Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/5

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8. Is this not a heartless view?
Industry is not sentimental, and we are trying to study the labor union, as an instrument of labor. If we would learn the truth about it, we must be prepared to cast aside sentiment and prejudice and get down to bedrock.
9. Do not unions serve a good purpose by paying sick and death benefits?
No. We must consider, in dealing with unionism, that we are dealing with an instrument designed to serve definite purposes in industry, and nowhere else. If unions provide for their sick and injured, to the extent that they do so, they defeat their own purpose, which is to force from the capitalists a return which would make such relief by unions unnecessary. This discourages the spirit that would force the recognition that proper provision for the workers should be the first charge against industry.
10. Then you are opposed to the workers rendering one another mutual assistance?
No. It is folly for labor to foster the belief that the union can function successfully in two opposite directions; that it can secure an adequate return from the employers by lessening the need for it. If the workers are provided for, even insufficiently, during their periods of sickness or unemployment they are so protected, however, that the rigors of capitalism do not effect them, as they would if they were not so protected; and consequently, the workers are not inspired to fight for increased wages, or to find a solution for unemployment. If these features, which have been added to unionism, were removed it is probable that even the conservative unions would be inclined to address themselves to the problem of unemployment; they would devote themselves to essential job problems.
11. Would it be better for unions not to have such features?
Decidedly. If the unions did not have such features they would have to function more aggressively for the workers in industry. They would necessarily strive for higher wages, shorter hours and better conditions.