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respondence, some of it leading to legal action without further cooperation on the part of the Department and concerning which no detailed information is on file, was conducted with organizations and officials of nearly 2,000 cities. A special section was organized to draft a bill for the promotion of a system of banks to be known as Federal Home Loan Banks. Conferences were held with many officials of building and loan associations in all parts of the United States and a bill was finally devised which met the requirements of the Secretary of Labor and the essentials set forth by building and loan associations. The bill as drafted has already been submitted to Congress. It involves the building and loan associations of the country, 7,269 in number, with a total membership of 3,838,612 and total assets of $1,750,000,000, to advance loans more abundantly to home builders.
Effect upon building.—The exact amount of resumed building attributable to the campaign itself can probably never be determined, as it is impossible to separate that part which is due to stimulation from the part which would have occurred anyway. Nor is the Department concerned with making such a separation, although it believes that a great deal of the resumed work is in fact attributable to its efforts. The main consideration is that the work was done.
The most complete construction statistics available covered contracts let for engineering and building construction north of the Ohio and east of the Missouri, together with some adjacent area, containing four-sevenths of the population of the country. The contracts let for the first five months of 1919 (cost put up to 1919 price level) compared with the same months of 1915–16 were as follows:
The total for March, 1919, exceeded the total for March of any other year but one, even with the cost of former years brought up to the 1919 price level. The totals for April and May exceeded the totals for April and May of all previous years even with costs adjusted to the 1919 price level. The revival of construction activity was more notable in the Middle West than in the East and in the smaller than in the larger cities.
Employers' Industrial Commission.-Early in the winter of 1918 it. was evident that world industrial conditions were in flux. New groupings were in progress. Vast industrial reorganizations were in contemplation. It was felt on every hand that a knowledge of events
as they were progressing abroad would be of immense value to ourselves in handling problems then acute abroad and which might later arise in our own country. Of course, there was no assumption that a solution of any American industrial problem was to be found in merely following European precedent. Nevertheless, it was felt that a knowledge of events as they were then transpiring would be of great value, particularly in the case of Great Britain, because of the belief which is common in America that British industrial experiences have for many years been along the same paths as ours. While it is an arbitrary assumption that industrial history in the United States will necessarily flow in the same channel as that of Great Britain, it is nevertheless true that there is sufficient similarity in the commercial customs and industrial development of the two countries to warrant the statement that a knowledge of the experience in one is valuable in interpreting possibilities in the other.
Particular interest in foreign experience had been manifested by many employers who were in constant correspondence with the various bureaus and services of the Department. It was determined, therefore, to send to Europe a commission of representative employers for the purpose of ascertaining(1) The attitude of employers toward problems of labor with
special reference to their idea of the adjustment of disputes. (2) The views of the working classes and the attitude of the
labor leaders. (3) The methods and plans of Governments to allay labor unrest. The members of the commission were:
E. T. Gundlach, Chicago, Ill., chairman.
R. R. Otis, Atlanta, Ga. The commission was accompanied by Dr. Royal Meeker, Commissioner of Labor Statistics in the Department of Labor, as economic adviser to the commission. Mr. B. M. Squires, a commissioner of conciliation in the Department, was appointed statistician. Two months were spent in travel and study. Among the subjects investigated were the shop-steward movement, the Whitley plan for joint standing industrial councils, unemployment insurance, health insurance, hours of labor, housing, minimum wage, compulsory arbitration, etc.
The report of the commission has been published as a separate volume and need not be further referred to in this report. The
1 Commissioner Keith died while in London.
following summary of its findings is appended, however, as it states in condensed form the substance of the report itself:
In conclusion, we submit the following findings:
1 Employers in Great Britain generally recognize the desirability of bargaining collectively with labor.
2. Employers nearly all agree that collective bargaining should always be undertaken between associations of employers and the regularly established well-organized trade-unions.
While many manufacturers welcome organizations of workmen in their factories (shop or works committees), they want to limit the activities of such bodies to purely local grievances, and decidedly desire that the committee
members come under the discipline of their unions. 3. Most employers freely recognize the right of labor to organize; they regard organization as greatly contributing to the stability of industry. Some large manufacturers declare that they wish to see every workman within the unions, so that they must all come under organization control. Others feel that 100 per cent organization might lead to dangerous types of universal strikes and lockouts. The more conservative employers appear to make no effort to help along organizations of labor, merely dealing with such organizations when they appear on the scene.
4. Employees in Great Britain are divided in sentiment shading from those who want to maintain the trade-unions along the regularly established so-called stitutional” lines to ultraradical socialists.
5. Employees are nearly a unit, however, in expressing opposition to the use of force. The most radical who desire "now" a complete overturning of the present social structure usually admit on close questioning that “now” may mean many years. They want to "start" now. Practically none appear to approve of a sudden change, as in Russia.
6. Employees of the ultraradical type look askance at collective bargaining and organizations of labor and capital. They freely express the view that they do not wish harmony between employees and employers, since harmony would help to continue the present system of society.
7. Employees of the more conservative type (and to your commissioners they appear to represent the vast majority of British workmen) are largely in accord with employers in the desire (1) to head off labor unrest at this period; (2) to strengthen the unions by holding members under control; (3) to increase production for the sake of the nation, workmen included-with no restriction on output except as it affects the health of the worker; (4) to leave control of business policies in the hands of those managing the business.
8. Government officials appear to be uniformly of the opinion that the Government should function in labor unrest only as an absolutely last unavoidable resort. On the other hand, they maintain the right of the Government to step in when necessary in order to protect public interests against minorities which try to force their terms upon the people.
9. In general the Government, and most employers and conservative employees, appear to be agreed:
That the spirit of cooperation between labor and capital is highly desirable.
That the spirit of conciliation is important for the benefit of the employer in stabilizing his business and for the benefit of the employee in preserving his regularly organized unions.
That in collective bargaining the right-minded employer will not attempt to return to the prewar industrial era, and that the right-minded employee will not attempt to crowd his demands to the point at which the stimulus for private business enterprise would disappear.
The spirit of a genuinely better new (and not novel) era is thus being fostered by widely varied elements of Great Britain's industrial system.
Conference of governors and mayors.—While the declaration of war by Congress in 1917 abruptly changed our legal status from one of peace to one of war, the actual adjustment of industry was gradual. Much of it, in fact, had already been accomplished, and many of our industries were already upon & war basis by reason of the fact that workshops and factories had been manufacturing munitions for upward of three years. In sharp contrast to this gradual transition was the abrupt change created by the signing of the armistice. Previous to the suspension of hostilities all the facilities of the Department had been exerted to their utmost to supply a serious labor shortage. With the release of large numbers of men from the Army, the shortage was converted into a surplus. The cancellation of war contracts left plants idle which had in many cases been driven at top speed for four years. Through the United States Employment Service the Department had endeavored in every possible way to assist men demobilized from the Army and persons thrown out of war employment. The basic situation, however, was of such a nature that a mere employment agency could do little more than minimize its evils. Temporarily, at least, there were more jobs than men. As has been indicated elsewhere in this report, the Department set about the stimulation of various projects for the purpose of creating buffer employment. Among the means suggested was the revival of the construction of public improvements. Unfortunately, however, very few of these projects were under Federal supervision, and any work to be accomplished along those lines must necessarily have been accomplished through the direction of State and municipal governments. For the purpose, therefore, of considering this important subject, as well as to make common concern of many of the other problems of reconstruction, there was arranged by the Information and Education Service, under the direction of the Secretary of Labor, a Conference of Governors and Mayors on March 3, 4, and 5, 1919. This conference was attended by chief executives or their representatives from 47 States, 22 governors attending in person. In addition there were present mayors from 184 cities. Representatives of municipalities were present from 41 out of the 48 States.
During the three-day session the delegates were addressed by the President of the United States and by six members of the Cabinet. As a result of their deliberations, the following resolutions were passed, together with the attached amendment:
As this conference was called for the purpose of facilitating the readjustment of the industrial affairs of the country through the coordinated counsel of national, State, and county units, your committee has attempted to make only such recommendations as bear directly upon the task in hand.
We believe we sense what is in the hearts of the people in expressing the belief that unprecedented conditions can be met through the unprecedented devices of human ingenuity inspired by the progressive age in which we live. When we were faced with what for a time seemed the appalling emergencies of war, resource and energy were so applied as to achieve results with a dispatch that astonished the world and ourselves as well. The methods of old were discarded, and as we turned from the details of armaments to those of peace reconstruction we find no disposition, as we inventory our emotions, to follow the mere course of normal development and let things industrial work out without guidance.
We are living in the most thrilling time in all history, and our resolves are centered in the contribution to our children and our children's children of that measure of human contentment, justice, and opportunity which will record us as the worthy sons of worthy sires. Confident that we must progress from the fundamental base of American ideals, conceived and vitalized by the founders of the Republic, we pledge ourselves in firm and harmonious resolution to gain inspiration from the creed of pure Americanism, rather than from the disordered doctrines that find expression elsewhere. If peoples from overseas desire to live with us and become a part of the Nation's life, they must accept, in the first instance, this condition, namely, that principles of government must change through the evolution and processes of calm human intelligence and that the mind of the majority rather than the violence of a minority must be the determining factor. We have been thrilled and reassured by the militant declaration made to this conference by the Secretary of Labor, Hon. William B. Wilson, that any aliens who seek to invoke force rather than reason against our form of government must and will be treated as enemy to our institutions and sent out of the country.
It is our express belief that any doctrine which inveighs against both God and government is a poisonous germ in buman thought and must be treated as a menace to the morality and progress of the world. It has been insidiously planted in some parts where the discontent growing out of unemployment brought fertile opportunity. The Government which derives its powers from the people must keep vigilant watch in the maintenance of public confidence and inasmuch as the need most pressing now is to provide the means of giving every man a chance to perform the function God intended, we, as the representatives of States and municipalities, enter most happily into the suggestion that we cooperate our energies with those of the National Government. Its perspective is wider. It is guided by a fresher experience in things that are vital, and from it should come the expression of a dominating policy and the initiation of such practical methods as will match preachment with performance.
Pursuant to this thought and mindful of the tremendous bearing the railroads of the country have upon its industrial life, we are constrained to make a definite suggestion. It is not our purpose to discuss the underlying principles of the question of governmental ownership. The probabilities are that the railroads will be in the hands of the Government until at least 21 months after peace has been formalized. Measuring its possibilities as to results, this will be a considerable period and should be utilized to the utmost. The National Government enunciates the policy of private and public enterprise going forward in such manner as to guarantee a stable prosperity. It can, therefore, give a practical demonstration of this idea, realizing that at the same time it is performing a service which ought not to be postponed to the certain day when reestablished prosperity will bring an increased call on the transportation facilities of the country. In short, the Government should not only prepare for the transportation necessities of prosperity but it should use the railroads as the means of helping private industry.
It is a fact, not to be denied, that when the railroads were turned over to the Government their physical condition was very unsatisfactory. Society was as much to blame for this as the railroads themselves. Much has been done in acquiring and improve