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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/140

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Letters From A Railway Official.

We blame the unions for expensive lack of interchangeability of function. The fault lies at the door of the official class. The master mechanic said: “This is my man.” The superintendent, and later the trainmaster, said: “This is my man.” This pleasing tenacity for so-called individuality left the company out of the reckoning. The company got it where the chicken got the axe, sweet Marie. It did not take the men long to respect the plane of cleavage which the officials had projected. So we have a number of unions with conflicting demands rather than the more enlightened self-interest of a larger body. I know that it has been fashionable to play one union against another, but the day of this is nearly passed. Just how it will all work out I do not know; perhaps it is too late to expect amalgamation. Perhaps it will come of itself when the Firemen and Enginemen absorb or replace the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and when the Trainmen outlive the Order of Railway Conductors. Whatever the cause and whatever the existing conditions the result is plain. We have a number of forces operating to restrict the output of capable men. The economic machinery of society at large is therefore out