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however, did not desire to have compulsory arbitration, but merely compulsory dealing with the union, or compulsory investigation by an impartial body, both parties to remain free to accept the reward, provided, however, "that once they do agree the agreement shall remain in force for a fixed period." 58 Like Foster, John Jarrett argued for an incorporation law before the committee, solely for its effect upon conciliation and arbitration.54 He, too, was opposed to compulsory arbitration, but he showed that he had thought out the point less clearly than Foster.55

The above shows that the argument for incorporation had shifted from co-operation, the ground upon which it was urged during the sixties, to collective bargaining and arbitration — a change which denotes a fundamental change in the aim of the labour movement - from idealistic striving for self-employment to opportunistic trade unionism. The young and struggling trade unions of the early eighties saw only the good side of incorporation without its pitfalls; their subsequent experience with the courts converted them from exponents into ardent opponents of incorporation and of what Foster termed "legalised arbitration."

The second convention of the Federation met in Cleveland, November 21, 1882, with only nineteen delegates present. The reduction in numbers was due to the absence of the Knights of Labor and of the Association of Amalgamated Iron and Steel Workers, both of whom had been numerously represented in Pittsburgh. Eight national and international trade unions and ten trades' councils sent delegates. The former were the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, Machinists and Millwrights, the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the Cigar Makers' International Union, the German American Typographia, the Granite Cutters' National Union,56 the Lake Seamen's Union, the International Typographical Union, and the National Mule Spinners' Association. Each union had one delegate, except the cigar makers and the lake seamen, who were represented by two. The remaining delegates came from

53 Ibid., 408.

54 Ibid., 1150.

55 Gompers also spoke in favour of incorporation but gave no reasons.

56 The delegate of their union was Thomas H. Murch, a congressman from Maine, elected as a greenbacker in 1878.

the trades assemblies of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Detroit, District of Columbia, Indianapolis, New York, and the Pacific Coast.

Leffingwell of the Indianapolis Trades Assembly was chosen president, Gompers, vice-president, Congressman Murch, the English secretary, and Hugo Miller, of the German-American Typographia, the German secretary. The report of the legislative committee complained of meagre support from the trade unions which prevented the Federation from accomplishing any work. When the congressional committee was appointed, it sent a letter to Speaker Keifer, of the House of Representatives, suggesting names for the standing committee on education and labour, but the speaker did not even acknowledge the receipt of the letter. Richard Powers, of the Lake Seamen's Union, was sent to Washington in the interest of a seamen's safety bill, and he also helped to defeat a bill forbidding seamen to organise. Although he represented the Federation, his expenses were paid by his own union. Another mark of lack of interest in the Federation was shown by the fact that only one-half of the 5,000 copies of proceedings of the Pittsburgh convention were sold during the year. The Federation, with an annual budget of but $445.31, doubtless failed to justify the expectations of its organisers.

The convention gave attention to the tariff, to the eight-hour day, and to the land question. Frank Foster, of Boston, representing the International Typographical Union, moved to strike out the tariff plank in the constitution, on the ground that under the protective tariff, prosperity was not passed on to the workingmen. It was carried against one negative vote. An eighthour declaration, presented by the Chicago Trade and Labor Assembly and drawn up in the spirit of Ira Steward's teaching, was passed with the amendment, however, changing the wording from "the only " remedy to "a" remedy. Gompers felt lukewarm towards the declaration, for to him the eight-hour day meant providing more employment rather than raising the standard of living and thereby wages.57 The land question was brought up in the form of a single-tax resolution offered by Grennell, of the Detroit trades assembly, but the general con

57 Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, Proceedings, 1882, p. 17.

sensus of opinion, as expressed by Gompers, was the more socialistic view that "it is not the ownership of land that should be fought, but the doings of the capitalists we are organised to oppose." 58 The convention, however, recognised the Henry George agitation by recommending the study of the land question. Two planks were added to the platform, one opposing the contract system on public works and the other demanding employers' liability. Resolutions were adopted demanding the further restriction of Chinese immigration and extending an invitation to women's trade unions to affiliate with the Federation. The basis of representation was changed to admit, in addition to national trade unions and city trades councils, state or provincial federations of trades unions with two votes, district assemblies of the Knights of Labor 59 with one vote, and local trade unions also with one vote each, provided that "no local trade union shall be entitled to representation which has not been organised six months prior to the session of this body," a measure taken apparently to safeguard against politicians. The national trade union remained, of course, the basic unit of the Federation.

The convention adjourned on November 24, having re-elected W. H. Foster as secretary of the legislative committee, and Gompers, Howard, Edmonston, and Powers, members. Gompers was subsequently chosen by the committee as chairman and Powers as first vice-chairman,

The third convention of the Federation opened in New York City on August 21, 1883, with twenty-seven delegates. The same national trade unions as in the previous convention, with the exception of the granite cutters, were represented. Delegates from 5 city trades assemblies, 1 state assembly, the workingmen's assembly of the State of New York, 5 local trade unions, and a women's national labour league completed the roll. Gompers was chosen president, and the legislative committee made a report differing but little in contents from the report at the previous convention. The committee used Gabriel Edmonston, of the carpenters' brotherhood, who resided in Washington,

58 Ibid., 28.

59 Richard Powers called attention to the fact that " an impression had gone out that this Congress ignored the Knights

of Labor, when, on the contrary, it had decided that the Knights of Labor shall have an equal representation in the Federation." Ibid., 27.


as a lobbyist before Congress, and he introduced through Congressman Murch a bill for the incorporation of trade unions.61 Considerable success in getting legislation was attained during the year by the trade unions in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Maine, but the only credit that the Federation could claim was the one that its platform demanded all the measures enacted. The report referred to over-zealous partisans who continued efforts detrimental to that harmony which should exist between labor organisations," a veiled attack on the Knights of Labor.


The convention discussed steps to be taken to make the Federation represent the entire labour movement. The committee on standing orders reported a resolution which called for the appointment of a special committee to "confer with the Knights of Labor, and other kindred labour organisations, with a view to a thorough unification and consolidation of the working people throughout the country." 62 Here the half-concealed animosity towards the Knights of Labor again revealed itself, for Gompers opposed too definite action and proposed instead that the legislative committee be instructed "to enter into immediate correspondence with the proper officers of national and international Labor organisations of all descriptions, for the purpose of obtaining their views upon what basis a more thorough unification of the Labor organisations may be accomplished," and to report to the next session of the Federation.63 Finally a substitute resolution was passed, directing the legislative committee to appoint subcommittees to confer, etc., but the name of the Knights of Labor was not mentioned.64

No changes were made in the platform. The only interesting discussion in this connection was raised by a letter from Jarrett declaring that the iron and steel workers' union could no longer affiliate with the Federation because it had "passed a series of resolutions condemning tariff." 65 The legislative committee was thereupon authorised to reply that the action of the convention of 1882 signified not a condemnation of protec

60 He received $15 for loss of time. The Federation was too poor to employ a regular lobbyist in Washington.

61 Senator Blair, of New Hampshire, introduced in the Senate a similar bill at the same session.

62 Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, Proceedings, 1883, p. 10. 63 Ibid., 11.

64 Ibid.

65 Ibid., 18.


tion, but merely an expression of a desire to keep the Federation altogether out of the tariff controversy.66 However, the Amalgamated Association did not return to the Federation until 1887.67

The constitution, like the platform, was left unchanged, except that the membership of the legislative committee was increased to 9 so as to include 1 president, 6 vice-presidents, a secretary, and a treasurer. But a notable advance was made in the method of legislative action. A resolution was adopted ordering that "a committee be appointed to attend the next national conventions of the two great political parties, and in the name of the organised workmen of the United States demand the incorporation in their platform of principles their position on the enforcement of the eight-hour law, the incorporation of national trade organisations, and the establishment of a national bureau of labor statistics." 68 The important resolutions passed were two on the hours of labour, one declaring "the question of shortening the hours of labor as paramount to all other questions at present"; 6o another recommending "to international, national, and local unions the necessity of shortening the hours of labor to eight hours per day "; 70 another resolution advocated government ownership of telegraph lines on the ground that the existing system practised discrimination and extortion toward the consumers and that under it "the law of demand of labor is controlled by one corporation "; a resolution endorsing the cigar makers' label was passed; another recommended the organisation of factory workers; and finally, an address was drafted to "Working Girls and Women" urging them to organise. Upon the new legislative committee for

06 Ibid., 20.

67 The Pittsburgh National Labor Tribune at the time constantly maintained that the weakness of the Federation was due to the position it had taken upon the tariff. Since these first conventions the Federation has scrupulously been on guard against expressing any position upon tariff questions. The convention of 1889 overwhelmingly voted down a resolution asking for an increase of duties upon imported cigars. (American Federation of Labor, Proceedings, 1889, p. 24.) In 1895 the same treatment befell a resolution presented by John B. Lennon, that "while the protective tariff policy of our

government continues" ready-made clothing should not be allowed to be brought in free of duty. (Ibid., 72, 73.) Some of the national unions affiliated with the Federation, however, adopted an out-and-out stand in the protective tariff controversy. The iron and steel workers' union on sev eral occasions sent lobbyists to Washing. ton to urge that steel be protected by high duties. (Cleveland Citizen, Sept. 23, 1893.)

68 Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, Proceedings, 1883, p. 11. 69 Ibid., 17.

70 Ibid., 16.

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