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Attention is called to the fact that the last of these three categories has either been overlooked or kept in the background. It should now be brought forward as the principal element in the solution of the present situation. Prof. Commons defines the commodity theory as determined solely by demand and supply, without reference to outside factors of any kind. This theory is one that is repudiated by organized labor. It attempted to get a statement embodied in the Peace Treaty in the section devoted to labor, to the effect that labor is not a commodity. Mr. Gompers was disappointed in the ultimate wording of this section, after he left Paris. It was changed to read that labor was not "merely " a commodity.

It is considered to be a fundamental principle at present that there should be a general recognition that labor should not be treated as a commodity.

The second, "Machinery," theory is that in which the value of labor is determined by the so-called law of demand and supply and in which labor is not treated as a commodity, but each laborer is regarded as a machine, the value of which is determined by the quantity of its output. This theory is that which is best exemplified by the Taylor theory of scientific management. This second theory is not acceptable to organized labor, because it is mechanistic, and takes no account of the human side of the labor problem. Both of the above theories are elements of labor that will have to be considered, but neither of them is regarded by thoughtful economists as covering the entire ground.

The human reactions against the above purely material theories come under the third theory, or the good will theory, as it is called by Mr. Commons. This is the theory which gives an opportunity for free play of individual ability, a chance for the meeting of the employer and the employee in a common effort. It has in a way been recognized by the government in the formation of the Federal Trade Commission and by the states in a number of "good will" measures enacted into legislation. It concerns itself with such questions as unemployment, the situation of the labor market, insurance against death, disability, disease and old age, with courses for instruction and with every measure to improve physical and mental conditions of the work


In fact, it is of the utmost importance to organize systematically the program of industrial good will as the basis for a constructive movement.


Trade Union Organization in the United States

The History Encyclopedia Reference Book of the A. F. of L. gives an authoritative outline of the history of organized labor in the United States from which the following facts are taken:

"The growth of trade unionism in the United States had been exceedingly slow and periodical only up to 1881. For nearly a century organizations of labor had been launched, lived for a period and then died on the field of partisan politics. Politics was as fatal to labor organizations as the upas tree to the human family" (page 38).

In 1866 a National Labor Congress was called which had a second meeting under the title of National Labor Union, in Chicago, at which trade unions in both northern and southern states were represented. Annual and bi-annual conventions were held up to 1873 with an increasing drift toward political action. At this time the Knights of Labor exercised strong influence, as well as certain secret industrial societies. It was not until 1881 that a call was published by representatives of organized labor for a convention to be held in Pittsburgh, November 15th, which should eliminate politics and bring about permanent organization of labor unionism.

The call for this Convention at which the American Federation of Labor was virtually founded contains the following (p. 40):

"The time has now arrived for a more perfect combination of labor one that will concentrate our forces so as to more successfully cope with concentrated capital. We have numberless trade unions, trade assemblies or councils, Knights of Labor and various other local, national and international labor unions, all engaged in the noble task of elevating and improving conditions of the working classes. But great as has been the work done by these bodies there is vastly more that can be done by a combination of all these organizations in a federation of trades and labor unions. In Great Britain and Ireland actual trade union congresses are held. France and other countries have similar gatherings. The work done by these assemblages of workmen speaks more in their favor than a volume of other arguments."


"There were 107 delegates at the Pittsburgh convention representing 262,000 workingmen. A permanent organization was formed and named the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada. A legislative committee, now known as the Executive Council was appointed" and on it Samuel Gompers represented the International Cigar Makers' Union of New York. assemblies of the Knights of Labor were represented as well as the trade unions, but the Knights of Labor who had been represented by fifty delegates at this convention did not attend any of the conventions of succeeding years. The opposition between them and the Federation increased and culminated in 1886.

It was in December of 1886 after several conferences, that a convention met at Columbus, Ohio, at which for the Federation of Trade and Labor Unions there was substituted the present organization of the American Federation of Labor, formed then of 25 national organizations with a membership of 316,469 workingmen, and an executive council of five members. The growth in membersbip after 1900 was phenomenal, especially between 1900 and 1904, when it rose from less than 350,000 to nearly 1,700,000. Again it took another spectacular rise in 1917, jumping to nearly 3,100,000.

The methods of organization as expressed in the official chart of the A. F. of L. from 1918, gives it as divided into five departments with 445 local department councils, 111 national and international unions, 45 sub-federations, 854 local trades and Federal labor unions, 782 city central bodies, and 27,755 local unions.

It is interesting to compare the attitude toward the war expressed in the official declaration of the A. F. of L. with that of the American Socialist Party in its St. Louis declaration, which has been printed in this report.

This declaration of the A. F. of L., it must be noted, was passed at a special conference of its leaders held in Washington on March 12, 1917, nearly a month before our declaration of war (April 6th). After a long statement as to the privileges and conditions that organized labor considered should be granted to it, it closes with this:

"We, the officers of the National and International Trades Unions of America, in National Conference assembled. . .

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hereby pledge ourselves in peace or in war, in stress or in
storm, to stand unswervingly by the standards of liberty and
safety and preservation of the institutions and ideals of our
Despite all our endeavors and hopes
should our country be drawn into the maelstrom of the Euro-
pean conflict, we, with these ideals of liberty and justice.
herein declared as the basis of national policy, offer our
services to our country in every field of activity, to defend,
safeguard and preserve the Republic of the United States of
America against its enemies whosoever they may be, and we
call upon our fellow workers and fellow citizens in the holy
name of labor, justice, freedom and humanity, to devotedly
and patriotically give like service.”

During 1918 the A. F. of L. sent a mission to Great Britain and France. There had been held in 1918 in London an inter-allied labor and Socialist Congress at which were present representatives of Great Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Roumania and South Africa. It adopted a memorandum of war aims that was meant to serve as a guide to workers and to prepare the way for an international congress of similar character. The conferences held with certain labor representatives by the American delegates during April and May, 1918, in England and France, gave a much clearer idea to the A. F. of L. of the point of view held by labor in Great Britain and Europe. Then, as later, the leaders of the American organized labor were considered by their European colleagues as ultra-conservative.

Of the part played by the A. F. of L. during the war it is superfluous to speak, but it is important to give here the result of the convention held at St. Paul, June 10 to 20, 1918, to appoint a committee on reconstruction.

The St. Paul Convention of the American Federation of Labor instructed the Executive Council to appoint a committee on reconstruction. This committee was to investigate "the problem of reconstruction and to take such steps as might be found possible to safeguard the interests of the soldiers and sailors and workers during the period of reconstruction."

The committee consisted of John P. Frey, editor of the International Molders' Journal; B. M. Jewell, acting president Railroad Employees' Department; John Moore, president of the Ohio district of the United Mine Workers; G. W. Perkins, president

Cigarmakers' International Union, and Matthew Woll, president International Photo Engravers' Union.

The Executive Council received the report of the committee at its meeting in December, 1918, and transmitted it to the convention as "not only the most complete, and the most constructive proposal yet made in this country for the reconstruction period," but which "constitutes practically the only program in existence having to do with the period of rebuilding the national life on a peace basis."

The Convention at Atlantic City adopted the report as prepared by the committee. We give it at the close of this chapter.



One of the outgrowths of the war in the field of organized labor was the establishment under the leadership of the American Federation of Labor of an organization called the American Alliance for Labor and Democracy, which was called into existence in May, 1917, at a conference in New York City.

The pro-German and pacifist propaganda which made itself felt throughout the United States led to a conference of the new organization in Minneapolis on September 5, 1917. Every member was asked to sign the following:

"The undersigned hereby affirms that it is the duty of all the people of the United States, without regard to call, nationality, politics or religion, faithfully and loyally to support the Government of the United States carrying on the present war for justice, freedom and democracy to a triumphant conclusion, and gives this pledge to uphold every honorable effort for the accomplishment of that purpose, and to support the American Federation of Labor, as well as the declaration of organized labor's representatives made March 12, 1917, at Washington, D. C., as 'labor's position in peace or in war,' and agrees that this pledge shall be his right to membership in this conference of the American Alliance for Labor and Democracy."

President Wilson invited, but unable to attend, sent a sympathetic message. The conference passed a resolution declaring that the great war must be fought to a decisive result; that until autocracy has been defeated there can be no hope of an honorable peace, and that to compromise the issue is only to sow

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