Mail Tribune 100, Aug. 10, 1918 Continued
The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.
Aug. 10, 1918 Continued
MINIMUM WAGE SCALE PROPOSED BY WAR BOARD
Washington, Aug. 10—A bitter fight is now being waged between the employing interests and the wage workers over the fixation by government authority of a minimum living wage. The wage as proposed by the war labor board as the least on which a man may live in health and reasonable comfort, and bring up a family, is $ 1,750.
In opposition to these efforts in behalf of labor the employing interests have tried to get an act of congress fixing a maximum wage. This statement will cause general surprise. Nothing has been said of such a proposition. It is, however, a fact.
The joker is part of H. R. 12.441, which is the Sundry Civil appropriation bill passed July 1, 1918. At the instance of Senator Underwood of Alabama, a paragraph was inserted in the labor section which reads:
“Provided that no money now or hereafter appropriated for the payment of wages not fixed by statute shall be available to pay wages in excess of the standard determined by the war labor policies board.”
“The war labor policies board” is a newly created sub-division of the department of labor, headed by Felix Frankfurter. Its supposed purpose is to standardize labor conditions, rendering uniform hours and wages for similar kinds of labor in the war industries. Frankfurter co-operates with the chipping board, the quartermaster’s department, the purchasing department of the navy department, the labor placating bureau of the labor department, and in fact with all branches of government which have use for labor and pay wages.
A literal reading of the amendment to the Sundry Civil law would seem to give the war policies board power to fix a maximum wage. That this was not the intention of the amendment may be inferred from the fact that it was put in secretly by Senator Underwood, who it is understood was moved in the matter by the Erectors’ Association of America. This is the largest organized body of employing interests in the world. This association is always opposed to labor; to any increase in wages, to unions; to the A.F. of L. and in general to anything which would limit the profits of the employing classes.
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