October 1917

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Arizona Strike Situations Will be Investigated and Every Endeavor Used to Eliminate Strikes.

On September 21st, Present Wilson Appointed a commission, headed by Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson, to visit a number of places, in particular in the West, to study the causes of controversies between employers and employés and endeavor to work out some fair basis of settlement and outline plans for avoiding the interference of labor disputes with industry during the war. In addition to Secretary of Labor Wilson, the commission consists of Col. J. L. Spangler, of Pennsylvania; Verner Z. Reed, of Colorado; John H. Walker, of Illinois; and E. P. Marsh, of Washington. Felix Frankfurter, of New York, will act as secretary of the commission.

In the memoranda from the President for the Secretary of Labor the President said, “I am very much interested in the labor situation in the mountain regions and on the Pacific Coast. I have listened with attention and concern to the numerous charges of misconduct and injustice that representatives, both of employers and employés have made against each other. I am not so much concerned, however, with the manner in which they have treated each other in the past as I am desirous of seeing some kind of a working agreement arrived at for the future.”

It will be the duty of the commission to visit in each instance the governor of the state and also to deal with employers and employés in a conciliatory spirit; to seek to compose differences and allay misunderstandings, and in any way that may be open to them to show the active interest of the national government in furthering arrangements just to both sides. Wherever it is deemed advisable, conferences of employers and employés should be called with the purpose of working out a mutual understanding between them which will insure the continued operation of the industry on conditions suitable to both sides.”

The personnel of the President’s commission should insure a square deal for both the employers and employés. They are all gentlemen of high standing, Mr. Wilson being a member of the President’s Cabinet; Col. Spangler and Mr. Reed are business men; while Mr. Walker and Mr. Marsh are presidents respectively of the Illinois and Washington Federations of Labor.

President Moyer, of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, called on Secretary of Labor Wilson after the appointment of the commission and urged the importance of the commission’s presence in the state of Arizona at the earliest possible moment, and was advised by the Secretary that the commission would in all probability begin its investigation in that state some time during the first week of October. The miners’ strikes are still in progress at Globe, Miami, Clifton, Morenci and Metcalf, and it is to be hoped that the commission will be successful in bringing the employers and representatives of the bona fide labor organizations together in conference and that an early adjustment of the strikes may be reached.

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The employers of labor in the state of Arizona have been quite liberal of late in their praise of the resident of the American Federation of Labor, in fact, the employing interest and business o Bisbee sent a committee all the way to Washington to pay their respects to Mr. Gompers. This committee, purporting to speak for the employers, were quite anxious to let it be known that the mining companies of Arizona were not opposed to bona fide organization of labor affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, but welcomed it into the state and was ready at all times to treat with it. If the employers are sincere in these declarations, then the commission will find but little difficulty in bringing about a settlement of the present strikes, eliminating the so-called I.W.W., and arriving at a working agreement for the future which will insure continuous operation of industry during the war, which is so much desired by the President, and to that end the international representatives have pledged its fullest co-operation.