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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/237

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The Man-Day as a Unit.

The station agent, bless him, is being emancipated by the telephone from specialized selection, and is gradually being accorded that recognition which is his due as an all ’round man. In short, our big corporate units are growing in strength only as the smaller units become complete and self-contained. Official solicitude should be for ton-miles, as well as for train-miles, for car-loads as well as for train-loads. Take care of the mills and the millions will take care of themselves. Above all, study an often neglected unit, the man-day. How much work can each man reasonably be expected to perform in one day? How many days in each year can a man reasonably expect to be employed? Labor conditions on railways will never be satisfactory until employment can be reasonably constant and continuous. This is a difficult problem, but when enough big men give it attention it will be solved. It probably means more elasticity, more inter-changeability between train service and the various kinds of maintenance, between the locomotive and the shop, between the railway and allied contiguous industries. The individual is the indivisible unit of society. We must build from him as a unit. Since he is of such infinite