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Mr. HUMPHREYS. Yes, quite a number.
The CHAIRMAX. Have they also resulted in the same way, as to reducing strikes and bringing about a harmonious relation between employer and employed !
Mr. HUMPHREYS. That is their tendency. I am not so familiar with their operations.
The CHAIRMAX. Is there not a strike going on now in Pittsburg! Mr. HUMPHREYS. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAX. In what business? Mr. HUMPHREYS. In the flint-glass works, where they manufacture table ware. The CHAIRMAX. Do you know anything about the points of difficulty in that strike! Mr. HUMPHREYS. I am not familiar with them. It is something in regard to the amount of work per day.
The CHAIRMAN. Had the riot at Pittsburg last year any connection at all with trades-unionism ?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Not to my knowledge. The papers stated that there was an association among the train hands, but I have no personal knowledge of it.
The CHAIRMAN. With whom did the strike originate, so far as you know; was it with the engineers and brakemen, or the train hands? Mr. HUMPHREYS. I think it was the train hands. The CHAIRMAX. Have they a trades-union organization ? Mr. HUMPHREYS. They had at that time. The CHAIRMAN. Have they now? Mr. HUMPHREYS. I do not know; and I do not know that they had then, except from what I read in the newspapers.
The CHAIRMAx. Do you think yourself that the trades-unions contributed in any way to the riotous proceedings which followed the strike in Pittsburg; did they take any part in the destruction of property ?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAX. What, so far as you know, is the feeling of the members of the trades-unions in regard to property-as to its preservation or destruction ?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. So far as my knowledge goes, in our section of the country they condemn anything looking to the destruction of property.
The CHÁIRMAN. Do they generally understand that capital and property are essential to the carrying on of business ! : Mr. HUMPHREYS. Certainly.
The CHAIRMAX. And that wheu they destroy property they destroy their own livelihood ?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Certaiuly.
The CHAIRMAX. In other words, there is no feeling among the working classes that property is their enemy per se? Mr. HUMPHREYS. No, sir. The CHAIRMAN. They do not sliare in that feeling?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. No, sir. The disposition among the trades-association men ip our section is to bring about a state of affairs that will bring employer and employed into closer relations. In other words, they admit that what is the employer's interest 18 their interest, and they endeavor by these associations to bring the two classes together, and to count the cost and profits of production, and concede what is fair to the manufacturer for his capital invested, and endeavor to obtain a fair rate (from their standpoint) as compensation for their labor.
The ChairMAN. When business is unproductive does capital get anything at all! Mr. HUMPHREYS. I do not see how it can.
The CHAIRMAN. All the proceeds then go to the laborer. In good times capital indemnifies itself, but in bad times the laborer gets all the proceeds! Mr. HUMPHREYS. They get a fair share, at all events.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know, as a matter of fact, or from report, whether there is any concern in Pittsburg in the iron business (not including steel) which is supposed to have made any money for the last four or five years ?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. My private opinion is that there are very few establishments making anything of any account.
The CHAIRMAN. Some failures have taken place there in that business!
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Some of them have made money. There are some iron establisha ments there that work on specialties exclusively, and I suppose that some of these have made money.
The Chairmax. Of course, if a man had a patent in his business he might make money; but I am speaking of the business generally.
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Some of these manufacturing establishments make cotton-ties and a fine grade of hooks. That is a specialty.
The CHAIRMAN. But these cotton-ties are subject to patents ?
The CHAIRMAX. That is the same thing; and that makes a monopoly. I have been trying very hard to make these cotton ties myself, but I have been met by a patent.
Mr. THOMPSON (to Mr. Humphreys). Do you refer to the Russian iron works up the Kiskiminitas?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. No, sir. I refer to where they are making the fine hoops.
Mr. THOMPSOs. Have they a rolling-mill up there, where they use gas instead of coal!
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Yes; and there are other places where they make galvanized sheet-iron, and other places where they make Russian sheet-iron, and other places where they make railroad spikes.
The CHAIRMAN. What proportion of the foremen of iron establishments in Pittsburg have been, within your knowledge, workmen! Have you any foremen who have not come up out of the class of workmen?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. No, sir; I know scarcely any.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know whether among the owners there are many who have been workmen ?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Quite a number of them have been workmen; I do not think that the majority have been; but I know a number of them who have been workmen,
The CHAIRMAX. When firms are organized do they not generally try to associate some practical man in the concern! Is there not in all concerns one practical man?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. As a rule, I think that that is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that there is any better system for the workman to get his rights and to rise in life (if he has activity, industry, and capacity) than the system which now prevails? Can you imagine any system better calculated to give a deserving and industrious man a chance to rise than the present system ?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. I know of nothing, and can think of nothing that is better than the policy proposed by this association, that of bringing the employer and the employed together, calculating the cost of the article produced, and endeavoring to fix the price of labor upon the profit of the article, so as to make prices fair to both parties. Of course it is a man's nature to be somewhat selfish. I have attended many conferences of committees in behalf of the puddlers, and I am free to confess that, in figuring up our scale of prices, we have had quite a siege on one or two occasions. The manufacturer would naturally try to get a scale that would be most advantageous to him, and we would just as naturally try to get one that would be most advantageous to us. I do not think that you can better that state of affairs until the millennium arrives, and I do not know when that will be
The CHAIRMAN. We have had a great many suggestions as to the government becoming owner of all the mills and railroads of the country, and that everybody should work under the direction of political agents-officers of the government-and that the proceeds should be divided, some say equally and some say according to the talent of parties. What sort of an impression does that kind of a proposition make on your mind?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. I think that if all the reports which we hear be true, we have a considerable amount of dishonesty in the country now, and that we would have a great deal more under that system.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you not think that private interest can protect itself better by the conflict of private interests, and by conferences, than by any interference of the government! Mr. HUMPHREYS. Certainly The Chairmax. Have you not been in political life yourself? Mr. HUMPHREYS. Some little. The CHAIRMAN. State to the committee what public positions you have filled. Mr. HUMPHREYS. I was in the Pennsylvania house of representatives for three years, and was in the State senate for three years.
Thé CHAIRMAN. And of course, in that experience, you had occasion to make yourself familiar with the effects of legislation on industry?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. I went out of the workroom into the legislature, and went back again and went to work; and then again I went to the legislature and then back to work.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to ask you which sort of work you found the best and easiest.
Mr. HUMPHREYS. I think that the six best years of my life have been spent in the Pennsylvania legislature-not very profitably to me.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you not find the labor and responsibility there wearing upon
you, and telling upon yon quite as much as your work in private life; or did yon And it a period of rest and relaxation !
Mr. HUMPHREYS. There was a little variety in it for me; that was all. The labor, physically, was not so hard, of course.
Mr. Rice. You were speaking, a moment ago, of the difficulties which you met in arranging a scale of prices between the employer and the employed, each trying to make an arrangement the most favorable to his own interest. Would that be belped in any respect by an arbitration such as we spoke of yesterday, such as is in practice in England-a board of arbitration with one member selected by yourselves, another by the employers, and the third by these two ? Or, is the spirit of our people so pecilliar, in keeping in their own hands their own interests, as to make a difference between the result of such an experiment here and in England ?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. My opinion is that the parties themselves can settle their difficulties without arbitration.
Mr. RICE. And that arbitration is not congenial to the feelings of the people here!
The CHAIRMAN. You know that in Eugland arbitration is voluntary on the part of the trades-unions, and it is made binding by law. There they have a provision by which people who enter into arbitration may have it enforced by law. Mr. HUMPHREYS. My opinion has always been against arbitration of that kind.
The CHAIRMAN. Take that long strike which you had in Pittsburg in 1:7; would it not have been better, when you found that you could not agree with your employers, to pick out some man, let the employers pick out another, and let those two call in a third man and decide the difficulty ? Would not that have been better for both sidest
Mr. HUMPHREYS. It might have been ; I would not like to express a decided opinion upon that point.
The CHAIRMAN. That was a very long, destructive, and disastrous strike on both sides, was it not?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Yes; and what made it so was this: The first scale of prices that we adopted was about 1862 or 1863. That scale of prices evidently gave the manufacturers an advantage, so far as the question of wages was concerned. They derived a greater benefit from that scale than the workmen did ; so that, in the end, the workmen terminated the scale by notice, and demanded an advance of $2 a ton. My inpression at that time was, and is now, that in the year previous to that, if the workmen had made a study of what really belonged to them in the shape of wages, they might have received $14 a ton just as well as $9, because the manufacturers at that time could have afforded it. But on the termination of that scale of prices, the workmen gave notice of an advance of $2 a ton, and they obtained it. That, however, did not exist long, because prices began to tumble, and manufacturers asked a reduction of that $2. The impression prevailed, however, among the workmen that they were entitled to the $2 at least for a while. On the close of that strike of 1867, after the manufacturers gave the $9 a ton, and we had started to work, the manufacturers again met us in conference on an invitation extended by our association. We agreed then upon another scale of prices which virtually established a reduction of prices and took effect, I think, in two months. In arranging that scale of prices we had benefited somewhat, I think, by the experience of the past, and we reported that seale (in conjunction, of course, with the committee of the manufacturers), so as to protect us a little more when the price of iron came down. The price of iron in the market began to fall pretty rapidly; and the manufacturers began to realize what we had realized in the matter of the first scale, and gave notice to terminate the scale; and the scale of prices that is now in force is a sort of compromise.
The CHAIRMAN. Can there be anything in the nature of things which would have made arbitration undesirable in that case? Would not arbitrators lave aided both sides, and said to one side or the other, "Yes, there is a grievance, and you ought to remedy that grievance." Do you not think that if a strike of nine months could have been avoided in that way it would have been better?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Perhaps so.
Mr. Rice. Suppose you had had a board of arbitrators selected without reference to any particular occasion, but agreed upon in the trades-wion district beforehand, to which all such matters should be referred--a board in which both sides had contidence-would not the strike have been saved by the action of that board, after the two parties had failed to agree among themselves? Mr. HUMPHREYS. I presume it would, if both parties had agreed upon arbitration.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose that you came to an understanding with yonr employer to this effect: “We agree to this scale of prices, and we agree that if there shall afterward be a difference between us, that difference shall be referred to a board of arbitration provided for in advance, without reference to the particular question."
Mr. HUMPIIREYS. I wonld favor a system of arbitration if mutually agreed upon at the time; but I was never in favor of any tixed board of arbitration.
The CHAIRMAX. The point that we want to get at is whether we shall report that the spirit of conciliation shall be carried forward into arbitration, and whether wo shall urge the people to adopt that rather than have collisions and strikes; we want to know whether that would not be a good feature for the public ? Mr. HUMPHREYS. Personally, I never was very much in favor of a fixed arbitration.
The CHAIRMAN. It need not be fixed, then. Agree that you will arbitrate, and agree on your arbitrators at the time.
Mr. HUMPHREYS. If the nature of the difficulty was of such a character as to admit of arbitration, I presune that, as a reasonable man, I would be willing at the time to submit to it.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose yon and I have a personal ditterence in relation to a matter of business, we are called upon to submit to an arbitration now-a fixed arbitrationand that is the court. We are compelled to do it by law. Now, here is a court of the same nature, but outside of the present law. A class of difficulties arises, and the result is a strike, and an enormous loss to both sides. Why should not the same general principle be applied to questions of that sort that now applies to private differences! Why should we not have a special court, or why should not the parties agree on arbitrators at the time?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Arbitration in that light is resorted to to settle differences of dol. lars and cents.
The CHAIRMAX. Is not this a difference of dollars and cents!
Mr. HUMPHREYS. There are clollars and cents included in it, as a matter of conrse; but the compensation for labor is, in my mind, somewhat distinet from a mere dollar and cent transaction.
Mr. THOMPSON. In other words, you look upon this as an effort in that form to make contracts. Mr. HUMPHREYS. There is a little more humanity involved in the subject-matter.
The CHAIRMAX. Would not arbitrators take this into account! These arbitrators would not be all on the one side.
Mr. HUMPHREYS. I presume they would take it into acconnt. I would have no ob. jection to arbitrate if the arbitrators were to be selected by the different parties at the time the difficulty arose.
Mr. Rice. But you see that that adds greatly to the difficulty of the scheme. Mr. Hewitt and myself, for instance, anticipating long business relations, may say, “We do not know what is going to happen between us. We may have difficulties here that will trouble ils to settle. Now we will agree in advance upon three men, just men and true, to pass upon the questions between us. If we have any trouble these three men shall arbitrate and settle it." There is that way of selecting arbitrators. The other way is to wait until the trouble comes, till the blood gets hot, or until we want to get this advantage or that advantage on one side or the other. Then it is difficult to agree upon arbitrators. The most difficult thing that a lawyer has to do is to agree upon a referee, when the blood is hot in a lawsuit.
The (HAIRMAX. In business partnerships there is generally a provision that, when differences arise, the partners will agree ipon arbitration, so that they shall not have to go to law about it.
Mr. HUMPHREYS. In business relations, as a matter of course, there is a certain amount of fixed capital involved, or a distinct line of business to be pursued. Now, in running a mauufacturing establishment, you may have a set of hands or employés this year that you will not have next year, so that I think a fixed board of arbitration would not be so comiendable at all times,
The ('HAIRMAX. But your association represents the aggregate of the men, and your dealings are with all the puddlers as a whole, though they may change slightly from year to year. Your strikes have now been generalized instead of localized, and therefore you deal with a thing as a whole and not in detail. It is not the men who are minployed in particular mills that you have to consider, but the question of reconciling the manufacturing interest and the laboring interest. And if these two interests, on meeting by their representatives, cannot agree, why should not some disinterested person or persons come in and say what is right, so as to avoid a struggle
Mr. HUMPHREYS. So far as my experience goes, when they do come together in the right spirit, they agree.
The CHAIRMAX. But suppose that they came together in the wrong spirit?
Mr. Rice. You stated a while ago that each party would try to get the better of the other, and that the strike arose from their not agreeing.
Mr. HUMPHREYS. That is a sort of trick which is in human nature generally. Every Iban tries to get the best in a bargain.
The CHAIRMAX. Do you think that if a system could he invented by which the workman, instead of receiving all of his wages in money, were to receive part in money and part in a share of the profits, and that books were kept open so that a committee of the workmen might examine them and know all about the state of attairs just as owners do-would that tend to promote harmony?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. It would
The CHAIRMAN, I want to say, for one set of owners, that they tried to do that very thing, and that they never succeeded in getting the men to agree to it. The men gene erally had the idea that as the owners are supposed to be smarter than they are, it is designed to get the better of them.
Mr. HUMPHREYS, I think that our workingmen generally, if they improve within the next few years as they have improved in the last few years, will disabuse their minds of that idea. I think that it would be the inauguration of a system of co-operation which would elevate the workingmen of the country very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that such a state of things would bring about greater economy in manufacturing-in the saving of waste, and careful details that do not now exist ? Mr. HUMPHREYS. Certainly it would.
The CHAIRMAN. Even in the best conducted iron-works, at present, there is still room for greater economy, is there not?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Yes, sir; in the majority of them. Mr. RICE. And the more intelligent and faithful the workingmen are, the better it is for both.
Mr. HUMPHREYs. There is a great deal of money squandered in the works through not practicing economy that might be practiced.
Mr. Rice. You stated that there is no feeling among the laborers of your acquaintance against capital. How is it with regard to the railroads in your vicinity. What is the feeling of the workmen and the people with whom you associate toward the railroads! Has the policy of the railroad companies anything to do with the depression in labor and business through which we have been passing, in the opinion of men whom you represent!
Mr. HUMPHREYS. I only know from expressions which I hear coming from parties who have been, or are, in the employment of railroad companies. They claim that the railroad companies are very oppressive in their regulations.
Mr. Rice. It is not so much in regard to the employés of the railroad companies that I desire the information, but I want to know what is the feeling of the community in regard to the effect of the policy of the railroad companies—in their rates, in their charges, and in the way they do their business.
Mr. HUMPHREYS. During the troubles in Pittsburg, in 1877, there seemed to be a general feeling in our community that the railroad companies did not deal with the me? in their employment with that liberality that they should do.
Mr. Rice. How is it in their dealings with the community-in the charges that they make for freights, &c.?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. There is a very lond complaint in the city of Pittsburg that the city is very badly discriminated against.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know of any place where that complaint does not exist! Mr. HUMPHREYS. I do not, because I have not resided outside of the citr of Pisteburg. I presume, however, that the complaint is pretty general.
The CHAIRMAN. It is, I presume, the most general subject of grievance in tbe country. Mr. Rice resides in Worcester where there are wire-works, and we have wireworks in Trenton. Worcester and Trenton compete in this wire business for the Western market. One of the grievances that we make in Trenton is that we cannet get from the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as good a rate from Trenton as they get from Worcester, and that Worcester is able to undersell us all the time. I have so doubt that in Worcester they have the same grievance against the railroad company that we have.
Mr. RICE. Worcester is a point very severely and sorely discriminated against ; and Mr. Thompson thinks that his section is most discriminated against. Mr. THOMPSON. Worse than any point on the globe.
The CHAIRMAN (to Mr. Humphreys). As a rule, have the railroads in this country. for the last five years, been making any money?
Mr. HUMPHREYS. I have not examined the reports of the railroad companies very closely of late.
The Chairman. The reports of the railroad companies do show that, with the excepa tion of two or three lines, they have all failed to pay dividends. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company has had to suspend dividends.
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Have not the earnings as a general thing increased !
The CHAIRMAX. But the expenses have increased correspondingly, and the Pennst! vania Railroad Company has had to pass its dividends. The New York Central he kept up its dividends. The Erie Railroad is in the hands of a receiver; the Baltimore