Monday, March 19, 2018

Railroad to Lay Off 200 Men, 1908

From the Orange County Observer, Hillsborough, N.C., Thursday, March 26, 1908. Joseph A. Harris, publisher and owner.
Richmond Times-Dispatch—At a meeting of the executive officers of the Seaboard Air Line at Hamlet on Saturday it was decided not reduce salaries, but 200 men were dropped from the rolls, their wages ranging from $50 to $200.
To say that this wholesale cutting of wages is due solely to the new passenger rate laws in the South would be diverting far from the truth, but employees and officials agree that the crisis was hastened.
“A few nights ago,” said a business man of Alabama at the Jefferson yesterday, “I attended a meeting of the railroad employees, representing a number of lines, at which the wage situation was discussed. It was not a political gathering. Conductors, engineers and others talked clearly of the matters which affected them so vitally, and they asked, ‘Who has benefited by the passenger rate reduction?’ As a conductor expressed it, a rate of one cent would not help anybody when there was nobody to ride. The employees realized that they had to accept the ultimatum, for if they walked out there would be 10 men to fill one place, so they accepted the doctrine that half a loaf was better than no loaf that all.”

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