Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/13

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
45. What did the employers reply?
They replied to the effect that this "combination for the purposes of altering the time of commencing and terminating their daily labour, from that which has been customary from time immemorial........(is) fraught with numerous and pernicious evils"....would have an "unhappy seducing them from that course of industry and economy of time" to which it was desirable to "enure" apprentices. Moreover, it would expose the workmen "to many temptations and improvident practices" from which they would be delivered by 'working from sun to sun". These early bosses were pious old ducks, for one reason why they opposed the shorter workday was because "we fear and dread the consequences of such a measure upon the morals and well-being of society". They were patriotic, too, regular 100 per centers. They did not believe "this project to have originated with any of the faithful and industrious Sons of New England, but are compelled to consider it an evil of foreign growth, and one which we hope will not take root in the favored soil of Massachusetts". "And especially", they added, "that our city the early rising and industry of whose inhabitants are universally proverbial, may not be infected with the unnatural production." That is how the bosses regarded unions, and the demands of workers, one hundred years ago.
46. Were the bosses not concerned about the effect of the shorter workday upon themselves?
It is the employers' manner, and very effective strategy as well, to disguise their material interests with morality and patriotism, such as you read in the answer to the preceding question; but at bottom their real concern is always for their material interests. So we find the real (economic) reason buried beneath their moral and patriotic mouthings —— "if such a measure (10-hour day) would ever be just, it cannot be at a time like the present, when builders have generally made their engagements and contracts for the season." Then to show their disinterestedness (?) and broad Christian spirit (?) they announce that they will not only not grant the 10 hour day, but "that we will employ no