Handbook of Industrial Unionism

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Handbook of Industrial Unionism

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By Wm. E. Troutmann



Industrial Workers OF THE WORLD




Industrial Workers of the World

By A. 8. Edwards





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Industrial Unionism B Class struggle


class of idlers, small in numbers with compared the many who are compelled

to over-exert themselves in their efforts to maintain a meager exist ence, control today the economic resources of the earth: land, mines, factories, mills and means of transportation and distribu~ tion. Millions must work for them; these millions possess nothing, only muscle and brain, which they are compelled to sell in hard toil merely to live and to dwell in con ditions where joy and happiness are scarce ly known to them and their offspring. The few, through that power which pos session of the' economic resources gives, control and manage all institutions main tained for the sole protection of that might by which they are able to rule, to exploit, to determine the destinies of nations, of all inhabitants upon the globe, and remain truly the masters of the earth. ‘



An irresistible process of oi the eco concentration

of Industries

nomic resources, the basis of the power wielded by the few, tends to centralize also the manage ment of industries; production on a small scale disappears; the plants, factories and mills in which goods are made, the lines of transportation for the distribution of the products grow gigantic in dimensions; the army of workers, each performing his du ties like a wheel in a great machine, is con trolled and kept in obedience by the silent admission that somebody must know how to supervise the operation of every part of the machine, otherwise there might be chaos, confusion and disorder, with subse quent idleness and more appalling misery and despair for the millions of wealth pro ducers.

by ignorance, though not fostered by any fault of the workers, is the reason that they do not know who in reality administers and keeps the big mechanism of production in opera Such



tion. Basis



capitalist system

whole structure of the based on the of the many by

social. system,


the few, will collapse if the former get control of the motive power by 4

which they are made to run their turns in the fabric of production and distribution. As in the mechanism of a clock each wheel in its rotation turns other wheels into motion, all combined making the clock run in regular order if kept wound up, so is the relation of the real wealth producer in the present arrangement in industrial life; unconscious of the forces keeping the entire clockwork in operation, the workers continue producing the necessities and good things for the enjoyment by a class of non producers, which have the grip on the key to the gigantic mechanism to wind up, for exploitation purposes, the clockwork into which all the working parts assemble, in order to keep the entire social system in working order. The motive power in the of mechanism of industrial and operatiof‘ social life is labor,—human lndusmal_ Mechanism labor and human brains. The forces of nature, harnessed by the genius of mankind, are utilized by the mil lions of human beings. One arm in the mechanism failing to perform its regular functions, may throw the whole works into temporary disorder, but motive power being sufficiently supplied, and reserve pieces in the shape of the big army of jobless toilers being available, such temporary irregulari 5

ties in the mechanism are soon overcome, the effects are haidly noticed throughout the system; the defective piece is removed,







made up.


parts removed are thrown out of the mechan _ “5 D‘s' ism;—blacklisted, disabled arrangement workers, thrown upon the scrap pile as useless articles, because they either would not gear in regular rotation in or were worn out a soulless mechanism, through constant toil, the old-aged, crippled, mangled bodies of once perfect parts of that mechanism—all are evidence of the fact that production can not be stopped through one part of the mechanism getting out of gear; the grinding-out ‘of profit from the labor of the millions would continue un checked and unabated.

“Let us stop

whole General mechanism of production,— _ suspensm" ‘ not a part, but complete, so wcrk 0‘ that the few will no longer have the benefit of our combined, interde pendent labor.” “Cessation of all work will deprive them of the chance to exploit us any longer, so that they may live in luxury and abundance on the results of our labor.” We may suffer still more want and priva tion than usual, but we can show that the 6


few non-producers cannot enjoy the com forts of life either if we refuse to keep the mechanism of production in running order_ Great temporary relief may be achieved by suspension of the greater important fac tors in the mechanism of production, through organized efforts, so that all other parts of the entire social and industrial sys tem may be thrown out of gear. Dread of the consequences alone would serve as preventative. Complete suspension of the industrial general strike when mechanism-by a emergency may require—would force, event ually, the economic masters to throw more oil, in the shape of concessions, on the working parts of the system to keep it agoing more smoothly and without inter ruption; but that is not the problem! The ownership of the eco Real nomic resources by a non Problem producingr class furnishes Stated the motive power by which the mechanism is kept in operation for profit-making. To wrest from the hands of that useless class this economic power, through which alone they conserve their rulership over all institutions in the indus trial mechanism, is the ultimate and most important mission and aim of the wealth producers.


gigantic mechanism must continue in operation Revolutian to produce the necessities in Control and good things of life for all; but the hand that winds the clock for the grinding out of profit for the masters must be removed and all, economic re sources be placed in common with that class whose labor and brain is required to main tain order in the industrial system.. No longer shall the industrial mechanism run for the creation of wealth for a master class, and the perpetuation of ownership of the economic resources by a few; the en tire industrial mechanism being operated in common, so shall the products of the collective work of all parts of the system be enjoyed in common by all. It is by the organized, systematic arrangement that How each wheel in the industrial Accomplished performs its mechanism function today. The thorough knowledge of all these arrangements in the clockwork and the respective functions of all parts thereof must be acquired, so to organize and prepare the administration correspond ing with the requirements of the entire in dustrial organism, and profit by the great changes that the revolution in the owner ship of economic resources will develop. 8

The most perfect system, social and in dustrial order, will be established by an organization of workers by which they not only keep the gigantic mechanism of pro duction and distribution in operation, but through which also the control of all econ omic resources will be properly governed and administered so that social strife and


industrial chaos and disorder will disappear, and all workers will enjoy the full proceeds of their labor in an

“Industrial Commonwealth.” The Industrial Workers of the World will organize the workers in such a way that the immediate the organized

and ultimate object of

efforts of the workers


be achieved.

Chains you’ll loose,


world you'll gain!

Workers of the World, Unite!

Wm“? Agamst

of the “The interests “working class can be up

“held only by an organiza ' “tion formed in such a way “that all its members in any one industry,‘ “or in all industries, if necessary, cease “work whenever a strike or lockout is on “in any department thereof, thus making an “injury to one an injury to all.” Exploiters


“Between the a struggle must the toilets come the political, as

two classes go on until ‘life Final together on Aim well as on the industrial field, and take and hold that which they produce by their labor through an economic organization of the working class, without affiliation with any political party.” These two clauses taken How from the Preamble to the t? Bum constitution of The Indus _ Umons trial Workers of the World, suggest two problems: I. How to construct and build a union by which the workers will be able to cease work in any one industry or in all indus tries, if necessary, in a body and impede the whole mechanism of production and distribution, and gain by their combined power, advantages for the working class? II. How to prepare the workers for the historic mission of taking and holding all things that are produced by their labor, and administering all such institutions that are necessary to the preservation of social or der and industrial life? The first clause suggests itself as an architectural Fundamental plan for the construction of Principle the component parts of an 10

organization, by which the workers can ac complish such results as are outlined. The fundament of the whole organization must be based on existing industrial conditions in society, and be strong enough to stand the changing of parts of the entire struc ture, if such be warranted by changes and -


Every part of the entire organization, in significant as it may appear to be, must so link together all other coherent parts that the whole will present an organic unit, in detail as well as in perfection. The institutions of capital capitill _ ist society ’ nearing perfec . . . Institutions tion in the evolutionary as Models process, must also serve as samples to construct the institutions des tined to promote the interests of the work ing class. The smallest cell in the organ ism must conform to requirements forced on the wealth-producers by the ever-chang ing developments within the industrial sys tem.

Unit of Industrial

The smallest unit of an Industrial Union, or branch

thereof, is an organization comprising the employees of one given shop, plant, factory, camp, ranch, ‘farm, or transportation line. The workers in the various factories in the same indus



try, or camps, embracing a certain terri tory in the woods, farms or mining dis tricts comprise an Industrial Union. '

An Industrial subarranged,



GI'Oups of Branch Unions


is divided,

and into several parts or Branch

Unions. Branch Unions shall com workers, prise grouped Cith er


According to sub-de

partments of a given industrial plant; II. According to working places in the same industry closely adjoining each other. III. And according to the language which any certain portion of employees in a given industrial union best understand and speak.

This plan of organization in indus complex-plants, in trial which each department is an integral, yet self-reliant part of the whole; work-shops in which thousands of workers are engaged in the production of

Industrial Plant Brancb Unions

is best



Each of the shop-departments of such in stitution has its own management, subject to general rules emanating from the gen? eral management of the entire plant. Like wise should each department comprise all 12

the workers

therein in a branch union, part of the one industrial union, con stituted from the various branch unions ' making up that industry. . Take for illustration: The plant of the American Steel The‘ Trust; Company at South Chicago, Illustrations engaged


Thousands of workers are employed in that plant. The plant, however, is a part of the gigantic corporation, known as the Steel Trust. This soulless corporation is. the only employer. Consequently all em ployees in that plant are organized into one “Industrial Union of Iron and Steel Plant

Workers." The big plant is branched

All out in departments. engaged in workers are making a part of the article No matter whether skilled to be produced. or only helpers and laborers in such a de partment, all are subject alike to the rules of employment imposed in that department. The eventual gain in improvements of working conditions by a portion of workers in such subordinate department, may imme diately benefit all others; while more so the cessation of work by workers of a given “craft” in a department forces all auxiliary workers to stop also, until work is re

Branch Unions in Big Plants


sumed by the corporation

either agreeing to the terms of the strikers (which, how ever, is the exception), or the places of the strikers are filled, in which case the others also start to work ,with the newly-engaged workers. Even in departments of craft plants one group of work ‘{"lons Ehmmated ers helps to defeat the oth ers. The complete elifnina tion of craft divisions in departments of big industrial plants in itself would be a great improvement in the struggle for im proved conditions; but how much more ef fective, of course, would be an organization that eliminates all dividing lines between one group of workers and the others, em bracing all in one Industrial Union, com bining them all for the protection of their interests. Through that system the more expert worker need not be afraid that the worker with smaller pay will unconsciously help to drag him down to a lower standard of livelihood; while on the other hand, the co-operation

of the skilled and will elevate the conditions of the remove those who are a menace tablished better conditions of the 14

unskilled latter and to the es former.

Branch Unions, composed of workers in a department one p|ant_ of an Industrial Plant, thereone Union fore, do not segregate its of another members from the members branch. They all combined form a com pact, coherent unit, one “Industrial Union.” Thus, in the plant of said Steel Trust in South Chicago, all employees working at furnaces, form a and around the blast branch; those in the puddling department another; those in the rolling mill again an other branch, until reaching the yards, where the engines haul the iron and steel from one department to another. All the employees working in the train service of that plant are directly engaged and under pay of that company, such workers as train men and switchmen, therefore, form an other branch of employees of the “Indus trial Union of Iron and Steel Plant Work ers” of South Chicago. Quite frequently a part of a given article is made Ancther ' in one factory at one place, Illustration and the other parts in a factory in another locality, both plants, however, being part of one corporation. Take the Singer Sewing Machine Company The wooden framework for an example. for the machines is made in South Bend, l5

Ind.; the other parts in Elizabeth, N. J., and other places. Yet it requires the co ordinate labor of the workers at these dif ferent places to make and finish a machine. The Sewing Machine Makers Industrial Union would, therefore, comprise all work ers, although in different branch unions, who are working in factories in which the various parts for the complete construc tion of such machines are made.‘ The woodworkers preparing the framework for the machine are as much considered ma chine builders as the coremakers, moulders, machinists, polishers, etc.; each of them making another part of the same particular machine, and they all, therefore, when organized, would be parts of that one In dustrial Union of Sewing Machine Makers. Modern “Hotel Service," Hotel and for the accommodation of Restaurant a large portion of the pop -


the the

ulace, has assumed sovmuch character of a public institution that detail arrangements for the proper

functioning of each branch in the service requires the absolute dependence of one branch upon the other. The apparent com plex system is simplified by the prompt~ mess with which each part responds to the requirement of the whole. 50 likewise 16

should it be in the organization of the workers engaged in that service. The cab drivers in‘ the Hotel Service form a branch of the “Industrial Union of Hotel and Restaurant Workers”; the wait ers, waitresses, bartenders and hotel bar bers, another; elevatormen, chamber-clean ers, window-washers, another; the work ing force in the kitchen constitute a branch also, including the bakers and butchers di rectly engaged in hotel service; and those workers in the steam generating and en gine rooms are all parts and parcels of that one “Industrial Union” through another branch organization, subordinate to that “one union” embracing each and every worker in that service. All the membersof the various branches, that are working in one hotel strengthen their bond of co operative interests by a jointly selected administrative committee for the super vision of-the affairs of all workers engaged in that one particular hotel or public insti tution. Systematic distribution of Runway all products of either farm w°rkers 1"‘ or factory labor through dusuhlunion the various channels on either land or water constitutes one of the most important factors in social life. The connecting link between the place where 17

farm products and raw material in woods and mines are created, and the industrial centers with their manifold workshops for the utilization of these products, and vice versa, are the huge modern facilities for transportation and distribution, wonder fully organized as a whole and in detail. All over the world, in every civilized coun-, try, the ruling class realizes the impor tance of this component part of the econo mic resources at their command, and while the capitalist class and capitalist govern ments are continually endeavoring. and suc ceeding in almost every instance, to enact measures for the protection of their ruler ship in that domain, they also conceived that this could only be done by preventing the organizing of the millions of faithful servants into such an organization that would be equally as strong, or stronger yet, and corresponding in detail to the advanced organization required to conduct and man system ‘for the profit age the collossal harvest of the diverse owners, be they either individual, corporation or govern ment exploiters. The success of the capi talist class must be solely attributed to the fact that their agents promoted and helped to encourage the organizing of the workers into such organizations, by which they were kept divided and stirred up to fight 1B

other, thus making concerted action or resistance impossible; or they were made to believe that government owner~ ship would bring the end to their griev ances and oppression; while in reality the state and government would only serve as a stronger agency for the protection of the interests of the shareholders of govern ment bonds and securities. each

A “Railway Workers Industrial Union,”

one of the parts composing the “Transpor

Service,” would embrace all work ers engaged on a given road or system. While in small places all branches of the service may form one “Railway Workers Branch Union,” in large centers and ter minals each department of a road may con stitute a branch union, say for instance “Freighthouse Workers’ Branch”; “Railway and Yard Workers’ Branch”; "Passenger Train Workers’ Branch”; “Maintenance of Way Workers’ Branch,” etc. by having Each branch organization, representation in the administration coun cil of the “Industrial Union of Railway Workers” of a given system, is governed by the same universal rules prevailing in all other branches, and the organization, centralized for administrative purposes, as sures sufficient autonomy to each branch thereof for supervision in all matters which tation


may be peculiar to the nature of the work performed by the members of that branch.


The workers



lumber work ’ those working . . . at the irrigation of land, Workers . , preservation of forests, the workers on farms and orchards, ranchers, herders, etc., are, by the very nature of their work, segregated 'duringthe larger part of the year from the workers in the cities. Scattered over large districts they seldom have a chance to congregate in large masses; to move them to concerted action seems to be a difficult task. An “Industrial Union of Lumbermen” or an “Industrial Union of Agricultural Work ers” should encompass a district between two towns, and a branch of either com prises all workers in a lumber camp, or on one or two adjoining farms, according

A8"“ It um I _

workers on such places, the branch representatives getting all information for conveyance to the other fellow workers from a central administra tion, general meetings of the members of all branches are arranged by common un derstanding when the coming together for deliberation and action on affairs concern ing these classes of workers becomes nec to size

and number of

essary. 20

Thousands of workers are scattered all over the coun Language try, engaged in industrial Branches occupations, who by the very nature of their work, and mostly as sociating with workers'of their own na only the language of tive' land, command the country in which they were born and brought up. In big industrial plants there are groups of workers who cannot co operate together because of the different languages, by reason of which they are unable to exchange their views. That separation is artificially upheld in this age by the employing class.



nationality are usually employed in the same subordinate branch’ of an industry; they live and dwell in colony settlements, parts of cities, sep community, arate communities within a wherein they preserve the customs of their native land, and are servants of traditions inherited from past generations. They all feel instinctively the misery of their conditions, they long to be combined with all others sharing their lot, but fail to find the strong tie by which they would be linked together with all other fellow workers in the field, mine, factory and mill, for a common purpose. A language branch of an “Industrial Union,” of which all of




those commanding one language would be members, is the agency by which the co operation of all workers in one industry, and in fact in all industries, in spite of the difference in language, could be estab lished. The workers of a language branch could carry on the agitation in their own language; sufficient of them would be able to convey to them the opinions and thoughts prevailing among the members of the other branches on affairs concerning all those engaged in that particular indus try, and through the administrative board of the “Industrial Union” to which all branches are subordinate, concerted action

relationship will be as sured in all matters concerning the ma terial welfare of the workers. and



preliminary school for the equipping and train Recruiting ing‘ of workers for the man Unions agement of a branch or in dustrial union composed of toilers in the various industrial groups and occupations, an “Industrial Workers Recruiting Union” in every city and locality. is maintained Workers engaged in different vocations who, for one reason or another, cannot get sufficient of their fellow workers together for the formation of an industrial union embracing those working in a given indus a


try, enlist themselves as members of such recruiting unions, until a sufficient number from one industry are enrolled and made acquainted ‘with the basic principles of in dustrial unionism to enable them to branch off and constitute an industrial union or a branch thereof. , So likewise does the first union in a given industry assume the duties of a re cruiting organization for other branches in the same industry. As soon as there is or ganized more than one Bmneh branch of a given “Indus Representation trial Union,” these branches select a proportionate number of repre sentatives on the administrative board for said industrial union. The delegates of all the branches direct, manage and adminis ter the general affairs of the industrial union; they hold the charter of said union comprising all workers in a given industry, through the various branches subordinate to the main body. All transactions between the administration of the “Department of Industries,” or the general administration of the “Industrial Workers of the World,” are conducted through the officers of the “Industrial Union,” and ‘through them with the branches, all thereby being made a co~ 23








structure. Industrial plants located in large indus trial centers and adjoining towns are de pending for profitable exploitage on the undisturbed operation of other industries in the immediate vicinity; one plant or transportation line is the tributary to oth ers, the whole industrial structure of large cities is an interwoven network of indus tries, each depending upon the others in the seemingly complicated mechanism of production. Different are the conditions in territo ries in which one industry dominates, all others merely being dependencies; cessa tion of industrial life in the main industry inevitably would bring also complete dis aster to all these dependent ones. This is notably the case in the mining, textile and





chain of enterprises of a given industry in a given industrial center is governed by almost uniform rules in the utilization of human labor; and the same community of interests binds the owners of the vari ous industries in a given locality together for the safeguarding of privileges and the conservation of their undisputed control in the management and ownership of the industries. 24


The location


indus trial plants or the utiliza lnduggltlia tion of lands, mines and councfl forests, is not determined by geographical demarcations; wherever the natural resources promise to yield the best of results with the least expenditure, in either human or mechanical labor, there naturally will develop the most centralized industrial activity. For the regulation of matters concerning the general welfare.of all manufacturers in a given locality, no matter how the partic ular, requirements of- the industries they exploit may put them into opposition against each other, they all have a central agency; be it even in the government of a given locality into which they place the power for the most successful protection of their common and interdependent in terests.

The Industrial District Council of the I. W. W. is the agency, in a given indus trial district, through which the industri ally organized workers find a centralized expression of all requirements in affairs concerning the general welfare of all. As the general agency for the systematic execution of the program of education and construction, for which purpose such In dustrial District Councils must be main tained in the necessary process of prepar 25

ing the elements for the successfulmanage ment of industrial afiairs in an Industrial Commonwealth, they also form the con necting link between the ‘various indus trial unions in a district and the general ad ministration of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Industrial Unions that are parts of “De partment of Industries,” and are transact ing internal matters with the administra tion officers of such a department, receive through the channels of the Industrial Dis ‘trict Councils information of matters con cerning the welfare of all workers, not.only on affairs of local nature, but also of gen eral character and scope. The territory to be covered by such In dustrial District Councils depends on the extension of the main, tributary and de pending industries in a given industrial district, within which the interdependence of industrial activity suggests the forma tion of an “Industrial Center,” through which the proper management of affairs can be supervised and controlled. In thinly populated territories, such as rural districts, alternated by industries, which by their very nature cannot be lo cated in industrial centers, such as metal liferous mining, and lumbering industries, a District Industrial Council will embrace all unions and branches of the main indus 26

try, as well as unions or workers engaged in the depending enterprises. Such a District Industrial Council may cover an industrial territory many‘ miles in extent, yet so much more important in agency is that central such districts through which continued and concerted ac-‘ tion of all parts may not only be assured, but also skillfully directed. All unions in an industrial district covered by such In dustrial District Council must be represent ed therein, and thus participate indirectly in the management of all affairs affecting the workers in such a district, so that eventually orders for direct and urgent actions and measures can be dispatched to all members of the organizations and any proposed program quickly executed. Government is the in strument the Departmen‘s owners of the economic oflndusu-ies resources aim to protect 5 their posessions and their right to appro priate to themselves the larger share of ‘the fruits of labor of millions. For proper management of the diverse functions of such a government-institution, the same is subarranged in different departments; each ' department equipped only with administra tive privileges, while in conjunction with all other departments of government the institution as a whole has the power to 27

execute the laws, orders and mandates giv en by a legislative body, which is the ex pression and manifestation of the economic domination of those who are controlling the legislative and executive machinery of government for the safeguarding of prop erty rights, and the control and manage ment of the entire industrial system.

The functions of department

administra tion, while well defined, change with the alternating economic developments and subsequent requirements for the well-ar ranged management of all component parts constituting that department.

A “Department of Industries” of

the In dustrial Workers of the World, consists of organizations of workers engaged in kin dred and closely allied industrial occupa tions. For instance:

The Department would embrace: '




workers in the ore and metallif erous mines and smelting mills. 2. All workers in the coal-mining and coke-producing industry. 3. All workers in the salt, mining and refining industry. 4. All workers in the oil producing and refining industry. All workers in the distributing agencies of the products of either one of the 1.



branches of industry in industrial centers. Second: The Department of Metal and Machinery workers en would compose Industries gaged as:

Blast furnace workers. 2. Steel, iron and tin workersv 3. Tool shop workers. 4. Electric machine builders. 5. Locomotive builders. Agricultural implement makers, etc. 6. And so would likewise all other industries be grouped together in the proper depart ment, according to industrial requirements. The workers of the vari ous subdivisions of an In Depmmem dustrial Department have Administratian representation in the gen eral administrative body of that particular department, proportionately arranged ac cording to the number organized in each subdivision of such a department. The administration of such a Depart ment of Industries while governing, with the approval of all constituents, the afiairs of such part of the I. W. W. as far as they are peculiar and germane to the in dustrial necessities of that department or ganization, has no executive privileges when matters of geneial interest for the entire organization, the I. W. W., are in volved. The functions are merely admin 1.


istrative, and only in conjunction with ad of all depart ministrative representatives ments and of the I. W. W. general ad ministration have officers of a department powers, derived organization executive from the representative Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World and the supreme power: The collective will of the membership, as manifested in expressions on concrete questions submitted. Thus the supreme power of an Industri ally Organized Working Class lies in the constitutional convention, legislating upon prior instruction of the constituency, for the proper management of industrial con ditions, subject to ratification again by the instructors, the pillars of society, the Workers of the vWor1d, who are now or ganizing for the establishment of the “In

dustrial Commonwealth_”


mifii- “fin-m

For further information address the General Secretary-Treasurer of the Industrial Workers of the World