Thursday, January 24, 2008

Clarence Darrow, Friend Of The Working Class

This post dedicated to David Lucier, District 1199
And His Career Serving Workers And Clients

Editor's Note: Darrow as also known to say, "I'd rather be a friend of the working man than a working man." Along that line, he once responded to a reporter who asked him about the source of his success: "Hard work. When I was a boy my father set me to work on a hot summer day, hoeing potatoes, and, after I had worked for a few hours, I ran away from that hard work, went into the practice of law and have not done any work since."

Darrow On The Closed Shop

In reality the open shop only means the open door through which the union man goes out and the non-union man comes in to take his place. The open shop furnishes, and always has furnished, the best possible means of destroying the organization of men. The closed shops are the only sure protection for the trade agreements and the defense of the individual. The master naturally discharges those who have been most active in the union, who interfere most with his business, who are ever agitating for higher wages, better conditions and shorter hours. He naturally employs those who are most complaisant, those who cannot afford to lose their jobs, those whom he can bring to be dependent on his will. The open shop means uncertainties, anxieties; it is a constant menace to the union man's interest. He understands that his job is dependent upon his lack of interest in the union; men who belong to unions and accept their responsibilities cannot be persuaded to pay dues and make sacrifices for the benefit of the non-union men who work by their sides and who are always the first to claim and receive the benefits of every struggle made by the union, benefits they receive without danger, without labor and without cost. To prevent trade unionism from being conquered in detail, to keep its members from being thrown out through the open door, to maintain the best conditions in shop and mill and factory and strive for others better still, to save the workman from long hours of toil, all these need to the effort of every union man, and without the right to protect themselves in a closed shop by refusing to work with those whose weakness or stupidity make them unfaithful to their class, trade unionism cannot hold that which it has won, still less go forward to greater victories.

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