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Newspaper Page Text
THE TEACHING OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
IS ON THE WAY, SAYS MARY ANDERSON
BY JANE WHITAKER
"Whether yoii call it 'collective bargaining' or 'trade unionism,' or
merely 'knowledge to protect the workers,' the fact fact remains that sooner
or later what we term collective bargaining will have to be taught where
vocational training is taught for the protection of the working class."
This was the reply of Miss Mary Anderson of the Women's' Trade Union
League to a question I had asked her relative to the action of the school
management committee- in objecting to a resolution to include this course
of training in public school study.
"When we took up our resolution with Mrs. Young we thought she un
! derstood that 'collective bargaining' was trade unionism," Miss Anderson
continued. "Of course, she did not or she would have so stated at the
"But there was no intention-on our part of having this resolution
'sneak through.' It was a resolution prepared by the Women's Trade Union
and so written. It is trade unionism,: and trade unionism is at the present
time the only protection the worker has against the greed of employers.
"If vocational training is taught in schools, and some branches of it
are-being taught at present, it is vitally necessary that the students shall
also be given a knowledge of the wages which other workers are demanding
m the same line of work, otherwise
vocational training in schools will
only suffice to glut the market with
labor that underbids labor and capi
tal will quickly take advantage of it."
"That is one of the things I have
often wondered about," I told Miss
Anderson, "in the line of work I
used to follow, stenography, I found
that the teaching of that work in
public schools, threw on the market
an over-surplus that was always un
derbidding. I believe frankly that
the lowering of wages for stenog
raphers has been brought about
greatly by the fact that certain girls
were able to learn stenography at no
initial expense to themselves, and
they therefore felt they could afford
to work for less money in the begin
ning. "They may not, and probably did
not look further than the beginning,
but the ,very fact that' they underbid
as beginners forced a gradual lower
ing all along the line."
"That is a danger," Miss Anderson
admitted. "We have always realized
that, but we hoped and we still hope
that we can make school boards un
derstand the necessity of teaching
pupils what wage they should receive.
"Vocational training does not ne
cessarily mean that a girl or boy who
takes up a course of study in school
must pursue that work. The boy or
girl is enabled by vocational training
to discover whether the work they
take up is the thing they want to fol
low, and jf it is not, they still can
"In any event, it gives them skill
in some one line of work so that there
is no longer any possibility of the cry
that the employers must do 'educa
tion work' or that the boy or girl i
an 'apprentice' whe nthey enter the
"That, in the past, has been the
excuse of employers for paying low
wages and they have also been able
to set an arbitrary period at which
this apprenticeship shall end.
"Under a system of vocational
training, the apprenticeship is served
in the school, and the worker who'
starts out does not need 'education'
by the employer, which simply means'
that a worker does not need to ac
cept the wages of an apprentice for"
an indefinite number of years after