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' THE WASHINGTON TIMES, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7.' 191(5,
Anthracite Operators Explain Effect of Demands of Employes tf -i t Miners Demand No. 1. Wo demand the next contract be for iicrloil of two years, com menclnff April J, 1016. nnd ending: March 31. 101, and that the mak ing of IndlvlJual agreements nnd contracts In the mining of coal shall be plohlblted. The anthracite miners ask for a two-year agreement, begin ning and ending simultaneously with the agreements In the bitu minous field a business arrangement that is shown by actual experience in the bituminous field to threaten a bi-yearly disturb ance of the peace and prosperity of the miners, operators, and general public. Tho United States Government reports Bhow that the time lost bv Btrikes nnd suspensions, duo to expiration of wtlgo agreements in tho bituminous coal field, between 1000 and 1912, in the years in which now agreements wero negotiated was 81,302,204 working days a loss in earn ing capacity approaching the labor cost of digging another Panama Canal. The loss of timo in those years in which no wage agrcomenta were negotiated was less than one-tenth (1-10) as great. In 1902, after a strike of six months duration, the President of the United States appointed a commission, consisting of Judge George Gray as chairman, with Carroll D. Wright, U. S. Commissioner of Labor; the Bight Rev. John L. Spauldjng, Brig. Gen. John M. Wilson, Edgar E. Clark, then head of the Railway Conductors; Thomas H. Watkins, a coal opera tor, and Edward W. Parker, Statistician of the U. S. Geological Survoy, and instructed "them as follows: White House, Washington, October 23, 19Q2. To the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission. Gentlemen: At the request both of the operators and the miners, I have appointed you a Commission to inquire into, consider and pass upon the questions in controversy in connection with the strike in the anthracite region, and the causes out of which the controversy arise. By the action you recommend, which the parties in interest have in advance consented to abide by, you will endeavor to establish tho relations bctwoen the employers and the wnge earners in the anthracite fields on a just and permanent basis, and, ct. far as possible, to do away with nny causes for tne recurrence of such difficulties as those which you havo been called in to settle. I submit to you herewith the published statement of the operators, following which I named you as members of the Commission. THEODORE ROOSEVELT. This Commission mado a thorough investigation of labor conditions lasting four months, nnd its award, except as modified in the additional concessions given to the miners from, time to time, is still in effect. It has produced prosperity and reasonable industrial peace throughout tho an thracite region. The anthracite operators believe that the industrial dis turbances incident to bi-ycarly contracts are an unnecessary evil, expen sive to miners, operators, and the public alike, and that reasonable adjust ments can be made from time to time without the necessity of periodical disturbances, if the automatic method of the sliding scale, a profit-sharing plan established by the Commission and abolished at the demand of the miners in 1912, is restored. The Bliding scale guaranteed the miners a minimum wage, but granted them an increase of 1 per cent in their wage for each increase of 5 cents a ton in the price of domestic coal at New York, which was the basing point. Present Agreement Protects Individual Under the present agreement it is provided that all new work shall be paid for at a rate not less than the rate paid for old work of a similar kind and character. Under this provision the operator may contract with his employes for the prosecution of such work as is not specifically provided for in the rates already established, paying therefor a rate which will give to his employes not less then the standard of wages paid for old work for which rates have already been established. In case of dispute the agreement provides that the fairness of the rate is subject to the review of the Board of Conciliation. The operators hold that it is their unquestioned right to make any change in the method of mining, or the conduct of thoir mining operations, which will secure additional safety to their employes or greater efficiency in their methods of production, provided that said change does not result in any reduction of wages to their employes below those rates estab lished by the award of the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission and the agreements subsequent thereto. Miners' Demand No. 2. Wo demand an increase of 20 per rent on all waee rates now lifting paid In the njithraclte coal Held?. Household Coal 60c a Ton Increase The miners have made a demand for an increase in wages to the extent of twenty (20) per cent. The present cost for labor alone of anthracite is approximately S1.80 a ton. An advance of twenty (20) per cent in wages would mean an increase of thirty six (36) cents in the cost of every ton of anthracite produced. The annual production of anthracite amounts to about 80,000,000 long tons, of which sixty (00) per cent, is for domestic use. The steam sizes, comprising forty (40) per cent, of the total (in the nature of a by product), are sold for the best price obtainable in competition with bitu minous coal. The cont of producing all sizes is the same. The revenue re ceived from the steam sizes is far below the cost of mining and, there fore, the coal used by householders and other consumers of domestic sizes of anthracite must be sold nt a price which will produce, when added to the receipts from steam roal, a reasonable profit on the entire produc tion. This demand is equivalent to approximately sixty (60) cents a ton increase in the ost of the domestic sizeB of anthracite. Miners' Earnings Over 36 Per Cent Increase The miners justify this demand as follows: "Wages which were below normal increased five and one-half per cent, in twelve (12) yean and food forty (40) per cent. Surely this constitutes the basis for an even greater demand than was made." The Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, after careful investigation, stated "As to the general contention that the rates for contract miners in the anthracite region are lower than those paid in the bituminous region for work substantially similar, or lower than are paid in other oc cupations requiring equal skill and training, the Commission finds that there haB been a failure to produce testimony to substantiate either of these propositions." The Commission found that the average annual earnings of the contract miner in 1901 were $560.00; in the same year the average working time of anthracite collieries was 196 days of ten hours each; in 1902 the miners were given a ton (10) per cent, advance plus a sliding scale; in 1912 they wore given another ten (10) per cent, advance, the sliding scale being abolished at the request of thq minors, making a .totnl increase in 1912 as compared with 1901 of twenty-one (21) per cent. Ip 1914, a normal year of mining operations, the average'working time of anthracite collieries -was 245 days of nine hours each. The anthracite miner, therefore, has received an advance in his opportunity for earning due to the increased time worked by anthracite collieries of twelve and one-half (12M) per cent, over and above his wage increases. The anthra cite miner who in 1901 earned $560.00 annually, if he now works with the same energy as he did at that time, would cam $762.30 annually, an in creased earning capucity of thirty-six (36) per cent. In the case of day lnbor in and around tho anthracite mines, such em ployes were awarded by the Commission, in 1902, the same rate for nine flours' work that they had previously received for ten hours. Between 1902 and 1912 they were benefited to the extent of the increased working time nnd the sliding scale. In 1912 they were given a fiat increase of ten (10) per cent, on the rates of 1902. Under the circumstances this class of labor has, through increased opportunity for work nnd increased rates of pny, advanced its earning capacity thirty-seven and one-half (37fc) per cent. The miners claim that food cost3 forty (40) per cent, more than ut tho time tho Anthracito Coal Strike Commission mado its award. Wero this tho fact the reports of the United States Bureau of Labor show that tho cost of food represents forty (40) per cont. of tho workman's cost of liv ing for himself and his family- This would indicate an incrcuHe of only plxteon (16) per cont. in his total cost of living, jib compared with an in crease of over thirty-six (36) per cont. in his earning capacity. Since tho 11112 ugreomeiit, which was accoplcd by both parties, it has boon shown by ovidence presented before the Board of Arbitration in the mutter of the striko of the employes of tho WilkeH-Barro Railway Coin peny in 1915, that from 11)12 to 1015 the cost of living had increased only three and onn-tcnth (3 1-10) per cent., including tho cost of food, fuel, rent, clothing, toxos, insurance, social and religious organizations, tobacco, and periodicals, etc. Rent, so far as the miner is concerned, has not materially changed. The increase in the opportunity for earnings as compared with the in cteaj in the cost of living combine to make the increased prosperity of the anthracite miner far In ndvance of othor clusscs of labor. The greatly increased deposits since 1002 in the banking Institutions of the anthracite region, as well as the increased ownership of homes by mine workers, bear out this statement. Miners' Demand No. 3. We demand an eight-hour da fot all dHy labor employed In nnd around the mine, the present itttctt to bo tho basin upon which the ndvnni'4 above demanded ahull apply, with time and half time for overtime and double time for SuihIujk iiud holldayx. Users of Domestic Sizes Would Bear the Burden The miners demand an eight-hour day as the maximum for all labor in and out the mines. This demand is not made for the con tract miner, who suits Ills own convenience as to his working time and rarely labor more than six or seven hours dail. The Anthracite Cgal Strike Commission awarded an eight-hour day, without loss of duily Wage, to thdsc classes of workmen such as firemen and certain engineers whose labor was sufficiently burdensome to warrant it. Othor classes of labbr work a nine-hour day. To reduce the maximum number of hours which a breaker may work each day, as demanded by the miners, will certainly reduce the capacity of the anthracite mines ami will surely increase the danger of coal shortage at the timo of year when an increased production is required by the con sumers of coal. The employes in the anthracite mines have abundant opportunity for social recreation. If the higher cost of living is the reason for the de mands of the anthracite employes, the workmen certainly should be will ing to givo the same thrift, time and energy as heretofore. There is noth ing in this demand which will increase their annual compensation. On the other hand, the cost of maintaining, pumping out, ventilating and timber ing the anthracite mines is a continuous expense, and nny reduction in output of the mines must increase the cost of producing coal. Miners' Demand No. 4. We ("emard full and complete recognition of tho United Mine Worker of America of I)l?trlrtn Nos. 1. 7. and 0, Anthracite. The Same Objections Still Obtain A complete recognition of the United Mine Workers of Amer ica of Districts Nos. 1, 7 and - is demanded. The Anthracite Coal Strike Commission declared that the constitution of the United Mine Workers did not offer inviting inducements to enter into contractual relations with it, and the Commission 'declined to order the recognition of the Union. The operators asserted at that time, and they continue to assert, that they have no objection to their employes joining union or labor organi zations. Under the award of the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission there is no discrimination between union and non-union men. The operators be lieve that the rights of organized lnbor arc fully protected by the open shop principle established by the Commission, which declined to approve a "closed-shop" arrangement, such as is now proposed, involving practically the compulsory membership of all employes in an organization. In the. words of the Commission, "the contention thnt a majority of employes, by voluntarily forming a union, acquire authority over others is untenable" and as Abraham Linroln said, "No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent." Their further unwillingness to recognize and deal with the United Mine Workers, as then and as at present constituted, was based on the fact that the majority of the members of the union were employed in the bitu minous coal fields, that the organization was officered chiefly by bitumi nous coal men, and that to deal with them would be dealing -with an or ganization controlled by men engaged in a rival industry. The Commission based its award upon those contentions which were sustained by evidence and upon the fact that the local unions in the anthracite field were, to some extent, controlled by the votes of young boys lacking in experience, wanting in judgment, and, so far, irresponsible. The reforms in the con stitution of the United Mine Workers, which were recommended by the Commission, have not been effected. It iB unreasonable to subject the an thracite region to the politics of an organization absolutely controlled from the outside. The full recognition of the union, as demanded by the miners, Involves the "check off," which means the compulsory collection by the operators of such dues, assessments, fines, etc., as may bo assessed against the miners by union officials, an un-American practice. Our investigations in the bituminous field fail to show any place where recognition of the United Mine Workers of America has secured the com mon benefits tho e'imination of strikes, promotion of peace, and the bpeedy settlement of disputes which it is cluimed will be accomplished if granted for the anthracite region. Miners' Demand No. 5. Wv demand a more lmplllled, npeed,, and satisfactory of adjustin ; grievances method A Misleading Statement The miners give as a reason for this demand that the present system, "Gi owing out of contract provisions between miners and operators is antiquated." This explanation is not in strict accordance with the facts. The pres ent method of settling differences has not grown out of contract provi sions between miners and operators. It was imposed upon the miners and operators in the anthracite region by the Anthracite Coal Strike Commis sion as a part of its award, which provided a Board of 'Conciliation, through the operntinn of which strikes and lock-outs should become un necessary. ThiB Board consists of six parmanent members, three elected by the miners and three elected by the operators, and an umpire appointed when the members disagree by the President Judge of United States Court of Appeals of tho Third Judicial Circuit. The umpires so appointed have been Hon. Carroll D. Wright, Hon. Chas. B. Neill, former U. S. Commis sioner of Labor, tnd Hon. George Gray, of Delaware. In the 1912 agreement the miners insisted upon a departure from the method of settling grievances established by the Commission. This change provided for grievance committees at every colliery, which should consider with the company officials grievances originated by the miners. Instead of promoting peace, however, the activities of these committoos have in creased the number of local strikes throughout the region, In violation of the letter and spirit of the agreement, by almost ten-fold, The operators believe It better to abolish tho grievance eommitteos and return absolutely to the method established by the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission. The Board of Conciliation established by it provides an open court and a simple and efficient method for tho adjustment of dif ficulties that cannot be settled immediately by the miner with the local of ficial of the company. Tho work of the Board of Conciliation has stood the ' test of thirteen (13) years; it is held up by economists and students' of labor problems, both here and abroad, as a model, and it is believed that any further departure from the rules Juid down by the Commission will be a decided stop backward, and an encouragement to labor troubles in the anthracite field.' Some complaints have been made over delays in securing action by the Board, but its decisions have always dated back to the time when tho 'grievance was first raised, and no man has suffered loss on ac count of tho tiroo required for its proper adjudication. We are not aware of any court of last resort in tho country .which has cleared its calendar more thoroughly or more promptly. It is impossible to decide these controversies at sight. Some investi gation and earnest consideration i'b required- to decide any controversy. Tho law's delays have been a fruitful Bo'urce of complaint from time1 im memorial; but human wisdom has never been able to devise a system of administering justice which does not involve time for investigation, when tho passions aroused by the controversy have subsided, and time given for calm deliberation; all of which are essential to secure righteous judgment. Miners' Demand No. 6. W'A demand that no contract miner shall be permitted to have. t moie than one working place i A Demand That Would Destroy Ambition This demand is apparently intended to limit the earning ca pacity of the more elficient miner, who, in reality, acts in the capacity of a general contractor. There, can be no well-founded objection to the system for the reason that the agreement of 1912 distinctly pro ides that "the rates paid by any contract miner to his employe shall not be less than the standard rate for that class of work."' This arrangement was satisfactory to tho miners in 1912. Conditions huve not changed, and wc believe that any individual who desires to take contracts of this nature, and by his ability and energy is able to increase his earnings, should be encouraged in his ambition and not fettered by rules and regulations to the contrary. i Miners' Demand No. 7. We demand that the uclllnK price of mining supplies to miners be fixed on a more equitable and uniform basis. Mining Supplies This demand refers to the price of mining supplies, mainly ex plosives and oil. To safeguard the lives of the miners and protect the mines it is necessary to have explosives and oil standard in character. The operator is responsible for accidents, and, there fore, must necessarily purchase and distribute proper supplies to the miners. They are sold at little advance over their cost and expense of handling, and at the present time the cost of some of these supplies to the operator is greater than the price at which he sells them to the miner. Miners' Demand No. 8. We demand that wherever coal in mined by the car all coal shall be weighed and be paid for on a mine run basis by the ton of 2,240 pounds, and shall be paid for dirt and rock. A Great Expense Without Gain for Anyone The subject of this demand represents another case where the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission declined to interfere with established custom. In rendering its decision the Commission said it was "not prepared to say that the change, to payment by weight, based on 2,240-pound ton, when the price would neces sarily be adjusted to the number of pounds, would prove of sufficient benefit to the miner to compensate for the expense and trouble thereby imposed upon the operators, now paying by the car." There has been no change in methods and the same argument applies with equal force today. A car of fixed capacity is certainly a standard of measure, just as the quart and peck are standards' in trade. The price paid per car has been fixed on the basis of coal cleaned to v.ithin a fixed limit of impurities. For veins carrying a large amount of refuse material, either the price per car has been adjusted to meet the condition or the miner is paid a special consideration for eliminating dirt and rock. Under the circumstances, it is not necessary to hoist such refuse to the surface and go through the process of removal in the course of manufacture in the breaker. Every well-managed business throws out waste as soon as possible; to do otherwise would be asking the public to pay a premium for inefficient methods that were entirely unwarranted and unjustifiable. Miners' Demand No. 9. We demand readjustment of the machine mining scale to the extent that eciulUiblo rates and conditions shall obtain as a basis for this syetem. A Matter for Adjustment The operators believe the rates now paid are fair, but if any adjustment is necessan, there is no objection on their part to making such changes as will give the machine mining men the opportunity of earning wages that are equitable as compared with those of equivalent occupations. Miner' Demand No. 10. AVe demand that the arrangements of detailed wane scales and the settlement of irternal iuestlonp both as repnrdH price! and con ditlonri be referred to the representatives of the operators and miners of each dUtrlct to be adjusted on an equitable basK Miners' Demand Will Abolish Arbitration The miners justify this demand on the following ground: "Miners and operators constitute the contracting parties for the pur pose of mining coal. It is absurd to refer differences arising from this contractual relationship to parties other than their representatives." Disputes between citizenB over their contractual relations are settled by the courts, and tho judges, who are empowered by law to find and declare justice, are not the representatives of either party. The operators be lieve that differences between employers and tneir employes who are di rectly affected should be settled by the interested parties, if possible. If they cannot agree, they believe that the differences should be adjusted by tho fair and open arbitration provided by the Board of Conciliation as es tablished by the Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, by whiph the 308 cases that have come before it have been satisfactorily adjusted. Finally Every well-informed man who has made a study of conditions in the anthracite field will agree that the anthracite industry as a whole ia now conducted on as low a margin of profit as is possible if the operators are to continue to serve the public. As any increase which may be granted must necessarily be eventually paid by the heads of families and other users of anthra cite, the operators, while desiring to deal justly with their em ployea, deem it their plain duty to resist any unreasonable demands. SCRANTON COAL COMPANY, By J. n. dickso.v, doiisox coal company, By alax c. dodsox. UBLAAVAni', LACKAWANNA WIJ8TKIIX COM PANY, Br IS. E. I.OOM18, Vice President. I TUB Di:U.tnARB HUDSON COMPANY. fly V. 11. WIU, JAMS. Vice Prraldrnt. Oltr.KN KIIMH CO A I. COMPANY, nr XV. L. COXNHI L, rirsldrnt. KINGSTON COAL. COMPANY', By F. B, ZKRI1RY, Gen eral Mnnnf-er. THE 1. UUIOH COAT. AND NAVIGATION COMPANY. II y h. D. WAMUNER, President. LEHIGH VALLKY COAL COMPA.N Y,.Dr V. M. CHASE, Vice Prectdent. LEHIGH . ny c. AND WILKES-BAnitE P. irt'nEn. President. COAL COMPANY, MADEIRA. HILL & COMPANY, By T. O, MADEIRA, President, O. n. MARKLK COMPANY, By JOHN MAHKLK, Prenl denl. A. PARDEE A COMPANY, By FRANK PARDEE. ' PENNSYLVANIA COAL COMPANY, Hy V. A. MAY, President. Committee Representing Anthracite Operators THK PHILADELPHIA nEADINO'COAL AND moN COMPANY, By AV. J. IIICHARDM, President. SUHQKKHANNA COAL COMPANY', By MORRIS WIL LIAMS, PrealUent. TKMPI.n COAL COMPANY, ny S. II. THO TIN If, Presi dent. J. M. WENT. A COMPANY. By D. U. WKNTX. WEST END COAL COMPANY, By C. 1. MMIWV WHITNEY A KUMMEHER, II) J. L. KEMMHRER.