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99 96 93 91 90 84 75 COMMUNICATIONS.
The following letters are in reply to the inquiry of the Bureau as quoted in the introduction of this Report. The inquiry was as to the adoption of any successful plan of strike prevention, or information as to any method that may have proved successful in bringing about a better understanding between the employed and the employer.
TROY AND STEEL.
Dear Sir: In answer to your inquiry of the 24th inst. in regard to the labor question, I beg to say that we have not put into practice aliy new plali with the view of bringing about a better understanding between employer and employes.
I have always regarded the personal equasion as of greater importance in adjusting grievances and preventing or settling strikes than any modern patent method that may be devised. In other words, the management of this company endeavors to treat all its employes with entire frankness and absolute fairness, and with due consideration of the merits or demerits of each individual case. A record established on this basis enables us to feel that we can rely in most cases on the good judgment and sense of fairness of our intelligent workmen. Mutual confidence follows, as a matter of (Ourse. And if misunderstandings arise, or dissatisfaction exista from any cause on the part of our workmen, they know from past experience that the path to the general office is always open to every one from the highest to the lowest in the service, and their complaints will be promptly heard and adjusted.
And on this basis we have got along so far very well.
Dear Sir: In response to yours of December 24, 1901, our rules are: 14Always to give two weeks notice (with the works in operation) of Always patiently hear any claims of mistakes in pay or other grievances and to conscientiously try to administer strict justice.
A strict adherance to such rules generally obviates trouble, but in times of great excitment, when men's passions are inflammed by outside causes, nothing will do any good but time and idleness. The innocent often have to suffer for the guilty and the just for the oppressions of others.
Dear Sir: Replying to your circular letter of the 24th we have had no strike at our mill since 1895, and have had no grievances to settle, consequently we have not found it necessary to adopt any plan to bring about a better understanding, etc. We are hopeful that the new committee appointed by the civic federation, etc., at a late conference in New York will be found effective as a means of arbitrating or settling difficulties when they arise.
Dear Sir: We very carefully note contents of your valued favor of 24th inst. Referring to that part of your letter in which you wish to know if we have put into practice any plan that has proved successful in bringing about a better understanding in adjusting grievances or in preventing or settling strikes and that you would like us to state what course we have pursued, beg to say we bave successfully avoided all strikes and have pleasantly settled all differences which have arisen by endeavoring in all cases to treat our employes, as nearly as possible, as we would like to be treated if similarly placed.
When prices permit an advance in wages, we make the advance before our men demand it, and when prices decline, we have them appoint a committee to meet us and we then discuss freely the condition of the market, giving them data and showing them why we are compelled to ask them to work for lower wages. Of course, we have some hot heads among them who would be only too glad at all times to raise a rumpus but a very large majority of our men are reasonable and they rule the small minority.
We believe that it is a great deal easier and better to prevent a strike than to settle a strike. Trusting we have answered your
Dear Sir: In answer to your inquiry on the subject of the management of labor, we would say that we have had no trouble with our employes in recent years for the reason that we endeavor to treat our men fairly, and employers and employes thus meeting in a spirit of fairmindedness, grievances of whatever description are readily adjusted to the satisfaction of all concerned.
Dear Sir: In reply to your circular letter of December 24th, we respectfully state that the employees in all our departments, except pattern shop are union men. In pattern shop, part union and part non-union. In our foundry, the National Founders' Association, of of which we are members, and the Iron Moulders' Union of North America, have arbitrated all differences in the Philadelphia district, aud we are pleased to report no troubles whatever. With our fitters and finishers, blacksmiths and helpers and erectors, we had considerable trouble during the year just closed, arising from the fact that we were desirous of employing either union or non-union men,
having regard solely to the capability of the individual workman. After a struggle of several months, we were forced to unionize our fitting and smith shops and to give ten hours pay for nine hours work in shop and ten hours pay for eight hours work outside of shop. This has proven a serious loss to us since we are brought in competition with firms in surrounding towns, where the men have longer hours and less per diem pay. In Philadelphia, the Allied Building Trades? workmen declined to work with any non-union man no matter what his trade. After a series of strikes, this resulted in forcing many of our men into the unions, when they preferred to be non-union and eventually in the unionizing of our shops. Our judgment, as employers is very clear. No man should be questioned whether he is union or non-union, but should be hired simply on the ground of his capability. The attitude of the unions is undemocratic and subversive of the individual rights of the workingman. In its practical outworking it inures to the advantage of the incapable workman, obliging his employer to pay him a wage, he does not deserve, solely because he is a union man. If the prices fixed by the union in the several building trades are forced to a higher figure, it will eventually result in diminished investments in building operations.
Dear Sir: Your circular letter of the 24th inst., relative to conciliation as a strike preventive, has been received.
The management of this Company has been carrying out the following plan:
Full pay is given all employes for National holidays, such as July 4th, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas, who report in good condition for duty and work the succeeding day.
On general election days they are paid for the whole day, but given half of it to enable them to dress up and go to the polls.
On other election days they are given several hours for the same purpose.
Once a year they are given excursion tickets for a picnic to some place within reasonable distance, and costing the Company in and about $2.00 for each ticket.
Any employee injured in the works is placed under the care of a surgeon employed and paid by the Company, and the employee is kept on the pay roll at half pay until he can return to work.
In hot weather ice water is supplied by the Company. Improve. provements in machinery and appliances to lighten the labor are resorted to and the employees receive decent treatment.
A club room is being fitted up for them where they can meet and play innocent games or read magazines furnished by the Company.
This course has increased the sobriety and self-respect of the employees as well as the quantity and quality of the work done by them and produced good feeling and respect for the management.
Dear Sir: In reply to your inquiry in reference to labor troubles we make the following remarks. They may not be quite what you are asking for, but we give it to you as our views.
We consider unions the greatest cause of strikes and the producers of the largest amount of labor troubles. (Witness the strikes for a principle wherein neither wages nor hours enter.) Also, so called "Sympathetic strikes” where a lot of men without a grievance paralyze business and demoralize trade because others are striking.
Unions never know when men have secured reasonable demands. As an illustration, in a lecture delivered by a president of one of the Unions a few nights ago at which the writer was present) he said “they were striking for shorter hours. They were first trying to get eight hours for a days work; when that was accomplished they would fight for seven hours. Hence we ask, what will they not strike for?"
We never had a strike in our works, and don't know whether we