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that they could buy the coal in the open I thought to myself that a good reamarket more cheaply than they could son, in his estimation, would be for us produce it.
to bring indisputable proof that his 'I suppose you would want to penal company was bankrupt; and then how ize us under the contract if we came would he be able to furnish a bond? on strike,' I remarked.
The fact that he had nothing before the More than likely I would,' he smiled. war, the stories of his buying up mine
I then said that, as far as I was con- after mine through stock deals and cerned, there would be no strike as long otherwise, have led everyone familiar as we got our money on time; and that with mining in this state to believe that I believed in living up to the contract, his resources are widely scattered and and that, as long as I was commit- that in this time of depression in the teeman, my influence would be used coal industry he has more than he can against illegal strikes. I told him it was handle. The reported bad luck that he to our interest to keep the mine run is said to have had with a new millionning, and that was our purpose in lay- dollar mine in central Illinois certainly ing the matter before him. We thought does not reassure us as to the stability perhaps the men might get excited over of his companies. With the producing the various rumors and shut the mine end incorporated in one company and down. I pointed out that there were the selling end incorporated in another, quite a number of men at the Warren we wonder just how much would be atmine who had recently lost their pay in tachable in case of trouble, outside of a other mines, and that these men could few old worked-out mines. His appearnot be blamed if they became nervous ance — short and round-faced, wavy about the rumors. We thought per- hair — put one more in mind of a haps that he would be willing to do cigar salesman than of a competent something to reassure the men.
manager of industry. 'We'll do nothing,' was his com- We returned to the hotel and rement. Turning to the Sub-District ported our conversation to the District President, he asked, “Did you ask the Vice President, who said that it was Northern Coal Company to give bond?' what he expected, and he wanted to
'No; no complaints have been made know if the President seemed disturbed about that company,' he replied. and how he took it. 'I have no doubt,'
'Have you asked the Kuehn Com he said, 'that his companies are shaky, pany?'
but how to prove it is another thing.' 'No; there was no complaint there. Then he asked, “Does he sell mostly
'Well, then, I don't think it is quite railroad coal? Perhaps he has a bad fair to ask me to do so,' he said. contract fastened on to him which he
'Would you be willing to do so, wishes to get rid of. By stirring up a asked the Sub-Dist. Pres., “if all the strike, the strike clause in the contract rest of the companies in the state were would relieve him of the contract.' forced to furnish bond?'
I replied that I did not think so, be'Yes, I guess I'd have to,' he said; cause of the figure at which they were 'but up until now you have n't shown able to produce coal at the Warren me any good reason why I should' mine. After hearing this figure, the
*You would, then, if we showed you District V. P. agreed with me that they a good reason?' went on the Sub-Dist. should be making money at that parPres.; to which he answered, 'Yes, I ticular mine, but they had the burden of guess so.'
the idle mines of the company to carry. We went to lunch with the V. P. and Dec. 1. — Checks 20 and 172, buddies, there he agreed to look particularly claim seven hours each for piling rock into the affairs of the company, as much yesterday, for which the boss said they as he should be able, and also that we were entitled only to four hours each. should stop in East St. Louis and see The mine examiner had taken their the organization's attorney, and have checks off the board yesterday, and him get to work on the job to ascertain when they went to get them, the mine if possible just what the particular manager told them to wait in their corporation which controlled the War place until he came and looked it over ren mine is worth. With that we left to see what should be done. He came the matter in the hands of the V. P. in at nine o'clock and after looking it
over, told them to go ahead and clean Nov. 24. — Saw the Top boss about it up. They say they put in the balance having the washhouse cleaned, and he of the day, loading no coal and drilling excused it by saying that the man who no holes. Inquiry made of the driver did that work was off yesterday, but he corroborated their statement that they would see that it was kept clean in the had loaded no coal. We went to the future. I spoke also about cleaning out mine manager and learned that his reathe showers and repairing one that was son for paying them only four hours broken off, and he promised to do this. each was that, according to the meas‘Bad-Eye' suggested to me that we urements of the fall, they should have ought to ask for more showers, but I been able to clean it up in that time. told him that interpretations of the law We reminded him that the contract by the Department of Mines and Min- provided for payment of such work by erals, as to a sufficient number of show the hour and did not specify how much ers, was one for each 25 men, and we, work should be done in any specified having 9 showers for 190 men, could time. We told him that his remedy, unnot make that demand. He said, 'It's a der the contract, if he feared the men hell of a law. But since it's the law I did not work fast enough, was to reguess we'll have to stand for it.' main in the place or to put a representaNov. 26. — Showers in washhouse not tive in the place to see that the men did repaired. Saw the Top boss again this not shirk, or to send day men to clean morning and he pleaded he had been the fall. Since he did not elect to do short two men yesterday but would either, but had instructed these diggers try and get it done to-day. ...
to do the work, he was obligated to pay At quitting-time the showers in the them for the time it took them. washhouse had not been repaired. I While not trying to refute this arguwent to the office and took it up with ment, he continually talked about the the mine manager, considering that I number of cubic feet of rock the men had given the Top boss plenty of time, piled, according to the measurements and told him what had been given me he had taken the day before. I told him as an excuse for not making the repairs. that it was about time that the General He was very frank and said, "Hell! Superintendent's idea of having rock He's had a full force all the time. I'll piled by the cubic foot be tested out by see that he does it.'
sending a case up to the Joint Board, Just then the Top boss walked into and that as far as I was concerned, I the office and the manager said, ‘Bill, was willing to send this one up, as it put a man on in the morning to fix those was a clear-cut case where the men had showers, and don't forget about it.' done nothing else but pile rock for the
bic ceive him tematics, theme in his
entire day. I told him that had I been rock with a piece of chalk, until finally in the men's place, I would have asked we agreed on the number of square feet. eight hours instead of seven, charging Then I asked, “Now, how thick is it?' for the one hour they had waited for We measured here and there, half a him to appear in the place; and as their dozen places, and finally agreed to claim was only for seven hours, we call it 6 inches. I refrained from multicould ask for no more, but we intended plying the feet into cubic feet, and to have that seven. I was determined allowed the mine manager to do this, that the case should go on up, but he knowing from previous experience that seemed very reluctant and kept insist- instead of multiplying it by .5 feet, he ing that the committee go in and see would multiply it by .6 feet, in his igthe place and let him know that eve- norance of mathematics, thinking that ning whether we believed the men had would give him the correct number of done the seven hours' work. We agreed cubic feet. Mentally I had already to do that and went below to view the computed the results, knowing that place.
this would make the desired number of When we got in, we found that the cubic feet for which he would give each statement that the men had done no man seven hours. drilling the day before was true. We After he had figured it, he looked at found also that there was a dip in the me and grinned. 'I guess you'd better seam where they had shot the night get those 4-hour slips off these men and previous to the fall, which had caused make them out new ones for 7 hours them to misjudge their shots and blow each,' I remarked. out the timbers — which had been H e hesitated a moment and then hinted at by the boss, and from which I said, 'It's a little scant, but I'll do it.' steered the conversation, for fear of While he was making out the slips, complications in the settlement. Not one of the diggers said, 'I was after the having a tape-line or a rule, we first track-layer this morning to throw our stepped the fall. Later we measured track over as you told us yesterday, but a scraper hand-over-hand, finding its he says he can't come until to-morrow. length to be 10 feet, 4 inches, and in The way the gob is piled here, we can't that way measured the fall. We found get our car in unless the track is thrown a number of discrepancies in the meas- over. What shall we do about that?' urements as given us by the mine The boss laughingly said, 'Dig out a manager, the worst being in the thick- little on the end of each tie and throw ness, he averaging it four inches while it over. I am paying a little more on we found it nearer six.
this rock than you're entitled to, so that After getting this information we de- will even it up some.' cided that we probably could beat him The digger, being a little soft, took it at his own game — measurements. seriously and did not answer. The boss Stopping at the mouth of the room to continued: “Well, what do you think eat a bite of lunch and confer before we about it?' The digger stammered, ‘Iwent to our working-places, when the I don't know.' boss happened along, ‘You are just the 'You don't?' I exploded; and then fellow we want,' we told him. 'We on second thought, continued, 'Well, want you to use your tape-line, and damn it, I won't interfere,' vexed as I then we think we can settle this case.'. was at the man's denseness and ignoWe went into the place, measuring and rance of the contract. Then, thinking remeasuring, figuring on the slabs of again, the poor devil needs a little help,
ut the timbe boss, and from fear of
one of the dige
I said: 'Huck, listen to me. If the boss we had no jurisdiction and that he must tells you to do anything, you do it. come to the boss. He's the boss. If he comes in here and 'Well,' the boss said, 'I can discharge tells you to throw your shovel in the him. He's been off three days. gob, and load coal with your hands, you I said, 'Andy came to me this morndo as he tells you, and if at the end of ing and told me he had been off, sick, the day you think you have not made and wanted to know if it was necessary enough money because of his instruc- to go to you and explain matters. I tions, ask him for additional pay, and told him as long as his life check was on if you can't settle it with him, bring the board, to grab it and go on down, your complaint to us.'
and not hunt trouble. You can't disThe man looked at me rather queerly charge a man who's been off sick.' after this lecture and I think he got the We all recognized the peculiar situapoint, for he said: “All right — we'll tion of these two men. The boss rethrow it over.' I presume he was paid marked, 'I'd settle this case by putting for it, because I heard no more from Andy off in a place by himself, but he is him.
not capable of taking care of himself.
We'll have to try to work out someDec. 10. — Check 6, who was hurt by a thing to get them to work together.' fall of rock some six weeks ago, was re- I suggested that he tell Frenchy to go ported to the committee in bad finan- on down and work to-day and we would cial circumstances, his wife being sick discuss the matter later. We finally in addition to his own injuries. The settled it by Bad-Eye and I agreeing — committee agreed that a meeting of the we both working in the same pair of men should be held to-morrow in the entries with Andy and Frenchy – to washhouse, to consider the matter of a go into their place and give them a good collection.
talking to, which we did. When we got Dec. 11. – Held a meeting in the wash- in their place, we found Frenchy loadhouse this morning and it was voted to ing a car which he was just finishing, give Check 6 a collection. ...
and Andy drilling a hole. Bad feeling
was in the air, which would result in Dec. 17. — Checks 163 and 80 have loss of wages to both of them if allowed fallen out again. Check 80 came to to continue. me this morning and said: 'My buddy After greeting them, we all sat down is back again this morning. He has at my invitation and I proceeded to been off three days. I am through talk to them. I told them both that with him. I won't work with him any they were not buddies from choice, longer.'
that they did not work in this particular I explained to him that that was a place through choice, nor in this parmatter outside the jurisdiction of the ticular mine through choice; that they Pit Committee and that he must take both had applied for work because they his complaint to the mine manager needed to make a living; that the boss
He appeared in the office to make his had designated the place and their complaint while we were there taking buddy, and in order to make a living up other matters. He told the boss with the least effort, it was necessary what he had told me. The boss looked for them to agree, at least while they at me and asked, 'What shall we do . were at work. I told them that, as far
about these two?” I said that he came as we were concerned, they need never · to me with his story and I told him speak to each other outside their work
had cesto make a livi
her matters we were there the this
ing-place, but in the interest of them Whether by accident or design, he put both they must coöperate and work one sentence into the telegram that together during working-hours.
gave us a good argument to use on the Frenchy complained that Andy had drivers to have them continue at work. a habit of leaving the place early, a half ‘You may rest assured that the miners' hour or so, leaving him to do necessary organization will enforce decision that work that both of them should do has been made. We got the drivers to Andy complained that Frenchy would gether in the washhouse and read them give him no advice or assistance in plac- the telegram. Some were in their working shots, causing sometimes useless clothes and others had not yet changed. labor on his part. We told Andy that There was a division of opinion among it was his business to stay in the place them. Some of them are not in favor of and work as long as there was work for wildcatting either to-day or Monday, the two of them to do, and that he did but are willing to await the slow process wrong when he left the work for his of settlement, having had their fingers buddy to do. We told the Frenchman burnt in such matters before. Others that it was to his interest to see that said, 'Hell! That don't give us any asAndy's shots did as well as his own, as surance that we'll have a settlement by in double work, such as obtains in this Monday. We'd just as well strike now.' mine, it would necessitate Andy's load- I told them that if they wildcatted, ing some of the other's coal if his shots they would have not only the company made none. We impressed upon them to fight, but our own organization, it that we have enough trouble with the being the organization's policy to delay company without settling disputes the adjudication of any pending disamong the men themselves, and that pute as long as men were on illegal they must get along with each other. strikes to force matters. They promised to do their best, each While in the midst of this earnest saying that he would do his part if the talk with the drivers, with their minds other would. I will try and get over flickering backward and forth, work or into their place occasionally when I no work, the asst. manager stepped have time, and try and keep them into the washhouse. together.
'What the hell 's the matter — ain't
there no work to-day?' he blurted out. Dec. 19. — When I arrived at the mine “Of course,' I quickly replied. this morning, one of the drivers told me 'Are n't the men going down?' that they wanted to see the committee. “Yes, but they can't work without We got together with them and they these drivers.' told us they had made up their minds ‘Never mind,' I said, “you go on to go on strike next Monday if some- down; they'll come. thing definite were not done by that I saw the drivers bristle up the mintime to enforce the Joint Board deci- ute he stepped in, and I thought for a sion made in their favor in the bonus moment he had ruined by his bonehead case. ...
action the effect of all my argument, Dec. 21. ... The check-weighman but it seems that my assurance to him handed me a telegram received from that they were going down was just the the Acting Dist. Pres. in reply to the thing I should have said, because those wire sent him about the drivers' strike. that were dressed for work immediately It was lengthy and of course advised went over to the shaft and the others against any shutdown of the mine. went to change clothes. One who was