Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/597

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

SEPTEMBER, 1885.


 

THE RELATIONS OF RAILWAY MANAGERS AND EMPLOYÉS.
By Dr. W. T. BARNARD.
I.

THE problem how to secure the most effective and harmonious relationship with their employés is one of rapidly growing importance in the minds of those managers whose duties bring them into close contact with the rank and file of railway service, and is also beginning to force itself upon the attention of investors in this country, as it has already largely done in Europe. Though quite generally the real underlying cause of strikes and labor agitations, among rail-way people especially, is unequal enforcement of discipline, irregularity in or unequal distribution of work, debts incurred through the misfortunes—rather than, as a rule, through the fault—of the operatives, inducing restlessness, etc., their discontent usually forces itself upon the attention of the railway director in the first instance as a wages question. As the successful and economical operation of a railway requires a certain number of reliable servants thoroughly trained for and skilled in their respective positions, considering the rapid extension of our railways, many years must elapse before the surplusage so cheapens this class of skilled labor as, on the one hand, to induce managers to relieve overburdened servants in busy seasons by dividing their duties among a larger number than will barely suffice for current needs, or, on the other, affords them security from strikes and unjust demands through the presence of unemployed skilled artisans eager to supplant the discontented. Meanwhile the necessity of meeting competition and reduced earnings by improved machinery and increased technical efficiency will constantly enhance the importance and value of a permanent and zealous corps of employés with whom fair wages,