« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
which met in Rochester, New York, April 14, 1874. The machinists' and blacksmiths' union was represented by President Fehrenbatch and 2 more delegates, while 17 local unions sent 12 delegates; the Coopers' International Union, by 3, of whom Schilling was 1, and by delegates from 5 locals; the recently organised Grand Division Conductors' Brotherhood, by 5 delegates. William Saffin and John Siney, presidents respectively of the Iron Molders' International Union and of the Miners' National Association, were admitted to seats. The trades' assemblies of Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Rochester were represented, as well as the Labor Council of Boston, by George E. McNeill, the Workingmen's Central Council of New York, by George Blair, later a prominent Knight of Labor, and the Industrial Council of Cuyahoga County [Cleveland], by 2 delegates. Eighteen local trade unions, besides those above mentioned, were represented by delegates, and 2 secret organisations, the Industrial Brotherhood, by A. Warner St. John, of Missouri, Horace H. Day, of New York, and Drew, of New Jersey (who represented also the Patrons of Husbandry); and the Sovereigns of Industry, by 4 delegates, of whom President W. H. Earle of Massachusetts was the spokesman in the conference. Finally, the ever faithful A. C. Cameron was admitted to a seat without a vote.
The differences at the congress arose in the debates on the constitution. The trade unionists wanted the strictest possible exclusion of all non-trade-union elements. Thus A. M. Winn, president of the Mechanics' State Council of California, in a communication criticised the old constitution as throwing the doors wide open to all industrial organisations. He advocated national organisation of mechanics and miners, to which state councils, assemblies, and other state representative bodies and all orders of mechanics could send delegates, provided they endorsed the constitution and paid fees. The latter provision was intended to prevent the creation of organisations for political emergencies. H. J. Walls, of the Molders' International Union, sent in a communication, also favouring restriction to "state representatives and delegates from National and International Trade Organisations" which endorsed the constitution, with the main object of organising local trades' as
semblies and local unions of the several trades.5 President Schilling, on the other hand, in his report favoured an organisation similar to the Patrons of Husbandry with beneficial features and secrecy, and an "intimate co-operation with the Farmers' movement." He was not at all afraid of political action, which he held to be "indispensably necessary," and he affirmed the need of a "redoubled emphasis" on the financial plank a programme altogether different from the trade union programme of the congress of the year before.
The committee on constitution handed in two reports, a majority report signed by George E. McNeill, George Blair, and M. H. Smith, and a minority report signed by W. H. Earle. The majority report proposed to retain temporarily the present constitution with some changes, but recommended the appointment of a new committee of seven, composed " of the President of the Congress, two presidents of international unions, two of national trades unions, and two persons not members of trades unions, who shall prepare a definite plan of organisation, with constitution and by-laws for national and State Congresses and subordinate industrial unions." The minority report recommended a secret organisation on the pattern of the Patrons of Husbandry and pointed to the order of the Sovereigns of Industry as meeting these requirements. It advised the merging of the Industrial Congress with that organisation. Prolonged debate occurred, in which Earle defended his proposition, and St. John explained at length the objects of the Industrial Brotherhood. Schilling, although favouring the model of the Patrons of Husbandry, opposed the merging of the Congress with any organisation, and was supported by Siney. Finally, the majority report was substantially adopted and the following were named on the committee: Fehrenbatch, Foran, Cannon, James, Earle, St. John, and Beck.
The Sovereigns of Industry remained dissatisfied with this decision. On the other hand, the representatives of the Industrial Brotherhood agreed to fuse their organisation with the congress and they contributed its name and ritual," so that
5 He stated that the number of trade unionists in the country was "not less than 200,000."
6 Powderly states that the Brotherhood
had at the time about forty branches in existence. Thirty Years of Labor, 120. 7 Ibid., 120-129.
when the constitution was printed it bore the name of the "Industrial Brotherhood."
But if the delegates at the congress had vague ideas as to how the labour movement should be organised in order to attain its demands, there existed no such indefiniteness as to the nature of the demands themselves. The "Preamble" to the "Industrial Brotherhood," drawn up by Robert Schilling, stated so fully the demands of labour at that period that it was later adopted, with some modifications, by the Knights of Labor at their first national convention (General Assembly) in 1878.
The declaration of principles referred to "the recent alarming development and aggression of aggregated wealth," and the imperative necessity of a system which could "secure to the labourer the fruits of his toil." The organisation and direction, by co-operative efforts, of the power of the producing masses for their substantial elevation, was regarded as "the great desideratum of the hour," yet the ballot-box was recognised as the great agency through which wrongs could be redressed. The objects of the Industrial Congress were submitted to the people of the United States as follows: thorough organisation of every department of productive industry, a just share of the wealth created, more leisure, the establishment of national and state bureaus of labour statistics, the establishment of productive and distributive co-operative institutions, the public lands for actual settlers, the abrogation of class legislation, the removal of unjust technicalities and delays in the administration of justice, measures for the promotion of safety and health, monthly wage payments, wage-lien laws, the abolition of the contract system on public work, a system of public markets, cheap transportation, the substitution of arbitration for strikes, the prohibition of the importation of servile races, equitable apprentice laws, abolition of convict contract labour, equal pay for equal work, the eight-hour day, and finally a national greenback currency issued directly to the people and interchangeable for government bonds bearing not over 3.65 per cent interest.
As at the preceding congress, the money question was the cause of a prolonged and heated debate. The wage-conscious McNeill opposed the adoption of greenbackism as being ex
But the congress was over
traneous to the labour movement. whelmingly in favour of greenbackism, and the financial plank was adopted by all but two votes (Stevens, of New York, and McNeill).
The other important resolutions advocated voluntary arbitration between employers and employés, but stated that "it would be imprudent at present to advocate the passage of a law in Congress, making it compulsory for employers and employés to settle their grievances by arbitration alone"; demanded the enforcement of the eight-hour law for government employés and shorter hour legislation, for, the resolution said, "factory operatives, the employés of steam and horse-railroad companies, steam-boat companies, saloons and places of amusement, clerks in stores and others, can only secure the reduction of their excessive hours of labour by effective legislation "; demanded abolition of the contract system on government work, and the right of incorporation for trade unions; urged the granting of a national charter to the moulders' union, which had applied for it to Congress; recommended to the constituent organisations that they should make temperance a condition of admission (a resolution adopted as a substitute to one which apparently endorsed prohibition); opposed the importation of Chinese and other servile labourers, "making importation a criminal offence," and demanded the "repeal of the Burlingame treaty" and the withdrawal of the subsidy to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company; and finally advocated bureaus of labour statistics.
On the important question of political action the congress resolved to disregard all claims of political parties and to vote only for those persons who agree with us in our principles." Robert Schilling was re-elected president; A. W. St. John, J. H. Wright, T. C. Clarkson, Christopher Kane and O. F. Powers, vice-presidents; Byron Pope, secretary; and P. K. Walsh, treasurer.
After the congress adjourned, Schilling sent a circular to "all labour organisations" announcing that "an organisation among workingmen somewhat similar to that of the Grangers had been provided for," urging the call of mass meetings to protest "against the action of United States Supervising Archi
tect Mullett in virtually making the eight-hour law a dead letter" and particularly to bring the financial resolution of the Industrial Congress before the people. He also selected a list of deputies for each State to carry on the work of organisation for the Industrial Brotherhood, among whom we find the name of Terence V. Powderly, a machinist, recommended to Schilling by Fehrenbatch to take the place of Siney, resigned.
But the trade unions- national as well as trades' assemblies - were in no condition to heed the appeal of the Industrial Congress. The unprecedented depression brought on a simultaneous struggle for life all along the lines of organised labour. The trade unions were obliged to strain all their efforts to resist the cuts in wages which followed one another in close succession, and naturally all attempts at such a time to secure a national federation were bound to fail. This applied with additional strength to the Industrial Congress with its unfinished constitution and undecided programme of action. At the next and last congress, which met in Indianapolis, April 13, 1875, we find that the national trade unions and the trades' assemblies, with the exception of the International Typographical Union, were unrepresented, and that the twenty-three delegates present came either from the "industrial unions" or 'industrial councils" created by the national organisation.
Schilling and Cameron were the only prominent leaders among the delegates. The president, Jackson H. Wright (Robert Schilling having resigned), opened the congress and especially advocated arbitration and resistance to conspiracy laws "now so much resorted to "; he favoured non-partisan political action, co-operation, regulation of apprenticeship and technical education, and bureaus of statistics, and commented on the "terrible condition of the industrial world."
The preamble and platform remained essentially the same, with the addition chiefly of a plank condemning the use of the militia during labour disputes. The adoption of a constitution was the main work of the congress. The committee appointed
at the Rochester Congress reported that it found “that a unification of the existing labor organisations was an impossibility,
8 This appointment marked the first appearance of Powderly as an organiser in the labour movement.
9" Official Proceedings," given in Chicago Workingman's Advocate, Apr. 24, 1875.