1900s >> 1909 >> no-63-november-1909

Trust v. Labour

An official report just issued as to the advance of the use of machinery in mines is giving labour organisers much food for thought. It shows that last year over 123,000,000 tons of bituminous coal, which is almost thirty-eight per cent. of the total output [American], were mined by machinery. Within five years the number of machines in use has doubled, and as a result the number of work days of American miners in the bituminous fields are steadily decreasing.

Investigations also show that Mr. J. P. Pierpont Morgan is making good his threat to demolish every form of labour union in the United States Steel Corporation. Not only are the iron, steel, and tinplate workers being forced to accept open shop terms, but the seamen on the lakes and miscellaneous trades connected with the Trust are being given to understand that union men are not wanted. Union officials declare that the Trust is offering big wages and long contracts to the most skilled workmen to desert their unions, in order to get a better grip on the men’s organization, but very few of the offers have been accepted.

The Labour organisers declare that these tactics so far are not succeeding with the men, and before long the iron, steel, and tiaplate workers will form a close federation to fight the Trust on more effective lines. The situation in some of the iron and steel districts thus threatens to take a more serious turn. It is declared by the Union men that the Trust has formulated a scale providing for a reduction in wages ranging from 2 per cent. to 18 per cent.

The Trust has one great advantage, in that there are sufficient tinplate plants in the country to supply all demands with six months’ operation. The non-union mills, therefore, hold the key to the situation, for they are able to partially meet the market’s demands, and there is no actual deadlock in the trade. It is this which has led the men to accept for the present the terms offered hy the Pressed Steel Car Company, at M’Kees Rocks, although their demands as to an advance in wages have not been agreed to.
Daily News, 20.9.09.

And yet Mr. S. Gompers, President of the A. F. of L., says there is no unemployed problem in America.

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