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effected the changes in question. Men still strike against reductions (witness the recent struggle in the cotton mills of Fall River) or for advances in wages, but such strikes are not characteristic of the period. They involve no new issues, though such issues exist. The new issues are not always raised explicitly or recognized frankly; not few of the stubbornly fought strikes, indeed, have had other causes than those avowed by the parties.
THE ISSUE OF THE CLOSED SHOP. Of the "new" issues, that which has received the maximum of attention and been productive of the greatest bitterness and ill-will is, undoubtedly, the closed shop versus the open one.
The thing is not new; the controversy over it is, however, a recent development.
unfortunate. It is an appeal to sentiment, not to right reason. The closed shop is the union shop or the contract shop for it is bottomed on a contract between the employer and the union authorized to speak for his employes. If any closed shop rests, not on a voluntary agreement prompted by mut-. ual advantage, but on duress, threats, or force, the intelligent student will readily distinguish the end from the means adopted to secure it. Freed from all accidental and gratuitous complications, what is the closed-shop issue?
ADVANTAGES TO THE EMPLOYER. It has two sides—ɔne legal, the other economic and practical. The latter is simple. A well organized union offers to supply all the labor that an employer needs in a certain line. It proposes a
In many industries, closed shop contracts have lately been entered into or renewed as a matter of course. The publishers of the daily newspapers maintain "closed shops” as rule, and it is notorious that the builders and contractors of New York have actually on expediency grounds, defended against vigorious assault this much denounced arrangement. It is apparent, however, that most of the employers' associations organized in late years have determined to make systematic war on the closed shop. As the dispute is great and momentous, it requires unprejudiced and dispassionate treatment.
To begin with, as Miss Jane Addams, head of Hull House, has pointed out, the term, if not positively unfair is
contract covering wages, hours, etc., and prescribing a certain form of discipline. It is based on the principle of collective bargaining and, as a necessary corollary, collective responsibility. The union is supposed to guarantee efficient and good work on the part of the employes. It cannot assume sponsiblity for outsiders, having no control over them. It asserts that a shop cannot be half union and half non-union, and therefore it asks the employer who is willing to recognize the union at all (and with it the principle of “collective bargaining") to agree to employ none but union labor. The union shop, in other words, is to be closed to non-union workmen not only in the interest of the contracting employes, but also
alleged are not connected with profit and loss. They are of a “higher order.” The various employers' associations have taken the position that the union shop is a bad, vicious, un-American institution, an institution repugnant to our political system and constitutional ideals. This was the argument employed by President Parry, of the national association of manufacturers; this was the reason assigned by the association of clothing manufacturers
in the interest of the "party of the second part,"the employer.
Of course if the employer can see no advantage in the proposed arrangement there is nothing further to be said on the practical side. It is assumed that he is what the classical economist calls an economic man,” who is governed in business dealings neither by sympathies nor by antipathies, but by selfinterest. Where the union shop does not insure better work, more orderly
and harmonious conditions, friendlier relations and increased profit, it has no raisona'etre. Ifthen as a matter of fact, the closed shop offers employers no inducements, its days are numbered. IS THE CLOSED SHOP “UNAMERICAN?"
But the determined opposition to the closed shop of late manifested is not attributable to considerations of this kind.
Professedly, the opposition is legal, moral, social. The objections
sell his labor as he sees fit, and the the legality of closed-shop contracts. freedom of every employer to hire such The decision of the Cook County (Ill.) labor, are given by the laws of the land, Appellate Court has attracted and may not be affected by affiliation or siderable attention, the employers' assonon-affiliation with
any organization ciations of the county having circulated whatever.
it with much energy. The opinion in The Citizens' Industrial Alliance of the case was written by a learned and America emphatically reiterated, in the respected judge, but several lawyers of resolutions adopted at the December con- note have not hesitated to pronounce vention in New York, its firm belief it gratuitous and fallacious. in the open shop, which was declared Judge Francis Adams, referring to to be a corollary from the “right to closed-shop agreements which certain work" and the principle of fair dealing strikers sought to enforce, said: “The and free contract. “Demanding only agreement in question if executed, good faith," the resolutions ran, "it would tend to create a monopoly in [the Alliance] discriminates against favor of the members of the different neither union nor independent (non- unions, to the exclusion of workmen not union) labor.'
members of such unions, and are in The inference from these deductions this respect unlawful. Contracts tending is obvious. Even if the closed shop were to create a monopoly are void.” in every way advantageous to em- This ruling, in the opinion of able ployers, it would be their patriotic lawyers, is open to several serious obduty to sacrifice the benefit for the sake jections. In the first place, it is not, and of liberty and equality of opportunity. never has been, the law that all con
THE ARGUMENT OF THE UNIONS. tracts tending to create a monopoly But is the closed shop inconsistent are unlawful. The common law diswith liberty and equal opportunity? tinguishes between contracts or The unions ridicule the suggestion, and binations which reasonably or partially not a few able lawyers and sociologists restrain trade and contracts which sympathize with them.
Their argument establish oppressive and complete monopmay be indicated very briefly, thus: olies. To say that all closed-shop agree
The right of every man to sell his ments constitute unreasonable restraint labor as he sees fit is exactly the right of trade is clearly absurd. The question on which the closed shop is based. The is not so much whether the shop is open right to work and to contract for work as it is whether the union is. Under includes the right to refuse to work certain circumstances, closed-shop except under certain conditions, and agreement may actually create a monopthe non-employment of certain classes oly; in many cases no monopoly results, of labor may very well be one of these and even the alleged "tendency” to conditions. The right of the non-union monopoly is merely theoretical. man is not infringed upon when the Furthermore any contract "tends" unionist merely refuses to work beside to create a monopoly. Indeed, partial him, or when he asks the employer to monopoly is the object of every conchoose between them. As to the em- tract. What you give to A you cannot ployer, he has a right to hire any one give to B.
A manufacturer may conhe pleases, and he may discriminate at tract to purchase all his steel from the will against union or non-union labor. United States Steel Corporation; that Indeed, he lays great stress upon this would tend to create monopoly, but who right, and should he desire to make an seriously contends that such a contract exclusive contract with a union, what would be held unlawful? If you are a is to prevent such preference?
building contractor and agree to give CHICAGO JUDGE DECIDES AGAINST all your orders for brick to a particular
firm, no one will accuse you of doing Certain courts-not of the last resort something wrong, reprehensible, unhowever-have recently ruled against American. What is true of raw material,
THE CLOSED SHOP.
machinery, tools, etc., must be true of labor. A union may undertake to supply labor as a manufacturer undertakes to supply goods, and an exclusive contract with the one cannot be more objectionable than a similar agreement with the other.
A COUNTER DECISION. Nor does this view lack high judicial countenance. Indeed, the remarkable opinion of Justice Jenks, of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court for the Brooklyn department, in the case of certain non-union employes of the United States Printing Company versus the International Stereotypers' and Electrot y pers' Union, goes
secured the exclusive employment of their members, an adjustment of wages, and a determination of the working hours. If the defendants had the right to refuse to work for the printing company until their demands were met, I cannot see why they could not agree that they would work only under conditions which represented a concession of such demands. If the employer preferred to have those workmen work for him on the conditions that he should employ none but their fellows, increase their wages, and settle the hours of labor than to have them strike and organize a boycott, I cannot see why in the exercise of its right to regulate,
very far to sustain it, along with other important contentions boldly advanced by labor leaders. The case involved the questions of peaceful picketing and boycotting, of a concerted strike ordered with the view of securing the discharge of non-union men, and of the enforcement of a closed shop contract. Modifying materially an injunction obtained in the lower court, the Appellate Division speaking through Justice Jenks said:
"The discharges in this case are the result of the agreement between the printing company and the union. It is clear enough that the company made this agreement in order to end the strike and the boycott. Thus, the defendants
its own affairs it (the company) could not follow this course and make the agreement.
Since, the court continued, an ployer may engage whomsoever he chooses, and the employe may work for whom he chooses, and if under the influence of purely economic interests a contract for the exclusive employment of union labor is entered into, how can an outsider, -say, non-union adversely affected by this contract , – interfere with the performance thereof? Has he a vested right in his place? Can he dictate either to the employer or to the union demanding the closed shop as a condition of accepting employment ?
When courts disagree on issues so
THE SOLIDARITY OF UNIONISM. vital, how can we expect laymen to In view of circumstances like these, attach much weight to decisions running it is not surprising that organized labor counter, not only to their fixed beliefs, should exhibit a determination equal but to their substantial interests as to that of the majority of the they see them?
ployers' associations in fighting to main“COLLECTIVE BARGAINING”
tain the union shop. The San Francisco ECONOMIC PRINCIPLE.
convention of the American Federation Without usurping the function of the of Labor while expressing in sundry highest courts, which in the course of ways opposition to Socialistic doctrines time will review the whole question in and reaffirming its faith in trade-unionall its bearings, the opinion may be ism pure and simple, made it perfectly hazarded that, after all, economic, not plain that there was no intention of legal, considerations will decide this taking a single step, however short, in great controversy.
What has been the direction pointed to by the organized witnessed in the case of industrial trusts employers. Mr. Samuel Gompers was or combinations will be witnessed in re-elected president wit ut opposition the case of labor organizations.
and all his recommendations and policies Among enlightened employers and were emphatically indorsed. In the corporations the opposition to collective words of the New York Sun, “Under bargaining is vanishing. The reaction the leadership of Mr. Gompers, unionism against unionism that has been so mark- will doubtless continue to stand for the ed a feature of the past year or two union shop, for the use of the union label, (especially in Chicago and other West- and for the maintenance of the boyern centers) has not affected this principle cott."
- at least, so far as the older and more I may add that the Central Federconservative unions are concerned. Even ated Union of New York has appointed Mr. Parry in one of his addresses to the a committee of ten to assist the openmanufacturers, expressly indorsed the shop crusade; that the New York capprinciple of collective bargaining and makers recently struck against a score collective bargaining may, where labor of firms that had adopted the open-shop is thoroughly organized and morally plan, and that the Carriage and Wagon if not legally “responsible," regularize Makers' International Union, numberand preserve the union shop.
ing forty thousand men, has announced It should be noted, as a fact of no its intention of demanding the closed little significance that at the Chicago shop in all factories now “open.' meeting of the American Economic A FRENCH ECONOMIST'S SOLUTION. Association and the American Political Since individualism—he principle of Science Association (held late in De- personal liberty and equal opportunity cember), a spirited discussion of the -has been so eloquently and freely “Open or Closed Shop?” question de- invoked by the opponents of the closed veloped a very pronounced leaning on shop, it is interesting as well as inthe part of our scholars and scientific structive to call attention here to the inquirers toward the union attitude. remarkable book of M. Yves Guyot, Of the nine speakers, 'two-and both ex-minister of the French Republic, employers-attacked the union shop as economist and individualist of the industrially determental; one, a labor “Manchester" school, and clear-headed official defended it as essential to thinker. The title of the work is “Les employes without involving the Conflits du Travail et leur Solution," least injury to employers, and six,- and in it the author puts forward a all professors and eminent writers on plan for doing away with the war bepolitico-economic subjects,saw in it tween capital and labor. M. Guyot has a necessary measure of defense and no faith in the ordinary methods of amelioration under existing industrial trade-unions, and arbitration he reconditions.
gards as a crude and unscientific remedy,