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Questions of personal rights, human liberty, and economic righteousness were ignored by the dominant party in the session of Congress just closed.
The time has arrived when the toilers of our country should rise to the occasion; to meet the momentous conditions which confronts not only them but all our people, and exercise their full rights as workers, as men, and as citizens of our common country.
THOMAS F. TRACY,
American Federation of Labor The situation thus far set forth and having in mind the declarations of our Conventions and the instructions given your officers, we took such action as in our judgment would most effectively carry them into effect, placing the facts in their fullest and amplest form before our fellow workers and friends, so that in accordance with their judgment and conscience they might make their choice.
We appointed Samuel Gompers, James O'Connell and Frank Morrison a Labor Representation Committee of the Executive Council, to carry on labor's campaign, and submit here a report of that committee: LABOR REPRESENTATION COMMIT
TEE'S REPORT. Washington, D. C., Sept. 10, 1908. To the Executive Council of the Amer
ican Federation of Labor:
COLLEAGUES: The undersigned Labor Representation Committee selected by you to conduct the political activities of the organized efforts of the workers in the present political campaign to attain the legislative relief and remedy as outlined by the Minneapolis and Norfolk Conventions of the American Federation of Labor; by the great conference of the responsible officers and other representatives of International Unions, held at Washington, D. C., March, 1908, and the directions given by you at our several meetings, begs leave to submit the following: We have held several meetings to consider and act upon the many matters committed to us, and those which from time to time have arisen.
We directed to be published in the August issue of the American Federationist the report of the A. F. of L. Legislative Committee submitted to and approved by the Executive Council. That report particularly recounted the failure of Congress to pass the legislation necessary to restore and safeguard the normal activities of organized labor's existence, as denied now by the decision
of the United States Supreme Court, by holding that the unions of workers come under the Sherman Anti-Trust Law, are trusts, conspiracies, or combinations in illegal restraint of trade, rendering members of the voluntary organizations of labor liable to threefold damages and prosecutions involving fines of $5,000 and imprisonment for one year.
the failure of Congress to consider, much less enact, any bill to secure the workers the constitutional guarantee of equality before the law by remedying the abuse and perversion of the injunction process.
We issued the circular to all organized labor as directed by you setting forth the identical planks which we urged the Republican and Democratic Party Conventions to incorporate in their respective platforms; the declarations which both parties incorporated and the treatment accorded the Executive Council by both parties.
We have sent organizers into the Danville, Ill., congressional district (Speaker Cannon's district) and into a number of other congressional districts, carrying out the policy of the American labor movement as directed by the Conventions at Minneapolis and Norfolk, by the Washington Labor Conference, by this Executive Council, and by the great mass meetings held throughout the country April 19-20.
We desire to call attention to the fact that a number of conspicuous opponents, both in the United States Senate and in the House of Representatives, have been defeated for renomination through the activity inaugurated by us and by our fellow unionists in their respective states or districts, and, further, that a number of union men have been nominated for Congress, and it is our purpose to render them
every aid within our power to secure their election.
It is our purpose, to the full extent of our financial resources, to appoint a number of organizers and print such literature as deals with the primary and important interests of labor. Incident thereto we have issued a supplementary appeal for financial assistance to the one issued a few months ago requesting voluntary financial contributions.
In addition to the funds already contributed, we recommend that another appeal
be issued to secure financial means to further the election of men favorable to achieving the justice, rights, and equality before the law to which the toilers are entitled; and to defeat such candidates who are indifferent or hostile to such legislative relief. We shall, in the future, as we have in the past, shape our course upon a nonpartisan basis. We have judged and proposed to judge candidates for any office upon their records and attitude, and not because of their political party affiliations, and the funds obtained by previous, as well as to be obtained by the proposed, circular, have been and will be used for general purposes as herein set forth and not for partisan purposes.
We have had a number of officers of international unions offer their services, as well as the services of organizers, to
help both in organizing work, and, particularly at this time, in the furtherance of Labor's political campaign. We would recommend that officers of international unions be communicated with further for the purpose of placing organizers at our disposal to help further in this work to promote the general and specific interests of labor.
We also recommend that a request be made to the executive officers of National and International organizations affiliated to the American Federation of Labor, and other friendly associations, to issue immediately a circular to their respective organizations urging compliance with provisions of this document.
Attention is called to the symposium articles published in the September issue of the American Federationist on Labor's political duty at this time, and also the resolutions adopted by the Conventions of International Unions, by the City Central Bodies, as well as expressions of some of the most active men in the labor movement of our country. They all show, as do the reports from our fellow workers throughout the United States, that there is an unanimity of sentiment and determination to fully carry out the policy declared by the organized labor movement, not only in the Conventions of the American Federation of Labor, the International Union Conventions, the State Federations, the City Central Bodies, but also in the local unions composed of the great rank of the organized workers of our country.
We desire to refute here the aspersions that have been cast upon the Executive Council and particularly one of its members. President Gompers, that it is our purpose, or his, to dictate to the working people of our country how they should cast their votes in the coming elections, nor has any one promised the vote of the working people to any particular party. We have strongly, clearly and emphatically, as it
was our duty, presented the situation in which the working people of the country find themselves, the demands which Labor has made upon both political parties as to necessary action which they should take. the treatment they have received, and have appealed to the judgment and patriotism of the working people and the friends of labor throughout the country, since both political parties have spoken, to make their choice as their conscience may dictate.
The misrepresentation of newspapers and others to the contrary notwithstanding, we repeat and insist, and we have so conducted and propose to so conduct our course, that the labor movement shall remain as free and independent from political partisan domination as it has ever been in its history,
You, as an Executive Council, and we as your Labor Representation Committee, have endeavored to carry into effect the declared policy of the great rank and file of the toilers. The Conventions of the American Federation of Labor have time and time again declared that there is no tendency so dangerous to personal liberty, so destructive to free institu
tions and of a republican form of government as the present misuse and extension of the equity power through the usurpation by the judiciary
that candidates for office "be carefully investigated as to their acts and interrogated
to their position on this matter before they be given any support, and that those who from their actions
or their expressions are deemed unsound, be, regardless of any other question, repudiated," and organized labor's further declaration, when the great conference at Washington and the mass meetings throughout the country were held that we now call upon the workers of our common country to stand faithfully by our friends, oppose and defeat our enemies, whether they be candidates for President, for Congress, or other offices, whether executive, legislative or judicial.
FRANK MORRISON, Labor Representation Committee, American Federation of Labor.
This report of the Labor Representation Committee we approved at our September meeting at Washington. This report constitutes in effect and substance the work and policy of the Executive Council. It is a source of gratification to know that due to labor's activities the labor question and the fundamental principles involved in our movement for justice, right and human freedom were made the dominant discussion during the campaign just closed. We but voice the views and the needs of the men of labor when we urgently recommend that every effort be made to secure the enactment of laws that shall afford the relief to the workers from the operation of the Sherman anti-trust law as it applies to the voluntary organizations of labor, and also for the enactment of the Pearre bill to rectify the abuse and perversion of the injunction writ.
In pursuance with the instructions of the Norfolk convention, representatives of the American Federation of Labor have attended several conventions of state organizations of farmers, and addressed them upon the subject of trade unionism, label agitation and legislation. By direction of the Executive Council, acting under instructions of the Norfolk convention, President Gompers attended the National Farmers' Union Convention held in Fort Worth, Tex. Expressions of good will were manifested on the part of the delegates there, and before ad
journment the convention adopted resolution creating a legislative committee to attend to the affairs of the farmers before Congress, and instructed its officers and the legislative committee to co-operate with the officers of the American Federation of Labor upon economic, legislative and other such lines of action as may be of mutual interest.
A representative of the American Federation of Labor attended the sixth annual convention of the American Society of Equity held in Milwaukee on October 6th. Among the resolutions adopted by that convention was one declaring against child labor, and another against the selling of prison-made products in the open markets, and one declaring for an increased sale of union-made products,
We recommend that the interchanges of fraternal representatives between the farmers' organizations and the organizations of labor be continued, as we see in them much of mutual advantage to both movements.
American Federation of Labor represented at this conference.
Inasmuch as the next conference will be held September, 1909, and the expense attached to having representatives of the Federation present being but a comparatively small one, we recommend that such arrangements as may be necessary be made, with the object in view of having a fraternal, or one of our fraternal, delegates to the British Trades Union Congress to also represent our Federation at the international trades union conference to be held in Europe in 1909.
PORTO RICO. The subject-matter contained in Resolution No. 25 relative to the conditions of the working people of Porto Rico was presented to President Roosevelt by President Gompers and the Porto Rican delegates, in a conference which lasted over two hours. President Roosevelt expressed himself as being favorable toward many of the propositions embodied in this resolution, and requested Commissioner of Labor Neil to proceed to Porto Rico and make a thorough examination of economic and social conditions prevailing there.
Dr. Neil recently explained to President Gompers that owing to the investigation of the bureau into the question of the labor of women and children, and other important matters, that it is impossible for him to undertake the trip to Porto Rico up to this time, but that either the commissioner or one of his most competent representatives would undertake the Porto Rican trip and investigation before the end of the year.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF
TRADE UNIONS. Correspondence has been exchanged between Mr. C. Legien, of Berlin, Germany, relative to the American Federation of Labor having representatives at the biennial conference of the secretaries and representatives of central trade union organizations of Europe.
These conferences have usually been held in the month of May. On account of the time in which the conferences were held, and the expense attached thereto in sending representatives, no action has been taken in this direction.
In the communications to Secretary Legien it has been stated that if the time of the conference was made nearer the time in which the Trades Union Congress of Great Britain was held, that it might be possible for the American Federation of Labor to be represented. In a communication received from Secretary Leglen he gives the information that the time has been so changed that their meetings will be held shortly after the adjournment of the British Trades l'nlon Congress. The first meeting of this kind was held in Christiana. September, 1907, but notification to that effert having arrived so late, no action was taken in the direction of having the
LIBEL SUIT. Volunteer Organizer Aybar, Porto Rico.
The Porto Rico Federation of Labor brought to the attention of the Executive Council the llbel suit against Organizer Aybar, editor of a labor paper in Porto Rico. This case has been tried by the courts of Porto Rico, and the decision being against Organizer Aybar, he has been sentenced to a term in prison, but is now at liberty on bail, pending appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
The fundamental principle involved in this case is the right of free press. Aybar is charged with libeling a judge. Ho did not mention any name in the al
leged libelous article which he published in his labor paper. The matter has been appealed to the United States Supreme Court and the firm of Ralston & Siddons has filed an appeal.
The Porto Rico State Federation of Labor says that it will "try to jointly bear the expense involved in appealing the case to the United States Supreme Court," That
organization has forwarded the necessary amount for the fee that is required to file the case.
We have referred this matter to President Gompers to give such advice and counsel as he can.
UNIFORM LAWS TO PROTECT
As we reported to you at the Norfolk convention, in conformity with the instructions given by the Minneapolis convention, we have endeavored to collect from every available source information relative to uniform laws to protect human life in various lines of industry. The Norfolk convention directed that our efforts along these lines should be continued. However, notwithstanding our best efforts, but little if any additional information has been forthcoming, and the matter is therefore submitted to you for such further action as you may deem advisable to take in the premises.
Central Bodies and the labor press, urging that greater attention be paid to the work of creating a demand for union labor and union labeled products. It was also decided to authorize the issuance of a Union Label Law Digest, covering the laws and court decisions, for
the protection of the union labels, and also the basis upon which suits may be instituted before the courts for the protection of the rights of the organizations in their respective union labels,
It was further decided that the various affiliated organizations having labels be requested to donate certain sums for the purpose of carrying on the necessary work. Various label organizations having labels have been communicated with and requested to make such donations. Sufficient money has already been received at the office for this purpose to guarantee the carrying out of this work. We are still in communication with sev. eral of the organizations relative to their making a donation for this purpose.
The conference clearly demonstrated one thing; that is, the adoption of a universal label at this time or in the near future is entirely out of the question. It will be necessary to advance gradually toward the methods for a comprehensive, universal agitation of the union label in which all unions must bear their proportionate share of the expense involved. Some advance has been gained and unquestionably more will be as it progresses.
In conformity with the resolution adopted by the Norfolk convention authorizing the call of a conference of five members representing the label organizations, President Gompers selected the following organizations to select representatives to that conference: .
Boot and Shoe Workers' Union,
America. The representatives of these organizations held two meetings at the headquarters in Washington. Full reports of this committee are published in the March and August issues of the American Federationist. Briefly stated, the reports of the committee recommended that in view of the recent court decisions a circular be issued to all affiliated International unions, State Federations,
OREGON TEN-HOUR LAW FOR WO
MEN DECLARED CONSTITUTIONAL. Upon the subject-matter of Resolution No. 173, referring to the appeal to the Supreme Court as to the constitutionality of the Oregon ten-hour law for women, we desire to report that this matter has been carried before the United States Supreme Court, which has decided this law to be constitutional.
ANTI-TUBERCULOSIS CRUSADE. As per your instructions and the humane purposes of our movement, we have continued our efforts among the workers and among the people generally to help in the movement to stamp out the awful white plague, so destructive to our people. We have continued the distribution of the circular containing the charts declared for by the Pittsburg convention, and with our unions aided in
the general dissemination of correct information to prevent and help in the eradication of that terrific and malignant malady.
To our unions must be given the credit of doing the most important work in connection with this subject when they undertake to attain a higher standard of life, a shorter work day, better labor conditions while at work, better homes, higher surroundings. Before these effective agencies the dreaded white plague flees.
You are aware that quite recently there was held at Washington, D. C., a great and important international conference of scientists and specialists for the consideration of the subject of tuberculosis, and how best national and international action may be taken to arrest and prevent consumption.
The International Typographical Union had a splendid exhibit of its efforts in this direction for its members. Other organizations did measurably well in this direction. One whole session of the congress was devoted to representatives of labor, presenting labor's attitude and action upon this important subject. President Gompers and Vice-President Mitchell addressed the congress, the latter presiding over the gathering.
We recommend that distribution of our printed matter upon this subject be continued, and that our fellow unionists and friends continue to devote their attention to the stamping out of this terrible and preventible disease.
INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION. Resolution No. 147, dealing with the subject of industrial education, which adopted at the Norfolk Convention, was referred to the Executive Council for consideration.
Correspondence was entered into with a number of persons interested in and fully conversant with this subject, among them being Mr. Graham Taylor, of Chicago, Ill.; Prof. C. R. Richards, of Columbia University, New York City; Mr. Chas. H. Morse and Mr. Chas. Winslow of the Board of Industrial Education of Massachusetts; Miss Jane Addams, and Miss Mary McDowell of Chicago, and Mr. Luke Grant of Chicago.
Correspondence with the above mentioned is of considerable length and space will not permit its publication in this report. However, we find that
schools for industrial education have been established in the following cities and states:
Two in California, located in San Francisco; three in Illinois, located in Chicago; one in Indianapolis, Ind., and nine in Massachusetts,
follows-Trade School for Girls, The Lowell Institute for Industrial Foremen in Boston, Technical High School in Springfield, Textile Schools in New Bedford and Fall River, Mass., Industrial Evening School in Beverly, Cambridge, New Bedford and Waltham, Mass.; four schools located in New York City, one of them being a trade school for girls; three in Pennsylvania, located at Philadelphia, Williamson, and East Pittsburg; one school of trades in Milwaukee, Wis., and a training school in Menomonie, Wis.
These schools take up the industrial education in the following industries: Textile, wood working, machinists, blacksmithing, the electrical workers, carpentering and joining, painting, plastering, plumbing pattern making, lithographing. iron moulding, graphic arts, mechanical and free hand drawing, modeling in clay, millinery, dressmaking and cooking.
Most of these schools are endowed, but in some few instances they receive appropriations from the various states. Literature giving 'details as to the instruction, equipment and classes of work performed is published, but perhaps the most complete and important document on this subject is the one published by the Massachusetts Commission of Industrial Education, Bulletin No. 9, which can be obtained from the secretary of that commission, whose address is 606 Ford Building, Boston, Mass.
The subject of industrial education is an important one, and one which should receive the attention particularly of those organizations of the trades above mentioned, and we commend to them a close and careful study of all and any literature that could be obtained upon this subject. This subject should receive further consideration at this convention. All the correspondence and papers bearing on the question should be turned over to a committee at this convention for report and further recommendations thereon.
LOS ANGELES. The Norfolk convention directed that an effort be made to improve the labor conditions of Los Angeles and elsewhere, and authorized an assessment of one cent per