Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/56

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of the working members have no place in its deliberations. It were far more correctly termed an annual convention of American labor-brokers. These delegates, with the exception of a scattering few with little voting power, represent the controlling influence over organized American labor power. That is their special and particular business. Unity of the workers would destroy that business, and these well-fed, well-groomed, well-paid business men cannot tolerate any idea that would deprive them of their comfortable means of livelihood and relegate them to their old working places, even the memory of which they are reluctant to renew.

173. How do these men exercise such a power as is here attributed to them?
If you are the average union man you joined the union, after having paid an initiation fee which you thought excessive, and dues you felt to be beyond the requirements of the union. After a meeting or two you failed to attend meetings, except upon special occasions, because you found the local dominated by an influence against which you and those who thought with you were powerless to contend. There was ever present in your mind the thought that upon being parted from your present job, or changing your present location you must find another job, either in your present location or a new one, and a union card would make it easier to do so. Moreover, as a general thing, wages, hours and conditions were better in unionized employment. So you "kept up your card." That card was a letter of introduction and a recommendation for a job in strange places and new employments. You came to regard your union expenses as an employment fee paid for a chance to obtain employment easier than without such connection. The result was that you grew to pay no more attention to local and international union affairs than you would to the conduct of any other employment agency to which you had paid a fee. You kept a union card to facilitate your getting employment. Your union you did not regard seriously as an instrument by which much greater benefits might be secured and steadier employment obtained. In fact, encountering, as you did, the ubiquitous business agent, you learned to regard him as a personage