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Another Tariff Trust

Another Tariff Trust image
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The table glassware industry of the country is entering upon the enjoyment of the tariff spoils which McKinley gave it. Nineteen of the leading establishments in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia have just formed a trust. The duty on plain and ornamental glassware under the old tariff law was 40 per cent., and the manufacture of glassware has developed very rapidly of late years. It is stated by The New York OU, Paint and Drug Reporter that the number of pots at work in this industry has increased 75 per cent. within the past two years. It also reporta that the demand for glassware has increased so greatly that manuf acturers are not af raid to hold their goods for an advance in prices, which is looked for in a short time. The fonnation of the trust will doubtless cause the advance in prices at an earlier day than was expected. In order to make this trust possible McKinley increased the duty ón table glassware to 60 per cent. The old rate haring been 40 per cent. , the new duty is an increase of one-half. It was stated before McKinley's committee that only about $700,000 worth of glassware is imported into this country annually. Thia insignifieant competition the domestic manufacturera wanted to get rid of, and already a trust is the result. In pleading f or the increased protection the inanuf acturers had nrach to say ábout wages in Germany and in America. One of the men heard by the McKinley committee in favor of higher duties on glassware for the benefit of his workmen waa Mr. Gillinder, of Philadelpliia, who admitted that our glassware workmen "do not average over nine months' work in the year." Mr. Gillinder is a benevolent man. He said, "I do not want to see our well paid labor put on the same footing with those who are said to get meat only once a week." Mr. Gillinder knew all abont Germán wages by report. Bat in pleading for higher protection on glassware, in order that he might pay his men better wages, he made one damaging admission, as the following extract froin his testimony wül show: Mr. Flower- Some statement has been made as to the efficiency of the Gerinan labor? Mr. Gillinder - I have not been in Germany inyself, but my brother visited there, and was very much astonished by the skill and quickness displayed by the Germán glass blowers. Mr. McMillin - Does not your competition come more from Germany, where they have a protective tariff , than from England, where they have not? Mr. Gillinder- I think that is true. The reason for that is that labor in England is as two to one in Germany. Where a workman gets $12 in England he gets $6 in Germany. Mr. McMillin - -And yet Germany is protected and England is not. Free trade England pays its glass workers twice as much as Germany, which has a protective duty on glassware ranging as high as $3.50 per 100 pounds, and yet the sanguine Mr. Gillinder ventured to ask for higher duties in behalf of labor. Well, he got his higher duties- and what is the result? Nobody has heard anything of increased wages for glassware workers. On the contrary, one part of the programme of tliis new McKinley trust is to shut down some of the factories whenever prices are not satisfactory. "If at any time business be dull at one of the factories," says thia press dispatch from Pittsburg, "that plant wül close down and its orders be transferrfed to other factories. Should general dullness ensue the trust wil! opérate only as many factories as are necessary." But what will become of the labor, in behalf of wliich such fervent appeala were made before McKinley ? This dispatch states that the uineteen factoriea in the trast employ over 8,000 hands. When '"general dullness" ensues and a number of these hands are thrown out of einployment it will be difficult to persuade thein that the McKinley duties were not secured under false pretences of love for labor. However, the ïnanufacturers will get what they were working for. The dispatch says, "It is expected that this arrangement will brkig about uniform prices." In other words, prices will be higher, labor will partly lose einployment, the consumer will foot the extra büls and McKinleyism and humbuggery will reign supreme. The protectionists are fond of citing the development of the glassware industry as one of the proofs of the beneficent eiïects of protection, and they claim, too, that the rise of the rato oí wages in tliis indnstry is also due to protection. In his "Recent Economie Changes" David A. Wells, the greatest economie writerof America, uiakes some remarks which well exposes the hollowness of this pretensión. He lays down tha general principie that, "while an increasiug cost of labor has been the greatest stimulant to the invention and introduction of labor saving machinery, laboi commands a better price than it was able to do when similar resulte were effected by more imperfect and less economical methods." Then he goes on: "Perhaps the most remar kable illnstration of this is to be found in the experience of the American manufacture of flint glass, in which a reduction, since 1870, of froin 70 to 80 per cent. in the market price of such articles of glasa table ware as goblets, tumblers, wine glasses, bowls, lamps and the like, consequent upon the adoption of methods greatly economizing labor and improving quality, has been accompanied by au increase of f rom 70 to 100 per cent. in wages, with a considerable reduction in the houra of labor."