Publication information

Railway Conductor
Source type: journal
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: none
Author(s): Dwyer, John
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 18
Issue number: 10
Pagination: 790-91

Dwyer, John. [untitled]. Railway Conductor Oct. 1901 v18n10: pp. 790-91.
resolutions (labor organizations); McKinley assassination (public response: Washington, DC); McKinley assassination (personal response); William McKinley (political character); John Dwyer; McKinley assassination (personal response: criticism); Theodore Roosevelt (public statements).
Named persons
Samuel Gompers; William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt; William Welch.
The letter (below) is identified as being written at Washington, DC. It appears in a section of the journal titled “Fraternal” (pp. 786-97).


Editor Railway Conductor:
     At a regular meeting of Division 378, September 15, a preamble and resolutions were adopted denouncing the assassination of President McKinley and expressing sympathy for his loving wife and relatives. We mourn with them in the loss of our friend and President. Every labor organization in this city has passed similar resolutions through their president, Samuel Gompers, of the Federated Trades Unions, including the Machinists’ Union. It speaks well for organized labor to be so loyal and patriotic in this hour of the country’s sorrow, on account of losing the greatest friend to organized labor that ever sat in the presidential chair. Wm. McKinley was the one President and the only President that ever met organized labor on the level. He sat alongside of our Grand Chief Conductor at Chicago at a called meeting of the four railroad organizations and addressed them on the labor question. He should be remembered in the hearts of all organized railroad men, as he believed in labor organizations. The writer was in front of the Washington Post building on the evening of the assassination at Buffalo and the bulletins were sent to the multitude of people on the streets below when the writer overheard a very pompous and corpulent individual talking in a very loud voice, saying that organized labor was to blame for this. I finally worked my way over among the crowd and called him down in some plain language, more forcible than polite, winding up with telling him that organized labor was the means of keeping down anarchy; also that organized labor got all the reforms for labor that the government employe [sic] was now enjoying—eight hours for a day’s work, thirty days annually with pay, and several other reforms too numerous to mention. The world is just full of such men as this mouthy individual, thinking he might make a hit to knock on organized labor. Organized labor throughout the country should express themselves against anarchy, then when the Fifty-seventh Congress meets next December our lawmakers will know that organized labor is back of them in passing an immigration law, also a law that will root out all kinds of anarchists from our fair land. We are compelled to pass such laws or the greatest country on earth would be a failure.
     Brother Welch, your letter puts me to thinking if our Grand Division headquarters was in this capital city of this great country and one of our Brothers in Mexico should make an appeal for help through our Grand Chief Conductor in Washington, how easy it would be for him to make a visit to the President, stating his case. And all the Brothers believe that he would get a hearing, saying that he would have the Secretary of State attend to the matter immediately. That alone would be cause enough for the Grand Division at Pittsburg [sic] in 1903 to move the Grand Division headquarters to Washington, D. C. We will say some great emergency calls for the voice of all organized labor, if all organized labor had their headquarters here, how easy it would be to get returns from the several subordinate Divisions and lodges. Brothers, labor is looking for just such a grand move. There are so many people in this country that knocks on organized labor to the employer that when an opportunity occurs, like the assassination of our President by a confessed [790][791] anarchist, that is against labor organizations, they should take advantage of the opportunity to show ignorant people that organized labor is for good government, good wages and organizations, and, as President Roosevelt said the other day to two laboring men that approached him, on asking him if he was not afraid to be stopped, “No, indeed,” he replied, “you men are our protection, and the foul deed of Friday will only make you more vigorous in protecting those whom you elect to office.”