Obrázky na stránke


of E


tude in which these activities were carried promise, and who was paid according on. Works covering acres, and costing to the profits of the works under him. in the neighborhood of a million dollars. Each of these heads of departments was would have hardly a hundred men scat also given an interest in the company, tered about them. Unfortunately, I had and thus a quality of work was secured never seen European iron-works, so that which mere salaries would not bring. No an exact comparison was impossible. one connected with the management exBut when I thought of the swarming of cept Mr. Carnegie himself, said President men in every European industry I had seen, Schwab, of the Steel Company, had ever and even when I thought of the relative invested a dollar. The company was swarming in the iron-works in the South, really a partnership rather than a I felt sure that where there was only one poration, and not one of the partners employee for something like ten thousand held his position by reason of inheritance dollars of capital in these Carnegie works, or wealth. Only three of the thirty-three there would be nearly ten in most parts heads of departments were even graduates

pe. The contrast was mainly due, of technical schools or colleges, and one of course, to the fact that the dearness of of the superintendents had been a common labor about Pittsburg forced the intro- machinist only a few years ago. The duction of costly machinery to economize whole organization recalled Napoleon's it. But this machinery would not have definition of a republic when he said that proved an economy had not this dear the French Revolution meant “a career labor been highly skilled and able to bear open to talent of every sort.” heavy responsibility during the long hours. All that I saw of the management of the The light-eating, heavy-drinking, apa

company carried out this idea.

Restored thetic labor of Continental Europe could

I was surprised, indeed, at the not have been intrusted with this strenu

number of young men who had ous work. My escort explained to me, forged their way to the top. But talent indeed, that nearly all the work was sim has as little regard for the lines of age as ple, but he recognized that in many of for those of caste. Ability to do the work the positions a moment's inattention or was evidently the prime requisite, and the slightest error in judgment would cost while the men at the heads of the departthe works incomparably more than the ments had too much social finish to perman's wages. In its nervous intensity mit the supposition that many of them the work was hard, and where it was hard- had risen from the ranks of workmen, it est, in the sense of involving the greatest was evident that their weekly luncheon responsibility, the men in charge were together was planned for its business sugalmost uniformly American—or at least gestiveness and not for social diversion. English-speaking. The irresponsible work A similar impression was made by the was largely in the hands of the Huns and superintendents about the works. In fact, Poles, and of the negroes, who, like them, during the two days that I was under the had been kept down by centuries of op escort of the men in charge, I received but pression. The superiority of American one unfavorable impression. This came workmen, therefore, as well as the superior- from the spirit in which the workmen did ity of American methods, was at the basis their work. They were cheerless almost of this triumph of American industry. to the point of sullenness. When the men It was obvious, however, that the tri- looked at us it was rarely with the look of

umphs were chiefly due to the pride in their work or contentment with A Napoleonic republic

management, and I therefore their wages or cordial feeling toward those

learned with the greatest in over them ; yet the work was full of responterest the plan upon which the allied sibility, the wages high, and the managers works were organized. The allied plants were singularly efficient. The sullen attiincluded nearly every industry essen tude, indeed, was absolutely intangible, tial to the production of steel, from the and when my escort said that he had not obfiring of the coke-ovens to the operation served it, there was absolutely nothing that of the railroad. At the head of every I could cite as evidence. When, however, department was man who had been I left the circle of those who could explain taken into the firm because of his business the works, and took my lodgings in the


town of Homestead, where the workmen leader. He knew little about present would explain themselves, I found that conditions at Homestead, except the bethe impression I had gained was the only lief of his friends and sympathizers that a one that had been possible. I had entered low and dishonorable class of people had an entirely different industrial realm. The come to take the strikers' places. On atmosphere was at times heavy with dis- this point I learned from unbiased people appointment and hopelessness. Some of that he greatly exaggerated the extent of the men seemed afraid to talk. Even

the change, though from his standpoint, of the Catholic priest—to whose class I am course—as from that of Mr. Carnegie a accustomed to go for fair statements of the few years before-all workmen were disrelations of men to their employers—was honorable who had broken the commandunwilling to make any statement. The ment, “ Thou shalt not take thy neighone thing he did say was something he bor's job.” What O'Donnell knew most supposed self-evident-namely, that the about was the history of the great strike, men's earnings were much lower than and I naturally went over with him the before the great strike. The absence claims of the management respecting it. of freedom resembled that of the small These were, in brief, that the strike had mining villages in the eastern part of the been fought, not to reduce wages, but State. It was in sharp contrast with to effect "a sensible classification,” and the independence of the old trade-union that the trade-union had not only resisted towns in Massachusetts, and of the new such a classification, but had demanded factory towns in the South where the the right to appoint the foremen. As to the relations between employers and employ- first of these claims. O'Donnell, without ed are still cordial. If all that I saw hesitation, admitted that there was a good while with the managers of the Carnegie deal of truth in it. The union, he said, made works might be described under the title a mistake in resisting a new classification. of “ Triumphant Democracy,” nearly all It was inevitable, because of the changing that I saw while with the men might be methods of production. Under the old described under the title of “ Feudalism system the roller was practically an indeRestored.”

pendent contractor, receiving so much for One of the first men whom I found to every ton, and often receiving exorbitant

talk with was the famous Hugh O'Donnel

pay when better machinery increased the Hugh O'Donnell, who was output. Under the new system he was the spokesman of the strikers at the time reduced to a mere wage-earner under a of the Homestead riots and during the general superintendent for a whole divislong strike that followed. He was not liv.


The new classification, therefore, ing in Homestead, but had merely returned was largely a dethronement of the rollers, from the East for a visit of a day or but, as is always the case, the best-paid two with his mother. He told me that were also the best organized, and the Carnegie managers had made it im most ready to strike for their claims. possible for him to get work from any They led in the strike, and the men resteel company in the country. That he ceiving lower pay followed, until both could not get such work was obvious, for were disastrously defeated, and the last since the strike he had been making his vestige of trades-unionism in the Car. living much of the time as a reporter, negie works was destroyed. The defeat, though he was expert roller—and said O'Donnell, was practically inevirollers, the managers assured me, still table, because other iron centers were ceived nearly $200 a month for their criti- already disorganized. The union might cal work of exploding the “scale ” that have given in, but the upcompromising forms about the steel and measuring with attitude of the management, which was absolute accuracy the beams, rails, etc., thoroughly hostile to their union, practithat are made. The leader of the great cally forced the strike upon them. As to labor war of seven years ago was still a the unreasonableness of the old classifiman considerably under forty. His face cation, what Mr. O'Donnell said was in a was handsome and his speech unusually marked degree a confirmation of what the ready. He did not, however, impress managers had told me. As to the other one with the reserve power of a born important point, however-the charge that




and new

the union had demanded the right to engineers, who used to get from $1.90 to appoint the foremen—Mr. O'Donnell met $2.75, now get from $1.70 to $2.25. The President Schwab's statement with a flat heavy reductions complained of were denial. There was no truth in it what among the men doing the most responsible ever, he said. The Knights of Labor work-especially among the rollers. One might somewhere have made such a workman in this department gave me a demand, but no trade-union had ever as detailed statement of the changes, which sumed to exert such a power.

Between ran as follows: “ The man who had my conflicting statements like these there job,” he said, “used to get 19 cents a ton, seemed no possibility of harmony, except when the capacity (output) was supposed on the supposition that the union's criti to be forty tons a day, but we often ran cism of particular foremen had seemed to eighty. From 19 cents the first cut to the management equivalent to an asser was to 512 cents and the next to 412. tion of the right to appoint them.

Then there was a ten per cent. raise. On the question of wages also there Now it is down again. Since the begin

was difficulty, such as I ex ning of the year it has been about 4 cents. Old wages

perienced nowhere else, in The capacity is now 120 tons." The

harmonizing the statements of roller, he went on, used to get 22 cents a employers and employed. During the ton net, and now gets approximately 572 previous seven weeks of my journey the cents. If these statements were accurate, employers had agreed pretty closely with then men who used to get from $7.60 to the employed in reporting reductions in $8.80 a day, or even more, now get from wages since 1892. In the cotton-mills of $4.80 to $6.60. I noted that the present New England the cut had been twenty per wages of the rollers agreed with the employcent. ; on the cotton-fields of the South ers' estimate of $200 a month if the rollers and among the carpenters and masons of worked every day, and also that the old Southern cities it had been nearly forty wages above referred to were no higher per cent. The only great industry in which than the Carnegies claimed to be paying there had been no cut had been among the at the time of the strike. But otherwise anthracite coal miners, and here the em there was no harmony between this man's ployers agreed with the employed in report statement and that of his employers.

Ining a fearful reduction in the number of asmuch as his manner seemed as judicial days the men worked. When, however, I as theirs, and only ceased to be so when reached the Carnegie works, where the he got to talking about the black hatred great Homestead strike had taken place, of the men for the despotism over them, I I was surprised to be told at the office determined to learn what unprejudiced that average wages were actually higher town people thought about the matter. than six years before. The department Among the merchants I thought that head in charge of the wage-rolls told me

What the

I observed the same absence of this. When, however, I went among merchants free speech as existed among the workmen, I found that the truth of

the working people. However, this statement was indignantly denied. among those who talked with me who had They admitted that wages were higher been in business before the strike, there in the Carnegie works than anywhere was not the least diversity of opinion else in the country.

All the other steel about the severe reduction of wages. works, said one of them, must pay lower The first one I talked with put the wages in order to compete.

But when case in darker colors than the workthey came to compare present wages with

" Where we used to sell $ 2,500 those before the strike and the depression, worth of furniture in a single month, they asserted that sweeping reductions had we now sometimes barely sell $100 worth. taken place. These reductions, however, We lost $8,000 at the time of the strike. were relatively light among the lower We hadn't the heart to try to collect of the grades of labor. For example, a young people when they weren't getting any fellow in the engineers' department, whom wages, and some of them lost everything, I met the first evening, told me that the including the homes on which they had common workmen, who used to get $1.40 made payments. A good many went away, for ten hours now get $1.32 ; while the and those who got their places again have



rarely got ahead and come back to pay of the most likable men I met on my up.” When it became evident that the journey. He had been at the head of the Adsmall shopkeepers took the same view as visory Committee during the strike, and it the workmen, I went to a man of wealth, was evident that he, rather than O'Donnell, whose sympathies were certain to be with must have had the real direction of affairs. the company, and whose knowledge of He had been born in England, and felt savings bank and real estate matters somewhat keenly his want of schoolingmade his opinions of exceptional value. though it is doubtful if schooling would His statement of the case was singularly have developed his executive ability more judicial, and to me was convincing. The than the post-graduate course he had been local merchants, he said, were apt to compelled to take. I have always,” he exaggerate the losses of their customers, said, “ hoped to educate myself, but, after because cheap trolley connection with my day's work, I haven't been able to do Pittsburg caused a great deal of the buy- much studying. . . . After working twelve ing to be done there. Nevertheless, it hours, how can a man go to a library?” was perfectly clear to any one doing busi- Curiously enough, but typically enough, he ness in Homestead that the men were spoke of himself as “ getting too old now,” not getting as much money as formerly though he was only thirty-six. I expressed He could not understand how any one my dissent from this view, but he replied, could suppose that they did.

“I don't know any roller over forty. If I But it was not the lowering of wages can keep it up four years longer, I shall

that caused the most bit own my house, and be able to quit indeThe real grievances

ter complaints among the pendently. . . . I have known old rollers, men. Their wages, even when lowered, but they have all gone. An old man cannot were not low, and most of them realized it. become anything but a sweeper." This Their real grievances were the long hours, observation agreed pretty well with what I the Sunday labor, the strain under which myself had seen in the mills, and, when they were compelled to work, and, above I referred to it in talking with the official all—or rather at the basis of all—the want of the Illinois Steel Company, a week later, of freedom to organize. Nobody in Home he practically confirmed it. It is possible, stead dared openiy to join a trade-union. therefore, that the increase of producThe president said, without reserve, that tion" that seems to come from men workhe would discharge any man for this of- ing twelve hours a day is more than lost fense, and the men all understood that this through enforced idleness at middle age. was the foundation principle of the present Moderate work until fifty-five might proorder. So far as I could see, no secret duce more material goods—as well as union had yet grown up.

The men who healthier and better men—than excessive spoke most bitterly about the prohitition work till even forty-five, followed by a of unions said nothing to intimate that protracted old age of partial idleness they themselves were still members. The and frequent dependence. union movement, to all appearances, was

Both Tom Crawford and the Illinois dead except in the hopes of the work

Work growing Steel Company's official be men. The management, I afterwards

lieved that in the iron-mills

hours longer learned, believed that it was dead even

work is becoming harder as here, and that most of the men were glad time goes on. It is not, however, requir: to have the union outlawed; but I saw ing more intelligence. Both men believed nothing to support this view. Some of that, with the new machinery, less skill the men I met did not wish to be con is needed, but closer attention. “We nected with trades-unions. But there was used to be able,” said Mr. Crawford, “to not one of them but regarded the loss take time to eat our meals like civilized of the right to organize as a restriction of human beings, but now we can only snatch freedom.

up a bite as we work. ... Last Friday, There was one man with whom I spent when my assistant sloped on account of

a great deal of time talking trouble he got into, and I had a green hand An "old" man at forty

who almost personified the to help me, I wasn't able for twelve hours

cause of unionism. His name to get from my post an instant, for any was Tom Crawford, and he was purpose.” Both of these men also be

harder and




The town

lieved that the hours were being length to be general. One of the first Irishmen ened. The Illinois Steel Company offi I talked with spoke of the increase of cial said that the twelve-hour day was Sunday labor as a result of the overthrow always usual in blast furnaces, but that of unionism. “ The union," he said, the eight-hour day was formerly common “always restricted Sunday work." Still in steel-works. Now the twelve-hour day another workman spoke of the complete is almost universal in this country, though disappearance of the old rule of double the eight-hour day is universal in Eng- pay for Sunday work. Since the union's land. Crawford's statement was virtually disappearance it was rare to have even the same, and the reason he assigned for “ time and a half” allowed for Sunday the lengthening of hours here as con work. As I heard their complaints about trasted with the establishment of the eight- Sunday labor I was reminded of the fact hour day in England was the general de that western Pennsylvania is the strongfeat of unionism in the iron trade here, hold of Presbyterianism, and I was glad contrasted with its triumph in Great to see that the Calvinistic tradition that Britain.

gave Anglo-Saxon workmen their free Crawford was not employed by the Car- Sunday was here an influence in behalf

negie Company, and therefore was of the Celt, the German, and the Hun. Sunday able to speak freely in favor of

No town I have ever visited observed unionism. He, too, went

Sunday much better than with me the struggles of 1892, and told

Homestead. It is emphatic

of Homestead of his arrest and imprisonment on the

ally a town of saloons. Yet charge of homicide and treason. In his on Sunday not a single saloon among the case the imprisonment lasted but a single many I passed bore the faintest sign of night-a hotel-keeper whom he did not being open. My own “ hotel” was mereknow having gone on his bail, with the ly a saloon and restaurant, with a few bedremark, " That man's face is good enough rooms on the second story. Yet, when for me.” During the one night of im I returned to it at noon on Sunday, and prisonment, however, he did not sleep again when I returned about five o'clock, I at all, because the prison bed was foul was absolutely unable to get in. with vermin. “I have always worked prietor had gone off for the day, his son for a living,” he said, “ but we have kept had gone off, and both the servants had clean." As I looked about the parlor, I followed their example. At noon I was felt that his pride on this point was fully able to get a lunch elsewhere, but when I justified. The story that followed, how returned toward evening and was unable ever, was of less interest than his com to wash and dress in preparation for dinner ments upon present grievances. The chief with an official, I felt that Sunday closing grievance, as I have said, was the length in Homestead was perhaps a trifle too of the hours; but the feature of the long effectual. In the main, Homestead was hours he complained of most bitterly was an unattractive town, but its enforcement the Sunday labor. “ Even the blast fur- of Sunday laws was far from being its only naces,” he said, “ could be coked down, if hopeful feature. The private houses the managers wished it; and if the mills except the shanties on the company would close at one o'clock on Saturday, grounds occupied by the strike-breakers as they do in England, there would be no in 1892-were much better than those of need of Sunday repairing. . . . If the the mining towns, and the schools were in Evangelical Alliance, that is trying to get the happiest possible contrast. The buildthe mills to run less on Sunday, would ings were good and the teachers compeapply to some of the workmen, they would tent. The high-school attendance was find that we want to work on Sunday less small, it is true, for a place of five thouthan the managers say. ... I don't believe sand people—hardly a quarter what it in Sunday work. It is against the law of would be in New England or the Westthe land and against the law of God. The but in the grammar grades there was no man who gives the people libraries and thinning out because of child labor in the compels them to work on Sundays is works. This evil was unknown at Homefalse.” This feeling against Sunday labor, stead, and even the Hungarians were apt which was so strong in Crawford, seemed to keep their children in school longer

The pro

« PredošláPokračovať »