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THE LABOR ADVOCATE
Compensation For Injuries By WILL J. ROHR Former Commissioner and Secretary to Ohio Employers' Liability Commissi) .""" 8 $4fi&lgyi0te0nt(Q hi !. (Editor's Note At the Annual Con vention of the International Labor Press of America, held at Cincinnati, Ohio, arrangements were made whereby a series of special articles from the pen of men who have made a thorough study of the matter upon which they write, will appear simultaneously in the col umns of those papers. The first comes from the pen of Mr. Will J. Kolir, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who has gained a wide reputation through his study and writ ings upon those topics in which labor is intensely interested.) Liability insurance companies are re sponsible for the various laws dealing Will .1. Itolir. with workmen's compensation. True, they deny the soft impeachment. Organized labor, employers, judges and lawyers were the instruments which nnally combined to write the fundamen tal principles underlying the idea of in part trying to offer some slight compen sation to a worker when injured, and in a small measure relieving distress to a family that lias suffered the loss of its principal breadwinner. In the State of Ohio, October (!, JUKI the first 12-ccutinieler gun began to smash the old industrial system that human life was the cheapest thing around an industrial plant. That gun and am munition was furnished by the indem nity insurance companies. "Liability insurance companies doing business in a single Slate for three years, collected $2:i,fi2:i,.r.sr., and they paid out in settlements of suits, $8,r()!), 7'K'i. ' The Ohio Commission found that less than as per cent of those recoveries by suits at law and settlements, ever reach ed the injured workman or the hands of his widow or his orphans. In (!.',()() cases passing through one indemnity insurance manager's hands, the record shows that approximately only (i per cent of those injured ever receiv ed anything, while ill per cent of those injured either temporarily, partial or total disability, or in case of death, re ceived nothing. i ins is now tne indemnity insurance companies assisted in bringing about workmen s compensation laws. The fundamental and underlying priu ciplcs which were written into work men s compensation laws in some twen ty-two foreign countries had to do with reducing the number of accidents, the necessity of immediate surgical attention to an injured workman, the placing of a stated amount of money in the hands of the injured party or his dependents, and doing away with the possibility of frit tering and long delays in placing awards. All available statistics in the United States bore out the contention that the number of accidents, both those inher ent to the business and those incurred through carelessness or indifference on the part of the workmen or employer, could be reduced to a minimum. And that might best be done by making it compulsory upon the State or other agent to see that every workman should re ceive something, and that the principle of placing the burden of doing this should eventually be borne by industry. In a conference participated in by representatives of the Federal govern ment and a large number of commis sioners from several of the larger States, held at Chicago, III., November It). 11, IS, 1010, an attempt was made to unite upon a plan or a form of compensa tion law, which would not work a hard ship upon any one State's industries. The fact was brought out that the con stitution of some of these States would not permit that form of compensation known as State insurance, i. e., a fund contributed by the employers and ad ministered and disbursed by a State Hoard or Industrial Commission. The record of industrial indemnity in surance companies was so black, that when the Employers' Liability Commis sion of Ohio gathered in executive ses sions to formulate a plan and write a law, the idea uppermost was to the effect : If absolute, quick and sure com pensation was to be looked for, then all middlemen or intermediaries would have to be eliminated. However, there was a provisionthat upon complying with cer tain requirements, a firm or corporation might arrange to carry its own insur ance, after having satisfied the proper State officials of their financial ability to do so. In formulating a system of compensa tion, it must be borne in mind that the plans in force in European countries were planned for the whole country in which it became operative. In the United States it became necessary to take up the matter along the lines of each State being a government unto itself upon internal management and the regulation of industries, other perhaps than those which had to do with the intrastate and interstate traffic. In the second paragraph of this article mention is made that judges and law yers assisted in the promulgation of workmen's compensation laws. This statement, however, is paradoxical. Hun dreds of thousands of workmen never were able to understand how it was, that after they had been injured, a suit for damages undertaken, it was seldom that in case of recovery, were they permitted to receive any compensation until after a long drawn-out litigation. And then perhaps a widow, the dependent chil dren or other nearest of kin, found that fees and litigation had figuratively left them in debt, while the home had been broken and the inmates dispersed to possible charitable institutions. Law's delay and the uncertainty of recovery aroused organized working men, quite as much as did the charitable (?) procedure of the industrial indem nity insurance companies. In a very exhaustive and compre hensive investigation made by what is known as the Russell Sage Foundation in the l'lttsburg and Allegheny district, and liy the hmployers' Liability Com mission of Ohio, in Cuyahoga county, of that Stale, a condition of affairs was dis closed that was so appalling and black for a change, that in all the testimony offered, not a single individual offered a word in palliation. J'hc law's delay, either through the clogging of the machinery, or through llie dilatory tactics of those having the cases in hand, in many instances, per mitted the "wearing" -down of litigants, and tne eventual settlement at merely nominal or insignificant sums: in manv cases barely enough being received to pay tne imriai expenses, and then only ii uiey um noi exceed .hi 10 isau. It must not be inferred that all judges aim lawyers sought to hinder or oh struct the process of meting out jus tice to the injured workman or his de pendents m case of his death, lint in the taking of testimony covering thou sands of pages, the word "shyster" and "tool" were very frequently used, along with "ambulance chasers." Under a State workmen's compensa tion law the word "shyster" and "am bulance chaser" will become obsolete in sofar as it may be used in connection with an injured workman or dependents. It may be quite true that in the es timation and opinion of many workmen and others, that compensation to injur ed workmen and dependents is placed at too low a figure. When it is taken into consideration that within the short space of five years 10(1 per cent of workmen are receiving medical and surgical at tention, prompt awards for injuries with out being forced to take a pauper's oath to secure that settlement, it is indeed a long step forward. In several States the cost of carrying industrial insurance by employers has been reduced, while the awards to in jured workmen have remained at the ori ginal figures. The next step along the lines of workmen's compensation will be to increase the awards and make those awards more quickly available to the injured person or his dependent. Aside from the attempt to partially compensate an injured workman, one of the main features of a compensation law has to do with the reducing of ac cidents. As the compensation law oper ates, and as statistics are used by in demnity companies, the manufacturer in a particular line of business has his premiums reduced in proportion to the reductions of accidents in his particular line. It is then to his interest to sec that every precaution is taken, and that when he has a man in charge of any one certain department, who shows an in difference to safeguarding the lives and limbs of the men over whom he has charge, he at once puts his hands into his employer's pocket by causing an increase in the rates which that business must carry to cover injuries and accidents. The compensation plan as now in force in the several States, has gone many Direct your attention to their splendid line of Clothing for Men and Boys, also to their superb showing of Outer garments for Women, Misses and Children. t ..... - leagues to advance the conditions pre vailing no further back than five or six years. The principles of partial com pensation have become so firmly a part of the organic laws of a majority of the States in the Union, that it would be suicidal upon the part of any individual or a combination of individuals to at tempt to revert to old time practices. During the past year there were over lOO.OOO accidents occurring in industrial Ohio. Every one of those accidents came under the personal observation and scrutiny of the Ohio State Industrial Commission. Some of the awards made under the State insurance system carry M2 per week lor the length of life of the injured worker, when it is a case of total disability. This means that should total disabil ity overtake a workman, he would re ceive' the sum of $is,(i(l(), distributed over a period of twenty-five years, or longer, should he continue to live. Also, that a partial cash advance payment can be made for the purpose of purchasing a home, a farm, or some business which would enable him to live in comfort without depending entirely upon his monthly awards. Cases too numerous to mention arc of record prior to the enactment of the compensation law, where a worker total ly disabled, had no rights in the courts, and the law designated him everything but a malefactor. Under the old sys tem of fellow servant, contributory neg ligence and assumption of risk the re coveries made by injured workmen and his dependents in case of his death, were almost nil, when all accidents were con sidered. Again it may be stated, that with all the employers of a State coming in mi ller a workmen's compensation law, the fact still remains that prior to such a plan, we have the (ifi,00() cases coining under the immediate notice of one in demnity insurance manager, and settle ments or compensation being made in only 0 per cent of the cases. Ninety four workmen in every 100 injured or killed never recovered one penny. Docs any man with one iota or spark of manhood in his makeup, want to claim that this was justice? Do the working men of the United States desire to revert to those barbaric conditions? Do they desire that the widow and or phans shall be scattered unto the four winds of heaven; that the life of the breadwinner has no more value than the bolt or screw in a piece of machinery? Twenty-two foreign countries have compensation laws, and nearly all the States in the Union have them, including the territories. Cincinnati's Greatest Store, Founded 1877 !0c&igfl0(&BBMl(Qo Cincinnati's Greatest Store, Founded 1877 REDUCING ACCIDENTS BY EDUCATIONAL PLAN Sacramento, Cal. The state industrial accident commission, of which Will J. French, Typographical union, is a mem ber, is conducting an educational cam paign for the purpose of lessening the number of accidents and fatalities in industry. Many of the notices arc printed on stout linen and an appeal is made to both employer and employe to work for the common end. The literature is pro fusely illustrated to show the wrong way and the right way of doing thincs and the results of carelessness arc viv idly pictured. It is shown that there were 51 accidents in 101-1 because of piling construction material unsafely. Lumber with protruding nails caused 1,001 accidents. Unguarded floor open iugs in buildings under construction, de fective ladders, flimsy constructed scaf folds, careless handling of explosives and other subjects arc illustrated and printed in a form easily read. The commission has issued special or ders that cover many industries and callings. One of the features of this campaign is the use made of California's historic bear. The commission has or ganized a Miner's Safety Hear club, with the slogan, "I am a bear for safety," on an attractive button. Admittance to the club is free and through an endless chain system "every good safety bear" is supposed to enlist a recruit. The commission is also working with sub-committees of employers and em ployes. It is the purpose of this joint movement to awaken a state-wide inter est in the lessening of accidents and to make prevention of these occurrences a major question in California industry. 1)KI'HXIS UNIONISM. Newark, N. J. The Evening News of this city is not, in sympathy with the recent anti-union policy of employers in New York's garment industry. The editor says that the employers' attempt to repudiate the preferential hiring of union workers, which was agreed to in the original contract, and also to retain a free hand in dismissals, "would cast the entire organization of the industry into the scrap heap and bury the protocol in anarchy. "To abandon the preferential shop, to cripple the union and to reinstate the employer autocrat would be a calamity, not only to the world of industry, but in the world of democracy." PACKERS' PENSION A SNARE Toronto, Ontario. The Swift Pack ing Company, Chicago, has announced that it will inaugurate a pension scheme without cost to its workers. It is esti mated that the company employs 2,000 men and women in Canada, and the In dustrial Banner, official paper of the Toronto Trades and Labor Council, says : "It is doubtful if at this stage of the development, intellectually and econom ically, any large number of the working people of Canada can be deceived by the old-age pension molasses which the American meat packing trust is now dangling before their employes. It is significant that this 'generous' non-contributing pension system is being held before the eyes of the packing-house workers at a time when there is an actual shortage in the kind of labor the packing houses demand. "Old-age pensions and insurance against unemployment, sickness, etc., are most desirable, but if they arc to be of any real benefit to the great mass of people compelled to sell their labor in a competitive labor market, they must not depend on the benevolence of whims of private individuals or corporations. "It is the business and mission of the labor unions and wage workers them selves to bring such pressure to bear upon the provincial and dominion gov ernments as to compel them to inaugu rate and establish universal pension sys tems which will tend to liberate the wage workers from the haunting fear of want during their old age instead of further riveting their chains upon them. "An old-age pension, like the one of fered to the packing house workers, where they have no legal claim to it, if they offend their masters, by demanding more wages or better working condi tions while thev are qualifying for it, means slavery of the worst kind and nothing but slavery." NEXT! BARBERS NOW ON STRIKE Union Lender Hays 110,000 Ilnzoi-Wicldi-is Will Quit. New York, Aug. 22. Two thousand barbers in 800 shops went on strike to day, according to Charles M. Fiedcr, vice-president of the International Bar bers' Union of America. Before the end of the week Fiedcr declared the major ity of the 20,000 barbers in the greater city would join the strike. They demand an increase of one dollar a week in wages.