When Congress passed the Esch-Cummins railroad bill last February it eliminated the anti-strike provision because of the protests of the union leaders that such action was not only un-American but unnecessary inasmuch as the railroad brotherhoods were responsible organizations. They maintained that the Big Four unions would quash any strike but those entered upon only after the greatest deliberation and after every means of arbitration and peaceful settlement had been exhausted. On the strength of this assertion the anti-strike provision was abandoned. Today the country is inconvenienced--tomorrow it may be strangled--by an outlaw strike of railway workers, a strike neither authorized not sanctioned by the brother-hood chiefs.
No matter how unassailable the motives of the Big Four leaders may be, their brotherhoods in particular and organized labor in general are bound to suffer at the hands of public opinion unless the strike is quickly ended.
Apparently the good faith of the brotherhood officials in opposing this strike is unimpeachable, but what the nation wants is results. Workers in public utilities should not be allowed to desert their posts without either notice or complete exhaustion of peaceful means of settlement. If the brotherhoods are to retain the confidence of the public they must show their responsibility and their power to live up to their contracts by breaking the outlaw strike and punishing its leaders.