The decision of the chief railroads of the East, one after another, to make reductions in their wage scales shows the results of the slow but resistless trend of economic conditions. In a period of financial depression it is inevitable that wages will drop in the general slump; for without reducing operating expenses, the railroads will not be able to continue business.
Of course the employees of the roads are protesting any reduction, as a matter of principle: there will be much loud talk and threatening; and strikes, perhaps, such as the one now trying up the Atlanta, Birmingham, and Atlantic. Nonetheless, the roads are preparing to hold out to the end with courage of desperation. The Eric has quietly ignored the order of the Railway Labor Board to restore the previous schedule, at the risk of arousing public opinion against it. Likewise, the Pennsylvania has announced that it is paying $1.07 for the services which bring in $1.00, and that, with all due respect to Labor and the Railway Board, it must decline to do so any longer.
Much the same story is told by all the other railroads of the country-they simply cannot make both ends meet so long as they must pay present high wages. In the fact of such nationwide reports, the railway employees will do well to realize that they are not fighting simply the officials and stockholders of their respective lines; they are struggling against the unalterable economic conditions of the present period. Wisdom will therefore suggest that they bow to the inevitable.