Skip to main content

Minutes of the IWW Founding Convention - Part 2

CONVENTION

Industrial Workers of the World

FIRST DAY

Tuesday, June 27, 1905

AFTERNOON SESSION—June 27

The convention was called to order at two o’clock, W. D. Haywood in the chair.

The report of the Credentials Committee was called for, but the Committee not being ready to report a recess was taken.

At 2.35 P. M. the convention re-assembled, and W. E. Trautmann read the following report of the Committee on Credentials:

FIRST REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON CREDENTIALS.

The following delegates or unions with full power to install have submitted credentials to the Conference Credentials Committee:

Bakers’ and Confectioners’ Union No. 48, Montreal, Canada, represented by R. J. Kerrigan and W. T. Leach, thirty-five votes.

United Mine Workers’ Union No. 171, forty-three votes.

Industrial Workers Club, Cincinnati, Max Eisenberg, seventy-eight votes.

Industrial Workers Club, Chicago, fifty-four votes.

Workers’ Industrial and Educational Union, Pueblo, Colo., thirty votes.

United Mine Workers of America, Pittsburg, Kan., forty votes.

Western Federation of Miners, 27,000 votes, represented by W. D. Haywood, Chas. H. Moyer, Chas. H. McKinnon, Albert Ryan and J. A. Baker.

United Brotherhood of Railway Employes, represented by J. Fitzgerald, Thos. De Young, E. T. Eastman, A. H. Williamson, J. Churchfield, J. S. McDonald, Fred Dean, M. E. White, Fred Hopkins, Frank McCabe, William Hickey, A. W. Morrow, H. M. Kyle, Wm. Denning, Thos. Hansberry, W. L. Hall, W. L. Bradley, Fred Henion and John Plummer, 2,087 votes.

Journeyman Tailors’ Union of America, No. 102, Pueblo, Colo., ten votes.

United Metal Workers’ International Union of America, 3,000 votes.

Journeyman Tailors’ Protective and Benevolent Union, San Francisco, 400 votes.

American Labor Union, 16,750 votes, represented by Daniel McDonald, William Shurtleff, W. D. Haywood, David C. Coates, John Riordan, Henry S. Davis, Clarence Smith, Charles H. Moyer, F. W. Cronin, Fred Clemens.

Punch Press Operators’ Union, No. 224, Schenectady, N. Y., J. W. Roff, 168 votes.

Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance, 1,450 votes, represented by Duncan McEachren, August Gilihaus, Samuel French. Thos. J. Powers, H. Jackson, Paul Dinger, Theodore Bernine, H. J. Brimble, John T. J. Remley, Joseph Scheidler, Octave M. Held, Daniel De Leon, Carl U. Starkenberg, Walter Goss.

Flat Janitors’ Local Union, Chicago, No. 502, 165 votes, represented by Andrew Anderson and George A. Newmiller.

These are all the delegates with accredited credentials with power to install their respective organizations into this new economic organization.

THE CHAIRMAN: You have heard the report of your Committee on Credentials on the organizations that are empowered to install their national, international and local unions into this industrial movement. What is the pleasure of the convention?

DEL. ALBERT RYAN: I did not hear anything in the report of the Committee about the Mine Workers of Illinois. I would like to ask what is the recommendation of the Committee in reference to the United Mine Workers of Illinois?

DEL. TRAUTMANN: The United Mine Workers of Illinois have no power to install their respective organization, and consequently under the ruling or order of business adopted or suggested by the conferees of January the credentials of the United Mine Workers of Illinois will go to the Committee on Credentials which is finally to be elected by; this convention after the convention constitutes itself as a constitutional body.

DEL. RYAN: After permanent organization?

DEL. TRAUTMANN: After you have a permanent Credential Committee.

Delegate C. W. Sunagel asked a question about some organization, but the question was inaudible at the reporter’s table.

DEL. TRAUTMANN: The credentials from representatives of central bodies will be presented to the permanent committee. We have no power to act because these delegates from the various central bodies either do not represent respective central organizations with power to install or they have no power to install the unions affiliated as a body. For that reason the Committee could not act on their credentials.

DEL. SUNAGEL: The credentials are here and they are entrusted with full power.

DEL. TRAUTMANN: That is understood,, but the American Labor Union is represented by International delegates.

DEL. SUNAGEL: It is the Central Labor Union, I beg your pardon.

DEL. TRAUTMANN: Your credentials will be referred to the permanent Committee that will be selected by this convention. We cannot act upon them.

THE CHAIRMAN: You have heard the report of your Committee on Credentials. What is the pleasure of the convention?

DEL. KLEMENSIC: I move that it be adopted. (Seconded.)

The Chairman: It has been regularly moved and seconded that the report of the Committee on Credentials be adopted. Are you ready for the question?

DEL. H. S. DAVIS: Mr. Chairman, what I want to know is this Supposing this motion now prevails, is it the understanding of the Chairman of this meeting that the American Labor Union then should practically install in the industrial union movement? I want a ruling on that point.

THE CHAIRMAN: Inasmuch as the credentials of the American Labor Union delegates announce that they are instructed to install, the action of the convention at this time will make them a working part of the industrial movement.

DEL. A. M. SIMONS: I think there is a little misunderstanding, and perhaps I may clear it up and may not; but the Committee on Credentials has felt that it itself was a body of persons left over from the old conference, and therefore desires to be very careful about making any decision with regard to those cases that the convention itself might think differently upon, and no person or organization that is not mentioned should consider himself or itself in any way slighted, or consider that the Conference Committee did not consider them equally entitled with other individuals, but simply that we felt that there must be somebody which would make a temporary organization for the purpose of passing on the credentials, and accordingly we arbitrarily decided—I think it was perhaps a little arbitrarily—that those who come here with full power to act were the best persons to take up that first preliminary step in the organization when we are called to order, and all that will be done will be to appoint a committee to which perhaps seventy-five per cent. of the credentials will be presented and on which they can pass. There will be no business done, in all probability, until those other credentials are passed upon. For instance, I myself have no right in this convention at this minute. I am speaking entirely by sufferance. I have to present my credentials and have them passed on the same as anybody else. The same way with Comrades Debs, Trautmann and numerous others. We are still outside of the convention along with you fellows, so don’t worry.

Question called for.

The Chairman: It has been moved and seconded that the report be adopted.

DEL. CRITCHLOW: Do I understand by this proceeding that those who are mentioned as recommended by the Committee have a vote upon this question?

THE CHAIRMAN: I think that the convention will vote upon this question.

DEL. CRITCHLOW: As a whole?

THE CHAIRMAN: As a whole. Those in favor of the motion will signify it by the uplifted right hand. Contrary by the same sign. No votes in opposition. The motion is carried.

At the suggestion of the Chairman, the delegates representing the various organizations favorably passed upon by the Committee on Credentials then seated themselves at the two center tables in order that the active working body of the convention might be distinguished from those persons not yet entitled to seats as delegates.

THE CHAIRMAN: The next order of business will be the action of the unions that have already been installed in regard to the signers of the Manifesto who are not regularly elected delegates. The Secretary will read the names.

Secretary Trautmann: A. M. Simons has handed in his credentials; John M. O’Neil, Mother Jones, W. E. Trautmann, and Eugene V. Debs.

THE CHAIRMAN: What is the pleasure of the delegates in regard to the names as read?

DEL. KIEMENSIC: I move you that all these delegates be accepted by acclamation. (Seconded.)

MR. BARTON, CHICAGO: I make an amendment to that motion, that a Committee be appointed to ascertain who of that number are wage workers, and that those that are not wage workers are not to be accepted. (Seconded.)

A DELEGATE: I rise to a point of order. The gentleman is not a delegate.

THE CHAIRMAN: That is a matter that will be confined to the delegates that have been installed: The amendment to the motion is ruled out of order. The motion is that the names as read be adopted by acclamation. Are you ready for the question? (Question called for). All those seated at these two center tables who are in favor of the motion will signify it by raising their right hands. Contrary by the same sign. One opposing vote. The motion is carried. You will now elect or appoint a Credentials Committee to act on the credentials of the remaining delegates of this convention. What is your pleasure?

DEL. WHITE: I move you that a committee of five be elected to act as a Committee on Credentials of this organization. (Seconded.)

THE CHAIRMAN: It has been regularly moved and seconded that a committee of five be elected as a Credentials Committee. Are you ready for the question?

DEL. COATES: I want to amend the motion to make it “appoint.”

DEL. WHITE: I will accept the amendment. (Amendment seconded.)

THE CHAIRMAN: Those in favor of the motion will signify it by the voting sign. Contrary by the same sign. Carried.

COMMITTEE ON CREDENTIALS.

THE CHAIRMAN: I will appoint as that Committee Delegates White, Clemens, Goss, McKinnon, and Knight.

DEL. SCHATSKI: May I ask what is the duty of this Committee? There are a great many people here; this motion has been passed and they don’t know what the duty of the Committee is. Therefore, I would like the chairman or the man who made the motion to state what is the duty of this Committee.

THE CHAIRMAN: This is a standing Committee of this convention. The duty of the Committee is to act on the delegates that are here representing themselves as individuals, and those who may be fraternal delegates. The Credentials Committee will please come to the platform.

DEL. ALBERT RYAN: I would like to say this: It is a fact that is apparent to all members in this convention that the acoustic properties of this hall are so defective that we cannot properly participate in the action of this convention, which I think is the most important one in the history of labor and the working class. Now sir, I would like to offer you a suggestion that some effort be made whereby every person in attendance at this convention will have the privilege and the opportunity to hear what is being said during our discussions. As the hall is situated to-day we cannot have that privilege. Therefore, I would like to offer a suggestion if it is agreeable to this convention, and that is this, that those who are in the extreme end would move forward a little further and that you drop the curtain and close the doors and exclude anybody not belonging on the floor of this convention, so as to enable everybody to hear what is said or done here. There are very few of those not seated very near the rostrum that can hear what is being said or take an active part in the work coming before us. I therefore offer that as a motion, and if it meets with the approval of any of the delegates here we can do that and won’t have to get up here and holler and strain ourselves all the time.

DEL. KREMLER: So far I have not heard a single word that any of these speakers have said, and I think it is a wise move of these people to raise their voices a little higher so that we can hear. I have not heard a single word of any of those speakers who have spoken.

THE CHAIRMAN: Do I hear a second to that motion? (Motion seconded). It has been moved and seconded that we pull down the curtain. Those in favor of the motion will signify it by the voting sign. Contrary by the same sign. The motion is carried.

Delegate Davis protested against private conversations being carried on on the floor of the convention, preventing delegates from listening to the proceedings. The Chairman requested that as perfect quiet as possible be maintained.

THE CHAIRMAN: If there is no objection, there are a number of telegrams on the Secretary’s desk which he will read at this time.

COMMUNICATIONS.

Secretary Trautmann read a telegram from the Excelsior Educational Society of New York, extending fraternal greetings to the convention.

A motion was made and seconded that the telegram be received and placed on file. There being no objection it was so ordered.

Secretary Trautmann then read a telegram from John J. Kinneally, General Secretary of the Socialist Trades & Labor Alliance, as follows:

New York, June 27.

Mr. Wm. Trautmann, Industrial Union Convention. Corner Clark and Erie Sts.

Dear Sir:—The Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance sends to the Industrial Union convention at Chicago fraternal greetings,, wishing to the convention every measure of success. Industrial unionism must be the unification of the working class, class conscious for the overthrow of the capitalist system, and a death blow to fakirdom and all traitors to the working class. No compromise, but the unconditional surrender of the capitalist class. Yours for the revolution,

John J. Kinneally, Gen. Sec., G. E. B., S. T. & L. A.

On motion the telegram was received and laid over to future business.

CREDENTIALS.

THE CHAIRMAN: What is the pleasure of the convention at the present time?

DEL. M. P. HAGGERTY, REPRESENTING MILL AND SMELTERMEN’S UNION NO. 74, BUTTE, MONT.: I desire to have my credentials read from my union and let this convention pass upon them. I have been selected by my union to represent it here with full power to place it in the industrial movement. Consequently, I want my credentials read for the deliberation of this body to see whether I am a delegate here or not.

DEL. SIMONS: I object to it coming before the convention at this time. There will be a chance to have it come before the Credentials Committee. I do not know anything about the merits of the question, and do not care anything about the merits. I may want to vote directly for the man, but whether I want to vote for you or not, now is not the time to do it. There are a dozen or fifty others to come up just the same. We are going to have a Credentials Committee. Let them pass on it, and then let him come before the convention if he wants to, along with the others, but we cannot stop here and take time over credentials in this form.

DEL. M. P. HAGGERTY: I desire to say that I have been regularly elected by my union, and my credentials should have been read with the first lot presented here. There is no question about this. I am not here as an individual.

DEL. H. S. DAVIS: I take exception to the gentleman’s (Delegate Simons) remark. The Chairman put this question to this body: “What is the pleasure of the convention at the present time?” Delegate Haggerty of the Mill and Smeltermens’ Union No. 74, Butte City, Mont., made a request of this body that his credentials be read. That resolution was adopted, as I am informed, unanimously by his body at their last regular meeting which was held only a few days preceding this meeting, and that body certainly intended that that resolution should be presented here for action.

Now let us have the resolution read and acted upon; either throw it in the waste paper basket or do something with it. Extend to the local, No. 74, Western Federation, the courtesy that is due to that organization. The most progressive body of men in the world, so far as my knowledge goes, is the Western Federation of Miners. They have given their time and their money not only for industrial unionism, but for the emancipation of mankind from one end of this land to the other, and all over the world of industry, in the interest of Socialism and the Co-Operative Commonwealth. That is the body of men that sent Brother Haggerty here with this resolution in his pocket, and I do not see that we can do anything else but have it read and acted upon. Inasmuch as there is nothing else before the house at the present time let us act upon it now, the ever-living question that confronts us.

THE CHAIRMAN: Just a moment. I will ask that no other delegate will take the floor unless there is something before the convention. The brother spoke at some considerable length, by sufferance, and it was with the expectation on my part that he was going to make a motion. He sat down, and there is still nothing before the convention.

DEL. DAVIS: Then I will make a motion. and you can rule it out. I move that the resolution be read and acted upon by this convention at this time.

The motion was seconded and carried, and the Secretary read the credentials in question, as follows:

“Credentials of Delegates to Industrial Conference.

“To Whom It May Concern: This is to certify that at a regular meeting of Mill and Smeltermens’ Union No. 74, Western Federation of Miners, located at Butte, Mont., Brother Michael P. Haggerty, a member of this union in good standing, was elected as an instructed delegate to represent the above-named union at the Industrial Convention to be held in the City of Chicago, June 27, 1905, and is authorized to place said union in the industrial organization. It is hereby further certified that Brother John P. Mahoney was elected as alternate to Brother Michael P. Haggerty.

“In Testimony Whereof, the seal of the union is affixed and the signatures of the officers attached thereto.

“Dated at Butte, Mont., this 17th day of June, 1905.

“C. B. Mahoney, Secretary,

“H. F. Schurtz, President.”

THE CHAIRMAN: You have heard the reading of this credential. What is the pleasure of the convention?

DEL. DE LEON: In view of the fact that the rules under which we are called provide that all the delegates who have been instructed to unite in this body shall be seated in the convention, I am at a loss to understand why the delegate’s name was not read at first and he seated at this middle table. Therefore I move you that the delegate be seated. (Motion seconded.)

Motion put and carried.

DEL. M. P. HAGGERTY: Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: I desire to thank you sincerely. It shows that you are disposed to be fair.

A Delegate: To show you how we are disposed to be fair, we have given the gentleman two votes, one in the general organization and one in the union.

DEL. M. P. HAGGERTY: I hope it will be used all right.

A DELEGATE: A point of information. I understand that Brother Haggerty has been seated as a delegate in this convention. Isn’t that the action?

THE CHAIRMAN: By your votes you have seated Brother Haggerty as a delegate in this convention.

DEL. HALL: I would like to ask for information: is the vote of this union to be cast by him and be still represented in the vote cast by the general Western Federation of Miners?

THE CHAIRMAN: That is a question to be determined by this convention. The question has been asked of the chair as to whether or not the delegate whom you have just seated will cast the vote of his union, and if the delegates of the Western Federation of Miners will duplicate that vote. Now that is a question for the convention to determine. In the opinion of the chair this number of votes that is represented by No. 74 should be deducted from the total number of votes that will be cast by the general delegation of the Western Federation of Miners.

DEL. MARTIN: I move that the number of votes that he represents as a delegate be deducted from the total of 27,000 of the Western Federation of Miners. (Seconded.)

THE CHAIRMAN: While the motion is in order, it occurs to me that that is a question that might properly be settled after all of the delegates come into the convention. There are quite a number of delegates that are here to be admitted. However, if you wish him at the middle tables, we can dispose of him at this time.

A DELEGATE: I believe the chair’s decision is correct on that question.

DEL. SULLIVAN: I move that it is the sense of this convention that the Credentials Committee be instructed to deduct the number of votes that No. 74, Western Federation of Miners, is entitled to, from the total stated in the general credentials, and that 74’s vote be accredited to Brother Haggerty.

THE CHAIRMAN: Brother Sullivan, you place me under the painful necessity of ruling you out of order, inasmuch as your credentials have not yet been acted on by the Credentials Committee. (Laughter.)

DEL. SULLIVAN: Is the convention organized?

THE CHAIRMAN: The convention is organized as far as the unions that have been instructed to install their organizations are concerned, and these unions are now acting on you folks on this side and that side (indicating the outer tables). If there are any motions to be made until the report of this Credential Committee, they will only be considered from those selected and accredited right in the middle.

DEL. SULLIVAN: Then it rests with the convention until their credentials have been accepted?

THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

DEL. SULLIVAN: Very well.

DEL. HOPKINS: I move that this motion that has been made in regard to the deduction of Brother Haggerty’s vote from the Western Federation of Miners be laid over until we form a permanent organization; that is, until the credentials on the other side have been acted upon, and we can settle it then. (Seconded.)

DEL. FRENCH: I understand that motion to mean that we will leave the question of deciding the position of Brother Haggerty, and whether he shall cast a single vote or whether he shall cast the vote of his union, or whether the vote of his union shall be cast by the national delegates, until the convention is fully organized. If that is the sense of the motion I will second it.

DEL. SCHATSKI: I believe that this convention ought to start out on the Manifesto just the way it is here.

DEL. FRENCH: I rise to a point of order. I suggest that the proceedings be confined to the delegates.

THE CHAIRMAN: Just a moment. The question before the convention at this time is that the matter of deciding where the vote of Delegate Haggerty will be placed shall be left in abeyance until such time as the organization is perfected. You have heard the motion. Are you ready for the question? (Question called for.) All those in favor of the motion will signify it by saying aye. Contrary, no. The motion is carried.

Delegate Schatski remained standing.

THE CHAIRMAN: Now, Brother Schatski, if it is the sense of the convention, that is that much of the convention as is already organized, that you should discuss any proposition, I would have no hesitancy in permitting you to do so. But I think not, and I would rule you out of order until this much of the convention grants you permission.

DEL. SCHATSKI: That may probably be, but I want to say a few words, as this is a thing—

THE CHAIRMAN: Just take your seat a moment. To avoid any unnecessary wrangling, as there is but very little business that can be accomplished by the convention, the chair will declare a recess until the Committee is ready to report.

The convention then at 3.30 P. M. took a recess.

At 4.25 the convention was called to order again and the Chairman announced that the Credentials Committee would not be ready to report for at least an hour.

The following telegram was read from San Francisco:

“To Chairman Industrial Convention: At a mass meeting held under the auspices of the S. L. P., 500 workers send greeting and their support. (Signed) Siebert.”

The reading of the telegram was greeted with applause.

On motion the convention then adjourned until to-morrow (Wednesday) morning at nine o’clock.