our name the officers and representatives of the international unions and farmers' organizations to a conference in Washington.
After a general discussion at that conference, committees were appointed to draft documents, one a Protest to Congress, and another an Address to
the Workers of our country. These documents were unanimously adopted by the conference, as well as by us. They are as follows: Office of the American Federation of
American Federation of Labor,
Washington, D. C., March 19, 1908. We, the official representatives of the national and international trade and labor unions and organization of farmers, in national conference assembled, in the District of Columbia, for the purpose of considering and taking action deemed necessary to meet the situation in which the working people of our country are placed by recent decisions of the courts, now appear before Congress to voice the earnest and emphatic protest of the workers of the country against the indifference, if not actual hostility, which Congress has shown toward the reasonable and righteous measures proposed by the workers for the safeguarding of their rights and interests.
In the name of labor we now urge upon Congress the necessity for immediate action for relief from the most grave and momentous situation which has ever confronted_the working people of this country. This crisis has been brought about by the application by the Supreme Court of the United States of the Sherman anti-trust law to the workers, both organized and in their individual capacity.
Labor and the people generally look askance at the invasion of the court upon the prerogatives of the law-making and executive departments of our Government.
The workers feel that Congress itself must share our chagrin and sense of injustice when the courts exhibit an utter disregard for the real intent and purpose of laws enacted to safeguard and protect the workers in the exercise of their normal activities. There is something ominous in the ironic manner in which the courts guarantee to workers:
The "right" to be maimed and killed without liability to the employer;
The "right" to be discharged for belonging to a union;
The "right" to work as many hours as employers please and under any conditions which they may impose.
Labor is justly indignant at the bestowal or guaranteeing of these worthless and academic Wrights" by the courts, which in the same breath deny and forbid to the workers the practical and necessary protection of laws which define and safeguard their rights and liberties and the exercise of them individually or in association.
The most recent perversion of the intent of a law by the judiciary has been the Supreme Court decision in the Hatters' case, by which the Sherman antitrust law has been made to apply to labor, although it was an accepted fact that Congress did
not intend the law to so apply and might even have specifically exempted labor but for the fear that the Supreme Court might construe such an affirmative provision to be unconstitutional.
The workers earnestly urge Congress to co-operate with them in the upbuilding and educating of a public sentiment which will confine the judiciary to its proper function, which is certainly not that of placing a construction upon law the very opposite of the plain intent of Congress, thus rendering worthless even the very moderate efforts which Congress has so far put forth to define the status of the most important, numerous and patriotic of our people--the wageworkers, the producers of all wealth.
We contend that equity, power and jurisdiction, discretionary government by the judiciary for well-defined purposes and within specific limitations, granted to the courts by the Constitution has been so extended that it is invading the field of government by law and endangering individual liberty.
As government b" equity, personal government, advances, republican government, government by law, recedes.
We favor enactment of laws which shall restrict the jurisdiction of courts of equity to property and property rights and shall so define property and property rights that neither directly nor indirectly shall there be held to be any property or property rights in the labor or labor power of any person or persons.
The feeling of restless apprehension with which the workers view the apathy of Congress is accentuated by the recent decision of the Supreme Court.
By the wrongful application of the injunction by the lower courts the workers have been forbidden the right of free press and free speech, and the Supreme
Court in the Hatters' case, while not directly prohibiting the exercise of these rights, yet so applies the Sherman law to labor that acts involving the cause of free press and free speech, and hitherto assumed to be lawful, now become evidence upon which triple damages may be collected and fine and imprisonment added as a part of the penalty.
Indeed, the decision goes so far as to hold the agreements of unions with employers, to maintain industrial peace, to be “conspiracies," and the evidence of unlawful combinations in restraint of trade and commerce, thus effectually throttling labor by penalizing as criminal the exercise of its normal, peaceful rights and activities. The fact that these acts are in reality making for the uplift and the betterment of civilization as whole does not seem to be understood or appreciated by the courts. The workers hope for a broader and more intelligent appreciation from Congress.
It is not necessary here to enter into a detailed review of this decision.
The workers ask from Congress the relief which it alone can give from the Injustice which will surely result from the literal enforcement of the Sherman anti-trust law as interpreted by this decision. The speedy enactment of labor's proposed amendment to the Sherman anti-trust law will do much to restore the rights from which the toilers have been shorn.
We submit for consideration, and trust the same will be enacted, two provisions amendatory of the Sherman anti-trust law. which originally were part of the bill during the stages of its consideration by the Senate and before its final paşsage, and which are substantially as follows:
That nothing in said act (Sherman antitrust law) or in this act is intended nor shall any provision thereof hereafter be enforced so as to apnly to organizations or associations not for profit and without capital stock, nor to the members of such organizations or as ciations.
That nothing in said act (Sherman antitrust law) or in this act is intended nor shall any provision thereof hereafter be enforced so as to apply to any arrangements, agreements or combinations among persons engaged in agriculture or horticulture, made with a view of enhancing the price of their own agricultural or horticultural products.
It is clearly an unwarranted assumption on the part of the courts or others to place the voluntary associations of the workers in
same category trusts and corporations owning stock and organized for profit.
On the one hand. we have the trusts and corporations dealing with purely material things, and mostly with the inanimate products of labor. On the other hand there are the workers whose labor power is part of their very lives and berge and which can not be differentiated from their ownership in and of themselves
The effort to categorically place the workers in the same position as those who deal in the products of labor of others in the failure to discern between th'ng and man.
It is often flippantly averred that labor is a commodity, but modern civilization
has clearly and sharply drawn the line between a bushel of coal, a side of pork and the soul of a human, breathing. living man.
The enactment of the legislation which we ask will tend to so define and safeguard the rights of the workers of today and those who will come after them, that they may hope to continue to enjoy the blessings of a free country as intended by the founders of our government.
In the relief asked for in the proposed amendment to the Sherman anti-trust law which we present to Congress, labor asks for no special privileges and no exemption from the treatment which any lawabiding citizen might hope to receive in a free country.
Indeed, the present Parliament of Great Britain at its session in December, 1906, enacted into law what is knorn as the trades dispute act. It is brief, and we therefore quote its provisions in full:
1. It shall be lawful for any person or persons acting either on their own behall or on behalf of a trade union or other association of individuals. registered or unregistered. in contemplation of or during the continuance of any trade dispute, to attend for any of the following purposes at or near a house or place where a person resides or works, or carries on his business, or happens to be:
(1) For the purpose of peacefully obtaining or communicating information;
(2) For the purpose of peacefully persuading any person to work or abstain from working. 2. An
agreement or combination by two or more persons to do or procure to be done any
act in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute shall not be ground for an action, if such act when committed by one person would not be ground for an action.
3. An action shall not be brought against a trade union or other association aforesaid, for the recovery of damage sustained by any person or persons by reason of the action of a member or members of such trade union or other association aforesaid.
We subuit that if such relief from the onerous conditions brought about by the Ta fr - Vale decision of the highest court of Great Britain can be enacted by a monarchical government, there ought to be no hesitancy in conceding it in our own Republic.
The unions of labor aim to improve the standard of life; to uproot ignorance and foster education; to instill character, manhood, and an independent spirit an org cur people; to bring about a recognition of the interdependence of man upon his fellow-man. We aim to establish a normal workday; to take the chil. dren from the factory and workshop and give them the opportunity of the schools, the home, and the playground. In a word, our unions strive to lighten toil, educate their members, make their homes more cheerful, and in every way contribute an earnest effort toward making life
better worth living. To achieve these praiseworthy ends, we be. lieve that all honorable and lawful means are justifiable
should receive the sympathetic support of every right-thinking American.
Labor asks only for justice. It askg that it be not victimized and penalized under laws never intended to apply to it.
We hope for a prompt recognition on the part of Congress of the wage-workers' very reasonable and moderate insistence in this important matter.
In addition, the other most important measures which labor urges are:
The bill to regulate and limit the issuance of injunctions-“Pearre bill."
Employers' liability bill.
The bill extending the application of the eight-hour law to all government employes and those employed upon work for the
government, whether by contractors or subcontractors.
There are other measures pending which we regard as important, but we feel especially justified in urging the passage of these mentioned, because they have been before Congress for several sessions, and upon which extended hearings have been had before committees, every interest concerned having had ample opportunity to present arguments, and there is no good reason why action should longer be deferred by Congress.
We come to Congress hoping for prompt and adequate remedy for the grievances of which we justly complain. The psychological moment has arrived for a total change of governmental policy toward the workers; to permit it to pass may be to invite disaster even to our national life.
In this frank statement of its grievances the attitude of labor should not be misinterpreted, nor should it be held as wanting in respect for our highest lawmaking body.
That the workers, while smarting under a most keen sense of injustice and neglect, turn first to Congress for a remedy, shows how greatly they still trust in the power and willingness of
this branch of the government to restore, safeguard and protect their rights.
Labor proposes to aid in this work by exercising its utmost political and industrial activity, its moral and social influence, in crder that the interests of the masses may be represented in Congress by those who are pledged to do justice to labor and to all our people, not to promote the special interests of those who would injure the whole body politic by crippling and enslaving the toilers.
Labor is most hopeful that Congress will appreciate the gravity of the situation which we have endeavored to present. The workers trust that Congress will shake off the apathy which has heretofore characterized it on this subject and perform a beneficent social service for the whole people by enacting such legislation as will restore confidence among the wcrkers that their needs as law-abiding citizens will be heeded.
Only by such action will a crisis be averter. There must be something more substantial than fair promises. The present feeling of widespread apprehension among the workers of our country becomes more acute every day. The desire for decisive action becomes more intense.
While it is true that there is no legal appeal from a Supreme Court decision, yel we believe Congress can and should enact such further legislation as will Incre crearly define the rights and liberties of the viorkers.
Should labor's petition for the righting of the wrongs which have been imposed upon it and the remedying of injustice done to it pass unheeded by Congress and those who administer the affairs of our government, then upon those who have failed to do their duty, and not upon the workers, will rest the responsibility.
The labor union is a natural, rational and inevitable outgrowth of our modern industrial conditions. To outlaw the union in the exercise of its normal activities for the protection and advancement of labor and the advancement of society in general is to do a tremendous injury to all people.
I'he repression of right and natural activities is bound to finally break forth in violent form of protest, especially among the more ignorant of the people, who will feel great bitterness if denied the consideration they have a right to expect at the hands of Congress. As
the authorized representatives of the organized wage-earners of our country, we present to
you in the most conservative and earnest manner that protest against the wrongs which they have to endure and some of the rights and relief to which they are justly entitled. There is not a wrong for which We seek redress, or a right to which we aspire, which does not or will not be equally shared by all the workers-by all the people.
While no member of Congress or party can evade or avoid his or their own individual or party share of responsibility, We aver that the party in power must and will by labor and its sympathizers be held primarily responsible for the failure to give the prompt, full and effective congressional relief we know to be within its power.
We come to you not as political partisans, whether Republican, Democratic, or other, but as representatives of the wageworkers of our country, whose rights, interests and welfare have been jeopardized and flagrantly, woefully disregarded and neglected. We come to you because you are responsible for legislation, or the failure of legislation. If these or new questions are unsettled, and any other political party becomes responsible for legislation, we shall press home upon its representatives and `hold them responsible, equally as we now must hold you.
Committee. Samuel Gompers, president; James O'Connell, third vice-president; Max Morris. fourth vice-president; D. A. Hayes, fifth vice-president; Daniel J. Keefe, sixth vice-president; Wm. D. Huber, seventh vice-president; Joseph F. Valentine, eighth vice-president; Frank Morrison, secretary, and John B. Lennon, treas