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I am sure that the strike of the coal miners in the bituminous regions in 1897 would have never occurred if the mine owners had for a moment imagined that the coal miners would strike almost to the extent of 100 per cent. They simply declared themselves against the miners. They said, "Well, we will call your bluff. Now, you put your strike in order. You say that the men are going to strike; now, let them strike."

And much to their astonishment there were nearly 100 per cent of the men who threw down their picks and quit their work.

The same is true in the anthracite regions-I think it was in 1901. There are still employers who follow in the footsteps of our friend, the late Mr. Baer, who declared that the employers were trustees of God to administer the welfare or to look after the welfare of the employees. There were too many of them. For instance, there is Mr. Barr, the president of the Founders' Association, who only a few weeks agoI think it was on the 11th or 12th of November, a day or two after the armistice was signed and Germany beaten-who made the declaration that wages must come down and the hours of labor must be lengthened. The world is not yet, even in this year of grace, 1919, in shape to believe that the fools were all dead

Senator MCLEAN. Your idea is that there is nothing in the way of legislation that the Government can do that employs the use of force in any contingency that can be devised or thought of that can prevent strikes?"

Mr. GOMPERS. I do not know whether I got one part of your question, and that is that there is any contingency. Of course, it is the Government's duty to maintain law and order, but an attempt by law to prevent strikes will be futile and will intensify the feeling engendered during strikes and make the men less respecters of the law because in the exercise of their normal activities to quit their work they have been made and stigmatized as lawbreakers.

Senator MCLEAN. Your idea is that justice must be brought about by a voluntary process of conciliation or arbitration?

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir.

Senator MCLEAN. There is nothing that the lawmakers can do that can crystallize the support of

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Mr. GOMPERS (interrupting). Mediation?

Senator MCLEAN. Yes.

Mr. GOMPERS. I think it can do much. First, I am convinced that the Department of Conciliation of the Department of Labor has done good and can do a whole lot of good, but I think that if the Congress of the United States would take the Department of Labor more seriously and treat it as a part of the Government, at least on a par with all the other departments of the Government, that it might by its initiative and by its conciliatory policies and its attempts and offers of mediation, with all the other activities of the department, do a wonderful lot of good.

Senator MCLEAN. Have you any concrete suggestions in regard to additional legislation affecting the Department of Labor?

Senator KENYON. Well, you say that the Congress does not take it seriously. Don't you think that Congress does take the Department of Labor seriously?

Mr. GOMPERS. I use that expression in continuation of what I had already uttered. Yes; probably they take it seriously, but they

take it suspiciously, because it is a Department of Labor. There is no question when they were dealing with the Department of Commerce and Labor, when it was two departments, when they were combined, but it was everything for commerce and it was like extracting teeth to get money out of Congress for the Department of Labor.

The CHAIRMAN. I would like to state that it has been very difficult to get sufficient appropriations so that the Department of Mediation and Conciliation could do the work that it was formed to do. Senator KENYON. We have the same trouble with the Children's Bureau.


Mr. GOMPERS. Well, when a man has thousands of tons of copper, or hundreds of tons of gold, or hundreds of tons of clothing, and all that, all these things are in concrete form, and counted in dollars and cents. It is the human being who is disregarded. The Department of Labor deals with the human equation of the people of our country. You can not measure that up in dollars and cents. too many instances the value of human life, the value of human effort, is not counted. We are constantly appealing to Congress to do this, to conserve human life. The most valuable thing on earth is the human. What matters wealth in the bowels of the earth or flying above, or in the waters, if it is not for the human, or if the human is neglected? Where is the necessity of conserving anything else?

Senator JONES. Not only for the purpose of conserving life, but for the purpose of conserving happiness.

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir; for the purpose of conserving happiness as well. Here we are a nation of a hundred millions of people, with wealth untold, and there is at this moment threatening the people of the United States a state of affairs that no one knows to what it is going to lead. In the coming days and weeks and months of this winter, only just broken upon us, the transition from production on a war footing to a peace basis will be made. There may be thousands and thousands and thousands of men and women unemployed. Thousands will come back wounded and maimed from the battle field. Thousands have remained here. Those who have given service over there, those who have served here, are not going to take it kindly if they are again compelled to stand in the bread line to get a morsel of bread and a cup of coffee or something to sustain life; they are not going to take kindly to it.

The American labor movement is a constructive movement, because its men and its women believe that in the line in which we are conducting our work, there is hope for protection, for improvement in the conditions and standards of life of the American working people. But if the toilers find they can not secure that improvement and that protection in their standards of living, if they are to be made the victims through manipulation or mistakes or blunders, be that as it may, they are going to hold that they are willing to work, that the means of livelihood is there at hand, and they are not going to stand and parley when it comes to a question of bread on the one hand, or starvation on the other.

Senator KENYON. Now, you are getting down to the bedrock I had in mind in this investigation. Now, what can Congress do in any way to relieve any such situation as that you mention? Or is it a matter entirely outside of Congress?

Mr. GOMPERS. Largely. But Congress can help. I think you know, and I believe it is the general sentiment among our people that we want the Army created as the result of the war demobilized as soon as we can. I think it would be a great mistake to demobilize them so abruptly as to throw them upon what is called "the labor market," and to compete with those now employed in their jobs, for employment. Here is this fact; here we have been bending, for a year and a-half, at any rate, every energy for the production of material things intended for destruction, the killing of Germans.

Senator MCLEAN. We have got 40,000 men already turned out of employment in the State of Connecticut, employed in the munitions factories. We do not get any encouragement from the Government that they can in any way extend their employment.

Mr. GOMPERS. Well, there is a concrete illustration of the general situation. The ships, the wooden ships out there in the Northwest, with the men employed there, working hard for months, and then without a word of warning abruptly told, in the midst of winter, that the ships are going to remain as they are, hulls, 50, 60, 70 per cent finished, can not continue, and only when they are 75, per cent finished can they be completed. But there are tens of thousands of men in all the various branches of the shipbuilding and ship furnishing, in the spruce and timber industry and all the incidental industries. They are the men who were employed to supply the needs of those engaged upon shipbuilding. These men were abruptly told that they are unemployed and can not work, when within a few months they were worked to their fullest capacity and put into their work every ounce of energy, and whenever they missed a hammer blow were stigmatized as slackers. Now they are thrown upon the streets without employment, without the opportunity of employment. It will be some time before conditions will adjust themselves or before the industry can adjust itself to the new conditions upon a peace footing. Senator MCLEAN. I had supposed that the shipping program was being carried out. I knew that the munition workers were let out and that the excuse was that the product could not be used, but you surprise me with your statement in regard to the shipping program. The CHAIRMAN. That applies to the wooden ships and not to the iron ships.

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir; that is right; the wooden ships and not the iron ships. I am not an expert on shipping, nor am I an expert in ship construction, but it does seem to me that these vessels might well be completed and that there would be a lesser loss of either completion than the consignment of all these ships to the scrap heap. The CHAIRMAN. There is one thing that I would like to suggest for the consideration of the committee, and that is that the French Government is continuing the Government activities, including the manufacture of munitions of war, and will probably do it during this winter, and they are doing it on money that the United States Governmant is loaning to them.

Senator KENYON. Is there any system of public work engaged in by the Government and by the States at this time that would be helpful

Mr. GOMPERS (interrupting). Yes, sir. I do not believe in giving men employment for shoveling water uphill, or occupations equally as useless, but in the building of the permanent improvements so

essential to the further development and growth of our country in industry and commerce, they could be utilized. For instance, take our canals, our ship canals. We have built the Panama Canal, and we are proud of it. It has done a wonderful amount of good, not only for our country, but for the world. When the peace shall finally come to us and the commerce of the world will so largely pass through it, it will be wonderful. We have rivers and inland lakes from which there is no emergence to the seas or the oceans. The reclamation of land, the water shedding of the old-time overflows, the improvement of our rivers and harbors, and so on-all these are things of wonderful advantage to our country, and could well be undertaken.

Of course, I am not blind and have not been blind to what has been going on, and there is a good deal of waste in what is known as the "pork barrel"-the river and harbor bill

Senator KENYON. I am against the pork barrel, but I am not against the substantial needs.

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, those things are simply silly those things like people wanting some big appropriation for a rivulet without an end. But I am speaking of the real thing. I think we are reaching such a stage that the probity of any Member of Congress must be like Caesar's wife, above suspicion. When all shall approach these questions from the standpoint of our country's good, and our people's advancement, there will be no scandal.

Senator KENYON. And the whole country; not one section.
Mr. GOMPERS. And the whole country.

Senator KENYON. And not a little piece of it.

Mr. GOMPERS. I quite agree with Senator Kenyon in that. The first thing is necessity and the second utility, and the utility should be not for any particular section of the country. I would, if I had any suggestion to make, suggest that the men in Congress utilize any matters of this character, and that they should be, as they conducted themselves during the war, above party. These things are the needs of the people as a whole, and with our present opportunity, as a result of our entrance into the war, and the conduct by which we have been guided during the war, and the high purposes which we are now manifesting, as being the victors, and those who have helped as much as any of the allied countries in winning the war, we have a prestige in the world's affairs that might have taken 50 or more years without this war.

Now, we know it, and having this opportunity and having talked in terms of money never before dreamed of in the philosophy betwixt heaven and earth, speaking in billions and billions and billions, the people, in my judgment, are willing to stand for anything that shall make for the country's business and its development and affording better opportunity for our present generation and the generation to


We believe in America. America is more than a name; it is more than a country; it is an idealism, and it is an apotheosis

Senator JONES (interrupting). Getting at some of the concrete questions which will naturally arise, you have suggested the construction of canals and the reclamation of land, and of course, having in mind, doubtless, many other classes of public work, but what I would like to get some light about is this: Take the munition workers, to

which the Senator from Connecticut, Senator McLean, has referred, would it be practicable to put those workers on a job of constructing a canal or an irrigation project, and if so, how about the adjustment of wages, with respect to the wages they have been receiving as munition workers, and the wages which we would ordinarily expect to pay for the construction of a canal or irrigation plants? In the first place, would those workers be content to take the job of digging the canal, and if so, how about the adjustment of wages?

Mr. GOMPERS. Before we entered into the war we had the smallest number of people employed at shipbuilding, as compared with any other country on the face of the globe, in proportion to the population. Since we have entered into the war, that has been more than a year and a half, we have produced more ships than any other country on the face of the globe, no matter how large it is, and have produced ships, completed ships, in a shorter time than was ever known in the history of the world, one ship of over 12,000 tons, a steel ship, completed and launched within 24 working days from the time the keel was laid. I do not know the numbers of the ship men who have been employed in the shipyards up to the time when we were at the point of our greatest production, but I think it must have been hundreds of thousands. These men were, most of them, unacquainted with the art of shipbuilding, but they became shipbuilders and the most expert shipbuilders in the world. There was no difficulty experienced in finding the men when the opportunity was given them.

The organizations of labor, the trade unions of the various classes and callings cooperated with the Government in bringing about the transition of these workers from any given point to the point to which they were to be mobilized and put to work, and that was done. Wages were adjusted by agreement between the representatives of the Government and the representatives of the workers, formed in their unions largely. The first one of those memoranda was signed by Secretary Baker and by me, in which union wages and hours and conditions of employment should prevail, and it provided that when, due to any cause there was a change in the cost of living and other matters, they were to be subject to such change as was required. That was done. That memorandum was extended and accepted by the construction work of the Navy Department and the Shipping Board, and so on, and so on, and so on, and continued. That was the arrangement.

There was a fair degree of justice all around, and the best feeling and cooperation between the departments and the men under them. Now, what holds good in the shipping industry, and the transition of men from the character of work that they had not done before to that of shipbuilding, will hold good between the munition workers and any other character of work. It is not always that these men flow from the machine shop to ditch digging, but there is a flow all the way, a change, a part of a turn-over, and those who are nearer the grade of work of ditch digging are absorbed. That is true of the shipbuilding. Senator MCLEAN. I see it stated in the papers that many of the soldiers who were employed in the factories went to France, and they want to supply employment when they come back. I think it very possible that the munition workers would be glad to do that if they could get the same standard of wages

Mr. GOMPERS. That same statement was made to me by the soldier boys on the other side when I met them there.

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