Studies in American Trade Unionism

Paperback / softback
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1906. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... THE MINIMUM WAGE IN THE MACHINISTS' UNION BY WILLIAM H. BUCKLER THE MINIMUM WAGE IN THE MACHINISTS' UNION It is well known that the establishment of a minimum wage for the workingmen of a particular trade is one of the main objects to which any union representing that trade sooner or later devotes its energies. The workingman's reasons for aiming at this object have come to be so generally understood that they need not here be dwelt upon. But the means by which the minimum wage is maintained and the modifications of trade-union policy which that maintenance involves are matters which seem to deserve more attention than they have hitherto received. Upon these questions generalization is of little value, since each trade presents a distinct problem. Apart from the influences affecting the general level of wages, with which we are not here concerned, the minimum wage in any craft may be affected by one or more conditions peculiar to that craft. The effectiveness of its organization, the rapidity with which fresh workers are added to its ranks, the invention of improved processes, the introduction of new systems of remuneration are points in which one trade may differ greatly from others, and all have an important bearing on the minimum wage. When in any craft conditions do not vary, the main-( tenance of its minimum rates is comparatively simple. Of this a good illustration is furnished by the Wire Weavers, who manufacture the wire cloth used in paper mills. Having a strong organization, with methods of production that have not changed for many years, they have had no difficulty in preserving a scale of wages. But we shall find other crafts I in which the maintenance of minimum rates is more or less difficult, because of changes in some one of the surrounding circu...