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The labor standard. (Hartford, Conn.) 1908-192?, January 01, 1910, Image 13

Image and text provided by Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92051523/1910-01-01/ed-1/seq-13/

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unjust to workmen
Loss Entailed by Injury Should
Not Be Borne by Them.
Cost Should Be Charged Against Ex
pense of Operation Law Ought Not
to 8uppose That the Toiler Assumes
"Risk of Business."
Discussing the proposed plan of the
New York Central railroad to pension
its employees, the New York American
The announcement of the New York
Central Railroad company that it is
about to introduce a pension system
for its superannuated employees will
generally be regarded as a good exam
ple and a measure of justice that all
great employers of labor should fol
low. This matter of providing for old age
out of a man's surplus of earnings in
his working years should be dealt with
on a businesslike basis and should not
be thought of as having any tincture
of condescension or gratuity.
If the New York Central people im
agine that they are bestowing favors
and earning the gratitude of their em
ployees their false attitude in the mat
ter will induce false methods and viti
ate the whole pension scheme.
Workingmett will not welcome the
idea of being treated as objects of
If a wornout railroad man is to have
as good treatment at the hands of rail
road corporations as an old horse gets
from a good farmer it will be because
railroad employees have, on the whole,
won their way to a position whore
such treatment can be demanded.
It is worthy of remark in this con
nection that Mr. Adelbert Moot, presi
dent of the New York State Bar asso
ciation, said a sound legal word for
railroad and other employees in a
speech in Buffalo.
Speaking of the enormous number of
accidents to life and limb suffered on
railroads and in factories, Mr. Moot
said that in a case where the accident
is due neither to the special negligence
of the employer or the employee, but
to the mere inevitable "risk of the
business," it is grossly unjust that the
injured workman should bear the mon
ey loss entailed by the misfortune.
He said that, in spite of the ancient
English rule to the contrary, the law
ought not to suppose that the "risk of
the business" is assumed by the man
that takes the job. Such risk and the
losses caused by it should be thought
of as a part of the natural cost of the
undertaking. And it should be charg
ed, not against the workman, but
against the business itself.
That is to say, railroad companies
ought to make provision for paying,
and ought to be made to pay, adequate
money damages for all the injuries in
curred by workmen in the ordinary
course of railroading.
The cost of such accidents should be
regarded as a part of the fixed charges
of the railroad business.
Pensions providing for the inevitable
march of a man's years should no
doubt be comprehended under the
same rule and the same reasoning.
Following a similar line of reasoning,
the New York Times has the follow
ing: There could hardly be a more impor
tant task for a legislative committee
properly constituted as to the inten
tions and capacities of its members,
that is than the investigation of the
whole subject commonly described as
"employers' liability." Past practice
and laws, dealing with industrial .acci
dents and the responsibility for them
have been and for the most part still
are grotesquely unreasonable, illogical
and inefficient and, while cruelly un
just to the worker, have been no real
protection to the employer, in spite of
the fact that he was the one who de
vised and perpetuated them.
Until very recently the employer's
one aim and effort has been to limit
his direct liability when he could not
avoid it altogether, and in the execu
tion of this purpose there has grown
up a great system of precedent and
law, with the three foundation stones
of "contributory negligence," "the fel
low servant rule" and "voluntary as
sumption of risk." For each of these
principles there is something of excuse
and even of reason, but as they have
worked out in combination the em
ployer pays his money to lawyers in
stead of to injured workmen, and then
he pays it again as a member of the
community in which he lives in sup
porting as paupers the direct and indi
rect victims of accidents whose claims
his lawyers are hired to fight. The lia
bility insurance companies have still
further complicated the problem and
diverted still more of what may be
galled the accident fund from its legit
imate use.
Now there is a growing inclination
to abandon entirely the venerable
foundation stones just mentioned and
to build up a system of remuneration
and support based on the idea that ac
cidents are a natural and inevitable
part of every business and that the
cost of such of them as cannot be pre
vented by intelligence and care should
be added to and then drawn from the
price of that business' output of prod
uct. In other words, the consumer is
to pay for the men worn out in indus
try exactly as he does for the ma
chines that are worn out. He does
that now in a way, and a very bad
way it is, but he is to do it better,
more economically and as a matter of
natural obligation instead of as a re
luctant or extorted favor.
British Labor Leader Plans Worldwide
Union of Sailors.
Havelock Wilson, leader of the Union
of British Seamen, is now in this coun
try to organize American seamen on
new lines so as to form an internation
al union of seamen in America and Eu
rope. Addressing a mass meeting of
sailors at the port of New York, Mr.
Wilson outlined his plan as follows:
"I am sent here at the request of the
seamen of Great Britain to make prop
aganda for the great international fed
eration of seamen. For twenty years
the Federation of English Shipowners
has kept the British Seamen's union
in a state of demoralization; but. deter
mined to improve conditions for the
seamen, the leaders have been active
in forming branches in Bremen, Ham
burg, Kiel, Antwerp, Norway, Sweden
and Belgium. Following the example
of the British employers, the American
employers have been waging an active
war against the unions of seamen on
the great lakes. Recently many con
ferences have been held by the repre
sentatives of the powerful shipping in
terests in London for the purpose of
giving to the campaign against the sea
men's unions international scope and
to make the proposed international
war as relentless and as systematic as
"The following international de
mands will be decided on by the pro
posed great conference of representa
tives of the seamen of the world to be
held in Copenhagen next year:
"First. Uniform wage scales for
long aud short journeys.
"Second. The number of the ma
chinery personnel to be regulated by
the amount of coal carried.
"Third A representative of the Sea
men's union shall be present during
the selection of a crew to safeguard
the interests of the men."
Labor Unions and Fraternal Societies
Join In the Fight.
According to a recently issued state
ment by the National Association For
the Study and Prevention of Tubercu
losis, three international labor unions
with a membership of upward of 100,
000 and nine fraternal and benefit or
ganizations with a combined member
ship of nearly 3,000,000 have during
the past year enlisted in the war
against consumption in the trades. A
year ago only one fraternal organiza
tion, the Royal league, and one labor
union, the International Typographical
union, maintained institutions for the
treatment of their tuberculous mem
bers. Since Jan. 1, 1909, the following
fraternal and benefit organizations
have taken up the consideration of the
disease and in some instances have de
cided to erect institutions: Brother
hood of American Yeomen, Order of
Eagles, Improved Order of lied Men,
Modern Woodmen of America, Knights
of Pythias, Royal Arcanum, Work
men's Circle, Knights of Columbus
and Foresters of America. The inter
national labor unions which have join
ed the fight against tuberculosis are
the International Photo-engravers' Un
ion of North America, the Interna
tional Printing Pressmen and Assist
ants' union and the International Boot
and Shoe Workers' union.
The first sanitarium to be erected
for the benefit of workingmen was
built by the International Typograph
ical union in connection with its home
at Colorado Springs. The Internation
al Printing Pressmen and Assistants'
union has recently decided to erect a
similar sanitarium, and steps are now
being take to open such an institution
in Tennessee. The International Photo-engravers'
union, while not conduct
ing a sanitarium of its own, pays
for the treatment of its tuberculous
members in institutions in various
parts of the country. The Internation
al Boot and Shoe Workers' union is
recommending to its members that
they ally themselves with the various
organizations united in the fight
against tuberculosis.
All of these fraternal organizations
and labor unions are also carrying on
campaigns of education among their
members. In this way over 3,000,000
men and women are receiving instruc
tion through lectures, through official
papers and by literature expressly pre
pared showing the dangers and meth
ods of prevention of tuberculosis.
It is a campaign of prevention which
will bring to these various unions, fra
ternal and benefit organizations mil
lions of dollars in the saving of lives
and the cutting down of payments for
sickness and death resulting from tu
berculosis. The recent national fra
ternal congress estimated that 50 per
cent of the death losses from tubercu
losis could be saved to the various
unions and fraternal organizations of
the country.
The National Association For the
Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis
announces that it has rendered all
assistance possible to these various
movements among the labor men and
fraternal organizations and stands
ready to co-operate as far as possible
with any society of this character.
Jap Labor In California.
According to the thirteenth biennial
report of the bureau of labor statistics
of California, extracts of which are re
published in a bulletin issued by the
department of commerce and labor,
there were approximately 45,000 Japa
nese in California in September, 1908.
It is stated that the Japs showed a
tendency to increase as a factor in all
lines of labor throughout the state, es
pecially in the larger centers of popu
lation. The Chinese population also
seems to be gradually leaving the ag
ricultural fields and turning toward
the cities and towns.
Every Kind and All
the Latest and Best
Styles of . . .
far better advertising f
4 m Aflinm 4-linvi anir ni. fr
j, jucuium uuoii m J vri
I dinary newspaper in com- J
parison with circulation.
J A Labor Paper, for exam-
pie, having 2,000 subscrib
J ers, is of more value to
the business man who ad-
vertises in it than ordi-
nary papers with 20,000
subscribers. Printers
jjj Ink j
Under the Leather of All Union
Hade Soft and Stiff Hats.
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Patronize the advertisers in
The Labor Standard.
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