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intrude upon your time. I came here at considerable disadvantage to myself, but with a firm knowledge that I would be amply repaid for such inconvenience as my own personal affairs have suffered, and unfortunately was unable to be here in time to listen to the addresses of the morning, but have felt more than repaid because of the privilege of having been present during the afternoon session.
President Gompers very frequently, in introducing me, has referred to me as the president of the plumbers and steamfitters of the United States and Canada, and has added to that the soft impeachment that I was the president of all the robbers of the world. I heard here this afternoon one of the gentlemen, Mr. Guggenheim, say that he had retired from business and after having devoted something like 45 years of activity in the business world, and I would like to say to him and to you that ordinarily the men whom I represent in part retire much earlier than Mr. Guggenheim retired. They are in a position so that they may retire long before they have put in 45 years of actual activity at their trade, because of the lucrativeness connected with their business.
Seriously, I am indebted to you for the privilege and honor you do me in allowing me to make these few scattering, and I fear incoherent, remarks. I just want to say this in conclusion: I have just left a son, not old enough to be drafted, but who is now on the way to Illinois in order that he may rally to the colors. I have never realized quite how young I am myself until I saw that boy ready to do his bít in defense of the greatest country that God ever gave existence to, and I feel as if I was ready and prepared to do my share just as every man among us feels if the occasion requires.
We are a peace-loving people, we have not gone into this war of our own volition, but only after we had been driven into the matter because of the unjust and barbarous practices of the enemy we are about to face. The labor movement has issued its declarations, and those declarations will be reenforced by actual practice, and no doubt can exist as to the standing of the labor movement at this time in this crisis we are facing.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentlemen. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. And yet, Mr. Alpine would accuse me of flattering him when I said he would deliver an address. One of the men, a large employer of labor, who has given the world a demonstration of wonderful ingenuity, is with us. He is the man who provides the machines and makes people say, without articulation, “Keep straight, $1.68.” Mr. John Patterson, of the National Cash Register Co. [Applause.]
Mr. John PATTERSON. Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, this is my first conference and it strikes me as an international school for industrial betterment, for the betterment of the new industrial army. I am very thankful for the able teachers we have had from the other side and am very grateful to them for taking such great risks on the ocean in order to be here and give this country the advantage of their experience and telling it to us in such a simple, straightforward, broad-minded way. It will do lots of good. My only regret is that they could not remain in this country long enough to give these talks in many parts of the country
I can look forward with a great deal of satisfaction to the improvement that will come to capital, labor, and management throughout this country by the meeting here to-day and the meetings that will take place hereafter when I hope to be present. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose we hear from the man who helps to keep us warm in winter by the production of stoves, Mr. W. T. Barbour, of Detroit. [Applause.]
Mr. W. T. BARBOUR. Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I will go home greatly and deeply impressed with what has been told us, and I am going home and try to do what I can toward carrying out the ideas I have heard expressed here.
The CHAIRMAN. We will have a word from a trade-union woman, an officer in a trade essential to industry which is going to play a great part in this conflict, Mrs. Sarah A. Conboy, secretary and treasurer of the United Textile Workers of America. [Applause.]
Mrs. ConBoy. Mr. Gompers, friends, brothers, and sisters, I think that all of us who have attended this conference to-day have been deeply impressed by the stories, if you will, that have been told us by our friends from across the water. I think the lesson that they have taught us of the question of preparedness, the way that they have handled the question over there, is going to be of the greatest and deepest moment to us in the work that we, in this committee, are trying to do.
I feel sure that the trades-union women who are members of this committee are going to do their share in helping to carry out the work of this committee, for, after all, women are a very essential part of the nation to-day, women are taking their places in the forefront in all industries, and I think it is going to be the job of the women, as well as the job of the men, to see to it that when women are put into places to take the work formerly done by men, that they are going to get equal pay for equal work, and I believe that the committee, of which I am a member, and of which Mrs. J. Borden Harriman is chairman, has that in mind at the present time.
I am not going to make any lengthy speech, but I am glad to have this opportunity to say for my trade-union sisters who are here, and who perhaps will not have this opportunity, that we have very much enjoyed the talks made by our delegates from Great Britain and from Canada, and I believe that the lessons they have taught us are filled with all the good things for us that will make us know and understand and profit by the mistakes which they made. I might say that I, perhaps, fully realize only too intensely what war means. Just returning from Canada, I spent a day in Toronto in the convalescent hospital and talked with a number of the young men who were there.
I think it will be interesting to you, perhaps, to know the spirit that permeates so many of these men. Seated on the porch was a young man who had received nine wounds, two of them they thought were fatal, but after 14 weeks in the hospital he recovered, and I said to him, “Do you think of going back?” And he said, “ Do I think of going back? There is not any think about it. I am going back tomorrow.” That is the spirit that makes men and makes women.
Mr. Chairman and friends, I am sure that the women of the tradesunion movement, the women who are associated with President Gompers in this great human work, are going to do their share. Perhaps we can not go into the trenches and fight, but we can stay at home and do a whole lot of great big work and be of great service to the men who do go. I thank you, Mr. President. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. I am going to ask Col. Isaac Ullman to favor us with a few remarks.
Col. ISAAC ULLMAN. Mr. Chairman, as the others have said, there is nothing further to be said. The last word was said this morning, when the gentlemen from Great Britain spoke, and this afternoon when they were followed by our friend from Canada, and when the gentlemen from Great Britain so masterly stated their case when opportunity was given them to reply to questions which were so readily answered.
It is a great pleasure to be here; it is a pleasure to represent at a gathering like this, old New England, and I might add that in a radius of 50 miles from my home town, New Haven, we are manufacturing at this time about 50 per cent—slightly more than that, of all the arms and ammunition manufactured in the United States. So you will understand what has been said to-day is indeed interesting to us, and we have asked and are asking some of the gentlemen who came here and favored you here to-day with their remarks to come to us at New Haven and show us what we must be shown, in order that we may avoid the mistakes they made originally, and mistakes we are bound to make unless some one helps us avoid them. We are growing, too, having learned our lesson, and I hope they make come there and we may give them an old-fashioned New England welcome. It is a great pleasure to be here and join with you. Anything I can do at any time to cooperate with you in order to make the work a success I will be only too glad to do, and you should call on me and I will be glad to do my share. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. I am going to ask Mr. Clark, of the Railroad Brotherhood, to address the conference
Mr. CLARK. Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentlemen, this is very unexpected, indeed. Like the gentleman said in his talk this afternoon about a little boy who went fishing, that is what I came here for to-day—to listen to the stories and try, perhaps, to get a little nibble; and I say that I have got a good big one now before I land the fish that you expect me to do.
I am exceedingly glad and consider this a great honor to have the privilege of being a small unit of a great committee like this. The more you analyze it the more you realize the great and far-reaching effects for which this committee has been called together. It is beyond my conception, this being my first experience here, and the subjects that have been discussed this morning and this afternoon have thrown a great light upon me, and I can hardly realize what it all means.
I happen to be the representative of the railway conductors, one of the vice presidents located here in Washington, trying to do my little bit to assist in legislation that will be beneficial to the men that I try to represent. We have made some progress and hope to make more, and I am sure that in the final analysis you will find the railroad men, the men who operate the trains, willing and anxious to at all times do that which will be their duty in the coming conflict.
I am very glad, indeed, to have had this opportunity to say just these few words, and if the railway conductors or the railway men in this country can have the opportunity, I am quite sure that they will not be found lacking. Mr. Chairman, I thank you. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. I am going to ask Dr. Halberstadt, of the Philadelphia & Reading Coal Co., Pottsville, Pa., to favor us with a few remarks.
Dr. HALBERSTADT. Mr. Chairman, I am another one taken by surprise. I want to say to you people we must not forget the fact that you need coal. Next to munitions in warfare, next to the farmer, comes the coal miner, for if you can not get coal you can not make munitions. I want to say to you that up in the anthracite coal region we have already furnished our quota for this war. You know these men in the anthracite regions are fighters; they would rather fight than eat any time. They got 30 per cent two weeks ago. They know how to fight; but the trouble is if you take our men away from us you will stop the production of anthracite coal, for the reason that no man can work in an anthracite coal mine without a certificate, and it takes two years to get a certificate.
Now, it is a serious proposition, and if you want coal the Army will have to let our men alone. The War Department asked me a month or two ago to take all my men-I have been in charge of the first-aid instruction for the company as chief surgeon for 15 years and to train the 2,500 men, and when the foreigners or people from the Western States, from the United States Bureau of Mines, asked where to go to see the best first-aid work, I must confess that they sent them up to Reading. I made a census of my men to see how many we could take into this war, and almost every man is married; almost every man has a family.
The coal regions have furnished their quota and we want the Army to keep their hands off as many more men as they can and let us mine coal. A question came up this evening which was presented by a lady who addressed us on the women's work. I want to say to you ladies, and to you men, here to-night, that women's work begins long before she has to go to the munition factory, to the farm, or anywhere else. Were it not for the women, where would our armies be? Who is it that goes to work, did go to work two years and a half ago, and begin to make dressings to send to Europe? Why, it was the women of this country. Who has been at it ever since? Why, it was the women of this country. Who have furnished the ambulances, who have done a majority of the work, but the women? Now, I want to say to you this, that our women in Schuylkill County, Pa., furnished a whole lot of dressings that were sent to the station in Philadelphia a year ago, and two years ago, and two years and a quarter ago, to be sent across the water. They could not send them over, and when that explosion took place at Eddystone a few weeks ago the dressings that were rushed to Eddystone to cover up those poor men and women who were mutilated by that explosion came from the lower anthracite coal region, they came from our little town of Pottsville and Schuylkill County.
Now, the women do not have to go to work in factories. My mother is 83 years of age and she has a little difficulty with hearing and eyesight, but she can sit down and knit. Last week, with her eyes shut, I found her knitting a new form of eye bandage to send abroad. Í do not want you ladies to worry about going into factories. What I see is up to you to do is to get at your bandages and dressings. stir your stumps and do just as much as you can and you can do just as much as the men.
The other evening I was sent to go to our office in an assembly room, and there I found a large gathering and a band of music. As l entered the door I found it was a Red Cross meeting. They told me that I need not make a speech and I did not, after Mr. Corey, the representative of the Red Cross, got through with his speech, for the enrollment cards were taken up and I found some of the audience slipping out of the back door, and it was hard to talk on a subject you did not know anything about.
When I was a youngster at Sunday school our bishop came to see us and took as his text“God has a plan for every man. I told them I did not remember the story, but I thought I remembered the gist of it, and it was this: A boy had been born a cripple, and something happened in the little town in which he lived. Something terrible happened in the little town in which he lived; he was the only person who saw what was going on, and he gathered his strength together, got out and gave the alarm and saved the town. Through his exertions he lost his life, but there was a boy who was born a hopeless cripple, who saved his town but lost his life. Now, we can each do our bit and we will do it.
I have been very much interested in this talk to-day, and I am sure I am going back to Pennsylvania and do what I can among our people to further the objects of this organization. I feel highly complimented on having been made a member of this subcommittee.
The CHAIRMAN. I am going to ask the gentlemen whose names I shall call, to please confine their remarks to, say, two or three minutes, because we want to return to the questions and to the answers. I am going to ask Mr. Wharton, the president of the railway employees department of the American Federation of Labor, to favor us with a few remarks.
Mr. A. O. WHARTON. Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentlemen, I can assure you, as have previous speakers, that I have certainly enjoyed the opportunity of being present at this meeting to-day, and the information that has been conveyed to us by our brothers from across the pond and from Canada will leave a mark and be an epoch in so far as I am concerned.
I represent a class of men who are seldom heard of-they are the men who make and repair and provide for the safety in transportation, the machinists, the boiler makers, blacksmiths, sheet-metal workers, electricians, and carmen who perform a service that is above all essential to many of the things that we have skirted around to-day in our remarks. Without them we would be almost helpless, and these same class of men are principally engaged in the building of munitions, the building of ships, aeroplanes, and everything that goes in and goes toward making a modern civilization possible. For these inen I desire to say, in closing, that their loyalty can not be questioned. They are Americans in heart and soul and they believe in the principles which have been so fully enunciated by our President. They are backing our country, and they will work and cooperate with this committee to the fullest of their ability.
In closing I desire to say that I appreciate the honor of having had this opportunity of speaking these few words. [Applause.]