The Industrial Dilemma: Ii: The Railroads and Education
As time goes on, the embarrassment of the authorities, and of public opinion, in dealing with the industrial situation in railroads and elsewhere is certain to resolve itself into action along definite and reasonable lines. As a matter of fact, the result of years of agitation and study can be accurately forecasted, and is known in advance. Certain impressions and lessons are being constantly imprinted on the mind of the community, and the doctrine of the survival of the fittest applies with equal significance to the world of ideas and to animal life. Looked into closely, we find this principle of the survival of best-fitted ideas to be the anchor to which democracy attaches, and always has attached, its optimism.
At the beginning, and looking ahead, the democratic idea proclaimed to the world, not “ I rule,” or “ I serve,” but “ I trust” And the reason for the faith that lies at the root of democratic institutions is known to all. Through good report and evil report the faith of democracy in education, and in the social conscience as director of ways and means, has never wavered. In the present century, it is true, the fundamental truth and supremacy of democratic principles are being tested up to the hilt. But all this “ knocking” and “ raking ” means purification. The faith of the great mass of the people in the solution of industrial and social problems by educational methods knows no shadow of turning. To sneerers and doubters, democracy responds by increasing her educational facilities, and by widening the sphere of her activity. Above all the turmoil and the controversy, she calmly abides the issue.
The determined and well-directed effort of present-day educators to keep in close touch with industrial progress is certainly one of the healthiest signs of the times. Schools and colleges no longer pride themselves exclusively upon the scholars, the poets, and the theologians they send forth into the world. Not to mention the professions, marked attention is now being paid to the industrial arts, and to the requirements of commercial life; in fact, honors are bestowed with impartiality upon excellence in almost every branch of honest human endeavor.
Once impressed with the importance of the educational problem in the social and industrial life of the nation, one turns instinctively to the railroads for illustrations of its work and principles. There are very good reasons for directing our efforts and study in this direction. For the railroad is probably the most important industry in the country, not alone as an employer of labor and a purchaser of material, but on account of its intimate relation to the every-day needs and safety of society.
Day by day the railroads are getting closer to the homes and the pockets of the people. It can no longer be asserted that five or six capitalists own or control the destinies of any railroad. They are now nearly all subject to the influence of an army of stockholders. For example, to illustrate the distribution of railroad stock among the homes of the people, it is worth noting that nearly half of the $9,437,839 which the Pennsylvania Railroad lately distributed as the semi-annual dividend on its $314,594,650 of capital stock, was paid to women. There are now 58,739 stockholders of the Pennsylvania Railroad, whose average holdings are 107 shares. Of these, about 28,000, or 47 per cent, are women, who, the figures show, own a total of over $148,000,000 of Pennsylvania stock. The November dividend last year was paid to 52,622 stockholders. The increase since then has been 6117, or at the rate of twenty new stockholders in the Pennsylvania Railroad for each business day of the present twelve months. Consequently it is eminently the concern of the general public to see to it that both as regards the physical condition of a railroad, and as regards the means employed for the efficiency of its service, the very best material and the highest quality of leadership and workmanship are insisted upon.
To begin, with then, and very naturally, the topic “ Education and the Railroads ” divides itself into two main sections, namely, the enlightenment and instruction of the public in regard to actual conditions and methods of operation; and, on the other hand, the enlightenment and instruction of employees and employers in regard to their responsibilities and duties. As it seems to me, the first and more important of these considerations relates to the education and enlightenment of public opinion. To this end, we must have a fearless description and analysis of present-day conditions and tendencies. But for a number of reasons those who are best posted and informed, whether on the side of labor or of capital, have actually two sets of opinions: that which they know in their hearts to be true and right; and, on the other hand, a modified statement of these real opinions, which alone they are willing to publish over their own signatures.
It thus becomes evident that the knowledge of the public in regard to presentday conditions on our railroads is derived from incomplete and modified information. Neither the worker, the manager, nor the capitalist can be depended upon to forget self-interest, and to publish the whole truth in the interests of the community. Studying the history of the case, which includes the contents of the employee’s schedules or bill of rights, and the absolute silence of railroad managers, one must be pardoned for arriving at the conclusion that in the past, at any rate, these forces have been actually in combination or tacit agreement to keep the public in ignorance of the actual ways and means by which the business of the common carrier is being transacted on American railroads. The only way the railroad manager can dispose of this charge is by coming out in the open and frankly explaining his position. He, the manager, is in a position of public trust and responsibility. The public look to him for a sane and safe administration of the railroad business, in the interest of the whole people.
In the process of enlightening and educating public opinion on these matters the time has come for the manager to give an account of his stewardship. In a word, is he nowadays to be called a manager or simply a slave to a cut-and-dried schedule of arrangements which he has entered into with organizations of his employees, and in which, it is claimed, the public interests have been sacrificed ? Is the manager willing to publish and comment on these agreements for the information and education of the traveling public ? In the business of the common carrier, what reason or excuse can be advanced for secrecy ? These are questions which the railroad manager is now called upon to answer, for they relate to the social standing and to the moral health, not only of the worker and the manager, but with positive emphasis to the self-respect and the social conscience of the community.
At the present day the public is utterly and unaccountably ignorant of the nature of the points at issue between labor and management on the railroad. There seems to be little disposition in any quarter to enlighten or educate the public on topics in which they are vitally interested.
Under date of December 4, 1908, a mediation pact was signed in Washington by representatives of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Chairman Knapp of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and Dr. Charles P. Neill, Commissioner of Labor, were the mediators. From the published report of the proceedings it is evident that the engineers are dissatisfied with the discipline that is administered to the members of its brotherhood, while the managers complain of the interference with the regulations of the road whieh they try to enforce in the interest of the traveling public. Sooner or later public opinion is always called upon to throw the weight of its influence on one side or the other; consequently the details of the controversy, with concrete illustrations of the points at issue, should receive the widest possible publicity. To furnish the public with as much of the inside information as possible, is the primary purpose of this article.
In the Santa Fé Employees’ Magazine for November, 1908, one of a series of very seasonable articles on the relations that obtain on our railroads, between the man and the manager, was written by a well-posted and conscientious employee of that system. To begin with, he made the following statement; —
“ It is very evident we railroad men have rendered a very poor account of our stewardship.” In discussing the failure of employees to report transgressions, the writer insists that they “ often run the risk of dismissal, rather than comment officially on the conduct of a fellow employee. Many of them have a peculiar sliding scale which they use when the necessity confronts them for reporting their fellows. Upon this scale appears (in unwritten letters) the enormity of the violation, the standing of the delinquent among his comrades, and last, but greatest of all, the chances of the officials’ finding it out. These matters are all weighed before a decision is arrived at as to whether to make a report or not.
“That such a condition of affairs exists is not hard to believe, when we take into consideration that the vast majority of enginemen and trainmen are members of railway brotherhoods, bound together by secret ties in an endeavor to promote their interests as a body, and to render mutual assistance and relief. And then, back of this lies the fact that an employee who makes it a practice to report, or who will report another when it might have been covered up, is in a fair way to become an outcast, deprived of the confidence of his friends and co-workers. Between the attitude of employees who wall not report the shortcomings of their fellows, and the inability of the officials to learn of the transgressions of these men, poor old Safety is between the devil and the deep sea.”
This is one of the most important contributions that has yet been written and signed by a railroad employee. The traveling public must understand from this information that the business of the common carrier is being conducted by employees who, for unstated reasons, are bound together by secret ties. Without pausing to discuss the nature of these secret ties, or their relation to the safety of the traveling public, it will, I think, be allowed that no special privileges can be granted by the community, either to corporations or to brotherhoods of railroad men, in regard to their methods of serving the public in this business of the common carrier.
The same law that applies to a traffic arrangement should also be in force in regard to the railroad man’s schedule. This should not only be a theoretical fact or condition, but the making of the schedule itself should actually be looked upon as an affair in which the public is a vitally interested factor, and nothing should be allowed to appear in it that can be shown to interfere with the maintenance of discipline, with the safety of travel, or with the industrial and ethical ideals of the American people. At the present day, the party most concerned, the principal sufferer in this secret contract between the man and the manager, has no voice in its composition, and is kept in total ignorance of its stipulations and their social significance.
The following illustration will be sufficient to demonstrate the wide and important significance of this branch of my subject: Some time ago the adjustment committee of one of the largest unions of railroad employees paid an official visit to a railroad manager, and said to him in substance, “For the future we desire to establish the rule that no employee in our department shall be permitted to consult or confer with a superintendent on matters relating to his work except through the medium of the adjustment committee.”
The thoughtful reader is invited to think over this proposition, and if possible to reconcile it with his ideas of personal liberty and the first principles of American civilization. According to my light, the only way to enlighten the public in regard to the significance of this and similar situations in the industrial world, is to furnish concrete illustrations of actual work and behavior, and to call attention to the lessons contained in them.
Some time ago the general manager of perhaps the largest railroad system in the United States, said to me, “ I hope to live to see the day when a railroad manager, as an individual responsible to the public for the safety of travel, shall be able to remove a man for the simple reason that in his opinion the employee is actually unsafe to run an engine or conduct a train.”
The manifest meaning and the lesson for the traveling public contained in this statement cannot be too strongly emphasized. The safety of travel at the present day is actually at the mercy of a system that has eliminated the very first principles of sane supervision and executive control. Just how this principle lives, moves, and conducts itself on an American railroad, cannot but make the judicious grieve. Let us look into this matter with all seriousness.
Some time ago, on one of the most important railroad systems in the country, an engineman, while backing his train into a yard, called in his flagman before the train was in to clear. As the result his engine was “ side-swiped ” by a passenger train and several employees were injured. After a thorough investigation into the accident itself, and considering the previous record of the man, the superintendent of the division, his assistant, and the superintendent of motive power, reported to the general manager that the man in question, in their opinion, was unfit to be in charge of an engine. In the words of the superintendent, “ We might just as well have saved ourselves the trouble and time given to the matter. The usual number of marks that apply to his offense was added to the man’s record, and that is all there was to it. We now watch the going out and coming in of that man with fear and trembling; but we are helpless.”
The traveling public is to-day at the mercy of the railroad man’s schedule. It is not so much this clause or that clause that is objectionable, but the simple power and practice of a powerful organization to dispute and appeal from the decision of the management, not only in matters of discipline, but actually in every verdict that happens to rub any individual railroad man the wrong way.
With a view to enlightening public opinion on the widespread nature of this evil, illustrations must not be spared.
One of the best-known methods employed by railroad managers at the present day to ascertain the vigilance and obedience of road men, is what is commonly called the surprise test. This is, perhaps, the best out-on-the-road inspection yet inaugurated, for it places all employees on an equality so far as observance of the rules is concerned. When this system of surprise tests was first inaugurated on a western railroad, on whose pay rolls there are upwards of fifty thousand employees, the management encountered a very strange experience, which will serve to illustrate another phase of the railroad man’s schedule, and the principles which are involved.
One day two of the chief executive officers of this railroad took a trip out on the road. Alighting at a way station, they walked along the track for a mile or two until they came to a long wooden trestle. Taking all necessary precautions, they built a fire in close proximity to the bridge and then secreted themselves in the bushes to watch the effect of their surprise test. Before long an express passenger train came along, and although a cloud of smoke was ascending through the rafters of the bridge and right in the face and eyes of the engineman on the passenger train, he failed to pay the slightest attention to it, but kept on his way with undiminished speed.
The test officers remained at their posts in the bushes. Very soon another train came along, but the engineman of the second train had no sooner caught a glimpse of the smoke than he blew the customary fire-signal. He then whistled out his flagman, brought his train to a standstill, and with the assistance of the train crew he quickly extinguished the flames. At the end of his trip he reported the matter to his superintendent on the usual form.
A few days later, the general manager, who had been one of the test officers in the bushes, called the engineman of the first train into his office. The evidence was altogether too strong for the engineman to question the existence of the fire, so he fell back upon the simple excuse that he did n’t or could n’t see it. The manager said to him, in substance, “ I am very sorry that I am unable to remove you from your engine for inexcusable carelessness. You are just as well aware as I am that every trestle and wooden bridge on your run is actually a fire-risk or a fire-trap. It is surely not too much to ask you to remember this every time you approach or run over a bridge with the lives of hundreds of passengers in your charge and keeping. In my opinion you are not a safe man to be in charge of an engine; that is all I have to say to you; you may go.” Then the engineman of the second train was called into the office. The manager thanked him and complimented him in flattering terms for his conduct in regard to the fire under the bridge. Finally, he said to him, “ As a slight acknowledgment of your prompt action and praiseworthy conduct in the interests of the passengers and the road, I grant you a month’s leave of absence, with full pay.”
So far, so good. But before long the grievance committee of the brotherhood took the matter up, and informed the manager that he would have to cancel his disposition of the case. In plain English, it was against the principles and rules of the brotherhood to pick out and signalize any man’s conduct in this way. No allowance, either in time or money, would be sanctioned by the brotherhood to any man for doing his duty. It creates a distinction where no distinction is recognized. It makes a difference in the pay schedule, where no variation is permitted in favor of any man. This was the decision of the adjustment committee, and so far as the public and the management are concerned, it remains the law on the subject.
Nevertheless, public opinion is invited to study this illustration, and to think it over from a wider standpoint than that contained in the fiat of a grievance committee, or the unwilling consent of a railroad manager.
But now just a word or two about my illustrations in general. It is, of course, a noticeable fact about these illustrations that I seldom mention the road upon which the incident occurs, and still less the names of the managers or the men concerned in them. There is at bottom a deep-rooted reason for this omission. It is a matter of common knowledge that, so far as educating the public into a knowledge of the internal management or conduct of the railroad business is concerned, every employee who is connected with an organization, and every superintendent who has a position he cares anything about, is virtually and practically under an implied oath of secrecy. Thus the man is supposed to be loyal to his union, the superintendent to the management of his road.
It would appear from this that we have something to conceal, or that we do not care to submit many of our methods and regulations to public criticism. Few of us have stopped to think of our behavior in this light, and yet there can be no other excuse or reason for secrecy in a business that so closely concerns the public interest and welfare as this business of the common carrier. We are all under the spell of Mr. Carnegie’s old maxim, “ Richard, if you want to succeed in this business you wiil have to keep your mouth shut, and always remember that a close mouth is always the sign of a wise head.”
In considering the industrial dilemma with which we are confronted at the present day, and in proposing and inviting a new and better order of things on American railroads, the breaking of the ice contained in the secret platform of the manager and the employee is a matter of the first importance.
It is of little use to ask the “writer of this article to prove the truth of his illustrations while the manager remains silent. What the writer knows is but a drop in the bucket to what the manager is aware of, and won’t tell. To tell the truth, the manager has the best of reasons at the present day for keeping his mouth shut, and for allowing the public to worry itself out of the dilemma as best it can.
Some time ago I asked the president of a Western railroad to account for this seeming indifference of railroad managers. He replied, " Silence is the last stand of the American railroad managers. To express opinions or assert ourselves in any way would cost millions. The revenues of the railroads to-day are at the mercy of the political schemer, who, upon occasion, makes a deal at our expense with our own flesh and blood, that is to say, with our employees. It is the apathy of the public to its real interests that is the actual cause and root of inefficient management. For example, if I were to make a public statement that the inspectors employed by the Interstate Commerce Commission are nearly all of them discharged employees, do you think it would shock the public’s sense of fairness ? Not a bit of it. Stranger things are happening every day. Take another illustration. A piece of machinery, a selfdumping ash-pan, was invented. Legislation was sought to compel the railroads to adopt the invention. The cost, of course, figured little in the matter. After hearing from all sides, the congressional committee to whom the matter had been referred concluded not to report the bill favorably. Thereupon, within a day or two of the closing of the session, both Speaker Cannon and Vice-President Fairbanks were bombarded with telegrams to the effect that 75,000 firemen demanded that the ash-pan law should be passed. This could only be done by unanimous consent, but it was done thereupon, and the law passed in both the House and the Senate, and was signed by the President, who sent the pen to Grand Chief Hanrahan. The railroads must now foot the bills.”
But so far as the public is concerned the paralysis and silence of the railroad manager can be brought still nearer home. At a station on a certain railroad, the change of men was supposed to take place at 11 P. M., but on account of the train service the relief man was always five minutes late. The man he relieved objected to this, and insisted upon leaving the office at 11 P. M. The matter was taken up by the union, and considerable feeling was manifested on both sides. Finally, the business was taken to the manager of the road for settlement. But neither conciliation nor arbitration had any effect whatever, and so at last, in despair, the manager changed the schedule of the train.
How does a settlement of this kind suit the traveling public ? What is to be said about their convenience and their connections? Should any fifty merchants in a city desire to change the time of a train they would soon discover that they had quite a job on their hands. In talking to a manager about this case, he informed me he could furnish a dozen illustrations of a similar nature. From this statement we may infer that when the manager, by means of public recognition and support, can be persuaded to come out in the open and tell his story, strange revelations may be expected.
Continuing my illustrations of methods and ideals on American railroads, another interesting phase has to be noticed.
In one of the articles of a former series which appeared in this magazine, I had occasion to refer to the painstaking and successful management of the Chicago and Alton Railroad. Previous to writing the article I paid a visit to the road. I collected a mass of statistics, and conversed with many of the employees. I was very much impressed with the healthy esprit de corps that seemed to me to be a marked characteristic of the work and conversation of the employees. On all sides there seemed to be a spirit of coöperation, which was fostered by a marked liberality of treatment on the part of the management toward the employees. The actual results, in efficiency of service and freedom from accidents, were known to railroad men all over the country, and recorded in the newspapers. Over and over again, employees of the Chicago and Alton informed me that in those days serious accidents were almost unheard of, and injuries to passengers and trainmen were few and far between.
But now, within a year or so, a change has come over the spirit of the scene. New methods of management are now in force. According to the talk and understanding among the men, the watchword of the former administration was efficiency of service: that of the latter is economy of operation and a reduction of the working force to the lowest possible limit. The men very quickly catch on to the ideals and policy of a management. To secure efficiency of service, a wide sympathy and consideration for the interests of the employees must actually be the first consideration. To cut a gang of men in half, reduce the wages of the survivors, and then preach the doctrine of coöperation in the interests of efficiency, is questionable policy. It is not necessary to take my ideas on the subject as warrant for applying the story to the Chicago and Alton Railroad.
For some time past the superintendent of the road has made a feature of lectures and talks to employees, and has been calling attention to the unsatisfactory state of affairs. One of his circulars reads as follows: “ We are having too many mishaps, the offered excuse for which has been, ‘ We have been doing that way right along, and nothing has ever happened.’ This is following out customs and practices with utter disregard to rules. The safety of yourselves and all your fellow employees, as well as the economical operation of the road, is directly proportionate to the rules being carried out.”
In one of his talks to the men, Superintendent Mulhearn dwelt largely upon the subject of ambition. He appealed to every employee to keep advancement in view, and to think of something else besides six o’clock and pay-day. He declared that the careful, conscientious, loyal employee would be in the front, and help make up the family of officials and others in the executive positions, while the drone and don’t-care variety would always remain at the bottom. He said that he was anxious that every employee try to make himself valuable to the company, so that mutual interests might be conserved, and that all might profit.
These confidential talks, and the general policy of Superintendent Mulhearn, will perhaps be considered as decidedly healthy and satisfactory. From the viewpoint of public education and the real interests of the men, the railroad, and the community, however, a little analysis of the coöperative doctrine will not be out of place.
I spoke to one of the subordinate officials of the Chicago and Alton about it. This man was in charge of fifty or sixty men. I said to him, “ I notice the officials on the Chicago and Alton have inaugurated a campaign of instruction and education, with a view to interest the men in their work, and to induce them to coöperate with the management in the interest of efficiency and economy. I would like to know what this means,” I continued; “is it a real gospel you are preaching, or is it only a method adopted to secure economy and efficiency of operation without any positive and real regard for the interests of the men ? For example, when your superintendent says that on his railroad drones will remain at the bottom and conscientious employees be advanced over their heads, is the statement a fact, or a mere figure of speech ? Are you yourself at liberty to handle your men in this way ? Is there any way, so far as you know, by which you can single out a good man and favor him ? Can you increase his pay, promote him, or distinguish him above, or at the expense of, the shiftless worker ? If not, what does all this preaching amount to ? The doctrine is hollow to the core if, after all your preaching, your superintendent, and you yourself, deliberately advance a man, perhaps a drone, regardless of his qualifications, over the heads of good men, simply because he happens to be their senior.”
The foreman I spoke to confessed his inability to answer me in a satisfactory manner. While he was willing to admit the truth of my contention, he blamed the schedules for the unsatisfactory relations that exist, on all railroads, between the men and the management.
Unfortunately, however, the men are unable to look upon the seniority rule in this light. They seem to think the very existence of the unions on the railroads is dependent upon the enforcement of the seniority idea to the letter. And they are right, while the men and the management continue to be antagonistic forces. While this feeling of separate interests and objects remains in force, coöperation is a mere will-o-the-wisp. The men themselves are quick to appreciate this fact.
Some time ago I met an engineman who is employed on the New Haven system. He was more or less familiar with my essays and arguments. He considered them quite plausible in theory, but useless as to any practical application. He said to me, “ Can you give me one reason why a railroad man should interest himself in the management or the welfare of his road ?”—“ Your pocket-book, and your self-respect,” I suggested.—“Not at all,” he replied. “You must give me a definite, a concrete illustration. I must get some actual return for any special interest I take, over and above the routine of my work. But we want this as a body, and not separate illustrations as individuals. For example, I say to my railroad, ‘ One shovelful of coal in every four that is handled on a locomotive is wasted. Make a bargain with us and we will actually save you twenty-five per cent of your coal bill. Moreover, there are a score of other ways in which economy can be exercised in our department, and quite as many in which the comfort and convenience of the traveling public can be increased. As individuals, we decline to consider the matter either with you or the public: but if you, the railroad, will set aside a block of your stock of a value equivalent to the saving we are prepared to guarantee to you, and place this stock in the hands of our unions, we will at once talk and act coöperation with you to some purpose. At the same time, we candidly confess to you that we desire to hold and control this stock with the ultimate object of getting a share in the management.’ ”
At the present day, without doubt, the most interesting single topic connected with the industrial situation on railroads is contained in the word schedule. What is this schedule we hear so much about ? What is the nature of this interesting agreement which defines the rights of a railroad man, and the powers of the superintendent ? Generally speaking, the schedule is a very simple and comprehensible document. The schedule of the Boston and Maine trainmen, for example, contains no less than seventy-three rules or stipulations. From the moment when a trainman goes on duty in the morning until he puts up at night, every move he makes, every circumstance he encounters, or is liable to encounter, is outlined in some clause of his schedule, and the remuneration for his services connected therewith is distinctly defined. With the changing of conditions and the constant expansion of business, new clauses are added to the schedule. It is hardly too much to say that nine out of ten of the stipulations in the trainman’s schedule can actually be called the righting of wrongs. Take the following, for illustration: —
No. 6. Crews will not be required to work with more than one inexperienced man.
No. 11. Men shall, if they so desire, upon leaving the service, be given a letter stating the nature and time of service and reason for leaving the same.
No. 19. Men released from duty between terminal stations will receive pay for full run.
No. 28. Regular conductors, doing the work of an assistant conductor, will receive regular conductor’s rate of pay for the day.
No. 45. Men doubling hills, or obliged to follow the engine in going for water or coal, will be allowed mileage in addition to trip.
The agreement covers every conceivable phase of the railroad man’s work. His overtime, his promotion, his pay for attending court; when he is called for duty and not required; his leave of absence, his right to employment after being injured in the service, his emergency service, his extra service, his wreck-train service, — not an item is forgotten, every detail in regard to his work and pay is down in black and white, and he carries the agreement, signed by the general manager, in his pocket.
No little admiration and praise must be accorded to organized labor for this crowning result of years of agitation and courageous effort. But nevertheless there are one or two clauses in this schedule which very closely concern the public interests; their nature, and their effect on the community at large, should be thoroughly understood.
Among the general rules of the trainman’s schedule, No. 1 reads as follows:
“ Promotions will be governed by merit, ability, and seniority; all things being equal, preference will be given to men longest in the service, the superintendent to be judge of qualifications.”
This rule is altogether in the best interests of the men, the management, and the community at large. The superintendent is placed in charge of the promotion department. He is empowered to overlook seniority in favor of merit and ability. In this rule there is actually no appeal from his decisions. He is distinctly named as judge of qualifications for every vacancy or appointment in the train service. But in actual practice the rule is useless and unworkable. One rule in the schedule is played against another, and in the mêlée the judge is turned into a cipher.
Rule No. 7 is as follows: —
“ In case of discipline, right of appeal will be granted if exercised within ten days, and a hearing will be given as promptly as possible, at which men may be accompanied by fellow employees of the same or superior class. If the investigation finds the accused blameless, his record will remain as previous thereto, and he shall receive pay for all time lost.”
Here again, standing by itself, is a fairly good rule, which does away with any possibility of unprincipled management. But unfortunately the employee, through his organization, has seen fit to enlarge the right of appeal from the verdict of the management in matters of discipline to a general right of appeal from anything that displeases him in every nook and corner of the railroad business. In this way the superintendent, as final and absolute judge of qualifications, is blotted out. At the present day if he should exercise his prerogative and place merit and ability above seniority, he would raise a veritable storm in railroad circles. As a direct result of this state of affairs, merit and ability, as qualifications for promotion, have been banished from the train service of American railroads.
From the educational standpoint the contents of the railroad man’s schedule, and its effect upon the efficiency of the service, are in little danger of being overemphasized.
According to John Ruskin, there are two important mottoes in the industrial world: the employers’, which says, “ Every man in his place,” and the employees’ which demands for “ Every man his chance.” Mr. Ruskin adds the following comment: —
“ Let us mend the employees’ motto a little and say, ‘ Every man his certainty,’ — certainty, that if he does well he will be honored and aided and advanced, and equal certainty that if he does ill he will by sure justice be judged and corrected. For the only thing of consequence is what we do ; and for man, woman or child, the first point of education is to make them do their best. It is the law of good economy to make the best of everything. How much more to make the best of every creature.”
So far in this article, from the educational standpoint, my object has been to call attention to actual conditions and methods of operation on the railroads. Next in order comes the attempt to interest all concerned in certain practical reforms, to the end that we may secure better work and a better understanding between the men, the management, and the community.