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The Gem worker and the Idaho labor herald. (Boise, Idaho) 1914-1917, April 29, 1915, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88056075/1915-04-29/ed-1/seq-1/

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Tbc Qcm Worker ctwida for
Municipal Ownership of public
utilities and will make every effort
to force this great issue to the
front in Boise, as in line with" the
most progressive thought of the
day. Public utilities by their very
nature should be monopolistic in
character and a private monopoly
is intolerable. A monopoly must
be owned and conducted by the
people as a whole in their govern
mental capacity just as the postal
business is conducted.
, The Gem Worker is demonstrat
ing its fitness to survive and is one
ol , tf 1 * most prosperous weekly
publications in the State of Idaho.
It is receiving splendid support
from the forces of organized labor,
not alone in Boise but from the
unions of every section. The fact
***** ** represents the labor organ
izations of the State gives it a
high standing as an advertising
medium which up-to-date business
men are quick to recognize by
patronizing its advertising columns
( $1.00 Per Year.
Yol. II. No. 48.)
5c a Copy
City Council Takes Initial Step Looking Toward
Municipal Control of Water Works and
Power Plants
Municipal ownership of public uti
ities is the burning issue in Boise
today, and The Gem Worker is the
only paper in the city that is out in
the open for the success of this great
Municipal ownership cuts out all
the overcapitalization, upon which
interest must be paid; it cuts out ex
pensive manipulation in the interest
of favored stockholders; it cuts out
huge profits that private ownership
demands, as it only aims to take suf
ficient money from patrons to pay
running expenses and provide for rea
sonable improvements. There is no
argument against municipal owner
ship and every argument against pri
vate ownership with numerous com
panies under ruinous competition, or
with one gigantic company that has
been formed by a merger that includ
every form of stock manipulation
known to high finance.
The new city administration is al
ready taking steps to forward muni
cipal ownership of water works and
electrical power and every good and
loyal citizen should rally to their
support. .
At the city council meeting held
Wednesday ofternoon, Councilman
Eichelberger brought up the matter
' regard to both of these propo
He said that in view of the
power merger the people in his opin
are now in favor of Voting a
bond issue for the purpose of estab
lshing water works and a power
Councilman Finni'gan staged that
he had learned from Mr. Weymouth
of the government service, that the
government power would be allotted
to districts and it was argued from
this that the city could make arrange
ments to secure power from the dis
trict in which it was located, and we
cannot see why it could not be made
a district itself.
At present the city has contracts
with the power companies, but these
need not interfere with the taking of
initial steps for municipal owner
ship, as the companies have been
very lack in their good faith in keep
ing the contracts in the past.
Municipal ownership of
works is now the general rule in
American cities and a city is not in
the progressive class that permits its
people to be exploited by a private
corporation in this great necessity.
And especially is it imperative that
the city of Boise take advantage of
the splendid natural advantages and
opportunities that lie at c|ur very
door for a water supply.
It may not be generally known
but there are great publicity bureaus
at work to discredit municipal own
ership, and the power plants of south
ern Idaho have a publicity bureau at
work in their interests. The press
of this section has been flooded for
months past with literature from this
One of these national bureaus
dealing with the situation in Seattle
is called to time by Councilman
Erickson, of that city, in a commu
nication to The Public, of Chicago.
Mr. Erickson points out that the
charge for eleetrical power in Seattle
is practically only one-fourth what
it was before the installment of the
nfunictpal plant". Such a reduction
can be made in Boise, The Gem
Worker herewith oresents Mr. Erick
son's communication in full, as fol
lows :
(From The Public.)
Seattle, April 2, 1915.
There has lain in my basket for
some time a copy of the "Traction
This publication contains
a tirade against Municipal Ownership
in Seattle, quoted from the Seattle
Times. It is simply a sample of vili
fication and misrepresentation that is
being dished out here constantly. The
majority of people in this city pay no
attention to this constant vilification
of our publicly owned utilities.
During the last year and a half the
public service corporations, through
their papers, have kept up a continual
fusillade of abuse and misinformation
concerning our public utilities. The
principal subject of attack has been
our light and power plant Before the
people voted bonds to build a light
and power plant u»ers paid twenty
cents a kilowatt hour foe light in their
home«. Power rate» #ere much in the
same ratio. When the Municipal plant
was put in operation these rates were
immediately cut in two. Numerous
reductions have been made since the
plant started, until the minimum rate
for residence charge is five and one
half cents a kilowatt hour, with a rate
of two cents for all consumption over
45 kilowatt hours in one month. The
minimum rate also has been reduced
from one dollar a month to fifty cents
a month.
It has been necessary for the private
corporations to meet the various re
ductions made by the city. The direct
result of that has been to squeeze
large quantities of water out of the
Puget Sound Traction Company stock.
It is this continual forcing of rates
down to a reasonable basis that causes
the organs of this company to cry out
against our municipal light and power
They very rarely write anything
concerning our light plant without be
moaning the burden that is being
placed upon the taxpayer. Of course,
you understand that if it really would
place a tax upon the ppor taxpayer
these corporations would be the last
to complain. It is because it accom
plishes just the opposite, and places
more of the burden upon the corpora
tions and other wealthy interests,
where it properly belongs, that they
One purpose in the constant attacks
upon, our light and power plant was to
influence voters in our last election.
March 2. Since Seattle abolished the
ward system, the corporations have
lost control of our City Council. The
election last fall appeared to have a
.decidedly reactionary trend, and it
was thought possible by carrying on a
steady campaign of opposition to our
publicly owned utilities to elect three
councilmen of reactionary stripe. The
campaign carried on undoubtedly had
some influence, as the most reaction
ary and outspoken candidate against
municipal ownership received the
largest vote of any of the twenty-two
candidates in the primaries.
■The reactionary forces were elated
at this result, and the majority felt
confident that the plans they had laid
would be successful. But the primaries
had the effect of arousing, the progres
sive element in the city. Josiah yol
lins, who received the largest Æte,
had been a member of the Legislature.
His record in that body was given
wide publicity, and an enthusiastic
campaign carried on in defense of our
publicly owned utilities. As a result
of this campaign, the tables were re
versed in. the final election. Collins
was overwhelmingly defeated. The
most progressive municipal ownership
advocate of all the candidates was
elected, and with him two others who
were the least objectionable of those
who were in the final contest.
Quite a number of questions involv
ing our publicly owned utilities were
placed before the voters in the form
of charter amendments and
propositions. Some of these did not do
so well from the municipal standpoint
as we had hoped' but on the whole the
results were satisfactory, and showed
the public sentiment of this city
strongly progressive. One resolution
which was submitted in regard to our
light plant was calculated to show the
temper of the people in regard to the
management of that institution, and
it was carried in our favor by a vote
of two to one.
Our water system, which is owned
by the city, is so completely entrench
ed in the people's favor that very little
opposition manifests itself against
that institution. It has been such an
Unqualified success that any effort to
attack it would meet with no favor
whatever. There are few cities, if any,
in the United States that h^ve such a
magnificent water supply as the city
of Seattle. And when the distance
which it is carried is taken into con
sideration, there is probably no city in
the Union that furnishes water
Our municipal street car system is
only in its infancy, having been op
erated but a few months. It is but
part of a system, consisting of two
lines which are located in the outlay
ing districts. Until these lines have
been brought into the heart of the city
and some extensions made into out
lying districts, no judgment can be
passed as to how successful it will
be. Because the Traction Company
and other corporate interests realize
that it will accomplish in the trans
portation of passengers what our light
plant has done in its field, every ob
stacle that cm be devvised has been
used to Mock it« completion.
I .11 lulls
—Taylor In Loo Angolos Timoo.
Intended Snub Proves to Be a Complete Failure
Bakersfield.—The.. Evening „Calif
ornian makes the following
on the refusal of University of Penn
sylvania authorities to permit Presi
dent Gompers to speak in a hall at
that institution:
"It is not encouraging to find a
great educational institution like the
University of Pennsylvania retusing
to grant to Samuel Gompers the right
to use one of its halls in which to
address the students. It is encourag
ing though to note that, learning of
the policy of the university authorit
ies with reference to Mr. Gompers,
500 students showed tbeir resentment
by assembling to hear what the presi
dent of the American Federation of
Labor had to say.
"Pin-headiness is about the only
word that fittingly describes the at
titude of the Pennsylvania college
faculty. Samuel Gompers has been
Oklahoma Farmers Are Told of Unionism
Oklahoma City.—Acquaint the far
mers with the purpose of trade union
ism and offset the campaign now car
ried on by anti-union influences, is
the advice of the Oklahoma Labor
Unit, which notes that the farmer in
fluence in the state legislature is of
ten against the industrial worker
because of this lack of understanding.
The Labor Unit gives this advice,
which can be applied by unionists to
all classes of citizens;
"The past session of the legislature
brought very forcibly to our mind
one fact, and that is that before we
may expect to secure all the demands
of labor and in the shape we want
them, we must undertake an educa
tional campaign in the rural districts.
"We, the members of organized la
Compensation Act Is Passed' In Colorado
Denver, Cold.—A compensation
law has been passed by the stale leg
islature. About the only value the
bill possesses is the fact that it es
tablishes the principle of compensa
tion in this state. The act contains
four different kinds of optional insur
ance, and students of this question
believe the law will provvc unwork
able. The law takes effect the first
of next August, it is urged that by
the time the general assembly again
convenes, January, 1917, the demand
for a genuine compensation act will
be universal.
The new law exempts farm labor
and domestics, as well as employers
who employ less than four workers.
Four forms of insuring for com
pensation are left open to the em
ployer—insurance in the state com
Toronto, Ontario.—The four locals'
of painters in this city are disenssing
amalgamation, and at a mass meeting
addressed hy International President
Hedrick it was agreed to instruct the
officers of the locals to draw up a plan
that mqy be submitted to the interest
ed organizations.
one of the greatest factors for good
in the labor movement that the world
has ever known. He has ueen con
servative to the extent of nullifying
the influence of the reckless element
within the ranks of labor and he has
been radical enough to steadily bring
about a betterment of conditions af
fecting the working people of the na
tion. For a university to declare that
such a man shall not have the ear of
the young men who are being educat
ed there is to declare for a narrow
policy that cannot but discredit not
only the governing body but the in
stitution itself.
"The Pennsylvania college author
ities cannot snub nor humiliate Sam
uel Gompers by refusing him permis
sion to address the students but they
can write their institution down as
one not broad enough to attract the
favorable attention of those who have
boys to educate."
bor, know that organized labor is
never selfish that nothing, is asked
for that is not backed by many good
and sufficient reasons; that has for its
object the making of life better worth
the living. In the cities and towns
organized labor is pretty well under
stood but out in the country, to a very
great extent, it is quite different.
"Most of the literature the farmer
gets gives only one side, the employ
er's side of every question, and the re
sult is we find members of the legis
lature opposing labor measures whom
we feel sure would not do so had they
been made to understand them and to
know what organized labor's objects
are. Union men of Oklahoma must
awaken in this regard and apply the
remedy that is needed—ouhlicitv.
pensation insurance fund, which is
created by the new law; stock com
pany insurance, mutual insurance and
the carrying by the employer of his
own risk, on filing of a bond with the
industrial commission to guarantee
compensation payments if the neces
sity arises.
The industrial commission makes
rates for insurance in the state fund.
Disability indemnity to be paid under
the law is based on the average week
ly wages of an employe, but cannot
exceed $8 per week. In case of death
the maximum amount to be paid is
The law will be administered by
the newly created industrial commis
Other duties of this board con
• lOtl
sists of making investigations in in
dustry and the settlement of differ
ences between capital and labor.
Albany.—By a vote of 86 to 21 the
state assembly has passed the Knight
bill exempting certain employes from
one day rest a week law. Among
those exempted are enmloyers of salt
refineries and employes of mercan
tile establishments whose hours of
labor a week are limited by law.
Teachers Want Pension
Philadelphia—Teachers in this state
are interested in a oension bill to be
introduced shortly in the state legis
According to the terms of the bill,
tne state is to be the administrator,
but the fund is to be provided by the
teachers. There is a consitutional
prohjbition against the state granting
pensions except for military services.
It is proposed to overcome this by
increasing teachers' salaries propor
tionately to make up their contribu
tions to the retirement fund.
. Teitchers who contract to teach for
For Eight-Hour Day
Scranton, Pa.—In an editorial
the eight-hour day, the Republican
of this city says:
"Mining, and particularly coal min
ing, wher« pockets of gas as well as
treacherous roof are always a men
ace, is conceded by every one to be a
hazardous occupation. The confine
ment in the dark chambers and gang
ways, where the air is never as pure
as at the surface, tries the stamina of
even the hardiest men.
"It has been the contention of the
mine workers that in occupations
such as theirs can do as much in a
shorter day, through more strenuous
effort, than if compelled to labor for
nine or ten hours. In addition, be
ing more alert and fit during the en
tire period of a short day they are
vigilant in the observance of safety
Risk Fund Law Valad
Madison, Wis.—The attorney gen
eral has ruled that the laws creating
the state life insurance fund and pro
viding for state management of the
life fund for policy holders in the
state is constitutional. He also rules
that the laws providing for insurance
of state and municipal and school
district property by the state and cre
ating the public school teachers' re
tirement fund are constitutional. He
declined the state treasurer's repuest
to bring suits to test these laws.
The first claim against the state
life fund, which is $1,000 on the life
of Dr. George Keenan, of Madison,
who recently died, has been filed and
now will be paid by the state
Rush to Alaska Feared
Washington.—Fear is expressed by
the Alaskan engineering commission
that a stampede to work on the Alaska
government railway, 'will; result in
thousands of laboring men reaching
the territory and finding that there is
no work to
thority for the statement that about
400 positions will be open during the
next few months, and that about
40,000 applications have been made
for these positions.
illiam C. Eddes is au
Want Records 0. K.
Boston,—Fear of publicity caused a
majority-of the members of the state
house of representatives to vote for
an amendment to the compensation
law which reduces the time an em
ploye may secure benefits after he is
injured. The bill was rejected o!n
a standing vote, 55 to 68, but a de
mand for a record vote resulted in
the bill's passage, 116 to 99.
Cause For Typus Fever
Washington.—No epidemic of typus
fever has been threatened in the Unit
ed States, according to surgeons of
the public health service, who say
that typus comes from unsanitary
living conditions, principally lack of
facilities for bathing.
Will Organize Painters
Boston.—The international officers
of the Painters' union are assisting in
an organizing campaign, now being
conducted throughout this city. The
initiation fee has been reduced and it
is believed the membership will be
increased 5,000.
Sip the Mothers' Bill
Albany.—Gov. Whitman has signed
tilt bill to permit mothers with or
phaned children to be paid the same
money for their care that would be
paid to orphan asylums.
Your watch will keep time if re
paired by W. C Perry, Jeweler., 709
Bannock St, Opp. P. O.—Adv.
any period between July 1, 1915, and
June 30, 1915, are to pay into the
state treasury for the pension fund
the following percentages of their
salaries: .
First five years, 4 per cent: second
3 per cent; third, 2 per cent; fourth,
lper cent This would make the
payments as follows: First five
years, $50 a year; second,, $45; third,
$30; fourth, $15.
The payments are to be retained
from salary warrants. A teacher re
tiring without being eligible to
sion shall have all contributions
funded with 3 per cent interest.
I mum
Pass City Pension Bill
Harrisburg.—The state senate has
passed the bill to require Philadelphia
to establish a pension fund for vet
eran city and county employers. The
bill now in the house for concurrence
in the charges. The pension age limit
now fixed in the bill is 55 years, and
an employe to be eligible for its bene
fits must have served the city or
county twenty years. An employe
retired on pension is to receive 50
per cent of the amount of his salary
in service. For the support of the
fund city and county employers
to contribute 2 per cent of their
pay monthly.
The mayor, comptroller, city treas
uerer, and two representatives each
of the city and the county employes
are to constitute a pension fund com
Accident List Decreases
Madison, Wis.—During the past
year the number of accidents in this
state have decreased «from 30 to 60
per cent, largely through the guard
ing of dangerous machinery, reports
the Wisconsin industrial commission.
It is stated that during the last four
teen months 21,374 accidents causing
disability for more than one week
occurred in the 10,000 factories and
workshops in Wisconsin, costing in
compensation for loss of wages and
for medical and hospital attendance
Call For Labor Denied
New York.—Sir Courtnay W. Ben
nett, British counsel general here,
says his office has no knowledge of
reported requests for workingmen to
be sent by this country to Great
Britian to take the places in industrial
establishments of those who are at
the front
The council general says he has
been deluged with inquiries, but he
knows nothing of the proposed
Engineers Make Gains
Chicago—The local union of steam
and operating engineers has signed
an agreement with the Cook County
Brewers' association, which provides
for an eight-hour day and a wage
rate of $24.50 per week. Overtime
is to be paid at the rate of time and ^
one-half. A board of conciliation is
created and the agreement remains in
force until February '28, 1917.
Bartenders Make Gains
Lynn, Mass.—Bartenders' union
has signed an agreement with the
sociation of its employers which pro
vides that only union men shall be
employed. The mimimum wage rate
is placed at $21 per week, which shall
not exceed fifty-seven hours. Mem
bers of the union shall be entitled to
one week's notice, in writing, before
Want A Labor Temple
Agusta, Ga.—Trade unionists of
this city want a home of their own
and at the central body's last meet
ing a committee was appointed to in
quire into and report on. building a
labor temple.
Trtnton. —Gov. Fielder has signed
a bill amending the election laws by
providing for the direct primary se
lection of candidates for the United
States Senate.
Ed. Price has been nominated a
delegate to the International Typo
graphical Convention which convenes
at Los Angeles, California in August.
Mr. Price is well known in union cir
cles and is a faithful worker in the
Local I. T. U. members should
rally to Mr. Price's support at the
election in May.

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