CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
OF INTERCHURCH WORLD
MOVEMENT REPORTTHE steel strike of September 22,
1919, to January 7, 1920, in one
sense, is not over. The main issues were
not settled. The causes still remain.
Moreover, both causes and issues remain
uncomprehended by the nation. The
strike, although the largest in point of
numbers in the history of the country up
to the first date, exhibited this extraordinary phase: the basic facts concerning the work and lives of the 300,000
strikers were never comprehensively discovered to the public. . . .Put tersely, the public mind completely lost sight of the real causes of the
strike, which lay in hours, wages and
conditions of labor, fixed "arbitrarily,"
according to the head of the United
States Steel Corporation, in his testimony
at a Senatorial investigation. It lost sight
of them because it was more immediately concerned with the actual outcome
of the great struggle between aggregations of employers and aggregations of
workers than it was with the fundamental circumstances that made such a
struggle inevitable. This investigation
and report deal primarily with the causative facts,--with abiding conditions in
the steel industry--and only secondarily
with conflicts of policies and their influence on national institutions and
modes of thought.Out of the first set of undisputed facts,
these may be cited in the beginning:
|i. || The number of those working the
twelve-hour day is 69,000. (Testimony of
E. H. Gary, Senate Investigation, Vol. I, p. 157.)|
|ii. || The number of those receiving the
common labor or lowest rate of pay
is 70,000. (Letters of E. H. Gary to
This means that approximately
350,000 men, women and children are
directly affected by the longest hours or
the smallest pay in that part of the industry owned by the United States Steel
Corporation, which fixes pay and hours
without conference with the labor force.
Since this corporation controls about
half the industry, it is therefore a reasonably conservative estimate that working
conditions of three quarters of a million
of the nation's population have their
lives determined arbitrarily by the
twelve-hour day or by the lowest pay in
the steel industry.
This nub of the situation, the Commission found, was subordinated, and
after the strike remained subordinate, to
the industry's warfare over collective
bargaining. Both sides were enmeshed.
The huge steel companies, committed to
a non-union system (and offering no
alternative) and the masses of workers,
moving as workers do traditionally,
seemed both to be helpless. Espionage
replaced collective bargaining or cooperative service.____________________
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Steel Strike of 1919.
Contributors: Colston E. Warne - Editor.
Publisher: D. C. Heath.
Place of publication: Boston.
Publication year: 1963.
Page number: 86.
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