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Published Monthly by

Crtered at the Post-Office at Kansas City, BROTHERHOOD OF RAILWAS CLERKS:

Couc 1

Mo., as Second-Class Matter.
WILBUR BRAGGINS, EditorSu-Chief:
R. E. FISHER, Business Manager.

Subscription Price $1.00 per Year.
Office of Publication, Kansas City Life Bldg., Kansas City, Mo.
W. N. Gates, Advertising Manager, Garfield Building, Cleveland, O.

VOL. VII.

JANUARY, 1908.

No. 1

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? Much has been said recently in the daily, weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines and in public addresses, in adverse criticism of labor organizations because of their resorting to strikes and boycotts in their efforts to improve the industrial condition of their members. The editors, writers and speakers who have animadverted upon the frequency of recourse to strikes and boycotts, by organizations of wageearners, have invariably based their strictures upon the assumption that labor organizations are responsible for strikes and should not engage in them. In many instances these critics are "interested” opponents of the organization of employes and will directly profit materially by defeating organized effort or preventing organization. and were all the critics of this class we could "consider the source" and ignore them. But some of them are not of that class and have carelessly allowed themselves to become prejudiced wrongfully, thus reaching the decision that labor organizations were responsible for the injury to business and public interests in genezal, because of strikes.

But are the organizations responsible for strikes? Let us consider the question, at least briefly.

If an individual is denied the equal rights understood to be guaranteed him by the constitution and laws of the country and all moral law, is he not entitled to compel restoration of such right by any lawful means at his command? And who should be held responsible for

to compulsory measures when appeal and petition have been brutally rejected and even answered

by punishment, the one who gives the provocation by inflicting the injury or the one who is injured and when “patience ceases to be a virtue" resents it?

If one man "holds up" several others, at different times and places, and robs them of their capital and resources, and the ones robbed should later combine their forces, overpower the robber and without requiring him to return the plunder only compel him to enter into a contract to pay fair coinpensation for all that he takes from them in future, are they not justified by all moral law? And which should be held responsible for the recourse to coercive measures, the robber or those who combine for their future protection against his unfair methods?

Now let us see if railway clerks, for illustration, are not deprived of their right to equal opportunity and robbed of their capital and resources by railway companies.

Do not the laws of the land, national and state, concede to them as well as all other wage-earners, the right to organize for the purpose of improving the conditions under which they serve the various companies; to protect themselves against being overworked, underpaid and unjustly treated by arbitrary, exacting, overbearing and whimsical superiors?

And if railway officials meet their efforts to organize by discharging them or refusing to grant them well earned and merited promotions and by other forms of discrimination, are they not denying them equal rights?

And if railway officials require railway clerks to work twelve, fourteen or more hours per day and do work on Sundays and

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holidays, without extra pay, are they not The Brotherhood of Railway Clerks has robbing the clerks of their capital, labor, so far been conducted along conservative and by, overworking them do they not rob lines, and this fact justifies the belief that their of their natural resources in vital en- the organization will be dominated by conergy?

servatism.in. the future. There are few, if And it railway companies reațize greatly : ány, among the leaders of the class (and enhanced profits during a period of general they control the organization) who do not prosperity. which occasions higher prices properly respect and value conservatisni; and increased living expenses, and the com- but they also recognize the fact that it has panies grant demands made by the older: {t6 : Hmitation, •beyond, which lies degradaand more powerful organizations of.. em .bi .ard •injusrice for them. ployes for increased pay but reject like de- It is the earnest desire of a very large permands by the younger and weaker organiza- centage of the membership of this organization of clerks, do they not both deny equal tion that the relations between them and rights to the clerks and rob them of their their superiors in the service should be harcapital in labor performed?

monious, pleasant and mutually helpful. It When, after long, expensive effort and is also their desire that due respect for the můch and constant opposition, railway relative rights of the one should be accordclerks finally succeed in attaining to a fair- ed by the other. And by their forbearance ly good state of organization and through under past provocation they have demon. their committees present propositions for strated the sincerity of their desire that increased pay and better conditions of sery. such relations should exist and their willice to the the officials of a company, and ingness to do their part toward establishing the committees are put off repeatedly by and maintaining them. invalid excuses and their propositions are But if appeals to reason and the better finally rejected; or, the presenting of this natures of officials, for justice, meet with propositions result in the discharge of the denial of the rights which are legally and committeemen and other efforts to disrupt morally due them, then will they have retheir organization, and the clerks finally course to forceful measures to compel the realize that the only possible way by which granting thereof. And if they have to, they they can get increased pay and just condi- will strike and strike hard and long; railtions of service is by having recourse to a way clerks are good American citizens who strike, who is responsible therefor? The have already demonstrated their ability and clerks who are entitled to the benefits disposition to fight for their rights if that sought, or the railway officials wino deny course is forced upon them. them justice? Practically all strikes by wage earners' re

WHY AGENTS SHOULD ENCOURAGE sult from just such arbitrary exactions and

ORGANIZATION AMONG THEIR unjust treatment; the experiences of rail

CLERKS. way clerks are no exceptions to the rule.

An agent at one of the large freight ofFurthermore, wage-earners who organize

fices of the country once said, “When the do so because it is forced upon them as a

Clerks at this station began to organize in last recourse, to protect them from injustice

the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks, I did and to enable them to gain and maintain

everything in my power to discourage them a status of equality with their fellow men

in their design, even threatening to disin the struggle of life. They do not seek

charge some of the leaders in the movement, or want strife, and make many and great but to no avail. They proceeded to perfect sacrifices of time, money and position in ef

their organization and have been organized forts to avoid it. Indeed, to those who are almost to a man for several months, and I familiar with and have experienced the ar- will state candidly, that I would not go back rogant assumption of absolute authority to old conditions if I could. Before organiover employes by some officials, their arbi

zation petty jealousies were cropping out trary exactions, overbearing treatment and day after day, every minor error was reinsulting repudiation of any right to redress ferred to me; and as soon as a Clerk had or of appeal to higher authority, the won: finished his task he immediately left the der is that strikes do not occur far more office without a thought of his less fortunate frequently than they do.

associates. Now all this has been changed.

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It is very seldom that I ever have to deal with errors that have been made, and when they are referred to me, they are of such magnitude as to demand my personal attention. Another thing that I notice is that all the clerks working on the same shifts leave the office in a body. As soon as one has finished his work, he immediately goes to some other desk and asks if there is any. thing he can do to help out. Then there is a total lack of that spirit of unrest, and disposition upon the part of the clerks to refuse to give information which they were not compelled to give, which was prevalent before organization and all in all the efficiency of the force has been increased fully fifty per cent.”

It is safe to say that the experiences of this agent has been duplicated in every office where organization has been perfected. Even yet, there is an occasional agent who for some reason best known to himself opposes the organization of the Clerks in his office. There are other reasons why agents and officials should encourage rather than oppose the organization of their clerks; one of which is through organization salaries will be paid and conditions of service brought about which will attract good men and guarantee the highest degree of efficiency. Under present conditions, what incentive is there for a young man to enter the service. The best he can hope for at the start is a meager salary, and unusually long hours of arduous work which do not compare favorably with even the unskilled laborer.

MONTHLY CIRCULAR NO. 27. To Officers and Members of Lodges:

During the year just ended we established 108 new lodges and two sub-lodges (Jefferson City, Mo., and Coffeyville, Kansas; forming a part of Missouri Pacific Division No. 2), or practically 110 new lodges for the year. Several lapsed lodges were reinstated during the year and of course several small ones were lost; but the net gain in membership was very close to 100 per cent. Had there been no suspension for non-payment of dues and had each member been as loyal and steadfast in his adherence to the organization and its principles as he should have been, how truly wonderful would have been the gains made.

And the outlook for 1908 is much more promising than was the outlook at the beginning of 1907. If we can make as large a percentage of gain in membership and ben. efits this year as was achieved during the past year, it will be a marvelous accomplishment. But with the highly encouraging prospects before us for increased membership; the added experience and advantage of the five organizers remaining in the service of the Brotherhood; with the enhanced financial resources of the Organization and the increased energy and zeal on the part of the entire membership it is possible for us to even exceed in every way the gains of 1907. Let us all resolve to make this year's record the grandest that was attained by any organization of railway employees.

To assist the membership at large in their efforts to attain the fruition of our desires in this respect, the Grand Lodge is preparing to place as many new, competent and creditable organizers in the service as our financial resources will justify. That means very large expenditures, for the organizers must be paid for their services and their ex

ever

From a selfish standpoint there are reasons why agents should not oppose the organization of their clerks. It is a well known fact that, generally speaking, the salaries of agents at large stations have steadily declined for the past few years, as have the salaries of their clerks, As soon as the clerks, through organization succeed in stopping the gradual reduction in their salaries, which they are doing, and begin to secure gradual increases, the salaries of the agents and other immediate superiors will advance automatically. This has been demonstrated in the case of the Switchmen and Machinists. Through organization these classes have within the past year or two secured contracts which placed their salaries in some instances, higher than those of yardmasters and machine shop foremen, with the result that

penses must be met. But they are a necessity and we cannot do without them. Though at first the cost is greater while experimenting with new organizers the future benefit to the Brotherhood through the education and training in the work that will be gained by the organizers who continue permanently in the service, will amply repay the cost; this is the paramount reason for the employment of as many organizers as we can now afford, because in future we shall need men of experience to conduct the affairs of the Organization even more than we do now. Therefore, lodges and members are requested to assist organizers in every possible way; not only by helping them to get new members, to arrange for meetings and to get good attendance thereat, but also by helping them to save expenses in all ways. In some cases members or lodges will pay an organizer's expenses while he is with them and in all such cases the fact should be reported to the Grand President because the expense account of such organizer should then be that much less than it otherwise would be. The purpose of this statement is to enable the Grand Lodge to employ and keep in the field as many organizers as possible; especially good, earnest, honest and reliable ones, and only by rigid economy and husbanding the resources of the Organization can this be accomplished.

Lodges and members must not loan money to organizers and expect the Grand Lodge to pay it back or protect them unless specially authorized, on some particular occasion, by the Grand President or Grand Secretary-Treasurer, to advance money to an organizer for account of the Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge will always provide for an organizer's legitimate needs in connection with his work, either by wire or mail.

Attend lodge meetings regularly. Read your Journal;, don't neglect this. The Railway Clerk is published in the interest of its members, and only those who read it carefully and thoroughly will benefit fully there by; and it is your duty to yourself and your organization.

Wishing each one a happy and prosperous New Year, I remain, Yours sincerely and fraternally,

WILBUR BRAGGINS,

Grand President.

THAT ALGIERS PROPOSITION.
R. E. Fisher,
Grand Sec'y-Treas. B. of R. C.,

Kansas City Mo. Dear Brother:-Allow me through the columns of our organ.

The Clerk, to comment on the proposition submitted by Algiers' progressive local No. 55. I say progressive because this is not the first original idea that that local inspired into the order. You will recall with me, the famous S. P. troubles which culminated in a strike which lasted for three months. That was also initiated by the members of that wide-awake local who, realizing how they and their co-laborers were suffering on the S. P., Atlantic System, took the question up by correspondence with the different locals on that system, which later resulted in calling the Board of Adjustment to meet in Houston and submit to General Manager Fay, a demand for adjustment of wages on that system. Of course he, Mr. Fay, ignored us insofar as the demands went, asking for an interview, but like all Americans born under a Southern sky, we, the members of that Board, backed by the unanimous votes of our constituents, called with the consent of G. P. Braggins the strike which, by the way, took effect October 13th, 1906. While we called the strike off without gaining any concessions, we are today enjoying more freedom and getting more pay than we would have had had we secured a written contract. Here, in this little city of Lafayette, our members all got an increase of five to fifteen dollars per month.

Weil, to return to the proposition. If at that time and from the infancy of the B. of R. C. we had collected, say ten cents a month from each member, by the time the strike was called we could have carried it on with better results, for it must be remembered that some 500 clerks were kept out for three months on a sinking fund of a little over $2,000.00. Think of it! Just a little over four dollars for each man on strike. Had we been able to pay our striking clerks strictly according to our protective laws we would have had less desertions from our ranks, and less desertions means more confidence for the other strikers and weakness to our enemy, the scabs.

Let us, Brothers, raise an emergency fund that will be a monument for those contributing to it and a guide to safety for those in dire need of it. Brothers, I speak

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A great many Railway Clerks evidently have “Wish Bones" instead of "Backbones."

of this from practical experience; just as you who have been railway clerks speak of the way a way-bill should be made and how the shipments should be routed. I am not at present employed as a clerk; no, I am merely a police officer for this city, but am a member now and many who should be will “drop out." And I am willing to contribute my share to help those who may some day need a V or a ten.

With best wishes to you and the members in general, I am,

Fraternally,
R. H. BROUSSARD,

Card No. 63.

CRESCENT CITY NO. 54.

By Brother W. E. Bowen. We are entering upon a new year, a year which will mean much to the Railway Clerk; and it is up to the Clerk as to whether his condition will be improved during year. If he is satisfied with his working conditions, his hours of labor, his salary, then he has no need for organization; but if the opposite conditions exist, then the only possible way to have the conditions bettered and to gain proper remuneration for service performed is to become identified with the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks.

My dear reader, if you should happen to be a "man," will you be influenced to consider a proposition if ample, convincing testimony is offered? If so, listen to the story of how clerks in New Orleans have been benefitted by this organization.

Five years ago, realizing what I have said above, a few clerks determined upon forming a lodge of the "Clerks" here. We worked, talked and schemed for four months (and there was about five of us) to try and secure the necessary ten to obtain a charter. Some promised, some wanted to wait, some were like the maiden, "first she would and then she wouldn't;" others were indifferent as to their conditions; some had "cold feet," and a great number had various other reasons, but we were determined and finally secured thirty-three signatures, and when an organizer was sent for we corralled twenty-nine of them and were ganized October 26, 1902.

And then our first troubles began. Opposition from various sources

met, but by a firmness which demonstrated that

were in to stay and gave courage to some who lacked it, we soon began to increase numerically, at a gratifying rate and within a year we had the largest member. ship in the country. Today Crescent City No. 54 stands as a monument of loyalty to principle; to the steadfast determined purpose of those charter members to enhance the condition of the Railroad Clerk in this city. Today Crescent City No. 54 is the peer of any lodge in the country numerically, financially and in every way necessary to make a lodge any one should be proud of. Contracts have been signed and renewed whereby the clerks have had their working hours reduced, salaries increased and competency and merit rewarded; whereby an injustice is done any of our members is quickly remedied through our Protective

STRIKES OF UNORGANIZED CLERKS.

During the past few days several strikes of Clerks who were not members of the Brotherhood, have occurred in different sections of the country. In each instance, these were brought about by wage reduction.

The railroad officials, who have opposed the organization of their clerks, under the pretense that they feared a strike in case they were organized, can now perhaps be brought to see that the clerks as a class will not stand any injustice that may be heaped upon them whether they are organized or not. And it is a well known fact that a strike of unorganized employes is about one of the hardest propositions that an employer can be called upon to handle. There is no discipline, no head to the movement, no incentive, further than the manhood of those involved to avoid lawless acts and in fact no matter even though the employer might be willing to make concessions to bring the strike to a close, there is no one with whom he can treat, and feel sure. that they represent the men involved.

How much better it would have been for both employers and employes, had the latter been organized; in that case the men would have been willing to arbitrate the differences and would have done everything possible to have averted the trouble. These are strenuous times, but when the clouds have cleared away, we believe that the nonmember clerk and the railroad official alike, will have clearer conception of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks.

J. F. R.

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It is estimated that one and a half million farmers have now joined the ranks of organized labor.

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