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of the United States, in my judgment, will not stand for it. I remember the time in 1893 and 1894-it was in 1893-when the American Federation of Labor held its convention in the City Hall Building in Chicago, and when, as we were wending our way down the stairs in the evening after the close of the day's session, we had to tread carefully on each step, or we would have stepped upon human beings, men and some women, huddled there in misery on each step. That was a time when hunger and misery stalked across our country. At that time the organizations of labor were very poor in numbers and in influence, and yet they helped and tried to secure some consideration for the masses of unemployed and hungered people. There was not much done except by pure charity, so-called. The spirit of the people had become numbed, and while there was a bread riot here and there, or a looting of a shop, there were very, very few of them, very few, indeed. But with the awakened spirit of the American people as the result of the war and with the realization of the causes for which the United States entered into the war side by side with the other democratic countries, I do not think we could get away with it. I do not think that the people of the United States will stand for a condition such as prevailed at that time.

I think it was Cardinal Manning, who, a few years before he died, made an observation something like this. I won't say that it is verbally correct, but this is his observation in substance:

A poor man, hungered, unemployed, and no food in his own home, is entitled to his neighbor's bread.

The people having a concept of right and justice, the people having probably undefined in their minds what these principles are, may interpret their unemployment and their misery and their hunger in the terms of Cardinal Manning.

We heard or saw the declaration made by one of the largest representative employers in America, Mr. Barr, just a day or two after the signing of the armistice by which autocracy and militarism were crushed and a better opportunity given for freedom. He burst into the newspapers with the flamboyant declaration that wages must be reduced, hours of labor increased, conditions and standards must go down; with all, not only that which was said but all that was implied by it and inferred from it the hope for liberty and a freer life for the people of the world with that discordant note struck to disturb the entire symphony of hope for the future, with the resentment felt all through the country primarily and principally by the men of labor. I am very glad to be able to say to you, gentlemen, that I have had quite a number of opportunities of conference with men of affairs, men of business, men engaged in the largest industrial and commercial interests of our country, and they have attacked openly the position taken by Mr. Barr. It was some comfort to me to find that so many had disapproved Mr. Barr's declaration.

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I think that thus far I have not made anything like a constructive suggestion or any particularizing. I have abstained from making any suggestion of a constructive character for this reason: The American Federation of Labor, concerning itself with the subject of reconstruction and rehabilitation, authorized the creation and selection of a committee to consider the subject of reconstruction. That committee has been at

work for a considerable time. The committee has traveled to some extent and has availed itself of the information obtained from other sources; it has pursued its own studies and within this past week the committee has concluded its report. Now, that report must be submitted to the executive council of the American Federation of Labor and approved by that council before it can be given out as the expression of the American Federation of Labor upon that subject. I expect that within a week there can be placed before your committee a copy of the report of the American Federation of Labor's reconstruction committee.

Senator KENYON. Does that cover any recommendations as to legislation?

Mr. GOMPERS. It does, sir. I have had the honor to assist the committee, having been in consultation with the committee, and I have reason to believe that its report will be approved by the executive council, but it thus far is a confidential document, confidential in so far that it is not the official utterance of the American Federation of Labor.

Senator JONES. If it were promulgated now it would be all right for it to be included in the record.

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir. So, if I may have your consent to have this report submitted to the committee and made a part of your record, I would like to have it as a part of the hearing which you have been good enough to accord to me.

Senator SWANSON. And after the committee has made its report, and it has become a part of the record, would you like to be heard again by this committee, in answer to any objections that might be made or any questions that might be asked, or do you think the report will be sufficiently full and complete to answer all purposes?

Mr. GOMPERS. I would like to appear before the committee, Senator, but the fact is I leave for England and France on the coming Wednesday, January 8.

Senator SWANSON. You leave at that time?

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir; and the consequence is I shall not be in a position until after my return to this country to say anything in defense of the propositions submitted in that report. But there are others who will be here.

Senator SWANSON. You will have members of the special legislative committee here?

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir; we have. Mr. Sterling is a member of our legisaltive committee and Mr. Sexton, who is before another committee this morning. Perhaps Mr. Morrison, the secretary of the American Federation of Labor, will be here. I hope, of course, that the committee and Congress will have adopted some of the measures before my return, but if they have not, when I come back I shall be glad to come before you.

Senator PAGE. When do you expect to return, Mr. Gompers?
Mr. GOMPERS. I could not tell you, sir.

The CHAIRMAŃ. Without objection the report referred to by Mr. Gompers will be made a part of the record of the hearing, and the gentlemen who prepared it will be invited to appear before the committee, after the report is given to the committee.

(The report referred to is here printed in full in the record as follows:)


The world war has forced all free peoples to a fuller and deeper realization of the menace to civilization contained in autocratic control of the activities and destinies of mankind.

It has caused a world-wide determination to overthrow and eradicate all autocratic institutions, so that a full measure of freedom and justice can be established between man and man and nation and nation.

It has awakened more fully the consciousness that the principles of democracy should regulate the relationship of men in all their activities.

It has opened the doors of opportunity through which more sound and progressive policies may enter.

New conceptions of human liberty, justice, and opportunity are to be applied. The American Federation of Labor, the one organization representing labor in America, conscious that its responsibilities are now greater than before, presents a program for the guidance of labor, based upon experience and formulated with a full consciousness of the principles and policies which have successfully guided American trade-unionism in the past.


Two codes of rules and regulations affect the workers-the law upon the statute books and the rules within industry.

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The first determines their relationship as citizens to all other citizens and to property.

The second largely determines the relationship of employer and employee, the terms of employment, the conditions of labor, and the rules and regulations affecting the workers as employees. The first is secured through the application of the methods of democracy in the enactment of legislation, and is based upon the principle that the laws which govern a free people should exist only with their consent.

The second, except where effective trade-unionism exists, is established by the arbitrary or autocratic whim, desire, or opinion of the employer and is based upon the principle that industry and commerce can not be successfully conducted unless the employer exercises the unquestioned right to establish such rules, regulations, and provisions affecting the employees as self-interest prompts.

Both forms of law vitally affect the workers' opportunities in life and determine their standard of living. The rules, regulations, and conditions within industry in many instances affect them more than legislative enactments. It is, therefore,

essential that the workers should have a voice in determining the laws within industry and commerce which affect them equivalent to the voice which they have as citizens in determining the legislative enactments which shall govern them.

It is as inconceivable that the workers as free citizens should remain under autocratically made law within industry and commerce as it is that the Nation could remain a democracy while certain individuals of groups exercise autocratic powers.

It is, therefore. essential that the workers everywhere should insist upon their right to organize into trade-unions and that effective legislation should be enacted which would make it a criminal offense for any employer to interfere with or hamper the exercise of this right or to interfere with the legitimate activities of trade-unions.


Political economy of the old school, conceived by doctrinaires, was based upon unsound and false doctrines and has since been used to blindfold, deceive, and defeat the workers' demands for adequate wages, better living and working conditions, and a just share of the fruits of their labor.

We hold strictly to the trade-union philosophy and its developed political economy based upon demonstrated facts.

Unemployment is due to underconsumption. Underconsumption is caused by low or insufficient wages.

Just wages will prevent industrial stagnation and lessen periodical unemployment. Give the workers just wages, and their consuming capacity is correspondingly increased. A man's ability to consume is controlled by the wages received. Just wages will create a market at home which will far surpass any market that may exist elsewhere and will lessen unemployment.

The employment of idle workmen on public work will not permanently remove the cause of unemployment. It is an expedient at best.

There is no basis in fact for the claim that the so-called law of supply and demand is natural in its operations and impossible of control or regulation.

The trade-union movement has maintained standard wages, hours, and life in periods of industrial depression and idleness. These in themselves are a refutation of the declared immutability of the law of supply and demand.

There is in fact no such condition as an iron law of wages based upon a natural law of supply and demand. Conditions in commerce and industry, methods of production, storing of commodities, regulation of the volume of production, banking systems, the flow and direction of enterprise influenced by combinations and trusts have effectively destroyed the theory of a natural law of supply and demand as had been formulated by doctrinaire economists.


There are no means whereby the workers can obtain and maintain fair wages except through trade-union effort. Therefore, economic organization is paramount to all their other activities.

Organization of the workers leads to better wages, fewer working hours, improved working conditions. It develops independence, manhood, and character; it fosters tolerance and real justice and makes for a constantly growing better economic, social, and political life for the burden-bearing masses.

In countries where wages are best, the greatest progress has been made in economic, social, and political advancement, in science, art, literature, education, and in the wealth of the people generally. All low wage paying countries contrasted with America is proof for this statement.

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The American standard of life must be maintained and improved. The value of wages is determined by the purchasing power of the dollar. There is no such thing as good wages when the cost of living in decency and comfort equals or exceeds the wages received. There must be no reduction in wages-in many instances wages must be increased.

The workers of the Nation demand a living wage for all wage earners, skilled or unskilled a wage which will enable the worker and his family to live in health and comfort, provide a competence for illness and old age, and afford to all the opportunity of cultivating the best that is within mankind.


Reasonable hours of labor promote the economic and social well-being of the toiling masses. Their attainment should be one of labor's principal and essential activities. The shorter workday and a shorter work week make for a constantly growing higher and better standard of productivity, health, longevity, morals, and citizenship.

The right of labor to fix its hours of work must not be abrogated, abridged, or interfered with.

The day's working time should be limited to not more than eight hours, with overtime prohibited, except under the most extraordinary emergencies. The week's working time should be limited to not more than five and one-half days.


Women should receive the same pay as men for equal work performed. Women workers must not be permitted to perform tasks disproportionate to their physical strength or which tend to impair their potential motherhood and prevent the continuation of a nation of strong, healthy, sturdy, and intelligent men and women.


The children constitute the nation's most valuable asset. The full responsibility of the Government should be recognized by such measures as will protect the health of every child at birth and during its immature years.

It must be one of the chief functions of the nation through effective legislation to put an immediate end to the exploitation of children under 16 years of age.

State legislatures should protect children of immature years by prohibiting their employment, for gain, under 16 years of age and restricting the employment of children of at least 18 years of age to not more than 20 hours within any one week and with not less than 20 hours at school during the same period.

Exploitation of child life for private gain must not be permitted.


The fixing of wages, hours and conditions of labor for public employees by legislation hampers the necessary exercise or organizations and collective bargaining.

Public employees must not be denied the right of organization, free activities, and collective bargaining, and must not be limited in the exercise of their rights as citizens.


To attain the greatest possible development of civilization it is essential, among other things, that the people should never delegate to others those activities and responsibilities whish they are capable of assuming for themselves. Democracy can function best with the least interference by the State compatible with due protection to the rights of all citizens.

There are many problems arising from production, transportation, and distribution which would be readily solved by applying the methods of cooperation. Unnecessary middlemen who exact a tax from the community without rendering any useful service can be eliminated.

The farmers through cooperative dairies, canneries, packing houses, grain elevators, distributing houses, and other cooperative enterprises, can secure higher prices for their products and yet place these in the consumer's hands at lower prices than would otherwise be paid. There is an almost limitless field for the consumers in which to establish cooperative buying and selling, and in this most necessary development the trade unionists should take an immediate and active part.

Trade-unions secure fair wages. Cooperation protects the wage earner from the profiteer.

Participation in these cooperative agencies must of necessity prepare the mass of the people to participate more effectively in the solution of the industrial, commercial, social, and political problems which continually arise.


It is manifestly evident that a people are not self-governing unless they enjoy the unquestioned power to determine the form and substance of the laws which shall govern them. Self-government can not adequately function if there exists within the nation a superior power or authority which can finally determine what legislation enacted by the people, or their duly elected representatives, shall be placed upon the statute books and what shall be declared null and void.

An insuperable obstacle to self-government in the United States exists in the power which has been gradually assumed by the Supreme Courts of the Federal and State Governments, to declare legislation null and void upon the ground that, in the court's opinion, it is unconstitutional.

It is essential that the people, acting directly or through Congress or State legislatures, should have final authority in determining which laws shall be enacted. Adequate steps must be taken, therefore, which will provide that in the event of a supreme court declaring an act of Congress, or of a State legislature, unconstitutional and the people acting directly or through Congress, or a State legislature, should reenact the measure, it shall then become the law without being subject to annulment by any court.


In the political efforts, arising from the workers' necessity to secure legislation covering these conditions and provisions of life not subject to collective bargaining with employers, organized labor has followed two methods, one by organizing political parties, the other by the determination to place in public office representatives from their ranks; to elect those who favor and champion the legislation desired, and to defeat those whose policy is opposed to labor's legislative demands, regardless of partisan politics.

The disastrous experience of organized labor in America with political parties of its own amply justified the American Federation of Labor's nonpartisan political policy. The results secured by labor parties in other countries never have been such as to warrant any deviation from this position. The rules and regulations of trade unionism should not be extended so that the action of a majority could force a minority to vote for or give financial support to any political candidate or party to whom they are opposed. Trade-union activities can not receive the undivided attention of members and officers if the exigencies, burdens, and responsibilities of a political party are bound up with their economic and industrial organizations.

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