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Newspaper Page Text
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MAY START SUITS ON WESTERN
The whole story of how the West
ern Electric Co. handled its working
people before the Eastland sunk and
killed 800 of its wage-earners is go
ing to come out in public hearings
from the looks of things now.
Claims to be filed before industrial
board and suits in circuit court are
expected to bring out the full facts
on these allegations:
Western Electric foremen had
charge of selling tickets to the East
land excursion and when a foreman
asked an employe to buy a ticket it
was the same as saying: "Come
across or you don't keep your job
The company is an auxiliary of
American Telephone & Telegraph
Co. and wanted a big crowd on the
boat and in parades to boost Bell
The company has capital stock of
$25,000,000, profits ranges around
$5,000,000 a year and it can pay all
claims and hardly miss the money.
The St Joseph-Chicago Steamship'
Co., owner, and Indiana Transporta
tion Co., lessee of the Eastland at the'
time the coffin boat went down, are
bankrupt or so close to it that no
hope is held of collecting from them.
So action will be against Western
Electric Co. This was in effect ad
mitted by Jesse Wilcox, admin
istrator named by probate court for
56 "estates" of Eastland victims.
"I can not say what our action will
be," said Wilcox. "It is certain, how
ever, that the owners of the Eastland,
though involved in the responsibility,
could not pay proper damages if
claims were sustained. When suits
are begun they will be prosecuted
against interests able to pay in full."
The attorney in charge of collect
ing evidence is one who has hit Big
Business hard blows in personal in
jury suits. He is Charles C. Spencer.
He won for his client, Mary Sheetz,
the Irst personal injury,award under
the occupational disease act Miss 1
Sheetz died frpm lead poison which
got into her blood while she worked
as a typesetter for International Har
vester Co. ,
Ten thousand dollars award was
made by the jury that heard the evi
dence, this being reduced to $8,000
by the court
A verdict of $35,000 against Mont
gomery Ward & Co. .was won by
Spencer fir his client, 'Cyrus David
son, a farm hand near Tonti. A saw
frame sold by Montgomery Ward &
Co. went to pieces one day and tore
an arm and a leg off Davidson and
otherwise injured him so he's a phy
sical wreck. The big mail-order house
claimed the machine was manufac
tured by Sycamore Foundry Co.
Court and jury held Montgomery
Ward & Co. are responsible for ma
chinery advertised in their catalogue
and marked With their initials.
RAILROAD MEN PREPARE FOR
New York, Jan. 26. Reports con
tinue to come into the headquarters
6f the railroad brotherhoods here that
the men want a national strike. All
sectional and internal strike talk has
been dropped and this summer the '
railroads will be asked to grant an
eight-hour day at the present ten
hour wages, with time and a half for
overtime, according to the early re
turns on the vote now being taken,
Statisticans figure the loss to the
railroads of the country as $10,000,
000 a day and say that the union
would win because it would only cost
them $400,000 a day.
The railroad brotherhood won't ar
bitrate. They had enough arbitra
tion last year when decision of the
arbitration board sitting in Chicago
was reached. .
The railroads have to accept the
demands of the men by May 1. If they
don't another vote will be taken. If
two-thirds of the men vote for a
strike one will be called and 2,500,
000 men employed in the railroad in
dustry will be idle.