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Newspaper Page Text
LABOR WAR HAVE YOU AS AN INTELLIGENT
CITIZEN THOUGHT DEEPLY ON THEM?
BY HERBERT QUICK.
We have read much about the labor
wars in Colorado, Michigan, West
Virginia and elsewhere. We have felt
keenly about them. But there is one
thing which we have not done, and
which we must do, not only now, but
in the future.
We must think about them. We
must think about the labor wars of
the past and present, and also we
must 'consider the labor wars of the
future as they break out. For they
will break out. That is the great new
thing in American life. Our laws and
our governments have so miserably
broken down that labor wars must
- be reckoned on as a part of our na
The labor union man looks at them
from his point of view solely; the
merchant and the substantial citizen
from his; and the capitalist from his
and' from no other. But unless we
think of these things more broadly we
can never solve the problem Along
thought-lines of prejudice and nar
rowness lies civil war, worse than
that of fifty years ago.
Yesterday I talked with a man who
was a non-commissioned officer of
militia in the West Virginia troubles.
He is now a hotel clerk and he has
no social theory. He is just a plain
non-commissioned officer of militia,
with a great trust in martial law. His
ideas of the strikers, the Baldwin
Feltz mine guards and the militia
were broader than those of the solid
citizen I met in a law office the same
day because he had met the men
engaged in the war."
"The strikers," said he, "were good
fellows. They were friendly with us
all the time. 1 liked them, and so did
the other militiamen. Almost all of
them were Americans-and you
ought to've seen the guns" they had!,
' Some of them were the old-fashioned
Springfield rifles with lead bullets as
big as the end of your thumb that
would tear a man's vitals out if they
hit him. Some were old guns made
in the time when they had carved "
stocks' ; and a lot of them were up-to-the-minute
'303' Savage rifles that
will kill as far as any gun made. I
sure would have liked to get one of
"It was like this," he went on, "the
mine owners refused to give the men
their own weighers; and the men
thought they were getting skinned on
the coal they mined. Then the com
panies would pay only for the big
chunks of coal they dug, and made
them get out the fine coal for nothing.
It kind of made the miners sore to see
trainloads of this small coal hauled
off and sold, and to think they had
dug it for nothing.
"Another thing that they didn't like
was thejscrip they were paid in in
stead of cash. The company gave
them scrip, good only at the com
pany's store, and sold the goods for
about twjce what they could have got
it for at other stores. They said this
made them slaves, and it looked so to
me. The Baldwin-Feltz men were just
rough-necks, gunmen and plug-uglies
who were hired to fight the miners,
and paid $100 a month for doing it.
My company had no trouble with the
mine guards, or the miners either;
but I sure did hope we would get a
crack at those gunmen! The miners
were just plain workingmen. who had
got so worked up that they were
ready to die with their boots on. It's
a puzzle to me, the whole business!"
It was no puzzle to the solid citizen
whom I met in the law office. We
spoke of the Colorado war.
"A man has a right to hire guards
for his property," said he.
"Has he a right to hire an army of
them?" I asked.
"The principle's the same," said he,
"whether it's one guard or a thou
sand " t
"Or a million' I asked.
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