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LABOUR UNREST, Evening Post, Volume XCVIII, Issue 114, 11 November 1919
TROUBLE IN UNITED
COST OF LIVING BLAMED,
(mou otir eirn ctitmseroxßiNT.)
SAN FRANCISCO, 14th October
It is freely stated that scarcely a city of any consequence in the.United States is entirely free from strikes at the present moment.
Very many strikes are in progress at Seattle, and the citizens of that city have scarcely had a day in many months without some manifestation of industrial controversy in threat or walk-out.
Despite this, the casual passer-by in the streets would not know that conditions were not normal.
Plans were made for a! further strike and parade in Seattle three days ago, although out of 65,000 union members only 3285 voted for a strike. The International Workers' Defence League, official guardian of the interests of "political and military prisoners," on whose behalf the strike and parade were proposed was strongly agsijist the plan, and strongly urged its indefinite postponement. Under these circumstances the local authorities refused to permit the parade. It is openly said in Seattle that the parade was intended to be a revolutionary demonstration. SAN FRANCISCO'S TROUBLES. It would not be an easy matter to count the number of strike*! in San Francisco to-day. Before the strike of the San FranciscoOakland Terminal Electric Railways ended yesterday, there was rioting and some loas of life. On 7th October, a collision took place between an electric train, manned by strike-breakers, and an automobile. Six persons were killed. Witnesses said that the train was travelling at fully fifty miles per hour, and corny, pany officials stated that the air-brakea had been tampered with, and the Vain was out of control. /The jury held the company blameable for the accident, by. the employment of inexperienced men, and the dead driver of the motor car was found to have: been negligent. The most serious of the riots occurred on Bth October, when three cars Swere stopped. Before the police could ; interfere, a crowd of several thousand surged in, and attempted to tear the wire netting from the windows. The contents of a wagon load of tomatoes, which wa« ;in the middle of the crowd, soon disappeared as the rioters hurled them at the non-union crews, and, in some instances, at the police officers. Rocks and bottles were also thrown. Despite strenuous opposition, fifteen arrests were effected. ■ . The company did not succeed in run■ninfe a single car. The men returned to work to-day, and agreed to refer their claims -to arbitration. The eight-hour day is the vital issue. ■ . Local tailors are striking, for a dollar an hour, which a few employers have conceded. Motor garage employees now receive seven dollars (about £1 9s) payday of eight hours. They are on strike tor eight dollars. - ; ■ STRIKE ON WATER FRONT. Preparations for a long drawn out struggle have been made by the Pacific Coast Metal Trades' Council. Its members have been advised to leave this dis'.trict, and seek positions elsewhere pending, a settlement in the controversy in which 50,000 shipbuilders in the Bay district -have gone out. ' Some of the shipbuilding firms granted an increase in wages, but, before the change could be put into effect, orders' came from the Emergency Fleet Corporation, which is subsidising the companies, forbidding payment at the new rate. Quite a number of ships are in course of construction, and all wotlc on them has ceased for a fortnight. The men also seek better conditions. Steamers from Canada do not run, and the solitary vessel between Seattle, and San Francisco is worked by strike-breakers. THE SjTEEL MILLS TROUBLE. An attempt was made on Bth October to wreck the plant of the American Steel and Tin Plate Company, at M'Keesport, Pennsylvania, when a missile, believed to be a bomb, exploded on the shipping department building. No one was injured. With Gary, Indiana, under military control, and Indiana Harbour and East Chicago under martial law, calmness prevailed in the Chicago area of. the steel strike. Officials of the mills reported that the strikers were returning to work in increasing numbers, and normal conditions were slowly 'being restored. Officers of the Department of Justice are continuing to round up radical agitators, and confiscating Socialist and I.W.W. literature. Youngstown strikers have opened negotiations with their employers to return to work, > / A WORKER DENOUNCES BOLSHEVISM. ■ Giving evidence before the Committee of the Senate, which is investigating the steel strike, T J. Davies, a steel, employee, of Newcastle, Pennsylvania, said that when the strike was called, he and. other workmen who sought to get into the mills at Newcastle were attacked by pickets at the gates. "They whipped the city and the county police," he saidi, "and beat men trying to go to work. There were 500 foreigners round the mill gates, and, until returned soldiers took charge of the situation, there was a continuous fight." _, Davies said his own earnings were £3 10s a day as a roller. "A union man," he said, "is in danger of being called out whenever any agitator gets inflamed with Bolshevism, and has no 'redress against it. The wrong education, the inflaming of these men, is Bolshevism at the crest." "Don't you think the managers, the ateel employers, have* some responsibility in the situation?" asked Senator Kenyon. "They have," was the reply, "and the Government should join with them; get the men out of the country; shoot them if neeessaay. Ths union leaders will not fight back the rabid element or the mo!> spkit, for fear of losing their jobs." COST OF LIVING. A great cause of these strikes is the remarkable rise in the cost of living. Writers refer to the high cost-of, high living. That criticism is apposite, but does not coyer the facts. Millions of Americans live up to their last "cent, and the present great wave of prosperity enables them to do this, but many experience a difficulty in meeting the cost of prime necessities. All ideas of dignity are thrown to the winds. Housewives search everywhere for food bar-, gains. The Federal Government is disposing of army stores, mid long queues are waiting from two to three hours before the stores open. Wages are high in the skilled trades, but, speaking broadly, the cost of living has increased by about fifty per cent., a,nd very little is left over if a man is married. i Meals on trains are very dear. A 1 half-dozen olives cost Is; soup, lOd ; .fish, 2s 9d ; sirloin of steak, 7s 6d; mutton chops, Is 6d ;ox • tongue, cold, 2s 6d; ham, 2s 6dj veal cutlets, 2s 9d; half portion, Is 10d; chicken, 3s 3d; curried oysters in rice, 2» Sd; Irish »Uw, 2» 6d; i potatoes, lOd; bread, sd; dry, or but-
tered toast, 7Jd j milk ' toast, Is 3d ; cream toast. Is lid; cup of coffee, 7idij glass of milk, 7£d; ice cream, lOdi; cakes, Is 6d; tomatoes, lOd': green peas, lOd. .' .
The food ia magnificently cooked, and the tip jis ten cents on the dollar (ten* per cent, on the order). At Ashland, just above the Califoraian border, a splendid meal was given ior> 3s. The train waited twenty minutes. Poultry, meat of all kinds, tomatoes of remarkable flavour, puddings, -coffee, milk, cream, etc., were given. COMMUNITY STORES. Committees of the various unions in tire Pacific Coast Metal Trades Council have been formed to arrange the establishment of community stores in San Fiancisco and! Oakland for the benefit of the men on strike.
LABOUR UNREST, Evening Post, Volume XCVIII, Issue 114, 11 November 1919
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