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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 1, 1920)
An Industrial Constitution
(Below will be found an industrial constitution
by Hon. Frank P. Walsh. It is just and fair.
It treats employer and employee alike; it puts
them on exactly the same footing. One more
plank providing for an impartial investigation
before a strike or lockout and the platform would
be perfected. Ed.)
The industrial situation is more menacing to
the country today than at any time in its history.
Unless statesmanlike action is taken, the chads
at present existing in localities and individual in
dustries will inevitably become nation-wide.
The underlying cause of the present unrest is
the almost hopeless struggle of the worker to
keep pace with the increased cost of living and
the efforts of an organized profiteering element
to return to the conditions of ."economic serf
dom" which were intolerable prior to the war
and cast upon communities and charitable organ
izations the burden of taking tfare of the families
of underpaid workers to an appalling extent.
NATION IS THREATENED
Last winter the strike of bituminous coaj min
ers threatened the very life of the nation. The
country was excited to the verge of hysteria. Part
of the, press outdid itself in the purveying of
misinformation and the publication of downright
lies.- The miners and their leaders wore de
nounced as enemies of the people and danger
ous foes of organized government. A commis
sion appointed by the government consisting of
three gentlemen of honor and intelligence, one
representing the coal mine operators, one the
working miners, and the third the general public,
found the truth to be that the miners were not
receiving a living wage; that, for many months
they were forced, with their families, to live be
low the level of decent subsistence.
The solution of- the critical railroad situation
must necessarily be left to the government board
just appointed. This is a body created by the
Transportation Act of 1920. It is bound by
certain fixed standards, which even superficial
students of the great industrial problem will
recognize as wholly inadequate to meet, the sit
uation. Without regard to the personnel of the
board, deep as our regret may be, unless the ac
cidental or miraculous should intervene, and the
results will be unsatisfactory to both . employer
The two industrial conference boards lately
called by the president, though having in their
membership many well-meaning and highly in
telligent men, failed of accomplishment, because
they were unable, or unwilling, to propose a
definite code of principles, or what might bo
called a constitution to govern the field of in
dustry. If an industrial code or constitution,
based upon justice, was" boldly proclaimed as the
policy of our country, either by the president or
congress, the great mass of the workers, I be
lieve, would hail it with the utmost satisfaction,
and back the government in the effort' to settle
their disputqs thereunder.
If the president or congress would proclaim
that the following principles should be man
datory upon all boards and government bodies
dealing with the adjustment of industrial dis
putes, a definite mode of procedure would be se
cured, labor would feel that its rights were pro
tected, and the employers of the country with
few outstanding exceptions which could be read
ily recognized as notorious exploiters of labor
m the past would gladly accept it as a mighty
step toward the realization of the great desidera
tum of "maximum production," of. which the
world is so sorely in need, and of which our coun
try should be the exemplar.
Wfihts of Employers and Employes
The right of workers to organize in trade
unions and to bargain collectively through their
cnosen representatives is recognized and af
rmed. This right should not be denied,
nuged or interfered with by employers in any
The right of employers to organize in associa
te?8 ,op groups and' to bargain collectively
trough chosen representatives is rocognized
Rua affirmed. This right shall not be denied,
LOOKING FOR ONE THAT WON'T HURT
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St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
abridged, or interfered with by the workers in
any manner whatsoever.
Employers shall not discharge workers for
membership In trade unions, not for legitimate
The workers, in the exercise of their right to
organize, shall not use coercive measures of any
kind to induce persons to join their organiza
tions, nor to induce employers to bargain or deal
Women in Industry
Women on work ordinarily performed by men
must be allowed equal pay for equal work and
must not be allotted tasks disproportionate to
1. The right of all workers, including com
mon laborers to a living wage is hereby declared.
2. Fixing wages, minimum rates of pay shall
be established which will insure the subsistence
of the worker and his family in health and rea
3 Differentials above basic living wages shall
be established and maintained for skilled crafts
men and salaried workers, based upon the fol
lowing: m . ..
(a) Quantity and value of production.
(b) Education and training required for oc
(c) Hazards of employment,
(b) Increases in cost of living.
All wage schedules should be construed so as
to secure continuity of production for the em
ployer and uninterrupted employment for the
worker. .nfa nf fiie workers' companies
J5 wlfch gowt ml H Jand finally indus-
fyrllW organize and W
r'unjsfaistribution of the product of in
du try, as expressed In wages and salaries.
fc) Excessive hours of labor.
claimed by the : pr esident in n whlch
of April 8, 1918, as one or .
should n.b;jd ho indorsement of em
the war, and it J ' enerai public. A few
ployers, employeewd the gene P hy
PSbSSSS coal commission as the
hasis of its award. ident declared
I September. 1916. tto P in d
that organized society w majority
mand for an eishhjw W already at
of workers d skilled tra labor op.
tained it by tr r J upon It as a mat
ganizatlonm the country entatiT0 em-
tor of right. ,Tnotu?,," "untry arprove and ac
Ployers fBtoMM and
cept it. The 1 IgeB production can be
academic, Insist that J n b longer period
uponthauX studies in the shops of
countless industries. Tho eight-hour day wa
npprovod by tho international labor conference,
which grow out of tho labor provisions of the
league of nations.
Tho body of tho prjnclploo contained In the
constitution heroin proposed wore solemnly pro
claimed by tho prosldont during tho war as neces
sary to maintain maximum production. These
principles wcro acccptod by representative em
ployers and workers overywhoro, and roccived
the Indorsement of tho proas of tho country, from
ultra-conservativo to pro-radical, with practical
Since that time they have boon formally ap
proved as having their baso in sound morality, by
groat church organizations of tho country, In
cluding tho Federation of tho Protectant Church
of Amorlcn, and tho National Catholic war coun
cil, Bpcaklng through a committee of bishops of
tho hierarchy of Amorlcn.
Our constitution Is strong enough to withstand
oven far grantor shocks than It has yot rcoolvcd,
and clastic enough to moot any condition which
may arise. But courngo and statesmanship is
the call of tho hour.
MR. BRYAN AGAIN
There aro indications that Hon. W. J. Bryatf,
who has all along been tho grontest and most
influential leader of tho Democratic party, Is
about to come to tho foro again and become)
tho Democratic nominee for tho presidency In
the approaching campaign. Mr. Bryan has been
three times defeated, and ho may bo defeated
again; but nevertheless tho country owes to blra
more than it owes to any other man In America.
No other American during tho past twonty-flvo
years has had more to do with tho shaping of
all that has been best In American policy and
achievement. Most of tho good that was ac
complished by Wm. McKlnloy was duo to Mr.
Bryan moro than it was to Mr. McKlnley, &u4
the samo Is truo of all that has boon worth,
while in the career of Mr. Roosevelt. Mr.. Bryatt
is a great thinker, a groat patriot and a. greafc
Christian. Also he Is a real Democrat Thbre
is no question of tho fact that ho was responsible
for the nominat'on of Mr. Wilson, and very
largely responsible for Mr. Wilson's election'.
And if Mr. Wilson had not parted company with
Mr. Bryan, the probability is that Mr. Wilson!
administration would have been more of a suc
cess than It has been. As to whether Mr. Bryan
can now be elected, of course Is doubtful. The
Democratic party Is not in as gooa shapo as
It was, and tho Ropublicans have a pretty strong
claim on tho presidency this year, a stronger
claim than they have had for quite a while. But
whether Mr. Bryan shall be elected or .not, tho
country stands to gain by another candidacy, as
it has gained by all of his previous candidacies,
Yorkvlllo, S. C, Enquirer.
TO TUB SENATE
(On the Exchange of the Peace Treaty at
sallies, January 10th, 1920.)
I took from my window the flag today
The flag of the bleeding heart
And folded it up and laid it away, "
While my Country stands apart
I have laid It away in the black steel box,
With his cross and record won,
While the wily spollman cooly blocks
The road he died upon.
Ho had volunteered, and died, to save,
In the Summer of Seventeen; J
But they have dug him out of his battle grave,
Fof the ghoul of war is lean.
And I think I see the Gold Star eyes,
And tho eyes of friendly States,
Gaze with wonder, distress surprise,
As my Country hestltates.
We painfully left the flag In the sun
Till the treaties were exchanged;
That day has come, Peace has begun
Yot, my Country stands estranged.
So we have laid it away with his childhood locks
(The blue star turned to gold)
With the other.things In the black steel box
For the ghoul of war is old.
(Written by Fred W. Bentley, Chicago, 111,,
whos'e son, Paul Cody Bentley, fell In action
Sept. 13, 1917.)
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