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About The Wageworker. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1904-???? | View Entire Issue (Oct. 31, 1908)
LINCOLN, NEBEASKA, OCTOBER 31, 1908
A I r
TAFT THE CHAMPION
OF WAGE REDUCERS
' Although Judge ,Taft Ijas denied
that he ever said a dollar a day was
enough for a working man, an exam
ination of his judicial decisions and
injunction decrees shows that he is on
.'record in a decision from the bench,
not only as recommending but actual-
ly ordering a reduction In the wages
of railway employes practically to $1
a day. He actually did order a cut
of 10 per cent in the wages of em
ployes receiving over $35 per month
and those receiving over $1.10 a day.
Thus, by Judge Tart's decision, a man
receiving $1.11 a day would be re
duced practically to $1 a day. The
decision was rendered by Judge Taft
in the case of Thomas vs. Cincinnati,
New Orleans & Texas Pacific railway,
circuit court, southern district of Ohio,
W. D., April 30, 1894, and is to be
found in Fed. Rep. v. 62, p. 669. The
action was one wherein the employes
of the road had applied to the court
to have rescinded an order of the re
ceiver making a 10 per cent reductlo.i
in their wages. His decision was
made without giving the employes an
opportunity to have their day in court
' and show why their wages should not
be cut. He held that the mere thirty
days' notice of reduction given by the
' receiver was sufficient. "They are
now," he said in his decision, "to be
put in the attitude of either accepting
or rejecting the proposition by the
receiver who employed them at the
reduced wages. If they are not con
tent with the wages, they are not
compelled to accept them, and may
retire from his employment.
they have no standing in this court
to call for an adjudication of any
Further on in his decision Judge
Taft held in effect that the preserva
tion of the property and its adminis
tration in the interests of those who
' owned it was entitled to first consid
eration. He then went on to say that
the receiver had consulted with the
court before making the reduction,
and that "the court must presume that
the order was well made."
Later the employes appeared in
court and presented a petition pray
in that the court direct the receiver
to ' modify this wage reduction, but
Judge Taft rendered an opinion deny
ing the petition. In effect he held
that an order making a change in pay
ment for overtime which operated to
reduce wages was not unreasonable,
and also that the payment of interest
on bonds must be considered before
the matter of wages.
Thus Judge 'Taft first counseled i
reduction of wages to what was prac
tically a dollar a day, and then Isued
an order approving such reduction, re
fused to grant a petition for a mod
location of overtime charges reduc
Under Which Flag, Mr. Union Man?
J. W. Van Cleave Says:
"The injunction's purpose is to head off injury for which, if
allowed to be committed, the victim can secure no adequate rem
edy by the courts. It is the promptness, the certaintly, and the justice
of the punishment in contempt cases which renders the injunction so
effective in preventing attacks on property and life. Jury trial would
bring delay and uncertainty. Thus it would give a license to vio
lence, would make industry and properly insecure, would increase
tlie number and the destructiveness of labor contests, and would assail
legitimate trade of all sorts. i
"It is the duty of American business men, regardless of their
party, to bury Bryan and Bryanism under such an avalanche of
votes in 1908 that the work will not have to be done over again in
1912, or ever." Statement by J. W. Van Cleave, President National
Association of Manufacturers, and President of the Buck Stove Co.,
St. Louis. "v
ing wages, and held in substance that
property rights were superior to hu
man rights. His second decision is
found in the Fed. Rep., v. 62, pp.
Judge Taft's decisions in this re
spect are In striking contrast with
those of other federal judges under
similar circumstances. In fact, he
stand's alone in the position which he
In the case of Ames et al vs. Union
Pacific et al, circuit court, district
of Colorado, February 8, 1894, Judges
Rinei; and Hallett held: The court
will not confirm the action of the re
ceivers of an insolvent railroad sys
tem in reducing the wages and chang
ing the regulations for the conduct of
its employes which were in force
when the property was turned over
to the receivers, where the employes
effected were not notified of the pro
posed changes and given an opportu
nity to point out before the receivers
any inequalities or injustice '. that
might be caused by them." Fed. Rep.,
v. 60, p. 674).
In the same case Circuit Judges
Caldwell and Sanborn ordered the re
ceivers to annul their new schedule
providing for a reduction, in wages
and to invite the proper representa
tives of the employes to consider the
proposed reduction and bring their
points of difference into court. After
this had been done . the court in its
decision said: "The wages of men
must not be reduced below a reason
able and just compensation for their
services. They must be paid fair
wages, though no dividends are paid
on the stock and no interest paid on
the bonds. , The highest and "best
service cannot be expected from men
wbo are compelled to live in a state
of pinch and want. A court of equity
will not pursue a niggardly and
cheese-paring policy." (Fed. Rep., v.
62, pp. 7 and 10).
In another case (Fed. Rep. y. 62,
p. 8) Federal Judge Woolson among
other things said: "The court will
not, against the. protests of said em
ployes, reduce their wages, because
of the inability of the railroad to pay
dividends or interest, even though
present opportunity exists for secur
ing other employes for less wages."
The decision of all these federal
judges Is at variance with the de
cision of Judge Taft." Judge Taft held
that the wages of working men shoulj
be reduced to a dollar a day in order
that interest might be paid on bonds,
and that the working men had no
standing in court. The decision of
the other judges was that the rights
of labor came first, and that their
compensation must not be reduced in
order to pay dividends. These de
cisions, which are of record, show
Judge Taft's attitude toward labor
more strongly than anything which he
is now able to say on the stump while
a candidate for the presidency.
Oh April 30, 1894, Judge Taft gave
the decision cutting wages of" railroad
employes, of ' which the' following are
extracts of his opinion:
"The employes have no legal rights
which are about to be violated by the
order complained of. If they
are not content with their wages, they
are not compelled to accept them, ajd
may retire from his employment.
They have no standing in
this court to call for an adjudication
of any rights. The receiver is
the agent of the road in operating
the road. ' . 'Their appeal is
exactly like that, of an appeal bx an
employe to an employer, except that,
while an employe may be moved by
consideration of charity, the court is
limited in the exercise of its discre
tion to such action as may be consist
ent with the preservation of the prop
erty and its due administration in the
interests of those who own it -
As already stated, the order was made
by the receiver after a consultation
with the court; and, in the absence of
a strong showing to the contrary, the
court must, presume that the order
was well made. The order must there
fore stand , and go into force tomor
row." (Fed., Rep. v. 62, p. 669).
Judge Taft's' wage cutting decision
was contrary to precedent in federal
cases, a fact that is driven home.' by
United States Circuit Judges Caldwell
and Sanborn,' who in the case of Ames
et al vs. the ! Union Pacific Railway
company et al, from Colorado, dated
February 8, 1894, which decision was
before Judge Taft at the time, held
that employes are entitled to just and
UNIONS AND TRUSTS.
William J. Bryan Points Out the Dif
ference Between the Two.
"The trust and the labor organiza
tion cannot be described in the same
language. The trust magnates have
used their power to amass swollen, for
tunes, while no one will say that the
labor organization has as yet secured
for its members more than their share
of the profits arising from their work.
But there are fundamental differences.
The trust is a combination of dollars;
the labor organization is an associa
tion of human beings. In a trust a
few men attempt to control the pro
duct of others; in a labor organization
the members unit for the protection
of that which is their own, namely,
their own labor, which, being neces
sary to their existence, is a part of
them. The trust deals with dead mat
ter; the labor organization deals with
life and with intellectual and moral
forces. No impartial student of the
subject will deny the right of the la
boring man to exemption from the
operation of the existing anti-trust
law." W. J. Bryan.
What Samuel Gompera Says:
' "I am very well satisfied with the democratic platform as promul
gated at the Denver convention, and I will do everything to support
these declarations, and of course that means we will vtork for the elec-
tion of the men who stand for our principles. :
"I have never expected defeat in any undertaking, never hoped for
defeat, and never have given up fighting for an idea or principle that I
' firmly believed to be right and just. L will always be found fighting
for what I believe is right, no matter what the ' temporary results may
be. I believe, that jn this fight we now have on hand, that we will win;
and I shall work for Mr. Bryan's election and for the ratification of the
j principles that we have advocated as officers and as an organization.11
Statement by Samuel Gompers, President American Federation of
Labor, and now charged with contempt of court at' the instigation of
J. Van Cleave. "
BRYAN AND LABOR.
A little tale of Bryan
In the papers yesterday
Just happened to impress me
In a very forceful way ' ',''
'Twarn't no tale o' . issues great
Nor ,pOlitics an guch - . ' ,
But just a yarn o' private life
That had a sterling touch.
When Bryan was a-buildin' '..-;-.
His house a year ago '
(He wasa't -nominated.- - v
At that time then, you know)
There was a gang o' workmen
A laborin' on his place, '.
An' Bryan he remembered them
With kindness and with grace.
He paid their car fare back nd forth
To work at morn and night, "i
And when Thanksgiving came around
. He made their spirits bright
By givin" each a turkey -An'
a little money, too ,
A thoughful thing- which' many folks
Would clean ferget.ter do!
I think of what the poet said
, Of small things of the past:
"O ye were little at the first,
But mighty at the lasV"
An so before election time, .
v This little kindly deed
Was spread abroad by these same men
That workingmen might heed. ; '
If he to these few workingmen'
Was kind in private life
I reckon that as president ' . -
He'd aid them in their strife
He little thought his kindly act
On fertile soil was cast , i ,
A bud of kindness 'twas at first
. An oak of strength at last!
R. B. R. in Buffalo Times.
I desire to explain the dearth of
local labor news in The Wageworker
this week. A telegram from Hennes
sey, Okla., Tuesday morning conveyed
the sad news that my aged father was
seriously ill, and I immediately left
for that city. No obstacle that could
be surmounted by human endeavor
could keep me from my father's side
at such a time, for if ever a" boy had
a good father I was ttiat lucky boy.
I know my friends will accept this ex
planation, and I .feel that I take with
me to my father's bedside their best
wishes. WILL M. MAUPIN,
editor Wageworker. -'
FIT FOR THE "NANNY HOUSE."
If there is a doubt in the mind of
any union man who he should support
in the forthcoming presidential elec
tion, let him read C. W. (Gripenuts)
Post's article in the Gazette of Octo
ber 20, and if he has an atom of sense
he can reason for himself. There's a
reason! And if the article itself can't
convince you that Post, Parry, Van
Cleave and a few others of the same
class are 'not behind Taft, why it's
to Florine (mad house) station for
you. S&n Antonio, Tex., Dispatch.
MEN OF LABOR ARE
LOVERS OF LIBERTY
Washington, D. C, Oct. 12, 1908. '
Men of Labor, Lovers of Human Lib-
'i erty:. ' ; '-.. '' .
You are believers in the form of
government described by the Immor
taiJjincoln as: government of the peo.
pie, for the people and by the people.
You would not be true Americans if
you were not. .This form of govern
ment the democratic form is a gov
ernment by law and is the direct op
posite of the despotic from which is
government, by discretion. Govern
ment by injunction is government by
discretion; in other words, despotic.
You would not willingly assist in de;
stroying our present form of govern
ment in the United States, and I
therefore assume that you would have
the issue in this campaign stated
plainly and simply in order that you
may do your duty.
The facts are that the judiciary," in
duced by corporations and trusts and
protected by the republican, party, is,
step by step, destroying government
by law and substituting therefor , a
government by judges, who determine
what, in their opinion, is wrong; what,
in their opinion, is evidence; who, -in
their opinion, is guilty, and what, in
their opinion, the punishmentshall be.
It is sought to make of the judges ir
responsible despots, and by controlling
them using this despotism in the in
terest of corporate power.
In order to do this" it was necessary
to proceed secretively to prevent op
position becoming too strong; some
strained "justification" for It had to
be sought in the constitution of the
United States. The constitution pro
vides that judges shall have jurisdic
tion in law and equity, and by extend
ing the jurisdiction of judges "sitting
in equity" all safeguards erected to
protect human liberty is swept aside:
. Instead of the accuser proving the
guilt of the ' accused, the accused is
compelled to show cause why he
should not be punisheti. The absolute
power, in specific instances, of a judge
sitting in chancery (which is the real
name for equity) is gradually extend
ed over the several fields of human ac
tivity, and a revolution is perfected.
We then have despotic government by
the judiciary, in place of government
of, for and by the people.,
. This revolution has already pro
gressed very far. It is' depriving the
workers of their right as citizens, by
forbidding the exercise of freedom of
speech, freedom of the press, freedom
of assembly and the right of petition,
if, in the opinion of the judge, the ex
ercise of these rights may work in
jury to the business of some corpora
Lion or trust. It is applicable to the
worker today and will inevitably be
made applicable ' to the business man f
at a later period. r '
The progress of this revolution must"
be stopped. ' ' i
We' must- return to government by
law in "all instances where the revolution-
haa been successful; '"-1-1 - --'"
. The virus and poison has not only
attacked the judicial branch of gov-;
ernment, but has in several instances :
entered upon the legislative field by -making
laws which must be enforced ...
by equity process; that is, the judge is,"
by law authorized to:
Disregard all accepted rules of pro-
cedure and of evidence to -
Dispense with jury trial and substi
tute instead of" these safeguards, of
human liberty his own opinion of what
is right. . ." ,
' It was 'with these serious thoughts,
in niind that labor's representatives . 1
submitted to the party in power the :
republican xparty in 1906 labor's bill
of grievances,' and respectfully urged
that necessary legislation be enacted. .
Nothing was done. -.,, ''
Injunction after injunction was is-1 .
sued,' forbidding men to assist each '
other, to give information to each.,
other, and to do in unison those things
which it. was the undisputed right ot
the individual to do for himself.
In the meantime the dispute be
tween the hatters' union . and Mr. -.
Loewe of Daribury was vin progress
from one court to another until . it
reached the United States supremo
court, where it was decided that:
Organizations of working men an l .
working women, for ; mutual aid and .
assistance, are combinations in illegal
restraint of trade under the so-called
Sherman anti-trust law; '
That any one injured thereby may :
recover three-fold damages from the .,
organizations, and if they have . not .
the means, then from individual mem
bers thereof. Between this law, en- '
forceable by equity, the individual '
freedom of the worker to combine
with others for mutual aid and pro-;
tection is swept away and his rights
as a citizen disregarded and denied.-
For all these steadily growing, dan-;
gerous tendencies there is but one
remedy legislation ' by the people
through their proper representatives.-.
Again,' we appealed to congress, and
again our answer was a distinct and '
emphatic "no." '
We drafted and caused to be in-.-troduced
in congress specific bills to
stay and remedy the evilt but to no
purpose. ,- ... -
Labor was not only given an em- r
ihatic . "no," but it was coupled with ;
a statement ' by candidate for vice?
president; Mr. Sherman, accepted and
approved by tne majority of congress, ;
that his party fully understood what
(Continued on Page Three.)
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