Cyrus S. Ching: Pioneer in Industrial Peacemaking; as a Manager, and Later as a Government Executive, Ching Pointed the Way to a Cooperative System of Labor Relations by Showing That Differences Are Much More Easily Resolved When Reason, Rather Than Rancor, Prevails

By Raskin, A. H. | Monthly Labor Review, August 1989 | Go to article overview

Cyrus S. Ching: Pioneer in Industrial Peacemaking; as a Manager, and Later as a Government Executive, Ching Pointed the Way to a Cooperative System of Labor Relations by Showing That Differences Are Much More Easily Resolved When Reason, Rather Than Rancor, Prevails


Raskin, A. H., Monthly Labor Review


Cyrus S. Ching: pioneer in industrial peacemaking

Through much of America's rise to greatness as an industrial power, mistrust and misunderstanding have been dominant characteristics of relations between employers and organized labor. Most managements viewed attempts by unions to represent their workers as mischievous intrusions, destructive of the interests of company and employee alike. That attitude found expression in tactics so hostile to unionization that many of the country's foremost corporations built up private armies of labor spies and strongarm men to keep labor at bay.

Unions responded with counterweapons that were violent and often illegal--a response made more virulent by the widespread belief within labor that the agents of law enforcement were vassals of the all-powerful captains of industry. Strikes were long, bitter, and often bloody. The costs were high in lost production, shoddy workmanship, and inefficiency. They frequently were even higher in the damage inflicted on the public by a prolonged cutoff of vital services or by the weakening of companies whose financial health was essential to the jobs of their emloyees and the well-being of whole communities.

In the 1930's and 1940's, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal opened the way for a union assault on the mass production industries, a tiny group of men of good will became pioneers in the development of techniques to reduce the conflict between management and labor by substituting reasonableness for tests of strength. A position of towering eminence in this select circle was occupied by Cyrus S. Ching, a corporate executive who demonstrated such breadth of vision and freedom from parochial identifications that unionists were almost always at least as enthusiastic as their opposite numbers in management when Ching agreed to help find mutually advantageous solutions to seemingly intractable disputes.

The lofty stature he speedily acquired as a mediator transcended the fact that his height of 6 feet 7 inches would have made him an impressive figure in any labor-management conference room. Early in his career, Ching capsulized his philosophy of dispute resolution in words that would remain as guideposts for future practitioners of the mediator's trade. "The only way you can get things settled," he was wont to say, "is to find a way where each side can save face. If one side or the other in a labor dispute tries to push the other to the wall, it's going to have disastrous effects on the situation under consideration as well as for future relations."

Up through the ranks

Ching was born May 21, 1876, on his father's farm in Prince Edward Island, Canada. The only son in a family with seven daughters, he came of Welsh stock (Chynge was the original spelling of the family name), was educated in a one-room schoolhouse, and early on developed a voracious appetite for reading, mostly history and the classics. At the age of 16, he accompanied a favorite uncle to the county seat, where he sat in on a court trial and was instantly consumed with an overwhelming urge to become a lawyer.

On his return to the farm, young Ching went out to pick potatoes with his father. he took that occasion to inform his dad that never again would he pick potatoes. The elder Ching had no money to send his son to college, but the uncle, who was better off, volunteered to foot the bill. Within a week, Cyrus was in Charlottestown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, and enrolled in Prince of Wales College, a cross between a prep school and an institution of higher education.

He studied there for 2 years before transferring to a business college, where he spent a year acquiring skills in stenography, shorthand, and bookkeeping. In 1895, he abandoned the Gulf of St. Lawrence for a 4-year stay in Alberta, where he worked for a grain elevator company visiting farmers and making contracts for delivery of their grain to the company's elevators. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cyrus S. Ching: Pioneer in Industrial Peacemaking; as a Manager, and Later as a Government Executive, Ching Pointed the Way to a Cooperative System of Labor Relations by Showing That Differences Are Much More Easily Resolved When Reason, Rather Than Rancor, Prevails
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.