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Newspaper Page Text
CAPITAL PLAYING A CUNNING GAME TO MAKE
ORGANIZED LABOR FIGHT ITSELF
BY N. D. COCHRAN
' That proposed trades union edition of Hearst's Examiner is merely an
incident in a long war, and it wouldn't make much difference whether he 1
got out one or a dozen such editions so far as the vital principles of unionism
But there is a lesson in low it is being done that may help all trades
unionists if they can see through the game. That lesson ought, to expose ?
to organized labor one of its greatest weaknesses.
That weakness is selfishness. There are labor unions in this country,
and strong ones, which play a selfish game. They are on, the lookout for
their own interests, and mighty slow to help their sister unions in times of
trouble; and they won't fight unless it is to protect themselves directly.
These are the unions that get along nicely with the employers, because
they play the employers' game; and the employers know they can be used
effectively in helping the employers fight other unions. And such union
men' are really organized scabs.
In any industry the employer can well afford to concede nearly every
thing such a union asks, for he can take it out of the hides of the other .
unions. More than that he can prevent all the unions in one industry get
ting together and insisting on having all union contracts in that industry
expire at the same time.
By being thoroughly organized themselves the employers in a given
industry have control of the situation when contracts with the various
unipns they employ expire at different periods. If one union gets in trou
ble, the other unions must work alongside of non-unionists or-violate their
For illustration, when the publishers' association last year locked out
the union-pressmen they knew the printers had a contract, made shortly
before the lockout,, and that the international "officers wouldn't permit it
to be violated by a sympathetic strike. i,
The stereotypers did strike, but the international president revoked I
their charter and destroyed the union that struck, on the ground that jt had j
violated a contract.
Yet if all of the printing trades unions had done just what the pub-
Ushers had done, made a joint contract, it would have been impossible, fdt J
the publishers' association, or union, to strike at any one of the printing J
trades unions without striking at all. And labor would have easily won the j
But labor lost that fight, temporarily at least; and because the ranks 1
of labor were divided while the employers presented a solid front. 1
The Chicago Federation of Labor shrewdly adopted the publishers' j
tactics; they decided to fight the publishers one at a time, just as the pub- J
Ushers had decided to crush the unions one at a time. So the C. F. of L.
put only the Hearst papers on the unfair Ust.
Backed by the C. F. of L. and aU true blue union men in Chicago, the -pressmen's
union continued its, fight until an awful crimp was put in
Hearst's Chicago circulation.
The fight of organized labor against Hearst was being slowly but surely
won. Hearst became frantic. AU sorts of premium schemes, voting con- .
tests and special editions were worked to pulmotor the dying circulation.
With a suffrage edition weU under way, 2nd some women of the suffrage 5