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wbich has its office in Saint Louis, and which asks bids from the hoop-iron companies and furnishes the ties itself.
To go back to this north of England irop-trarle. I spoke of arbitration and conciliation. There is a decided difference between the two wluch I would express in this way: That arbitration is formal and conciliation informal. Most of the difficulties between capital and labor are settled by conciliation. I suppose that at least 90 per cent. of the difficulties that arise are settled by conciliation in this north of England iron-trade. The board is established in this way. Every establishment that becomes members of the board has a right to two members in the board, one of thein being a workman and one of them an employer. This board elects a president, vice-president, and two secretaries. The president is generally a manufacturer, the vice-president an employé, and a secretary from each side, one of the secretaries being an operativo and the other a manufactnrer. These four with eight members of the board form what is known as a standing committee, who take cognizance of all cases in the first instance.
Mr. Jones. They do not organize that board as the emergency arises ?
Mr. WEEKS. Not in the north of England trade, although they do organize arbitration boards for special cases in some districts and trades.
Mr. Rice. They are elected by those who enter into the arrangement?
Mr. WEEKS. Yes; the workmen of each establishinent elect its own workman member, and the employers as a body the employer member.
Mr. RICE. Although there is no recognized legal action !
Mr. WEEKS. There are three laws on the English statute-books in reference to arbitration. One of them, I think, was passed in 1824, which is known as the master and workmian act (5 George IV, cap. 96); one passed in 1867, which is known as Lord St. Leonard's act; and one in 1872, which is known as Mr. Mundella's act. So far as I have been able to find out, there never has been a case in which these acts have been useil, arbitration in England being parely a voluntary thing in all its phases. It is volontary in its submission, it is voluntary in its progress, and it is voluntary in the enforcement of its awards. The only power to force the men to abide by the awards is the individual sense of honor, or what Mr. Kettle so happily terms the “ collectivo sense of honor”--the esprit du corps of the trades-union.
The CHAIRMAX. Then your conclusion is that the laws are not necessary and probably not desirable in order to bring about arbitration and conciliation ? Mr. WEEKS. That is my conclusion.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you ascertain whether there has been any change of feeling on the part of the employers within the last twenty or thirty years in regard to meeting their workmen for the purpose of conciliation
Mr. WEEKS. Yes, there is an entire change in many trades. Parties who have studied the subject in Englanıl give a great deal of credit for this change to the formation of arbitration and conciliation boards. The representatives of the manufacturers and of the workmen meet as equals. They do not get now, as they used to, half of them on one side of a table or room and half on the other, antagonizing ench other, but they now seat themselves promiscuously about the board. A good president, if he sees them beginning to separate, stops the separation.
Mr. Joves. They act judicially?
Mr. WEEKS. Except in the case of conciliation. In conciliation they bave no power to give an award. The parties who act as conciliators siurply act as friends of the fiinily, as it were.
Mr. Rice. As advisers ?
Mr. WEEKS. Yes, as advisers. Arbitration has not only bronght about a better feeling between the two parties, and served to take away that idea of domination and of servitude which runs through English labor, but it has also given the men a better idea of the conditions and demands of the trade. The boards hold quarterly meetings, as a general tbing. They sit there to take an oversight of the trade, and to get information as to the influences at work in the way of foreign or home competition and otherwise, and they ascertain the demands which the workmen bave to concede in order to meet the cheap labor of Germany for instance. By this means the barrier of prejudice and suspicion is broken down, and the workmen become informed as to the lieeds of the trade, and what they have to do in order to meet the competition. The converse is of course true.
The CHAIRMAX. Do you consider that it would be of great advantage to the trade in Pittsburg if the workmen and the employers were to meet together in that way to talk over the conditions of trade?
Mr. Weeks. I do.
Mr. WEEKS. I think that the prospect is very flattering tbat there will be such a boaril. Mr. Bishop, I nnderstand, has been talking of the advisability, and Mr. B. F. Joncs, onr largest employer of labortLere. I had a conference with him on Monday,
and I am to address the Chamber of Commerce on Saturday next, and I hope that out of this movement wiil come arbitration.
The Chairman. I have a letter from Mr. Edwards, in wlich he expresses most unqualified approbation of the plan of conciliation and arbitration, and a desire to belp it in Pittsburg.
Mr. WEEKS. We had in Pittsburg generally a temporary conciliation board to settle wages, until 1875. Some time between 1860 and 1870 there was a sliding scale establisbed there which worked up to 1075. There was a maximum and a minimum. In 1875 the minimum was reached. That was the point where bar iron was three cents a pound. The agreement when that scale was formed was that when iron reached there, the maximum or minimum, there should be a conference and the scale of prices Teadinsted. There was a conference held, but the men refused to concede anything, and there was a strike, lasting from November, 1874, to April, 1875, and out of that came a sort of arrangement. That has been abrogated, and there is a something in Pittsborg which is called a sliding scale, but it is a scale made by working.men, who come to the manufacturers and say, “Sign that, or we will not run your mill.” This is called a contract, but tbere is no sliding scale in the proper sense of the word in puddling.
The CHAIRMAN. Are the relations between employer and employed in Pittsburg as favorable to conciliation at present as they are in England ?
Mr. WEEKS. I think that they are more favorable than they were in England wben those boards were formed originally. I think that those boards have affected both sides, and that perhaps the relations of the trade in Pittsburg are not quite as farorable to the formation of such boards as they are in England at the present time-the boards having had an existence there.
The ChairMAX. But there is a feeling in Pittsburg now on the part of the emplos: ers that the working-men have a right to be informed of the state of the business, and to know just what wages they ought to have.
Mr. WEEKS. Yes; but I think there would be an opposition to what has been claimed by the workmen, viz, that they should see the books of the establishment, in order to ascertain its profits. I do not think that the employers would be willing to concede that. They do not do that in England, either.
The CHAIRMAN. I am aware of that, but in England the umpire has access to the books.
Mr. WEEKS. Yes, the umpire or a sworn accountant, but not for the purpose of drtermining profits. It is simply for the purpose of determining selling prices, and the basis of wages there has been on the selling prices.
The CHAIRMAX. The question of profits wonld not be a material question, because ona establisbment might be making profits while another was making no profits, and if wages were based upon profits, then there would be a different grade of wages in every mill. The selling price is the only thing on whicb wages can be graded, and the arbitration boards in England proceed on that principle ? Mr. WEEKS, Yes.
Mr. Rice. You say that they pay in England $1.56 for puddling compared to so in Pittsburg 1 Mr. WEEKS. Yes. Mr. Rice. That is, that what costs $1.56 in England costs $5 in Pittsburg! Mr. WEEKS. Yes; but the rate is lower in Massachusetts.
Mr. RICE. Is there any such discrepancy between the wages received by the laborers in England and in this country generally as that discrepancy in the iron business!
Mr. WEEKS. No, I think the discrepancy is greater in the iron business.
The CHAIRMAN. How is it for common labor; what are they paying for comme
Mr. WEEKS. As a general thing $i; from 90 cents to $1.25. One or two mills only pay 90 cents.
Mr. Rice. What do you suppose is paid in England !
Mr. Rice. Then you mean that wages are about twice as high here as they are in England ?
Mr. WEEKS. Not quite; three shillings is equal to about seventy cepts.
Mr. WEEKS. I will be able to tell you, but not to-day. I intended if I had time to make out a table showing the wages in Warrenton, near Liverpool, in Middleborough, apd in Staffordshire, near Birmingham, as compared with wages in Pittsburg in De iron-trade, and also the comparative price of living. I will make out a statement and furnish it to the committee.
Mr. RICE. These being the recognized relative prices received by laborers in the two countries, how are you going to bring the labor of America down to the price of English labor ?
Mr. WEEKS. I do not know anybody who wants to do so. Mr. Rice. Then how are yon going to have the product of American labor compete with the product of English labor ?
Mr. Weeks. In the first place, I think that American labor is much more effective than English labor.
The CHAIRMAX. Take boiling, for instance; how about that? Mr. WEEKS. That I do not know about, because the work of boiling in England is a great deal harder than it is here.
The CHAIRMAX. Is labor more effective in boiling pig-iron in America than it is in England i Mr. WEEKS. No; but that is one of the roughest kinds of labor in the trade.
Mr. RICE. Is there any onch difference between the quality of American labor and of English labor as to make up for the difference in the rate of wages which each receives? Mr. WEEKS. No, sir; I do not think there is.
Mr. Rice. Are the rates of English labor going to increase in the future? Is there any prospect of their increasing?
Mr. WEEKS. That is a subject I have thonght considerably about, and the more I think about it the more I am unable to decide.
Mr. Rice. Is it not more likely that the rates of wages in England will go down?
Mr. WEEKS. I do not know how they can go down any farther unless the people starve.
Mr. Rice. How will they go up !
Mr. WEEKS. I do not know unless they can get markets for their products, and even then I do not see how, with provisions as high as they are in England, wages can go down.
Mr. Rice. If the English can get the markets, they cannot.
Mr. WEEKS. I cannot see why the English should have the market completely as against us.
Mr. Rice. Why not, if they pay less for the labor that enters into their products than we do?
Mr. WEEKS. Take the iron trade, for instance. The pig-iron puddled in the north of England at those prices does not give bar-iron that begins to equal that from onr piy. iron. The tensile strength of their common iron will be about 35,000 pounds, whereas the tensile strength of our Pittsburg common iron is 50.000 pounds and upward. That is, our Pittsburg iron (what we call onr common irons here) are superior to their common and equal to the best English irons. Their best bar-iron to-day is but a fraction, if any, better than our common Pittsburg irons. They sell their Lord Dudley iron for, say £7 a ton (egnal to about $35), while we are selling our Pittsburg iron for something like $33 a ton. Mr. Rice. And we are paying the difference for labor
M. WEEKS. Yes. Our material, to begin with, is better than theirs. They have to rework their iron so much in order to get it up to a good grade, or else they have to take certain grades of pig-iron that are expensive.
Mr. RICE. I understand that this discrepancy in wages runs through all kinds of employment in the two countries; that the wages are nearly double in this country what they are in England. Now this difference in the quality of production which you speak of as existing between the Pittsburg iron and the English iron does not extend to everything. How are you going (where the qualities are the same) to have the product of the labor of this country compete with that of England ?
Mr. WEEKS. While I cannot say that the difference in quality does extend to all classes of goods, it certainly does to a great many. Our common cottons (what we used to call in Lowell cotton cloths) and our prints are much better than the English common prints; our shoes are better, and I think that our common woolen cloth is better than the common woolen cloth of England, although perhaps in the finer grades of goods the superiority is with the English. When it comes to the very fine grades of everything, they perhaps surpass us in some things, especially in those things where the quality depends on the amount of labor expended.
Mr. Rice. Take an iron ship built in England and an iron ship built in this country, and which of them would you say is best built 1
Mr. WEEKS. I know a gentleman who told me that he has seen iron plates put into a ship in England that he would not risk his life on. I should judge that an English ship made of the same quality of plates that we put into our ships would cost sonewbat less than our ships cost, but not much less.
Mr. Rick. Is the work on an iron ship better than it is here
* Mr. WEEKS. No; I think that our work here as a general thing is better than theirs. Mr. Rice. Ou iron sbips ?
Mr. WEEKS. I am speaking of iron itself. Iron ships I know very little about. I know that our tools are better than theirs.
Mr. Jones. The ships that Mr. Plympsoll refers to were iron ships.
Mr. WEEKS. Some of them. When you get upon ship-building you are ont of my latitude. Mr. Rice. The fact of there being so great a discrepancy rather surprises me.
The CHAIRMAN. It has always existed. (To Mr. Weeks :) Is there a discrepancy between the rate of wages paid in Pittsburg and in New England ?
Mr. WEEKS. Yes, a very large discrepancy.
The CHAIRMAN. Take puddling, for example. What are the rates of wages in New England and Pittsburg?
Mr. Weeks. Iu New England the price varies from $2.50 to $3 a ton of 2,240 pounds, as against $5 a ton in Pittsburgh.
The CHAIRMAN. If you should succeed in getting wages in Pittsburg down to the rate paid in New England, what would happen to the New England mills in tbe present condition of the iron trade | Would they have to shut up shop ?
Mr. WEEKS. I think that that would be the result, although they have a home market there for a good deal of their product. A large number of the New England mills are pail-mills, and they have a demand for their product in New England. .
The CHAIRMAN. Would the freight from Pittsburg to New England be sufficient to counterbalance the difference in cost?
Mr. WEEKS. I do not think it would. There is a new railroad almost finished, and which will be open in two months, from Pittsburg to Youngstown, connecting with the Lake Shore road, that will reduce freight to New England from Pittsburg somnewhat.
The CHAIRMAN. Then the same process of competition that pov exists between tbe English workmen and the American workmen would inevitably take place between Pittsburg and New England, and would result in the same way Mr. WEEKS. I think so.
The CHAIRMAX. Would you recommend us to have a tariff in New England against Pittsburg
Mr. WEEKS. The tariff is an entirely different thing, which I can give my views npon if desired. I wonld like to see New England prosperous, for although I live in Pittsburg, I am New England born.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you think that the solution of the difficulty would be a protection of New England against Pittsburg?
Mr. WEEKS. No; I think that the trouble in New England is lack of fuel, and that that is a thing wbich no tariff or anything else can help.
The CHAIRMAN. If they had free trade, they could get fuel from New Brunswick cheap. Do you not tbink that with a tariff of a cent a pound as against Pittsbarg iron, the New England mills could continue to run?
Mr. WEEKS. I have no doubt but that such a tariff would enable the New England mills to run, but then other considerations would come into question.
The CHAIRMAX. Then the iron consumed in New England would cost consumers more than it now costs.
Mr. WEEKS. I do not think it would.
The CHAIRMAN. If New England had free trade in fuel and a cent a pound protee. tion on iron against Pittsburg, do you not think that the iron would cost the consumers in New England more than it now does ?
Mr. WEEKS. No, sir.
Mr. WEEKS. That brings up the whole question as to whether the tariff is a tar upon the consumer.
The CHAIRMAN. If it wonld not cost the consumer of pails in New England more noney than now, why not let the New England iron manufacturers have protection 1 In the first place, you say that the Pittsburg nails (if your labor and the New Eng. land labor were on the same grade of price) would go into New England cheaper than the New England mills produce nails. That would be so unless the price of labor were reduced in New England, and you say that you do not want to reduce the price of labor. Therefore, if you were to put a tariff of a cept a pound on the Pittsbarg naile, would it not make nails cost more in New England ?
Mr. WEEKS. At first it might. You are taking a special case and trying to get me to give judgment in that special case. I say that there are other considerations in regard to it.
Tbe CHAIRMAX. I want yonr opinion as to that point. Mr. WEEKS. I presume that at tirst it might. Atariff generally results at first in increasing the price to the consumer, but it would ultimately inake nails less in der England.
The Chairmax. Why wonld it make nails cost less !
Mr. WEEKS. The only reason why nails are cheap in New England is that they have cheap labor there. Now yon are going to have as cheap labor as they have-the assumption being that the labor is oquated on the same grado-either yours down or theiry np. Now I say I do not want to have labor put dowu. If they have protection in New England it would doubtless make nails cost more, but there would be countervailing advantages.
The CHAIRMAX. Then the consumer of nails would lose that much! Mr. WEEKS. I presume so, if New England should separate herself from the rest of the conntry of which it is an integral part.
Mr. Rice. Wonld the consumer of nails have compensation in any other way!
Mr. WEEKS. Yes. For instance, a farmer would liave an opportunity to sell bis produce to those parties at work in these mills. The workmen would become cousumers of what the farm raised, and perbaps at higher rates.
The CHAIRMAN. But does not New England now import very much the largest quantity of food used there? Mr. WEEKS. Of certain kinds, yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Then the farmer is as well able to sell what he raises in one case as the other?
Mr. WEEKS. Yes. Mr. Rice. Does New England import a great part of what her people eat, such as vegetables, meat, butter, &c.
Mr. Weeks. I never looked into that question, but she does import a great part of the grain and flour consumed.
Mr. Rice. In your judgment, are the laborers in Pittsburg better off now than the laborers in New England-do they live better, have better houses, better food, &c. Mr. WEEKS. I cannot tell you.
The CHAIRMAN. Compare the condition of the Pittsburg laborers with the condition of the English laborers.
Mr. WEEKS. The Pittsburg laborers live much better. It cannot be otherwise, because with the single exception of rent and possibly of clothing (although I doubt if that is an exception), there are but very few of the necessaries of life that do not cost in England higher than here. Pittsburg, however, is hardly a fair point for comparison of the conditions of labor, because it is a place so hemmed in by the blutis and the places of residence are so near to the mills and are so dirty from the smoke, that it is hardly a fair comparison to make.
Mr. Rice. If labor is $3 à ton in Massachusetts and $5 a ton in Pittsburg, is that difference of wages going to continue ?
Mr. WEEKS. That I cannot say; on the other hand, I would say that the question whether a man can live on a given amount depends altogether upon how he lives.
The CHAIRMAX. If tbe tariff on iron were ripealed, could the Pittsburg mills continue to run in competition with England in the production of bar-iron !
Mr. WEEKS. That would depend something on the question whether the English bar-iron would be sold at the rate which it would be sold for in England plus the freight and cost of handling. If the English should put their iron into New York for the purpose of breaking down the market
The Chairmax. Do not assume a case of that kind, but take the regular normal business. If there is no duty on English iron, would the result be the closing of the Pittsburg mills! Mr. WEEKS. No, sir. The CHAIRMAN. What would happen ? Mr. WEEKS. It would cut off considerable of their business. The CHAIRMAN. But could they still go on and pay their present rate of wages ? Mr. WEEKS. No; I do not think they could. The CHAIRMAN. Would they not have to reduce wages ! Mr. WEEKS. I think so. The Chairman. What is the present rate of duty on bar-iron ? Mr. WEEKS. I do not recollect.
The CHAIRMAN. It varies; but suppose the ordinary rate to be three-fourths of a cent per pound on bar-iron, or from $15 to $17 a ton. That is the barrier between English iron and ours. If we were to remove that barrier, would not the English iron come into Pittsburgh itself and be sold ?
Mr. WEEKS. I do not think the common grade and kinds of iron would. The tendency of importation lately has been to drop off from the commoner grades and import the higher grades, like rods, hoops, and sbeets.
The Chairman. You tbink that English iron could not be brought into Pittsburgh ? Mr. WEEKS. I think that these higher grades of iron might be, because the difference in the cost of labor in making these higher grades is inuch less than the difference in the cost of making the bigber grades in Pittsburgh.