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recognized since then the proper standards and conditions that should prevail and should have prevailed for a long time previously.

Within 10 years of Mr. Lusk's first appearance in the United States as the advance agent for compulsory arbitration, he made another visit to our country. On that visit he took occasion to say that his hopes for the adjustment of differences between employers and employees by a species of compulsory arbitration could not be realized, that compulsory arbitration was a failure, and that he would not recommend it for enactment by the Congress or the legislatures of the States of the United States.

The result of our activities also aroused the employers to the situation, and after we had expended much of our energies in combating this legislation, they too resolved that they wanted nothing of it.

Senator MCLEAN. And that applied to compulsory investigation as well as to compulsory arbitration, did it not?

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir; but not to the same extent, but in principle and in fact, yes, sir. Hide it behind any phraseology you like, when a law or the representatives of the law, or the Government of the country will say to the workmen, "You can not leave this employment," that moment you have put the shackles of unfreedom upon them. The difference between freemen and slaves is the difference between the man who owns himself and can quit his service from his employer or his master or owner-be the term what it may—and the man who can not quit his employment upon his own sweet will, to that extent is he a slave.

It may be inconvenient for you or for me or for most of us to have a strike, that is, a cessation of labor. There are also lots of other things that are inconvenient, but the inconvenience of a strike, the inconvenience upon the people by reason of a strike, is of lesser consequence than the maintenance of the loss of freedom and the opportunity to work out the problem of proper and better relations between employer and employee.

Just about three years ago I had occasion to meet with a committee representing the United States Chamber of Commerce when there was rather a general open discussion of many questions. One of the chief members of the Government of the Australasian States was present, and he, much to my astonishment, because I had not. even had the honor of an introduction to him, showed the utter futility of compulsory arbitration in New Zealand or any of the other Australasian confederated States; that strikes had taken place by the hundreds, and by the thousands, and that the law had gone into innocuous desuetude; that it was obsolete; that no one paid any attention to it and that there was now being developed a better method.

In any event, in Australasia and in New Zealand, the home of compulsory arbitration, the right of workmen to strike and quit their work has been recognized by law for the first time since the passage of the compulsory arbitration law. They had to get away from it. No matter what the purpose may be the enactment of the law is the attempt to curb the aspiration of the workers for a better life that is the result. If a workman earns enough money and saves some money and then invests it in business or in stocks or in any other enterprise, he no longer with that money can be regarded

as a wage earner per se. To work and to sustain himself and his family, his hopes, his aspirations must come through but one way, and can come only by one way.

I hope I make myself clear. If a wage earner has some savings or may have acquired money through inheritance or anything of that character, why, then, the situation is changed. But I am speaking of the great mass of the workers of America who must depend upon the wages received by them for the services performed. Their only hope for improvement of the conditions of themselves and their dependents, and to aspire to some really high standard of life, comes through their wages. Any attempt on the part of the Government to fetter the work or to curb that aspiration is so much of an obstacle in the way of progress and uplift and civilization.

Senator MCLEAN. I do not want to interrupt you at all, Mr. Gompers, but I would like to ask a question. I understood you to say that the arbitration system in Australia and in New Zealand had failed and become inoperative, but there was a better method adopted there or was coming into existence. Do you mean by the better method the strike, or some other process? I understood you to say that a better method had resulted.

Mr. GOMPERS. The policy of conciliation and mediation.
Senator MCLEAN. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Mr. GOMPERS. Before I do that may I be permitted to give just one or two instances which have occurred during the pendency and full life and virility of the compulsory arbitration law of New Zealand?

When the boot and shoe workers made a demand on the employers for an increase of wages, the employers point blank refused, and the Court of Arbitration of New Zealand was invoked. The court made an investigation, and after due time rendered an award in favor of the boot and shoe workers, the working men and women. The award was duly recorded, and instead of the employers paying the increased wages and complying with the award they closed down the factories and imported their boots and shoes from England and from the United States. So that the workers got the award and did not get the work.

Senator KENYON. And if they had struck

Mr. GOMPERS. Workmen can not do that same thing in their own interest or with their own beings. They can not move in great bodies. If they want to work at another place they have got to remove their bodies with them. They can not work elsewhere and remain in their homes at the same time. There is the instance of the sheep shearers; there were thousands of them. They disobeyed the law and they went on a strike, and they could not imprison the nation or the state. There was a strike-I forget just now the trade or calling-and the government sent its police and clubbed the men who were present at the strike. The leader of them was carried from the Union Hall meeting by two policemen. He was carried up side down, with a foot on the shoulder of each of the two policemen and his head bumping from stone to stone as he was carried in that way to the police station. The benign law of ease, compulsory arbitration. About a year and a half ago President Carranza, of Mexico, issued an order that any man or men or persons-I think that is it any person or persons who should be engaged in a strike or who should

counsel one or support one or who should be at any meeting of two or more persons where the subject of a strike was being discussed, unless he left the hall he would be regarded as equally guilty with all others who were in attendance or who advocated the strike and be put to death. He would be executed. But I am very pleased to say that due to some assistance which was given from various quarters, no such edict is any longer possible to be promulgated in Mexico. The constitution of Mexico provides the right of the workers to quit their employment.

I could relate to you innumerable instances. I think I ought to mention this: That on the way from Washington to New York, about three years ago, I met a gentleman, Mr. Theodore Marburg, who got on the train at Baltimore, and who was going to attend the same meeting as I in New York City. We discussed a number of questions. He was an advocate of compulsory arbitration. I asked the question whether it was not after all the embodiment of the idea of the employers who wanted to rid themselves of the possibility of their workmen quitting work. In other words, I use these words, for they have burned into my mind, not because I uttered them, but because of the answer:

"Isn't it true, Mr. Marburg, that the purpose is to tie the workers to their tasks?"

"Well, yes," he said, "that is about it."

I may say that at the meeting which followed a day or two after that conversation, I related the incident in the presence of Mr. Marburg, as I have substantially related it here, and I merely relate it because that is the idea. Employers, stripped of the power of ownership of the employes, now want to substitute by some subtle means the same power of compelling workers to remain at their tasks, to work, to work against their will, to work against their whim, if you please, to work against their interests and against their opportunities. We have succeeded in preventing that being done up to the present time; that is, succeeded in having it done in any effectual way, but every now and then it crops out. The idea of the country or the State or an industry or a concern or a plant where men or women are on strike and somebody is not inconvenienced. There is a difference between war times and peace times and, thank goodness, through all of this war, through which we have so happily and triumphantly passed, there has not been an attempt to curb the right of the workers from quitting their employment, and in no country on the face of the globe there has been such loyal continuous


Senator MCLEAN. Yes; and it has been through your very great influence that it has not been necessary.

Mr. GOMPERS. Well, never mind about me.

The CHAIRMAN. Seriously speaking, I wish to say that this committee feels it has been more through your influence than anything else, Mr. Gompers.

Mr. GOMPERS. I thank you for your good opinion. All I have done is what I believed right for my country, for my cause and for the cause of freedom, for I believe in freedom. I believe with Macaulay when he said that the remedy for the ills which result from newly acquired freedom is more freedom. I know something, I believe I know something, of the things which prompt men to do and

to think and to act. You have done me an honor by saying it is due in whole or in part to the influence which I exercised upon my fellows, that there was such loyal continuous service during the war. That may in part be true, but if it be true, it is because the men of labor in America have come to look upon our Republic with a more reverential vision than ever before.

Senator MCLEAN. I think that is so.

Mr. GOMPERS. And because in the labor movement in America we have not gone after false gods. In the labor movement in America. we have not allowed the political parties, no matter how altruistic they may proclaim themselves to be, to dominate or influence our movement, not any Republican Party, not any Democratic Party, not any Socialist Party, or any Prohibition Party, or any Labor Party. We have stood as a movement of America's workers, believing that under the institutions of our Republic we have the lawful right to organize, to strive for a better life, to work out our own salvation to the last opportunity, otherwise that we could quit work and try to impose justice into the consideration of the mind of the employer.

Now, when the war came on, can you imagine, gentlemen, what might have happened in the United States if the war had occurred about seven or eight or nine years ago, when the country was rampant with indignation by reason of the injunctions which were issued wholly without any warrant of law? When meǹ of honor and character were haled before the courts, put upon their trial, and sentenced to imprisonment as if they were common felons? If we had been in the war at that time, when men's influence was gone and whatever bit of reputation which they had, for which they had worked and had hoped to maintain was sought to be taken from them; when all honor was besmirched; when men who had no other hope in life but to serve their fellows were addressed by judges in language which could only apply to the most consummate scoundrels and brutes; when men with families, men who were husbands, fathers, grandfathers, were addressed in terms, direct terms, as if the judges had before them men who had raped womanhood-gentlemen, if we had been in the war during that period, there might have been a different story to tell.

But we are in our present time. I remember when I was in London, the third week in September of 1918, a few months ago, I attended a meeting of the London Trades Council, and there I called attention to the very situation which I am recounting here; that is, that in the United States we had not any law that prohibited us from striking or quitting our work, and yet we were getting the most loyal, uninterrupted service. Here and there there might have been a family quarrel, but nothing of any important character, while they in England, where strikes had been made illegal, struck upon the least provocation and sometimes when there was no provocation at all.

I tell you, gentlemen, it is something to fully understand how perfectly safe freedom is, even if it does inconvenience us a little now and then.

Now, what I have to say upon this, in regard to No. 1, which is:

The establishment of a national tribunal to review and adjust difficulties between employers and workmen and to improve industrial conditions in the various industrious trades.

Senator KENYON. I wish to say, Mr. Gompers, that I had no idea of compulsory arbitration as you speak of it, but it was more to con

tinue something like the Taft Board, and to draw out discussions such as this, rather than compulsory arbitration.

Mr. GOMPERS. The War Labor Board. Former President Taft was brought in after that whole thing was fixed up. Probably I may be a frightened child. I know the tendency of legislators both ways; some who believe in the policy of granting the fullest freedom and the exercise of freedom, and others who would take it away and deny it. Neither side is always in the saddle, and I have my apprehensions.

Give a court or give a government jurisdiction over anything and they will exercise it when the opportunity comes, and exercise it even in a broader manner than was contemplated by the lawmakers.

I know something of the meaning of government, and I say this as one who has the highest and most exalted opinion of the Government and the institutions of the Republic of the United States; but government in itself is a matter of force, a matter of power, and that is dangerous, and I would think twice or more times before I would place absolute power in the hands of the Government over the actions of the people.

Senator KENYON. Let us take the boards of conciliation and mediation; do you think they can perform a proper function without infringing upon freedom?

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir; I do, sir. I think that the policy of mediation and conciliation should be pursued very fully.

The CHAIRMAN. Directing your attention to what Senator Kenyon has said, is not that what is developing in Australia?

Mr. GOMPERS. Yes, sir; that is what is developing-conciliation and mediation.

Speaking as a factory worker in my trade for 26 years, I have had some experience in the relations between workmen and employers; and since then it has not narrowed, but on the contrary when a dispute arises between employers and employees, the party to the dispute who feels himself or itself to be the stronger is the least likely to offer conciliation or mediation. The weaker party mayor the party believing itself to be the weaker-may suggest that, but never the party believing itself to be the stronger. If, then, there be some agency as a mediator to bring about conciliation, it is often good, and yet there is this other feature which I want to present to your mind, gentlemen. I think you will notice that I am rather thinking aloud, without any restraint, because I do not know anything that I think that I am willing to present to you. There are many employers who, in their relations with the workmen, act upon a policy of the Missourian, "You have got to show me." If a number of workmen tell an employer that the workmen want a 10 per cent increase in wages, they say: "You do not represent my employees; my employees are perfectly satisfied," and he evidently believes or hopes that it is so. He becomes obdurate, or is obdurate. You can not move him. You can not move him except by a physical demonstration of the fact that his employees are dissatisfied, even if they had told him or his superintendent or foreman that they were perfectly satisfied, and they will leave their employment as a demonstration that they are not satisfied; that they want this increase or improvement, or that they protest against deterioration, and conciliation or mediation by any agency with the employer in that frame of mind will be of no avail. He needs to be shown.

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