Commentary from the Mentors
History shows that most everything about organizational dysfunction is both ancient and invariant. The durability of dysfunctional social behavior over multiple generations spotlights that whatever keeps the counterproductive behavior going is tightly connected to the invariant laws of Nature and invariant human nature from our hunter/gatherer genome. Personality and traits of leadership are playing no role. Whatever theories emerge from the wreckage have to account for the monotonous history.
It may humiliate our intellectual pride, but a change so volcanic as that in which we are now caught, leaves us all in a litter of inconsistencies. We can neither “connect things up” nor follow any pet principle to its sequence. When Lloyd George is called “a man with neither tomorrows nor yesterdays” it is meant as stigma. “He has turned opportunism to a fine art. Tossed hither and yon by events, he catches at whatever will sustain him for the hour. He does this in argument and he does it in action. The accusation is grave but it does not apply alone to this statesman. War first forces this opportunism upon the world and the rough wake of revolution keeps it on our keel.”
The very desperateness of the industrial struggle is filled with this dissonance among principles. If simplified enough, we all see it. One who says he is an anarchist “because it puts him in great company,” insists upon “free speech.” He insists upon it as “a constitutional right” and even reads to his audience the words from the constitution to prove his case. He admits, however, that his purpose is to overthrow government and with fine effrontery demands protection of this “fundamental law,” while he and his friends engage in its destruction. This lacks sportsmanship, but it has no more inner contradictions than our diplomacies, statesmanship and most of our labor policies. On one side we clutch at precedents that have lost all meaning and on the other, we grope for new proposals as questionable as they are untried. In the violent thinking and action of the time, this is unavoidable. It is better to acknowledge these inconsistencies than to put up specious pretenses that they are not there. John Graham Brooks (1921)
The motivation of the businessman traces to the combination of the instincts of contrivance, acquisition, domination emulation, and sympathy, altruism or devotion, but not in descending order of importance. There is no all-encircling acquisitive instinct or proof of a real instinct of ownership. To say that there is an instinct of acquisition comes to much the same thing as to assume . . . that all men strive for additional wealth without limit.
It is not a long period since some of our opposers made it a rule to furnish a half pint of ardent spirits to each man, every day, for no other purpose than to urge the physical powers to excessive exertion; thank God, those days have passed away, but they will ever remain a foul blot on the pages of History. Now we are told that excessive labor is the only security against intemperance.
To show the utter fallacy of their idiotic reasoning, if reasoning it may be called, we have only to say, they employ us about eight months in the year during the longest and the hottest days, and in short days, hundreds of us remain idle for want of work, for three or four months, when our expenses must of course be the heaviest during winter. When the long days again appear, our guardians set us to work as they say, “to keep us from getting drunk.”
No fear has ever been expressed by these benevolent employers respecting our morals while we are idle in short days, through their avarice. We would not be too severe on our employers, they are slaves to the Capitalists, as we are to them. “The power behind” their “throne is greater than the throne itself.” But we cannot bear to be the servant of servants and slaves to oppression, let the source be where it may. We will be so no longer, for it is rank injustice. Further, they threaten to starve us into submission to their will. Starve us to prevent us from getting drunk! Wonderful Wisdom! Refined Benevolence! Exalted Philanthropy!
The pragmatic focus is on the instinct of domination. Domination is of great inﬂuence in the social and economic sphere: ‘Domination, power, and conquest’ — this plays a great part in the industrial world as well as in the political. It goes with the love of adventure, to which we give in business life the more euphemistic term “enterprise.” Industry is an alternative to politics as an outlet for the desire for power: Like Alexander or Napoleon, the captain of industry would rule the world.
Whereas the instinct of contrivance is not among the more powerful of the impulses that stir the man of affairs; though surely not to be neglected, of all the overmastering instincts which drive the captain of industry that of domination appears to be the more important. To no small degree, it is the instinct to suffer no opposition to control. It explains the intemperate opposition to trade-unions which is almost invariably shown by the business leader. The strong employers desire to crush the union is not merely the outcome of cold calculations of profit. The instincts, especially of domination, are channeled with the implication that it is the human material and not the system which generates undesired outcomes.
Adam Smith philosophy is individual self-interested behavior, understood to be channeled by the institutions of social control for the beneﬁt of both the individuals themselves and for society. Some of the constituent instincts can be enlisted and encouraged almost without reserve. Others, though they are too strong to be entirely suppressed, must in some way be held in check. Michael Taussig (1888)
The history of industrial society is to be distinguished at the outset from the history of industrial processes. The latter is concerned mainly with machines and technique; the former in the main with men and manners. It is a phase of social history. If made inclusive enough, the study of industrial society may touch all phases of human life; but its concern is, primarily, with the grouping and activity of the people as organized in society for the purpose of producing material goods, and secondarily, with the reflex influence of the work and work-grouping upon life, upon philosophy, and upon the internal and external relations of the society.
Lack of interest and lack of loyalty are frequent complaints respecting the modern laborer. The complaint comes from different sides. Some people are hardened to it and expect it. With them lack of interest or loyalty is a kind of original sin. There is no remedy for it except to lay down the law of hiring and firing, with its penalty of unemployment. At the other extreme are the doctrinaire socialists and anarchists. Man is born, as it were, with an instinct of workmanship, and coercion crushes it out of him. Abolish private property with its right to hire and fire and its penalty of unemployment and then you will “liberate” this suppressed instinct. One extreme provokes the other. If there were only the theories of original depravity and original perfectibility, there would be no outcome but revolution and counter-revolution. Ulrich B. Phillips (1909)
Mr. Straker’s testimony before the Coal Commission on March 13, 1919: “Any administration of the mines, under nationalization, must not leave the worker in the position of a mere wage-earner, whose whole energies are directed by the will of another. He must have a share in the management of the industry in which he is engaged, and understand all about the purpose and destination of the product he is producing; he must know both the productive and the commercial side of the industry. He must feel that the industry is being run by him in order to produce coal for the use of the community, instead of profit for a few people. He would thus feel the responsibility which would rest upon him as a citizen, and direct his energies for the common good.
This ideal cannot be reached all at once, owing to the way in which private ownership has deliberately kept the worker in ignorance regarding the industry; but as that knowledge which has been denied him grows, as it will do under nationalization, he will take his rightful place as a man. Only then will labor unrest, which is the present hope of the world, disappear.” Carter Lyman Goodrich (1922)
The concept of transaction is the ultimate unit of activity, containing the three principles of conflict, dependence and order; it correlates law, economics and ethics. In the bargaining transactions, the object transferred is future rights of ownership. The supreme organized collective action is the monopoly of physical force by taking violence out of private hands. This is sovereignty. There are subordinate forms of organized collective action, sanctioned by the physical force of sovereignty but authorized, in the case of business corporations, to use the economic sanctions of scarcity, or, in the case of churches or clubs, to use the merely moral sanctions of public opinion. These subordinate forms are delegated forms, since they are created, permitted, regulated, dissolved or prohibited by the supreme institution, sovereignty. I date the modern recognition by the state of these delegated forms of economic collective action from the time of the general corporation laws beginning in the decade of the 1850s, and I consider this period to be the beginning of modern capitalism. John R. Commons (1925)
Soviet theories of industrial organization insist that organization is something that can be imposed upon a group of individuals, each of whom will totally be involved in the particular role he has to play, whether that is worker, foreman, or manager. This means that not only the particular parts of the personality needed for the particular task, but also all the other always-present and contradictory elements in the personality are regarded as present. Organizational theory also insists that each individual must be presented with clear-cut goals and responsibilities, which are necessarily limited responsibilities, involving carefully defined lines of command and subordination. Thus, theory and practice continually struggle to devise an organizational chart which will define and limit responsibility. But within such an organizational scheme, the worker is expected to respond, not with a careful delineated measured response to the particular demands of his job, but with total devotion and spontaneity. Margaret Mead (1951)
It is the big field of industrial psychology, which for the twentieth century opens up like the nineteenth for chemistry and physics. There is a narrow business or engineering psychology which overlooks this industrial psychology. It is the idea that the only interesting thing is the amount of compensation an individual can get, and so, by experimenting and measuring, we find out about how much bonus or premium is necessary in order to get him to do his best. This undoubtedly will work for a while, and will work for some individuals more than others, and for the young more than the old, but if it is too stimulating its effects are like intoxication.
When the dream is over the awakening is sour. Industrial psychology is more temperate. It looks ahead and measures the after effects. It sees not only a lot of isolated individuals, each hustling for himself, but sees the whole plant, the team work, the going concern, the joint product, the goodwill of employer and fellow-workers. And industrial psychology is willing to take some chances on the outcome.
Loyalty is not gratitude for past favors, nor a sense of obligation, but is expectation of reciprocity. If the future is not to be better than the past, then gratitude loses its hold. Education is not the teaching of gratitude or obligation for favors received, but is the unfolding of possibilities in the job and the worker. It is this that makes work interesting and converts loyalty into goodwill.
The new idea today is the interest and loyalty of workers. They are free and organizing as never before. Courts, legislatures and governments cannot be depended upon as in the past to coerce them. The business man with the new idea will get their interest and loyalty. Some will fail, others will succeed. But the chances of failure are probably greater by sticking to the old ideas than by venturing on the new ones.
For loyalty today is not the loyalty of former days. The slave was loyal because he could not quit. The laborer is loyal if he has no alternative to go elsewhere. He is loyal in hard times and disloyal in good times. The new idea of loyalty is the loyalty of those to whom unemployment is no penalty. The law of hiring and firing has no coercion for them. They can find another job, or can wait until they find it.
The new loyalty is the loyalty, not of penalties, but of goodwill. It is not afraid to quit or be fired, but willingly stays and works. And this kind of loyalty is not an inborn instinct of workmanship, but must be taught and drawn out by education, and kept up by continuous effort on the part of the employer. There is no asset so fragile as goodwill. The least inattention loses the customer. A year or two of careless attention destroys many years of previous effort. Charles Richard Henderson (1915)
To the Public. The association of “Master Hatters” of the city of Baltimore finding themselves publicly and violently assailed, in the most strange and virulent manner; seeing an attempt making by individuals and associations wholly unprecedented in its character, to render them contemptible in the public estimation, hearing their association denounced as oppressive and tyrannical, and the community invoked to withdraw their patronage from its members as unworthy of its continuance; humbly hope under all these circumstances; that a sufficient apology will be found for appealing from the popular prejudice which has been aroused against them, to the sober, deliberate reflection of their fellow citizens.
Although much inflammatory declamation has been published with a view to agitate the public mind and enlist during the ferment the sympathies of the community in behalf of (as they have been termed) ‘oppressed Journeyman Hatters,” we believe when pruned of its exciting verbiage may be fairly condensed so as to exhibit the following charges. First, the master Hatters of the city of Baltimore have arrogated the right to form an association, and combined together for the purpose of regulating the wages of their workmen: Secondly, they have in pursuance of a resolve of that combination, offered an inadequate and unfair compensation.
Whilst the members of our association are at all times disposed to condemn the existence of every society created for purposes unsanctioned by the laws, they are not less ready in maintaining and exercising rights which they enjoy in common with the rest of their fellow citizens.
It has never been denied by the journeymen Hatters that the laws of their association fix the price of their labour and impose penalties for their violation. If then it be wrong in the employer to regulate the wages, it must be equally wrong in the journeymen; if right in the journeymen, it must be equally right in the employer, otherwise you bind in shackles, one of the parties, and place them perfectly defenseless in the hands of the other, to be dealt with as their avarice and cupidity may direct.
The result of which, if not stopped in its onward course, will be to bring them to a state of servitude less enviable that that of the vassals of the feudal lords and princes – because they may hold the name but lose all the rights of freemen. For all experience teaches that by the destruction of the working class of a free country or a curtailment of their pursuits, the liberty of the country suffers in the same ratio.
By encouraging everything calculated to better their condition, awaken a confidence in each other, which by judicious application of their united efforts will tend to place the working class in the scale of human society, to which by their industry and usefulness, they are justly entitled. Baltimore Hatters (1835)
If you followed your principles, and your principles brought you to this, what good are your principles? Anton Chigurh (2005)
The Employment Managers’ Association of Boston, with its scientific study of labor turnover, this hitherto unmeasured cost of labor received attention. By a bold stroke of genius rather than science, the Ford Motor Company doubled its wages, but nevertheless increased its profits by the mere reduction in cost of labor turnover, it became evident to all that the intangible goodwill of labor may be as profitable as the scientific management of labor.
The laborer is not only a productive machine, he is a customer. The employer is not only buying his time or his product, but is also selling to him a job where he can earn a living. The employer makes a certain investment on behalf of every customer and every employee. He furnishes something in exchange, and he not only wants that customer or worker to return, satisfied with his treatment, but also to spread the word and bring others. Goodwill is good reputation, and reputation is the collective opinion of those whose patronage is desired. Herbert N. Casson (1923)
When one of the coal-owners on the Coal Commission asked one of the Miners’ Executive what they meant when they said they wanted control, and the answer was:—”We mean just what you mean when you say we must not have control,” they were using a term an outsider might well try to define for himself.
“Complete executive control” might mean, among other things, that the employer “by his absolute knowledge and mere motion” provides capital, decides what to produce and how to produce it, provides any sort of place to work, hires whom he likes, pays his hands any wages by any system, works them any number of hours he likes, drives them by any method and with any degree of supervision, promotes, fines, or dismisses them for any cause, trains any hand for any job, dictates every process in the minutest detail—and does all this and more ” – subject to change without notice.
But the most cursory acquaintance with industry or a glance at a few typical collective agreements shows that the employer has no such control as this. The real question is how much less does he mean by “complete executive control.” There is after all such a thing as a trade union and, as Professor Commons says, “If it cannot prevent the employer from doing as he pleases at some point or other, it is something besides a trade union.” But the question is, which points? “What matters have been recognized as subjects for consultation, at least, rather than employer’s fiat?
The use of the phrase “the employer” is not meant to imply that all employers are alike either in personality or in their position in industry. But the differences between employers, great as they are, are comparatively unimportant in the present connection since they are not usually expressed in differences of the extent of control they leave to their employees. The popular distinction between ” good ” and ” bad ” employer is of no use for the present purpose,—except in so far as the ” bad ” employer may arouse his employees to devise means of controlling him, or as the ” good ” employer may also happen to believe, in Mr. Seebohm Rowntree’s phrase, in ” giving as much control as he can instead of as little as he must.” Carter Lyman Goodrich (1921)
The Panic of 1893 would set off a four-year depression. Coxey’s Army marched on Washington, D.C., Socialist Eugene Debs battled Pullman, and at NCR, worker resentment began to include minor sabotage and even arson. In 1894, a $50,000 shipment of cash registers was returned from England as defective (acid had been poured into their mechanisms). With typical directness, Patterson moved his office to the factory floor to learn why. It proved to be a minor epiphany. The employees, Patterson said later, “did not care whether they turned out good or bad work. Then I looked further into conditions and I had frankly to confess that there was no particular reason why they should put heart into their work.” The problem was 19th-century industrial – its dark, its dirt, its low wages, its lack of recognition or chance of advancement.
Patterson granted a general wage increase, removed debris, added ventilation and shielded dangerous equipment to protect his workers. Dressing rooms and showers, available for use on company time, were introduced. A factory cafeteria serving subsidized hot lunches was opened. Free medical care was provided at an NCR dispensary. Patterson showed his usual concern for detail. Every six months NCR employees were measured and weighed; those found underweight were issued free malted milk. Combs and brushes, sterilized dally, were available for grooming and, on rainy days, company umbrellas were distributed to home-ward-bound female workers.
Workers, Patterson said, also needed something to stimulate ambition.” In 1894 he introduced industry’s first paid “suggestion” system. But he maintained that the best stimulation was knowledge, “not merely knowledge of work, but general knowledge of what is going on in the world.” NCR opened an employee night school, established a circulating in-house library and inaugurated a program of free lectures and concerts.
A visiting journalist viewed the results of Patterson’s efforts with distaste, telling one executive, “I can’t see that you people are any better off than kept women.” The more usual accusation was “paternalism.” In truth, Patterson, the friend of labor, thought labor unions should be reserved for employers less enlightened than he. Still, the charge of paternalism – of things bestowed – came largely from Patterson’s fellow factory owners, men who themselves made rather a point of bestowing nothing. Reformers generally praised.
Patterson insisted that he wished his efforts copied, not praised. To that end, he opened his factory to visitors, up to 30,000 a year, many of whom he lectured on his methods. He disclaimed sentimentality. His welfare program, he said, had nothing to do with charity. It cut turnover, raised productivity and reduced shoddy work. His motivation was proclaimed throughout the plant on placards that read, “It pays.” Article on John H. Patterson (1906)
Government officials crushed countless subsequent strikes. In the 1917 strike in the Northwest lumber and timber industry, the U.S. Army not only drove off IWW activists, but also organized and sponsored its own pseudo-union, the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen. In metal mining, state militias continued to make frequent, usually decisive, appearances on behalf of the owners. Local police and county sheriffs proved to be reliable agents of the employers.
One indication of the intensity of industrial conflict in extraction was the frequent resort to mass arrests and other types of forcible removal of participants from the immediate battle scene. Large-scale internment of striking workers and supporters took place in a number of disputes. For instance, to break the silver-lead miners’ strike in the Coeur d’Alene district of Idaho in 1892, hundreds were rounded up and placed in crude stockades. The Idaho state militia kept activists confined in these so-called bullpens in Wallace and Wardner, Idaho, for weeks with disregard for legal due process.
The same fate befell coal miners in numerous localities, such as Paint Creek, West Virginia, during the 1912-1913 strike. When workers resided in company-owned housing, work stoppages brought mass evictions. Evicted strikers often were forced into makeshift accommodations.
Another method of displacement was mass deportation. To defeat a strike by the Brotherhood of Timber Workers, vigilantes ran at least 200 people out of Merrysville, Louisiana, between February 16 and February 18, 1912. A quarter century later, mobs expelled striking lumberjacks and sawmill workers from Newberry and other towns on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In hardrock mining, forcible expulsion of strikers and even non-striking activists occurred in the course of numerous labor-management confrontations. In the most notorious incident, vigilantes acting on behalf of management rounded up 1,186 copper workers and sympathizers in Bisbee, Arizona, on July 12, 1917. The detainees were placed in cattle and boxcars with minimal amounts of food and water and transported through the desert to the tiny, remote town of Hermanas, New Mexico.
There the strikers were released with the warning not to return to their homes. The next day the U.S. Army took the deportees to Columbus, New Mexico, where they were housed in tents for two months. This affair was one of several expulsions of IWW members and supporters during the summer of 1917. Taken together, these episodes of confinement, eviction, and deportation demonstrate the way in which industrial disputes in extraction were invariably contests to control territory, as well as to control the terms and conditions of employment.
Other extreme instances of lethal violence by public authorities and private parties abounded. (The public-private distinction blurred when vigilantes, private detectives, and private guards were deputized en masse.) On September 10, 1897, sheriff’s deputies shot and killed 19 unarmed coal miners, all Slavic immigrants, who had peacefully marched from Harwood, Pennsylvania, to the company village of Lattimer, six miles away. In the midst of a regional strike for the eight-hour day, a boatload of timber and sawmill workers organized by the IWW traveled to Everett, Washington, on November 5, 1916. They were met at the docks by a hail of gunfire from local police and vigilantes. The exact death toll remains unknown—the bodies of five Wobblies (nickname for IWW workers) were found, and other casualties may have been lost in the waters of Port Gardner Bay.
The violence of the West Virginia coal-mining war of 1920-1921 reached a level unparalleled in U.S. history. When agents of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency came to Matewan, West Virginia, to evict fired pro-union miners from housing owned by the Stone Mountain Coal Company, they met opposition from the local police chief, Sid Hatfield. On May 19, 1920, Hatfield and a group of miners engaged the Baldwin-Felts agents in a gunfight in the business district of Matewan. Nine men died, including six detectives. Guerrilla skirmishing escalated across southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky in the summer of 1920 as the UMW struck for recognition, higher wages, and other elementary demands. At its peak, the magnitude of the armed forces arrayed in one place on each side of this struggle surpassed that in any previous North American labor dispute.
Commencing on August 19 in Marmet, an army of approximately 6,000 miners and their allies set forth, heavily armed, on a march to aid their comrades in Logan and Mingo counties. To resist this invasion, coal operators marshaled a force of roughly 2,000 sheriff’s deputies and private agents. The operators also enlisted military power. After declaring the march an insurrection, West Virginia’s Governor received federal assistance. President Warren Harding dispatched more than 2,000 U.S. Army troops as well as aircraft from the 88th Light Bombing Squadron. When the combatants approached Logan County at the end of August, the total number of belligerents had swelled to at least 10,000. For a week, fighting raged along several miles of battlefront on Blair Mountain. The army of sheriff’s deputies, state militia, state police, and private mine guards resisted the miners with an armament that included machine guns and poisonous gas. On August 31, 1920, workers underwent aerial bombardment for the first time in the history of U.S. industrial relations. Finally, the coal operators’ superior firepower and the authority of a presidential proclamation ordering the miners to disperse repelled the invaders.
This defeat contributed to the larger defeat of mining unionism in the expanding area of coal production south of the Ohio River in the years after World War I. Taken together, the Battle of Blair Mountain, the Bisbee Deportation, the Ludlow Massacre, the Everett Massacre, and similar episodes form a pattern of conflict. Unlike industries where one or a handful of major confrontations punctuated labor-management relations, extraction’s competitive economic conditions, routine risks of death on the job, isolation, and quasi-feudalism combined explosively to set the tone of industrial relations in the century up to World War II. John R. Commons (1924)
Presented to the Secretary of the Navy by the Mechanics of the cities of New York and Brooklyn, praying for a reduction of the hours of labor on the public works: which memorial he saw fit to refer to the Board of Navy Commissioners, who returned the petition to the petitioners, informing them that it would not be for the interest of the government to accede to the petitioners’ demand, and that they must refuse them what they asked for.
I now conceive it to be the duty of the representatives of the Mechanics, assembled in this Convention, to address the next Congress on this subject, setting forth the injustice of taking our property in larger quantities than is for our interest to give, and at the same time refusing to give any more for it than other employers are giving for smaller parcels. I look upon it to be an insult to justice and humanity, to compel a man to work from twelve to fifteen hours a day, under the presence that it would not be for his interest to work less, as well as a perversion of the constitution of our country, which guarantees to every citizen the protection of “life, liberty, or property.” And as the mechanic is not possessed of any other property than his labor, he has an undoubted right to dispose of it on such terms and in such quantities as may answer his convenience, and in so doing he has a right to be protected.
When Congress delegates power to any officer, or set of officers, they always reserve the right to withdraw that power when they see fit. If they have delegated the power to the Board of Navy Commissioners, to say how many hours the citizen employed in the government works shall work, it is now high time to withdraw that power, when they become petty tyrants, and pretend to dictate to the government what is for their interest; for I hold that the people constitute the government, and that those who hold office are nothing more or less than servants of the people.
I also hold that it is the sacred right of freemen to petition for a redress of their grievances; and that when any class of citizens so petition that their petition should get a fair and impartial hearing. When any public officer refuses or neglects to give it that consideration, he tramples on one of the most sacred and invaluable rights of freemen, and he is no longer worthy to be considered as a gentleman, nor fit to be an officer of this republic. I now ask, has the Secretary of the Navy, or the Board of Navy Commissioners, treated the petition of the Mechanics with that respect which it deserves? Have they not placed themselves in the attitude of selfish employers? – when they should be the first that would set the example and manifest a spirit of liberty, for which our government is so famed. Should they not, as officers of the nation, study the comfort and happiness of its citizens, and endeavor to do everything in their power to elevate their condition? Allow me then to inquire of the impartial observer if they have done what the duties of their offices required of them? I answer fearlessly, they have not; they have abused a trust reposed in them, as officers of the republic.
Let us suppose that Congress would not grant the petition, and that mechanical labor was withdrawn from the market. What would be the consequence? Why, we would find that in a short period this great and flourishing nation would be reduced to mere nothing. Since, then, that labor is the source of all the real wealth of the nation, and furnishes all the essentials, necessaries and comforts of life, why should the laborer be refused time to partake of the comforts which his labor so plentifully bestows on all? Morris A. Briscoe (1891)
The work in which we are now engaged is neither more nor less than a contest between Money and Labor: Capital, which can only be made productive by labor, is endeavoring to crush labor – the only source of all wealth. We have been too long subjected to the odious, cruel, unjust, and tyrannical system which compels the operative Mechanic to exhaust his physical and mental powers by excessive toil, until he has no desire but to eat and sleep, and in many cases he has no power to do either from extreme debility.
We contend that no man or body of men have a right to require of us that we should toil as we have hitherto done under the old system of labor. We go further. No man or body of men who require such excessive labor can be friends to the country or the Rights of Man. We also say, that we have rights, and we have duties to perform as American Citizens and members of society, which forbid us to dispose of more than Ten Hours for a day’s work.
We cannot, we will not, longer be mere slaves to inhuman, insatiable and unpitying avarice. We have taken a firm and decided stand, to obtain the acknowledgment of those rights to enable us to perform those duties to God, our Country and ourselves. Our opponents have no arguments to adduce against our determination. We have invited them to the contest in a fair and honorable manner, but they have declined. They have used trickery, obloquy and abuse instead of reasoning. Samuel Gompers (1855)
The typical manufacturing enterprise in 1860 was small, family-owned and operated (perhaps a partnership), specialized, labor intensive, and a producer of small batches of goods sold in local and regional markets. The classic proprietorship persisted and proliferated in small town and metropolitan America and contributed to the country’s industrial success. By 1900, however, another kind of manufacturing business dominated the landscape. These large, corporately owned, bureaucratically managed, multifunctional, and capital intensive enterprises marketed mass-produced items nationally and even internationally.
The emergence of large-scale enterprises in the late 19th century entailed a complicated history. Whatever the causes, the rise of big business had enormous impact on the American people. The corporation represented a great threat to visions held of the U.S. as a nation of hearty and independent producers and citizens—a greater threat than in the earlier spread of market activity and the wage labor system.
The last decades of the 19th century and the first of the 20th century brought notable protest against the economic and political power of the corporation and subsequently a modicum of governmental regulation of business. As noted, antitrust legislation had the effect of furthering mergers and soon corporate executives recognized that they could shape regulatory legislation to their own needs to curb competition and achieve market stability. The corporation figured in the great labor battles of the period. The last decades of the 19th century witnessed unprecedented strike activity with federal authorities recording more than 1,000 strikes engaging 200,000 workers annually on average. Work stoppages in the era involved whole communities. Community members from all walks of life rallied and rioted with striking workers to protest the hard times that occurred with the frequent economic downturns of the age, the exploitative employment practices of particular firms, and the general threat that the corporation represented to cherished republican ideals.
The rise of large-scale industrial enterprises presented specific challenges to carrying out work. In an earlier age, workers were motivated by personal relations with owners of small manufactories and the dream of working hard and becoming an independent producer. The imperatives of the new corporate-owned, bureaucrat-managed firms were at odds with the sensibilities of working people. Tensions flared, and labor conflict in the late 19th century set off intense searches for new means of engineering diligence and loyalty at the workplace.
New technologies and diminishing dependency on skilled workers did not guarantee increased productivity in large-scale manufactories. Unskilled and semiskilled mass production workers, who now composed a greater part of the industrial work force, needed overseeing, and the first decades of the 20th century witnessed a doubling in the ratio of supervisors to employees in American industry. Supervision became more specialized.
Owners of industrial facilities in the mid- and late 19th century left the management of their enterprises to others—at times to teams of skilled workers, but more often to shop floor superintendents. In some instances, these bosses ruled as so-called inside contractors—they signed agreements with the owners to produce specified lots of goods and hired their own labor; in other cases, they served as salaried bureaucrats of the firms. Whatever the particular nature of their employment, factory foremen received, assumed, and exerted great power at the workplace.
The capricious governance of the foremen—their nepotism, petty extortions, and arbitrary decision-making—generated grievances among workers and was a significant cause of strikes in the late 19th century. In the name of fairness and security, workers sought to install union work rules during the era to counter the discriminatory actions of their supervisors. The foremen presented problems to higher-level executives, who sought to rationalize operations. The supervisors fomented labor conflict and often blocked reform. An answer for these troubles for top management lay in curbing the generalized rule of the foremen and their training and specialization. Changes in shop floor practice at the turn of the century entailed changes in supervision. The number of foremen grew, and their tasks became more detailed (Taylorized, in effect). John R. Commons (1919)
The general question of promotion counts for little either in present trade union policy or in a study of control; promotion to the position of foreman or to other grades whose duties involve direct supervision is very close to the center of the problem. The immediate issues of control arise in contact with the foreman’s authority; the method of his selection is a pivotal issue. The common belief that no employer ever yields or divides authority on this point is not true; it is nearly enough true, especially in large-scale industry, to indicate that this is a question where the control issue might be consciously and keenly fought.
Of the few instances in which the workers play a decisive part in the choice of foreman, the little Stuff Pressers’ Society again furnishes the best example, though it is apparently losing its full right of election. “The foreman,” says the account already quoted, “is selected by the Society in conjunction with the employers and men. Formerly the men made the selection, this being endorsed by the Society, which then recommended the choice to the firm; but in recent years this method of procedure is to some extent falling into abeyance, due largely to the Bradford Dyers’ association growth in power.
The relation of the foreman to the firm is mainly to act as contractor in behalf of the men . . . Inside the shop the foreman works at his table like the rest of the men whenever his duties as supervisor allow, his wages being determined on identical grounds to that of the men except that a supplementary income of 5% is paid to him by the men for his services as supervisor. . . . This fusion of the labor forces allows no opportunity for the antagonism so discernible in most industries, where the foreman acts largely as the ‘watch dog’ of the firm . . . The salient features of the organization are, then, first a democratically controlled workshop, against which principle as I have indicated above, the Trust is threatening attack. It has already introduced a payment to foremen.
“The appointment of foremen is a question on which there may be said to be three groups of opinions. Many employers hold that it is purely a management question. The opposite extreme to this is the claim made by a considerable section of Trade Unionists that the workmen should choose their own foremen. A position intermediate to these two extremes is taken up by a certain number of employers and by a section of workpeople; the appointment (they feel) should be made by the management, but it should be submitted to the “Works Council before it becomes effective. Even this intermediate position, however, is not really a common position; there are differences of opinion as to the conditions under which the appointment should come before the Works Committee—that is to say, whether or not the Works Committee should have power to veto the appointment.”
At the height of their power during the war, the Clyde shop stewards, while they claimed no right to choose foremen, could “make it impossible” for an unpopular foreman. The extent to which the workers make it impossible for foremen to whom they object—and therefore exercise a clumsy and delayed but real and very important veto over the choice of foremen. It was of veto in their sense rather than of veto by formal right that Mr. Cole spoke in his testimony before the Coal Commission: “The extent to which trade unions exercise an amount of control over the selection of foremen negatively by veto is increasing very fast.”
Don’t trust them: Capture them. The idea behind the former is that the workman by accepting promotion has stepped across a definite line and has become the employer’s man. From that time on he is bargaining for the employer and against the worker; therefore he must not be trusted with any news of the workers’ plans. He is the ‘ ‘guv ‘nor’s man” and therefore no longer “safe.” The natural outcome of this feeling is to exclude foremen from the union, or at east to let them remain only as honorary members or for purposes of friendly benefit, as the glass Bottle Workers do by their rule that “a walking manager may remain a member of the society, but shall not be allowed to attend any meetings without being specially summoned.”
A correspondent writing to the Times during the railway dispute of 1907 declared that: “The whole cause of these continued disturbances is due to the authority and petty tyranny exercised by the foremen, who are nothing less than despots and slave-drivers.
And the Commission on Industrial Unrest in 1917, in analyzing the unrest in South Wales, said: “We must also recognize the fact that the Welsh collier, even though possibly addicted to bluntness of speech in conversation with his fellow-workmen is quick to resent any ebullition of temper or violence of language towards himself on the part of those placed in authority over him. . . . Much avoidable friction is due to lack of self-control in language and temper and want of tact generally on the part of officials, though circumstances may often be such as to test them severely in this respect. Carter Lyman Goodrich (1911)
An inborn instinct of submission and an innate aggressiveness is within the human animal. The ﬁrst lesson of civilization is that of obedience and the two states of the inclinations . . . one the desire to exercise power over others; the other disinclination to have power exercised over themselves.’ If we would trust our own experiences in these matters, we should know that the instinct of submission, an ardent desire to obey and be ruled by some strong man, is at least as prominent in human psychology as the will to power, and, politically, perhaps more relevant.
The old adage ‘How ﬁt he is to sway That can so well obey,’ known to all centuries and all nations, points to a psychological truth: namely, that the will to power and the will to submission are interconnected. ‘Ready submission to tyranny’, is by no means always caused by ‘extreme passiveness.’ Conversely, a strong disinclination to obey is often accompanied by an equally strong disinclination to dominate and drive. John Stuart Mill (1870)
In modes of getting and using the means of living, the civilization of Mesopotamia two thousand years before Christ was more like that of Europe in 1776 than was this to present society. In industry a very undemocratic thing, namely, monopoly, has lately made its appearance; but this has provoked the most intensely democratic movement of modern times, that, namely, which demands a popular control of everything.
Concerning the claim that the forces which center in industry are very dominant in the life of America not much argument is necessary. They have, indeed, been dominant everywhere. It is a common criticism that such histories of most countries as have until recently been current have been too largely military and too little institutional. They have given great space to the records of wars and territorial changes and in so far as they have dealt with the internal conditions of the different nations, they have given prominence to the struggles of ruling families for supremacy. Such records are full of dramatic interest and, if the truth be known, are free from a certain dryness from which purely constitutional histories at times suffer.
They appeal to an elemental trait in their readers – an interest in struggles of any kind – as minute descriptions of a political constitution and the administrative processes that have developed under it seldom do. Moreover such a record of struggles, national and international, really shows how countries have assumed their geographical shapes and dimensions and how they have come into closer and closer connection with each other.
As the use of machinery in America has extended to almost every productive operation, it has carried this centralizing process to very great lengths and in the briefest time. It has led to a fierce competition in every department of business, and this struggle has sought to end itself by the building up of what we call “trusts.” During the period of competition and well into the period of growing consolidation another type of contest has been waging – that between employers and employed in each of the different occupations.
While the automatic machine, the modern genius of the lamp, has been turning out forms of utility in profusion, masters and workmen have been contending over the sharing of them; and here again organization has played its part and the effects have been far reaching. We have our national unions of employees on the one hand, and of employers on the other.
What is clear is that the effects which machinery has produced in the United States have resembled in kind and exceeded in number and degree those which it has produced elsewhere. The mechanical genius of the lamp has in this country gone into every part of the field of production. With this transformation there has come in America, in a conspicuous way, the centralizing of industries, the fierce competition, the combination of rival producers, and the struggle against monopoly, which are the features of present-day life.
We have more trusts and stronger ones than have most countries, and we have strong trade unions and growing socialistic parties. We can see how all this is connected with that complete transformation of practical life which machinery has produced.
This condition, as might easily be shown, greatly accelerates the growth of producers’ combinations. That America is the favorite home of so-called trusts is due to its commercial isolation. With free trade a producers’ combination which is confined to a single country usually has no really monopolistic power, since any attempt to restrict production and raise prices attracts the products of foreigners, and causes prices to resume their former level. With the foreigners excluded, the monopoly may become real and oppressive. It may curtail its output of goods, reduce its working force and raise its scale of prices, to the injury of laborers and consumers. Whenever this occurs there is an impetus given to radical agitation. Trusts are at least the foster-fathers of socialism in the United States.
They have compelled even the conservative classes to demand a vigorous regulation of corporations, and they have caused the more democratic ones to demand the making over of all production, or of much of it, to the State itself. In the colonial period self-government grew out of the local isolation of the settlers; in the present period a new and startling type of democracy is growing out of the commercial isolation of the country taken in connection with the modern processes of production. Machines, great mills, trusts, class struggles, and socialism – such is the sequence in American history. It is instructive for us and for the world because America, in its shut-in position, is preceding the world in a development which must, in the end, become general.
We have, therefore, not gone too far in saying that economics furnishes a very large part of the philosophical element in history and by far the largest part of that element which is found in the history of practical social life. We are within bounds in saying that America has afforded the richest field for the application of known economic law to the interpretation of history and that, conversely, the history of America offers the most available means of testing and establishing the correctness of economic theories themselves. One has only to cite such changes as the abolition of slavery and the quick occupation of a vast area of formerly vacant land to see how much of economic development has here been crowded into a brief and recent period, and how full this period is of lessons for the economist.
Both history and economic theory will be largely affected by this work and even practical industry should go on somewhat better because the men who control it will have more assured principles for their guidance. In particular should the making of laws to govern the delicate relations of employers and employed and those of producers and consumers become a less crude and experimental process than it now is, when it shall have the guidance which history and theory can give. Democracy itself will attain a more assured success when a knowledge of economic law rather than caprice or excited feeling is at the basis of its action. John Bates Clark Columbia University, (1909)
The annual report of the Furnishing Trades Association for 1917, of joint action by the metal and woodworking trades in an aircraft factory: “A mass-meeting of all sections made it quite clear that they were determined to insist that any attempt to treat any group of men without regard to their feelings or self-respect would be treated as a challenge to all the unions, and as such would be taken up and replied to by a general stoppage of work. They demand the right to work under a manager who will treat them as men inside the shop.”
The Act which enables mine-workers to appoint a person to periodically inspect every part of the mine, ventilating apparatus, machinery, etc., has been allowed to remain a dead letter at most of the collieries in this coalfield. One of the chief reasons for this has been that if the persons elected as local inspectors give an adverse report, the management would soon find some means of getting rid of them. … It is not uncommon to be told by mine-workers that their mine has not been examined by local inspectors for 10 years. During the inquiry into the Senyhenyd explosion, 1911, in which 439 men and boys lost their lives it came out in evidence that the miners had not inspected the mine for 18 months. The reason the men gave was that no man dared to give a true report.”
- Do you mind telling us the nature of the stoppage?
- The stoppage took place at the Risca Colliery in Monmouthshire where 15,000 men were idle for several days owing to a danger arising from gas, a shortage of timber, and the dukie rope cutting into the timber and cutting through the rails.
- That is what we could call a safety strike?
- Yes. Then at the Bedwas Mine the men are out today because of a safety stoppage. The owners declined to stall the place, and the men were fearing that a crush would take place, and so they stopped.”
These disputes are not only interesting as indicating a degree of present control but as often furnishing the background for further demands for control. A miner who had been discharged from a Scotch colliery for refusing to work in a place which he considered dangerous explained his case in great detail and with diagrams in a leaflet addressed to his fellow-workers at the colliery and reprinted in The Worker (Glasgow) of September 27, 1919. The moral which he drew was this: “If I lost, it’s you who have lost, for you will have lost the right to decide yourselves about the safety of your own place. My idea is that we should demand that chocks—hard wood chocks—should be put in every loosened place and kept up with the face. That as soon as possible we should appoint pit committees to control the method of working; this would guarantee more safety to the coal getter.”
In engineering and other industries a guerrilla warfare is being waged over the introduction and the conditions of introduction of piece work and more especially of premium bonus and “efficiency” systems. The general argument of the employers for the introduction of payment by results is that it is necessary as providing an incentive for greater production—a way to “speed up” the workers. Some of them favor collective payment by results, that is, payment based on the output of the whole shop or works, as a way of getting the workers to ‘ ‘ speed each other up ‘ ‘—which recalls the old argument for profit sharing that it “makes every workman an overseer.” The motives of the workers who oppose the system are various—a distaste for being speeded up and the past experience and fear of rate-cutting are among the chief. A fairly constant argument against individual piece work in many industries is that it makes collective bargaining harder to enforce and that it divides the workers against themselves instead of making for the “solidarity of labor,”—that is, “That it promotes selfishness in the workshop.” On the other hand I heard a printing employer argue on just the same ground against a change to piece work which his employees wanted—that it would destroy the good team work among his compositors.
The Miners’ Federation at its 1917 Conference passed a resolution in favor of the abolition of piece work; but a vigorous minority insisted that time work would mean much more irksome supervision, that “you would probably want a doggy or a deputy in every stall to see that the men are working their hardest.” Somewhat the same point is occasionally put in the statement that the workers “feel freer” in regard to attendance under piece work. The most conspicuous advocates of workers’ control, including Mr. Frank Hodges of the Miners and Mr. G. D. H. Cole, are in favor of time work. With that opinion, as it applies to future policy, it is not the affair of the present study to deal; from the historical point of view, one fact might be set on the other side, that the genuine interest of the miners in the problems of mine-management, as well as the favorable attitude of the cotton operatives toward improvements in machinery, are partly traceable to their piece-work systems. In any case, it is clear that the quarrels over methods of payment cannot be completely disentangled from the general question of the control of industry.
“This principle of collective payment throws the responsibility upon every individual to contribute his maximum quota to the whole. It has almost completely crushed out of existence the practice of Ca’ canny, for where is the man of sufficient courage to exercise his genius for shirking when the consequences of his action would be to bring down on his head the wrath of the shop?”
“The disastrous grasping policy of the mine owner has had the result of causing the workmen to erect a code of customs and rules, designed to protect their wages and conditions. These act directly in restraint of production, as well as of the owners’ greed. Remove this code by removing its cause, and the management of a mine loses three-fourths of its worries, while it at least doubles its efficiency.” Carter Lyman Goodrich (1919)
The one who can provoke ideas, raise doubts, stimulate ambitions, and then let the others do it themselves, he is the teacher. And he, too, may impart a soul to the corporation— the soul of hope, personality, individuality, self-reliance, in the workers because their work is interesting, promising and unfinished.
He, too, may impart the loyalty that is goodwill —the loyalty that gladly sees their own progress in the progress and prosperity of the business. Here is the true science of scientific management. It is the defect of every new idea that it gets standardized for the sake of those who do not understand it. Strong personalities have pioneered the movement for scientific management. They have understood human nature. They have come up through the shop and have been a part of the psychology of labor. They have known how to invent and sell efficiency to the worker. But when the movement spreads and large contracts are taken, smaller men are put into the shop with their instruments of measurement and their statistics and blue prints.
Personality of a kind is taught, or perhaps only picked up. But not many employers have their school of personality with its separate organization for creating personality. It goes without saying that the candidate must know the mechanical details of figuring and getting out the work. But that is not personality. Likewise he must have a minimum of native character on which to build. But mere individuality is not personality. Personality is individuality plus power—it is the psychology of influence without the power of compulsion. It is developed by trial and error; by experiment, success and failure; by exchange of ideas and experiences; by study of leadership; by self-examination; by cultivating healthy vitality, courage, initiative, self-confidence, enthusiasm, and, above all, sympathy with the other man’s point of view, imagination that puts one’s self in his place, and sincerity that inspires his confidence.
Hoxie found that the mass of time-study men in the shops who actually set the tasks and make the piece and premium rates are “poorly paid and not men of an intellectual or moral quality and breadth of training and education” calculated to inspire confidence. There are exceptional individuals at the top, but for the staff that does the actual work the details are reduced to mechanical routine without a grasp of the social effects or labor problems that ensue.
But the virtue of true scientific management is that it never is finished. It always has a fringe of trial and experiment. It always is ready to abandon a previous standard for something better. It is along this fringe of comparison and experiment that interest in one’s work is to be found. If the worker does not share in this experimental side of his work, the interesting part of it is taken away from him and monopolized by the scientific manager. The great field of scientific management is to make the work interesting for the worker. Henry Chellen (1921)
The necessity of such a course is further seen, in the following facts which we very respectfully beg leave to present before you. The evils which oppress the producing classes are not the result of the selfishness or perversity of individuals; but that they grow out of the false organization of industry, and of erroneous political and social principles, and that for this reason we attack principles, not men.
- The system of labor to which we have alluded in our preamble, requiring of the Mechanic and Laborer of New England from twelve to fifteen hours labor per diem, is more than the physical constitution of man can bear, generally speaking, and preserve a healthy state.
In confirmation of this statement, we have only to acquaint ourselves with the bill of mortality which is annually rendered through the public journals of the day, with the employment of those who have died – the nature of the disease which terminated their earthly existence, and then ascertain the cause, the first cause of all this, and we shall find that at least three-fifths of all the deaths which occur among us, are attributable, either directly or indirectly, to the prevailing system of labor by which we are governed: (of course we are speaking of adult cases) and yearly there are thousands who come down to a premature grave, almost wholly in consequence of that system of labor against which it is our duty to contend, and which levies such a heavy tax upon the physical strength of man as to render him wholly unable to pay. But this is not all.
The influence of that system of labor on which we are treating, is such as must of necessity extinguish the intellectual fire which heaven designed should burn and blaze upon and in every soul of man. Whence is it that so few, when compared with the great number of Mechanics and Laborers in this country, enjoy the pleasures and lasting benefits resulting from a regular and systematic course of study? Whence is it, that they are denied these privileges but in consequence of the old system of manual labor? The simple fact is, they have been, and they still are over-worked, and hence are unfitted for deep thought, systematic study, and real mental culture.
It becomes us as Mechanics and Laborers in New England, to exert our utmost endeavors to establish a new system of labor by which our sacred rights may be secured, and in the adoption of which, man, “the noblest work of God,” may more fully and effectually answer the end and object of his being.
- We are fast approximating towards the disagreeable, servile and degrading state of the English laborer. Nabobs in England do not oppress and grind the face of the poor more than is done in this country, because they are worse than are American nabobs! The riches of the affluent in Great Britain, are no more “corrupted” in proportion to their power over the working classes, than are the riches of the wealthy among us, in proportion to their power over the laboring communities in which we reside. The hire of the laborer in this country “is kept back by fraud:” and the cries of them which have been shamefully oppressed have “entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabbath.” The downtrodden Mechanic and Laborer of New England, with their wives and little ones, have frequently had cause – nay more, they have cause daily to weep over the condition that awaits them, unless man arises speedily to the work of reform, and heaven interposes ere long, to crush, annihilate, forever destroy that system which is fast carrying us forward to the disagreeable, servile and degrading condition of the English laborer.
- A reform can only be brought about by a general concert of action: and in order to concert measures by which the laboring classes may be elevated, it is essential that we meet in convention as already proposed.
The present, affords a favorable opportunity to all persons who feel at all interested in the general good of the whole people, for giving a free expression of their views and peculiar feelings on this subject, and of securing joint efforts to carry forward a thorough and effectual change in relation to the present system of labor in New England. The time has never been since the adoption of the present system, when public sympathies have been awakened, and when a general interest has been created to such an extent in behalf of the working classes, as at the present time. We are aware however, that our opposers have never arrayed themselves against us in greater hostility than recently; but this fact has contributed, largely contributed to bring the subject in its true light directly before the people; so that all which is needed in order to consummate the great work of reform speedily and triumphantly, is decision, fixedness of purpose on the part of the Mechanics and Laborers themselves.
In our view of the subject, Editors can do much toward effecting a reform in the present system of labor, by recommending the formation of Associations for the social, moral and intellectual improvement of the laboring classes -by asserting their rights -by making known to the world their injuries caused by the iron hand of Avarice -by contending for the great principle assumed by the Declaration of Independence, that “All men are created free and equal,” and in brief, by endeavoring to raise them to that point in the scale of being which God originally designed for all, viz: The common ground of equality, man with man. Edward Earle Purinton (1898)
This is not limited to academia, but is very much a reality for practitioners, as demonstrated by the lack of success in emulating the Toyota System. It is not for the lack of publications that the message does not seem to get across. A plethora of business books are published each year, upwards of one thousand seven hundred in the United States, and upwards of $60 billion spent on training by organizations. They ask why there is such a divide between training, management consultation and organizational research, and so few changes in actual management practice. “If the evidence suggests that many successful interventions rely more on implementation of simple knowledge than on creating new insights, then our position that the gap between knowing and doing is important for firm performance follows logically. Transforming knowledge into organizational action is at least as important to organizational success.” The difficulty in the transfer of successful experiences is an indication that a lacuna somewhere in the process is affecting the outcome. Michel Mestre (2002)
We, the Journeymen Mechanics of the City and County of Philadelphia, conscious that our condition in society is lower than justice demands it should be, and feeling our inability, individually, to ward off from ourselves and families those numerous evils which result from an unequal and very excessive accumulation of wealth and power into the hands of a few, are desirous of forming an Association, which shall avert as much as possible those evils with which poverty and incessant toil have already inflicted, and which threaten ultimately to overwhelm and destroy us. And in order that our views may be properly understood, and the justness of our intention duly appreciated, we offer to the public the following summary of our reasons, principles and objects.
If unceasing toils were actually requisite to supply us with a bare, and in many instances wretched, subsistence; if the products of our industry or an equitable proportion of them, were appropriated to our actual wants and comfort, then would we yield without a murmur to the stern and irrevocable decree of necessity. But this is infinitely wide of the fact. We appeal to the most intelligent of every community, and ask- Do not you, and all society, depend solely for subsistence on the products of human industry? Do not those who labour, while acquiring to themselves thereby only a scanty and penurious support, likewise maintain in affluence and luxury the rich who never labour?
Do not all the streams of wealth which flow in every direction and are emptied into and absorbed by the coffers of the unproductive, exclusively take their rise in the bones, marrow, and muscles of the industrious classes? In return for which, exclusive of a bare subsistence, (which likewise is the product of their own industry,) they receive – not anything!
Is it just? Is it equitable that we should waste the energies of our minds and bodies, and be placed in a situation of such unceasing exertion and servility as must necessarily, in time, render the benefits of our liberal institutions to us inaccessible and useless, in order that the products of our labour may be accumulated by a few into vast pernicious masses, calculated to prepare the minds of the possessors for the exercise of lawless rule and despotism, to overawe the meagre multitude, and fright away that shadow of freedom which still lingers among us?
Are we who confer almost every blessing on society, never to be treated as freemen and equals, and never be accounted worthy of an equivalent, in return for the products of our industry? Has the Being who created us, given us existence only with the design of making it a curse and a burthen to us, while at the same time, he has conferred upon us a power with which ten-fold more of blessings can be created than it is possible for society either to enjoy or consume? No! at the present period, when wealth is so easily and abundantly created that the markets of the world are overflowing with it, and when, in consequence thereof, and of the continual development and increase of Scientific Power, the demand for human labour is gradually and inevitably diminishing, it cannot be necessary that we, or any portion of society should be subjected to perpetual slavery. But a ray of intelligence on this subject has gone forth through the working world, which the ignorance and injustice of oppressors, aided by the most powerful and opposing interests cannot extinguish; and in consequence thereof, the day of human emancipation from haggard penury and incessant toil is already dawning. The spirit of freedom is diffusing itself through a wider circle of human intellect, it is expanding in the bosoms of the mass of mankind, and preparing them to cast off the yoke of oppression and servility, wherever and by whatever means it has been riveted upon them.
As freemen and republicans, we feel it a duty incumbent on us to make known our sentiments fearlessly and faithfully on any subject connected with the general welfare; and we are prepared to maintain, that all who toil have a natural and unalienable right to reap the fruits of their own industry; and that they who by labour (the only source) are the authors of every comfort, convenience and luxury, are in justice entitled to an equal participation, not only in the meanest and the coarsest, but likewise the richest and the choicest of them all. The principles upon which the institution shall be founded, are principles, alike, of the strictest justice, and the most extended philanthropy. Believing that, whatever is conducive to the real prosperity of the greatest numbers, must in the nature of things conduce to the happiness of all; we cannot desire to injure nor take the smallest unjust advantage, either of that class of the community called employers or of any other portion.
It is neither our intention nor desire to extort inequitable prices for our labour; all we may demand for this shall not exceed what can be clearly demonstrated to be a fair and full equivalent. If we demand more we wrong the society of which we are members, and if society require us to receive less, she injures and oppresses us.
The real object, therefore, of this association, is to avert, if possible, the desolating evils which must inevitably arise from a depreciation of the intrinsic value of human labour ; to raise the mechanical and productive classes to that condition of true independence and inequality [sic] which their practical skill and ingenuity, their immense utility to the nation and their growing intelligence are beginning imperiously to demand; to promote, equally, the happiness, prosperity and welfare of the whole community- to aid in conferring a due and full proportion of that invaluable promoter of happiness, leisure, upon all its useful members ; and to assist, in conjunction with such other institutions of this nature as shall hereafter be formed throughout the union, in establishing a just balance of power, both mental, moral, political and scientific, between all the various classes and individuals which constitute society at large.
Whereas, all men have a right to assemble in a peaceable and orderly manner, for the purpose of deliberating on their own and the public good : And, whereas, the Journeymen house carpenters, of the city and county of Philadelphia, have for a long time suffered under a grievous and slave like system of labour, which they believe to be attended with many evils injurious alike to the community and the workmen; they believe that a man of common constitution is unable to perform more than ten hours faithful labour in one day, and that men in the habit of labouring from sun rise until dark, are generally subject to nervous and other complaints; arising from continued hard labour and they believe that all men have a just right, derived from their Creator, to have sufficient time in each day for the cultivation of their mind and for self-improvement; Therefore, resolved, that we think ten hours industriously employed are sufficient for a day’s labour. Philadelphia Journeymen (1827)
“The Rich against the Poor: Judge Edwards, the tool of the Aristocracy, against the People! Mechanics and workingmen! a deadly blow has been struck at your Liberty! The prize for which your fathers fought has been robbed from you! The Freemen of the North are now on a level with the slaves of the South! With no other privileges than laboring that drones may fatten on your life-blood! Twenty of your brethren have been found guilty for presuming to resist, a reduction of their wages! and Judge Edwards has charged an American jury, and agreeably to that charge, they have established the precedent, that workingmen have no right to regulate the price of labor! or, in other words, the Rich are the only judges of the wants of the Poor Man! On Monday, June 6, 1836, these Freemen are to receive their sentence, to gratify the hellish appetites of the Aristocracy! On Monday, the Liberty of the Workingmen will be interred! Judge Edwards is to chant the Requiem! Go! Go! Go! every Freeman, every Workingman, and hear the hollow and the melancholy sound of the earth on the Coffin of Equality! Let the Court-room, the City-hall -yea, the whole Park, be filled with Mourners! But, remember, offer no violence to Judge Edwards! Bend meekly, and receive the chains wherewith you are to be bound! Keep the peace! Above all things keep the peace! . . .” Great Meeting in the Park. National Laborer, June 18, 1836
In the final analysis, the legality or illegality of a labor union turns on the opinion of the judge or the executive or the public as to the public purpose of the union. If it exists only for a private purpose, then even its persuasive efforts are illegal. If it performs a public purpose, then its effort to strengthen its bargaining power by persuasion is lawful. All other details and all technical reasoning of the law are subordinate to this. Does it, or does it not, serve a public purpose?
Each person must decide for himself. When he decides, we know his definition of democracy. If the union performs no public purpose then democracy is the anarchistic, socialistic or capitalistic definition of democracy, and only those who have the power may govern if they wish. But if both associations of workmen and associations of employers perform a public service, then neither can be left to dominate the other, but both unite in a representative democracy as the means of promoting the public welfare.
For, the struggle of capital and labor is almost never a struggle of individuals. It always involves associations of individuals. The court starts with a fiction that a corporation is a “person” and then holds that an individual worker and an individual corporation are exactly equal, in that the right of one person to quit work is exactly equal to the right of the other person to discharge him. It thereupon declares unconstitutional all the laws in which the legislature tries to protect, against employers, the worker’s right to belong to a union, by prohibiting employers from discharging them solely on account of union membership. These decisions are absurd enough in the case of a corporation, which is obviously an association of capitalists. The right of a worker to quit working for an association of capitalists is by no means equal to the right of the association of capitalists to discharge him.
Employer and employee are engaged in a common enterprise. They jointly assume the risks and share the burdens and benefits of the enterprise. More than that. They share each other’s frailties. The employer takes the workman as he is, and the workman takes the employer as he is. The employer gains in some cases and loses in other cases, and the law attempts to balance one off against the other. The employer gains in those cases where he alone is responsible, for, instead of heavy damages of many thousand dollars where a man is badly disabled through the employer’s fault, he pays only a moderate compensation previously set forth in the statute. The employer loses where the worker is responsible, for he pays the same compensation as when he himself is responsible.
The law attempts to set off the frailties of one against the frailties of the other, and to balance off the chances of human nature with its imperfections as they are. Each takes the other as he is, with all his frailties. Each also takes the occupation as it exists, with all its risks. They engage jointly in a common enterprise. The risks of the enterprise and the risks of each other are shared by each according to a schedule of prices set forth in advance. Samuel Gompers (1910)
The ten-hour system, originally devised by the mechanics and laborers themselves, has by my direction been adopted, and uniformly carried out at all public establishments, and . . . this mitigation of labor has been accompanied by no corresponding reduction of wages. I also caused it to be distinctly intimated in the month of March last, to the officers of such of these establishments as might contemplate a reduction of wages, that in my opinion the present peculiarly uncertain state of things, which it is believed results from circumstances that cannot be permanent in their operation, does not present a just and proper basis for a reduction of wages. Martin van Buren, POTUS (1840)
I was glad to find my experience borne out by that of a Scotch weaver, William Thomson, of Stonehaven, inventor of the pneumatic tyre, who traveled in the years 1841 -2 for his health in the southern states. He supported himself as he went along by manual labor, and lived on intimate terms with persons of a different class of society from those with whom I had most intercourse. On his return home he published a small book, in which he says: “It will appear, to those who knew my opinions on slavery before I visited America, that, like most others who can judge dispassionately, I have changed my opinion considerably.” He gives a detailed account of his adventures in the regions which I traversed in Alabama, Georgia, and many other states, and concludes by observing, “After witnessing negro slavery in mostly all the slaveholding states, having lived for weeks in cotton plantations, observing closely the actual condition of the Negroes, I can assert, without fear of contradiction from any man who has any knowledge of the subject, that I have never witnessed one-fifth of the real suffering that I have seen in manufacturing establishments in Great Britain.” In reference to another topic, he affirms “that the members of the same family of negroes are not so much scattered as are those of working men in Scotland, whose necessities compel them to separate at an age when the American slave is running about gathering health and strength.” Josiah Black (1870)
In the first place, the sharp division ordinarily drawn between the sphere of “management” and that of “labor” is an abstraction which does less than justice to the complexity of the facts. If it is broadly true that in modern industry the function of the former is direction and of the latter the execution of orders transmitted to it, the line between them, nevertheless, fluctuates widely from industry to industry. It varies, for one thing, quite irrespective of any deliberate effort on the part of the workers to move it, with the word “management.” What is true of miners is true, indifferent to the nature of the work which is being carried on. There are certain occupations in which an absolute separation between the planning and the performance of work is, for technical reasons, impracticable. A group of miners who are cutting and filling coal are “working” hard enough. But very little coal will be cut, and the risks of their trade will be enormously increased, unless they display some of the qualities of scientific knowledge, prevision and initiative which are usually associated with men on a building job or in the transport trades. They must exercise considerable discretion in their work because, unless they do, the work does not get done, and no amount of supervision can compensate for the absence of it.
It is not, it may be suggested, a mere chance that workers in these industries should have taken the initiative in the movement for “control.” They demand more of it, because the very nature of their work compels them to exercise something of it already. In industries such as these the character of the work pushes the frontier of the workmen’s control further into the employer’s territory than is the case in—say—a cotton mill or a locomotive shop. But the degree to which workers exercise in some industries functions and powers reserved in others for the management does not depend merely upon economic conditions. It is also, of course, the result of conscious effort, which is not the less significant because till recently it took the form of specific claims to be consulted upon particular matters incidental to the wage contract and was not related to any general social philosophy.
The organization of sufficient power to assert those claims effectively is the history of trade unionism. The reader can judge from it how much “control” had in practice been secured by workmen up to 1919. If he compares the position with that which obtained fifty years ago he will see that long before the movement for “self-government in industry” had become explicit, the line between “management” and ‘ labor’ ‘ had been, in fact, redrawn. On one point, apprenticeship and the entry to a trade, the effective power of the workers appears for obvious reasons to have diminished. On all the rest it has enormously increased. The intensive development of trade unionism has been even more remarkable than its extensive growth in membership. On the whole group of questions, in particular, suggested by the word “discipline,” it is every year more and more succeeding in the establishment of the same claims as it made effective thirty years ago with regard to wages and hours.
The picture of “the employer” achieving economic progress by “substituting” one “factor of production” for another may have been adequate to the early days of the factory system. What the present study brings out is the vital importance at every point of a condition which is apt to be lightly touched upon or omitted altogether, the condition of corporate consent on the part of the workers. How vital that condition is is one of the discoveries of the past five years. It was emphasized first by the events of the war, which revealed how little reality there was in the common assumption that the settlement of the larger questions of industrial organization was a matter for the employer and the employer alone. It became necessary to reorganize industry for the purpose of increasing production or of economizing materials. The condition of carrying out the reorganization effectively was the consent of all engaged in the industry. Consent could be obtained only by a formal recognition of the fact that the representative of the workers had a right to be consulted with regard to questions of policy and management, because they possessed de facto the power to frustrate the required changes or to make them effective.
Hence, the creation of representative organs, such as the Textile Control Boards, through which the views of the workers on these matters could be expressed. When, as in the textile trades, that representative machinery worked effectively, the emergency was met with comparatively little difficulty. When, as in the engineering trades, the policy pursued was to force drastic innovations upon workers who were not consulted with regard to them, the result was endless friction. The moral suggested by the situation since the armistice in the building and coal-mining industries is the same. It is that, as matters now stand, the first condition of economic progress is such a change in the position of the workers as will throw on to the side of increased efficiency the public opinion which is at present skeptical both of the objects for which it is urged and of the methods by which it is sought to attain it.
The truth is that, with the pushing forward of the “frontier” through the process described by Mr. Goodrich, the conditions of industrial efficiency have changed. In no very remote past discipline could be imposed upon workers from above, under pain of dismissal, which meant in the last resort, however hateful it may be to confess it, by an appeal to hunger and fear.
“Members of this Court,” states Lord Shaw’s report, “can recall a period when men, gathered at the dock gates, fought fiercely for a tally which, when obtained, might only enable them to obtain one hour’s work, and so limit their earnings for the day to 4d.” Workmen were conscious of individual grievances, but they had not formulated an interpretation of their position in general terms, and the willingness of the personnel of industry to co-operate in production without raising fundamental questions as to its constitution and government could be taken for granted. To-day that assumption is possible only to the very short-sighted. As the present study shows, the effect of the piecemeal advances made by trade unionism has been to effect, in the aggregate, a radical redistribution of authority between the parties engaged in industry, which results, in extreme cases, in something like a balance of power.
To discuss how that situation is to be resolved, whether by a frontal attack on trade unionism, such as appears to be favored by the more naive and irresponsible section of opinion in the United States, or by giving it a vested interest in the continuance of profit-making through schemes of profit-sharing and representation on directorates, or by a partnership between a trade unionism undertaking responsibility for the maintenance of professional standards and the consumer for whom industry is carried on, does not fall within the scope of Mr. Goodrich’s book. But a reasonable consideration of these large and burning issues will be materially assisted by the clearness and impartiality with which he has set forth the precise facts of the existing situation. B. H. Tawney (1920)
The Mechanics of Fall River, to their Brethren and Friends abroad, Greeting: Believing that the long established, unjust and prevailing system of labor in this country, is at war with the real interest of man’s physical, intellectual, social, moral and religious being; and believing that the oppressed and down trodden state of our fellow Mechanics is the legitimate result of this system; and that many of the evils of our several communities, together with their serious and mournful effects, are attributable to the same cause; and having taken the subject into consideration, as we trust, in the spirit of candid investigation, with a desire to know the whole truth with reference to this matter, independent of all former prejudices and prepossessions, from a sense of duty, which we owe individually to ourselves, our fellows and our God, do send forth this Circular to the Mechanics of New England particularly, and all others interested, for the special purpose of directing their immediate attention to the importance and even necessity of calling a Convention of Mechanics for the purpose of concerting measures by which we may act jointly and efficiently in our humble endeavors to point out a “more excellent” system of labor than that which has so long prevailed, and thus, under God, remove the “heavy burdens” which have long rested upon us and our children, and “let the oppressed go free.”
And, being persuaded that the social organization which produces results so pernicious and demoralizing – which acts so injuriously upon the interests, and violates so flagrantly the most valuable rights, of those engaged in the useful, necessary and honorable occupation of manual labor, is founded in neither justice nor reason; is required by no essential law of human association, far less can be sanctioned by any providence of God; and assuming as self-evident that the cruel hardships to which the laboring classes are subjected, are continued only through the indifference, ignorance and lethargy of themselves; that the remedy for these abuses is apparent and simple, and is to be found in a general and thorough organization of the laboring classes, for the purpose of defending their interests and securing to their own enjoyment the constant wealth which their own honest and honorable industry produces, with a view to the attainment of these objects.
Whereas there are many of our fellow workingmen, who have so small an equivalent returned them for their toil -although laboring excessively, to the deterioration of health as well as to the neglect of the intellect- that in very many cases, no surplus remains after the purchase of the necessaries of life; hence indigence, and in the event of sickness, not only destitution, but without that kindness and sympathetic attention to which their case lays claim, whereas, many evils arise from the isolated way in which the laborer, as a man of small means, has to purchase the necessaries of life; therefore, to unite the little fund of the producers, and purchase in season, as do the wealthy class, their fuel and groceries, would, it is obvious, secure to the brothers a larger share of their products than otherwise can be, and, whereas, we most firmly believe it is the imperative duty we owe one another and ourselves, to give all the information in our power to the procurance of sure, steady and profitable employment, that we may have deeds of genuine sympathy, which not only manifest themselves in relieving the destitute, administering to the sick, but those which strike at the root of poverty; such as will secure good pay and fewer hours of labor, and thereby in no ordinary degree remove the cause of poverty and sickness.
It is the belief of your Committee that these objects can only be gained by Industrial Association, or union among the laboring classes. The direction and profits of industry must be kept in the hands of the producers. Laborers must own their own shops and factories; work their own stock, sell their own merchandise, and enjoy the fruits of their own toil. Our Lowells must be owned by the artisans who build them, and the operatives who run the machinery and do all the work. And the dividend, instead of being given to the idle parasites of a distant city, should be shared among those who perform the labor. Our Lynns must give the fortunes made by the dealer and employer, to those who use the awl and work the material. Our Cape Anns must exchange their own oil, combine the vast benefits of commerce with their poorly paid navigation, and not pay the rents of so many city stores, nor support in luxury so many city merchants. In other words, all interests must be united, all trades combined, and all branches of usefulness be equally paid. The farmer, manufacturer, the mechanic, and the merchant, must belong to the same Firm, and share the proceeds proportionally to the labor each has contributed. The country’s wealth belongs to, and must be given to the country’s labor.
RESOLVED, that we recommend to our brother mechanics and laborers throughout the country, (who are not already associated), immediately to organize for the purpose of defending our common interests, to vindicate labor from reproach -to secure to the laborer a more just equivalent for his toil -for moral and intellectual improvement- to investigate the causes of the present fearful and still daily increasing disparities of social condition, and to inquire why it has been and is, that the workingmen in society, by whose labor all wealth is produced, on whose industry rests the arts of civilized life, are condemned to occupy the meanest position in that society, are stigmatized as ignorant and inferior, and universally regarded as the Helots of capital. Mechanics Union (1807)
Capitalists, within the last few years, have combined together, in this city and elsewhere, for the purpose of working to each other’s advantage. For instance – Builders have engaged hands to work for trade, stating that they “could give nothing else,” when, in fact, money was paid to the employer for the work, or would have been paid, if required. Prior to this, however, the master-mechanic, or “boss”, as he is technically termed, has been to some merchant and made arrangements to “order on him.” When the poor laborer presents his order, the merchant knows very well that the man has no other resource, and that he will be compelled, from absolute want and necessity, to take the articles called for in the order, no matter what be the price; consequently the dealer charges whatever he pleases for an article, no matter if it be three times its actual worth. By this process, too, the “boss” makes not only a profit on his work, but he also achieves a vast deal of benefit by speculating on the money he gets for it. He bargains with the produce dealers, etc., to trust him a year or so, and let those whom they employ have goods on orders, while, in the meantime, he withholds money from his journeyman more than doubles in various speculations.
This kind of game has been played upon the industrious portion of the population all over the country, and it now behooves the mechanics to unite, as one man, if they ever expect to obtain a redress of grievances. It is the only way, in our opinion, by which the humble artisan can obtain money or its equivalent for his toil. No other method can be adopted to frustrate the disposition of the avaricious few to grind down the honest laborer and force him to toil for a compensation that will barely furnish bread and water. Men, men -patriotic, hard-toiling freemen, have been trampled and crushed beneath the feet of soulless and grasping speculators, until they have grown desperate at the indignities and impositions heaped upon them. They find that, in order to preserve themselves and their children from sinking beneath the grade of the serfs and boors of Europe, they must throw off all seeming meekness and boldly confront those capitalists who would make a ten-fold profit from their labor.
Having thus given the outlines of the matter at issue, we will leave the decision with the public. The unprejudiced cannot fail to see which scale should preponderate. We will leave the case of the journeymen and their employers, with those who really regard the happiness of all, as essentially necessary for the preservation of true and sound liberty. In this struggle, we behold the employer assuming to himself, that which he would justly and strenuously resist in others; he would not abandon the position that he and he alone, has the right of putting a price on the article which he offers for sale to the consumer. Yet, strange contradiction and willful injustice, this same employer arrogates to himself the privilege of dictating to the real producer the price of which the said employer’s avarice shall be the graduator. Stephen Brundidge (1825)
To reduce accidents 70 per cent is not unusual under this new inducement of more profit. Progressive employers go far ahead of what had ever been thought possible and far ahead of what the state could compel them to do by treating them as criminals. This class of legislation is not paternalistic or coercive but stimulating and persuasive. Not only that, it leads the employer to educate his workmen in safety. Mechanical safeguarding can accomplish comparatively little. It is the “spirit” of safety in the workmen that accomplishes most. Industry is started toward representative democracy, for, in order to inspire the workmen with the spirit of safety, their cooperation must be won by taking their best representatives into a partnership of accident prevention through safety committees and safety organization of the shop.
And this goes beyond the shop, into the home. The National Safety Council, composed of the safety men of the great corporations, educates the entire nation in the spirit of safety. A new profession is started. The claim agent, who used to follow up the injured workman promptly after an accident, in order to build up his employer’s defenses against a damage suit, becomes the safety expert and the safety booster, cooperating with all the workers to benefit both them and their employer. Civil and mechanical engineers enlist. All of the high ideals of a profession, all the missionary zeal of the enthusiast, all the satisfaction of a noble work that saves life and health, now animate the members of this profession. They perform a public service while they bring together the employer and his hundreds of workers in the mutual benefits of goodwill. As a profession, they become independent. They lay down the law of safety and goodwill even to their employer, just as the lawyer or the accountant or the engineer tells him how to conduct his business within their professional fields. And government itself takes on a new spirit. It ceases to be mainly repressive and becomes educational. Gordon Faulk Bloom (1926)
Leaving theories and deductions from imperfect statistics, the following business letter from an officer of a health insurance company to one of its agents, may be deemed of some weight, as throwing light upon the question of factory worker health.
Office of Norfolk County Health Insurance Company, Lower Floor,
Merchants’ Exchange, Boston, July 27, 1849.
Mr. C. V. N. Brundage,
Sir, We have determined not to take any more applications, especially from the factories. Such places have been the graves of other companies, and we mean to avoid them. From what few policies we have there, we are constantly receiving claims. Doubtless there may be some good subjects there, but, from past experience, it would seem there was not more than a grain of wheat to a bushel of chaff, we can’t distinguish them. Yours, Steph. Baley.
In our seven-year span of experimentation with leaderless groups, we were initially highly concerned about the effects of allowing a class of 60 college students to work in T Groups with no trainers, supervision, faculty controls, or standard curriculum, and we were especially concerned about all the forces of faculty and administrative disapproval of such a process. We therefore built in some controls on attendance, gave weekly demonstrations of training methods, and specified numerous data-gathering instruments (questionnaires, reaction sheets, observer forms) that groups were required to fill out before, during, or after each group session. The staff tabulated and fed these data back to the groups on the day following data collection.
As we became less fearful and more trusting, we gradually experimented with reduced controls. We found that groups tended to take over direction of their own processes and to move more quickly along the dimensions of growth when given greatest freedom and least prescribed structure. Groups built their own attendance norms and reduced absence to nearly zero as they arrived at group generated goals. Groups found they needed data and constructed their own instruments, which were in many cases more imaginative and certainly more relevant to emergent daily concerns than were the instruments provided by the staff in earlier years.
Groups organized for work built internal and distributive leadership structure and worked with interpersonal data that were more significant and at greater depth than those dealt with in conventional trainer groups. This experimentation led us to develop a great deal of confidence and trust in the abilities of a group of people to handle their own process problems in a significant way when given support and freedom. In other words, through experimentation we learned along the same modal dimensions as did group members.
As we became more clear as to our own intrinsic motivations, our own purposes became clear to the group. Groups learned to trust staff aims. Greater productivity occurred in terms of learning outcomes. A continuing series of experiments indicated clearly that groups in later years made significantly greater gains in learnings than did groups in earlier years. Group members learned, for example, that staff motivations were not to change them but to allow them to create the conditions under which they might make their own decisions about change. Our intrinsic motivations changed as we learned more about the processes of learning and growth. With greater trust, we were then able to try trainer-less groups in community and industrial settings, with even greater success in terms of measurable learning outcomes. Jack R. Gibb (1964)
The hand that knows his business won’t be told to do work faster or better—these two things. Robert Frost (1940)
We shall particularly call your attention to the practice of granting special favours in charters and monopolies, by which the profits arising from any branch of trade, are taken from the community and given to favorites. This practice originated in monarchies whose features were in the extreme despotic. The British practised it previous to the settlement of this country, and most, if not all, of our states were settled in consequence of charters or grants to particular men. Unfortunately for our country, these insidious features of despotism were soon engrafted on our institutions, and from use have become a constituent portion of our government. The natural resistance to these subtle communities, is founded in the dislike to distinctions, totally opposed to republican opinions, of equality, and to the blasting effects on the productive portion of the community.
There can be no doubt that all chartered monopolies are infringements on the rights of the citizen, however we may be disposed to accede to their usefulness, when confined to necessary objects unattainable by individual enterprise.
The moment they pass these bounds, and commence to accumulate wealth and power in the hands of a few, it is at the expense of those who have not the inclination or means to participate, and falls eventually upon those who are the only producers of the necessaries, luxuries, and comforts of life.
The objections against monopolies apply with tenfold force to banks. Without discussing the question of how far the emission of paper money is an infraction of the United States Constitution, it is an undeniable fact, which these emissions are of great injury to the people, by its unequal, fluctuating and easily imitated currency.
We cannot but weep over that policy of our legislature, which transplanted from a foreign soil an evil so great, and so opposite to the spirit of liberty. The declination – the ruin of republican governments may follow the existence of two classes, the immensely rich and the miserably poor. The existence of banks is an evil which we cannot expect soon to overcome; but as they do exist, the stockholders should at least be made answerable for all debts, and the payment of all forged notes; for as they are the only gainers, others should not be the only losers. Thomas Cooper (1889)
There always have been and always will be individual employers in advance of anything that legislation has done or can do. The first great employer of this kind was Robert Owen, one hundred years ago, who reduced the hours of labor in his cotton mills to ten per day and made a fortune when others were working their employees fifteen or sixteen hours. Today, when legislation in Wisconsin, for example, sets the Unit of hours for women at 54 per week, a few leading employers adopt 49, and make more money, for they get and keep a higher grade of help.
Always individual employers, for one reason or another, usually a combination of good business and pubic spirit, go ahead of legislation and set the example. Then legislation follows and attempts to force others to improve conditions, raise wages or shorten hours. The progressive ones cannot go far ahead of the general level, and they need not. On the other hand, legislation could, with difficulty, get popular or legal support if pioneers had not already shown that it was practicable and profitable. Sidney Webb (1919)
Scientific management, since it begins and ends with individuals separated from their fellows, has the defects of autocracy. It means government by experts. An expert comes into the factory and makes a study of the operations of the selected individual. That individual and his fellow-workers are much concerned about his time studies, his stop-watch, his cold calculations, which decide for them the amount of work that shall be portioned out for the task.
But personality cannot be created by commands nor bought with money. The sham may take orders from above and be subject to the employer’s will in all details. But the true is independent. It issues orders, even to the employer, and it cannot be bought because it has risen to the level of a profession whose members look for the approval of others in the profession over and above the approval of their employer. They do what is “right,” not what they are ordered to do; they have sold to the employer, not themselves, but their professional advice of what he ought to do. We see this new profession forming itself about us and beginning to fill the gap between capital and labor.
Its literature is taking shape. Its conventions and conferences are held where experiences are exchanged, experiments compared, scientific principles developed; where professional ethics, professional enthusiasm and pride in a noble calling are lifting its members above dependence on any particular employer who happens to hire them. They are beginning to lay down the law, not of coercion, but the law of goodwill the law of health and safety, of vocational training, the law of employment, promotion, dismissal, payment of wages, and all the other relationships of capital and labor. They are beginning to be a new personality in industry.
Goodwill is reciprocity. It is not government at all, but mutual concession. It yields as much to the prejudices and passions, to the conservatism and even suspicions of patrons as it does to scientific knowledge of what is good for them. Goodwill is not necessarily a virtuous will, or a loving will, it is a beneficial reciprocity of wills, and whether there is really a benefit or really a reciprocity, is a matter of opinion and mutual good feeling as much as a matter of science.
Industrial goodwill is a valuable asset like commercial goodwill and good credit, and becomes so, more and more, in proportion as laborers acquire more liberty, power, intelligence and more inclination to assert their liberties. It too is valuable because it brings larger profits and lifts the employer somewhat above the level of competing employers by giving him a more productive labor force than theirs in proportion to the wages paid. And this larger profit reflects itself in the larger value of stocks and bonds, the higher capitalization of the going business. Goodwill is the expectation of future profit, and whether it be the commercial goodwill of patrons and customers, or the credit goodwill of bankers and investors, or the industrial goodwill of laborers, it has its present market value, sometimes greater than the value of all the tangible property of the business.
Indeed, without goodwill, the tangible property is a liability rather than an asset. But goodwill is fragile as well as intangible. It is not merely past reputation, it requires continuous upkeep through continuous repetition of service. It breaks down easily by deterioration, for it is built up on the most fragile of assets, the freedom of the will of patrons or workers. It cannot be wound up and allowed to run itself like a machine. It is not an exclusive monopoly protected by law like a patent right. It is not even a contract enforceable in law. It is just the intangible chance of making a contract if you can. It is menaced by competitors to build up their own goodwill by making contracts, and only the employer who seriously appreciates the increasing importance of this aspect of the labor market will meet successfully either the counter-inducements of his competitors or the growing demands of the public that supports the cause of labor.
Goodwill is productive, not in the sense that it is the scientific economizing of the individual’s capacities, but because it enlists his whole soul and all his energies in the thing he is doing. It is that unknown factor pervading the business as a whole, which cannot be broken up and measured off in motions and parts of motions, for it is not science but personality. It is the unity of a living being which dies when dissected.
And it is not even the personality of a single individual, it is that still more evasive personality to which the responsive French give the name, I ‘esprit de corps, the spirit of brotherhood, the solidarity of free personalities. Lawrence Robert Dicksee (1922)
And we know that organized labor is as likely to be arbitrary as the employer if it has the power, and its spokesmen can be as ingenious and plausible in justifying it. In the name of democracy labor may be as despotic as capital in the name of liberty. A new type of factory inspector comes in, whose inspiring purpose it is to show the employer how to prevent accidents, rather than persecute him. And employers cooperate with government instead of resisting it. They hire their own safety inspectors and do their own inspecting, more efficiently than government police and courts ever could do it. The final result is, instead of shifting the cost of compensation for accidents upon the ultimate consumer, through increased prices for products, there is no increased cost to be shifted.
The laborer, indeed, continues to pay a large share of the cost of whatever accidents remain unprevented, for no compensation, however great, can fully compensate for loss of life or limb; but the share of cost that is thrown upon the employer becomes no cost but a source of profit. The consumer gains, the laborer gains, the employer gains, and that which started out to compel compensation to the laborer for his loss of time and his expense of medical care, turns out to have been the greatest of all instruments yet invented for preventing accidents. It enlists for that purpose a powerful motive that reaches even the remotest stock-holder who never sees the worker—the expectation of larger profits through initiative, enterprise, and good business. The solidarity of capital and labor becomes the prosperity of capital, of labor, and the nation.
So simple and common-sense a plan of organization ought to appeal to employers but it did not until the crisis of a war overrode their prejudices or broke their inertia, and even then, it was only in the single state of Ohio that the state authorities were daring enough to seize the opportunity to enlist the right executive ability and to spend the necessary amount of money.
For employers are accustomed to advertise when they want help, not realizing that advertising either pulls workmen away from other employers or assumes the existence of a reserve army unemployed. From the individual standpoint, advertising for labor may be successful; from the public standpoint it may be wasteful. Or employers are accustomed to rely on private enterprise, which in this case is the competing private employment offices, not realizing that these have no interest in conserving labor but merely in getting as many fees as possible from as many laborers as possible. Or, finally, employers’ associations have their own employment bureaus created to help them in fighting trade unions, and if the public is allowed to set up free public offices and supplant their association bureaus, then their power as an organized class over labor as a class is threatened. For these various reasons of inertia, prejudice, or loss of power, employers have either not taken hold or have actually obstructed the only possible method by which the labor market as a whole can be organized in the public interest as against private interest or class interest.
Somewhat different have been the obstacles set up by labor, organized and unorganized. Public employment offices in various states and cities have been considered by labor to be the special perquisite of labor, created to help labor find employment. Hence, labor must control the offices. This means that labor politicians who can get the labor vote are placed in charge of the offices. Naturally employers do not patronize them, and they degenerate into a “hang out” for casual, inferior, and even pauper labor.
Even when the crisis of war was upon the nation and the disorganized labor market threatened military collapse, it required over a year for the trade unionist Secretary of Labor to be willing to set aside the labor politicians and the trade unionist pensioners who had attempted to install a federal system of employment offices. Finally, the Secretary authorized the Ohio system to be adopted and extended throughout the nation. F. Stuart Chapin (1950)
If every member of society is ever to receive a sufficient quantity of economic goods to satisfy all rational wants, products must be increased in quantity and improved in quality. If we ever expect to use our opportunities to the best advantage, we must improve our characters. Banding together will be of little avail to worthless men or a worthless cause.
Beware of demagoguery, especially political partyism, which will give illusory triumphs, but leave to you only retched failure. Be not stepping-stones for others to vault into place. Cast off the slavery of party politics, and with faith in the triumph of righteousness, ally yourselves to every endeavor to elevate and purify public life. You have far more than others at stake in this.
There is much that is bad in existing social arrangements, but there is also much that is good; and this good has been procured by the struggles of centuries. With a full appreciation of all that is sad and disheartening in the condition of the masses, I believe that, on the whole, the lot of mankind was never a happier one than today. The preparation of this book has given me a stronger conviction than ever before that the past century has witnessed an improvement in the position of the laboring classes in the United States. Rights which the humblest of us Americans take as so much a matter of course that we do not reflect upon the possession of them as a source of pleasure, although to be deprived of them would inflict the keenest pain, were in a past age scarcely within the dreamland region of the masses.
This is not said to suggest to you that you fold your hands, and lazily take things as they are, but to encourage the use of conservative means for the attainment of your ends. There are vast treasures in our civilization which it is in the interest of all to preserve. Resist wrong more strenuously than heretofore; strive for all that is good more earnestly than you have ever done; but let all your endeavors be within the law. The rich and powerful will always find protection; and if the dream of the Anarchists were realized, there would be no check to the despotism of the strong and cunning.
Cultivate an admiration for all genuine superiority. While all the monstrous inequalities of our times can by no means be upheld by good men, while many of those inequalities, the fruit of evil, can beget only evil, remember that nothing more disastrous to you could happen than to live in a society in which all should be equals. It is a grand thing for us that there are men with higher natures than ours, and with every advantage for the development of their faculties, that they may lead in the world’s progress, and serve us as examples of what we should strive to become. It will not take you long, if you think earnestly about it, to become convinced of this. It is well for the small farmer to have a rich neighbor to take the lead in the use of expensive machinery, the introduction of blooded stock, and in other experiments, which, if disastrous, would ruin a poor man. Richard T. Ely (1886)
If the nineteenth-century factory was an assemblage of buildings and machinery, it was also a complex social organization, encompassing hundreds, often thousands, of individuals. Yet it was a fragmented, decentralized organization, for the typical manufacturer entrusted most aspects of the day-to-day operation of the large manufacturing plant to the first-line supervisors and skilled workers. The exact implications of this practice differed among industries and shops, but one point is clear: the technicians, clerks, and other staff specialists -not to mention the union representatives -who dominate the present-day manufacturing plant were unknown in the late-nineteenth-century factory. By modern standards the foreman’s empire was a formidable realm. Charles Horton Cooley (1902)
Many American workers experienced the economic transformations of the late 19th century in terms of a wrenching loss of status. For free white men, pre-Civil War America, more than any previous society, was a society of independent producers and property holders. Farmers, shopkeepers, and craftsmen generally owned the property they worked. About four-fifths of free adult men owned property on the eve of the Civil War. High rates of physical mobility combined with the availability of western lands to foster a sense that the opportunity to acquire property was available to anyone who had sufficient industry and initiative. The factory owner delegated management responsibility to the foreman or First-line supervisor. The foreman was responsible for successfully running the entire factory. The control of workers by the foreman usually took the form of the drive system of management that was characterized by the use of force and fear.
After the Civil War, however, many American workers feared that their status was rapidly eroding. Workers regarded themselves as citizens and expected to earn a “competence,” which meant enough to support and educate their families and enough time to stay abreast of current affairs. More and more, however, in the late 19th century workers weren’t able to realize those dreams. The expanding size of factories made relations between labor and management increasingly impersonal. Mechanization allowed many industries to substitute semi-skilled and unskilled laborers for skilled craft workers. A massive influx of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe saturated labor markets, slowing the growth of working-class incomes.
Echoing earlier debates over slavery, many working men and women feared that the great industrialists were imposing a new form of feudalism in America, which was reducing “freemen” to “wage slaves.” They demanded “a fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work” and an eight-hour work day. Native-born workers, fearing competition from low-wage immigrant workers, sometimes agitated for immigration restriction. Many observers feared that the United States was on the brink of a ruinous class war. Akin Karoly (1884)
What but inertia prevents the duplication of this simple beneficial scheme throughout the country? If Congress lags, why is it not the duty of management to show the way to the gathering of needed facts? There is great hope in the study now under way by the National Bureau of Economic Research into the practical technique of unemployment statistics. But that research and the wise program of the President’s Conference will fail unless management realizes fully its duty and opportunity to contribute a chief share to the processes of systematization, orderly planning, of preventing, in the long run, the disastrous recurrence of such a terrible blow to industrial morale as that which has staggered this country. Wm Leavitt Stoddard (1921)
The foremen’s role and place in the social field were immediately problematic. During the 1848 reform of the employment tribunals, the members of the labor committee of the constituent assembly pondered the foremen’s status during electoral procedures: ‘The difficulty is to know what category foremen should be placed in—with the managers or with the workers? The committee rules that foremen shall vote with the managers because in most cases they are representatives of the managers’ interests.’”
This identification with the management was the foremost characteristic of the foreman: appointed by the managers, the foreman was their representative in supervising and organizing the workforce. However, the foreman’s ability to impose his authority did not depend on his social origins, because most foremen came from the working class. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, foremen were hardly distinguished from the rest of the workforce. Alain Becchia (1875)
This representation of the foreman’s authority as a combination of authority, goodwill, and paternal spirit is well formulated in the “spinning manual”:
A good foreman is the workshop’s soul; the boss must turn to him. If there is a request or complaint to make, the workers must turn to him. . . . Here it is not a question of seeking the son of a prominent family or a man who is supported by important protectors; as much as possible, the choice must be a man who knows the field; who knows how to lead with dignity; who knows how to combine gentleness and strictness; who is energetic and affable; who defends the rights of the worker as well as those of the boss; who knows how, if required, to repair a loom when a spinner is not experienced enough to do it himself; who knows how to pass over certain minor errors and energetically repress the causes of unrest; in a word, a man who leads paternally and militarily. He must also know how to judge men and things with speed and energy. Sébastien Lambert (1866)
Among operating officials, the one closest to the actual productive process is the foreman, and upon him rests much of the responsibility for efficient operation, for economy, and for harmonious labor relations—factors vital to the business success of his employer. It is reasonable, therefore, that management should determine what qualities are essential for foremanship, and then spare no pains in finding or training foremen who have these qualities. Edward S. Cowdrick (1920)
Industrial engineers have charted the laborer, diagramed the manager and blue-printed the employment department, but the foreman too often has been left, unnoticed, to find his own place in the scheme of industrial relations. But if thus neglected in the planning of industrial organizations, the foreman has not been forgotten in the distribution of censure when things have not gone well. Upon his faults, real and imaginary, has been laid the blame for every failure, past and present.
He is assumed to be the Paleolithic representative of all that was wrong in the former era. He has been a conspicuous target for the uplifter and the professional investigator. Employers seeking to maintain harmony in their establishments in a time of almost unprecedented restlessness of labor; employees uncertainly experimenting with newly found rights and privileges; industrial experts eager for the success of their policies of administration—all have been quick to lay every discord and failure to the alleged tactlessness and stupidity of the foreman. Howard F. Gospel (1920)
The foreman is with us to stay. We could not eliminate him from industry if we would. His faults are largely those of his training and of the system under which he learned his trade. Intelligent cooperation between the foreman, his workmen and his employer will solve the problem of his true place in industry, and give him the real leadership demanded by the responsibilities of his position. L. P. Alford (1920)
When betterment work to improve the condition of workers was commenced, the systematic study of the problems of management had made little headway and little attention had been paid to the intensive development of the efficiency of organizations. Managers were unaware of how wasteful and fundamentally defective were their methods of handling labor. The prevailing opinion concerning the cause of the discontent of workers was that this discontent was rather superficial and could be remedied by rather superficial means. Welfare work was thought a sufficient remedy. Under these circumstances it is easily seen why the need for a well-planned and well-coordinated labor policy for the entire plant was not appreciated.
As managers observed the experience with the superficial forms of welfare work which marked the beginning of the efforts to improve relations between employers and their men, and as they made more and more systematic study of the means of developing the efficiency of their organizations, they became aware of the deep-seated nature of labor’s discontent, of the fundamentally defective character of their methods of handling men and of the superficial and inadequate character of their devices for improving their relations with their men. They perceived that the problem of handling men was deeper and more complicated than they had suspected.
The effects of the pursuit of narrow, selfish policies and the use of oppressive, ruthless methods by capital and labor are not confined to the relations of capital and labor between themselves. The pursuit of these policies and the use of these methods tend to lower social ideals in general for they lower the “plane of general sentiment out of which imperatives and obligations arise.” Sumner Slichter (1920)
When I find a better machine for doing an operation on our product I can usually succeed in ‘putting it across’ without a great deal of effort. When it comes to making a change in our production cost or time keeping system, however, it is a different matter, regardless of the obviousness of the improvement. It seems to me that nine-tenths or even more of the executive energy required to introduce improved management methods is dissipated against an invisible wall. H. H. Tukey (1922)
In thus representing to the workman the policy of the company management, the foreman employed by a forward-looking corporation must embody in his every action the principles of the square deal. He should become saturated with the idea that the interests of the employer and the employee are largely identical, and that neither can permanently gain at the expense of the other. He should study to understand his workmen, from the lowest to the highest in character and mentality, and learn to see things from their view point. This does not mean that discipline should be relaxed. The need of intelligent discipline was never greater than it is today, but the foreman’s discipline must be of such a type that it will stand the test of investigation and publicity.
In recent indictments of the old-style boss, one of the principal counts—and one which not infrequently is founded on conclusive evidence—is that he not only has failed to cooperate in advanced policies of industrial relations but has actually been an obstructionist. Leon Pratt Alford (1919)
Samuel Crowther, 1920 The feeling which exists between British employer and employee
“The better class of American worker considers himself a potential manager or superintendent; the same class of British worker looks forward to being always a worker. The American workman commonly considers his acts as individual and expects rewards as an individual, without paying much attention to what his fellows are getting; the British worker considers himself one of a class and will usually refuse any individual benefit that is not also conferred upon his fellows—he is even apt to resent the proposal as one tending to alienate him from his fellows.
If an American worker thinks he is being treated unfairly, he will quit his job; the British worker will not leave his job – he will tell his fellow employees about the trouble and they will at once adopt his grievance as their own and present a united front against the employer.
Instead of leaving for another job, the aggrieved employee will probably be able to start a strike. English workers will go on strike with even less provocation than it takes to cause an American to quit his job. The manager of an engine factory in Manchester told me that he expected a strike at least once every fortnight and another manager said that when he started a tour of the works, he was never quite sure that he would not come upon a strike somewhere during the trip.
In America we think of a strike as a serious affair involving great economic loss; there are very great strikes in England, but for every big strike there are a thousand small strikes which may last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. The British worker carries a chip upon his shoulder and the slightest puff of wind will take it off. British workers are extraordinarily punctilious—but so are the employers.
The worker has fought his way up from a position of nearly complete degradation and he is very suspicious. Employers differ in popularity, but their individual popularity has but little effect upon the working relation, except in specialty trades where the workers are not drawn from the general mass. For instance, no matter what wages are paid or what the good feeling between master and man, no clerk would work one minute after one o’clock on Saturday, at which time the law says the working week ends.
It is practically impossible to buy anything in a shop after a quarter to one on Saturday, for the people are then arranging so that the closing can take place on the exact minute with all stock replaced. The feeling that the employee is one sort of an animal and the employer another grows from the intense class consciousness of the employed. One cannot at all comprehend British labor unless this class feeling is recognized; the feeling may or may not be respectful—as a rule it is respectful.
They do not like a show of equality on the part of the employer, but prefer condescension if it has a basis in breeding and is well carried off. Because the Britisher does not mind being classed as a worker, he is open to political treatment in mass—that is if he is a manual worker. For the class idea has infinite subdivisions; the bank clerk is the aristocrat and thinks nothing of the ordinary clerk, who in turn will have no part with the sales clerk. The factory workers, too, have their class distinctions among themselves, but they will present a united front upon occasion.
They have the common bond of being against the employer and hence they are far stronger destructively than constructively. The skilled man however will seldom make common cause with the unskilled worker unless a common interest is affected. Such is the background of English labor. It is unthinkable to the working mind that an employer can desire to be fair or to make money other than by bearing down on employees—we must remember that England is not so very far away from the intolerable conditions that once obtained in the Lancastershire cotton mills. The employer and employee approach each other in a spirit of hostility and without the slightest faith in the spoken word; they are each prepared to bargain an advantage and, when the bargain has been arrived at, to put it down on paper, each with the hope that some way of evading it may later turn up. A few leaders on both sides see beyond the immediate discussion and note the frightful waste in barter.
The worker, having nothing in common with the employer, has accepted the philosophy that the less work one does the more work there will be to do. He resists every improvement in machinery and every speeding or scientific process which will tend to put through work in a shorter time or with less men. He replied to piece-rate payments by setting up exact rules as to how much a man might do in a given time-and that a man must not do more. He asks for shorter and shorter hours, not so much that he wants the leisure as to make work for his fellows, and he cares not a jot as to where or how the employer finds the money for higher wages.
The class feeling readily translated itself into politics when the trade-union movement gained ground. All trade unions have political tenets; some of them are founded upon public ownership, some have as an end the control of industry. They have not all the same political aims, but they all have some political aims and they are able more or less to subordinate their differences in a political movement under the general caption of the “Labor Party.” Labor leaders now usually have political offices as well as union places. The trade-union movement has grown rapidly since 1913 and now about 1,200 of them exist, covering almost every branch of trade and with a present membership of nearly 6,000,000, which represents an increase of about a third since 1913. An English employer must nowadays deal with a union and not with his employees as individuals. . . The employers found themselves at a disadvantage in bargaining with unions and hence they, too, in many trades and more particularly in the engineering trades (the English engineer corresponds nearly to our machinist), organized employers’ associations with national, district, and local organizations to treat with unions.”
The foremen and gang bosses are the most important means by which workmen come in contact with the management – they are the management to the workmen in most matters. Every factory executive has heard the expression used by workmen: “So and so is a good man to work for.” He knows what it means from the standpoint of satisfied workmen and absence of friction between the men and the boss when a foreman acquires such a reputation. In view of the well-recognized importance of the methods used by minor executives in handling men in their effect upon the relations between men and management, it is surprising that so little systematic effort has been made to improve the methods of minor executives in handling men. Sumner Slichter (1914)
Every soldier, down to and including the last recruit, will sooner or later become a leader in a smaller or greater sense. In battle, as battles are now necessarily conducted, direct responsibility very frequently goes out of the hands of the officers, and small groups of men must accomplish objectives themselves; hence leadership must be assumed by some or all of these men. Any one of them may be placed in a position where he must act independently and make his own decision on his own responsibility, which requires thinking and acting on his own judgment. P. L. Burkhard (1920)
I have often heard the idea expressed by management that hard times with universal scarcity of work should be welcomed as a means of making labor reasonable. Which means, in the language of the average work shop, “forcing labor to its knees!” said the manufacturer with some emotion. Well, my friend, it is impossible for me to take so low a view of human nature as to believe that heads of industrial enterprises cherish that idea, although unfortunately most do. But whatever may be said of the idea in a moral sense, and for my part I can conceive of nothing more despicable, it is certainly based upon a false economic concept. What the world most needs is efficient production, and labor cannot be efficient and be periodically starved either with premeditation on the part of individuals having the required power or through underlying disturbances of industry for which no one can be held accountable. Harrison Emerson 1921
Early in our brass and copper mill work the importance of securing intensive supervision by floor foremen and straw bosses became evident. The lack of planning threw on to these sectional foremen almost the entire responsibility for movement of material, tool supplies, assignment of work, as well as general methods of processing. We soon discovered that no incentive plan would attain the objective of increased production unless it was so devised as to insure the fullest co-operation from these men. Philip Lawson (1922)
If the amount of wealth in the world were fixed, the struggle for the possession of that wealth would necessarily cause antagonism; but, inasmuch as the amount of wealth is not fixed, but constantly increasing, the fact that one man has become wealthy does not necessarily mean that someone else has become poorer, but may mean quite the reverse, especially if the first is a producer of wealth.
The more the problems of management are studied, the more apparent it becomes that their solution rests not upon the application of superficial remedies affecting only the less important interests of the workers but upon the introduction of drastic reforms in matters of vital consequence to the workers. It is useless also to attempt to improve the methods of foremen and gang bosses in handling men as long as the “drive” policy of management prevails in the shop. The “drive” system requires that the workers be cowed and made to fear the management. Considerate treatment of the men and good feeling between the men and the management are incompatible with the very essentials of the “drive” system. Sumner Slichter (1915)
As a manufacturer myself, it has been my experience that the concerns with whom it was easiest to compete were those who had stopped half way on the industrial road. They gave due thought, indeed, to machinery, buildings and to general equipment. They were careful about their materials and kept in touch with the more obvious of modern methods of accounting and management, but the greatest force in their industry the responsive power of their men to leadership, they left untouched.
They paid the usual rate of wage or had a fixed rate of pay for a certain job. They allowed their men to earn a certain sum weekly at piece-work and when more was earned they cut the piece work rate. They lacked adjustment to the human element or close co-operation with it. But when among competitors was one who had traveled farther along the industrial way had gone so far that he could see the power of the human force, could get it working with him and responsive to him, then that concern was dangerous to its rivals. Its product would come out of better quality or at lower cost or with fewer seconds or with less delay, or with all of these things, and it was difficult to that competition.
The shop where the employer and the employee are one force, pulling together, is the most serious of competitors. During the hard time of 1893, the head of a large manufacturing concern in the central West sat sorely troubled in his office. Through the long afternoon he had gone carefully over his business statements, endeavoring to adjust himself to the adverse winds that were blowing. For orders that had been pending he had purchased largely only to have the orders canceled when he could not recall his purchases. Loans that were needed to tide over stringent conditions could not be had. Banks not only declined further accommodation but were calling for payment. It was next to impossible to collect funds due him. As the day closed he could see no clear way out of his troubles, and when the factory whistle blew he closed his books with a sad heart.
There was a knock at the door; opening it he found a committee from his workmen who said the men wanted to see him in the factory yard. He and his men had been friends through many years and it was the thought of what might happen to them that was now one of his serious troubles. He could not believe they meant to make demands upon him at this crisis. He went with the committee to the steps where he could see the men, waiting with their dinner pails to go home, and then one of the committee said to him something like this: “Colonel, we know times are hard and orders scarce. We hear that money is pretty hard to get, and we just want to say that a lot of us have worked here with you for many years and we have saved some money. It is in the savings bank, and we are here to tell you that it is at your disposal, if it will help you through this squeeze.”
And the strong man bowed to tears, scarcely able to speak his thanks, went back to his office glad in the thought that the greatest thing in his industrial life had come to him, and ready for any sacrifice and effort. I should greatly fear to be the competitor of a house in which such a spirit existed, unless the same spirit were behind me also. There will be those who will say that the incident just given is hardly credible amid the bursts of discontent we all hear, and yet it is a short time since I was telling this same story to a friend who said that in Florida he knew an employer toward whom on the part of his workmen the same regard existed. One day, something having been said about hard times or shortness of funds, two of his Italian employees came to him with money which they had saved and offered it, to him for his use.
I shall never forget that during the panic of 1907, when things were worst, I was voluntarily tendered a loan by one of my own trusted employees. Some of our manufacturers, ignorant of the mighty power that a happy working force may bring to their support, seem to seek to crush it as if they did not want that help. William Cox Redfield (1913)
But the general manager is not dealing with people in this instance, nor is he dealing with a subject with which those who must come in contact with the tangible machine are familiar. He is not dealing with a visible machine, but with a method or system which is an invisible machine. And while many can comprehend the action and advantage of a visible machine, they are few, and of a different type of mind who can clearly visualize the working of an invisible mechanism such as is a management method. Our general manager then, in introducing the new methods, encounters a very dense barrier that takes a great deal of energy and persistence to penetrate—a barrier of ignorance, skepticism, and inertia, unless, per chance, he does the same thing that Tom Healy did in introducing the new machine—show everybody concerned with the new system exactly how its wheels go around—how, in other words, the action of this new, invisible method beats the action of the old invisible one—how its operation will benefit all concerned.
Simple enough, this, but yet not so simple after all. The difficulty lies in the explaining of a method—of exhibiting its wheels so people can visualize them. Another picture on the negative side. Jim Thompson, production foreman of department A in this same factory, has been with the company for some six months. His previous experience in a fad-ridden factory has soured him on system. “The less of those pink, green and yellow slips to gum up the works and slow down production, the better I’ll like it,” is the way he puts it. But naturally, he does not express this sentiment to the general manager. Jim happens, by circumstance, to be a “key man” in the introduction of the general manager’s new plan. A capable man, is Jim, and a hard worker, but his mental attitude of unbelief on this question will prove a decided barrier to the success of the plan and to his overcoming other invisible barriers in his own department in the plan’s behalf. E. S. Cowdrick (1920)
So important is it that minor executives (foremen) be thoroughly competent, that one may safely predict that in the near future elaborate and rigorous training courses will exist for prospective minor executives in all large establishments, and that no one will be permitted to become a foreman or gang boss without first having been thoroughly trained for the duties of the position. John Commons (1916)
One must not seem unaware of the “soldier” in industry, for doubtless “soldiering” exists. It was vividly described before me by one of the leading advocates of so-called “scientific management” when I was a member of a Congressional Committee inquiring into that subject. There can be no doubt that cases exist where output has been and is deliberately limited by workmen. On the other hand the attitude of my friends, who are mechanics, toward the man who does not do a fair day’s work is rather intolerant. They do not want him on the next vise. One wonders about certain things connected with “soldiering.” It is often more comfortable to do a steady day’s work than it is to loaf, and sometimes when the speed of machines is fixed it takes quite a little effort and thought to “soldier.” Can it be that “soldiering” is the reaction against “speeding?” William Cox Redfield (1913)
A man acquainted with foreign industrial and political affairs, who will spend three months in Washington meeting business men coming on war business to the national capital from all parts of the United States, would find it difficult not to conclude that American business men, all in all, are the most reactionary class of industrial rulers in the civilized world. They think labor unrest is not a movement at all. It is nothing but a ‘trouble.’ The very same thing that is shaking Russia and every country in Europe, shaking and remaking the world, thrusts a finger in their factories, and they see nothing but a ‘labor issue.’ To an astonishing number of them, the whole labor movement was invented by irrelevant agitators, now presumably always German. William Hard (1917)
Plan A up to date 2021
Now you understand why there was never any action against the Clintons or Obama, how they destroyed emails and evidence and phones and servers, how they spied and wiretapped, how they lied to FISA, had conversations on the tarmac, sent emails to cover their asses after key meetings, how Comey and Brennan and Clapper never were brought to any justice, how the FBI and CIA lied, how the Steele Dossier was passed along, how phones got factory reset, how leak after leak to an accomplice media went unchecked, why George Soros is always in the shadows, why Romney and Paul and Bush and McCain were all involved, why they screamed Russia and pushed a sham impeachment, why no one ever goes to jail, why no one is ever charged, why nothing ever happens. Why there was no wrongdoing in the FISA warrants, why the Durham report was delayed. Why Hunter will walk scott free. Why the FBI sat on the laptop. Why the Biden’s connection to China was overlooked as was unleashed the perfect weapon, a virus that could be weaponized politically to bring down the greatest ever economy and usher in unverifiable mail in voting. Why the media is 24/7 propaganda and lies, why up is down and down is up, right is wrong and wrong is right. Why social media silences the First Amendment and speaks over the President of the United States. This has been the plan by the Deep State all along. They didn’t expect Trump to win in 2016. He fucked up their plans. Delayed it a little. They weren’t about to let it happen again. Covid was weaponized, Governors helped shut down their states, the media helped shame and kill the economy, and the super lucky unverifiable mail in ballots were just the trick to make sure the career politician allegedly with hands in Chinese payrolls that couldn’t finish a sentence or collect a crowd, miraculously became the most popular vote recipient of all time.
You have just witnessed a coup, the overthrow of the US free election system, the end of our constitutional republic, and the merge of capitalism into the slide toward socialism. What will happen next? Expect the borders to open up. Increased immigration. Expect agencies like CBP and INS and Homeland Security to be muzzled or even deleted. Law enforcement will see continued defunding. The electoral college will be gone. History erased. Two Supreme Court Justices might be removed. The Supreme Court will be packed. Your 2nd Amendment will be attacked. If you have a manufacturing job or oil industry job, get ready. If you run a business, brace for impact. Maybe you’ll be on the hook for slavery reparations, or have your suburbs turned into Section 8 housing. Your taxes are gonna go up, and businesses will pay more. I could go on and on. There is no real recovery from this. The elections from here on will be decided by New York City, Chicago, and California. The Republic will be dead. Mob rule and appeasement will run rampant. The candidate who offers the most from the Treasury will get the most votes. But the votes voted won’t matter, just the ones received and counted. That precedent has been set.
“Benjamin Franklin was walking out of Independence Hall after the Constitutional Convention in 1787, when someone shouted out, ‘Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?’”
Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Ladies and gentlemen, you will now lose your Republic. You turned from God. You turned from family. You turned from country. You embraced degeneracy culture. You celebrated and looked to fools. You worshipped yourselves selfishly as you took for granted what men died to give you. You disregarded history and all it teaches. On your watch, America just died a little. It’s likely she’ll never be the same again.