~ AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST

BY THE EDITOR

LTHOUGH the Social Security Act was approved by the A President only nine months ago, every State in the Union has qualified to cooperate with some benefit set up under this measure which inaugurated a new phase in our national development. The Federal Act provides Federal aid for state public assistance and unemployment compensation plans, and also institutes Federal old- age benefits. The public assistance purposes to which the Social Se- curity Board—the administrative agency for the Social Security Act— may contribute are aid for old persons without adequate income, aid for the blind, and aid for dependent children. Up to Social Security May 11, the Social Security Board had approved the old age pension laws in 32 states as a basis for Federal grants—grants for aid to the blind in 19 states; grants for aid to dependent children in 18 states; and had approved 9 state and the District of Columbia unemployment compensation laws as basis for grants for administration and for credit against Federal tax on payrolls. The total grants in aid authorized from February 1 to March 31, 1936, were: for old age assistance, $5,575,686 with $278,785 for administration; for the blind, $401,037 with $20,051 for adminis- tration; for children, $710,604 covering aid and administration. The total of these grants was $6,986,163. Federal grants for the ad- ministration of unemployment compensation were $350,573.84 for the first quarter of this year and $433,886.44 for the second.

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578 AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST

This record of concrete achievements means that a program for social security is under way and that in the best interests of those for whom it is responsible each state ought to enact the laws neces- sary to secure additional funds from the Federal Government. The labor movement of each state has joint responsibility for seeing to it that laws are enacted conforming to the standards required by the Social Security Act.

As a Nation we are confronted with a gigantic relief problem. If we organize permanent agencies for public assistance, we can dis- tinguish our emergency problem from those needs which may be antic- ipated under normal conditions. Every intelligent government for a civilized people should be prepared to take care of the normal needs of its citizens so that every man, woman and child should be assured the right to life and opportunity for development.

During the coming winter the majority of state legislatures will be in session and now is the time to prepare legislative measures. Organized labor should be alert to mobilize interested groups and persons in the preparation of measures for legislative action.

Employers and their trade publications are making the A Right _ charge that the costs of social insurance are retarding of Labor business recovery. But this charge is only another effort

to escape shouldering their responsibility with full recog- nition of Labor’s rights.

The Social Security Act, state old age pensions, and unemploy- ment compensation legislation gives legal status to a fundamental right of labor—the right of a man in what he helps to create. Under modern conditions of life and collective work, investors of capital provide the building, machines, and material equipment for produc- tion while management and production staff create the industry that serves society and supports those attached to it. Social and eco- nomic practice as well as legal precedent recognize and provide for the rights of those who invest capital in an industry, but only vaguely sense the rights of those who make industry a production force. Producing workers invest in industry their personalities, their skill, their time, their labor power—life itself. When industry places workers on its production staff, it assumes an obligation for their investment equal to if not more binding than that assumed for in- vestors of capital. Social security laws are an attempt to give legal status to this obligation.

These laws must be administered as rights of Labor, with Labor advising and participating in basic decisions. Every worker covered by a social security law must have an account showing his status under the law. There must be a method of identifying this account and reports must be made on his work relations as a basis for comput- ing compensation in case of loss of income. The reports must come

EDITORIALS 579

from the employers who keep the books, but knowledge of what is done in the administration of their rights must be constantly avail- able to workers.

The Federal Government is directed by the Social Security Act to collect contributions from employers and employees for old age benefits. The registration and employers reports on earnings for this Federal administrator could serve equally well for state adminis- tration of unemployment and accident compensation. Future laws providing compensation for time lost through sickness could use the same machinery. Registration of workers should not be allowed to become a method of regimentation of workers or to serve any other non-social purpose. Federal registration could serve as the frame- work of promoting the coordination of social security legislation in a unified program.

The worker has a right to know whether his employer is making the required contributions and to make inquiries through his chosen representative—logically a union executive. There is a fundamental and gigantic service for unions to perform for Labor in the enact- ment and administration of social security laws.

There are two ways of living: one may drift along Organization accepting the consequences of whatever may happen

and shape his life within these limits, or one may accept responsibility for influencing decisions on what shall happen and thus try to determine the conditions within which life shall be lived. Those who choose the latter course must then decide how to have a part in making decisions. Whatever the kind of problem involved or whatever the relationship, there is always a problem of organization involved. If the individual is a wage-earner, and he wishes to have a voice in deciding hours of work, conditions of work and rates of pay, by banding together with other wage-earners he has the benefit of the power created by joint action. Ten or a hun- dred persons acting as a unit, have a very different power from the same number acting as individuals.

Organization in a union is the first step every wage-earner must make in order to control his own life. Affiliation with unions of other wage-earners is the next step necessary to conserve the power of all groups. A network of unions becomes a powerful army when ac- tuated by a common purpose and constructive leadership. The flaming purpose that keeps the union movement consecrated to an eternal purpose is justice for the underprivileged in all relations of life. Before this high purpose personal ambitions and personal gain must give way.

Organization is the simple method of planning what to do and how to do it that we all apply to every task that confronts us. The more complicated and extensive the task, the more voluminous the

580 AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST

who organize in their own interests.

cheaply that they brought commercial profits.

are strengthened by the home surroundings.

balance the current recovery.

towns and villages throughout the nation.

age local initiative in a variety of forms.

detail but the basic principles stand out distinct and clear. organize so as to have a voice in deciding issues that directly concern your life or you will always be at the mercy of the decisions of those

Our Federal Housing program combines two pur- A National poses contributing to sound national welfare— Housing Policy _ homes designed for the needs of low-income fam-

ilies and employment for building tradesmen who have been without regular employment in their own industry for so many years. For the most part low-income families must live in houses discarded by others, slums and rows or additions built so

Other countries, notably Great Britain, have provided substan- tial increases in employment through extensive housing construction, while the new and additional houses provide for new families and higher standards of living. The kind of home which serves the family has much to do with the quality of family life. and loyalty of family can exist even in most squalid surroundings but

Organized labor firmly believes that the U. S. Housing Bill now pending in Congress should be enacted immediately, because it is not only a sound economic measure, but an economic device essential to

The demand for a National Housing program is not confined to a small group determined to try another makeshift remedy for the housing problem in America. It is a demand to initiate a permanent solution and comes from wage-earners, voters and citizens in cities,

Only the Federal Government can inaugurate a substantial hous- ing program at the present time. States and cities have restricted credit facilities which are already taxed to constitutional limits.

The broad outlines of a permanent housing program have been carefully worked out and submitted for discussion and approval to labor organizations throughout the country. Labor’s wholehearted endorsement of the Wagner-Ellenbogen Bill is, therefore, neither hasty nor perfunctory. It does not mean that Labor wants any sort of “Housing Bill.”” The general principles and administrative poli- cies are drafted in Senator Wagner’s bill, and are generally approved by Labor, employers, and technical housing experts.

The measure is flexible and workable, and yet it fully guarantees that the public funds shall economically and quickly achieve the pur- pose of low-rent housing. It is designed to remedy first the most critical aspects of the housing situation and at the same time encour-

In view of the great and growing need for decent low-rent hous-

EDITORIALS 581

ing the financial provisions are extremely modest. Only $51,000,000 would be appropriated this year by Congress, and only $100,000,000 worth of bonds would be authorized to be issued in the next twelve months. Compared with the gigantic refinancing operations of the Federal Government in the residential field, which do not either pro- vide jobs or build houses, these sums are scarcely visible. To achieve a real measure of effectiveness they should at least be doubled.

But even with the small sum of money provided in the bill, the all-important first steps in a long-term housing program can be taken. There is no way by which the appropriation of only $5 I 000,000 can bring the country greater dividends in employment, in- dustrial prosperity, and the improvement in living conditions.

Public policies should not be decided abruptly but Puerto Rico with reference to historic development. Since Responsibility 1893 Puerto Rico has been under the flag of the

United States and since 1917 its residents have been citizens of the United States. We took them under our flag to put an end to political persecution and bloodshed and assumed the obligation of helping them to develop the institutions and habits of democracy. During the years of our responsibility there has been progress in Puerto Rico. With that progress, new needs have be- come urgent and new demands have been urged. There are mani- festations of a growing vision of the possibilities of life and of a higher level of thinking.

Economically Puerto Rico has been an advantage. It is one of our largest customers and in turn supplies us with things we need. Strategically in international relations that do not assure years of peace, it is important that the United States control significant out- posts. The withdrawal of the United States Government from Puerto Rico would not mean Puerto Rican independence any more than withdrawal from the Philippines has meant self-control in those Islands. A small and specially privileged group in Puerto Rico has been asking independence but the majority of its citizens, including the labor movement of Puerto Rico, desire statehood under our Republic.

It was only under the flag of the United States that the workers of Puerto Rico were free to organize a labor movement for the pur- pose of bettering their conditions of life and work. The American Federation of Labor gave them support and counsel in formulating their policies and methods. The labor movement in Puerto Rico includes agricultural as well as industrial workers. The effective functioning of the labor movement at the present time when the re- construction program is in progress in Puerto Rico is indispensable to desirable and lasting results from that program. It is the masses of the people that suffer from the existing economic exploitation.

582 AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST

Under independence the possibility is for reversion to old institutions and practices which would imply repression for labor unions and the masses of the people.

The desire for independence is confined to a small group of peo- ple while the majority have felt that the protection of the United States Government afforded the best opportunity for development and progress. They feel that as an independent government the Island would not be powerful enough to control the corporations which exploit the people and the land and drain off revenues to be spent in foreign markets. Puerto Rico has made real progress under the leadership of the United States and is anxious to continue with- out change in political relationships. We cannot lightly relinquish an obligation we assumed.

There are few responsible persons or organi- The Unemployed— zations that are not deeply disturbed by the W hither fact that the number of unemployed remains

continuously at such high levels. Even though business activity has recovered much of the decline since 1929, em- ployment has not risen in proportion. With the passing of months it has been increasingly plain that either we must accept permanent unemployment or find new ways. We cannot safely follow a policy of “drift.” It is equally unwise to try and minimize or conceal the proportions of the unemployment problem.

There are evidences that the unemployed are developing some of the characteristics of group solidarity. If the unemployed are made to feel that they must depend wholly upon their own group for the solution of their problems the chasm between them and all em- ployed workers and between them and society will become fixed. If we in the United States would safeguard our democratic practices, we must face this problem of reabsorbing the 12 millions now ex- cluded from our economic life with no chance to earn a living. To exclude 12 millions from the opportunities and rights which are our social heritage from past generations is to place upon them an in- exorable penalty that will bring dire consequences to them and to us.

If technological progress has so changed the structure of pro- duction that opportunities to earn a living will no longer be available in former relationships, then we must look for employment for those excluded in new industries or new services, or must plan radical changes in our social structure. What we do know is that we cannot con- tinuously maintain a large group in our Nation apart from the common life and common purposes, without creating a group alien to our common ideals and practices. Even those who know the least about statecraft can realize the dangers of such a policy.

The development of plans to reabsorb our unemployed into our normal channels of life and work is the imperative problem that

EDITORIALS 583

presses upon national conscience for solution. Unless we solve this problem the security of all groups and institutions is fundamentally undermined. The labor movement must keep open its contacts with the unemployed to prevent division in the ranks of the workers.

There was never a time when more special causes With Singleness were bidding for Labor support than now and of Purpose never a time when unity was so indispensable to

the welfare of Labor. These special causes are either for the purpose of advancing personal interests or in support of a proposal overemphasized to advance a group disproportionately to the whole movement. The whole spirit of the labor movement is that of group solidarity—individuals who as separate units are power- less to help themselves find that when acting as a group they can have an influence in determining those things which concern themselves. Because the individual worker is helpless, his work contract is dictated by the employer and the employer treats his labor as a commodity to be bought or not without consideration of the consequences to the human beings who contribute labor.

The labor movement is the agency through which wage-earners can act collectively—through which they can use their united power in the advancement of higher standards of living for themselves and their dependents. But if this agency is diverted from service to the whole group to advancement of the interests of an individual or a limited portion of the whole, the purpose of the labor movement is defeated and the underprivileged are again defenseless against em- ployers’ exploitation.

That which trade unionists should safeguard as their key to progress is the labor movement itself. While propagandist groups and hordes of self-seekers try to make use of the labor movement to serve their purposes—even if those purposes are good—wage-earners must ever be on guard to keep their movement dedicated to the service of the wage-earners themselves. This policy is not shortsighted or selfish. The labor movement is the only agency wholly devoted to securing the rights and advancement of wage-earners. Unless this agency is held true to its purpose, these ends will not be achieved. As the standards of life for the underprivileged are raised, the level of life for our Nation is raised.

The obligation to protect the labor movement that it may be dedicated to its higher purpose rests upon the members and the execu- tive officers of all our unions. Let each help and be ready to check- mate the other. The labor movement is for the service of Labor directly, and, by serving Labor will serve the whole people.

LONG RANGE PLANNING M. J. COLLERAN

President, The Operative Plasterers and Cement Finishers International Union

S a member of the American A Federation of Labor Hous- ing Committee, I am of course in hearty accord with the pro- visions of the “U. S. Housing Bill.” Its passage, substantially in its pres- ent form, will be Labor’s principal concern in the current session of the Congress.

It may help to place the signifi- cance of this Bill in a broader per- spective, eliminating at the same time some of the strangeness and novelty which may seem to adhere to it. For I merely want to show that the gen- eral principle given such admirable working form in this piece of legisla- tion received official and Administra- tive sanction as long ago as 1921. Indeed, it was enacted into law by Congress in 1930, through the good offices of Senator Wagner himself— even though it has never actually been put into operation.

What I refer to, of course, is the principle of long-range planning for public works construction.

The idea that public or public- aided construction is a major weapon of any modern government against unemployment and depression has been generally recognized for so long that I do not need to dwell on it. That such construction ought to be planned and timed in order to pro- vide a cushion of employment when most needed, has likewise been a mat- ter of general agreement. But, still, in spite of all the talk, and in spite of the large sums actually spent on

584

public works construction during the past four years by various temporary Federal agencies, no permanent ma- chinery has been set up which could plan out a long-range future program of construction.

Way back in 1921 Mr. Herbert Hoover, as Secretary of Commerce and in a special capacity as Chairman of a Committee on Unemployment, presented an eight-point report to President Harding. The main point in this report was the long-range planning of public works. It recom- mended the immediate appointment of a committee to take up the prob- lem of planning and carrying out a long-range program of public works construction, to offset future depres- sions. This committee, however, failed to function.

We are a nation that soon forgets. In 1922 we began to move back to normalcy, and then, in the midst of plenty, we failed to provide for the lean days of depression that were to follow. The three administrations from 1921 up to the present one failed to provide a plan to offset future depressions.

It may seem strange that my own direct and special interest in this prob- lem dates from the big boom build- ing year, 1923. To all outward ap- pearances the building workers were receiving very high wages and bonuses; contractors vieing with*each other at skyrocketing wages; me- chanics were at a premium.

_n ee hUurmltlUhe re elCUelUC OO OCU

LONG RANGE PLANNING

Organized labor realized that this condition could not last. They then decided to appeal to the Government which, during this period, was also in the field with a large building pro- gram, competing with private indus- try for mechanics.

A committee of organized labor of the Building Trades, with a commit- tee representing the consumer and investor, pleaded with the authori- ties in Washington at that time, re- questing that the Government defer, in whole or in part, their building construction program until some later date when unemployment would exist in the building trades.

This action called forth a great deal of public attention at the time, because it demonstrated that the building trades want steady employ- ment, long-range planning and stable

wages rather than high peaks and

deep depressions. If some such agency as that recommended by Mr. Hoover in 1921 had been in exist- ence, our own suggestions could have been incorporated in a plan which might, in turn, have considerably lightened the burden of the current depression, at least in its early stages.

In 1928, at the very peak of Pros- perity, Senator Wagner introduced his first bill on a planned long-range public works program. This bill was very much like the suggestions in Hoover’s Report of seven years earlier. (As a matter of fact, I dis- tinctly remember Mayor LaGuar- dia, who was then in Congress, tell- ing the other Republican Congress- men that they ought to go along with it, since it was Hoover’s original idea.) After a serious operation in committee, wherein this bill had its

585

vitals removed, it evidently went on the convalescent list.

That brings us up to 1930. Let us see what the records have to say on unemployment. At an American Federation of Labor Convention held in October of 1930 in the City of Boston, Massachusetts, several statesmen appeared and addressed the Convention. The addresses of these statesmen show that they were deeply concerned in the problems of widespread unemployment. Among those appearing was the Honorable David I. Walsh, the present Chair- man of this Committee. He advan- ced one of the most constructive arguments that could be used in be- half of and for the enactment of this Wagner Housing Bill. I will now quote, in part, the Senator’s re- marks:

“Unemployment! What is worse? What are the awful consequences of war—death, disease, famine, pov- erty? Of Unemployment? Poverty, yes; debilitation, yes; disease, yes; and there is in addition under- nourished children, suffering from cold, suffering from want of food, fathers disheartened and discour- aged, mothers made physical wrecks from breaking hearts. Is there any- thing worse in life than the evils of unemployment that strikes at the very foundation of hope and cheer and peace in the human breast? Isn’t there some place in our Government where one commanding voice must speak and behind that voice a heart- felt desire to remedy the pestilence against which he seeks a remedy? Only through the statesmanship of the official leader in public life who is entrusted with the responsibility to guide and protect us in the hour of emergency can we get relief.

586

“When there is no sympathy, when there is an attempt to urge that it is exaggerated, when that condition exists there can be no planning, there can be no developing of a statesman- like policy that will seek a solution. My friends, the time to remedy the problem of unemployment is not in the midst of unemployment, though it is a good time to concentrate atten- tion upon the disastrous consequences of the policy of unemployment; it is an opportune time to call public men’s attention to the problem and ask for a remedy, but unemployment should be attacked by a policy of preven- tion. Just as our Government is spending millions of dollars and exerting all its efforts and strength to prevent disease, to prevent the breaking down of the public health to protect us in the time of war, we are justified in asking the Govern- ment to spend money and effort to protect us from unemployment in times of peace.”

It is evident from these remarks just quoted that Senator Walsh was whole-heartedly in sympathy with some legislation by someone which would help to solve the problem of unemployment.

Now, at that same Convention, I will quote from President Hoover's address the following:

“But most of these problems are problems of stability. With the job secure, other questions can be solved with much more assurance. You, as workers, know best of all how much a man gains from security in his job. It is the insurance of his manli- ness, it upholds the personal valua- tion of himself and of his family. To establish a system that assures this security is the supreme challenge

AMERICAN. FEDERATIONIST

to our responsibility as representa- tives of millions of our fellow-work- ers and fellow-citizens. The dis. charge of that responsibility does not allow present difficulties to rob us of our clear vision or the wholesome faith and courageous aggresive char- acter for which our country has been long the leader of the world.

“The demonstration of nation- wide cooperation and team play and the absence of conflict during this depression has increased the stabil- ity and wholesomeness of our indus- trial and social structure. We are justified in feeling that something like a new and improved tool has been added to the working kit for the solu- tion of our future problems.

“No one would invite either war or business depression, but from them may come some new inspirations. We find in these times courage and sym- pathy, generous helpfulness from our workpeople to those unfortunates suffering not alone from the present but from fear for their future. We find inspiration in the courage of our employers, the resolution of the Nation that we shall build steadily to prevent and mitigate the destruc- tiveness of these great business storms. It is this inspiration which gives confidence for the future, and confirms our belief in fundamental human righteousness and the value of our American conception of mutual- ity of interest in our daily work.”

We, too, the representatives of Labor in convention assembled, felt that we might add our efforts toward a solution, the same which was em- bodied in a resolution presented and approved by the Convention, which reads as follows:

LONG RANGE PLANNING

“To Request the President of the United States to Create a Long Range Planning Committee of Public Works to Avert Unem- ployment

“Resolution No. 54—By ~~ gates M. J. Colleran, W. O'Keefe, J. E. Rooney, T. A. Scully, Duncan Payne of the Operative Plasterers’ International Association of the United States and Canada, and Arthur M. Huddell of the Inter- national Union of Operating Engi- neers:

“WHEREAS, The question of un- employment and how to cope with it is one of the major problems of this Convention; and

“WHEREAS, President Hoover in his address to the convention stated that the government was doing all in its power to relieve the present depression; and

“WHEREAS, Consistently for the past twenty-eight years we have been visited by a depression every seven years; and

“WHEREAS, In 1921 President Hoover acting as Chairman of a Committee to study future unem- ployment appointed by the late Presi- dent Harding, brought back twelve principles of a probable solution; and

“WHEREAS, The sixth principle of the twelve proposed a long range planning Committee of Public Works; and

“Wuereas, Nothing has been done to create such a board, who in the opinion of many would be the means of averting future depres- sions; therefore, be it

“RESOLVED, That the President of the American Federation of Labor with the Presidents of the other de- partments call on the President of the United States and request that a long range planning committee of

587

Public Works be created so as to avert future unemployment.”

“The report of the Committee was unaimously adopted.”

But with all of the wonderful statements made, and with resolu- tions adopted, we fail to find any ac- tion by the Government until Febru- ary of 1931, and although many here may have forgotten it, the ‘“Employ- ment Stabilization Act of 1931” i the law of the land. It has, how- ever, never been put into operation. This bill also was sponsored by Sen- ator Wagner. Following are some

of the provisions of that Act:

“Sec. 5. Whenever, upon recom- mendation of the board, the Presi- dent finds that there exists, or that within the six months next following there is likely to exist, in the United States or any substantial portion thereof, a period of business depres- sion and unemployment, he is re- quested to transmit to Congress by special message, at such time and from time to time thereafter, such supplemental estimates as he deems advisable for emergency appropria- tions, to be expended during such period upon authorized construction in order to aid in preventing unem- ployment and permit the Government to avail itself of the opportunity for speedy, efficient, and economical con- struction during any such _pe- i

“Sec. 7. For the purpose of aid- ing in the prevention of unemploy- ment during periods of business de- pression and of permitting the Gov- ernment to avail itself of opportunity for speedy, efficient, and economical construction during such periods, the President may direct the construction agencies to accelerate during such pe- riods, to such extent as it deemed

588 AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST

practicable, the prosecution of all au- thorized construction within their control.”

“Sec. 8. (a) It is hereby declared to be the policy of Congress to ar- range the construction of public works so far as practicable in such manner as will assist in the stabili- zation of industry and employment through the proper timing of such construction, and that to further this object there shall be advance plan- ning, including preparation of de- tailed construction plans, of public works by the construction agencies and the board.”

Obviously, this was not a Housing Act. Nor could the board thus au- thorized actually receive large ap- propriations for public works or en- gage in or assist construction. Never- theless, the idea enacted in Senate Bill 5776 of the 71st Congress de- pended for its successful carrying out on the existence of a permanent Fed- eral agency, equipped with adequate funds and powers to promote, assist and carry out a really sizeable con- struction program in a field where such construction is needed on a very wide scale. The fact that there is no such agency in existence today is cer- tainly one main reason why the Act has never been put into practice.

The only field which answers these requirements, which would make it possible to plan a really effective long- range construction program, is the field of low-rent housing. The so- cial necessity of such construction in this country is almost limitless. Properly administered, a low-rent housing program in no way competes with legitimate private construction enterprise. And, in boom years when

private enterprise is employing most of the building workers and there is an adequate supply of dwellings, the construction of publicly assisted hous- ing for low-income families can be temporarily curtailed.

In England, ever since the war, an admirable balance has been main- tained between public and private residential construction. This bal- ance, in the opinion of Tories and Laborites alike, has been primarily responsible for England’s speedy re- covery.

Are we going to follow England's example? What’s more, are we going to carry out our own enacted prin- ciples? Or are we just going to sit around pretending it is still 1921? The answer will lie in whether the Congress enacts the U. S. Housing Bill into law at this session—or not.

There has been much comment as to whether this bill will interfere with private interests, but is it not a fact that the President of the United States on several occasions during the last three years called on private in- terests, banks, financial institutions, and large industries to assist the Gov- ernment in getting some of the 12,- 000,000 unemployed workers back to work? And what was their re- sponse? There are still 12,000,000 unemployed.

We recommend that in the appro- priations and bond issues authorized for the first four years, that instead of one billion dollars to be used over that period, it be increased to two billion, so as to assure greater suc- cess. If it was needed in 1928, it surely is needed in 1936, and I quote from Governor Ralph G. Brewster’s remarks, made at a conference of

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-_ - 6 toe ae >

EXPERIENCE

Governors at New Orleans on Wed- nesday morning, November 2ist, 1928:

“With an annual expenditure of seven billions upon _ construction, America is in a position to stabilize prosperity to a most remarkable ex- tent. Public authority spends more than a billion and a half. With this we are here primarily concerned. Private business will soon follow such practical demonstration as gov- ernment may make since the great commercial interests of the country have the most vital stake. This may apply not alone to construction but to the renewal and extension of capi- tal facilities of every sort. It is the considered recommendation of the one who has received the overwhelm- ing mandate of the American people to guide and guard their progress in the next four years that a construc- tion reserve may prudently be ac-

cumulated in time of plenty against the lean year that is to come.”

589

Now, in conclusion, we heartily ap- prove and pray for the passage of this Housing Bill, for the reasons, first, of its potentialities toward the relief of unemployment; second, for its long-range planning effects, which will stabilize employment; third, for its slum clearance, which will help eradicate sickness and pestilence, which, in turn, will lessen crime; and, finally, this is the “Big Push” that was needed to end depression.

We recommend, in accordance with the provisions for the setting up of an_ independent, permanent, United States Housing Authority, that the Committee and the Congress give serious consideration that the personnel of the Authority Board shall be composed with at least one representative from the ranks of Labor who is thoroughly qualified and familiar with the construction industry.

EXPERIENCE

They told me that the way is dark and steep, That all must sorrow, all must weep;

My gay young heart laughed merrily;

The way seemed fair and sweet to me.

They told me true.

The way is sad,

And dark and steep; but I am glad, When youth and love made all things bright I did not guess the hastening night.

—FLORENCE GILMORE.

A COURSE IN TRADE UNION TRAINING

MARK STARR

Educational Director, International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union

1OO often workers’ education

concentrates upon theoretical

economics and history. Too often the reach of our students ex- ceeds their grasp and instead of be- coming more effective in trade-union service, they become armchair (or should it be spittoon?) philosophers and superior cynics. They know about the past; they are dogmatically cer- tain about the future, but they stand aloof from the day-to-day problems of the labor movement. Education must, of course, give an opportunity for the workers to acquire back- ground and prospective, together

with some knowledge of theory, but

workers’ education should also be hitched to the cause of increased eff- ciency in our present-day movement.

In the January issue of the FEp- ERATIONIST, an attempt was made to give a general description of the ac- tivity of the Educational Department of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. Here we wish to summarize the aims, methods and re- sults of a special training course set up for officers and active members in the locals of New York City.

The course, from the beginning, announced itself as being short on theory and long on practice. It con- centrated, not on ultimate goals, but upon the methods for achieving im- mediate aims. It dealt with trade union structure, tactics and adminis- tration; the running of meetings, demonstrations and strikes; methods of publicity; negotiations; agree-

ments, and their enforcement; keep- ing trade union accounts; and other day-to-day problems which face active members.

The “teachers” were those quali- fied by their experience in their special fields of union activity, with the writer in general charge to secure con- tinuity, to summarize the preceding lectures, and mark the written papers of the students.

No student was allowed to join the class without the recommenda- tion of the officers of his local. The students were business agents, shop chairmen and chairladies, local ofh- cers and representatives, members of executive boards, and also rank-and- file members who wished to qualify for the responsibility of union office.

The many responsibilities of the students prevented the running of the class on more than one night per week (Monday, 6 to 8 p.m.). The speaker usually took up an hour or more and then questions and discus- sions followed.

The class started with a registra- tion of 112 students. Some of the members were unable to continue in their attendance and no student was allowed to remain a member of the class if he had been absent on three consecutive occasions without a legiti- mate excuse. Despite the distraction of preparations for a possible strike in the Dress Division, some of the students made perfect attendances and over 71 made 75 per cent of the possible attendances. The class met

59°

A COURSE IN TRADE UNION TRAINING

fifteen evenings, from January 20 to May 4 inclusive.

The course began with a treatment of the problems of a union organizing in a new field. Organizers were sent questionnaires and some of them were invited in to deal with the problems of the run-away shop, “doorstep can- vassing’ in the small town, methods used in securing first contacts, and the problems presented by special sex, racial and religious groupings and by the presence of a company union. Then the problem of strikes was cov- ered—preparatory work before the strike, choosing the time to strike, conducting the strike, and rallying the community to the side of the strikers. This naturally led on to the question of strike publicity, both in the ordi- nary newspapers and in the workers’ own publications, leaflets, posters, etc. Strikers, however, cannot live by pub- licity alone and so the class discussed the problem of strike relief, how to get funds and how to distribute the food and clothes received. Then we presumed the successful finish of a strike and dealt with the problems of negotiations. Here President Dubin- sky came to our aid with a shrewd and realistic analysis of tactics in negotiation and also in the enforce- ment of the agreement when it had been secured. In succeeding lesson periods, problems and duties of a shop chairman and a union business agent were discussed. Another les- son dealt with the running of trade union meetings and conventions, lead- ing on to the ABC of parliamentary procedure. The editor of Justice, Max D. Danish, gave us a description of the labor press and of his own problems as an editor of a trade

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union journal. The students were keenly interested in the lecture given by the head of the Accounts Depart- ment, who explained the way in which the International is financed and how it spends its money. Then, finally, a talk was given describing the aux- iliary activities of a union in secur- ing social insurance and protection through legislative enactment.