Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/63

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

caps, tend to control him better, and he enters into every situation with a feeling of family loyalty. However, he remains a "helper" and should he find himself out of employment he returns to the realm of the unskilled and poorly paid. Should he secure employment in an organized shop in some other calling, he may again become a "union helper" upon the payment of a new initiation fee and new dues. Should he desire, in view of industrial uncertainty, to retain his old along with his new union membership, we have the lowest paid worker in industry called upon to furnish the greatest financial proof of his adherence to, and belief in unionism. Now, as the unskilled or little skilled worker in the course of a few years may find himself attached to several trades—boilermaking, machinist, pipe fitting, firing, mining (coal or metal), building, etc.,—it not only is financially impossible for him to retain union membership, but it is heartless and absurd to expect him to. Thus, any fair-minded person is able to see at a glance, not only that the craft union system cannot organize the so-called unskilled, but is designed to deprive that element of every possible chance to organize.

184. Are there not federal labor unions composed of workers of every calling in the A. F. of L?
Yes. But these are merely recruiting unions—a form first adopted to compete with the mixed Assemblies of the K. of L., and used later to oppose the I. W. W. In these unions when the number of members, following any calling which is organized nationally, reaches the minimum required for a local charter, upon demand of such international they are required to withdraw themselves from the Federal Union and to organize as a local of the International. It may be said of such unions that unity is accomplished only for the purpose of division.
185. What does this suggest?
That after the workers achieve unity in a Federal Union the capitalists take charge of it and divide it up to suit their own interests. You, as a worker, would desire such a union as is implied in the Federal Labor Union—all workers in one union. An employing group, or even an individual employer, would want them divided up, and bound by rules and agreements, so that they could not act to-