(Mr. Frank Morrison has been for many years connected in various ways with the Labor movement in this country. A printer at the age of 14, he became affiliated with the Chicago Typographical Union No. 16, received the degree of LL.B. in 1894, and three years later was chosen Secretary of the American Federation of Labor, a position which he has held ever since.)
"There are now 376 lawyers in Congress", said Mr. Morrison yesterday in an interview with a CRIMSON reporter. "Instead there should be about 200 labor men, 200 farmers, 100 business men, and minorities should be represented in proportion to their numbers." Mr. Morison himself has a bachelor of laws degree from the Lake Forest University Law School of Chicago
English Labor Has Longer Record
Referring to the success of the Labor Party in England in the recent elections. Mr. Morrison said that the American Federation of Labor has never found that conditions here necessitated a third party. "Our political policy is to support labor men of either party, and if neither candidate is satisfactory, to put up an independent man. We now have a group of ten labor men in the House, and Senator Dill, newly elected from Washington, is a union man. The reason for the greater success of the Labor party in England is that they have been worker longer than we have. Our present policy was only adopted fifteen years ago, in 1908."
Brands Public "Insincere"
With regard to railroad and coal strikes, the secretary was emphatic in his defence of the Federation's stand. "The attitude of the public is not sincere in these strikes", he said. "The people insist that the workers refrain from striking in order that the supply of fuel and food may not be cut off, but at the same time do nothing to relieve the conditions against which they are striking. In effect, they demand that the workers and their children continue to be underfed and ill-housed, in order that their own babies may not lack milk for a single day.
"The public has rights, to be sure, but a right involves a duty. I say that it is the public's duty not to allow men to be overworked under bad conditions, and underpaid, so that they cannot maintain decent living standards." Mr. Morrison pointed to the fact that even in periods of the most extreme unemployment, nothing has ever been done to alleviate the situation. He maintained that labor;s only recourse is in strengthening union organizations for more effective collective bargaining, and in political activity to secure remedial legislation.
Praises Independence of Labor
The efforts of the pioneers in the trade union movement were praised highly. "To my mind, no material gain to society can compare in importance with the spirit of independence and manhood that the unions have inculcated in the minds of their members. The worker of 75 years ago had no social status. He was to be obedient and subservient, he was expected to be grateful to the employer for giving him employment and to depend on his future state for substantial rewards for a life of service. Now he realizes that the labor which the worker gives is equal in value to the employment which he receives. This throwing aside of the submissive spirit has been vital to the perpetuation of democracy. We must not forget that a country's greatness lies not in its trade balances, its gold reserve, or its commercial prosperity, but above and beyond all these in its men, women, and children. Our trade unions, in striving for the welfare of the common people, are organized along the same ideal as the nation."