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it American Notes.I


it  American Notes. I X CO XCI LI AT O R Y EMPLOYERS. The expected breakdown of the ISiatioua] Industrial Conference summoned by Presi- dent Wilson, in which employers, Trade Unions, and the public were represented in three groups, came with the rejection of the Principle of collective bargaining by the employers, notwithstanding the urgent let- ter dictated by President Wilson from his sick-bed and read at the Conference. The employers stubbornly refused to adopt a re- solution put forward by the Labour repre- sentatives claiming recognition of the right of wage-earners to be organised, to bargain olkctively, and to be represented by re- presentatives of their own choosing in ne- gotiations with the employers on questions of wages, hours, and conditions of employ- ment President Wilson asked the Conference whether at a time when the nations of the World are endeavouring to find a way of ;avoiding international war are we to con- fess that there is no method to be found of harrying on industry except in the spirit and ijJ. the very method of war ? Must sus- picion, hatred, and force rule us in civil life ? Are our industrial leaders and our in- dustrial workers to live together without -faith in each other, constantly struggling -for the advantage over each other and "doing naught but what they are com- pelled ? The President added that the Public expected the Conference to remain together until they had established surer 111d heartier co-operation among themselves "Or until it revealed that the men who work ;and the men who manage American indus- try are so set upon divergent paths that all -effort at co-operation is doomed to failure." This was the last effort to. bridge the -gulf between the employers and the Trade Unions, and when the Conference put down the Labour resolution, the Labour dele- gates left the hall, Mr. Morrison, Secretary of the Delegation, remarking as he turned -away, Do you thing we are going to stay bere to be crucified from day to day." The breakdown came solely because the employers refused to recognise the prin- ciple of collective bargaining, which both Labour and the public groups supported; ^uid with the rule requiring unanimity in the Conference, the employers' opposition Was sufficient to defeat it. The head of the United States Steel Cor- poration, Mr. Gary, re-affirmed in the Con- ference his refusal to negotiate with Trade Union representatives who were not em- ployees of the Corporation, and declared that he would not recede from his stand for the open shop," and would not accept ar- bitration in the steel strike. In the name of the Labour delegation, Mr. Gompers declared that it was useless to "Continue the Conference, when real indus- trial issues of the day were to be passed over; and he stated that the Executive Council of the American Federation of La- bour had adopted a resolution, extending both moral and financial support to the steel workers on strike. THE COAL CRISIS IN AMERICA. I In an effort to stave off the threatened 'strike of the bituminous coal miners called for November 1st, joint conferences have been held between the Secretary of Labour and the Wage Committee of the miners. The negotiations have been fruitless. The -chairman of the Strike Investigati'on Com- mittee of the Senate has gloomily predicted the failure of the Secretary oif Lalxmr's efforts to prevent the strike, and has de- clared that an industrial calamity is im- pending, deliberately organised by 400,000 men under the leadership of what he termed the new autocracy." -LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. I At the end of last week it was announced that the strike of longshoremen, which had practically paralysed work in New York Harbour, was over. Nevertheless, work has not been resumed, because some sec- tions of the workers are dissatisfied with the settlement. Nearly half of the local Unions have repudiated it, and are demand- ing a wage of one dollar an hour, with two -dollars an hour overtime. THE RAILROAD CONTROVERSY. I The Plumb Plan League has now issued its answer to the Cummins bill, and the issue over the American railroads has crys tallised into Plumb versus Cummins on very much the same lines as Sankey versus Duckham in the case of British coal. The Plumb Plan, it will be remembered, which is embodied in the Sims bill, proposed Gov- ernment purchase of the railroads with operation by a body of 15 representing the public, the managerial staff, and the workers in equal numbers, profits to be di- vided between these, and any profits in ex- cess of 10 per cent. to necessitate a reduc- tion in rates. The Cummins bill, which is put forward by Senator Cummins, Chair- man of the Committee that has been sitting on Interstate Commerce, proposes a return to private ownership, the establishment of a Railway Transportation Board to super- vise operation, the restriction of dividends to a fair return (now defined as 5*« per cent, plus | per cent. for maintenance charges), profits above this to be divided be- tween purchase of new equipment and a H labour-dividend for the employees, and finally the prohibition of strikes on the railroads. The Plumb Plan League, which is carrying on a very extensive and efficient propaganda, has naturally seized on the three great weaknesses of this proposal first, the financial difficulty of continuing to pay a relatively high rate of interest on the companies' watered stock (they estimate that the purchase price under their scheme would work out at about two-thirds of the present nominal value); second, the crying need for unification of control whereas the Cummins bill only proposes a permissive consolidation within seven years into 20 to 35 different systems; and finally the anta- gonising of labour by the compulsory clause, which has aroused vehement opposi- tion. The effect of this bill," Samuel Gompers has declared, would not be to prevent strikes; it would simply create law- breakers. I am forced to say to you, gen- tlemen, that if a bill of this character were enacted into law, I should have no more hesitation in participating in a just strike than I would now, regardless of what the consequences might-be." THE AMERICAN SOCIALIST PARTY. It is too early to estimate how serious are the divisions in the American Socialist Party which came to a head at the Chicago Convention and have resulted in the separ- ating off of two sections (if these have not produced further sub-divisions since). The first signs of a sectional Leftward move- ment became clear about January of this year. A portion of the Party membership, in sympathy with Russia, wanted a move- ment of the Party towards a communist basis of action. This tendency was parti- cularly strong- in the language federations that are a special feature of American Socialist organisation. These language federations, largely Russian or Slav, came to loggerheads with the executive, were sus- pended, and formed the Communist Party. This was before the Chicago Convention. Meanwhile the general Leftward section of the Party was busily organising a National Left Wing association and held a separate conference in June. This was held to be promoting seism within the party and led to the suspension of many mombers and several State organisations such as Ohio and Michigan. Consequently, when the Chi- cago Convention was held many would-be I delegates were prevented from taking part, and thereon the National Left Wing Con- vention met separately and formed a new Communist Labour Party after vain at- tempts at alliance with the Communist Party. There are thus' now four organisa- tions in place of the old American Socialist Party, one Communist Labour Party, and the Communist Party. The effects of this division, while unfortunate and (it is to be hoped) only temporary with regard to American Socialism, should undoubtedly strengthen the movement towards a united Labour Party for America.

200 British Casualties.



I Workmen's Examiners. I

The Irishmen's Vote. I

Nationalisation Notes.

Nationalisation Notes.