Working with the working woman



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In recruiting Group 2 from Group 3, it is the employer, on the whole, who must take the initiative. Labor may show no desire to help shoulder the burden. Yet they must shoulder some of it to amount to anything themselves, if for no other reason. It may take actual pushing and shoving at first to get them on their way.

Recruiting from Group 1 is a different matter. There sometimes are workers who would grab most of the load at the start--or all of it. Their capacities are untried, the road and its twistings and turnings is unknown to them. Each side has been throwing stones at the other, tripping each other up. There is a hostile spirit to begin with, a spirit of distrust between management and men. Here then is a more difficult problem. It is more than a matter of shifting the load a bit; it is a matter of changing the spirit as well. That takes much patience, much tact. It is not a case of the employer making all the overtures. Each side is guilty of creating cause for suspicion and distrust. Each side has to experience a change of heart. It is one thing to convince a previously unthinking person; it is another to bring about a change of heart in one frankly antagonistic. Making industrially enthusiastic workers out of class and labor-conscious workers will indeed be a task requiring determination, tact, patience without end, and wisdom of many sorts--on both sides. Some one has to sell the idea of co-operation to labor as well as to the employer. And then know the job is only begun. But the biggest start is made when the atmosphere is cleared so that the partnership idea itself can take root. Some on both sides never will be converted.

What about the great body of workers unfit physically, mentally, nervously, to carry any additional load at all? Here is a field for the expert. Yet here is a field where society as a whole must play a part. Most of the physical, mental, nervous harm is done before ever the individual reaches industry. Indeed, at most, industry is but one influence out of many playing on the lives of the human beings who labor. Nor can it ever be studied as a sphere entirely apart. Much is aggravated by conditions over which industry itself has no direct control. Health centers, civic hygienic measures of all sorts, are of great importance. A widespread education in the need of healthy and spiritually constructive influences during the first ten years of life, if we are to have healthy, wholesome, and capable adults, must gain headway. Saner preparation for life as a whole must take the place of the lingering emphasis on the pedagogical orthodoxy still holding sway.

While industry is not responsible for many conditions which make subnormal workers, industry cannot evade the issue or shift the burden if it desires peace, efficiency, production. These goals cannot be obtained on any basis other than the welfare of the workers. No matter how sane is welfare work within the plant, there must develop a growing interest and understanding in "off the plant" work. The job is blamed for much. Yet often the worker's relation to the job is but the reflection of the conditions he left to go to work in the morning, the conditions he returns to after the day's work is done. There again is a vicious circle. The more unfortunate the conditions of a man's home life--we do not refer to the material side alone--the less efficiently he is apt to work during the day. The less efficiently he works during the day, the less competent he will be to better his home conditions.

When men expressed themselves in their particular handicraft they found much of their joy in life in their work. One of the by-products of large-scale industry and the accompanying subdivision of labor has been the worker's inevitable lack of interest in the monotonous job. Since too long hours spent at mechanical, repetitious labor result in a lowered standard of efficiency, and rebellion on the part of the worker, there has followed a continual tendency toward a reduction in the length of the working day. The fewer hours spent on the job, the greater the opportunity conditions outside industry proper have to exert their influence on character formation. With the shorter working day there develop more pressing reasons than ever for the emphasis on off-the-plant activities, and wholesome home and civic conditions. All these together, and not industry alone, make the worker.

The growth of the spirit and fruit of industrial democracy will not bring any millennium. It will merely make a somewhat better world to live in here and now. The dreamers of us forget that in the long run the world can move only so far and so fast as human nature allows for, and few of us evaluate human nature correctly. The six industrial experiences in this book have made me feel that the heart of the world is even warmer than I had thought--folk high and low are indeed readier to love than to hate, to help than to hinder. But on the whole our circles of understanding and interest are bounded by what our own eyes see and our own ears hear. The problems of industry are enormously aggravated by the fact that the numbers of individuals concerned even in particular plants, mills, mines, factories, stretch the capacities of human management too often beyond the possibilities of human understanding and sympathy. More or less artificial machinery must be set up to bring management and men in contact with each other to the point where the problems confronting each side are within eyesight and earshot of the other. Up to date it has been as impossible for labor to understand the difficulties of management as for management to understand the difficulties of labor. Neither side ever got within shouting distance of the other--except, indeed, to shout abuse! Many a strike would have been averted had the employer been willing to let his workers know just what the conditions were which he had to face; or had the workers in other instances shown any desire to take those conditions into account.

For, when all is said and done, the real solution of our industrial difficulties lies not in expert machinery, however perfect, for the adjustment or avoidance of troubles. "Industrial peace must come not as a result of the balance of power with a supreme court of appeal in the background. It must arise as the inevitable by-product of mutual confidence, real justice, constructive good will."[3]

[Footnote 3: From Constitution of Industrial Council for the Building Industry, England.]

Any improved industrial condition in the future must take as its foundation the past one hundred years of American industry. The fact that this foundation was not built of mutual confidence, real justice, constructive good will is what makes the task of necessary reconstruction so extremely difficult. Countless persons might be capable of devising the mechanical approach to peace and prosperity--courts of arbitration, boards of representation, and the like. But how bring about a change of heart in the breast of millions?

It is a task so colossal that one would indeed prefer to lean heavily on the shoulders of an all-wise Providence and let it go with the consoling assurance that, as to a solution, "the Lord will provide." But the echoes of recriminations shouted by each side against the other; the cries of foul play; the accusations of willful injustice; the threats of complete annihilation of capital by organized labor, of organized labor by capital--must reach to heaven itself, and Providence might well pause in dismay. Constructive good will? Where make a beginning?

The beginnings, however, are being made right on earth, and here and now. It is a mistake to look for spectacular changes, reforms on a large scale. Rather do the tendencies toward mutual understanding and this all-necessary good will evince themselves only here and there, in quiet experiments going on in individual plants and factories. The seed will bear fruit but slowly. But the seed is planted.

Planted? Nay, the seed has been there forever, nor have the harshest developments in the most bloodless of industries ever been able to crush it out. It is part and parcel of human nature that we can love more easily and comfortably than hate, that we can help more readily than hinder. Flourishing broadcast through all human creation is enough good will to revolutionize the world in a decade. It is not the lack of good will. Rather the channels for its expression are blocked--blocked by the haste and worry of modern life, by the multiplicity of material possessions which so frequently choke our sympathies; by the cruelties of competition, too often run to the extremes of crushing out inborn human kindness. And most of all, blocked by ignorance and misunderstanding of our fellow-beings.

It is a sound business deduction that the greatest stumbling blocks in the difficulties between labor and capital to-day resolve themselves down to just that lack of understanding of our fellow-beings. Yet without that understanding, how build up a spirit of mutual confidence, real justice, constructive good will? On what other foundation can a saner industrialism be built?

The place to make the beginning is in each individual shop and business and industry. The spark to start the blaze in each human heart, be it beating on the side of capital or on that of labor, is the sudden revelation that every worker is far more the exact counterpart of his employer in the desires of his body and soul than otherwise; that the employer is no other than the worker in body and soul, except that his scope and range of problems to be met are on a different level. True it is that we are all far more "sisters and brothers under the skin" than strangers.

No sane person is looking for a perfect industrialism, is watching for the day when brotherly love will be the motive of all human conduct. But it is within the bounds of sanity to work toward an increase in understanding between the human factors in industry; it is justifiable to expect improved industrial conditions, once increased understanding is brought about. Industry needs experts in scientific management, in mental hygiene, in cost accounting--in fields innumerable. But what industry needs more than anything else--more, indeed, than all the reformers--are translators--translators of human beings to one another. "Reforms" will follow of themselves.

THE END


Books of Art and Artcraft

HISTORY OF ART BY ELIE FAURE

Vol. I--Ancient Art

Translated from the French by Walter Pach

No History of Art fills the place of this one. First, it shows art to be the expression of the race, not an individual expression of the artist. Second, it reverses the usual process of art history--it tells why, not how, man constructs works of art. Nearly 200 unusual and beautiful illustrations selected by the author.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF EMBROIDERY IN AMERICA BY CANDACE WHEELER

A history of embroidery in America, from the quill and beadwork of the American Indians and the samplers of Colonial days, to the achievement of the present. Thirty-two pages of illustrations--some in full color--correlate perfectly with the text and furnish examples for the student or general reader. A book to delight the collector and to be a complete, authentic guide, historically and as to methods, for the art student, the designer, and the practical worker.

HOW FRANCE BUILT HER CATHEDRALS BY ELIZABETH BOYLE O'REILLY

The Boston Herald writes: "It is a monumental work, of living interest alike to the erudite devotee of the arts and to the person who simply enjoys, in books or his travels, the wonderful and beautiful things that have come from the hand of man.... In a particularly happy fashion, Miss O'Reilly has told the story of the French cathedrals against a human background--of the great men and women of the time." With 31 illustrations in tint.



Life Stories of Famous Americans

MARK TWAIN: A Biography BY ALBERT BIGELOW PAINE

Mr. Paine gave six years to the writing of this famous life history, traveling half way round the world to follow in the footsteps of his subject; during four years of the time he lived in daily association with Mark Twain, visited all the places and interviewed every one who could shed any light upon his subject.

EDISON: HIS LIFE AND INVENTIONS BY FRANK LEWIS DYER AND THOMAS COMMERFORD MARTIN

The authors are men both close to Edison. One of them is his counsel, and practically shares his daily life; the other is one of his leading electrical experts. It is the personal story of Edison and has been read and revised by Edison himself.

MY QUARTER CENTURY OF AMERICAN POLITICS BY CHAMP CLARK

A fascinating story of one of the most prominent and best liked men in American political history of our times, which will appeal to persons of all shades of political belief. The book is not only interesting, but highly important as a permanent record of our generation. Illustrated.

LIFE OF THOMAS NAST BY ALBERT BIGELOW PAINE

The story of America's first and foremost cartoonist; the man who originated all the symbols; whose pictures elected presidents and broke up the Tweed ring. More than four hundred reproductions of Nast's choicest work.

HARPER & BROTHERS FRANKLIN SQUARE NEW YORK



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