At the centre of the tangled mass of freight which has forced action by the Interstate Commerce Commission is labor. Here, too, is the greatest of all labor problems. By "ca'cannying," working as little as possible, or by a gradual quitting of jobs, the employees of any industry may effectually clog its wheels.
The silent strike lacks the flaming publicity of the open one, but it can be reached only with the greatest difficulty by court or arbitration board or employer. It is a hidden, sinister thing that evades action. At the same time the silent strike cuts down production to an almost criminal extent. Especially is this so when the product is transportation, something which reaches every individual in the country.
It would seem that the only way to have a silent strike called off is by giving the raise in wages. Yet the very success conceded by such action is a vigorous provocative to repetition. A vicious circle of strike and pay increases is established. The public is as assuredly defrauded as ever it is by a Rivers and Harbors Bill.
If the great labor leaders of the country once realize that neither they nor their men can act as fair judges of their own value to the community, they may then appeal to the community's sense of justice by reason rather than by force. If this realization of the supremacy of all the people does not come, there remains for the nation--submission or war against every sort of milltant labor organization in public service Industries.