페이지 이미지
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][table][table][graphic]

than the law required. In one of the schools I visited there was a well-conducted manual-training course, established by the generosity of President Schwab; at the mills there were weekly chemistry classes conducted by mill officials; and in their homes a goodly number of boys were pursuing scientific courses under the Scranton School of Correspondence. This school is widely advertised, and some of its agents allow themselves to promise far too much to the boys who follow its curriculum ; but what I saw and heard of its workings convinced me that it was really a great educational institution. Everybody whose judgment I trusted said the papers sent back to the school by the pupils were criticised by first-class men, and that the boys were not only well guided, but kept interested in their work. Some of the workmen I talked with were inclined to ridicule the boast of the officials that workmen could rise from the ranks. When I referred to the superintendent who had been an assistant machinist a few years before, they told me that he was Mr. Carnegie's cousin. A workman could not rise, they said, unless he toadied to the management. Yet all the pessimism about what a workingman could do did not involve hopelessness about the future of a workingman's children. The boy who, after twelve hours in the mill, had the grit to do good work in the correspondence school was in the line of promotion, and the exceptional boy who could not only follow drawings, but manage men, might become foreman or even superintendent. Besides the schools thus open, there were the libraries established by Mr. Carnegie. The one in the beautiful building at Homestead was hardly in working order at the time of my visit, but the work that was being done by the corresponding institution at Braddock showed me what it would accomplish. At Braddock the library supplied books to as many persons as there were families in the city, while the lecture hall, the swimming-bath, the billiard-rooms, etc., seemed to afford the residents all the advantages of a lyceum, a gymnasium, and a club-house. The terms at which these advantages were offered were of the most nominal description—$1 for three months to employees and $2 to others. The library was free to all. I had appreciated Tom Crawford's

sarcasm about the offer of these things to men who worked twelve hours a day, but they certainly seemed of immense advantage to the families of workingmen, if not to the'workingmen themselves.

All that I saw at Homestead convinced

me that Mr. Carnegie was

Mr. Carnegie s unusually sincere in his de

impenalism . J

sire for the welfare of his employees. President McKinley is not more so in his desire for the welfare of Luzon. But the fatal defect which Mr. Carnegie attributes to the President's policy in the Philippines permeates his own policy at Homestead. The government at Homestead aims to be government for the people, but its fundamental principle is that there shall be no government by the people. He who joins an organization of the employees at Homestead to resist the absolute supremacy of the employers is warned in advance that he can accomplish nothing except his own ruin. This policy is not, indeed, that which Mr. Carnegie employed when he was directly in charge. In an unusual degree he sympathized with the organization of the men for self government. But the imperialist policy in its most absolute lines is the one pursued and avowed by the present head of the Carnegie company. Charles M. Schwab, by reason of his ability and convictions, quite as much as by reason of the position he occupies, is probably the foremost representative of those who would extirpate every tendency toward industrial democracy. It was my pleasure to have a long talk with him after my talk with some of the union sympathizers at Homestead, and I never heard unionism so vigorously dealt with. Furthermore, the position he took was one that had the support of his conscience as well as of his interests. He believed that complete individual independence was the only method of developing strong manhood, and his hostility to trade-unions—because they undermined individual responsibility —extended to all fraternal organizations. He did not, indeed, oppose corporations— in which all the stockholders agree to act as a unit according to the decision of the majority; but when I asked him about trusts, I found that he was nearly as hostile to them as to the labor unions, and his reasons were almost identical. The trust, he said, made its individual members look to artificial prices for their profits, instead of looking to improvements in their own methods of production. Sooner or later the artificial prices stimulated outside competition, which forced the pool to collapse and left its members worse off than if they had never joined it. The trade-union, he thought, had a like effect upon the workmanship of its members. Their tendency to restrict apprentices was thoroughly hostile to the public welfare, and their arbitrary rules embarrassed the introduction of machinery. When I asked him whether he had ever known trade-unions to strike against improved machinery, he said that he had not known them to do so in this country, but that it had happened in England, and that the power of the English unions was causing the decay of manufacturing in England. I referred, of course, to the decades of unfulfilled prophecy that the trade-unions would have this influence upon English industry, and questioned whether the present forebodings would be justified. He assured me, however, that in the iron industry the decline was already apparent, and that German iron-works, as well as American, were rapidly gaining on their English competitors. A brilliant future awaited the German works, and a dismal one the English, because the German works were not hampered by the unions, while the English were simply in their fetters. If the iron industry in America was to go forward, it, too, must be free.

The arraignment of trade-unionism was little short of brilliant until President Schwab turned to conditions in Homestead. Even here he showed how thoroughly he was convinced of the righteousness of his policy. The great body of the employees, he said, were glad to have the unions suppressed. In support of this view he cited the report of an English expert who had been given permission to go through the mills and talk with the men at their work. When I queried whether a census taken in this way was reliable, he stated that during the Homestead strike two hundred of his hands at Braddock had sent in their names, offering to go to Homestead, open the mills, and crush the strike. To me this offer of working-men to incur the hatred of their fellows seemed evidence of servility, but to him it was evidence that

non-union men were glad to help overthrow unionism. The discontent that I had found he believed to be exceptional. He did not believe that hours had been lengthened or Sunday work increased, and he was sure that the books of the companyshowed that the average wages were higher in 1893 than in 1892, in 1894 than in 1893, in 1895 than in 1894, and soon, advancing with each succeeding year. In short, he was convinced that the suppression of the union had been a benefit to the employees as well as to the company, and he was therefore prepared, for the good of the governed, to suppress with an iron hand any attempt on their part at self-government.

After this talk with President Schwab
I had another day in I'ome-

The conclusion stead> and j spent R ^

part of it among members of the middle classes, in an attempt to harmonize the conflicting statements of employers and workingmen. As regards the contentment of the employees, I found nothing to justify the optimism of the officials. The ablest and broadest man I met— a young Baptist minister who had once been a coke-burner, and who still knew as much about the lives of laborers as he did about the higher criticism—told me that he had to make it his mission to give the men all the encouragement he could, and keep them from thinking about their grievances, though he believed that many of these were real enough. The discontent and discouragement prevalent made the men skeptical and bitter. The more I heard upon this point, the more I was convinced that the officials were too far removed from their employees to know anything about their sentiments. As regards wages, the singular contradiction in statements was finally explained. I was talking with an old clerk in the Carnegie works, and the warmth with which he praised the chemistry classes conducted by the officials led me to expect from him a repetition of the official. statement about wages. When I asked him about this matter, however, his view proved to be that of the men; and when I spoke of the reported increase, he said that the books of the company showed an increase since 1892, but only because a day's work was so frequently reckoned at twelve hours instead of eight, and because the men in 1892 had lost five months on account of the strike. As regards the extent to which hours had been lengthened and Sunday work increased, I gradually reached the conclusion that the officials had underestimated it much less than the partisans of the union had overestimated it. Even here, however, while the old unionists exaggerated their losses, they were quite right in thinking that the death of unionism would mean the death of all hope of a future shortening of hours. Legislation might accomplish the reduction, but legislation of value to workingmen is rarely secured except when powerful organizations of workingmen demand its enactment and compel its enforcement. Acting as individuals without organization, the workmen are helpless. Every man among them may be convinced that shorter hours and a tree Sunday are for the good of their class, but no man among them will cut

his own wages and risk his own job unless assured that his fellows will co-operate. You might almost as well attempt to run the Government by permitting each citizen to contribute what he pleases, as attempt to advance the general interests of labor by permitting each workman to contribute what he pleases. The bulk of men are willing to do their share, but require assurance that others will do theirs. This assurance of co-operation can come only through organization. So long as the organization of iron-workers is prohibited, the exhausting and demoralizing twelve-hour day and Sunday labor are bound to remain. Trade-unions have their features of danger, as I was shortly to see in studying the labor movement in Chicago, but the prohibition of tradeunions, as exemplified at Homestead, leaves the working classes without the hope of a better future.

The Average Man

By Hamlin Garland

His face had the grimness of granite;

It was bleached and bronzed by the sun Like the coat on his poor narrow shoulders,

And his hands showed the work he had clone. His dim eyes were weary and patient,

And he smiled through his pallor and tan A wistful, sad smile, as if saying,

I'm only an average man.

I can't be a hero or poet,

Nor a dictator wearing a crown. I'm only the hard-working servant

Of those set above me. I'm down, And it's no use complaining—

I'll get along the best way I can, And one o' these days '11 come morning

And rest for the average man.

He wages all battles and wins them,

He builds all turrets that tower Over walls of the city to tell

Of the rulers and priests of the hour. Without him the general is helpless,

The earth but a place and a plan. He moves all and clothes all and feeds al

This sad-smiling average man.

Then I lifted my hand in a promise,

With teeth set close, and my breath
Held hard in my throat, and I uttered

A vow that shall outlive death.
I swear that the builder no Ion er

To me shall be less than the plan;
Henceforward be guerdon and glory

And hope for the average man.

tude in which these activities were carried on. Works covering acres, and costing in the neighborhood of a million dollars, would have hardly a hundred men scattered about them. Unfortunately, I had never seen European iron-works, so that an exact comparison was impossible. But when I thought of the swarming of men in every European industry I had seen, and even when 1 thought of the relative swarming in the iron-works in the South, I felt sure that where there was only one employee for something like ten thousand dollars of capital in these Carnegie works, there would be nearly ten in most parts of Europe. The contrast was mainly due, of course, to the fact that the dearness of labor about Pittsburg forced the introduction of costly machinery to economize it. But this machinery would not have proved an economy had not this dear labor been highly skilled and able to bear heavy responsibility during the long hours. The light-eating, heavy-drinking, apathetic labor of Continental Europe could not have been intrusted with this strenuous work. My escort explained to me, indeed, that nearly all the work was simple, but he recognized that in many of the positions a moment's inattention or the slightest error in judgment would cost the works incomparably more than the man's wages. In its nervous intensity the work was hard, and where it was hardest, in the sense of involving the greatest responsibility, the men in charge were almost uniformly American—or at least English-speaking. The irresponsible work was largely in the hands of the Huns and Poles, and of the negroes, who, like them, had been kept down by centuries of oppression. The superiority of American workmen, therefore,as well as the superiority of American methods, was at the basis of this triumph of American industry. It was obvious, however, that the triumphs were chiefly due to the rAepuir>le°n'C management, and I therefore learned with the greatest interest the plan upon which the allied works were organized. The allied plants included nearly every industry essential to the production of steel, from the firing of the coke-ovens to the operation of the railroad. At the head of every department was a man who had been taken into the firm because of his business

promise, and who was paid according to the profits of the works under him. Each of these heads of departments was also given an interest in the company, and thus a quality of work was secured which mere salaries would not bring. No one connected with the management except Mr. Carnegie himself, said President Schwab, of the Steel Company, had ever invested a dollar. The company was really a partnership rather than a corporation, and not one of the partners held his position by reason of inheritance or wealth. Only three of the thirty-three heads of departments were even graduates of technical schools or colleges, and one of the superintendents had been a common machinist only a few years ago. The whole organization recalled Napoleon's definition of a republic when he said that the French Revolution meant "a career open to talent of every sort."

All that I saw of the management of the

company carried out this idea, feudalism * was surprised, indeed, at the

number of young men who had forged their way to the top. But talent has as little regard for the lines of age as for those of caste. Ability to do the work was evidently the prime requisite, and while the men at the heads of the departments had too much social finish to permit the supposition that many of them had risen from the ranks of workmen; it was evident that their weekly luncheon together was planned for its business suggestiveness and not for social diversion. A similar impression was made by the superintendents about the works. In fact, during the two days that I was under the escort of the men in charge, I received but one unfavorable impression. This came from the spirit in which the workmen did their work. They were cheerless almost to the point of sullenness. When the men looked at us it was rarely with the look of pride in their work or contentment with their wages or cordial feeling toward those over them ; yet the work was full of responsibility, the wages high, and the managers were singularly efficient. The sullen attitude, indeed, was absolutely intangible, and when my escort said that he had not observed it, there was absolutely nothing that I could cite as evidence. When, however, I left the circle of those who could explain the works, and took my lodgings in the

« 이전계속 »