Puslapio vaizdai

Raymond Swing, in a special despatch to "The Sun" of New York, reports an interesting interview with Special Chancellor Otto Bauer on the matter. Chancellor Bauer asserts that compulsory establishment of the shopsteward system by law was passed because "it enables reasonable workers for the first time to become masters of shop politics." He contends that the great majority of laborers are reasonable rather than revolutionary, but that they have been unable to make their views effective because there have been no legal safeguards thrown around shop politics, shop elections being held in open meetings where "intimidation could be practised, and the loudest voices rather than the coolest heads carried the day."

By the new law, elections by secret ballot, under the protection of law, are to be introduced into every German shop and business, with a labor staff of more than twenty laborers. "The new statute," says Chancellor Bauer, "means the defeat of the radicals who for a year have been struggling to transform the shops into Socialistic affairs and want to appeal all unsettled labor disputes to a board composed solely of labor members. That of course would be simply a dictatorship of the proletariate."

The chancellor contends that he is simply taking a leaf from the book of England's labor experience and thought, and doing what England and other countries are merely discussing and leaving to the slower process of private and group initiative. "Such measures as our shop-steward law," says Chancellor Bauer to Mr. Swing, "are bound to come in all industrial countries; you must prepare for them in America, too,

where it is apparent that economic forces are shaping a conflict."

The chancellor contends that the Government is proceeding in this matter upon the basis of experience, not theory. He says:

Some of our manufacturers complain that this law means the end of discipline; I say that this is not true and these manufacturers will have to admit it within six months.

Only the other day the director of a large factory told me of his experience with shop stewards whom he had installed of his own accord with essentially the same powers as those bestowed by this law. He took them into his confidence, showed his books and contracts, and explained his plans. Although the majority of his workers are Independent Socialists, he has not had a strike. As this is the epoch of strikes, the question is: Why not?

It is because the workers, besides understanding their own troubles, had also a view of the entire situation and became convinced that the manager was working in their interest and doing the best he could. . . . The law is the foundation of a new economic structure whose outlines will be completed when the provincial and national economic councils have been added. . . . These further laws are being drafted and will be carried during the winter. . . . The adoption of this program is proof that we are regaining our poise, and if the Entente Powers and America do not withhold their aid we shall be the masters of our task.

The significant feature of this development in Germany is that it will give us a genuine laboratory demonstration of the feasibility or failure of the joint-council scheme in industry, when adopted on a nation-wide scale and operated in the midst of difficult conditions.

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