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Baltimore, Md., November 13 to 25, inclusive, 1916. In that report, on pages 78, 79, 80, and a part of 81, is the report of the executive council of the American Federation of Labor to that convention. I ask, without taking up the time to read it-I should like very much if you had the time so that I could read it, but I know how busy Senators are, and that it is not necessarily immediately of importance, and you have not very much time outside of your regular duties—but I trust that what I have asked to be incorporated in the record may receive the attention of the committee.

The CHAIRMAN. What is it that you ask be inserted ?

Mr. GOMPERS. Four pages of printed matter, being a part of the report of the executive council of the American Federation of Labor, made to the convention of that federation about six weeks ago.

The CHAIRMAN. If you will hand those pages to the reporter, they will be inserted.

(The matter referred to is here printed in full, as follows:)

THE RAILROAD BROTHERHOODS' STRIKE.

For nearly a century the labor movement of America has conducted a campaign for the establishment of a maximum eight-hour workday. Since the formation of the American Federation of Labor a systematic movement has been conducted for eight hours. This movement resulted in splendid achievements in 1886, which was the beginning of the eight-hour workday as enjoyed by the several trades, and was again actively renewed in 1890, and has been followed up in every day and year since that time.

The campaign for the eight-hour workday, reported to the 1915 convention, has been continued during 1916. The successes of last year have been duplicated and amplified in the progress of this year, and in no one period in American history has there been greater progress in securing recognition for the eight-hour principle than during the past two years.

A notable movement for eight hours during the past year was that made by the railroad workers organized in the four railroad brotherhoods.

It was early in the year when the railroad men declared that the eight-hour workday ought to be enforced for all railroad workers in operating trains. Railroad men, particularly in the freight service, were subject to practically unlimited demands of their time. Freight service was regulated entirely in furtherance of the interests of railroad profits. Freight trains had been increased in length, and speed proportionately cut down, until it had become practically impossible for men in the operating service to make their runs within a normal workday. The men had to be always ready for service; they did not dare to leave their homes on most ordinary business or for a few hours' outing without first having telephoned to headquarters where they could be found. This company rule was rigidly enforced; the first violation of it meant discipline, the second dismissal.

The responsible nature of the work performed by the railway men in the operating service, the exacting demands upon health and vitality, the hazardous nature of the work, and the occupational diseases that inevitably followed convinced the men that the eight-hour day was for them a paramount issue. The shorter workday has been established as the primary step in conserving the lives and the working power of wage earners. It is not only a necessary step for conservation, but it is a necessary step for securing opportunities for workers and for enabling them to improve standards of work and life. The eighthour workday has demonstrated wherever it has been established that it results in more efficient and more productive workers; makes of them better men-a better citizenship.

The railroad men's demands for the eight-hour workday presented no new idea; they were based upon a well-established principle of welfare; a principle that can not be disputed, and therefore it is not properly a matter for arbitration. Because of the railway men refusing to arbitrate this principle which involves the principle of personal relations, they brought a hait to the efforts of the railroad managers to force them to submit all of the issues to arbitration, and brought their conferences to an end. It was then that the President of the

STATEMENT OF MR. SAMUEL GOMPERS, PRESIDENT AMERICAN

FEDERATION OF LABOR, WASHINGTON, D. C. Mr. GOMPERS. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, when, in the latter part of August, 1916, you had under consideration the bill now known generally as the Adamson bill, you accorded me the privilege of appearing before your committee. On that occasion I undertook to present some views upon the general subject of legislation, as it was proposed for the railroad employees, and at the close of that hearing the bill then immediately under consideration. I have in mind the general legislation as it was recommended by the President. I do not know whether the hearings then held are to be a part of the record of the hearings which you have conducted within this last week or two, and I would like to make inquiry, Mr. Chairman, for the reason that if it is to be regarded as a separate hearing, then I should like to make some reference to and probably repeat some things that I may have adverted to in my previous presentation of the matter to this committee; otherwise a mere reference to it is entirely sufficient.

The CHAIRMAN. I will say, Mr. Gompers, that the record of the last hearing will be made a part of this.

Mr. GOMPERS. Mr. Chairmari, since I had the pleasure of appearing before this committee in August we have gone through some very interesting incidents in our country—a great political campaign, an election, and its result. I think that I may interpret as the verdict of the people that they viewed with satisfaction that something had been done by Congress in the interests, or supposedly in the interests, of the working people—the masses of the people of America. To me the question of the Adamson law, per se, is of little consequence. To me it is a declaration by Congress, at the suggestion of the President and later approved by him, the declaration that the eight-hour workday in principle is right. Its legal binding character, I will say, is of less consequence to me and to those I have the honor in part to represent, and is of less consequence to the interests and the liberties and the destinies of our country.

Since my appearance before this committee in August there have been held many meetings of labor organizations, local, State, and National. There has not been a meeting held throughout the length and breadth of this country of working people where the subject matter has been under consideration but what there has been a unanimous denunciation of any attempt to legislate any features of involuntary servitude, whether it be permanent or a temporary makeshift even for a moment. Indeed, the Trade and Labor Congress, an organization of the working people of Canada, went on record by a practically unanimous vote, demanding, even during the time when the Dominion, allied with the mother country, is in a state of war, demanding the repeal of the Canadian compulsory investigation act. The convention of the Colorado State Federation of Labor went on record, with one dissenting vote, demanding the repeal of the Colorado compulsory investigation act. The American Federation of Labor, representing the organized workers of America, has declared against the principle. Though the brotherhoods are not affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, there is a common polity and a common policy and a common interest. I have here, sir, the printed official proceedings of the American Federation of Labor, held in Baltimore, Md., November 13 to 25, inclusive, 1916. In that report, on pages 78, 79, 80, and a part of 81, is the report of the executive council of the American Federation of Labor to that convention. I ask, without taking up the time to read it-I should like very much if you had the time so that I could read it, but I know how busy Senators are, and that it is not necessarily immediately of importance, and you have not very much time outside of your regular duties-but I trust that what I have asked to be incorporated in the record may receive the attention of the committee.

The CHAIRMAN. What is it that you ask be inserted ?

Mr. GOMPERS. Four pages of printed matter, being a part of the report of the executive council of the American Federation of Labor, made to the convention of that federation about six weeks ago.

The CHAIRMAN. If you will hand those pages to the reporter, they will be inserted.

(The matter referred to is here printed in full, as follows:)

THE RAILROAD BROTHERHOODS' STRIKE.

For nearly a century the labor movement of America has conducted a campaign for the establishment of a maximum eight-hour workday. Since the formation of the American Federation of Labor a systematic movement has been conducted for eight hours. This movement resulted in splendid achievements in 1886, which was the beginning of the eight-hour workday as enjoyed by the several trades, and was again actively renewed in 1890, and has been followed up in every day and year since that time.

The campaign for the eight-hour workday, reported to the 1915 convention, has been continued during 1916. The successes of last year have been duplicated and amplified in the progress of this year, and in no one period in American history has there been greater progress in securing recognition for the eight-hour principle than during the past two years.

A notable movement for eight hours during the past year was that made by the railroad workers organized in the four railroad brotherhoods.

It was early in the year when the railroad men declared that the eight-hour workday ought to be enforced for all railroad workers in operating trains. Railroad men, particularly in the freight service, were subject to practically unlimited demands of their time. Freight service was regulated entirely in furtherance of the interests of railroad profits. Freight trains had been increased in length, and speed proportionately cut down, until it had become practically impossible for men in the operating service to make their runs within a normal workday. The men had to be always ready for service; they did not dare to leave their homes on most ordinary business or for a few hours' outing without first having telephoned to headquarters where they could be found. This company rule was rigidly enforced; the first violation of it meant discipline, the second dismissal.

The responsible nature of the work performed by the railway men in the operating service, the exacting demands upon health and vitality, the hazardous nature of the work, and the occupational diseases that inevitably followed convinced the men that the eight-hour day was for them a paramount issue. The shorter workday has been established as the primary step in conserving the lives and the working power of wage earners. It is not only a necessary step for conservation, but it is a necessary step for securing opportunities for workers and for enabling them to improve standards of work and life. The eighthour workday has demonstrated wherever it has been established that it results in more efficient and more productive workers; makes of them better men-a better citizenship.

The railroad men's demands for the eight-hour workday presented no new idea ; they were based upon a well-established principle of welfare; a principle that can not be disputed, and therefore it is not properly a matter for arbitration. Because of the railway men refusing to arbitrate this principle which involves the principle of personal relations, they brought a halt to the efforts of the railroad managers to force them to submit all of the issues to arbitration, and brought their conferences to an end. It was then that the President of the

United States, as the representative of the Nation, requested the railroad men to come to Washington for conference. As a result of that conference, all of the 640 representative railroad men, in their respective divisions, who had been in the New York conference, were asked to go to Washington for a personal conference with President Wilson in the White House. The railway managers, and later the railroad presidents, were also asked to confer with the President. As a result of these conferences the President recommended that the eight-hour workday should be conceded as a right that ought not to be arbitrated, but that all other issues involved should be submitted for investigation and arbitration.

In taking this position in regard to the eight-hour workday neither President Wilson nor the railway brotherhoods rejected the principle of arbitration, as the railroad presidents have wrongfully claimed. They took the position that the eight-hour day was a principle not subject to arbitration. In this they were in harmony with that demand by all the most ardent advocates of arbitration, of conceding that there are certain fundamental rights that are not arbitrable or not justiciable. When an industrial matter is the subject of dispute, all personal relations must be excluded from the purview of arbitration. Those matters are arbitrable which concern property and property rights.

When the railroad presidents refused to agree to President Wilson's suggestions, they left the railroad men no alternative but to strike, unless they intended to concede the whole case and to confess thereby that they were wrong in making their demands. It was then the strike order (previously decided by the men themselves) was issued. After the strike order was issued, President Wilson, in a joint session of both Houses of Congress, presented the following program which lie thought necessary to deal with the situation :

First. The immediate passage by the Senate of a bill, which has already passed the House of Representatives, reorganizing the Interstate Commerce Commission and enlarging its powers.

“ Second. The enactment of an eight-hour-day law for all railroad operatives on trains engaged in interstate commerce.

“Third. The establishment of a commission, appointed by the President, to investigate and report upon the working of the eight-hour-day system.

“ Fourth. Explicit approval by Congress of any increase made in freight rates by the Interstate Commerce Commission which is rendered necessary by the adoption of the eight-hour-day law.

“Fifth. A provision making illegal any railroad strike or lockout prior to the investigation of the merits of the case.

“Sixth. Provision for the Government to take any necessary action to keep trains running that may be needed for military purposes.”

The two essential features of the President's legislative proposals were the eight-hour workday and compulsory governmental institutions to regulate industrial relations in an occupation not owned or operated by the Government itself. The representatives of the railroad organizations felt the seriousness of the situation which confronted them. The proposal to establish compulsory institutions is a matter that involves and affects the interests of all of the wage earners in the country. It is a revolutionary proposition, totally out of harmony with our prevailing institutions and out of harmony with our philosophy of government. The representatives of the railroad brotherhoods asked for a conference with the representative men of the American Federation of Labor, then in Washington. This conference was the first held in the American Federation of Labor new office building. Its importance is evident. In that conference the railroad brotherhoods were again assured of the support and the cooperation of the American Federation of Labor in their struggle, and in the hearing which took place before the Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce August 31 upon the legislation which President Wilson had recommended for enactment by Congress the wishes and the demands of the wage earners were presented by the representatives of the railroad organizations and by the president of the American Federation of Labor. The egiht-hour workday was secured for the railroad men, but the proposition providing for “ compulsory investigation,” carrying with it compulsory service, was not enacted.

The bill introduced in Congress for the declared purpose of preventing strikes and interruption of transporration is modeled after the Canadian compulsory investigations act. It provides that during a period when the demands for changed conditions are under consideration it would be unlawful for the railroad workers to strike. During this specified period it is the purpose of this law to compel railroad men to work even against their will.

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This effort to again subject wage earners to involuntary servitude has aroused the determined resistance of wage earners generally. To their declarations against involuntary servitude the proponents of the legislation have replied that although a strike would be made illegal under the proposed law and strikers criminals, yet individual workers were not deprived of the right to quit work.

This is a curious kind of reasoning, that may make an appeal to those who have no definite knowledge of industrial conditions, but wage earners know that individuals have ceased to exist from the standpoint of modern industry The individual workers is a mere cog in industrial machinery, without voice in determining conditions that affect his work or his relations with his employer, and for an individual to quit work would have no effect at all, except to leave him without employment. The individual worker has neither the power nor the opportunity to secure redress for his industrial wrongs or to establish justice.

It is only through organized effort that wage earners have the rights and opportunities of individuals or have any hope to establish better industrial conditions and standards of industrial justice. It is pure sophistry that only augments the sense of justice that wage earners may feel for industrial wrongs to allow them by law the right of individuals to quit work and to declare that they can not agree with fellow workers, that conditions are so bad that their only hope of justice and fair dealing lies in agreeing together to quit work; that is, to refuse to perform their usual tasks—to strike.

The distinction between slaves and freemen is that slaves must work as their owners will. They have no will of their own which they can enforce. Freemen are masters and owners of their own labor power. They can not be compelled to work against their will. The exercise of their right not to give service is at their own peril; that is, loss of wages, with what they may entail.

Such a law providing for making criminals of men who cease work during the period of compulsory investigation of industrial disputes would not prevent strikes. It would only make strikes illegal and strikers criminals. It would revive again the old conspiracy laws.

The only protection that wage earners have is the right to withhold their labor power—the right to strike. To deprive them of this protection in the name of industrial peace would only result in increasing their feeling of injustice and converting governmental agencies and institutions into agencies that bind them powerless against employers, however rapacious and inhumane.

Compulsory institutions to prevent strikes are not new. They have been tried in other countries and found wanting. New Zealand established compulsory arbitration in 1894, after the close of a maritime strike that practically stopped transportation on the island. The compulsory-arbitration law was a desperate effort to protect the so-called public.

But strikes have not been abolished in New Zealand; many bitterly fought strikes have occurred. It was only last year that another general strike occurred, again tying up transportation agencies. This strike was characterized by the most cruel and brutal conduct on the part of the so-called public. Many farmers joined gunmen, gangsters, and professional strike breakers, armed themselves with pitchforks and other agricultural implements, and marched against the striking workmen.

Compulsory institutions either in the form of arbitration or wages boards have been established in all of the States of Australia and for the Commonwealth, but in none of the States or in the Commonwealth have strikes been abolished, or is there any reason to feel that this principle has solved the industrial problem.

The wage earners of the United States will oppose any proposition to impose upon them compulsory institutions which disguise involuntary servitude. They hold that the principle involved in voluntary institutions is the key to personal and industrial freedom, and that this principle is of more importance to them than any other consideration.

The immediate problem involved is a class problem; but the principle involved in compulsory institutions, even for a class in our Republic, is of concern to the whole Republic, for we know that the Republic can not be maintained part free and part slave.

Involuntary and compulsory labor once enforced, even for a single hour, will not halt at its temporary enforcement, but will go on and become permanent.

In human institutions, when a wrongful course has been pursued, it inevitably is held or driven on to its logical conclusion of error. There, then, is no retrieving except by a convulsion brought about by a revolution.

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