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Senator MCLEAN. This is a difficult situation that we have to meet, and it is difficult to secure affirmative legislation providing for large public improvements, which would absorb the large number of men who are likely to be thrown out of employment. There is a large demand for peace essentials. There is no doubt about that. If we keep our courage up and our confidence up, we have money enough, it seems to me, to support our industries that are engaged in the manufacture of peace essentials. No doubt there is a large demand there, if it can be adjusted; but even that takes time, and the question is the immediate necessity of these men who have been notified that their services are no longer wanted. I understand in your judgment it would be better to extend these industries, even the munition industries temporarily, rather than to discharge these men and throw them upon the street at this time.

Mr. GOMPERS. If ever there was a time when want should be avoided, in my judgment now is the time for everyone in the United States to see to it that the men, the soldier boys coming back, and our civilians, shall not suffer during this winter. We ought not alone to look at events in our own country, but as they are going along in many others, and silliness, or disease, or what not, does not stop at national boundary lines.

Senator KENYON: In other words, there is no use in burying our heads in the sands and not seeing?

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir; that is right.

Senator JONES. What I was going to ask was this: Now, it is impossible, it seems to me, to demobolize all our soldiers within the next few months, and they will probably be kept in the service for six months or a year; that is, more than a million of men, who were drawn from peace pursuits. Now, is it probable that the development of peace pursuits will be sufficient to take care of all those who, in all probability, will be demobolized during the winter? They were all drawn from some sort of peace employment.

Mr. GOMPERS. And due to the action of the Government as representing the people; but, nevertheless, the action of the Government in entering into the war, and thereby creating an artificial prosperity and intensity of production-an artificial one.

Senator KENYON. And concentrated in certain districts.

Mr. GOMPERS. And concentrated in certain districts; yes, sir; as you say, Senator Kenyon. And now, when the stress of that circumstance no longer exists and reversion to prewar conditions comes, there is no opportunity to adjust production and commerce from the war footing to the peace footing as it existed prewar; and between that time, it seems to me, the Government should do anything and everything it possibly could to help tide that time over. Senator MCLEAN. We do not get any encouragement in our State that anything is to be done.

Senator JONES. I have in mind this condition as to some people: For instance, in the army of occupation, over in Germany, there are some soldiers in there who would really like to get out, because they have positions awaiting them. The old peace time positions, and could not this situation be in a large part met by seeing that the soldiers who have positions waiting for them shall be the ones to be brought back first; should not a greater effort be made in that respect than apparently is being made?

Mr. GOMPERS. I have wondered if that could be done, but isn't it true-pardon me if I ask a question-isn't it true, however, that generally the position which the American soldier now in Germany and part of the army of occupation, the position that he occupied before he entered into the war has been wholly or in part taken by some one else?

Senator JONES. In the particular cases I have in mind that is not the case. I have in mind two specific instances where the fathers of the boys have gotten quite old, and, for the sake of letting the boys go into the Army, have taken up the work. The fathers have not been doing the work as competently as it might have been done, for they have reached the period of life where they wanted retirement. Senator MCLEAN. I think so in a great many cases.

Mr. GOMPERS. In a great many cases I know that is so. I know one family of two members, they were both physicians, the father is an old-time physician and had wholly retired and turned over his elientele to his two sons. The war broke out and as his boys felt it their duty to go to the front and help the fighting boys, the old gentleman, who was 64 years old, resumed the practice of medicine and took care of the whole town the best that he could. I know it holds good in that case. It has really done him a great deal of good by being so active, but he would gladly retire again.

The CHAIRMAN. I know that over there they are doing that thing, and any person who has been engaged in such work is asked to give the information to the War Department, and I notice that notices to that effect are carried in the English newspapers right along.

Mr. GOMPERS. Of course, it ought to be done, but we were so unprepared for war, and we are worse prepared for peace. Over a year ago I urged my associates in several branches of activities in and outside of the Government, "Let us consider the question of reconstruction and rehabilitation; let us consider that period when the war shall be over," and from very high quarters came the suggestion that that would not be a good thing to do, because it would divert the minds of the men from fighting to peace.

Senator JONES. Mr. Gompers, I have in mind another condition. which arose. Just prior to the armistice some representative of a war industry, I think it was, through the Department of Labor, had its representative down in my State, and he appealed to the people of that State to furnish so many to go into the munitions plants. I have in mind one locality, which is a small place, where they took out 40 or 50 men, from Nashville, Tenn., took them to Nashville, Tenn. Now that work there in Nashville is either stopped or is useless for any peace purpose, as I understand it, and those people are there. Now, they went there in response to this appeal, and I have not any doubt but what if they were given their transportation home they would go back home and get into their usual pursuits, and just the other day, when we had the question of paying the transportation expenses of employees in the District of Columbia back to their homes, some of us tried to put on to that bill an amendment giving transportation to these others. It strikes me that that would have a very large influence for good at this time.

Mr. GOMPERS. There is no doubt that it would, sir; no doubt of it at all. We do know this, that at the points of debarkation of our

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soldier boys, the conditions are not of the healthiest in any way at all. Soldiers may have no means to go to their homes, and they are thrown upon their own resources.

The CHAIRMAN. I think it was suggested that inasmuch as we took these men from their homes by the draft boards, and delivered them to the place of debarkation, we should do the same thing for them and deliver them back to their homes.

Mr. GOMPERS. To their own homes; yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. And I think that ought to be done.

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir.

Senator KENYON. And now, Mr. Gompers, I think that this is about the last chance we shall have to get at you, and I am anxious to hear more from you. I would be very pleased if you would take up for discussion section 7.

Mr. GOMPERS. Well, section 6 reads:

The extension of the United States sailors' and soldiers' insurance to the civil population, so that the workmen can insure against sickness, accident, and death at the lowest possible rate.

The CHAIRMAN. Section 7 is the one that I spoke of. Mr. GOMPERS. First let me deal with section 6. I would say unqualifiedly, sir, that it would be an excellent thing to do. Let me say, sir, that I take a great deal of pride in having helped in the preparation of that bill when it was in the stage of preparation. It was the committee of labor of the advisory commission, Council of National Defense, of which I was chairman, which formulated the soldiers' and sailors' and dependents' compensation bill as a substitute for pensions. After it had been approved by me, it was submitted to the Council of National Defense,. and submitted in turn to the President as approved by them in principle. It was in that state that it went to the Treasury Department under Secretary McAdoo. Actuaries and others were called in, and after long consultation with those who had been working with me, this soldiers' and sailors' insurance was added to that bill. I am very proud of the fact that the Congress of the United States adopted it with probably as large a majority as ever can vote on any bill. In the judgment of many, no greater piece of humanitarian legislation was ever enacted by any legislative body in the history of the world.

Now, there are two things I want to mention. One is that I am carrying in the January issue of the American Federationist a call to the soldiers and sailors of the country and to the officers of the organized labor movements of the various trades, asking them to prevail upon the soldiers and sailors to keep up their insurance and make the changes that are required.

Now, that is one proposition; the other one is that this insurance is voluntarily acquired. It is not a compulsory feature that the Government imposes upon the soldiers and sailors and should not be for the civilian population who might want to insure. It is one of the things that, I can take occasion to say, in my judgment, if a system was maintained voluntarily, if Congress in the enactment of the bill would extend it after the war to the civilian people; but if it was going to be compulsory, why, there was going to be a resentment and an opposition to it. Then everybody said, "Do not say that this is to be extended to the civilian people after the war, because it will find greater opposition by the insurance companies, and because of

that fact it has not been discussed," but it is now, and I am very glad to have the opportunity of saying that section 6, if it is put in effect, as provided in that bill in the same way that the insurance of the sailors and soldiers was, would be an excellent thing.

Senator KENYON. And what is your judgment of section 7, Mr. Gompers?

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Mr. GOMPERS. If you strike out the words "nonemployment" and disability," and "sickness," I should be very glad to say that I would favor the proposition.

Senator KENYON. You think it should not cover nonemployment? Mr. GOMPERS. I think not. I take that position for the same reasons which I have already given in the statement that I made regarding section 1 of this proposition. They are handmaids to each other. I should be opposed I know that my associates would be opposed to leaving it within the power of the Government or its agent or agents to determine what was nonemployment, whether it was justifiable or otherwise, and who would be entitled to the insurance or the benefits that would result from the provisions of the lawthat is, insurance against nonemployment.

There was a resolution proposed by a member of the House some two or three years ago covering that feature. The Member of the House was present at the committee hearing, and finally stated that it is true that the Government agent would have to depend, or on him would rest the obligation of determining what constituted nonemployment as to entitle an unemployed person to receive the benefits of the insurance. Now, that would mean, where there would be any controversy with the employer, that the man would be unemployed. Who would determine that question? Well, the answer would be, by the Government agent, "There is work for you, and so long as you can get work you are not entitled to this Government insurance for nonemployment."

Senator MCLEAN. Do you think that there would be practical difficulty against its administration?

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir; there would be practical difficulty against its administration.

Senator MCLEAN. Did I understand you to say that you approved that you would eliminate what?

Mr. GOMPERS. I would eliminate "disability" and "sickness." As to extending it to old age, when Mr. Wilson, the Secretary of the Department of Labor, was a Member of the House of Representatives, he introduced a bill-perhaps it was rather an odd concept, but it may have been practical-it was to mobilize the people of the United States into a grand army of industry and commerce, and to require certain service of them-I do not just recall the service required, but in certain eventualities they were entitled to certain benefit upon death. That, if my memory serves me, was approved and supported, but I imagine because of the peculiar character of the bill it did not gain very many supporters. I think a copy of the bill is not difficult to obtain, and it might throw a bit of light upon the discussion.

(Whereupon, at 1.04 o'clock p. m., the committee adjourned until 11 o'clock a. m., January 4, 1919.)

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