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the purchaser that the garments were made under conditions several hundred per cent. better than those which prevail in other branches of the ready-made garment trade.
There are few or no union labels on women's ready-made clothing or other articles used exclusively by women, or made only by them. There are two causes for this. Neither'men nor women have yet come to a realization of the economic importance of women either in production or consumption. Women as producers are unorganized and they fail to appreciate their importance as purchasers for themselves and their families. Before there can be a union label there must first be a trade-union which shall adopt a label to be given to manufacturers who are willing to enter into an agreement with the union to provide what the workers and employers agree to be fair conditions. And before the union label can be of consequence in making or sustaining fair conditions there must be a purchasing public interested in creating a demand for it.
Six years ago the International Typographical Union adopted a device which may be printed on all work done in a union office. Most of the offices, in the larger cities at any rate, employ only members of the union, so that if there were a concerted demnand for this evidence of harmony between employer and employed it could be obtained. Public sentiment has not been aroused on the subjeci as yet, however, and there is no such demand. Handbills and pamphlets printed for unions or social reform organizations usually bear the printer's label, and in many small cities daily and weekly newspapers have the device printed at the head of their editorial columns. The printers' label, however, seems to have greater possibilities as a political force than any other. Forty city councils scattered over the country have passed ordinances requiring the union label on all municipal printing. The Montana Legislature recently passed a law requiring the label on public printing done throughout the State. Boston's city printing is done by union printers, and the plant is under municipal control.
Other unions have succeeded, in a measure, in getting recog. nition for their labels from local governing bodies. The Common Council of Utica has passed an ordinance that no iron moulding shall be used in public buildings which does not bear the iron moulders' label.
Such municipal ordinances are the result of concerted action on the part of local federations of upions in various trades. They demand, as citizen taxpayers and voters, that laws previously passed by State legislatures requiring payment of prevailing wages and the employment of adult-citizen labor on all public works shall be enforced in local contracts, and that as evidence that the law is not being evaded the union's trade-mark shall pear wherever it can be used.
It is interesting to observe the extent to which the law has taken cognizance of the union label. The first objection raised by the sympathetic outsider whose attention has been called to the union label as a means of improving the conditions under which workmen are employed is : “How shall we know a label is genuine ? May not anybody put a label on his goods and say it stands for fair conditions ?" Nearly every State in the Union where goods are made by organized workmen, or where such goods are sold, has passed special laws protecting union labels from counterfeits and imitations. In some States the labels are registered and protected under the laws regulating trade-marks. In 1895 twenty-five States had laws protecting anion labels, and as the number of States having such laws is constantly increasing, it is likely many others have been added to the list since. The protection given by the label laws is very great. In many States the union may invoke both civil and criminal law to punish offenders. The employer unable to get the right to use the label from the union, and yielding to the temptation to use a counterfeit or imitation, is liable to a year's imprisonment or a fine of $200, or both. This is the maximum punishment. It is less in some States, and in practice the limit will probably never be imposed on an offender. The goods bearing the counterfeit label may be sized and destroyed. The union also has grounds for a civil suit for damages. Mr. C. F. Willard, a lawyer employed by several unions to look after the registration of labels, says that the most important feature of the laws relating to union labels has not yet been recognized, either by the unions or the manufacturers. “In granting protection to union labels of associations of workmen," says Mr. Willard, “the different States have recognized their right of property in euch labels and in so doing have legalized the status of such associations or combinations. They recog.
nize the right of workingmen to combine into associations, which means virtually the abolition of the old conspiracy laws in those States which have passed laws to protect union labels. The label laws mean that the law recognizes the right of property on the part of the labor organizations in their label or trade-mark, and thus the right to hold property. They also mean that the wageworker has been conceded the right to own and register a mark to be used on goods, which in a legal sense he does not own, but into which the labor of himself and of his fellows combined in unions enters as a predominating factor. These laws, by inference, thus establish the equity right of labor in the product owned by the employer.”
The trade-union never urges the label upon an employer, and no employer ever applies to the anion for the use of its label until he is confronted with a demand for it from a sufficient number of his customers to make it worth his while to have it placed on the goods he has for sale.
It must not be supposed, however, that] the anion sits still and waits for the employer to get ready to come around to the union office for the label. On the contrary, it is "perniciously active" in its efforts to influence him in an indirect way to adopt the label. The label is extensively advertised in the newspapers and labor organs. Pictures of the various labels and appeals to consumers to ask for goods bearing them are widely circulated among union men of all crafts and among their friends and sympathizers. Committees from local unions visit the shops of their towns and set forth to dealers the advantages of keeping union-labelled goods in stock, since the several hundred or thousand members whom they represent are pledged to give the preference in purchasing to such goods, and to dealers keeping them on hand. In small towns the patronage of the union men and their friends makes a material difference to the shopkeeper, and frequently, through him, to the manufacturer who supplies him with goods. In one of the smaller cities of New York State a baker's business experienced a boom as a result of the label agitation. At first he was the only boss baker who was willing to enter into a satisfactory agreement with the bakers' union and consequently was the only one who could get the bakers' label. The wives and mothers of the union men of the town were interested and took pains to buy none but bread bearing the union label, with the result that this
particular baker needed more help and the other bakers lost their trade. In many towns, particularly up in New York State and through the middle West, the wives of union men have been interested in the garment workers' grievances, and whea they buy clothing for their little sons they insist upon having the label in the pockets of jackets and knickerbockers. The demand for childrens' clothing bearing the union label has been worked up to such an extent, throngh these smaller towns, that three large manufacturers in New York hare within a year secured the label. Not long ago a manufacturing house up the Hudson went out of business, and one of the causes to which its failure was attributed was its refusal to make terms with the union, together with the persistent demand of its customers, the retailers, for union labelled goods, which their customers in turn insisted on having.
The demand for the union label is hardly sufficiently developed as yet to make it possible to estimate or predict its effect upon production. A universal demand for it, of course, would talie away any advantage which its use at present gives to dealers or manufacturers. Not to have it would be a disadvantage, but having it would not add to one's custoniers.
The sum which it adds to the manufacturers' cost of production on any one article is iufiuitesimal. The cost of registering the labels in the various States, which amounts to about $500, is borne entirely by the union owning the label. The cost of printing and making the labels is divided between the manufacturers and the union. The proportion varies with different unions. In the clothing trade the manufacturers pay two-thirds of the cost of the labels, or about $200 a million. This means the addition of one fire-thousandth of a cent to the cost of each garment: The cost and trouble to which the manufacturer is put to obtain the label is more than made up by the free advertising he gets throngh the union and the labor press, not to mention the additional customers who are secured by the use of the label.
The effect of the use of the label upon consumption will be to bring ac ethical element into economic transactions, a result much to be desired according to the best economists. It is in the change which has come over economic thought in the last quarter of the century that the nnion label finds its justification. The stress is no longer on production or exchange but
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upon consumption. The consumer, it is seen, is the real maker of goods. Whether goods shall be made under sweat-shop conditions, under conditions which mean the brutalization of the great mass of humanity, or under conditions wbich permit the development of all that is best in the workers, and which are the best conditions for the interests of society as a whole, depends upon the consumers and not upon the producers. When the ethical sense of the community is so highly developed that no one will wear a garment for which just wages have not been paid, the sweatshop will disappear.
In the present stage of development, the union label seems to to fill a want, to meet a desire for some guarantee that the articles are what they are represented to be—made under fair conditions. The union label is probably only a temporary device, just as any present thing is adapted to present conditions, present circumstances, present evils. When conditions and circumstances change, it will give way to something else. It is not an ideal solution of labor problems. If it does not stand for all its newest friends think it should, it must be remembered that it is not fully matured. Like the trade-union, of which it is an outgrowth, it must be of slow development. It can grow no faster than those who ase it. In its early days the trade-union was something quite unlike the present orderly, dignified, influential body, which is a powerful economic, social, and political force.
At first the union was little more than a temporarily organized mob, making, sometimes, unreasonable demands; thinking strikes and physical violence the only means of gaining its ends. With more leisure and better wages, gained in part by these destructive methods, the organized workers have come gradually to stand for peaceful measures and various reforms beneficial, not only to themselves, but to the body of which they are a part. In similar fashion the union label is developing. At first it meant simply that the makers of the articles bearing it were white men, not Chiuese. A little later it said to the buyer : “ These goods are made by a member of the union of the trade.” The union man might be working in a two-room home, assisted by his family; that did not matter. Presently the union reached the stage where it became an ardent advocate of factory laws and waged war on child labor. Then the label began to mean that the article bearing it was made by a union man employed in a factory