Railroad employees in train service are perhaps more thoroughly organized than are the workers in any other department of industry. According to the report of the Interstate Commerce Commission, in 1906, there were in round numbers 285,000 train service employees on the railroads of the United States, the classification including engineers, firemen, conductors, trainmen, and switchmen. In the same year the organizations of these respective classes of employees reported a combined membership of 279,000. A small percentage of this membership is no longer employed in railroad service, and another small percentage is employed in Canada and Mexico. Deducting 25,000 from the total membership to cover these items (and this may be taken as a liberal allowance) it will be seen that but 31,000 of the total number of train service employees in the United States are unorganized. It is perfectly safe to say that at least 95 percent of this unorganized body is composed of young and inexperienced men who have not been long enough in the service to become eligible for membership in the organizations of their respective classes. Probably not more than one percent of the train service employees on the railroads of the United States, who are eligible to membership in the various organizations, remains unorganized.
Notwithstanding this very complete organization it is somewhat paradoxical that railroad employees as a rule are densely ignorant of the real spirit and purpose of the trade union movement. They know very little concerning the traditions and principles of unionism and absolutely nothing of its history. Of economics they are as guiltless of knowledge as babes. It is true they have been taught that the man who takes the job of another who is on strike is a scab, but this teaching has its limitations and qualifications, as it is not considered disgraceful for the members of one organization to take the places of striking members of another organization when they have agreements with their employers establishing rates of wages and conditions of labor for a stated period of time. In other words, it is considered of more importance to maintain the so-called sacredness of contract than to lend assistance and support to fellow wage- workers in time of strike.
In line with this policy we find the engineers taking the places of striking firemen on the Southern Pacific, and assuring the managers of the Norfolk & Western during the recent threatened strike of the firemen that if the firemen went out they (the engineers)____________________