CONCLUSIONS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING THE STRIKE IN THE STEEL INDUSTRIES

ON the 23d day of September, 1919, the Senate passed a resolution instructing the Committee on Education and Labor of the Senate immediately to investigate the steel strike and report to the Senate within the shortest possible time the cause and reason therefor.

The committee, acting through a subcommittee, visited the strike region in western Pennsylvania; went through a number of the mills; talked with the men working in the mills and with the strikers; visited homes of the men and heard evidence for two days at Pittsburgh.

Rather extended hearings have also been held in Washington, and approximately 100 witnesses have been examined. The committee has heard from both sides of the controversy and tried in every way to secure the facts bearing upon this situation. . . .


Wages

The question of wages is not involved in the controversy. Few of the witnesses examined made any complaint as to wages. Some of them did contend that they should have 12-hour pay for 8-hour work, but most of them, while striking for an 8-hour day, claimed only a fair living wage. It is the opinion of the committee that, broadly speaking, the employees of the steel industry at the time of the strike were fairly well satisfied with the wages received, and that such question was not persuasive at all in any consideration of a strike.

The average wages in July, 1919, were $6.27 per day. The wages of unskilled labor in 1914 for a 10-hour day were $2; in 1919, for a 10-hour day, $4.62. In July, 1914, the wages were $2.40; in July, 1919, for a 12-hour day the wages were $5.88. The lowest wage paid to grown men is 42 cents an hour for 8 hours, and 63 cents per hour, or time and a half, for all time over 8 hours. The lowest paid wages for unskilled labor is $4.62 per day.

It may also be said that most of the men speak highly of such homes as are furnished by the company. There is undoubtedly great need of more homes to be sold to the men in order to encourage home owning. They rent these homes at very reasonable prices, and the general condition of these homes seems fairly good.

We find also little complaint as to lack of safety appliances, as to improved machinery, or as to conditions in general outside of the long hours of work. In encouraging and assisting its employees to become owners of its stock; in guarding its employees against accidental injuries; in caring for the sick; and in sanitary precautions generally the work of the United States Steel Corporation at the present time is in the main admirable, and in refreshing contrast to the shortsighted selfishness that still persists in many manufacturing concerns.

____________________

From Hearings before the Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. Senate, Sixty-sixth Congress, Pursuant to S. Res. 188 ( Washington, Government Printing Office, 1919), pp. 1, 9-18, 21, 22, 24, 25.

-71-

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