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Director of Research and Investigation



(Reprinted from Senate Doc. No. 415, 64th Congress)





[Public Resolution No. 15, Sixty-fourth Congress, first session.]

Senate joint resolution No. 98.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the final report of the United States Commission on Industrial Relations, including the report of Basil M. Manly, director of research and investigation, and the individual reports and statements of the several commissioners, together with all the testimony taken at its hearings, except exhibits submitted in printed form, which shall be appropriately referred to in said testimony, be printed as a Senate document under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing; and that ten thousand additional copies be printed and bound in cloth, of which two thousand five hundred copies shall be for the use of the Senate and seven thousand five hundred copies for the use of the House of Representatives; and that of the final report of said commission one hundred thousand additional copies be printed, of which thirty thousand copies shall be for the use of the Senate and seventy thousand copies for the use of the House of Representatives: Provided, That the superintendent of documents is hereby authorized to reprint copies of the same for sale or distribution as provided by law.

Approved, April 28, 1916.



Commission of Industrial Relations Makes First Annual Report to Congress

Nine cardinal causes of industrial unrest, most generally agreed upon by employers and employees alike, were presented to congress December 7 by the Commission on Industrial Relations in its preliminary report as follows:

"1. Largely a world-wide movement arising from a laudable desire for better living conditions. Advanced by representatives of labor, socialists and employers and generally endorsed.

2. A protest against low wages, long hours and improper working conditions in many industries. Advanced by practically all labor representatives and assented to by many employers.

"3. A desire on the part of the workers for a voice in the determination of conditions under which they labor, and a revolt against arbitrary treatment of individual workers and a suppression of organization. This was almost uniformly approved by labor witnesses.

"4. Unemployment and the insecurity of employment, generally advanced by witnesses from every standpoint.

"5. Unjust distribution of the products of industry, advanced by most labor representatives and agreed to by most employers.

"6. Misunderstanding and prejudice. Agreed to by employers and employees.

. Agitation and agitators. Generally advanced by employers, but defended by labor representatives and others as a necessary means of education.

"8. The rapid rise in prices as compared with wages.

"9. The rapidly growing feeling that redress for injuries and oppression cannot be secured through existing institutions.


"In addition," says the report, "it has been stated by many witnesses that


the tremendous immigration of th
last quarter century, while not itself
direct cause of unrest, has served t
accentuate the conditions arising from
other causes, by creating an Over
supply of labor
supply of labor unfamiliar wit
American customs, language and con

While it presents no conclusions leaving those for later work, the com mission, after more than a year's in vestigation covering all phases of in dustry throughout the country i which more than 500 witnesses repre senting all relations of capital an labor were examined, presents th question:


"Is there need for changes, improve ments and adaptations or must entirel new legal machinery be devised for th control of industry ?"

The final report and conclusions o the commission will be submitted nex August, when its mission is concluded

These nine agreed causes were th result of the examination of 514 wit nesses, divided in interests as follows

Affiliated with employers, 181: af filiated with labor, 183; not affiliate with either group, 150. The witnesse included seven members of the Indus

trial Workers of the World and si representatives of the socialist party.


Under the caption "What Employ ers Say," the report presents the fol lowing summary of causes of unrest:

"Normal and healthy desire for bet ter living conditions.

"Misunderstanding and prejudic both labor and capital are identical. Lack of conception that interests o "Agitation by politicians and irr sponsible agitators.


"Unreasonable demands arising from strength of organization.

"Labor leaders who stir up troubl

to keep themselves in office and to graft on employers.

"Inefficiency of workers, resulting in ever-increasing cost of living. "Rapidly increasing complexity of industry.

"Sudden transition of a large number of foreigners from repression to freedom, which makes them an easy prey to labor agitators.

"Universal craze to get rich quick. "Decay of old ideas of honesty and thrift.

"Misinformation in newspapers.

"Too much organization for combative purposes instead of for COoperation.

"Violence in labor troubles. "Sympathetic strikes and jurisdictional disputes.

"Boycotting and picketing.
"Meddlesome and burdensome legis-


"The closed shop, which makes for labor monopoly. Financial irresponsibility of labor unions."

EMPLOYEES' SIDE STATED. "Normal and healthy desire for better living conditions.

"Protest against low wages, long hours, insanitary and dangerous conditions existing in many industries.

"Demand for industrial democracy, and revolt against the suppression of organization.

"Unemployment, and the insecurity which the wage-earner feels at all times.

"Unjust distribution of the product of industry. Exploitation of the many by the favored few.' 'Demand for full share of production.'

"Unjust attitude of police and courts.

"There is one law for the rich, another for the poor.

"Immigration and the consequent over-supply of labor.

"Existence of a double standard,' which sanctions only a poor living in return for the hardest manual labor, and at the same time luxury for persons who perform no useful service whatever.

"Disregard of grievances of indi

vidual employees and lack of machinery for redressing same.

"Control by 'Big Business' over both industry and state.

"Fear on the part of those in comfortable positions of being driven to poverty by sickness, accident or involuntary loss of employment.

"Inefficiency of workers on account of lack of proper training.

"Unfair competition from prison and other exploited labor.

"The rapid pace of modern industry, which results in accidents and premature old age.

"Lack of attention to sickness and accidents, and the difficulty and delay incident to securing compensation for accidents under the common law and

the statutes of states which have not with those questions. adopted modern methods of dealing

"Arbitrary discharge of employees. "Blacklisting of




"Exploitation of women and children in industry.

"Promotion of violence by the use of gunmen, spies and provokers hired by employers.

"Attempt to destroy unionism by the pretense of the 'open shop.' "Monopolization of land and natural


"Suppression of free speech and right of peaceful assembly."

On the principle of collective bargaining the investigators found virtually all witnesses with the exception of those representing the Industrial Workers of the World to be in accord. As to any suggested method of application of that principle, however, wide divergence of opinion was noted. In this connection the report adds:


"A majority of the best informed. witnesses who have appeared before the commission have insisted, however, upon the necessity of securing a proper basis upon which such collective bargaining can be carried out. It is impossible to analyze these suggestions at this time, but it may be well to note

that practically all of the most experienced witnesses have insisted upon the necessity for strong organization of both employers and employees as a fundamental basis for the successful conduct of collective bargaining."


The report takes up in detail criticisms of existing trade unions which, it says, came from employers and radicals who advocate other forms of labor organization. There are eighteen detailed criticisms in this list with an additional list of seven specific objections to present labor union methods made by the Industrial Workers of the World.


Paralleling these lists, twenty-one detailed criticisms of employers' organizations are presented, coming from labor representatives. The labor men, however, were unanimous in favoring strong organizations by employers to further collective agreements with employees.


While virtually unanimous agreement of witnesses was found in favor of the formation of a federal commission of mediation and conciliation, the report points out that "practically every witness has expressed the strongest disapproval of any form of compulsory arbitration.”

Arbitration was suggested only as a last resort, and then to be purely voluntary. Witnesses agreed that mediators should be bi-partisan, that they should have full power of investigation, that their contact with industry or industries with which they are expected to deal should be as nearly continuous as possible, that they should, if possible, act before a dispute has come to a head, and that adequate inducements should be offered to obtain the best possible men.


"The testimony of a majority of the employers was in favor of a rule similar to that of the Canadian Industrial Disputes Act, which pro

hibits strikes and lockouts pending investigation by the public mediators. Such a law is uniformly opposed by the representatives of labor on the ground that it is entirely in favor of the employer, who utilizes the period of delay to make preparations for breaking the strike. It is also insisted that such a delay would be in violation of that provision of the constitution of the United States which prohibits involuntary servitude."


Regarding trade unions and employers' associations, the commission announces that it is making a comprehensive study of a large number of typical organizations. The commission says:

"Against many of these associations and unions grave charges of serious import to the welfare of the country, if they be proved true, have been laid before the commission, and it is only by the most painstaking, impartial and unrelenting examination that the facts. can be developed, and such examination we are now prosecuting."

The commission's experts also are looking into questions of unorganized labor, scientific management in shops as it affects employees, women and children in industry, land problems, unemployment, social legislation and labor and the law. Of the unemployment the report says:


"Nothing comes so clear to the commission as the imperative necessity of organizing a market for labor on a will be no vacant jobs and idle workers modern business basis, so that there in the same community at the same time or within distances where the transportation is practicable. The consensus of opinion is that legislation for a national system of labor exchanges is an immediate necessity. The plan of the commission proposes to establish a bureau of employment in the Department of Labor, which would co-operate with state and municipal employment offices, regulate private agencies doing interstate business, and establish clearing houses for distributing informa

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