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The toiler. (Cleveland, Ohio) 1919-1922, August 20, 1920, Image 3

Image and text provided by Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88078683/1920-08-20/ed-1/seq-3/

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 20, 1920.
Strangling the Workers Strike
The Interclmrch World Movement has pub
lished a report of its investigation of the steel
strike that is one of the most damning indict
ments of the capitalist system and the capital
ist class that has been made in this country.
This report shows the conditions which tho
capitalists consider ideal the conditions they
would compel every working man and women
in this country to work under if they had ths
power. The facts about treatment of the work
ers in the steel industry and the methods used
in breaking their strike have a new meaning
to the workers, in view of the program adopted
by the National Chamber of Commerce. This
program contains the principles which Gary
has been applying to the steel industry. Its
adoption means that the workers of this country
are threatened with the establishment in other
industries of exactly those conditions which
prevail in the steel industry.
The following quotations from the report
give some idea of what the workers in the
steel mills are fighting against:
Hours of Work
"It is an epigram of the industry that
'steel is a man killer.'
"For the workers who are held for
years to the 12-hour day a phrase has beeu'
coined which is well understood by them:
'Old age at forty.' Especially they under
stood it when a corporation plant made the
rule of hiring no man over forty years of
"Approximately half of the employes
in iron and steel manufacturing plants are
subjected to the schedule known as tho
12-hour day (that is a working day from
11 to 14 hours long.)
"Less than one-quarter of the in
dustry's employes can work under 60 hours
a week, 'although in most industries 60
hours was regarded as tho maximum work
ing week' 10 years ago.
"In the past decade the United States
.Ueel Corporation has increased the per
centage of its employee subject to tho 12
hour day.
"The term 1 12-hour day' is precise
only where the day's work at the blast
furnace, open hearth and other more or loss
continuous processes is actually divided
into two shifts of 12 hours each. But in
many plants it is divided into an 11-hour
day shift and a 13-hour night shift, or a
10-hour day and and 14-hour night. Usual
ly the shifts alternate weekly and men
must work the 'long turn' of 18 hours or
24 hours a solid day at 'heavy' labor. In
some plants the 36-hour turn is still not
The Spy System.
"The commission's investigators, ask
ing the officers of a company in the Pitts
burg district for information concerning
their machinery for ascertaining their
workers' needs, encountered this: 'Bring
in the labor file,' The labor file, this com
pany's basis for a labor policy, consisted
of the secret service reports of various
detectives and of 'labor agencies.' Here
wore hundreds of mispelled reports of
'under-covermen,' operatives 'X,"Y,' and
'Z,' contracts for their services, official let
ters exchanged between companies giving
lists of strikers, commonly known as
'blacklists.' In some instances original
pencilled scraps of paper contained secret
denunciations, raised to tho dignity of
typed documents, were then circulated
to qther companies and even to the Federal
Department of Justice. The names of in
dependent concerns and of subsidiary com
panies of the Steel Corporation appear on
letterheads showing how this information
or misinformation was passed along.
The Government and the Workers.
"In Western Pennsylvania in 1919 steel
workers were tried and fined in cases
whore the major allegation was 'smiling at
the state police.'
"In the course of the strike deputa
tions of workers sought tko government
(Continued on puge 14.)

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