The Open Shop: Why Is It; Why Should It Prevail?
Publication:
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 24 Mar 1921, p. 129-151


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The Open Shop: Why Is It; Why Should It Prevail?


The relationship between our wants or desires and our capacity to satisfy them as the first and most individual question confronting us. The history of our race one of continual struggle with the forces of nature which yield reluctantly to the labour, knowledge, talent and character of man. Surplus wealth as an essential of economic progress; progress not merely material but cultural and spiritual as well. The curious paradox that our very progress in multiplied capacity for production has made us individually less independent and more inter-dependent. Europe before and after war. Ways in which man is at the bottom of every progress. The need for the principles of such progress to be reflected in any theory that has to do with the co-operation of men in production and distribution of wealth in Canada or America. Defining the employment relation. Two fundamental rights arising out of the necessity of earning a livelihood: that every man is entitled to select and pursue any lawful occupation or business; that he is entitled to advance his interest by entering into any lawful agreement with others which they are willing to make with him free from molestation or arbitrary interference. Our understanding of civil liberty. The development of co-operative work in our society. What such a social association can mean. The nature of organized associations. Our dependency upon agencies that we have created or patronize and upon the uninterrupted and efficient operation of which the continuity of our life and its very character have become dependent. Society possessing not only the right, but the obligation to control its agencies in the public interest. Translating these ideas and phrases into something practical. The speaker discussing a society state in which men are going to co-operate to produce and sustain and develop it. A detailed discussion of capital and labour follows. Defining a "union shop." Defining an "open shop." The meaning of "contract." The issue of collective bargaining. A discussion as to whether the "open shop" is incompatible with collective bargaining. The speaker's contention that economically there must be an open shop, without arbitrary discrimination. Relations between employer and employee. Nature's own law. The inevitable result of monopoly control of opportunity for employment through agreement, as demonstrated by the building trades organizations in particular. Considering whether employment relations can safely be standardized. Noting the contribution to this discussion from the newspapers of this morning. Calling our attention to the important principle asserted by a Minister of Government; the speaker's response to it.