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Mention should be made of the fact that the Cummins bill, passed by the Senate, contained drastic provisions which were aimed to prohibit railroad employees from striking. The possibility of compulsory arbitration aroused intense opposition from organized labor and the compulsory arbitration feature disappeared in joint conference.

The Railroad Labor Board consists of nine members, three each representing the management, the employees and the general public. All are appointed by the President, subject to consent of the Senate, but the President is required to select his appointees for management and labor from a list of nominees submitted to him by the respective parties.

The primary functions of the Board are to determine wages and working conditions, and to decide controversies involving grievances or the interpretation of rules when such controversies cannot be adjusted by Boards of Adjustment which may be created under the Act. In determining the justness and reasonableness of wages the Board is required, so far as practicable, to take into consideration among other relevant circumstances :

(1) The scale of wages paid for similar kinds of work in other industries;

(2) The relation between wages and the cost of living;

(3) The hazards of employment;
(4) The training and skill required;

(5) The degree of responsibility;

(6) The character and regularity of employment;

(7) Inequalities of increases in wages or of treatment, the result of previous wage orders and adjustments.

The Board has broad powers to require the appearance of witnesses and the production of books or other documents and records, but it has no power to enforce its decisions. All that it can do is to make public its findings and rely upon public opinion to enforce their observance.

As organizations auxiliary to the Labor Board, and subordinate to it in that the findings of these auxiliary bodies are subject to review by the Labor Board on appeal, the Transportation Act provides for the creation of Railroad Boards of Adjustment to be established by agreement between any carrier, group of carriers, or the carriers as a whole, and any employees of carriers or organization or group thereof. These Boards of Adjustment are to deal with disputes involving grievances, rules and working conditions which the individual carriers are unable to settle direct with their employees. If these Boards of Adjustment fail in their efforts to adjust the dispute, it may be carried on appeal by either party to the Railroad Labor Board. The object of adjustment boards is to relieve the Labor Board of the vast amount of detail connected with the many minor disputes which inevitably arise in railroad operation, so that the Board may have more time to devote to the larger matters of wages and general working rules. The Act provides (Section 301):

"It shall be the duty of all carriers and their officers, employees and agents to exert every reasonable effort and adopt every available means to avoid any interruption to the operation of any carrier growing out of any dispute between the carrier and the employees or subordinate officials thereof. All such disputes shall be considered and, if possible, decided in conference between representatives designated and authorized so to confer by the carriers, or the employees or subordinate officials thereof, directly interested in the dispute. If any dispute is not decided in such conference, it shall be referred by the parties thereto to the board which under the provisions of this title is authorized to hear and decide such dispute.'

A decision of the Labor Board shall not be valid unless it is concurred in by at least 5 of the 9 members and unless one of the 5 is a representative of the public. The central offices of the Board are required to be in Chicago, but the Board may, whenever it deems necessary, meet at such other place as it may determine.

No provision is made in the Act for the coordination of the functions of the Labor Board and the Interstate Commerce Commission. Each acts independently of the other except in so far as they may voluntarily confer on matters of joint interest. It is hardly necessary to mention that there is a close relation between railroad wages and railroad rates and that there should be active cooperation between the two bodies. Rates are now based on an adaptation of the cost of service" principle. Once a rate scale is established by the Commission its equilibrium may be destroyed by any general advance or reduction in wage scales. The only reference to rates in the Labor Board section of the Act is that which authorizes the Board to suspend any wage settlement made locally between management and employees if the Board “is of the opinion that the decision involves such an increase in wages or salaries as will be likely to necessitate a substantial readjustment of the rates of any carrier. The Labor Board shall hear any decision so suspended and as soon as practicable and with due diligence decide to affirm or modify such suspended decision.Inasmuch as the rate-making section contemplates that the rate scale is to be established for the carriers as a whole or in a territorial group, it is not clear how a wage adjustment by a single carrier can be made the basis for an increase in the rate scale of that single carrier.

The foregoing summary of the Transportation Act is intended merely to outline its principal features. The action of the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Railroad Labor Board, in compliance with the requirements of the Act, during 1920, 1921, and the first half of 1922, are summarized in the following chapters.





O single year in railroad history has contained so many unusual features as 1920.

Within it were embraced the concluding two months of federal control, the six months of the guarantee period when the railroads were operated by their owners under a continuance of the guarantee of pre-war net railway operating income, and four months of private operation when the railroads were entirely “on their own.” The year ushered in a new rule of rate-making under the Transportation Act, and a new era in labor relations with the Railroad Labor Board dominant in wage-fixing and the formulation of working rules.

Before the Labor Board was fully organized and working effectively there were several serious strikes among the more radical workers who would not wait for the Board to decide the pending wage demands. These strikes were not authorized by the executive officers of the unions affected, and the striking employees, who were "outlawedby their unions, formed a new but short-lived union of their own. The year witnessed also exceedingly large increases in freight and passenger rates, and in railroad wages. Coupled with these conditions there was a sudden

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