OCR Interpretation

The toiler. (Cleveland, Ohio) 1919-1922, October 30, 1920, Image 8

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

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88078683/1920-10-30/ed-1/seq-8/

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?AGE 8
SATURDAY. OCT. 30-th 1920
1 year, $2.50
Address all mail sad make all checks payable to
3207 Clark Are., Cleveland. Ohio.
Entered as Second Class Matter, February 21. 1017,
at the Post Office at Cleveland, 0., Under the Act
of March 3, 1870.
Bundle Order Prices
Five copies, payment in advance 3y2c each
Ten copies, payment in advance 3'2C each
Twenty copies, payment in advance SVjC each
One hundred copies 3.50
One thousand copies 35.00
Pills upon bundle orders of 100 or more rendered
monthly. Bills must be paid upon presentation.
Order a bundle of Toilers weekly and sell them to
your shopmatcs.
Published weekly by the
Toiler Publishing Association
Telephone: Harvard 3639
Labor Grafters
The testimony of a building contractor that
he had paid the sum of $25,000 to be given to
Robert P. Brindell, President of the New York
Bulding Trades Council in return for the calling
off of a strike, is another striking revelation of
the evil effects of the present system of trade
onion control and management. The latest ex
posure of official graft and corruption will be
taken by some as merely due to the in
dividuals involved; the evil will be remedied,
they think, by the elimination of the
fuilty officials and their replacement by honest
men. But to those who know that what has been
discovered in New York is a regular occu ranee in
almost every other city in the country it must be
plain that the cause lies deeper than the individual
crooks; it is inherent in the very system of pres
ent day trade unionism.
What is this system that is responsible for
the regular and systematic selling-out of the organ
ized workers? It is the practice, almost general in
all the building trades, of giving to paid business
agents the power to start and stop strikes. The
custom is pernicious in more ways than one. It
paralyzes the iniative of the workers and does not
develop in them the sense of responsibility for
which the union ought to be a training school. It
creates a special class of professional labor brok
ers who, losing contact with the workers and the
conditions under which they live, think in terms
of their own special interest. It is the natural
breeding ground for graft and corruption.
The remedy for this situation is very simple.
The plan outlined in this issue for control and
administration of the Garment Workers' Union
would do it, with such modifications as would be
necessary to make it fit the peculiar conditions
which surround building construction. The first
thing necessary is the taking of power out of the
hands of paid officials and putting it into the
hands of committees made up of men actually
working on the job, elected by the other workers
and subject to recall at any time. These committees
should be charged with the responsibility of en
forcing union conditions on the jobs where they
themselves are employed.
Delegates elected from among the workers on
the larger jobs should be brought together into a
central body of job delegates. This body should
be given the power to decide the policies of the
union, draw up wage scales, etc., subject, of course .
to the instructions of the workers who elected
them. They should also have the task of electing
the executive committee which would work under
their directions and be controlled by them. The ex
ecutive committee should look after the routine
work of the union and appoint and remove all paid
The problem in the building trades is com
plicated by the senseless mulitplicity of craft
unions. Every trade, or piece of a trade, has its
own separate, autonomous organization. One union
for the entire building industry is enough and
would be much more efficient than a score. Sooner
or later this will come, but many barriers stand
in the way. Custom, "craft pride" that rid
iculous fetter the craftsmen forge for their own
limbs; the special private interests of the horde
of parasites known as business agents: these are
all powerful barriers to industrial unionism in the
Building Industry.
In the effort to bring about greater industrial
solidarity many experiments will be tried, rang-
K 1 Vii,MJn
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