ADVERSE, even harsh, criticisms have sometimes been made with reference to the treatment of employes; but in this connection it is noticeable that these criticisms have generally originated with, or been supported by, ill-advised or vicious-minded outsiders and not by the workmen themselves. We do not ignore criticism. If it is justified, we seek for and apply a proper remedy.
During the twenty years of our existence there has not been material hostility shown or serious complaint made to the management by our workmen themselves, either individually or in committees or groups formed by them (as permitted by our practice), which has not been cheerfully considered by the management and promptly disposed of to the mutual satisfaction of both parties.
Obviously it is for the pecuniary interests of both employer and employe to avoid controversy and to maintain peaceful and satisfactory relations. No outsider could or would be as solicitous for the welfare of the employe as the employer, nor for the employer as the employe. Success for both depends upon friendly relations; failure for both results from hostility. Both realize this and, in the present age, act accordingly, unless unduly influenced by outsiders who, from personal and unworthy motives or from a desire to attract public attention or from misguided zeal or lack of experience and information, are misled into a position which is harmful and unjustified.
As a result of these conditions, misrepresentations are made; some with good intentions, but more frequently from improper motives.
The management of the Steel Corporation has steadfastly striven to cultivate a feeling of amity with the workmen and has been very successful.
And we insist with emphasis that the employes of the Corporation, on the average, have received as high, if not the highest, compensation, and as generous, if not the most generous, treatment accorded by any basic industry at any period in this or any other country.
At the same time we claim that the rates which have been paid have not been higher, or the treatment given any more liberal, than the workmen have deserved or than was wise and proper from the standpoint of the shareholder's interest.
Connected with the consideration of the treatment of labor is the question of "Labor Unions."
As stated and repeated publicly, we do not combat, though we do not contract or deal with, labor unions as such. Personally, I believe they may have been justified in the long past, for I think the workmen were not always treated justly; that because of their lack of experience or otherwise they were unable to protect____________________