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nopoly, with absolute control of the anthracite coal trade, were indifferent equally to the demands of the miners and to the clamorings of the public. They issued solemn pronunciamentoes, of a metaphysical nature, evidently intended to create discussion and divert attention from the practical situation. It had all along been believed by the public that the readjustment of the finances of several of the coal-carrying railroads, and the creation of the so-called anthracite coal trust, had left the real authority centered in the banking house of J. P. Morgan & Co.; and that Mr. Morgan himself, by speaking the word at any time, could have brought about a conference which would have ended the deadlock and given the public its coal supply. But Mr. Morgan had been in Europe most of the summer, and he was occupied with several other business situations of vast magnitude. The coal trust was in the hands of a board of directors consisting of the presidents of a group of coal-carrying railroads. The headship of this group of presidents fell to Mr. George F. Baer, by virtue of the fact that he had been made president of the Reading Company, which, with its railroad lines and its coal mines, is much the largest single factor in the federated group of interests that constitutes the monopoly of anthracite coal mining, carrying, distribution, and sale.
Mr. Morgan had, it was understood, as deus ex practically agreed early last spring, machina." in view of his expected absence from the country for some months and of his absorption in other affairs, to leave to this group of railway presidents the full authority to represent the coal monopoly in its controversy with the miners. He had returned from Europe on August 20. It had been the hope of everybody that he would see the impossibility of a solution of the trouble on the lines that the board of railway presidents had adopted, and that he would take the matter up on its own merits. So sensitive, indeed, was Mr. John Mitchell, the head of the striking Miners' Union, to the demands of the suffering public for a resumption of the coal supply, that he went so far-though this fact was not made public at the time.-as to offer to undertake to persuade the miners to resume work at once on Mr. Morgan's promise to take up the miners claims in his own way, and to render a decision upon the questions in controversy. This remarkable offer was made in perfect good faith, quixotic though it might seem to some people. The leader of one compact party in a great industrial conflict proposed to lay down arms on condition that the one really controlling head of the equally compact party on the other side
should, himself, name the terms upon which future peace could be maintained. This was characteristic of Mr. John Mitchell's breadth of mind, and of his instinctive belief in the American love of justice and fair play. He believed the miners' cause would be safe even in the hands of its most inveterate opponents, if the points at issue could but be taken up responsibly upon their real merits.
Too Busy in
Wall Street for Labor Problems.
The principal trouble in this protracted anthracite dispute had grown out of the fact that the labor situation in the coal mines has never had (since the change of conditions that has been brought about by the creation of the anthracite monopoly) any real consideration whatever from the people in actual authority. This larger mastery of the production and mining of anthracite coal has been, from the point of view of private finance, a great triumph. The gentlemen who have come forward as official heads of the coal-carrying railroads, and who in that capacity jointly manage the anthracite coal fields, are not in their present positions by virtue of any especial knowledge of the way to solve labor disputes. They are part of a great financial and administrative organization that has been endeavoring so to regulate the coal output so to adjust freight charges; so to apportion shipments; and-with competition eliminated,— so to fix at profitable levels the market price of coal, as to put new value into depressed or nondividend-paying stocks. It has been their task to make money for their stockholders, partly from those legitimate savings by which combinations can capitalize competitive waste; but partly, also, by exactions from the general public. In short, they have been reaping the reward of successful monopoly control of the production, transportation, and marketing of an article of common use and prime necessity. These things, rather than labor problems, had been claiming their best attention.
This modern reorganization of the Capital Blind anthracite business, moreover, was and Deaf. only an incident in that stupendous movement.-centered principally in Wall Street, -for combining industrial and transportation companies, floating new issues of bonds and stocks, and rolling up with dazzling and unprecedented rapidity vast private wealth. Still further, let it be said with unshrinking frankness, that most, if not all, of the men most largely concerned on the capitalistic side have been, to no small extent, absorbed in the bril liant personal opportunities that these Wall
Street reorganizations and combinations have afforded for the making or multiplication of their own personal fortunes. Thus, instead of being the men who had best understood the coal miners' situation in eastern Pennsylvania, they have been the men who have seemed to careful observers to understand it least of all,-—so intently have their minds been fixed upon other objects and other considerations. It is only upon this theory that their mistaken utterances during the five months of the coal strike could possibly be accounted for, as well as their total failure to see themselves, and the situation they had created, as they were seen by almost everybody else. Before the strike began efforts had been made by patriotic and publicspirited men, who compose the National Civic Federation, to avert a struggle by conciliation or arbitration. The Civic Federation is made
MR. GEORGE F. BAER. (President of the Philadelphia & Reading Railway.)
up, in considerable part, of large employers of labor. It is entitled to public confidence; and it could have averted the anthracite trouble with perfect ease if it had not found the operators wholly intractable.
Indeed, a careful study of all the Was the Strike facts made it rather difficult not to believe that, for some reason or another, the operators desired at the outset to have the strike come on; and that, during most of its continuance, they did not wish to have it terminated. Why they should have desired a strike, is a question that has been variously answered. Under cover of the confusion there were said to be large transfers of the securities of some of the companies concerned; and it was the opinion, in certain business circles, that the strike had been employed to depress values
MR. E. B. THOMAS.
(President of the Delaware & Hudson (President of the New York, Ontario & (Chairman of the Executive Depart
ment, Erie Railroad.)
in order to make easier the further purchase of stocks so as to insure permanent control. Another opinion seems to have been that-inasmuch as the strike would make an immense increase in the cost of coal to the public-the anthracite trust would find it easier to fix a higher permanent level of prices than had existed before. Such a result would naturally reward the monopoly for a vast deal of temporary inconvenience. A third theory was that the coal operators were simply acting on behalf of a coalition of interests that now dominate a number of socalled trusts and combinations; and that this coalition is deeply opposed to organized labor, and desirous of crushing out trade-unionism.
According to this view, it was beism's Death lieved by the capitalists when the Sentence. strike came on last spring, that the time was favorable for meeting the Miners' Unión; and that the operators would certainly win a victory, destroy the prestige of Mr. Mitchell's organization, and, henceforth, have the labor situation wholly in their own hands. In any case, the strike seems to have been welcomed by the operators, who entered upon it without the slightest misgivings, not dreaming that they were destined to be humiliated and defeated in the end. The very ill-advised strike of the Amalgamated Iron and Steel Workers against the steel trust last year had ended in failure for the strikers; but it had also made combined capital a little too confident in its sheer strength, and had made it forgetful of the fact that "circumstances alter cases," and that every labor situation must be judged upon its own intrinsic merits. It should be understood that the main question all along has been, not whether the miners were justified in making certain specific demands having to do with wages and conditions of employment, but whether they were right in asking for the establishment of some regular way of dealing between capital and labor. Thus, the miners were fighting for a way to bring about orderly and decent conditions in the anthracite district; and the operators were fighting for the retention of anomalous and disorderly conditions.
and leased or bought most of the coal lands, a new era was beginning. And when these railways ceased to compete with one another in the anthracite trade, and found a way to unite their coal interests, the new era was fairly launched. It is true that their spokesmen stated, last month, that there were still seventy-five different operators in the anthracite region; but, so far as the public is concerned, there is only one operator. On the side of the producing, carrying, and selling of coal, the situation is completely controlled by an organization in which the coal-carrying roads are leagued this organization spoke for the entire anthracite business, last month, just as if there had been only one anthracite mine in the world, of which it was absolute owner. And when, finally, the situation became unbearable, the murmurs of public opinion began to grow louder until a tornado was imminent, and Mr. Morgan himself appeared on behalf of the joint coal and railway interests,-no coal-mine operator or railroad director ventured for a moment to deny that Mr. Morgan was authorized to speak for the combined capitalists, as completely as, on the other side, Mr. John Mitchell was authorized to speak for the combined laborers.
Thus, combined capital presented a on the Other Solid front. Local mine owners had abdicated the responsibility of direct relations with their employees, and had allowed all negotiations on their behalf to be carried on, first, by a board of railway officials meeting in New York, and, finally, by one New York banker. Effrontery, let it be said, could not have gone farther than for capital under these circumstances to deny to plain workingmen the right, for their own protection and advantage, to form associations and to deal with capital through their chosen agents or representatives. Not only was it reasonable that the coal miners should have been united in a great trade union ; but it was plainly to the advantage of legitimate owners and employers-in view of the existing situation-that this union should be recognized and dealt with. There is, indeed, far more reason for the existence of the one general organization of miners in the anthracite regions than in the bituminous States, for the simple reason that the whole anthracite business has been brought under control of a single monopoly, while nothing of the kind is true of coal-mining in the bituminous regions.
States, the bituminous operators appoint a committee of representative employers which, every year, meets a representative committee of miners.. After due discussion, the wage-scales are fixed for a year to come on the plan of "collective bargaining," and the United Mine Workers hold their members to faithful keeping of these contracts. Thus, the turbulence and strife that were once almost chronic in the mining districts of such States as Ohio and Illinois are at an end, and employers and employed alike are warm in their approval of the new arrangement. All that Mr. John Mitchell has tried to bring about in the anthracite regions has been the adoption of a wage-scale upon the sensible, businesslike plan of mutual discussion and agreement. Mr. Mitchell's reasonableness and forbearance, during the past three years, in his endeavor to secure this desirable solution, have been worthy of the highest degree of praise.
But why, if Mr. Mitchell has wanted "Invincible, nothing but what was perfectly Ignorance.' reasonable, and as advantageous to
one side as to the other, has he met with such rebuffs? The answer is a perfectly simple one. The "powers that be" in Wall Street had never really known what it was that Mr. Mitchell wanted. They were in such a roaring, whirling maelstrom of speculation, company-promoting, railroad reorganization, rivalry among themselves, and the like, that it was practically imimpossible for anybody outside to shout against such a deafening noise. Mr. Mitchell, and the friends of sane and decent adjustment of the labor situation in Pennsylvania, never got a full hearing in those quarters. This inability to awake dormant intelligence in the seats of the mighty, had led to the strike of the fall of 1900.
The Strike of 1900.
Senator Hanna, who was managing the Republican presidential campaign, knew and understood Mr. Mitchell As the result of his own experience as a large bituminous coal operator, he approved of Mr. Mitchell's union and its methods; and he was able to secure a settlement of that strike by obtaining for the Pennsylvania miners a 10 per cent. increase in their wages. But even Mr. Hanna was not able to teach the leaders of Wall Street anything about the labor question. He could only arouse the capitalists to action by frightening them with the bugaboo of Bryanism. They conceded the 10 per cent. advance to stop the strike, without the slightest reference to the justice of the claims of the miners, merely because they were told that labor troubles in the campaign season might put William J. Bryan in
the White House. had won their strike; not on its merits at all, but through the by-play of politics. No attempt was made to deal frankly and directly with them. To avoid the necessity of communicating with them, the 10 per cent. advance was made known by notices posted up at the mines.
Mr. Mitchell and his men
Through the politicians, however, as of the Spring intermediaries, Mr. Mitchell had been of 1901. assured that the 10 per cent. advance would hold good for six months, or until April, 1901. Then came the time for a permanent adjustment. But, again, it was impossible to secure any intelligent consideration of what was desired. A great strike was imminent; and Mr. Mitchell patient, modest, anxious to avert the crisis,— came to New York to secure through a recognition of his union a means for taking up gradually, one by one, the difficulties and grievances involved in the labor situation. The period was the most prosperous in the history of the country, and there could have been no possible excuse for cutting wages down to the former hard-times level. The miners, on the other hand, would have been content to leave wages where they were if owners had been willing to meet workers to consider frankly such a matter as the best plan of weighing coal, and other questions affecting the conditions of employment. Again Mr. Mitchell failed, yet not wholly; for he had received what he believed to be a tacit-though not an explicit
promise that if he could avert a general strike and keep the men at work another year, then he might fairly hope that, in the spring of 1902, his union would be recognized. Meanwhile, he was given reason to believe that a frank and fair investigation of actual conditions would be made in which he and his union would be allowed to participate. On the strength of these vague and indefinite understandings, Mr. Mitchell and the leading local officers of the miners' union went back to Pennsylvania, where, by sheer force of moral leadership, they restrained their justly irritated and impatient followers, and postponed sine die what had threatened to be the greatest strike in the history of the United States.
miners and keeping the peace, the operators were using this year of truce to prepare themselves for war; and so, when the attempt was made in March and April of the present year by disinterested people to secure harmony and prevent a strike, it gradually became obvious that the union of capital had deliberately made up its mind to have nothing to do with the union of labor. Even then, Mr. Mitchell kept his wonderful self-control; counseled further patience; and did all that he could to prevent a strike, in the hope that the friends of arbitration would ultimately succeed. His advice did not prevail, however. The more radical leaders of the anthracite men carried the day, in a large and representative miners' convention; and so the strike was ordered.
Mr. Mitchell accepted the mandate Mitchell as of the convention, and as president Strike Leader. of the organization did not shirk
from the official duty to lead a strike which he had hoped to avert. No better strike leader than John Mitchell has ever emerged in any time of industrial strife in this country. As one means to bring public opinion to their support, the mine owners-through individuals and newspapers employed by them,-adopted a policy of calumny and slander against Mitchell personally. This policy completely failed through Mr. Mitchell's remarkable poise and self-control.
Never once was he provoked to bitterness or retort. All his utterances were statesmanlike in their tone of moderation and calmness; and, although the monopoly of capital was far more vulnerable than the organization of labor, Mr. Mitchell avoided recrimination, and said not one disagreeable word about the men who were publicly saying so many false things about him. The excellent discipline and order maintained under Mr. Mitchell's leadership of the strikers will only be comprehended by an inquiry made in the historical and comparative spirit. Great industrial strikes are never as polite as ladies' missionary meetings, nor quite so free from turbulence as Sunday-school picnics. In the course of this Pennsylvania strike there was some crime, some disorder, and some unjust and wholly objectionable interference with the few non-union men who had not the disposition to coöperate with the great mass of their fellow-workers; but, as compared with former strikes in the Pennsylvania coal regions, or with former strikes in the bituminous regions of Ohio, Illinois, and various other States, or as compared with a dozen street railroad strikes in different American cities in recent months or years, this Pennsylvania strike was a peaceable affair. As an excuse to the public for not supplying coal, the operators continually stated that they could obtain an abundance of labor if the State of Pennsylvania would only protect their men against the vio