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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
JAMES J. DAVIS, Secretary

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
ETHELBERT STEWART, Commissioner

BU LLETIN OF TH E U N ITED S T A T E S )
BUREAU OF LABOR S T A T IS T IC S

]

{No. 349

M I S C E L L A N E O U S

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS IN THE
WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY




By C LO IC E R . H O W D

DECEMBER, 1923

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1924




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PREFACE.

In an endeavor to adjust the problems of industrial relations, the
West Coast lumber industry has undertaken a most important experi­
ment in industrial democracy— the Loyal Legion of Loggers and
Lumbermen. This organization grew out of a strike which was, in
many ways, unique in American industrial history. This is a study
of the conditions out of which it arose and of the problems it is
attempting to solve.
The West Coast, the region with which this study is primarily con­
cerned, is the name given in lumbering circles to that section of the
Pacific coast where the Douglas fir is the characteristic timber tree.
While the fir belt extends north into British Columbia, ordinarily
the name West Coast is restricted to that portion of the belt which
lies within the United States. The district comprises approximately
that part of the States of Washington and Oregon lying west of the
crest of the Cascade Mountains, excepting the upper Rogue River
Valley in Southern Oregon, where, especially in Jackson County,
the conditions more closely resemble those of the eastern part of the
State. It is seldom possible to consider this district without some
reference to other regions. In particular, reference must frequently
be made to the conditions in the eastern part of the two States and
in Idaho,1 less often to conditions and developments in California,
the Lake States, or the South.
It is a superficial and an essentially false analysis of the causes of the
labor disturbances before and during 1917 to attribute them to union
or radical propaganda or to the wickedness or ignorance of individual
employers or employers’ associations. The roots lie much deeper,
in the very texture of the industry itself. The chief causes of unrest
and conflict have been with regard to hours of work and, especially
in the logging camps, to the living conditions. In nearly every
instance each side could make out an extremely good case for itself.
The employees claimed that the nature of the work in the woods and
mills was such that eight hours was as long as any man should work.
Many of the employers admitted this but insisted that competition
with the South, where the working day was 10 or 12 hours, was so
intense that a regional eight-hour day would wreck the industry on
the West Coast. The employees demanded living conditions in the
logging camps more nearly approaching those of the men who lived
in towns. The employers agreed to the justice of the demands in
principle, but argued that it would mean financial ruin to spend
anything more on camps which, at best, were only temporary, and,
also, that the men would not keep a camp decent no matter how
well it had been prepared for them.
In order to get behind these seemingly irreconcilable differences,
it has been necessary to examine the industry itself, particularly the
financial conditions and the kind of work the men do. The method
o f presentation has been determined by this consideration.
As a

i This section east of the Cascades is usually called the “Inland Empire.’




m

IY

PREFACE.

background for the study, Chapter I shows how the shifting of lumber
production in the United States has made possible the development
of a great lumber industry on the West Coast. The record of this
development is presented in Chapter II. An analysis of the internal
financial organization of. the industry is made in Chapter III, in an
endeavor to discover the ability of the employers to grant the reason­
able demands of the workers. In Chapter IV the technology of the
industry is examined in order to see what demands it makes upon the
employees. The next chapter, V, discusses the hours, rates of wages,
and working and living conditions, and diagnoses the actual situation
against which the men have been protesting. Chapter VI is a study
of the various types of employee psychology, as those types have
developed in the environment furnished by the lumber industry in
this region. Chapters VII to X II give a history of the various
organized or articulate protests of the employees and the reactions
of the employers. In the final chapter an estimate of the signifi­
cance and worth of the various efforts discussed in the six preceding
chapters is attempted.




CONTENTS.
Page
Chapter I.—Migrations of the lumber industry in the United States................ 1-10
Atlantic Coast...........................................................................................................
1-3
Great Lakes States..................................................................................................
3,4
South Atlantic and Gulf coasts.............................................................................
4
West Coast................................................................................................................
4
Lumber production and timber resources..........................................................
4-6
Lumber prices..........................................................................................................
6-8
Conservation and reforestation...........................................................................
8-10
Chapter II.—Development of the lumber industry on the West Coast............. 11-16
Early sawmills.......................................................................................................... 11,12
First survey of lumber industry............................................................... ........... 12,13
Types and equipment of sawmills........................................................................ 13,14
Production of lumber, 1859 to 1869...................................................................... 14,15
Influence of railroad building on lumber industry.......................................
15,16
Growth of the industry since 1879........................................................................
16
Chapter I II.—Financial instability..................................................................... ... 17-28
Fluctuations in lumber prices.............................................................................. 18-20
Average cost of production..................................................................................... 21, 22
Fluctuation, in profits............................................................................................. 22,23
Statistics of costs, returns, and profits................................................................. *23-25
Obstacles to stabilization of industry.................................................................. 25-27
Heavy overhead charges................................................................................. 25, 26
Irregularity of operation.................................................................................
26
Competition......................................................................................................
27
Results of financial instability.............................................................................. 27, 28
Chapter IV .—Technology...............
29-37
Logging....................1................................................................................................ 29-32
Felling................................................................................................................
30
Bucking..............................................................................................................
30
Yarding.............................................................................................................. 30-32
Loading and transportation............................................................................
32
Sawmill..................................................................................................................... 33-37
Head sawing...................................................................................................... 33, 34
Slashing.............................................................................................................
34
Edging.......................................................................................................... . .
34
Gang sawing..................................................................................................
34
Trimming...........................................................................................................
34
Green lumber sorting......................................................................................
35
Kiln drying and planing.................................................................................
35
Disposition of waste.....................................................................................
35
35
Power..........................................
Inspecting, grading, and tallying..................................................................
36
Shingle mills..................................................................................................... 36, 37
Chapter V .—Extent and causes of labor unrest........... .......................................... 38-44
Extent of labor turnover... ................................................................................... 38, 39
Causes of labor turnover......................................................................................... 39-44
Hours of labor...................................................................................................
40
Wages................................................................................................................. 40,41
Insanitary camps............................................................................................. 41-43
Lack of family and community life .............................................................
43
Unsatisfactory relations with foremen.......................................................... 43, 44
Chapter V I.—The workers.......................................................................................... 45-54
Nationality or race..................................................................................................
45
Skill and wage levels.............................................................................................. 45,46
Social viewpoints.................................................................................................... 46-54
The stump rancher.......................................................................................... 47, 48
The ambitious worker..................................................................................... 48,49
The typical lumberjack.................................................................................. 49, 50
The migratory worker..................................................................................... 50-53
Intelligence study of migratory workers.............................................. 51-53
The h ob o ................................................. ........................... ....... - ................... 53, 54




v

VI

CONTENTS.
Page.

Chapter V II.— Labor unions affiliated with the American Federation of
Labor........................................................ ..................................................................... 55-61
International Shingle Weavers' LTnion of Am erica....................................... 55-57
International Brotherhood of Woodsmen and Sawmill Workers....................
57
International Union of Timber Workers...................... . .................................... 57-60
Reorganization of International Shingle Weavers’ Union of America.......... 60, 61
New International Union of Timber Workers...................................................
61
Chapter V III.— Industrial Workers of the W orld.................................................. 62-69
Principles and attitude of the I. W. W .............................................................. 62-64
Organization on the West Coast........................................................................... 64, 65
Strikes....................................................................................................................... 65,67
Change in method of organization.......... .......... .................................................. 67-68
Formation of Lumber Workers’ Industrial Union No. 500..............................
69
Chapter IX .—The 1917 lumber workers’ strike..................................................... 70-76
Beginning of strike.................................................................................................
70
Spread of strike to West Coast.............................................................................. 70-72
Extent of strike....................................................................................................... 72, 73
The eight-hour day issue.......................................................................................
73
Intervention of the Government........................................................................ 73, 74
Termination of strike............................................................................................. 74, 75
I. W. W. “ strike on the jo b ” ............................................................................ 75, 76
Chapter X .— Organization of Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen..........77-85
Object of organization................................................................................
77
Recruiting methods................................................................................................ 78, 79
Establishment of eight-hour day......................................... •
............................... 79, 80
Regulations as to wages and living conditions.................................................. 80, 81
Development of organization................................................................................ 81, 82
Provisions of constitution...................................................................................... 82-84
Accomplishments during first year..... . ............................................................... 84,85
Chapter X I .— Development of Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen....... 86-96
Reorganization after the w ar................................................................................
86
General principles of organization....................................................................... 86, 87
Jurisdiction and membership...............................................................................87, 88
88
Form of organization.............................
Miscellaneous provisions of new constitution....................................................
88
Four L Bulletin....................................................................................................... 88, 89
Extension of organization.....................................................................................
89
Opposition to organization.................................................................................... 89, 90
Ladies’ Loyal Legion..............................................................................................
90
Determination of minimum wage........................................................................ 90-93
Extent of adoption of eight-hour day.................................................................. 93, 94
Attitude as to increased efficiency...................................................................... 94,95
Adjustment of differences......................................................................................
95
Activities and achievements................................................................................ 95, 96
Chapter X I I .—The rivals of the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen.. 97-105
Amalgamation of Shingle Weavers’ and Timber Workers’ Unions................
97
Growth of new Timber Workers’ U nion.............................................................. 97-101
The I. W. W ........................\ .............................................................................. 101,102
Shop committee plan.......................................................................................... 102,103
Cooperative movement....................................................................................... 103-105
Chapter X I I I .—A constructive industrial program........................................... 106-116
Stages in industrial and commercial developm ent....................................... 106,107
Stages of development of West Coast lumber industry................................. 107,108
Industrial relations.............................................................................................. 108-116
109
Fundamental issues between employer and employees...........................
Types of industrial relationships............................................................... 109-116
Open shop.............................................................................................. 109,110
Collective bargaining through labor unions .................................... 110, 111
Shop committee.................................................................................... I l l , 112
The Four L plan................................................................................... 113-116
A ppendix —Bibliography.......................................................................................... 117-120




BULLETIN OF THE

U. S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
no.

349

WASHINGTON

De c e m b e r , 1923

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS IN THE WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.
CHAPTER I.— MIGRATIONS OF THE LUMBER INDUSTRY IN
THE UNITED STATES.
ATLANTIC COAST.

The lumber industry in the United States, like many of its workers,
has been migratory, and the causes for the migration of both have been
much the same. Neither has made adequate provision for the future;
both have enj oyed the present with little thought of to-morrow. When
the settlement of North America began, the pioneers found the country
covered with immense forests. North of Chesapeake Bay the timber
was largely white pine and hardwood, with much spruce and hemlock,
but only the pine and the best of the oak were thought to be worth
anything. The white pine was the king of the forests, and in all the
country there was no tree which could compare with it in size or use­
fulness. Growing straight and tall, the “ pumpkin pine,” as the
largest were called, sometimes reached a diameter of 7 feet and a
height of 250 feet, although the usual size of mature trees was about
4 to 6 feet in diameter and 150 feet tall. These trees were fit for
masts for the “ king’s navy,” a use to which many of them were put.1
*
The export of lumber from the United States began in 1608, when
a cargo of sawn boards was shipped from Jamestown to England.
This lumber was whip or pit sawn; that is, it was sawn into boards
with a straight saw worked bv two men. The top sawyer stood on
the log, which had been hewn flat on both top and bottom, and guided
the saw along a chalk mark, while the pit sawyer was underneath the
log, often in a pit, and furnished a large part of the cutting power.3
But this method of sawing lumber was too slow to suit the colonists,
and a few years later they were building sawmills. We are not certain
when or where the first sawmill in the United States was built. New
York claims the honor for three mills built there by the Dutch in
1623, while York, Me., claims that a mill was built there in that year.
These records are somewhat uncertain, but there is good evidence that
a sawmill was built at South Berwick, Me., in 1631 or 1632. From
that date until the present sawmilling has been one of the first indus­
1 U. S. Forest Service Bui. No. 34, History of the lumber industry in the State of New York, by Wm. F
Fox. pp. 3-10; U. S. Forest Service Bui. No. 99, Uses of the commercial woods in the United States: Pines,
by W. L. Hall and Hu Maxwell, p. 35; History of the lumber industry in America, by J. E. Defebaugh,
Chicago, 1906, vol. 1, pp. 301-303.
* Economic history o f the United States, by T. W Van Metre, N. Y., 1921, p. 58: U. S. Forest Service Bui.
No. 34, History of the lumber industry in the State of New York, by Wm. F. Fox, p. 12.




1

2

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

tries to be established in each new community in the United States,
except, of course, in those places so unfortunate as to have no forests.3
Unfortunately, we do not know exactly how these early sawmills
were built. They were usually run by water power. One of the
earliest types of saw recorded was a straight saw about 6 feet long,
with the lower end attached to a rod connected with a crank on the
water-wheel shaft. This was the prototype of the kind of power
transmission now used on the gang saw. The upper end of the saw
was fastened to a spring pole which kept the saw taut on the upward
stroke. The saw was the only piece of machinery in the mill, and the
log was moved against it by hand. The next development came when
the saw was set in a frame or sash where it was held taut while the
frame moved up and down on the same principle as the modern gang
saw. The gang saw had its inception when it was found that where
sufficient power was available several saws could be set in the same
frame, with a corresponding increase in cutting speed. Later it was
found that by using a very heavy and stiff saw and placing guide
blocks along it the frame could be dispensed with and greater speed
attained. This was called a “ muley” saw. It was said of the sash
saw that it “ went up to-day and down to-morrow,” but even then
it cut twice as fast as the spring-pole saw. The muley saw had a
cutting speed at least twice as great as the sash saw, and for many
years was able to hold its place beside the circular saw. The sashsaw mills could cut 1,000 or 2,000 board feet of lumber per day, and
in exceptional cases as much as 3,000 feet.4
Logging was very primitive. Felling and bucking (cutting into
log lengths) were both done with the ax, which had but a single bit.
The logs were usually snaked to the mills; less often, they were rolled.
Of course, with such methods of transport, logs were not moved far,
and nothing but the best was used.5 It was long afterwards that
water transport was begun.
As early as 1650 many people in New England had begun to fear
that the forests would soon be gone, and steps were taken to protect
them. Years later Joshua McGee set these fears at rest by assuring
the fearful that America’s forests extended along the coast for 300
or 400 miles and inland for about 15 miles. With this assurance
of a perpetual supply of timber, lumbering once more went merrily
on.6 Before 1750 most of the lumber used in the colonies was cut
near where it was used. It was easier to move the mill than to haul
lumber or timber, and water power was usually present wherever
lumber was needed. There was, however, a considerable amount of
lumber exported, particularly from Maine. By the close of the
Revolutionary War the growth of the larger towns had developed
markets which had exhausted the near-by timber, and lumber was
often brought long distances by water. Lumber for New York
City came from the Hudson River Valley. It was rafted down the
river to Albany and shipped from there by boat to New York.
- History of the lumber industry in America, by J. E. Defebaugh, Chicago, 1906, vol. 2, pp. 6-8; U. S.
Forest Service Bui. No. 34, History of the lumber industry in the State of New York, by Wm. F. Fox,
p. 11 et seq.
4U. S. Forest Service Bui. No. 34, History of the lumber industry in the State of New York, by Wm. F.
Fox, pp. 13, 22; History of the lumber industry in America, by J. E. Defebaugh, Chicago, 1906, vol. 2, p. 7
et seq.; “ Saws/’ by R. Grimshaw, in Journal of Franklin Institute, January, 1880, pp. 25-41; “ American
machinery for sawings logs,” by J. Richards, in Engineering Magazine, March, 1899, pp. 932-946.
6 U. S. Forest Service Bui. No. 34, History of the lumber industry in the State of New York, by Wm. F




MIGRATIONS OR TH E LUMBER INDUSTRY.

3

Philadelphia and the cities of Chesapeake Bay received lumber
rafted down the rivers from Pennsylvania and southern New York.
It was easier to raft the lumber to market than to float the logs
down the river and saw them where the lumber was needed.7

Near the close of the eighteenth century settlement began west
of the Appalachian Mountains and the sawmill was not long in
following. By 1805 there were many mills in the western part of
New York. These mills rafted their lumber down the Allegheny,
Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. There was still
plenty of timber in the East, and lumber was cut in the West purely
for local use. Down the Allegheny and the Ohio Rivers moved the
mills, following closely the hunter and the trapper, until by 1820 the
sound of the sawmill was familiar throughout the Ohio Valley.
A little later settlements on the Great Lakes made possible the
beginning of lumber production in the pine forests, and it was not
long until western lumber began to enter the eastern markets.
When the first shipment of Michigan pine was able to compete
with New York pine in New York City a new era had opened in the
lumber industry.8
GREAT LAKES STATES.

By 1865 the timber of the Atlantic coast was so far exhausted that
lumber could no longer be supplied in the required amounts. The
rice accordingly increased until it was possible to meet the demand
y shipping lumber from Michigan. While such shipments began
before 1850, it was not until after 1860 that they became important.
During the decade 1860-1870 the production of lumber in Michigan
increased so rapidly that that State rose from third to first place
as a lumber producer in the United States, crowding Pennsylvania
and New York from first and second places into second and third.9

E

It took a generation for the lumber industry to get well started
in the Lake States and to develop the machinery to reap prop­
erly the harvest which nature had provided in the immense white-

ine forests of the
and
E been brought toregion. By 1865of the circularwhile gang saws
ad
a high degree
efficiency,
steam was
available for all the power requirements of the mills. In the log­
ging camps steam skidding was unknown and the logging railroad
was just coming into use. However, the lack was not felt, as logs
could readily be hauled to the streams and then driven (floated) to
the mills. Railroads and lake steamers were ready to carry the lum­
ber to every part of the country where a rapidly growing population
and developing industry were demanding lumber in ever increasing
quantities. Between 1865 and 1905 the lumbermen swept across
Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota like a whirlwind, laying waste
with ax and fire that mighty pine forest, until by 1905 all that re­
mained were small fragments of the original forests and hundreds
of miles of stumps. Little thought was taken of to-morrow and
conservation was scarcely dreamed of. The lumbermen were
prodigal of timber in the woods and mills, while fire was permitted
i U. S. Forest Service Bui. No. 34, History of the lumber industry in the State of New York, by Wm.
F. Fox, pp. 17-19.
8 History of the lumber industry in America, by J. E. Defebaugh, Chicago, 1906, vol. 1, p. 312; U. S.
Forest Service Bui. No. 34, History of the lumber industry in the State of New York, by wm. F. Fox,
p. 18: U. S. Forest Service Bui. No. 99, Uses of the commercial woods in the United States: Pines, by
W. L. Hall and Hu Maxwell, p. 39.
J
8 Le Bow’s Review, New Orleans, May, 1853, p. 502. See Table 1




4

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

to run through hundreds of miles of virgin forests. By 1910 the
forests were so far gone that the Lake States ceased to be the center
of the lumber industry. During the decade 1899 to 1909, the three
States dropped from the rank of first, second, and third to eighth,
tenth, ana twelfth, while white pine ceased to govern the lumber
markets. Now that each State nas begun to import much of the
lumber needed, the lumbermen are becoming more conservative
and timber is being carefully guarded.1
0
SOUTH ATLANTIC AND GULF COASTS.

The lessened volume of production in the Lake States after about
1900 caused another increase in lumber prices. This stimulated the
development of the industry in the South, along the South Atlantic
and Gulf coasts. While there had been cutting for local needs there
since the seventeenth century, it was not until after 1890 that
southern yellow-pine lumber became an important factor in the
lumber markets of the country. As late as 1880 nearly all the
timber cut in the whole region was cut near the Atlantic coast. In
1879 the whole South cut only a little more timber than Pennsylvania
and about half as much as Michigan. Since then the industry there
has expanded rapidly until at present nearly half of the lumber
manufactured in the United States is sawn south of the Mason and
Dixon Line. Yellow pine has been king for two decades and now
furnishes nearly two-fifths of the lumber used in the country.1
1
W E ST COAST.

The increase in lumber prices about 1900 also stimulated the
development of the lumber industry on the West Coast. As the price
of Minnesota white pine increased, the region in which fir could com­
pete with it broadened. Gradually the Dakotas and Nebraska began
to look to the West Coast for lumber. With the further depletion of
the Lake forests the market areas widened, while the more recent
diminution in the supply of southern pine caused another expansion
of markets for western lumber.
LUMBER PRODUCTION AND TIM BER RESOURCES.

Tables 1, 2, and 3,1 give a synoptical view of the movements of the
2
lumber industry in the United States since 1849. The regions
referred to in Tables 2 and 3 are as follows: Northeastern States: New
England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and
Maryland; Central States: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, West
Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee; Lake States: Michigan, Wis­
consin, and Minnesota; Southern States: Virginia, the Carolinas,
Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas,
and Oklahoma; Pacific States: Washington, Oregon, California, and
Nevada; Rocky Mountain States: Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colo­
rado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico; Other States: Iowa, Kansas,
Nebraska, the Dakotas, and District of Columbia.
1 see Tables 2 and 3.
0

11 See Table 3.
12 U. S. Department

of Agriculture Bui. No. 845, Production of lumber, lath, and shingles in 1918,
p. 15; U. S. Bureau of the Census, Census of 1920, Lumber, lath, and shingles, p. 4.




5

MIGRATIONS OF TH E LUMBER INDUSTRY.

T able l.-C I I I E F LUMBER PRODUCING STATES IN EACH CENSUS Y EA R 1849 TO 1919.
Rank in production of lumber.
Year.

New Y ork............. Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania....... ! New York
Michigan..
Pennsylvania....... \New York.
1889.................................................................. .........do............... . ..' Wisconsin.............
1899.................................. .............................. ' Wisconsin.........
1909.................................. .............................. j Washington.... . , .1 Louisiana...........
1919__________________ ________________ 1
____ do ~______ . . J ____do___________

i

1

Pennsylvania.
Minnesota.
Mississippi.
Oregon.

T able 2.—MILLION BOARD FEET OF LUMBER CUT IN SPECIFIED REGIONS OF THE
UNITED STATES IN EACH CENSUS Y EAR, 1849 TO 1919.
18491

18591

1869

Northeastern States.......................................... 2,740
930
Central States...................................................
315
Lake States.......................................................
680
Southern States................................................
295
Pacific States....................................................
Rocky Mountain States...................................
40
Other States.....................................................

2,960
1,688
1,088
1,424
512
8
320

4,557 4,642
2,284 3,349
3,592 6,279
1,288 2,498
664
558
154
59
417
505

4,726 5,709 5,197
3,130 5,643 5,487
8,251 8,750 5,476
4,846 11,116 19,973
2,028 2,901 6,906
249
556 1,292
612
402
179

2,584
3,016
2,692
16,078
8,818
1,299
65

8,000 12,755 18,091

23,842 35,077 44,510

34,552

Region.

Total....................................................... 5,000

1879

1889

1899

1909

1919

i
The figures for total volume of lumber cut in 1849 and 1859 are estimates by R. S. Kellogg, in “ Lumber
production of the United States,” in Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention of the National Lumber
Manufacturers’ Association, 1910, p. 96. The figures for cut by regions were computed on the basis of
the proportion shown in Table 3 and on the value of cut rather than on volume as for the years 1869 to 1919.
T able 3.—PER CENT OF LUMBER CUT IN SPECIFIED REGIONS OF THE UNITED STATES
IN EACH CENSUS YEAR, 1849 TO 1919.
Region.

1849

1859

1869

1879

1889

1899

1909

54.8
18.6
6.3
13.6
5.9
.8

37.0
21.1
13.6
17.8
6.4
.1
4.0

35.7
17.9
28.2
10.1
4.4
.5
3.3

25.8
18.4
34.7
13.8
3.6
.9
2.8

19.8
13.1
34.6
20.3
8.5
1.1
2.6

16.3
16.1
24.9
31.7
8.3
1.6
1.1

11.7
12.3
12.3
44.9
15.5
2.9
.4

7.5
8.7
7.8
46.6
25.5
3.8
.2

Total........................................................ 100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Northeastern States..........................................
Central States....................................................
Lake States.......................................................
Southern States................................................
Pacific States....................................................
Rocky Mountain States...................................
Other States.....................................................

1919

An examination of Tables 2 and 3 shows that while the proportion
of lumber cut in the older regions has declined, there has been until
very recently a continuous increase in the amount cut in those
regions. During the past decade, however, there has been a definite
falling off in actual cut in every region east of the Rocky Mountains.
The rapid depletion of eastern forests means that more and more the
country must depend upon the forests of the West for its lumber.
Table 4 shows the original and present stands of timber in each
forest region of the country.




6

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

T able

4.—ORIGINAL AND

PRESENT STANDS OF TIMBER IN SPECIFIED REGIONS
THE UNITED STATES.!
Region.

OF

Original stand. Present stand.2

Million board
feet.
Northeastern and Lake States.....................................................................
Central States................................................................................................
Southern States............................................................................................
................................
Rocky Mountain States....................................
Pacific States................................................................................................

1,000,000
1.400.000
1,000,000
400,000
1.400.000

Total....................................................................................................

5,200,000

Million board
feet.

204,766
144,470
501,485
223,141
1,141,031

2,214,893

1 U. S. Forest Service, Circular No. 166, Timber supply of the United States by R. S. Kellogg, pp. 3-5,
and Timber depletion, lumber prices, lumber exports, and concentration of timber ownership, Washing­
ton, 1920, p. 34.
2 Much of the present stand, particularly in the Eastern States, is second-growth timber and inferior in
quality to the original stand.

At the present time the United States is consuming about
56,000,000,000 feet of saw timber (timber which could be sawn
into lumber) annually, although only about 35,000,000,000 feet are
actually cut •into lumber. Of this amount about 40,000,000,000
feet comes from virgin stands and 16,000,000,000 feet from stands
of immature and second-growth timber. To offset this enormous
drain we are growing only about 10,000,000,000 feet annually, and
this is usually much inferior in grade to the virgin timber. Table 5
shows the relation in 1919 between the cutting of timber for lumber
and timber growth in the various sections of the country, but takes
no account of timber used other than for lumber.
T able 5.—LUMBER CUT AND TIMBER GROWTH IN SPECIFIED REGIONS, 1919.1

Lumber cut.

Growth of saw
timber.

Board feet.

Region.

Board feet.

Northeastern States...................................................................................... 2.583.873.000
Central States................................................................................................ 3.015.887.000
Lake States................................................................................................... 2.691.868.000
Southern States............................................................................................ 16.078.635.000
8.818.321.000
Pacific States................................................................................................
1.298.684.000
Rocky Mountain States...............................................................................
64,808,000
Other States..................................................................................................
Total.................................................................................................... 34.552.076.000

1.323.000.
1.458.000.
988.000.
4.180.000.
1.262.000.
461.000.

000
000
000
000
000
000

9,672,000,000

i
U. S. Bureau of the Census, Census of 1920, Lumber, lath and shingles, p. 4; U. S. Forest Service, Timber
depletion, lumber prices, lumber exports, and concentration of timber ownership, Washington, 1920,
pp. 37, 38.

LUMBER PRICES.

Since about 1860 there has been a marked tendency for lumber
prices to advance more rapidly than general prices.
This is shown in Table 6, which gives index numbers of wholesale
prices of all commodities and of lumber from 1860 to 1918, the
average for the years 1901-1903 being taken as the base. The index
numbers in the second column are for the money price of lumber
throughout the period, while those in the third column show the
trend of the real price of lumber when exchanged for all commodities.




MIGRATIONS OF THE LUMBER INDUSTRY.

7

T able 6 .—IN D E X NUMBERS OF W HOLESALE PRICES OF LUMBER AND OF A LL COM­
MODITIES, B Y YEARS, 1860 TO 1918.1
[1901-1903=100.]
Lumber.
Year.

1860.........................
1861.........................
1862.........................
1863.........................
1864.........................
1865.........................
1866.........................
1867.........................
1868.........................
1869.........................
1870.........................
1871.........................
1872.........................
1873.........................
1874.........................
1875.........................
1876.........................
1877.........................
1878.........................
1879.........................
1880.........................
1881.........................
1882.........................
1883.........................
1884.........................
1885.........................
1886.........................
1887.........................
1888.........................
1889.........................

All com­
modities.

106
106
124
157
201
229
202
182
171
163
151
143
147
146
141
135
125
117
107
102
113
112
115
112
105
99
98
98
100
100

Lumber.
Year.

Money
price.
41
45
50
68
87
88
99
90
81
82
84
88
97
95
82
74
69
72
71
67
75
75
79
88
80
78
77
80
80
79

Real
price.
39
43
40
43
43
38
49
50
48
51
56
61
66
65
58
55
55
61
66
65
66
67
69
79
76
79
79
82
80
79

1890.........................
1891.........................
1892.........................
1893.........................
1894.........................
1895.........................
1896.........................
1897.........................
1898.........................
1899.........................
1900.........................
1901.........................
1902.........................
1903.........................
1904.........................
1905.........................
1906.........................
1907.........................
1908.........................
1909.........................
1910.........................
1911.........................
1912.........................
1913.........................
1914.........................
1915.........................
1916.........................
1917.........................
1918.........................

All com­
modities.

98
96
90
93
83
84
81
81
84
90
98
95
101
104
104
104
107
113
108
117
122
112
119
121
118
122
153
213
234

Money
price.
77
76
77
75
71
69
70
68
73
82
91
91
102
107
101
111
136
145
118
128
131
131
139
142
135
130
150
201
237

Real
price.
79
79
85
81
85
81
86
84
86
91
93
96
100
103
97
108
127
128
109
109
108
117
116
117
114
107
98
94
102

1Index numbers of lumber prices have been computed from those given in The Organization of the
Lumber Industry, by W . Compton, Chicago, 1916, p. 149, and Prices of Lumber, by R . C. Bryant, War
Industries Board Price Bulletin No. 43, p. 83. Index numbers of prices of all commodities have been
computed from those given in U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Bui. No. 284, Index numbers of Wholesale
prices in the United States and foreign countries, p . 158, and Bui. No. 320, Wholesale prices, 1890 to 1921,
p . 15; the figures for 1860 to 1889 are unweighted, while those for the later years are the regular weighted
series of the nureau.

The price of lumber may be considered in two ways. First, the
price of lumber in money, and second and more important, the real
price of lumber, or its value as measured by the price of other
commodities.
When the price of commodities as a whole is high and the price of
lumber is low the purchasing power of lumber when exchanged for
all commodities is low.
In 1860 the price of all commodities was a little higher than the
average for the period 1901-1903, the index number, as shown in
Table 6, being 10 i. The index number of the money price of lumber,
however, was only 41; therefore the value of lumber was low as com­
pared with the value of all commodities. The ratio was 41:106. In
other words, accepting the price of all commodities in that year as
100, lumber stood far below, the relative price being only 39.
The next year the money price of lumber advanced slightly, the
index number being 45, while the price of all commodities remained
the same, so that the price of lumber as measured by the price of all
commodities stood at 43. Following this index or ratio of the price
of lumber to all commodities through the entire period shown in the
table, it is seen that the real price of lumber as measured by what it
was worth when exchanged for all commodities advanced fairly
steadily throughout the period, though there were minor variations




8

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

from year to year and very material variations at a few places in the
period. Thus the trend of the real value of lumber when exchanged
for all commodities, as well as t h ' money price of lumber, has been
decidedly upward. This may be seen more clearly in chart 1.
CONSERVATION AND REFORESTATION.

The increasingly higher prices of lumber have exerted a considerable
check upon the consumption of timber products, with noticeable
increase in the use of wood substitutes until to-day less lumber is
being used in the United States than 20 years ago.
The production of lumber in 1899 was greater than in 1919, while
the average production for the five-year period 1908 to 1912 was
more than one-third larger than for a corresponding period 10 years
later, 1918 to 1922, falling from an average of forty-four billion feet
per year to thirty-two billion feet per year.1 High prices have also
8
checked a considerable amount of the timber waste which has always
characterized lumbering when prices have been low. In 1880 the
Census Bureau reported that the Washington logger would not log
timber where he could not get 30,000 feet to the acre, and that trees
must cut three logs 24 feet long and 30 inches in diameter. Stumps
were often cut 20 feet high, while 40 or 50 feet of the top of the tree
were wasted. Timber more than 2 miles from water which would
float it was not touched.1
4
In 1911 the Forest Service reported that “ more timber is left on
the ground in Washington than constitutes the virgin stand in the
Lake States or southern pineries.” 1 With better prices comes closer
5
utilization of timber. In the Lake States white pine is cut to a 4-inch
top and 6 feet long. In Idaho the Forest Service utilizes logs to a
6-inch top and 8 feet long.1 The closest logging practice found on
6
the West Coast, and this is a very unusual case, was the cutting of
logs to a 6-inch top and 12 feet long.
In the sawmill there is a large amount of waste. Part of the waste,
including slabs, edgings, trimmings, sawdust, and unsound portions
of the logs, is unavoidable, but there is also much unnecessary
waste, due to careless sawing and handling, use of poor saws and
planer knives, failure to utilize small pieces, and the trade practice
of requiring that all lumber be cut to lengths which are multiples of
2 feet. In some mills, lath machines or box factories utilize much
that would otherwise be wasted, and other mills find a market for
much of the slabs and trimmings for fuel, while most mills burn a large
part of the sawdust and other waste under the boilers. Yet the fires
constantly burning in the great burners beside nearly every West
Coast mill speak eloquently of the large amount of wood for which
no market exists.
In spite of all efforts to conserve timber, it is becoming necessary
to reforest as timber is used. The Forest Service estimates that the
country can grow over 25,000,000,000 cubic feet of wood annually,
and use for it nothing but land unsuited for other purposes. From
14 See Table 2; “ The lumber situation,” by F. H . Smith, in Special bulletin of the Bankers’ Statistics
Corporation, N . Y ., N ov. 2,1920; Four L Bulletin, February, 1923, p . 11.
1 U. S. Census Bureau. Census of 1880: Forest trees of North America, p. 574.
4
» TJ. S. Forest Service Bui. No. 89: The Olympic National Forest, by Findlay Bums, p. 16.
1 Mason, T . D .: Timber Ownership and Lumber Production in the Inland Empire. Portland, Ores.,
6
1920, p . 23 et seq.




C hart 1.—TREND OF WHOLESALE PRICES OF A LL COMMODITIES AND OF LUM BER, 1860 TO 1918.

250

225

225

200

200

ITS

175

150

150

125

125

100

100

75

75

50

50

40

40




MIGRATIONS OF THE LUMBER INDUSTRY.

ISO

CO

10

W EST COAST LU M BER IN D U STR Y .

these 25,000,000,000 cubic feet of timber could be cut over 70,000,000,000 board feet of lumber, an amount more than twice our present
consumption.1 The initial cost of reforestation, whether by permit­
7
ting the natural growth or by replanting, is not large. It is the cost
of carrying the crop and caring for it until it is ready to harvest,
which becomes serious. With taxes, protection, and interest the load
becomes heavy by the end of the century. Yet it has been shown
that the probable return on such a crop at the end of a century will
yield a profit. Douglas fir at 100 years of age will produce 50,000
to 100,000 feet of lumber per acre, and a large amount of the lumber
will be clear.1 Prof. B. P. Kirkland, of the University of Washing­
8
ton Forestry School, holds that reforestation would usually be im­
practicable for owners of small tracts of timber, although it would
be profitable for certain classes of owners, particularly the United
States, the States, very large private owners, farm wood lots, and
medium-sized private holdings in the northeastern part of the
country. Usually reforestation requires a strong financial position
and access to cheap capital.1
9
While reforestation is just beginning in the United States, there is
every indication that it will soon become an important factor in the
supply of timber. The United States Forest Service now insists that
public timberlands must be restocked as cut, in order to insure con­
tinuous production. In some parts of the country lumber companies
are reforesting as they cut their timber, but the practice is rare,
probably nonexistant on the West Coast. Owing to the present con­
dition of the forests in the various parts of the country, it does not
appear likely that reforestation will ever reach the place where the
eastern or Lake forests will supply the needs of the tributary regions.
With care the South need never import lumber, although it may not
have much to spare after another generation. But on the West Coast,
if the forests are managed properly, the lumber industry should be
able to continue indefinitely on a scale considerably in excess of the
present rate of cutting. There is now a supply of timber sufficient
for a century at the present rate of use, and with care an equal
amount couid be grown before the present supply is exhausted.
While the industry on the West Coast will have its ups and downs,
the ups will come more and more to predominate, and the industry
there should continue to expand indefinitely.
17TJ. S. Forest Service: Timber depletion, lumber prices, lumber exports, and concentration of timber
ownership. Washington, 1920, p. 39.
18 U. S. Forest Service Circular 175: Growth and management of Douglas fir in the Pacific Northwest,
by T. T. Munger, pp. 9,16-24.
i* West Coast Lumberman, July 15,1918, p. 32, “ Reforestation.”




CHAPTER H.— DEVELOPMENT OF THE LUMBER INDUSTRY
ON THE WEST COAST.
EARLY SAW M ILLS.

The building of a trading post at Astoria in 1811 by John Jacob
As tor marked the beginning of the economic development of the West
Coast. It was not, however, until the establishment of the Hudson
Bay Co.’s post at Fort Vancouver (now Vancouver, Wash.), in 1824-25
that a permanent settlement was made. The control of the coun­
try by the fur traders was not disputed until after 1840, although a
few pioneers had built homes in the Willamette Valley before 1835.
The Oregon migrations really began in 1843 when 900 people came
overland to Oregon. The next year 1,400 arrived, and by the close
of 1845 the population exceeded 6,000. Throughout the West Coast
region the towns grew up about the sawmills or, in a few cases, about
grist mills, Vancouver being the only notable exception.1
The earliest traders and settlers built their trading posts or homes
of round and hewn timbers, rived boards, and some pit-sawn lumber,
but it was not long before better materials were available. During
the winter of 1827-28 the first sawmill on the Pacific coast was built
by the Hudson Bay Co. It was built on a small stream which entered
the Columbia River from the north about 6 miles east of Fort Van­
couver.2 A quotation from an early visitor to the mill is of interest:
The sawmill is a scene of constant toil. Thirty or forty Sandwich Islanders are
felling pines and dragging them to the mill; sets of hands are plying two gangs of
saws by night and day. Three thousand feet of lumber per day, nine hundred thou­
sand feet per annum, are constantly being shipped to foreign lands.3

Most of the lumber was shipped to the Sandwich (Hawaiian)
Islands where it brought from $55 to $80 per thousand feet.4 The
second sawmill on the West Coast was built at Newberg, Oreg., in 1837
or 1838. After a few years’ operation it was swept away by high
water in the winter of 1840-41.5 The third mill in this region was
erected by the Methodist Mission at Salem, Oreg., about 1840.6
The first mills in Oregon to cut for more than a purely local market
were built at Oregon City in 1842-43. In Octooer, 1842, a milling
company composed of citizens of the United States built a sawmill
on an island in the Willamette River a short distance below the
falls. Almost immediately the Hudson Bay Co. built a mill on the
river bank near the island. The total cost of the Hudson Bay Co.
mill was $2,300, of which $800 was for machinery which included a
ower planer.7 The first record of lumber shipments from the West
oast to California was in 1847: “ The pine lumber brought down has
sold for $50 per thousand feet and is still in demand, the shingles

g

i
American Historical Association Report, 1909, pp. 165-172. “ Early towns of the Pacific Northwest,”
by E. S. Meany.
a The Timberman. January, 1906, p. 28.
* Farnam, Thomas J.: Journal of Travels in the Great Western Prairies in 1839. New York, 1843, p. 65.
* U S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs. Report on Territory of
Oregon. January 4,1839, p. 12.
a History of Oregon, by H. H. Bancroft, San Francisco, 1886, vol. 1, p. 151; The Timberman, January,
1902, p. 25.
•History of Oregon, by Rev. Gustavus Hines, Auburn, N. Y., 1851, p. 95.
i History of Oregon, by H. H. Bancroft, vol. 1, p. 207; Oregon Historical Society Quarterly, March, 1913,
p. 68.

55853°— 24— Bull. 349------2




n

12

W EST COAST LU M BER IN D U ST R Y .

$5 per thousand.” 8 After the settlement of the boundary dispute in
1846 Oregon was rapidly settled and saw and grist mills, separately
or in combination, were built in considerable numbers. In 1849
there were 30 sawmills in Oregon and the lumber cut in the Territory
was valued at $1,355,500.9
The Fort Vancouver mill was the only sawmill in western Wash­
ington before 1847. In that year a milling company was organized
which built a sawmill and a grist mill at Tumwater, at the head of
Puget Sound. The second sawmill on the Sound was built in 1851
not far from Tumwater. Both mills were of the sash-saw type and
were run by water power.1 The first lumber shipped from Puget
0
Sound to California was undoubtedly carried by the brig Sacramento,
which, in March, 1850, loaded a cargo of lumber, shingles, and piles
at Nisqually. The lumber was cut in the Tumwater mill; the shingles
were made by hand.1
1
Except on the Willamette and lower Columbia Kivers there was
but little development of the lumber industry on the West Coast until
1853, but in that year mills were erected at many other points. In
March a steam mill at Seattle began cutting lumber, and before the
year was over other mills were in operation on Puget Sound at Alki
Point, Port Ludlow, and Appletree Cove.1 During the same year
2
mills were in operation along the Washington coast on Willapa Har­
bor, Grays Harbor, and Bakers Bay, and along the Oregon coast at
Port Orford and Astoria, and probably on Coos Bay.1 The building
3
of sawmills went on rapidly during 1854 and 1855. On October 1,
1855, Maj. H. A. Goldsworth, of the United States Coast Survey office,
reported that there were then 16 sawmills on Puget Sound with a
combined capacity of 85,000 feet per day. There were four mills
near Olympia, two at Nisqually, two at Port Ludlow, and one each at
Henderson Inlet, Hammersley Inlet, Steilacoom, Puyallup, Seattle,
Port Orchard, Port Gamble, and Bellingham Bay.1 By 1857 there
4
were 37 mills in Washington. The largest of these was the mill at Port
Gamble, with a capacity of 20,000 feet per day, which began cutting
on January 31, 1854, and before the end of the year had shipped
3,675,000 feet of lumber.1
5
FIRST SURVEY OF LUMBER INDUSTRY.

The first systematic survey of the lumber industry on the West Coast
was that undertaken by the Census Bureau, in the census of 1860,
which compiled statistics of the industry by counties. The data are
presented in Table 7.
8 Spectator, Oregon City, Oreg., June 10, 1847.
9 Spectator, Oregon City, Oreg., Feb. 22, 1849; U. S. Census Bureau, Census of 1900, Manufactures,
“ The lumber industry.” Oregon at this time included what is now Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and
parts of Montana and Wyoming.
1 Bagley, C. B.: Interview, June, 1922. (Mr. Bagley was an early settler on Puget Sound, where he pub­
9
lished a paper for many years; he is exceptionally well informed on early Puget Sound history.)
1 Bagley, C. B.: In the Beginning, Seattle, 1905.
1
1 Report of Superintendent of United States Coast Survey for 1856, p. 293, Washington, 1856. Pioneer
2
and Democrat, Olympia, Apr. 15, 1854; Seattle Times, Feb. 7, 1904, sec. 2, p. 7; Columbian, Olympia,
Wash., Oct. 15, 1853.
1 Columbian, Olympia, Wash., Oct. 8, and Nov. 12,1853; The Northwest Coast, by James G. Swan, New
3
York, 1857, pp. 65, 219, 238, 364.
1 Report of Superintendent of United States Coast Survey for 1856, p. 293, Washington, 1856.
4
is The Northwest Coast, by James G. Swan, New York, 1857, p. 399; Seattle Times, Feb. 7, 1904, sec. 2,
p. 7; Pioneer and Democrat, Olympia, Wash., Feb. 17, 1855.




DEVELOPM ENT OF T H E INDUSTRY ON TH E W EST COAST,
T

a b l e

13

7.—STATISTICS OF THE LUMBER INDUSTRY IN OREGON AND WASHINGTON IN
1859, BY COUNTIES.1
OREGON.

Num­
ber of Capital Average
estab­ invested. number
of
lish­
workers.
ments.

County.

12 $29,000
Benton................................ ............................
44,400
14
Clackamas.......................................................
2
9,000
Clatsop............................................................
18,600
6
Columbia.........................................................
36,600
10
Jackson...........................................................
24,500
5
Josephine.........................................................
4
9,700
Lane................................................................
6
15,500
Linn................................................................
24
71,400
Marion.............................................................
3
72,000
Multnomah.....................................................
9
42,400
Polk................................................................
2
3.000
Umpqua (Coos)..............................................
6
8.000
Wasco..............................................................
14
30,700
Washington.....................................................
15,600
Yamhill...........................................................
Total......................................................

Value of—
Total
wages.

$12,925
15,200
8,500
7,275
17,963
11,800
6,582
7,100
34,693
41,900
9,035
900
6,400
4,702
4,950
20

$41,400
49,600
17,800
24,000
55,325
50,500
25,488
25,200
109,387
182,500
49,200
4,500
19.200
16.200
19,708

210,312

189,925

690,008

16

$5,130
15,600
37,500
59,400
9,600
209,700
1,680
5,040
5,640
2,880
4,200
9,120
1,800
12,000

$5,650
16,000
30,000
65,000
15,000
237.000
'900
2,826
4,325
1,600
5.000
16,100
8.000
10,500

$24,100
48.000
75.000
154.000
36,000
694.000
2,800
8,720
10,380
8,000
15,000
43, 800
17,000
35, 720

645

379,290

417,901

1,172,520

26
31
25
15
22
41
19
12
73
29
26
6
17
16

$17,028
14,760
8,280
8,664
17,460
26,340
10,920
3,240
36,780
22,980
15,120
3,060
9,600
6,240
9
9,840

378

$18,000
40,000
35,000
128,000
20,000
755,000
5,000
5,500
48,000
4,000
13,500
44,000
30,000
20,000

10
25
63
108
20
348
4
7
13
4
6
18

32 1,166,000

126

430,400

Raw ma­ Manufac­
terials
tured
products.
used.

WASHINGTON.
Clarke..............................................................
Cowlitz............................................................
Island..............................................................
Jefferson..........................................................
King................................................................
Kitsap.............................................................
Lewis...............................................................
Pacific.............................................................
Pierce...............................................................
Skamania........................................................
Mason..............................................................
Thurston..........................................................
Whatcom........................................................
East Washington...........................................
Total.....................................................

4
1
1
2
1
4
2
2
3
1
2
5
1
3

3

i U. S. Census Bureau, Census of 1860: Manufactures of the United States in 1860, pp. 489-491, 671 et seq.

The mills in Jackson and Wasco Counties in Oregon and the east
Washington mills were outside of the West Coast region, with which
we are here concerned. I twill be noticed that the lumber industry was
concentrated in Kitsap County, Wash., which produced more lumber
than the remainder of Washington or all of Oregon. The four mills
probably were at Port Gamble, Port Madison, Port Blakeley, and
Port Orchard. There were also large mills at Port Ludlow in Jeffer­
son County and at Portland in Multonomah County, Oreg., but the
Port Gamble and Port Madison mills were easily the largest on the
West Coast.
TYPES AND EQUIPMENT OF SAWMILLS.

The earliest sawmills on the West Coast were very much like the
seventeenth and eighteenth century mills in the East. Water power
was general and the sash saw was the usual equipment, but it was
not long before better machinery was available. In 1846 an Oregon
City mill was running a circular saw; in 1854 gang saws, planers,
and lath machines were in use; and in 1861 the muley saw was in
operation. Records do not enable us to tell how much earlier these




14

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

machines were used. The first steam mill was built at Portland in
1850, and after 1853 all the large mills were steam mills.1 The use
6
of steam power made it possible to build larger mills, and by 1870
the Port Gamble and Port Madison mills each cut 100,000 feet of
lumber per day. The equipment of these mills was much like that
of some of the older mills now in operation in this region— circular
head saws, gang edger, power log turners and carriage drives.
Live rolls, band saws, automatic trimmers, slashers, and slab con­
veyors do not seem to have been in use.1 By 1880 the larger mills
7
were cutting up to 200,000 feet per day each, and3were beginning to
introduce most of the major modern improvements, excepting band
saws, automatic trimmers, and electric power, which did not come
until about 1900.1
8
It was not until about 1880 that the crosscut saw was perfected
to the point where it was available for felling timber. Bucking, or
cutting the fallen tree into log lengths, was done with the saw, but
it was a two-man job. During most of the time before 1880 logs
were hauled to some stream or bay by oxen, and then floated to the
mill. The logs were hauled over a “ skid roa d /’ made by placing
skids at right angles to the line of haul and about 8 feet apart. The
center of the skid was notched to keep the log in the center of the
road. To make hauling easier the skids were greased, at first with
dogfish oil and later with tallow. Teams of 6 to 12 oxen would
haul from 1 to 10 or more logs over such a road. About 1880 horses
began to displace oxen on the skid road, and by 1890 the donkey
engine had begun to supplant both oxen and horses.1
9
PRODUCTION OF LUMBER, 1859 TO 1869.

During the decade 1859 to 1869 there was little expansion of the
lumber industry on the West Coast. Many of the existing mills
were overhauled and enlarged, but few additional mills were erected.
Kitsap County continued to be the center of the industry, although
Port Ludlow, Utsaladdy, and Seattle became important lumber
towns. The total production in the territory of rough lumber was
valued at $1,307,585, and of dressed lumber at $616,100. Of this
total, rough lumber of the value of $1,090,000 and dressed lumber
of the value of $605,000 were cut in the eight mills in these places.
In Oregon the outstanding feature of the development was the
erection of three large mills on Coos Bay, which in 1869 cut rough
lumber valued at about $180,000, almost exactly the same value
as the lumber production of Portland. Of the $1,014,211 worth
of rough lumber cut in the State in 1869, about one-half was cut
in 26 mills on Coos Bay, in Portland and in Columbia and Linn
Counties. The total dressed lumber production of the State was
valued at $57,850. There were 46 mills in operation in Washington
and 165 in Oregon. 2 At the current price of $10 per thousand for
0
rough lumber, this would indicate a cut of about 130,000,000 feet
1 Spectator, Oregon City, Oreg., Feb. 5,1846; Columbian, Olympia, Wadi., Sept. 17,1853; Pioneer and
6
Democrat, Olympia, Apr. 15, 1854; Oregonian, Portland, Oreg., Mar. 25, 1861; Interview with George H .
Hines, May, 1922. (Mr. Hines, the secretary of tbe Oregon Historical Society, was an early settler in Oregon
and is exceptionally well informed about early West Coast history.)
Overland Monthly, July, 1870, pp. 55-60. Lumbering in Washington Territory, by C. M. Scamnon.
i®Hittell, J. S.: Commerce and Industry of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco, 1882, pp. 588-593.
i» Interviews with Geo. H . Hines, May, 1922, and C. B. Bagley, June, 1922.
U. S. Bureau of the Census, Census of 1870: Statistics of Industries in the United States, pp. 720
et seq., 741.




DEVELOPMENT OF THE INDUSTRY ON TH E WEST COAST.

15

in Washington and 100,000,000 in Oregon. The Washington cut
was actually 128,743,000. In 1875 the Oregon cut was 98,285,684
feet.2
1
INFLUENCE OF RAILROAD BUILDING ON LUMBER INDUSTRY.

After 1870 the development of the lumber industry on the west
coast was very intimately connected with the progress of railroad
building. Until this time the lumber markets had been small.
Although some lumber had been sent to foreign markets, chiefly to the
Hawaiian Islands, China, and South America, most of the demand
came from the local communities and from California. None of
these regions were developed industrially and, with the exception
of China, all were sparsely populated. Railroad building began
about 1871, and after 1880 progressed rapidly until the completion
of the Great Northern Railway in 1893, greatly extending markets
and leading to a remarkable expansion of the lumber industry, as
during the course of their construction the railroads used large
quantities of lumber, and the great influx of population which
followed the opening of the roads increased the demand for lum­
ber. The roads also gave access to the markets of the Rocky
Mountain region and the Missouri and upper Mississippi Valleys,
and thus permitted expansion in that direction.
The railroads came first to Oregon and that State developed
earlier than Washington. In 1873 the Oregon & California Railroad
was opened, thus connecting Portland and the Willamette Valley
with San Francisco and the California valleys. This greatly stimu­
lated the settlement of the Willamette Valley, and thus widened
the lumber market. The chief development of the industry in
Oregon between 1869 and 1879 occurred along the line of the new
road. While there had been some railroad building in western
Washington during the decade, the amount was small and did
not appreciably affect the industry. The industry there became even
more definitely centered on the middle Sound, where, in Pierce,
Rung, Kitsap, Jefferson, and Island Counties, 11 mills cut over 88
per cent of the total lumber production of the territory in 1879.
The total was valued at $1,734,742.2
2
By 1880 the cargo mills on Puget Sound and along the coast were
definitely passing into the hands of large San Francisco companies.
One mill company owned 4 mills on Puget Sound, with a combined
annual production of about 100,000,000 feet. It owned 16 lumber
carriers and 106,000 acres of timberland. Another company,
having 15 vessels, had 7 mills along the coast, with a combined
daily capacity of 270,000 feet. Thirty thousand acres of land and
4 ships were owned by one company, while still another had 35,000
acres and 7 ships.2
3
After 1880 there was a larger amount of railroad building in western
Washington and the lumber industry there grew rapidly. In 1883
the Northern Pacific Railway reached the coast. At first it entered
Tacoma by way of Portland, but in 1887 the direct line over the
Cascades to Puget Sound was opened. During the years following
2 Appleton's Annual Encyclopedia, New York, 1875, p. 756; Oregon State Census, 1875, quoted in Pro­
1
gress of Oregon and Portland, by William Reid, Portland, 1879, p. 17.
2 U. S. Census Bureau, Census of 1880: Manufacturing Industries, pp. 166, 187, 336 et seq., 368 et seq.
2
“ Hittell, J. S.: Commerce and Industry of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco, 1882, pp. 588-597.




16

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

a number of branch lines were built, and in 1893 the Great Northern
Railway reached Puget Sound. This led to a rapid expansion of the
lumber industry in western Washington. In 1887 over 400,000,000
feet were sawn on Puget Sound and in 1888 over 450,000,000 feet.?4
In spite of the opening of excellent rail connections with the lumber­
using regions of the Missouri and Mississippi Valleys, it was not until
after 1900 that the price of lumber was high enough to permit exten­
sive shipment to markets east of the Rocky Mountains. Thus in
1899 only 225,525,000 feet, out of a total production of 1,429,032,000
feet in the State of Washington, were shipped by rail. More than
twice as much moved to market by water, while the local markets
took half of the entire cut. Since that time the proportion of the cut
moving by rail has been steadily rising. In 1905 28 per cent of the
Washington lumber production was shipped by rail; by 1911 the
proportion had risen to 59 per cent, and by 1920 to about 65 per cent.2
5
GRO W TH OF THE INDUSTRY SINCE 1879.

The growth of the lumber industry in Oregon and Washington
since 1879 is shown in Table 8.
T able 8 .—LUMBER

PRODUCTION

IN OREGON AND W ASHINGTON,
1879 TO 1919.1

Year.

BY

DECADES,

Washington.

Total.

M . board f e d .

1879.............................................................................................
1889.............................................................................................
1899.............................................................................................
1909.............................................................................................
1919.............................................................................................

Oregon.

M . board fe d .

M . board f e d .

177,171
444,565
734,538
1,898,995
2,577,134

160,176
1,061,560
1,429,032
3,862,916
4,961,175

337,347
1,506,125
2,163,570
5,761,911
7,538,309

1 U. S. Census Bureau, Census of 1880, Forest trees of North America, p. 487; Idem, Census of 1890, Man­
ufactures, Special Industries, p.622; U. S. Department of Agriculture Bui. No. 673, p. 10 et seq.; U. S. Census
Bureau, Census of 1920, Lumber, lath, and shingles, p. 5.

Available statistics indicate that the lumber production in western
Washington is and has always been at least 90 per cent of the total
cut in the State, while in Oregon the western part of the State has
usually produced in excess of 80 per cent of the total production.2
6
** “ Tacoma” by H. M. Howard, in New England Magazine, new series, February, 1893, p. 796; U. S.
Commissioner of Agriculture, annual report, 1888, p. 630; The Metropolis of the New State, Seattle of Wash­
ington, by W . G. Stanford and George McKenzie, Chicago, 1889, p. 17.
a U. S. Department of Agriculture Bui. No. 673, Proauction of lumber, lath, and shingles, 1916, p. 11;
s
U. S. Forest Service Bui. No. 74, Production of lumber, 1905, p. 14; Pacific Lumber Trade Journal, Jan­
uary, 1906, p. 20, August, 1912, p. 19; West Coast Lumberman, May 15,1921, pp. 32-38.
8
6
West Coast Lumberman, June 1, 1922, p. 28, May 15,1921, pp. 32-38; The Timberman, August, 1918,
May, 1919. See pp. 13-15, supra.




CHAPTER III.—FINANCIAL INSTABILITY.
It is almost an axiom that sales are easier, more regular, and on
better terms when business is prosperous than when profits are small
and operation irregular. This is as true of sales of raw materials or
of machinery as of goods for direct consumption. It applies no less
truly to sales of labor. Labor leaders well know that it is much
easier to secure increased wages, regular employment, or satisfactory
working conditions from a profitable company or industry than from
one which is unprofitable. This is not primarily a matter of greater
generosity on the part of the prosperous employer; it is at bottom a
question of the ability of the industry to pay high wages, furnish
regular employment, or give good conditions. For a company to
pay more, directly or indirectly, for its labor means comparatively
little when profits are large, but when the company is making little
or nothing it may mean the difference between continued operation
and entire suspension.
With the business cycle as a result of our present economic organ­
ization, it is to be expected that any industry will have periods of
better and of worse conditions. These fluctuations are of great im­
portance in determining labor conditions and must be known to
understand the actual course of relations between employers and
employees. But there is another set of irregularities in business
conditions which can be explained only by reference to the peculiar
circumstances of the industry. These may to a considerable extent
offset the cyclical variations, or they may aggravate them. This
chapter is concerned chiefly with the latter type of fluctuations.
While some work has been done in an attempt to understand the
extent and significance of the changes in conditions in the West Coast
lumber industry, the data available are still far from satisfactory.
It is only within the past few years that anything like careful at­
tempts have been made to assemble the information, and as yet there
is not sufficient basis for definite conclusions on all points.
The volume of lumber production on the West Coast varies from
year to year with the changes in general business conditions in the
country. Sometimes the volume of production will change as much
as 50 per cent within a single year.1 While these changes are very
much greater than the variation in the general volume of business
in the United States, they are less than the fluctuations in the pro­
duction of some of the other basic materials, such as pig iron or
copper.2 This large variation in volume of production is due to the
fact that the chief demand for lumber is in construction work, and
changes in business conditions affect construction sooner than most
other lines of activity. The changes in lumber production would
undoubtedly be greater than they are were it not for the great pres1 The 1922 production was more than 59 per cent greater than the 1921 cut. See Four L News Letter,
Jan. 15, 1923.
2 Babson, Roger: Business Barometers. Massachusetts, 1921, table facing p. 140.




17

18

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY,

sure constantly exerted upon lumber producers to continue cutting
even at considerable loss.8
FLUCTUATIONS IN LUMBER PRICES.

The chief barometer of instability in the industry is the price of
lumber. Fluctuations in demand are reflected in price changes
rather than in changes in volume of production, since most of the
companies attempt to meet such conditions by cutting prices rather
than by restricting production. In fact, some companies attempt
to meet the problem of decreased demand by running two shifts m
order to lower costs to a point where they can afford to reduce prices
and stimulate buying.4 Such an attitude on the part of the pro­
ducers leads to very erratic price movements. Small changes in
demand lead to disproportionate changes in price, either up or down.5
Table 8a and chart 2 show the price movements since 1898 on two
representative grades of Douglas fir lumber and one grade of cedar
shingles.6
T able 8a.—AVERAGE ACTUAL W HOLESALE PRICES PER M BOARD FEET OF DOUGLAS
FIR LUMBER NO. 1 COMMON AND NO. 2 AND B ET T ER DROP SIDING AND PER M OF
RED CEDAR SHINGLES, 1898 TO 1923, B Y MONTHS.®

DOUGLAS FIR : NO. 1 COMMON.

Year.

Jan.

Feb.

Mar.

Apr.

May.

June.

1898___
1899___
1900___
1901___
1902___
1903___
1904___
1905___
1 9 0 6 ....
1907___
1 9 0 8 ....
1909___
1910___
19 1 3 ....
1914___
1 9 1 5 ....
1916___
1 9 1 7 ....
1 9 1 8 ....
19 1 9 ....
1 9 2 0 ....
1 9 2 1 ....
1922.*..
1 9 2 3 ....

16.75
7.50
8.00
8.25

$7.25
7.25

10.00

9.75
8.00
7.25
11.25

$7.25
7.50
8.75
8.50
9.50
10.00
7.00
7.50
11.25

12.00
10.25
10.00
10.50
8.00
7.50
10.50
12.00
18.50
17.50
37.50
12.50
12.50
19.50

11.75
10.75
10.00
10.50
8.50
8.00
11.50
12.00
18.50
17.50
37.50
12.50
11.50
21.50

$7.25
7.50
9.25
8.50
9.75
10.00
7.00
7.50
11.25
13.75
10.75
10.25
10.25
11.00
8.00
7.50
11.50
13.00
18.50
17.50
37.50
12.50
11.50
21.50

$6.75
7.50
9.00
8.75
9.75
10.25
6.00
7.75
11.75
14.25
10.00
9.75
11.00
10.50
8.00
7.50
11.50
16.50
18.50
18.50
37.50
11.50
13.50
21.50

$7.25
7.00
9.25
9.00
10.00
10.25
5.75
7.50
13.50
14.25
9.50
9.75
11.00
9.50
8.00
7.50
11.00
18.50
18.50
25.50
29.50
11.50
13.50
19.50

10.00
13.75
12.00
10.50
10.00
9.50
8.00
7.50
10.00
11.50
18.50
17.50
37.50
15.50
11.50
19.50

8.75

July.

Aug.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

$7.00
7.50
8.75

$7.75
7.50
8.50

$7.75

$7.75

$7.25
9.00

$7.50
8.00
8.00

10.50

10.50

10.50

5.75
8.00
13.50
14.25
9.50
10.00

6.00
8.00
13.50
14.25
8.75
10.25

8.25
13.75
13.50
9.25

8.50
8.00
7.50
10.00
18.50
19.50
28.50
29.50
11.50
14.50
19.50

8.50
8.50
7.50
9.50
18.50
19.50
31.50
29.50
10.50
16.50
18.50

8.00
8.00
8.00
9.00
18.50
19.50
32.50
25.50
10.50
19.50

8.25
9.25

8.25
13.75
13.25
9.00

10.50
8.50
7.00
8.50
14.00
12.75
9.00

8.50
13.75
13.00
9.50

8.00
7.50
8.00
9.00
16.50
16.50
32.50
24.50
10.50
19.50

8.00
7.50
8.50
10.00
16.50
16.50
32.50
16.50
11.50
19.50

8.66
7.00
9.50
11.00
18.50
16.50
33.50
16.50
11.50
19.50

8.50

Aver­
age.
$7.30
7.45
8.68
8.71
10.13
9.66
6.56
7.91
12.60
13.70
10.08
10.19
10.38
9.21
7.92
7.88
10.38
15.88
18.25
25.42
29.92
11.83
15.25

® Prices for Douglas fir lumber No. 1 common and No. 2 drop siding for 1898 to 1910 are from U. S. Depart­
ment of Commerce, Bureau of Corporations, The Lumber Industry, Washington, 1914, pt. 4, pp. 483-489;
prices for red cedar shingles for 1898 to 1905 are from The Timberman, January, 1921, p. 42, and all are prices
I. o. b. Puget Sound. Prices for later years for all three commodities are from U . S. Bureau of Labor Sta­
tistics Buis. Nos. 69, 75, 81, 87, 93 ,99,114, 149, 181, 200, 226, 269, 296, 320, and 335, and monthly statement
of Wholesale Prices of Commodities, January to September, 1923, and are pries f. o. b. mills in Washington.
8 Seasonal and individual irregularities in operation, being due to technical rather than financial consid­
erations, are considered in Chapter IV.
4 U . S. Department of Agriculture Report No. 114: Some Public and Economic Aspects of the Lumber
Industry, by William B. Greeley, p. 62.
» Idem., p. 47.
8 In the chart the shingles are taken in 10 M units to make the comparison with an M of lumber easier.




19

FINANCIAL INSTABILITY,

T , HIo oa._A VERAG E ACTUAL W HOLESALE PRICES PER M BOARD FEET OF DOUGLAS
FIR LU M BER NO. 1 COMMON AND NO. 2 AND B E TT F R P R O P SIDING AND PE R M
OF RE D CEDAR SHINGLES, 1808 TO 1023, B Y MONTHS—Concluded.
DOUGLAS F IR : NO. 2 AND BETTER, DROP SIDING, CLEAR.
Year.
1898
1899
1000___
1901___
1902___
1903___
1904]...
1905!...
1908!...
1907!...
1908!...
1909..
1910..
1913___
1914___
1915___
1916!...
1917! ..
1918!...
1919___
1920___
1921 . . .
1922!...
1923....

Jan.

Feb.

Mar.

Apr.

May.

June

July.

Aug.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

$12.75
$12.00
$12.00
$9.50 $10.25 $11.25 $11.25
---------------14.00
11.50
___________ 11.50 12.00 $12.25 12.25 $13.25 13.75 $14.00 $14.00 12.00 $i4.00
12.00
13.50 13.00 12.00
14.00 14.00 14.00 14.00 14.00 14.00
12.00 12.00 12.25 12.50 12.50 12.00 12.00 11.75 11.25 11.75
12.00 12.00
17.00 17.00 17.25
12.25 14.50 15.00 15.00 15.25 15.75 16.00 16.00 16.25
17.00 17.25 18.00 17.75 17.75 17.50 17.50 17.25 16.75 16.50 15.75 15.75
15.50 14.00 13.75 13.50 13.00 12.50 12.25 12.25 12.50 12.75 13.00 13.25
13.25 13.00 13.50 14.00 14.25 14.50 14.50 15.00 15.50 16.00 17.00 17.50
17.75 17.75 18.25 19.00 19.75 20.25 20.25 20.25 20.50 20.75 20.75 21.00
21.75 22.00 22.00 22.50 21.75 21.50 21.25 21.00 20.50
21.00 21.25
20.25 19.75 19.75 19.00 18.25 17.75 17.00 17.00 16.50 17.25 17.75 18.00
17.75 18.25 18.25 18.25 17.75 17.25 17.50 17.75 18.50 18.75 18.00 18.00
..
18.50 18.50 18.75 19.50 19.75 19.75 19.75 19.00
..
14.50
18.00 18.50 19.00 20.00 19.50 18.50 17.00 16.50 16.00 i5.50 15.00 13.00
14.50 15.00 15.00 15.00 14.00 14.00 15.00 15.00 14.00 14.00 13.00 18.00
14.00 14.00 13.50 13.50 13.50 14.00 14.00 15.00
14.00 14.00 14.00
19.00 19.00 19.00 20.00 20.00 19.00 18.00 18.00 17.00 17.00 18.00 19.00
19.00 20.00 20.00 21.00 24.00 26.00 26.00 26.00 26.00 26.00 26.00 27.00
27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 31.00 31.00 31.00 27.00 27.00 27.00
27.00 27.00 27.00 27.00 28.00 37.00 40.00 51.00 51.00 52.00 53.00 56.00
71.00 71.00 71.00 71.00 66.00 51.00 51.00 56.00 46.00 41.00 31.00 31.00
26.00 23.00 23.00 23.00 21.00 21.00 21.00 21.00 21.00 26.00 31.00 31.00
30.00 31.00 31.00 31.00 36.00 36.00 38.00 38.00 41.00 41.00 41.00 41.00
42.00 43.00 46.00 46.00 46.00 45.00 39.00 39.00

Aver­
age.
$11.29
12.95
13.32
12.00
15.00
17.08
13.19
14.83
19.69
21.50
18.19
18.00
19.19
17.33
14.29
14.29
18.58
23.92
28.00
39.67
54.75
24.00
36.25

SHINGLES: RED CEDAR, CLEAR.
1898___ $1. d0 $1.40 $1.35 $1.40 $1.30
1.40
1.40
1.30
1.30
1899___ 1.15
1.55
1.55
1.55
1.55
1900___ 1.55
1.60
1.60
1.50
1.45
1901___ 1.40
2.00
2.00
1.95
1.95
1902___ 1.95
1.90
1.89
1.91
1.91
1903___ 1.89
1.58
1.70
1.70
1.70
1904___ 1.66
1.57
1.59
1.57
1.61
1905___ 1.56
2.10
2.10
2.00
2.05
1903___ 2.00
3.00
2.90
2.75
2.75
1907___ 2.50
1.90
2.10
2.10
2.15
1908___ 2.25
1.90
1.85
2.05
1.95
1909___ 2.05
2.10
2.20
2.10
2.15
1910___ 2.05
1.85
1.85
1911___ 1.85
1.90
1.95
1.85
1.80
1.70
1.75
1912___ 1.70
2.10
2.15
2.15
2.15
1913___ 2.05
1.70
1.80
1.80
1.80
1914___ 1.75
1.68
1.65
1915___ 1.64
1.70
1.65
1.93
1.91
1.91
1.86
1916___ 1.77
3.31
1917___ 2.16
2.64
3.17
2.37
2.90
2.74
2.98
2.97
1918___ 2.79
3.81
3.10
2.78
2.77
1919___ 2.56
5.72
4.99
6.08
6.82
1920___ 6.57
2.42
2.57
2.56
2.40
1921___ 2.49
3.24
3.05
2.92
2.91
1922___ 2.99
2.98
3.42
3.27
3.45
1923.... 3.27

$1.35
1.40
1.55
1.65
2.00
1.91
1.45
1.54
2.20
2.60
1.95
1.95
2.00
1.75
1.87
2.05
1.75
1.65
1.90
2.81
3.12
4.27
4.19
2.52
3.13
2.74

$1.30
1.38
1.50
1.65
2.00
1.84
1.51
1.52
2.25
3.00
1.95
2.00
2.00
1.83
1.95
2.05
1.75
1.60
1.85
3.00
3.08
4.82
4.57
2.43
3.52
2.71

$1.30
1.40
1.30
1.70
2.05
1.79
1.52
1.57
2.25
3.10
1.95
2.20
1.95
1.83
2.30
1.95
1.70
1.65
1.84
3.13
2.82
5.98
4.96
2.50
3.89
2.52

$1.30
1.40
1.30
1.70
2.05
1.77
1.52
1.64
2.40
3.00
2.20
2.15
1.95
1.75
2.45
1.85
1.65
1.65
1.80
2.88
2.70
6.29
3.88
3.06
3.63

$1.20
1.50
1.37
1.70
1.95
1.75
1.57
1.75
2.40
2.75
1.85
1.95
1.90
1.75
2.00
1.75
1.65
1.65
2.00
2.71
2.37
5.53
3.22
3.32
3.52

$1.15
1.50
1.40
1.70
1.95
1.74
1.58
1.75
2.40
2.00
1.85
1.95
1.85
1.75
1.90
1.65
1.60
1.65
2.10
2.80
2.48
5.60
3.09
2.87
3.60

$1.12
1.55
1.43
1.70
2.00
1.72
1.55
1.78
2.40
2.00
1.90
2.05
1.85
1.70
2.00
1.70
1.60
1.80
2.05
2.83
2.58
6.35
2.59
2.92
3.18

$1.29
1.39
1.47
1.61
1.99
1.84
1.59
1.62
2.21
2.70
2.01
2.00
2.01
1.81
1.94
1.97
1.71
1.66
1.91
2.82
2.79
4.49
4.72
2.67
3.30

While the curves in chart 2 show a general rise in price during this
period of about 25 years, the most characteristic feature of the prices
i s the erratic way in which they change.
Several times prices have
more than doubled or have fallen to less than half within a year,
while in numerous cases the change has been half this much. That
these wide changes are not confined to these few items is shown by
the prices received in 1920 and 1921 by a representative group of
mills. This group, representing over one-fourth of the entire produc­
tion of the West Coast, reported that the average price per thousand
board feet for their entire production was over 47 per cent lower in
1921 than in 1920.7
f West Coast Lumberman’s Association: Analysis ot Douglas Fir Costs and Sales Returns, 1920,1921.
In 1920 the average returns were $36.25 per thousand board feet, in 1921 $19.08 per thousand board feet.




to
Chart

2 .— TRE ND

O

OF W H O L E SA L E PRICES OF DOUGLAS FIR LUMBER, NO. 1 COMMON AND NO. 2 AN D B E T T E R DROP SIDING, CLEAR , AND RED
CEDAR SHINGLES, CLEAR, JAN U AR Y, 1898, TO AUGUST, 1923.

05.

60.
55.
50.

%
.

4

40.
35.

D.
O
25.

Z.
B

15
IB.

5.

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY,




$70.

21

FINANCIAL INSTABILITY.
AVERAGE CO ST OF PRODUCTION.

It is impossible for the industry to adjust itself to such rapid price
changes. Some of the costs are entirely beyond its control, while
most of them are controllable only to a limited extent. Table 9
presents an analysis of the average cost of production during the
years 1919, 1920, 1921, and 1922. These figures are based upon
reports of a group of representative companies which together pro­
duced more than 25 per cent of the entire output of the industry.
In the beginning of 1919 conditions were unfavorable but they
improved quickly, and were very good during the last half of that
year and most of 1920. Late in i920 depression occurred, and during
the latter part of that year and nearly all of 1921 profits, if any,
were small, but during all of 1922 business was very good. The
reports thus show not only the items of cost but also something of
the change from good to bad years.
T able 9.—AVERAGE

COSTS

OF

LUMBER PRODUCTION, PER
FEET, 1919 TO 1922.1

THOUSAND

1919

Item.

1920

1921

$7.22
1.65
.52
.29
2.79
.93
.63
1.33

$3.97
1.28
.22
.12
2.94
.78
.43
1.45

BOARD

1922

LOGGING.

Labor...........................
Supplies......................
Repairs, labor.............
Repairs, materials.......
Stumpage....................
Depreciation...............
Administration...........
General expense..........

.

$5.64
1.50
.63
.38
2.59
.72
.34
1.68

Total..................

.

13.48

15.36

11.19

12.26

15.96
14.89
.23
14.66
14.76

22.12
18.39
2.06
18.45
18.66

14.54
12.78
2.16
12.94
12.96

15.96
14.10
.06
14.04
14.25

3 13.50

*17.35

« 12.06

* 13.11

6.20
.56
.65
.50
.65
.97
.68

7.09
.84
.64
.56
.94
1.52
.88

4.46
.62
.37
.31
1.01
1.23
.61

4.49
.26
.74
1.16
.64

8.61

8.14

Logs purchased............
Average cost...............
Inventory gain............
Cost of logs disposed of
Returns from logs.......

$4.83
1.35
.34
.17
3.04
.57
.46
1.50

MILLS.

Cost of logs sawn......................
Manufacturing:
Labor.................................
Supplies.............................
epairs, labor....................
epairs, materials.............
Depreciation......................
Administration.................
General expense................

g

.52
.33

Total manufacturing___

10.21

12.47

Total, including log cost..........
Inventory gain.........................

23.71
.44

29.82
2 1.89

20.67 * 21.25
.33
.63

Production cost of lumber.......
Shipping expense....................
Selling expense.........................

23.27
.90
.78

31.71
.98
1.07

20.34
.72
.72

20.62

24.95

33.76

21.78

21.94

Total cost of lumber sold.

4.78

*.71

1 West Coast Lumberman’s Association: Analysis of Douglas Fir Costs and Sales Returns, 1919, 1920,
1921, 1922.
2 Loss.
1 The lower cost of logs shown here than in the preceding part of the table is a result of an overrun of logs,
whereby more lumber is sawn from a log than the log scale indicated that the log contained. The amount
of this overrun in 1919 was 9.4 per cent; in 1920, 7.6 per cent; in 1921, 6.9 per cent; and in 1922, 8.3 per cent.
4 This figure is on less than the total product.

An analysis of these figures shows that the chief element of cost
is labor, and that labor costs tend to fluctuate more widely than other
elements. The direct labor payments were about 50 per cent of the




22

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

total outlay by the companies. If we were to include the indirect
payments to labor, the aggregate would be between 70 and 80 per
cent of the entire production costs.8 When prices were rising wages
in the lumber camps rose more rapidly than did other costs; mill
wages rose less rapidly. When lumber prices fell, all wages fell more
rapidly than did other costs, but in no case was the wage change as
rapid as the change in lumber prices. The material available indi­
cates that during the past 25 years wages have generally held a
similar position relative to general and lumber prices. Wages in
this industry change more rapidly than do general prices, but less
rapidly than lumber prices. Cost of living thus serves as a check
upon the fluctuations in wages caused by changes in lumber prices.
A comparison of wage rates, cost of living, and lumber prices shows
that the greatest fluctuations occurred in lumber prices, the least in
cost of living, with wages in an intermediate position.9
FLUCTUATION IN PROFITS.

Because lumber returns vary so much more than do costs, profits
fluctuate much more violently than do lumber prices. Profits have
seldom been large; often costs have exceeded returns. In 1904, 110
mills reported that 25 per cent of the log was sold at a small profit,
49 per cent at cost, and 26 per cent at a loss. Few, if any, mills on
the West Coast made any profit that year.1 A year later a promi­
0
nent lumberman said:
The actual fact is that the manufacture of lumber in itself never paid a very large
profit; the fortunes which have been amassed by the lumber manufacturers have
almost invariably resulted from enhanced values on reserved timberland holdings.1
1

During 1906 and 1907 profits were generally high. In July, 1907,
it was estimated that the normal rate of profits on the West Coast
at that time was SI.50 per thousand board feet, or about 10 per cent
of the sales price.1 But a decided slump came in the late summer of
2
1907 and for four years prices were low and most mills lost money.
Then 1912 and 1913 were reasonably good years, but in the latter part
of 1913 a slump began which lasted until late in 1915, with little
profit for any oi the mills. Prices and profits rose in the latter part
of 1915 and, except for a short time during the summer of 1916,
continued to rise until checked by the Government price-fixing
policy of 1918.1
3
In ju n e , 1918, the West Coast Lumberman’s Association presented
to the price-fixing committee of the War Industries Board cost
figures based upon 50 per cent of the production on the West Coast.
This data showed a cost of $23.45 per thousand board feet. In this
was included an allowance of $3.11 for stumpage and $1.15 for depre­
ciation. On the basis of these figures, the price was fixed at a level
which it was estimated would give an average of $26 per thousand
• Four L Bulletin, January, 1921, p. 15.
• Data for wages are given in Chapter V.
w Pacific Lumber Trade Journal, Seattle, Wash., December, 1904, p. 28.
U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Corporations: Report on the Lumber Industry. Wash­
ington, 1914, vol. 1, p. 38.
u Pacific Lumber Trade Journal, Seattle, Wash., August, 1907, p. 9.
is U. S. Department of Agriculture Report No. 114: Some Public and Economic Aspects of the Lumber
Industry, by William B. Greeley, pp. 21,28.




FINANCIAL INSTABILITY.

23

board feet for the lumber produced. It was estimated that this
would allow a profit of 3.7 per cent for one-half of the industry, but
would mean an actual loss tor one-fifth of the producers.1
4
STATISTICS OF CO STS, RETURNS, AND PROFITS.

Exact and regular statistics of costs and profits were not available
before 1919. Beginning with that year the West Coast Lumber­
man’s Association has collected and compiled data concerning the
costs and returns for a considerable proportion of the representative
firms in the industry. Table 10, based on this data, shows the aver­
age costs, returns, and profits during 1919, 1920, 1921, and 1922.
T able 1 0 .—AVERAGE

COSTS, RETURNS, AND PROFITS OF REPRESENTATIVE LUMBER
COMPANIES ON THE WEST COAST, 1919 TO 1922.1

Year.

1919..............................................
1920..............................................
1921..............................................
1922..............................................

Number
of com­
panies
reporting.

Total
sales.

M fe e t.
50 1,666,455
58 1,817,849
70 2,046,162
81 2,882,212

Other Total
Average
Average returns Average profits average
cost per per M profits per M profits
perM feet (av­ per M
Mfeet. feet.8
feet.
feet.
erage).
$24.95
33.76
21.78
21.94

$26.15
36 69
19.63
22.71

$1.20
2.93
22.15
.77

$1.26
1.47
1.00
1.13

$2.46
4.40
*1.15
1.90

1 West Coast Lumberman's Association: Analysis of Douglas fir costs and sales returns, 1919,1920,1921,
1922. (Prepared for private distribution.)
2 Loss.
8 Figures include a saving on freight (known as “underweight”), due to lumber shipped weighing less
than estimated, as follows: 1919, 45 cents; 1920,44 cents; 1921,55 cents, and 1922,44 cents.
The reports also show the average costs of production and average
total returns for each individual company reporting. An analysis
of these reports is given in Table 11. The cost figures are some­
what different from the totals shown in Tables 9 and 10, in that in
those tables inventory gain or loss is counted as an element in
cost while in Table 11 it is omitted. Furthermore there is a slight
discrepancy for 1921 owing to the fact that sales were much in excess
of production, making a slight difference in average costs. In com­
puting the data for profits it has been assumed that the difference be­
tween costs and total returns represents net profits. This is probably
not strictly true in all cases, even aside from the qualification just
mentioned. The rate of profits was computed by taking the total
costs as 100. The four sets of data, costs, returns, profits, and per
cent of profits, were divided into quarters on the basis of the volume
of production represented by the reports, rather than the number of
companies. The quartiles and medians show where these divisions
were made.1
5

14 West Coast Lumberman, August 15,1918, p. 43.
is One-fourth of the total volume of production represented in the reports is contained between the
lowest figure and the first quartile, a second fourth between the first quartile and the median, a third
fourth between the median and the third quartile, the last fourth between the third quartile and the highest
figure.




W EST COAST LU M BER IN D U ST R Y .

24

11.—COSTS, RETURNS, AND PROFITS PER THOUSAND BOARD FEET OF PRO­
DUCTION OF REPRESENTATIVE FIRMS ON THE WEST COAST, 1919 TO 1922.1

T able

Year.

First
Third
Average. Lowest. quartile. Median. quartile. Highest.
Costs.
$25.39
31.86
21.95
22.54

1919.....................................................................
1920....................................................................
1921.....................................................................
1922.....................................................................

$18.52
19.45
14.43
14.00

$23. 44
29.25
20.39
20.30

$25.10
31.73
21.63
22.52

$27.10 • $32.29
34.63
46.59
23.18
55.79
24.67
32.76

Returns.
1919.....................................................................
1920.....................................................................
1921.....................................................................
1922.....................................................................

$27.36
38.54
20.86
23.98

$27.20
38.20
20.40
23.39

$25.90
35.98
19.37
21.19

$20.46
22.34
15.44
13.73

$28.93
40.68
22.29
25.89

$35.51
56.13
31.71
33.48

$11.99
20.29
3.83
12.49

Profits.
*$7.00
*6.47
*37.90
*6.07

$0.87
3.34
*2.13
.22

$1.60
5.80
2.45
1.24

$3.26
10.08
.60
2.72

P e r cen t. P e r cen t.

P e r cen t.

P e r cent.

P e r cen t.

$1.97
6.68
a 1.09
1.44

1919.....................................................................
1920...............................................................
1921.....................................................................
1922.....................................................................
1919.....................................................................
1920.....................................................................
1921.....................................................................
1922.....................................................................

7.74
20.95
2 4.97
6.39

*22.05
*15.43
*67.93
*20.50

3.43
10.70
*9.49
.92

5.69
18.22
*2.97
5.88

13.95
30.05
3.18
13.98

P e r cen t.

50.98
79.54
18.19
59.50

i West Coast Lumberman’s Association: Analysis of Douglas fir costs and sales returns, 1919,1920', 1921,
1922. (Prepared for private distribution.)
* Loss.
The number of firms reporting and the total production for each
year were as follow s:
Total production:

Number of firms:

1919
1920
1921
1922

................................................
................................................
................................................
................................................

50
58
1 67
6
81

1919
1920
1921
1922

....................................
....................................
...................................
....................................

Mfeet.

1, 677,105
1, 918,205
1, 942,441
2, 829,519

In a composite cost statement issued by the West Coast Lumber­
man’s Association to its own members, based on the actual figures of
51 operations, the average investment was placed at $65.29 for each
thousand feet of annual cut. The details are as follow s: 1 Logging
7
equipment, $9.48; logs, supplies, and accounts, $1.55; manufacturing
equipment, $16.04; lumber, supplies, and accounts, $6.53; stumpage,
$31.69.
The stumpage was estimated on the basis of 13 years of industrial
life, that being the average expectancy as shown by 31 lumbermen
who submitted their booKs to the Government Price Fixing Com­
mittee in June, 1918. If we accept this estimate of the actual
investment of the companies represented in these reports, we find
that the rate of profits oh the investment was 3.8 per cent in 1919,
6.7 per cent in 1920, 2.9 per cent in 1922, and a loss of 1.8 per cent in
1921. However, it is probable that the companies ran much nearer
to capacity in 1920 and 1922 than in either of the other years, and

Threefirms included in Table 10 are omitted here on account of having produced no lumber during
1921.
w Four L Bulletin, April, 1920, p. 26.



FIN A N C IA L IN STABILITY.

25

so the actual investment per thousand of annual cut would be less
in 1920 and 1922 than the other years, with a correspondingly greater
rate of profit. The four-year average, however, would be little
affected by these factors.
While some of the best mills on the West Coast do not report
to the association, on the whole it is the better mills which do re­
port. The reporting mills are certainly above the average in size
and quality of their plants and in financial strength. Hence the
conclusions drawn from these reports represent the more prosperous
half of the industry.
OBSTACLES TO STABILIZATION OF IN DU STRY.

HEAVY OVERHEAD CHARGES.

The most important obstacle to attaining the elasticity of volume
of production needed to stabilize prices is the heavy overhead carried
by the industry. The chief element of this overhead is, of course,
tne connection with the large amount of raw material held by the
mills. Figures just quoted show that nearly one-half of the in­
vestment m the industry is in standing timber. This is probably
an understatement rather than an overstatement. In 1917 it was
estimated that there were 109 feet of timber standing for every foot
cut that year.1 With the much larger cut in 1922 the proportion
8
considerably decreased, but probably not to less than 80 to l.1
9
Probably something over one-fourth .of the timber is owned by
the Government, about one-fourth is owned in connection with
logging and sawmill operations, and about one-half is held as an
investment. In 1917 it was estimated that the annual charge for
interest on borrowed money, bond payments, taxes, and fire pro­
tection totaled $2.15 for all the lumber cut during a year, or about
2 cents per thousand for all the timber standing on tne West Coast.
As over one-fourth of the timber was held by the Federal Govern­
ment and so exempt from all charges except fire protection, the burden
on the privately owned timber was about 2.6 cents per thousand.
Of this about 1 cent per thousand was for taxes and fire pro­
tection.2
0
Of course not all of these fixed charges are borne directly by the
timber owned in connection with logging or sawmill operations,
yet all of them are exerting pressure to increase production. Many
timber owners are financially unable to continue to meet these
fixed charges and must dispose of their timber. Many others feel
that timber is no longer a good investment and that it is best to sell
as soon as possible. Before 1907 timber rose rapidly in value and
sales were easy. Since that time values have been very erratic,
but have seldom risen much, and demand for timber has been far
from keen. Nearly all of the privately owned timber on the West
Coast which is not held in connection with operations is on the mar­
ket, although many owners will not sell unless they can get a reason­
able price.. Even the largest and probably the strongest timber owner
in the region has, since 1917, been selling five times as much timber

18 U. S. Department of Agriculture Report No. 114: Some Public and Economic Aspects of the Lumber
Industry, by William B. Greeley, p. 48.
u U. S. Forest Service, Timber Depletion, Lumber Prices, Lumber Exports, and the Concentration of
Timber Ownership, Washington, 1920, p. 23; Four L News Letter, Jan. 15, 1923.
80 U. S. Department of Agriculture Report No. 114: Some Public and Economic Aspects of the Lumber
Industry, by William B. Greeley, pp. 16,48.



26

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

as it manufactures in its four large plants, because it no longer con­
siders timber a good investment.2 Some companies are strong
1
enough to hold their timber when the market is poor. Many have
to sell regardless of the conditions of the market. It is these latter
owners who break the market. The intensity of the pressure may
be illustrated by an extreme case. In 1909 farmers in western
K lickitat County, Wash., just over the line to the east of the West
Coast region, but facing similar conditions, burned their timber
because they could not sell it, give it away, nor pay taxes on it.2
2
Many another owner has sacrificed his timber for a song. Many
mifi companies have cut their timber at a loss in order to find a
market for stumpage and thus pay their fixed charges.
IRREGULARITY OF OPERATION.

There are several other important factors forcing production in
excess of market requirements. One of these is the rapid deteriora­
tion of plant and equipment during periods of idleness. Much of
the construction is of a temporary nature and will decay in a short
time whether used or idle. The rate of depreciation is high, making
shutdowns very costly. A second factor is the difficulty of rebuild­
ing the organization, which quickly goes to pieces when the plant is
not in operation. The almost entire dependence of a large part of
the region upon the lumber industry creates a feeling o f responsi­
bility on the part of the operator toward his employees and the
community. Many companies hesitate to suspend operations when
it would be profitable to do so, because of the serious effects on the
employees and the community.
In spite of all these forces stimulating continued cutting, there is a
considerable amount of equipment idle at all times. In 1917 the
Forest Service estimated that the single-shift capacity of the West
Coast mills was at least 60 per cent in excess of their actual produc­
tion.2 In this year the larger mills in this region operated to about
3
80 per cent of capacity, while the small mills averaged about 25 per
cent of capacity.2 In 1922 the larger mills produced about 95 per
4
cent of one-shift capacity.2 Much of this idleness was due to faulty
5
equipment or bad management, but more of it to lack of markets.
The lumber industry is not characteristically an industry of large
units. The largest company reporting to the association during
1919 to 1922 cut less than 180,000,000 feet of lumber per year,
having a value of $4,561,493.40. For the companies reporting, the
average gross return per company was $917,617.66 in 1919, $1,274,273.26 in 1920, $604,757.15 in 1921, and $837,625.84 in 1922. Prob
ably three-fourths of the total number of mills had average gross
receipts of less than $50,000 each per year.
While the small mills are much less regular in operation than the
large mills, the difference in profits per thousand feet of cut is proba­
bly much less marked. The available evidence seems to indicate
that there is but little relation between the size of a sawmill and the
profits per thousand feet of actual production.3
1
*
4

31 Long, George S., general manager, Weyerhauser Timber Co.: Interview, December, 1921.
» Pacific Lumber Trade Journal, October, 1910, p. 18.
38 U. S. Department of Agriculture Report No. 114: Some public and economic aspects of the lumber
Industry, by william B. Greeley, p. 47.
34 U. 8. Department of Agriculture, Bui. No. 768: Production of lumber, lath, and shingles in 1917, p. 7.
* Computed from weekly barometer reports of production by the West Coast Lumberman’s Association
in Four L Bulletin, February, 1922, to January, 1923,



F IN A N C IA L IN STABILITY.

27

COM PETITION.

The cutthroat competition from which the lumber industry usually
suffers arises in three ways. There is fierce competition between
lumber and other materials, between the West Coast and other
lumber-producing regions, and between the many mills in this region.

During the past 15 years other materials have come to be widely
used where lumber or other timber products formerly supplied the en­
tire demand. Paper roofing is now widely used in place of shingles.
Steel, cement, and brick have, to a considerable extent, displaced lum­
ber for construction purposes. Paper is taking the place of wood in
the construction of boxes. The United States Forest Service estimates
that during the past 15 years nearly one-fourth of the entire pro­
duction of lumber has been displaced by other materials.2
6
The rapid expansion of the lumber industry on the West Coast
about 20 years ago was made possible only by the depletion of
timber in the Lake States. This gave West Coast lumber control
of the markets in the Dakotas and eastern Montana. For over a
decade there has been a considerable area between eastern Nebraska
and Lake Michigan where southern pine has been in competition
with West Coast lumber. This competition has led to severe price
cutting at times, and first one and then the other has supplied these
markets. At present West Coast lumber is able to meet southern
competition in this region and is entering markets farther south and
east. Fir is also entering the Atlantic coast markets in considerable
amounts. In 1922 the water shipments to that market amounted
to about 665,000,000 feet.2 There will probably always be a
7
border land, a “ no man’s land,” where lumber can be secured from
two or more regions and where regional competition will be important.
Equally or more important is the competition between mills in
the same region. There are a multitude of small mills on the West
Coast, many of which are poorly managed and have no adequate
realization of costs or market conditions. Such mills tend to disturb
the market and to cause wide price movements. In this respect the
lumber industry is similar to agriculture, in that competition leads
to a chronic condition of overproduction and low prices. There is
no cohesion among lumber producers. In times oi falling markets
many companies try to obtain business by price cutting. This
competition sometimes extends even to mills under the same owner­
ship or to a mill and its sales agency.2
8
RESULTS OF FINANCIAL INSTABILITY.

While the unstable condition of the lumber industry on the West
Coast has often resulted in lower lumber prices than would have come
from better organization, yet the social and economic waste due to
the conditions just described more than balance these gains. There
is a very large amount of direct waste in the unused productive
equipment. There is also an excessive drain made upon the forests
during times of low prices. Timber is protected less carefully,
reforestation is less desirable, while much timber which could be

* U. S. Department of Agriculture Report No. 114: Some public and economic aspects of the lumber
industry, by William B. Greeley, p. 55 et seq.
27 Data on regional competition was gathered by interviews with a considerable number of West
Coast lumber producers, while the figure for 1922 shipments to the east coast is from the Four L News
Letter, Mar. 15,1923.
28 U. S. Department of Agriculture Report No. 114: Some public and economic aspects of the lumber
industry, by William B. Greeley, p. 50.
55853°— 24— B ull. 349------ 3




28

WEST* COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

profitably utilized were prices high only increases the losses when
prices are low. To get lo w prices now we are drawing upon the
future timber supplies at an excessive rate. There is, moreover, the
disorganization to the industrial life of a considerable region through
the suspension of activities. From the summer of 1920 to the sum­
mer of 1921 the pay roll of the lumber industry on the West Coast
probably decreased nearly 75 per cent; for the entire year 1921
it decreased by over 57 per cent. Wage payments declined by 40
per cent, volume of production by 30 per cent.2
9
Remedies for such a condition of the industry are by no means
simple. Part of the problem is that of eliminating the business cycle.
Part of it demands the elimination of the pressure of excessive stocks
of timber held insecurely. It would be a decided element of strength
to the industry if it did not have to carry timber far in excess of its
actual requirements. Moreover, if the companies could strengthen
their financial conditions so that they could stand a shutdown without
financial embarrassment, they would be better able to protect their
markets and to prevent the waste of material now prevalent. The
final requirement of the situation is for more efficient marketing,
preferably some sort of cooperative marketing.

A step in this direction was the formation of the West Coast
Lumberman’s Association in the summer of 1911 by the merging of
the three earlier trade associations on the West Coast. In June, 1915,
it extended its activities to include shingle production and organized
a shingle branch. In 1918 its membership represented 86.2 per cent
of the lumber production of western Washington and 75.6 per cent
of that of western Oregon. In 1921 the Federal Trade Commission
reported that the membership comprised over 200 firms and repre­
sented about 90 per cent of the entire West Co$st lumber production.3
0
The association has been very active in establishing grading rules,
trade customs, and a uniform accounting system, and in collecting
and distributing information concerning lumber production, ship­
ments, orders, and prices,3 as well as in caring for the general welfare
1
of the members.
The present disorganized and unsatisfactory conditions in the
lumber industry seem to persist chiefly because of the difficulty of
discovering and applying a remedy. While there are some temporary
gains for the consumers from the present lack of system m the
industry, on the whole the only one who will profit from the present
conditions is the timber gambler. Timber owners, lumber producers,
lumber dealers, both wholesale and retail, the United States Forest
Service, the various schools of forestry, and to some extent the
Federal Trade Commission are attempting to stabilize the industry.
The movement seems to be in the direction of a closer cooperation
of the various factors in the industry through the trade association.
There will probably be increasing public assistance and supervision,
but it will be of a constructive type and in the interests of a more
stable and orderly development of the industry and a greater con­
servation of the timber resources of the region.3
*
2 Data for decrease in wage payments are from Table 9; for volume of production are from the Four L
9
News Letter, Jan. 15, 1923.
8 U . S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Corporations: Report on the Lumber Industry,
0
I. 4,
p. 383 et seq.; Federal Trade Commission, The National Lumber Manufacturers’ Association, Jan. 10,
1921, p. 57; Pacific Lumber Trade Journal, August, 1911, p. 26; January, 1912, p. 38; West Coast Lum­
berman, June 15,1915, p. 22; April 1,1918, p. 22.
8 The prices collected are from records of actual past transactions, and these are made available to the public
1
» Further reference to some aspects of this problem are made in Chapter XUT.




to

CHAPTER IV.—TECHNOLOGY.

The processes by which standing timber is transformed into finished
lumber ready for the market are very fascinating in themselves, but
in this study interest in them arises from their connection with the
labor problems of the industry. The conditions under which it is
necessary for men to live and work, the kind of work the men do, the
way in which workers mingle—all these are of vital importance for
an understanding of the labor problems. None of these can be
known apart from some knowledge of the technology of the industry.
For example, one must know something about the nature of the work
they do before one can understand why workers in shingle mills are
more favorably disposed toward radicalism than are workers in saw­
mills or why loggers are more radical than either.
The lumber industry is usually divided into five parts: (1) The
ownership of standing timber; (2) logging, cutting, and transporting
logs to the mill; (3) milling-saw, shingle, and planing mills; (4) whole­
sale distribution; (5) retail distribution.1
2
The sawmill is the center of the industry, and is closely connected
with all the other operations. It is usual for the company owning
the mill also to own the standing timber and to conduct its own
logging operations. However, in the fir region there are a large
number of independent loggers who sell their logs in the open market.
They may own timber or buy stumpage. Some of the mills act as
their own wholesalers, selling direct to retailers, while a few mills con­
duct retail yards. Nearly all mills do a retail business in the com­
munity in which they are located. However, there are few men
employed in connection with timber ownership or lumber marketing,
and these do not appreciably affect the typical labor problems of
the industry. Accordingly reference to these activities is only
incidental in the discussions which follow.
LOGGING.

Logging consists in the cutting of timber into logs and the trans­
porting of the logs to the mill. There is but little choice permitted
the logger with regard to the location Of his operations. He must
log where the timber grows, and as the timber is cut from one locality
he must move to another. The rapidity with which a tract is cut
over and the length of time required to grow a new crop makes the
industry very transient. A single “ side” 3 will cut about 65,000 feet
of timber per day, or, on the average, about a half section per year.
Most camps consist of two or more “ sides,” with a correspondingly
greater cut. The camp must usually be established at the edge of a
stand of timber and must follow the windings of streams in order to
facilitate moving logs. The result is that the usual logging operation
is at a considerable distance from town, and the crew must live at a
considerable distance either from town or from their work. The
usual practice is to establish a camp near the scene of the operations
1U. S. Department of Agriculture Report No. 114: Some public and economic aspects of the lumber
industry, by William B. Greeley, p. 8.
2 A “ side” consists of a single yarder, with the crew and any other men necessary to carry on complete
operations, including falling and bucking.




29

30

W EST COAST LUM BER IN DU STRY.

and to move the camp as cutting advances into the timber. The
nature of the living conditions in these camps will be discussed in
Chapter V.
Tne first operation of the logging process, aside from the establish­
ment of the camp, is the preparation of loss for the mill. This
consists of two or three operations— felling the timber, “ bucking”
it or cutting it into proper lengths for logs, and usually “ knotting,”
or trimming off limbs and knots. This work is usually under the
immediate direction of the head bucker, who works under the camp
foreman.
FELLING.

The timber is felled by fallers, who work in pairs. The more expe­
rienced or head faller usually selects the trees to be felled and deter­
mines the direction and methods of felling. Sometimes, however,
this is done by the head bucker. Care must be taken to avoid cut­
ting immature or worthless timber, to prevent breaking in falling,
and to place the timber in such a position that it can be most advan­
tageously bucked and yarded. The fallers first notch the tree on the
side toward which they desire it to fall and then finish the cutting
with a crosscut saw. Heavy wedges are used to direct the fall.
Except where the lean is heavy a pair of experienced fallers can usually
place a tree about where they want it.
BUCKING.

After the tree has been felled it is next bucked into lengths suitable
for logs. The head bucker marks off the log lengths so that there
shall be a minimum of waste in trimming in tne mill and so that the
greatest value may be obtained from the tree. He takes account of
the shape and size of the tree and the location of defects, as well as of
the character of the logging and mill equipment and the demands of
tbe market. The usual lengths for logs are from 24 to 40 feet, with
longer or shorter logs to fill special orders or to save material. Logs
are often cut over 100 feet long and sometimes up to 200 feet.3
The buckers work singly and saw either from the top or the bottom
of the log, depending on the position in which it lies. While a few
experiments have been made with power saws for bucking, they
have not come into general use. Usually after but sometimes be­
fore bucking, the limbs and knots are trimmed from the logs by a
knotter, limber, or swamper. In some cases the logs are peeled and
“ sniped.” 4
YARDING.

After the logs have been thus prepared, their journey to the mill
begins. The first step in this process is called “ yarding.” It con­
sists in bringing the logs from their original positions to a central
point, from which they may be moved by rail, water, or donkey en­
gines. In ground yarding, the oldest and simplest kind of yarding,
the logs are dragged on the ground. The ground-yarding engine,
usually called a “ yarder,” is a steam engine mounted on a heavy
sled. It has several drums, and sometimes cylinders as large as 12 by
8 Many mills are equipped to handle logs up to 160 feet, and in 1909 a timber 214 feet long was cut in a
West Coast mill.
4 Sniping is the process of rounding the corners of the logs so that they will slide easily over obstructions.
This is done only when the log is to De dragged on the ground-




TECHNOLOGY.

31

14 inches, with compound gears. In preparing for work the yarder
is set in the yard selected as advantageous for further transportation
of the logs. A “ straw” line, usually a three-eighths inch wire cable,
is then taken out by hand for about a quarter of a mile in the direc­
tion from which the logs are to be hauled, passed through a block,
and the end brought back to the yarder. Here it is made fast to a
larger line, five-eighths or three-quarters inch, which is hauled out
by the straw line through the block and the end brought back to the
yarder. This heavier line, the “ trip” line, is then made fast to the
main hauling line, an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half cable.
The trip line then hauls the main hne out to the log which it is desired
to bring in. The trip line is used after the log is brought in to haul
the main line back, while the straw line is used only when it is neces­
sary to move to another location. It is often necessary to pass the
trip or the main line through several blocks in order to get the logs
out of bad places or to prevent them from catching on stumps or other
obstructions. The work of placing the yarder and setting the lines
1
1 "he yarding crew under the immediate direction of the
After the equipment is in place the logs are brought in by the
yarding crew, under the direction of the hook tender. The crew
usually consists of a hook tender, a swamper, a sniper, one or two
rigging slingers, two or three choker setters, a chaser, a signal man,
an engineer, a fireman, and one or two wood bucks. The swamper
knots the logs and trims any brush which interferes with effective
work. The sniper snipes those logs needing it. The choker setters
place the chokers (wire slip loops) around the ends of the logs. The
rigging slingers attach the chokers to the main line and detach them
when the line returns. The chaser opens and closes the blocks to
enable the log to pass them.5 The signal man transmits signals from
the men giving them to the engineer. The wood bucks buck and
split wood for the engine. When oil is used for fuel, as is now being
(Tone to an increasing extent, the wood bucks and usually the fireman
are unnecessary.6
Yarding may also be done by the “ high-lead” system. This
differs from ground yarding chiefly in that the main line passes
through a block at the top of a high spar near the yarder. This
spar is usually a tree, trimmed of limbs and the top cut out, from
100 to 200 feet high. The spar is stayed with 6 to 10 guy wires.
For distances up to 600 feet or more the high lead lifts the end of the
log off the ground and so keeps it from catching on obstructions.
It is also possible to haul several logs at one haul and at greater speed.
No sniper is required. However, to prepare the spar tree and set the
lines a high climber is necessary. The larger capacity of this system
makes a loading engine advisable when the yarder is situated at the
rail head. The larger capacity has resulted m the rapid adoption of
high-lead systems.
A third type of yarding, the overhead system, has also found
much favor since its introduction 10 or 15 years ago. The charac­
teristic feature of this system is the use of a stationary or “ standing”
* These blocks are so constructed that they may be opened and the line removed from them, so as to
facilitate hauling past them.
• For further description see U. S. Department of Agriculture Bui. No. 711, Logging in the Douglas fir
region, by W . H . Gibbons, pp. 74-94.




32

W IS T COAST LUM BER IN DU STRY.

line, stretched from the top of a “ head spar,” similar to the highlead spar, to a “ tail spar,” a similar spar out at the farther edge of
the tract from which logs are to come. The standing line is held
taut by one of the drums on the engine and on it runs a carriage to
which is attached the block through which the main line runs. The
outer end of the “ outhaul” line is also attached to the carriage.
This line runs through a block on the tail spar and is used to haul the
carriage out for another load and to hold it from running in too rapidly
when the load is being hauled. The trip or “ slack-pulling” line
pulls the main line back to the log to be reached. After the main
line is attached to the chokers, the outhaul is held taut and the main
line draws the logs directly under the standing line and then lifts
the end of the logs off the ground. The outhaul is then released by a
braking device so that the carriage moves in toward the head spar
slowly enough to permit the main line to keep the end of the logs off
the ground. When the logs reach the landing the main line is
released and the logs fall to the ground. The chaser then removes
the chokers from the logs, while the outhaul and slack-pulling lines
haul the carriage and main line back for another load. B y this
method several logs may be moved at once, and the speed of the haul
is greatly increased. Moreover, a much larger area may be yarded
at one setting than by any other method.
It is the general practice to yard directly to the rail head, but in
some places, particularly west of the Coast Range, this is not always
practicable, either because of the broken nature of the ground or the
cost of railroad construction. In such cases other engines are used
to bring logs from the yarder to the railroad. Sometimes a road is
built, usually by laying three logs together to form a V-shaped
trough in which the logs are hauled. Where such a road is construc­
ted the further transportation is called “ roading,” but where no
road is constructed it is called “ swinging.” Roading is usually done
by an engine similar to a ground yarder but with greater speed,
while swinging may be either ground or overhead. Overhead swing­
ing is common on broken ground. The crew of a roader or swing
donkey usually consists of the engineer, fireman, wood bucks, and
one or two chasers to hook and unhook chokers.
LOADING AND TRANSPORTATION.

At the railroad the logs are loaded onto cars, usually by lifting
them into the air and letting them down onto the car. The loading
line runs through a block at the top of a spar, and is connected to
the log by chokers or grab hooks. The yarder, or roader, or a special
loading engine furnishes power. Where the haul is to be either
wholly or in part over a common carrier railroad the logs are placed
on ordinary flat cars, but where the entire haul is over a special
logging railroad a special type of log truck is used. Logs are fastened
on the cars by means of stakes or chains, or both, but in spite of
this many logs are lost off the cars before they reach the mill. Some­
times logs are hauled by rail for 100 miles or more. In many cases
the railroad delivers the logs directly to the mill pond; in other cases
the logs are delivered by the roads to storage booms, where they are
made up into rafts of about 200,000 feet each and taken to the mills
by steam or gasoline tugs.




TECHNOLOGY.

S3

SAW M ILL.

From the mill pond the log is brought into the mill, usually being
drawn up an inclined way, by means of an endless chain with sharp
fingers set into cross blocks at frequent intervals. The fingers eaten
the log and hold it while the chain draws it up. A boom man sorts
the logs in the pond and brings them into position where the fingers
will catch them and bring them into the mill. When they reach the
second story of the mill the logs are rolled from the logway to the
log deck, where they are “ scaled” 7 by the deck man, and then
await their turn for sawing. The logs are here moved by a log turner
equipped with arms which catch the log, turn it into any position
desired, and push it onto the carriage or turn it on the carriage. It
is controlled by the sawyer.
HEAD SAWING.

When the log is rolled onto the carriage it rests against movable
rests, known as “ head blocks,” and is fastened against the blocks by
means of hooks or “ dogs,” which are inserted by a “ dogger.” The
head blocks are moved by machinery under control of the setter, who,
acting under the orders of the sawyer, moves the log forward to
adjust the size of the cut to be made. The cutting of the log is under
the control of the sawyer, who determines the way in which it is to
be cut, and controls the movement of the carriage.
The log is carried by the carriage past the head saw, which cuts off
a board. The sawyer then brings the carriage back to its original
>osition, the setter moves the log forward, and the carriage moves
orward again and another board is sawn from the log. The sawyer
must be familiar with the capacity of his saw so that h e can get the
maximum work out of it without crowding it so that it heats and
either breaks or makes a poor cut. He must also know how to get
the most out of his log, so that he can secure the better grades, as
the constant aim is to secure the most valuable rather than the
most bulky product. He must be familiar with market conditions
and current orders so that he will not waste material.

}

The head saw or “ head rig” is usually a band saw. The common
type of head rig is an 11-foot mill, which usually uses a saw 17 inches
wide and 65 feet long, running over two 11-foot wheels. The power
is applied to the lower wheel and the saw cuts as it moves downward.
Such a saw will cut through a log at the rate of 600 lineal feet per
minute when the saw is running at a rim speed of 10,000 feet per
minute.8 In actual practice the saw is seldom fed more than 200
feet per minute. The saws are cared for, sharpened, and kept in
condition by the filer. Something of the skill required in this job is
shown by the fact that there are few uses to which steel is put where
it is subjected to such strains as in a heavy type of band saw. The
filer is the highest paid man in the lumber industry outside of the
executives and foremen.
The log is usually only partly cut into lumber on the head rig.
Slabs are first cut off, then the clear lumber near the surface of the
log is cut into boards or cants, and then the common lumber in the
i Scaling consists in measuring the length and diameter of the log to determine its contents,
s Armstrong, E. B ., editor ‘'N orth American Filer” section of the West Coast Lumberman: Interview
June, 1922.




34

W EST COAST LU M BER IN D U ST R Y .

interior of the log is cut into cants or timbers. After a slab and a few
boards have been cut from the log the dogs are removed and the log
is turned onto the flat side by the log turner. Then another slab
and more boards are cut off and the log is turned again. Sometimes
the log is turned a half dozen times or more before being completely
cut. After the slabs and boards are sawn by the head rig they are
turned down onto their side by an off-bearer or tail-sawyer, and then
move on “ live rolls’’ or transfer chains to other parts of the mill
for further cutting.
SLASHING.

The slabs go from the head saw directly to the “ slasher,” a number
of crosscut circular saws set about 4 feet apart, where the slab is
moved against the saws by moving chains and cut into 4-foot pieces.
The best of these pieces are sometimes sorted out to be made into
lath, while the rest are carried by an endless-chain conveyor to the
refuse burner or to a fuel pile.
EDGING.

The boards from the head rig go to the gang edger where they
are ripped into the desired widths and trimmed of uneven edges.
Some edgers are able to take pieces 12 by 72 inches and in a few cases
80 feet long. The saws are set on an arbor in such a way that the dis­
tance between the saws may be adjusted by the edgerman to make
cuts of any desired widths. The edger man must know grades
and orders or he may waste a great deal of material.
GANG SAWING.

The cants, pieces intended for further sawing, are sent either
to a pony or a gang. Some mills have one, some the other; possibly
some mills have both. The pony is a smaller rig of the same general
nature as the head rig. From it the boards may go either to the
edger or to the trimmers. The gang consists of a number of recipro­
cating saws set in a single frame and moving up and down as the
cant is moved through them by top and bottom rolls. The gang may
be large enough to take cants 18 by 60 inches at a speed of 15 lineal
feet per minute. The lumber is cut by the gang to even widths and
thicknesses and seldom requires edging. Usually the cants are
cut to a thickness just equal to the width desired for the finished
lumber and then are stacked to run through the gang.
TRIMMING.

After lumber has been cut to width and thickness by the head rig,
pony, gang, or edger, it is trimmed to proper lengths and defects
cut out. Sometimes trimming is done with a single swing saw, but
usually the lumber is sent to an automatic trimmer. This consists
of a set of saws set at 2-foot intervals, with all the saws except those
at either end so arranged that by a movement of a lever by the trim­
mer man they may be raised or lowered, so that the boards may be
cut to any length desired. Here, as in the case of the head or pony
sawyer or edgerman, the trimmer man must know grades and orders
in order not to waste material or to cut it to lower grades than is
necessary. The lumber is moved against the saws by endless chains,
and one or two men are stationed at these chains to see that the
lumber is kept straight and is separated so that only one piece will
be trimmed at a time.




TECHNOLOGY

35

GREEN-LUMBER SORTING.

From the trimmers the lumber moves on out of the mill on transfer
chains into the sorting shed, commonly referred to as the “ green
chains.” Here the lumber is carried for a considerable distance
on the chains so that it can be sorted for transportation to different
parts of the plant or yard. Near the trimmer stands a “ chain
marker” who marks on each piece the disposition to be made of it.
Green-chain men are stationed at short intervals along the chains to
pull off the lumber and load it onto trucks or carriers for trans­
portation to various parts of the plant. Some of the lumber moves
directly from the chains to the feed table of a timber or dimension
sizer, which planes one side and one edge or more of the green lumber
to reduce it all to the same size. Other pieces, particularly the clear
lumber, goes to the dry kiln, sometimes falling from the chains to the
cars on which it is moved into the kilns. Other pieces are taken
to the storage yards or directly to the place for shipment.
KILN DRYING AND PLANING.

Except for the dimension and timber sizing, most of the lumber
is kiln-dried before going to the planers, and then it is only the
clear lumber or shop grades which are dressed. The clears are sent
through fast-feed matchers and made into flooring, siding, or ceiling,
or dressed on all four sides for finish, casing, shelves, and similar
purposes. Many mills have molding machines which utilize the nar­
row strips. After passing through the planers the lumber is trimmed
and graded, and then ml except the finish is made into bundles,
usually of six pieces, after which it is taken to a storage shed to await
shipment.
DISPOSITION OF WASTE.

The waste material of the mill is usually used for fuel or burned.
Nearly every mill generates its own power, and some of them sell
power. Sawdust from the larger saws is usually conveyed directly
to the furnaces by conveyors, while sawdust from the smaller saws
and planers is collected by vacuum collectors and conveyed to the
furnace by pipes. In many mills this is not sufficient to provide
power, and slabs from the slasher are burned or a “ hog” is installed,
which grinds up the waste material to facilitate feeding it to the
furnaces. Waste which is not needed for firing is sold for fuel or
burned in a fire pit or burner to dispose of it.
POWER.

Power is usually supplied by a battery of furnaces and boilers
which furnish steam for the engines, from which the power is trans­
mitted to the machines by belting and shafting, although some ma­
chines receive their power in other ways. Thelog turner is supplied
with steam direct to its cylinders and some other machines use
steam directly. Several of the larger machines have separate
engines, particularly the carriage, head rig, pony, pony carriage, and
edger. More recently the better mills have been installing genera­
tors in the power house and furnishing each machine with an indi­
vidual motor. This has the advantage of permitting a more satis­
factory adjustment of power to meet the peak: loads required at each
machine, since an electric motor will stand more overloading than
a steam engine.




36

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.
INSPECTING, GRADING, AND TALLYING.

In addition to the men who actually handle the lumber or run the
machines there are a number of inspectors, commonly called graders
or tallymen, who grade and tally tne lumber. All lumber must be
sorted for grades, as there are a large number of different grades
into which it is classified, and it must be tallied as it is shipped to
provide for shipping the right amount. Most of the cargo mills
on the West Coast have united to form the Pacific Lumber Inspection
Bureau, commonly called the “ P. L. I. B.,” which furnishes tally­
men who inspect, grade, and tally all lumber shipped from their
mills by water. The bureau is gradually extending its inspection
to rail shipments. The tallyman inspecting the shipment must first
be approved by the bureau representative and then he must make
affidavit before a notary of the correctness of grade and tally. This
affidavit and the approval of the bureau representative are attached
to the invoice. The P. L. I. B. certificate is generally accepted
among buyers and sellers of lumber as the highest possible assurance
of correct grades and quantity.
SHINGLE MILLS.

Shingles are not usually manufactured in close connection with
lumber manufacture, although some lumber mills have shingle mills
in close proximity. In such cases the shingle mills are usually in the
nature of by-product plants, using cedar which is not suitable for
lumber. Shingle mills may use either logs or “ bolts,” the latter
being cut 4 or 5 feet long, depending on the kind of shingle to be
made, and split to about 16 inches thick. When logs are used they
are sawn on the mill floor by a drag saw, a heavy power crosscut
saw, into shingle lengths, from 16 to 24 inches long, and then split
to about 16 inches thick. When bolts are used they are sawn to
shingle length by a circular cut-off saw. After the blocks are thus
prepared they are sometimes “ bolted” or trimmed smooth on the
split sides, in bolting the block is placed on end on a small platform
and the platform is carried past a large circular saw which trims the
face of the block to a flat surface. Prom the bolter the block goes to
the shingle machine.
The shingle machines cut the blocks into shingles. These ma­
chines are of two types, upright and horizontal, so called from the
position of the saw and the block during sawing. The latter is the
earlier type and is arranged to take from 1 to 10 blocks at a time.
In this type of machine the block is laid on one of its faces into a
frame which moves over the face of the saw, carrying the block past
the saw. At each trip of the carriage the saw takes off a shingle,
which falls into a pit below the machine. In the 10-block machine
there are 10 block-carrying carriages and several saws. The blocks
move in a circle and each saw takes off a shingle from each block.
The sawyer must place the blocks in the machine and when a block
is cut to perhaps 2 inches wide he takes the “ spault” out and places
in another block. He does not stop the machine in these operations
and sometimes loses a finger or hand if he is not careful. With the
horizontal machine one or more knot sawyers are needed to trim
the edges of the shingles and cut out bad knots or other imperfections.
In the upright machine the block stands upright and is moved back­
ward and forward past the saw, which cuts off shingles as it goes. The




TECHSTOLiOGY.

37

sawyer must take in his left hand these shingles as they are cut and
then trim them on a vertical saw at his right. As his eye is usually
on the knot saw, it is very easy to lose all the way from a finger nail
to an arm in the shingle S& . Few men have sawn shingles For any
W
length of time, particularly on an upright machine, without paying
toll in a part or all of a hand.
After the shingles are sawn and trimmed they are thrown into bins,
from which they are taken by packers and packed into the familiar
bundles. After packing they are usually taken to a dry kiln for
drying to reduce weight and freight rates.
The accident rate in the shingle mills is unusually heavy, due to
the danger of shingle sawing. In addition the cedar dust is seldom
collected by fans, and a very large proportion of the workers contract
cedar asthma. The shingle mills are usually quite small, sometimes
with only one or two sawyers or packers, and seldom with more than
10 or 12 of each. There are few other men about the mill, so that it
is the exceptional mill which employs as many as 25 men.




CHAPTER V.—EXTENT AND CAUSES OF LABOR UNREST.

One of the surest signs of a contented labor force is a low labor
turnover. If men are happy and contented with their work they
will stay with it; if they are restless and discontented they wall
move An to another job. Where labor conditions are satisfactory
turnover is low and many men stay year after year. On the other
hand, a high rate of turnover indicates something wrong with the
plant.
EXTENT OF LABOR TURNOVER.

In the West Coast lumber industry the labor turnover has usually
been very high, although, like so many other aspects of the situation,
adequate figures on the subject are hard to find. In December,
1921, the manager of a sawmill with an annual production of nearly
a hundred million feet of lumber, on being asked what his labor
turnover was, stated that it was about one-half of 1 per cent* per
month. A few minutes later this manager was complaining about
the difficulty he had in holding his yard crew. Perhaps he meant
that his turnover was 50 per cent instead of one-half of 1 per cent.
More likely he had no data whatever, but wanted to make a good
showing. A few mills have made careful turnover studies. Four
Oregon mills report that during the three years, 1919, 1920, and 1921,
the average number of separations was 703 per mill per year, while
the average working force per mill was 343, indicating a turnover
of about 205 per cent. Five Washington mills during the same
period had an average yearly turnover of 266 per cent— 397 sepa­
rations with an average crew of 149.1 There was probably little
labor trouble in these mills during this period. Had figures been
available for the years 1917 and 1918 they would undoubtedly
show a much larger rate of turnover, particularly for the six months
preceding the shortening of the workday. It is generally admitted
that the turnover ran from 500 to 1,000 per cent per annum during
that period. One company operating both mill and camp reported
that m February, 1918, it hired five men for each man on the pay
roll.2 In 1911, at a time when jobs were not overly plentiful, the
writer had experience with a job for which seven men were hired
within a week in order to keep one man at work. At the other
extreme is the experience of a plant in Oregon which was shut down
from January, to December 1, 1921, and resumed with all of the old
crew except one man who had gone into business for himself.3 In
1915 the Federal Industrial Relations Commission estimated that
the annual turnover in the logging camps was about 500 per cent4
while records of a Washington camp for the years 1919 to 1921
revealed an annual turnover of 564 per cent, the average crew being
117.5&While there is little data as to the cost of turnover in this
i Four L Bulletin, April, 1922, p. 35.
* Idem , February, 1922, p. 8.
8 Four L Bulletin, January, 1922, p. 40; February 1922, p. 8; Interview with A . C. Dixon, general man­
ager of the Booth Kelly Lumoer Co., May, 1922.
* U. S. Commission on Industrial Relations: Final Report, p. 167
&
Four L Bulletin, March, 1922, p. 7

38




EXTENT AND CAUSES OF LABOR UNREST.

39

industry, on the basis of studies made elsewhere it has been esti­
mated that the cost would average $75 per replacement, counting all
men in the organization, with common labor getting $3 per day.®
CAUSES OF LABOR TURNOVER.

The causes of this turnover are many and ramify through all the
relations of workers and owners in the industry. Some turnover is
inevitable in any industry, due to sickness, accident, death, old age,
promotions, removals, family affairs, etc. Some of the turnover is
peculiar to this industry but inevitable in it. Men find it too exact­
ing to continue working indefinitely in some of the extreme weather
of the region, and leave to rest up or to dry out. Rain even when it
reaches a precipitation of 4 or 5 inches per day, does not hinder
operations m mill or camp until something washes away. High wind
will stop logging. Snow also interferes with it, but only rarely is
there snow enough to interfere with operations except well up in the
mountains. There is also a considerable amount of idle time due to
breakdowns or necessary repairs. All of these result in increased
turnover. It has been estimated that 20 per cent constitutes the
minimum turnover for any length of time.
There has been for years a very general and deep-seated belief on
the part of the workers that much of the turnover has been deliber­
ately encouraged by the employers. The conviction is very general
that many foremen have ,an arrangement with some employment
agency for splitting the fee. In such cases the foreman will not
hire a man who does not have a ticket from the proper employment
agent even though he is in need of men, while he will hire a man
with such a ticket even though it be necessary to discharge a satis­
factory workman to make room for the new man.7 Another alleged
reason for encouraging turnover is to prevent organization of the
crew. There is a very general distrust of the I. W. W., and while
most employers will not discharge a man for carrying an I. W. W.
card, some will, and most of them will discharge any labor agitator.
Another reason why the employer may look with complacency upon
a large turnover is pointed out by Paul H. Douglas in an article in
the American Economic Review for June 1918 (pp. 308-316), on
“ Problem of labor turnover.”
He remarks that a large turnover
may be profitable when it is the result of excessive exploitation of
labor, wearing out the worker, discarding him, and getting another.
It is probable that in some of the mills and camps this is the explanation
of most of the turnover.
Professor Ogburn of the University of Washington states that
the chief causes of labor unrest in the industry are: (1) Long hours;
(2) low wages; (3) unsanitary camps; (4) lack of family life; (5)
absence of community life; (6) unsatisfactory working relationships
with foremen and superintendents; and he states that these are of
importance nearly in the reverse order to that in which they are
mentioned.8 These causes will be taken up in turn.•
• Four L Bulletin, February, 1922, p. 6 et seq., “ What does labor turnover cost,” by F. B. Gibson.
» Timber Worker, August, 1913, p. 1; Feb. 1,1915, p. 3; U. S. Industrial Relations Commission, Testimony,
vol. 5, pp. 4581, 4768, 4939, Washington, 1916. Extensive conversations with employers, employees, and
others in 1921-22, revealed a very general belief that such a practice is common to-day.
» University of Washington Forest Club Annual, 1918, pp. 11-14. “ Causes and remedies of the labor
unrest in the lumber industry,” by Wm. F. Ogbum.




40

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.
HOURS OF LABOR.

Ten hours was the standard working-day in the lumber industry
almost from its inception, although in some operations longer or
shorter days were worked. In 1909, of the 58,815 employees m the
lumber industry in Washington and Oregon, 55,868 worked 10 hours
per day, 2,340 less than 10 hours, and 607 over 10 hours.9 While
there had been dissatisfaction with the 10-hour day for many years,
it was not until 1917 that it really assumed important proportions.
The great strike that summer was chiefly for the 8-hour day, and it
was not until the day was shortened to 8 hours on March, 1, 1918,
that it was possible to quiet the unrest at that time. Since it first
went into effect there have been few deviations from that norm.
In April, 1922, a survey of the camps and mills on the West Coast
showed that of 749 operations only 15 were running over 8 hours.1
0
WAGES.

Wage rates have created labor unrest chiefly when wages have been
decreased or when prices have risen, or on account of the wage
spread between adjoining plants. Each of these conditions has
been frequent enough to cause considerable dissatisfaction. In
February, 1923, the wage spread between the Centralia and Grays
Harbor districts, about 50 miles apart, for laborers was $1.25 per
day, the wage being $3 in the former and up to $4.25 in the latter.
At that time the going wage on the West Coast was about $3.80 per
day. While this spread is probably above the average, there nas
usually been considerable variation in wages from plant to plant.1
1
Definite data as to the usual wage level are difficult to find except
in isolated cases. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
has collected some wage data for workers in the lumber industry
for various periods since 1904, but these data are far from complete
since 1914. The average earnings per hour of laborers in the lum­
ber industry in Washington in specified years, from 1904 to 1921, as
compiled from the wage data of the bureau,1 were as follows:
2
Cents.

1904
1905
1906
1907
1908
1909
1910.

17. 72
17.91
20.39
21.87
17.65
19. 27
21.08

Cents.

1911
1912
1913.
1915.
1919.
1921

20.83
21.24
22. 89

20.20
51.70
40.70

Before March, 1918, except in the shingle mills, wages were en­
tirely a matter of individual bargaining, and the employer raised
or lowered wages according as he tnought men were scarce or plenti­
ful. Since that date the Four La has set wage rates which have had a
wide influence on the going rates in most of this region. While
the Four L rates have applied to nearly all workers, skilled and un­
skilled, only the rates for unskilled labor will be here considered.
In March, 1918, the first wage rate was set at 45 cents per hour,
and six months later it was raised to 50 cents. These rates were maxi•U. S. Census Bureau. Census of 1910, The Lumber Industry: p. 14.
i« Four L Bulletin, May, 1922, p. 12.
n Idem, March, 1923, p. 13.
i* U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Bui. No. 65, p. 166; No. 77, p. 175; No. 129, pp. 32,33; No. 153, pp.37,
38; No. 225, p. 34; No. 265, p. 359; and No. 317, p. 21.
e Four L is the usual way of referring to the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen.




EXTENT AND CAUSES OF LABOR UNREST.

41

mums, designed to keep down turnover, and during most of the time
they were also the going rates. In July 1919, the Four L set a mini­
mum wage of 45 cents per hour, and a month later it was raised
to 50 cents. On February 1, 1920, another advance of 5 cents
per hour was made. On January 1, 1921, the minimum was reduced
to 45 cents and on June 1, 1921, it was further reduced to 37.5 cents
per hour, at which figure it still stands (spring, 1923). These mini­
mum rates Have been the going rates only from the fall of 1920 to
June, 1922.1 At present (spring, 1923) the most common wage
8
rate is probably about 47.5 cents per hour. The following state­
ment shows the common range of wages per 8-hour day for laborers
in the various districts of the West Coast as of March 1, 1923.1
4

$3.60
$3. 20- 3. 60
3. 60- 3. 80
3. 65- 3. 80
3. 00- 3.40
15 3. 65- 4. 25
3.80
3. 80
3.90
3.80

Coos B ay................
W illam ette V alley.
Columbia E iv e r...
W illapa H arbor—
Centralia-Chehalis.
Grays Harbor.........
Tacoma, Olym pia.
Seattle....................
E verett..................
Bellingham ............

No exact figures of yearly earnings are available, and we must de­
pend on estimates of the amount of time worked. In 1915 the average
time worked by laborers in the lumber industry in Washington, as
shown by data compiled by the United States Bureau of Labor Sta­
tistics, was 19.47 days per month, while in Oregon, it was 18.55 days.1
6
Such estimates as are available agree in placing the yearly earnings at
about three-fourths, or a little less, of the amount the men would earn
if they had no lost time.
INSANITARY CAMPS.

A third cause of unrest is the unsanitary type of camps in which
men in the logging industry must live. Few of the camps are so
arranged that the men can live at home. In a few cases the company
provides transportation to and from the job each day to men who
desire to live at home, while in other camps a few cheap cottages are
built for married men, but even here the lack of school facilities near by
makes it impossible to raise a family near the camps. Accordingly
nearly all of the employees live at the bunk house in the camp and eat
at the cook house. For most of them there is no alternative.
The bunk houses furnished for the loggers have seldom been all that
could be desired, although at present they are very much better than
they were before 1917. A mass of testimony before the Industrial
Relations Commission concerning conditions in the camps has been
thus summarized:
Forty loggers occupied a bunk house that should not have accommodated more than
a dozen—the men sleeping two in a bunk, w ith two more in a bunk on top ; a stove at
either end, sending the steam rising from lines of wet clothes strung the length of the
room ; beds made in many cases b y dumping hay into a wooden bunk; food that was
unsavory; the crudest kind of provisions for cleanliness and sanitation.1
7
is West Coast Lumberman, Mar. 15, 1918, p. 34; Sept. 15,1918, p. 30 et seq.; Four L Bulletin, June,
1921, p. 22.
h Four L Bulletin, March, 1923, p. 13.
is One mill paying $4.25.
m U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Bui. No. 225, p. 63.
w New Republic, Sept. 29,1917, p. 242.




W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

42

Dr. W. N. Lipscomb reported that he found—
One bunk house holding 80 men with no ventilation except a door in either end. * * *
A t night the men hang up their clothes, build a hot fire, close all the doors, and sleep
under groundhog conditions.1
8

Professor Ogbum reported that of the large number of camps he
inspected during the winter of 1917-18, one-half had wooden bunks,
one-half had bedbugs, one-third had bad toilets, and only onehalf had showers, while as a rule the camps had about one-half the
requisite amount of air space and one-tnird the window area re­
quired. The men nearly all furnished their own bedding.1
9
The chief complaints of the men concerning the bunk houses is with
regard to cleanliness and provision for drying clothes. The bunk
houses are usually poorly built and at best are hard to keep clean,
while often there is little care given them. The work which the men
do is usually very dirty and often, perhaps a third of the time, the men
come in covered with mud and thoroughly wet. They have to clean
up in the bunk house, and usually get it fairly dirty in so doing. Clothes
need frequent washing, and if there is no suitable place to ary clothes
they must be dried in the men’s living room. Under the best of condi­
tions it is difficult for the men to keep a room clean unless they have
another room for washing and drying clothes. But conditions are not
the best. Many of the men have not been used to cleanliness and care
little for it. It is still common for loggers to carry their bedding with
them, although many camps now furnish bedding. At the best the
bedding is not overly clean, at the worst it is indescribable. Bugs are
common in camps, and little provision is made to prevent spreading
of disease. The men charge the management with lack of provision
for cleanliness; the management charges that the men will quickly
ermit a clean camp to become filthy. Both are partly to blame.
ome managers make scant provision for the men; some men refuse
to care for clean camps when they are provided. There is no question
that conditions are at present vastly better than theywere six years
ago, but they are still far from satisfactory. The I. W. W. has been
carrying on a campaign for better camps and one of the demands in
the strike of April and May, 1923, was for clean camps and for the
furnishing of bedding.2 (See Chapter X II.)
0
Complaints about the board furnished in the camps have con­
cerned both the quality of the food furnished and the conditions
under which it is prepared and served. A few years ago a screened
kitchen or dining room was rare, while open latrines and garbage
piles were usually near by. Little attention was paid to any kind
of sanitary arrangements. It was common for cooks or waiters
to be suffering from tuberculosis or other communicable diseases.
There has seldom been any complaint about the quantity of food
served in a logging camp. It is the custom to place all the food
on the table and to permit the men to help themselves. Serving
dishes are kept supplied until everyone has finished. This results
in large waste, but seems to be the only way to insure that the men
have enough. The average logger requires from 5,000 to 8,000
calories per day, as compared with the normal adult requirement
of 3,500 or the Anny ration of 5,000.2 The quality of food is usually
1

g

i* West Coast Lumberman, Nov. 1,1917. p. 39.
1 University of Washington Forest Club Annual, 1918, pp. 11-14. “ Causes and remedies of the labor
9
unrest in the lumber industry,” by Wm. F. Ogbum.
2 Industrial Worker, Seattle, dining January, February, and March, 1923.
0
2 Timberman, November, 1914, p. 43.
1




EXTENT AND CAUSES OF LABOR UNREST.

43

about the same as that served in the better class of workingmen's
homes. Variety at any meal is usually large, but the meals are
very much alike. The Department of Home Economics of the
University of Washington made a study of camp menus and found
that the typical bill of fare was about as follow s:2
2
Breakfast— Cooked cereal with milk and cream, bacon or chops,
eggs, biscuit, potatoes, milk or coffee, doughnuts, and hot cakes.
Dinner.— Two kinds of meat, three vegetables, potatoes, pastry,
pie, cake, puddings, cookies, milk, coffee, tea, two kinds of bread.
Supper.— Meat, usually steak or chops, cold meat, potatoes, two
vegetables, very often fruit and pastry.
While such a menu seems to offer variety enough, yet the men are
such hearty eaters that they may eat some of nearly everything
on the table each meal. In such a case the food may soon seem to
lack variety, and the men move on to another camp to secure a
variety of food. There they find the same kind of food but pre­
pared or served differently.
LACK OF FAMILY AND COM M UNITY LIFE.

Some of the most careful students of labor unrest in the industry
hold that the more fundamental causes of unrest lie below the sur­
face even of the workers' thought. Chief of such causes are the lack
of family and community life in the camps and the unsatisfactory
relations between workmen and foremen.2 Ogbum found about
3
5 per cent of the men in camps had wives living at the camps, while
not more than 5 per cent more had wives in the near-by towns.2
4
There is practically no provision made for organized recreation
at the camps, except in the few places where the Y. M. C. A. has been
established. The men are away from home and ordinary social
environment. They spend much of their time about the fire in the
bunk house, playing. cards or discussing all kinds of topics, from
sports or scandal to abstruse discussions of economic theory. Here
they have the time to think and talk over their grievances and the
differences between their social and economic conditions and those
of other elements of the population. It is in these discussions that
the opinions of the loggers are formed, and here nearly everything
combines to make them radical. There is little that is attractive
in the lives they lead; they resent the social organization which
makes that kind of a life necessary. Of course, in the sawmills
the men are not so closely associated during their hours off duty,
and there is less of latent dissatisfaction with what life offers, less
of psychological foundation for revolt.
UNSATISFACTORY RELATIONS W ITH FOREMEN.

In most cases men are chosen for positions as foremen on the
basis of their knowledge of machinery or technique rather than of
their ability to handle men. Accordingly, it is common to find
22 Journal of Home Economics, June, 1921, pp. 241-245. “ Food in the lumber camps, ” by J. R. Muller.
23 See especially “ Causes and remedies of the labor unrest in the lumber industry,” by W. F. Ogbum,
in University of Washington Forest Club Annual, 1918, pp. 11-14: “ The I. W. W.,” by Carleton H. Parker,
in The Casual Laborer,^,nd other Essays, New York, 1920, p. 103.
2 University of Washington Forest Club Annual, 1918, pp. 11-14. “ Causes and remedies ot the labor
*
unrest in the lumber industry,” by W. F. Ogbum.

55853°— 24— Bull. 349------ 4




44

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

that the foreman has little understanding of or sympathy with the
feelings and prejudices of his men. Men are often treated as so many
machines, without regard to their personalities. This leads to sullen
resentment, and as soon as possible the man leaves the plant. A few
such experiences and he comes to feel that all foremen are slave driv­
ers, with no interest in their men. Another feature which increases the
dislike of workers for the foremen is what the workers call “ highball­
ing.” This consists usually in crowding the workers to as rapid a pace
as possible. It is usually most common in connection with yarding
in the logging camps, although it is by no means unknown elsewhere
in the industry. In yarding the hook tender speeds up the work by
example and by giving signals to the engineer to go ahead before
the men are entirely ready. This may greatly increase the hazard
of a business dangerous at best, and probably does increase the
accident rate. The employers claim that it is necessary on account
of the growing inefficiency and laziness of the workers, who are now
much less efficient than formerly. But in general it seems to be the
employers with the least satisfactory labor policy who complain
* most about labor inefficiency.
Another cause of labor unrest closely associated with the unsatis­
factory working relations with foremen is the feeling on the part of
the workers that they should have some voice in the determina­
tion of some of the conditions of their labor, particularly those
aspects of their work with which they are best acquainted. Except
for the radicals, there seems to be little desire on the part of either
loggers or mill hands for control of questions of company finance, tim­
ber buying, or lumber marketing. They do want a voice in the
management of production and with regard to questions of wages,
hours, and working conditions. Here they feel that they are not
considered or treated as human beings. Of course, there is a vast
difference between workers and between plants, but the feeling here
indicated is very widespread.
As a result of these various causes of unrest there gradually grew
up in the industry two hostile camps, the employers and the emloyees, who knew little or cared little of each other’s point of view,
n Chapter VI the psychology of the laborers as it has developed is
studied, and the remaining chapters show how it has worked out.

f




CHAPTER VI.— THE WORKERS.
N ATIONALITY OR RACE.

Most of the employees in the lumber industry on the West Coast
are Americans or Scandinavians, although there are a few men of
other nationalities, usually in the unskilled positions. The most
careful study of racial distribution of the workers was that undertaken
by the Washington State Bureau of Labor in 1913. The distribution
of workers in the Washington mills, including shingle mills, and in
logging camps, in 1913, by race, as shown by that study 1is as follows:
In mills.

In camps.

Natives and north Europeans.................................................... 18,066
South Europeans........................................................................... 1,224
A siatics............................................................................................ 1,248

5,376
364
12

T otal............................................................................................ 20,538

5,752

Wage data were also collected for the three race groups, and it was
found that in the sawmills the south European and Asiatic workers
were 15.6 per cent of the total number employed, but that they
held only 2.3 per cent of the jobs which paid over $2.50 per day.3
SKILL AND W AGE LEVELS.

The kinds of skill required in the various jobs in the lumber industry,
in camps and mills, has been indicated in Chapter IV, but a few addi­
tional words may well be said here. The Washington State bureau
of labor investigation of wages in 1913 disclosed that most of the men
in the industry were receiving close to the lowest wages paid. Some
summaries of the data are given in Table 12.
T able 13.—DAILY WAGES a IN THE LUMBER MILLS AND CAMPS OP WASHINGTON, 1913&.
Mills.
Item.
Saw.

Combi­
nation
saw and
shingle.

Shingle.

Logging
camps.

Total employees.............................................................................

13,543

4,243

2,752

5,752

Daily wages:
Lowest.....................................................................................
First quartile...........................................................................
Median.....................................................................................
Third quartile.........................................................................
Highest....................................................................................
Average...................................................................................

SI. 75
2.25
2.50
3.00
5.00
2.69

$1.75
2.50
2.75
3.50
5.75
2.95

$2.00
2.75
3.50
4.25
7.00
3.59

$2.00
2.75
3.25
3.25
4.75
3.09

a In most cases for 10-hour day.
b Washington State Bureau of Labor. Biennial report, 1913-1914, p. 34 et seq.
i Washington State Bureau of Labor. Biennial report, 1913-1914, p. 50. Comparison of these totals with
the report of the 1910 census would indicate that data were collected from about half of the camps and
perhaps three-fourths of the mills, but this should not seriously affect the conclusions. See U. S. Bureau
of the Census. CensuPof 1910: Bulletin on the Lumber Industry, pp. 12, 13.
» Washington State Bureau of Labor. Biennial report, 1913-1914, p. 34 et seq.




45

46

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

The Washington study is probably defective in reporting the men
who received very high wages, as there are but 156 men reported as
receiving over $5 per day and 146 or more of these were in the shingle
mills. The higher general level of wages in logging camps than in
sawmills is due to the disagreeable features of life in the camps and
the heavier nature of the work, rather than to any requirement of
greater skill. The even distribution and high level of shingle-mill
wages is due chiefly to the fact that considerable dexterity is required
in the work and most of it is on a piecework basis.
In Table 13 is shown the normal wage rates for some of the higher
paid positions in the mills and camps from 1912 to 1915, included
in which is the period covered by the report just quoted. While
there was some change in wage levels during this period, as shown
on page 40, still it was not sufficient materially to affect the com­
parability of Tables 12 and 13.

Wage rates.

1

c

§

T able 13.—USUAL D AILY WAGE RATES i ON THE WEST COAST FOR SOME OF THE
HIGHER PAID POSITIONS IN LUMBER MILLS, 1912 TO 1915, AND IN LOGGING CAMPS,*
1911 TO 1916.3

High.

Medium.

Low.

MILLS.

Filers, band saws............................................................................................
Sawyers^ head:
Circular.....................................................................................................
Filers, circular saws........................................................................................
Foremen..........................................................................................................
Chief engineers:
Electrical...................................................................................................
Steam........................................................................................................
Edgermen........................................................................................................
Trimmermen.................................................................................................
Resawyers........................................................................................................
Graders (seasoning and storage yard)............................................................

$12.00

$10.00

$9.00

8.00
6.00
6.00
6.00

6.50
5.00
5.00
5.00

5.00
4.00
4.00
4.00

6.00
4.50
4.75
4.00
4.00
4.50

5.00
4.00
4.00
3.75
3.75
4.00

4. 50
3.50
3.50
3.50
3.50
3.00

5.25

4.50
3. 50
3. 75
3.50
3.25
3.25
3.25

LOGGING CAMPS.

Hook tenders...................................................................................................
Loaders, head..................................................................................................
Locomotive engineers.....................................................................................
Filers................................................................................................................
Buckers, head................................................................................................
Fallers, head....................................................................................................
Rigging slingers, head.....................................................................................
Engineers, yarder and loader.........................................................................

6.00
4.75
4. 50
4.00
3.75
3.75
3.75

4.25
4.00
3.75
3.50
3. 50
3.50
3.50

1 Per 10-hour day.
* The high and low wage rates given for logging camps do not represent extremes and the medium wage
rates are average wages.
3 Mill rates from Lumber Manufacture in the Douglas Fir Region, by H. B. Oakleaf, Chicago, 1920, p.
143 etseq.; camp rates from Logging in the Douglas Fir Region, by W. H. Gibbons, p. 10.

At present (October, 1923), the wage level is about 70. per cent
above that prevailing at the time these figures were compiled.
SOCIAL VIEW POINTS.

Cutting across all lines of race or skill, there are widely different
social viewpoints held by the lumber workers. These attitudes
toward life and society lie at the root of any and all labor problems.
The first step towards an adequate understanding of these men is
to classify them upon the basis of their social viewpoints, but in
this connection it is necessary to remember that it is often impossible
to fit any given individual into any possible scheme of classification.




THE WORKERS.

47

In this attempt to classify labor types the basis chosen is the attitude
of a man toward his job, although it will be necessary occasionally
to take account of other significant differences.
While in general every job is taken and held because of the money
made on the job, either as wages or otherwise, yet in many cases the
worker may find enough pleasure in some job to induce him to
accept it at lower wages than he would accept elsewhere. He may
feel that in addition to the wages he receives for his labor there is
in the work itself a chance for self-expression and so may take
real pleasure in doing good work. While there are some men who
feel something of the artist’s interest and pride in their work, for
the majority of workers in the mills and camps work is drudgery
and endurable only because of the wages paid. For them, as some
one has said, “ work spells merely wages, ” or, in less poetical language,
they are working for “ a dollar a day and sundown.” While these
attitudes are determined partly by the kind of work done, this is
by no means the whole story, as will appear when we consider the
question a little further.
Since all men look upon their jobs as in a very significant sense a
means toward an end, it is important to inquire as to the things
they hope to secure as a result of their labor. An examination of lum­
ber workers from this point of view shows the men have five quite
clearly defined ambitions. Some of them think of their work as fur­
nishing only a temporary help in securing something which has no
connection with the work itself, as, for example, buying and clearing
a farm. Another type of worker thinks of his job as a stepping stone
to a higher position in the industry— as a training ground for an execu­
tive position or for ownership. A third and by Far the most numer­
ous type group consists of men who think of the job as furnishing
the means to live as ordinary citizens and usually to maintain a
normal family life. This group contains both those with and those
without interest and pride in their work. The members of the fourth
group have cast aside all social ties and obligations and seek in the
job merely the means to live a self-supporting but essentially unstable
life. In the last group we find those who have lost all touch with
society and who work just enough to secure a stake to provide
only for a mere animal existence, which stake will be supplemented
from less respectable sources. Every industry has workers of all
these types, but the conditions under which the lumber industry has
developed on the West Coast have produced some interesting modi­
fications of the groups.
THE STUMP RANCHER.

By far the most numerous and most characteristic representative
of the first group just mentioned is the stump rancher, the man
who is trying to make a farm out of a piece of logged-off land. As
this land is usually covered with large stumps, brush, and logs, it takes
a considerable period for him to clear enough of it to support his family,
and as the typical purchaser of such land is usually short of capital
he generally goes out to work for a few years to support his family,
while he clears the land during his spare time. As the lumber
industry is the most important source of jobs in the regions where
stump ranches are common, the customary place for him to work is in
mill or camp.

a




48

W EST COAST LU M BER ISTDUSTRY.

While the term “ stump rancher” applies strictly to a man who has
bought logged off or stump land, the term is frequently expanded to
include anyone who supplements a farm income by work in camps
or mills, feefore the Government land was exhausted some 25 or 30
years ago there were a large number of homesteaders who were
psychologically and economically in very much the same position
as the present-day stump rancher. On many of these homesteads
the settler lived only long enough to secure title to the land so that
he could sell it to a timber company, but on many others the settler
dreamed of building for himself a real home. Many of these dreams
were rudely shattered during the depression of 1893 to 1895, and
to-day there are hundreds, if not thousands, of abandoned ranch
houses in this region. To-day lumber companies attempting to mar­
ket logged-off lands often offer to the settler work in their plant
or a neighboring plant.3
It is a matter of great importance to the stump rancher that
he find work near his ranch so that he can utilize all his spare
time profitably. Accordingly he is willing to work for lower wages
and under less desirable conditions than those who have no such
interest. His attitude toward the job is determined by the fact
that he expects to leave the job in a short time, while in many
cases the loss of that particular job would mean the loss of his ranch.
He is not willing to make any sacrifices to improve the condition
of the employees in the industry; he feels that no possible improve­
ment in the job can be worth a contest with the employer. The
stump rancher is an individualist. Each man of this type has his
private objective, and the only union in which he is interested is
one to improve the breed of stock or to clear land. In a few cases
he may be enlisted in a cooperative marketing or buying organization,
but he is distinctly not interested in a labor union. He lives in a
different world from that of the trade-unionist and each fails to under­
stand the other. The stump rancher has little sympathy with the union
and seldom has scruples against acting as a strike breaker. From the
point of view of the employer the stump rancher is usually a very
desirable workman, since he does not readily leave the job, he seldom
complains of wages, hours, or working conditions, and on most
questions he is inclined to take the point of view of the employer.
Of course, he is apt to be somewhat irregular in his work, laying
off at planting and harvest time, but such vacations are easily pro­
vided for. In some sections of the West Coast, particularly in the
Centralia-Chehalis district and in the Willamette Valley, the propor­
tion of stump ranchers is very high. In these districts some com­
panies have as many as 75 per cent of the crew of this type. It is not
merely a coincidence that these are low-wage districts.4
THE AMBITIOUS WORKER.

The second type group contains those men whom we are pleased
to think of as having the typical American attitude toward industry.
When he enters the industry the boy hopes some day to own the
plant in which he works, and he endeavors to make his dream come

3 In April, 1922, a lumber company announced that it was putting on the market 2,800 acres of logged-off
land near Onalaska, Wash., and offered the purchaser winter work in its camps or mill. Four L Bulletin
May, 1922, p. 26.
*See p. 41.




THE WORKERS.

49

true. A great many of the employers in the industry have risen
from the ranks, and the way is still open for a man of intellience, energy, and ambition to rise from laborer to foreman or
igher, although such opportunities are relatively less numerous
now than formerly. Men with such ambitions take a great deal of
interest in their work and attempt to give more than they are paid
for in the hope of winning promotion. Their point of view is that
of the employer and the Hoo-Hoo, a fraternal organization composed
of employers, executives, and salesmen in the lumber and related
industries, makes a stronger appeal to them than the labor union.
They are not particularly interested in improving wages or working
conditions, as they expect to rise out of ratner than with their group.
From the point of view of the employer this is the most desirable
class of workers, but, unfortunately tor him, there are not many
of them.

f

THE TYPICAL LUMBERJACK.

The third type group includes the majority of the workers in this,
as in nearly every otner, industry, and is made up of those who
look upon their jobs as the permanent source of the income necessary
for a normal life as members of society. Most of them have, or
expect to have, families and homes of tneir own. Home ownership
is an ideal, although the insecurity of the job often makes it un­
attainable. The group is large and complex, and the members differ
widely in skill, strength, and intelligence, ranging all the way from
the filer or logging engineer to the pick-and-shovel man. A man
of this type may enjoy his work to such an extent that a doubling
of wages would not lure him away from it, or he may hate it so
that only the fear of want for wife and children can hold him to it.
But the important thing is that he looks upon work in the lumber
region as permanent ana thinks of any other general type of work as
either unattainable or undesirable.
Most of the skilled and semiskilled men in the lumber industry,
such as sawyers, filers, tallymen, graders, and most of the loggers,
would find their skill largely useless if they left the lumber industry.
As a result we find that these men are usually much interested in
the industry and the conditions of work therein and are willing to
make many sacrifices to improve conditions. Many of them take
a pride and joy in their work which to them has a real money value,
and often declare that “ you can’t hire me to work at anything
else.” This is probably true, if taken as they mean it, that no
other industry can afford to offer them a wage high enough to
entice them away from .the lumber industry. They feel that the
industry is “ their industry,” their lives are bound up with it, and
they, more than any others, deserve the title of “ lumberjack.”
In this third type group there are other workers, skilled and un­
skilled, who do not have this job pride. Many of them have worked
in other industries and could readily shift back again. They usually
take about as much interest in their work as a boy does in school
when the fish are biting or a circus is in town. They are industrious
and reliable usually in proportion to their standard of living or
the size of their families. To them work is a necessary evil, with
pay days and Sundays as the only bright spots on the horizon.
They have no love for their jobs or for the industry, largely because




50

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

they are usually suspicious of the employer and believe that there is a
definite antagonism of interests between employer and employee.
While these men are usually very sympathetic toward the I. W. W.
analysis of industrial conditions, they are not willing to go the whole
way of the proletarian revolution.
THE MIGRATORY WORKER.

The fourth type, the typical migratory worker, is an easy evolu­
tion from the lower levels of the third group. The man without in­
terest in his work is usually a poor workman, and so is the first to be
let go in times of slack work. Unemployment forces him to move,
and the first move makes the second easier and more necessary, the
steps downward becoming more rapid and certain. Soon the worker
has lost all connection with a settled life, his family is abandoned
or disintegrated, and he becomes entirely foot-loose. Of a group
of migratory workers studied in California in 1913-14, only 24 per
cent had ever married, and of these nearly one-third had abandoned
their wives, while only 14 per cent of the entire group admitted
that there was anyone dependent upon them.7 The report did not
indicate whether there was any connection between the relation
to dependents and the length of time these individuals had been
migratories, but it is probable that those who still had dependents
had not been wandering very long.
Not all migratory workers, however, are industrial misfits or fail­
ures. Undoubtedly there is a nomadic instinct of some sort in the
human make-up which is more highly developed in some men than in
others. Certainly nomadic man, to quote Professor Tugwell, “ neg­
lected to shed his nature with his habits ” when he abandoned nomadic
life,8 and throughout the whole history of civilized society there have
been individuals and races who could not be satisfied with a settled
life. This wanderlust may not always show itself in the same way,
but it is somehow associated with the artist, the pioneer, and the
genius.
Every new country draws in large measure on men of this restless type
for its early settlers. Not only do they live in the realm of the imagi­
nation, but they also possess the courage to cut loose from the old
moorings and follow the lure of the magic vision. The Oregon coun­
try appealed to men and women of this type throughout the country
and they flocked to the new land, chiefly from the frontiers. A
writer in 1884 thus referred to the laborers on the West Coast:
The people of the Pacific coast are strangely nomadic—a fact especially true of the
unmarried. Y ou can hardly enter into conversation w ith a working man who can
not give you some account of almost any settled district west of the R ocky Mountains,
often including the Sandwich Islands, Australia, and the Chinese ports. It is one oi
the drawbacks to large industrial enterprise that steady labor can not be counted
upon. Partly because of their feeling of independence, partly the vagabondish
spirit engendered by their long and gradually progressive journey hither from the
A tlantic States, men are lik ely to forsake their em ployer at very short notice and go
somewhere else w ith ill-defined purpose.9

An analysis of the conditions of modem industrial society would
lead one to expect that the migratory group would include men of
•Quoted in The Casual Laborer, by Carleton H. Parker, New Y ork, 1920, pp. 70-72.
•Pacific Review, September, 1921. “ The gipsy strain,” by R . G. Tugwell.
•Harper’s Magazine, May, 1884, p. 871. “ Prom the Frazer to the Columbia,” by E. Ingersoll.




THE WORKERS.

51

nearly the whole range of human ability and intelligence, although,
of course, not the whole range of accomplishment. Students of
social psychology have pointed out that our modern civilization is
not in harmony with the human instinctive endowment, and that
modern man has been unable to adjust himself to the rapidly chang­
ing social conditions, with the result that stresses and strains have
developed which have made it difficult for the individual to adjust
himself to the demands of social life. In particular this is true of
the factory system as it has developed during the past century and
a half. The sense of oppression felt by the rural British workers
when they went into the factories at the close of the eighteenth
century was the cause of a great deal of social maladjustment,1
0
while the failure of many people to adjust themselves to modern
civilization has resulted m various kinds of nervous disorders, a
decrease in the birth rate, and in open rebellion.1
1
Considerations such as these would lead us to expect to find
among the migratory groups many who lacked the mental ability
to make the adjustments necessary for life in our complex social
environment. We would expect to find those who had failed to
fit into their niche in the industrial structure and had given up
striving. There would be those of sensitive nervous temperament
who had been repelled by the mechanical routine of orderly society
and those of esthetic leanings who felt that there was no place in
our social order for the higher values of life. There would be the
rebels who could not endure the “ tyranny of the machine” or who
had revolted from the “ maladjustments and injustices of a capital­
istic society.” These groups differ widely in mental alertness and
ability, from great genius to those low levels where men can exist
only by virtue of special care.
INTELLIGENCE STUDY OF MIGRATORY WORKERS.

A careful study of the intelligence of the migratory workers was
made during the winter of 1915-16 by H. E. Knollin1 and it confirms
2
this a priori analysis He tested, by means of the Stanford revision
of the Ihnet-Simon intelligence scale, 183 of the lower grade of migratories at Palo Alto, Calif. The tests were applied to men who
were staying at a hostel maintained by the city of Palo Alto, to which
any man was admitted for two days on condition that he would do
a liberal amount of work on the woodpile. This disagreeable feature
was counterbalanced by the opportunity to rid one’s self of vermin,
the possession of wmch destroys the hobo’s self-respect. The
subject was given 25 cents and a liberal supply of tobacco as pay­
ment for submitting to the tests. In Table 14 some of the results
of this test are summarized and compared with the results of a
similar test applied by Mr. Knollin to all of the prisoners admitted
to the California State penitentiary at San Quentin between Sep­
tember 25 and November 20, 1916, 155 in number, and of a test
by C. W. Waugh of a group of 156 street-car platform men in the
San Francisco Bay region.
i« Hammond, J. L. and B .: The Town Laborer, pp. 17-36.
u The Instinct of Workmanship, by T . Veblen, pp. 318-320; The Great Society, by Graham Wallas, p. 66.
is Knollin, H. E .: The relation of intelligence to unemployment and crime, pp.7,19,51-56,84. Stanford
University, Calif., M. A. Thesis, 1917.




52

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

T able 14.—
-RESULTS OF INTELLIGENCE RATINGS OF TH REE GROUPS OF ADULTS
TESTED B Y THE STANFORD REVISION OF THE BINET-SIMON SCALE.
Per cent having
mental age under—

Mental age (years).
Group.
Lowest.
Migratories....................................................................
Prisoners.......................................................................
Street-car men...............................................................

Median.

7.5
7
10

14
13.67
14

Highest. 12 years. 11 years.
19
18
19

19
27
11.5

10
15.5
3

Those showing a mental age of less than 12 years were classed as
morons, while those under 11 years were considered feeble-minded.
It will be seen that while the median of all three groups was about
the same, the range was greatest among the migratones, and that
the proportion of low mentality was much higher among that group
than among the unskilled workers on the street cars. A group of
business men who were tested showed a minimum mental age of
about 13 years.
Not all of the men included in Mr. Knollin’s study properly belong
to the group which we are now considering. P. A. Speak, an expert
on casual labor, who was with the United States Industrial Relations
Commission, thus classifies migratory workers, all of whom he con­
siders as unskilled: First, the seasonal worker who is employed most
of the year, but at different jobs in different seasons; and, second, the
casual worker. Casual workers are of three types—first, the true
casual who works whenever possible and pays ms own way; second,
the city casual who maintains a definite dwelling, but does odd jobs;
and, third, the hobo who prefers to work when convenient, but who
has lost his self-respect ana does not hesitate to beg and steal. There
is another group of wanderers, the unemployables, who can not or
will not work.1 The fourth type, which we are now considering,
3
combines many of the features oi the seasonal and of the true casual
worker. The men of this group are usually employed and always pay
their own way, but they move often from job to job. There is a
peculiar type of wandering logger, less often a wandering sawmill
worker, who remains with the mdustry, but has no home or other
definite social ties except the very precarious tie which draws him to
the city at frequent intervals. After such a trip to town, which
nearly always occurs on the Fourth of July and on Christmas, and
probably at several other times during the year, the logger seldom
returns to the camp from which he went to town. The range of his
wanderings may be wide or narrow. Some of these men find the
whole Pacific Northwest too small a field for the exercise of their
wanderlust; others are content to go from job to job within a very
small area. In general, the migratory logger does not circulate freely
between the long-log and the short-log countries,1 although he may
4
drift all over either region. For most of them, however, a small field
is usually the limit of their wanderings. A logger may have worked
in every important camp on Puget Sound and Grays Harbor, but he
is Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January, 1917, pp. 72-78. "T he
psychology of floating workers,” by P . A . Speak.
MThe "long-log” country is the region of large timber west of the Cascades in Washington, Oregon,
California, ana British Columbia,where the practice is to cut the logs from 24 to 40 feet long or even longer.
The "short-log” country lies eastward from the Cascades to the Atlantic, where timber is usually cut into
16-foot logs.




TH E WORKERS.

53

will seldom leave that region. Willapa Harbor has its own group of
loggers who seldom stray beyond the camps tributary to that harbor,
whue the same is true of Coos Bay. Columbia River loggers seldom
go away from that river and its lower tributaries, although they move
all over that region.
This type of migratory logger is seldom a wholly unskilled worker;
many of them possess a high degree of skill, and hook tenders, high
climbers, loaders, engineers, filers—in fact nearly every type of logger
except the wholly unskilled worker— are usually migratories.
However, the higher their skill the less likely they are to leave the
special district in which they move freely. The conditions under
which these men live and work have predisposed them favorably
toward the I. W. W. propaganda, and most of them are sympathetic
to the I. W. W. philosophy, although by no .means a majority of
them regularly carry the red card.
THE HOBO.

The fifth and lowest type of worker, the hobo, has sunk down
through the ranks of the true migratories. He is distinguished
from the type just considered in that, while the latter works a con­
siderable portion of the year but in different jobs, the hobo works
only when he is compelled to by hunger. While the hobo would
usually prefer to work rather than to beg or to steal, he does not
long hesitate to do either when proper work is not available. Such
a man is not permanent in any industry but drifts in and out of
temporary iobs. He is in nearly every case an unskilled worker
and does a large part of the unskilled work in the camps and those
mills adjacent to fast freight lines. He is the most unreliable and
unsatisfactory of workers, and it is usually to avoid dependence
upon such men that south European and Asiatic laborers have been
favorably received. Probably the majority of the migratories ex­
amined by Mr. Knollin were of this type.
It is the hobo workers who present the really dangerous element
in the labor problem. They are foot-loose rebels who no longer
recognize the ordinary conventions of modern society but challenge
the whole industrial system of which the relation of employer and
employee forms a part. That challenge may be but the dumb
resentment of the failure and outcast against the man who has
succeeded, or it may be the very much more dangerous challenge of
the I. W. W., which has a very positive philosophy to take the place
of laissez faire and respect for private property. With such a group
there can be no common ground. The 1. W. W. refuses to accept
any of the assumptions of the employer or of society, and declares
eternal and uncompromising war against the whole system in which
the employer finds a place. It should be frankly recognized that
the members of the I. W. W., and to a lesser degree all the migra­
tories, stand on this platform:
The working class and the em ploying class have nothing in common. * * * Be­
tween these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize
as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production, and abolish
the wage system .15
» From the I. W . W . “ Preamble,” which is the real platform of the organization and printed on nearly
every publication put out by it.




54

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

The relation between the migratory workers, particularly the hobo
workers, and the I. W . W . is admirably expressed, from the I. W . W .
viewpoint, in the following statement by an I. W . W . leader:
The nom adic worker of the West em bodies the very spirit of the I. W. W . H is cheer­
ful cynicism , his frank and outspoken contempt for most of the conventions of bour­
geois society, including the more stringent conventions w hich masquerade under the
name of m orality, make him an admirable exemplar of the iconoclastic doctrine of
revolutionary unionism. H is anomalous position, half industrial slave, half vaga­
bond adventurer, leaves him infinitely less servile than his fellow worker in the
East. Unlike the factory slave of the Atlantic seaboard and the Central States he
is most em phatically not “ afraid of his job. ” H is m obility is amazing. Buoyantly
confident of his ability to “ get by ” somehow, he prom ptly shakes the dust of a locality
from his feet whenever the board is bad, or the boss too exacting, or the work unduly
tiresome, departing for the next job, even if it be 500 m iles away. Cost of transpor­
tation does not daunt him . “ Freight trains run every d a y ” and his ingenuity is a
m atch for the vigilance of trainmen and special police. No w ife or fam ily cum ber
him . The workman of the East, oppressed b y the fear of want for w ife and babies,
dare not venture much. H e has perforce the tameness of the dom esticated animals.
But the tang of the w ild taints the free and foot-loose western nomad to the bone.
Nowhere else can a section of the working class be found so adm irably fitted to serve as
the scouts and advance guards of the labor army. Rather they may becom e the
guerrillas of the revolution—the francs-tireurs of the class struggle.1
6
w Solidarity, N ov. 21,1914, p.l.




CHAPTER VH.—LABOR UNIONS AFFILIATED WITH THE AMER­
ICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR.
INTERNATIONAL SHINGLE WEAVERS’ UNION OF AMERICA.

The first union activity among the workers in the lumber industry
on the West Coast occurred among the workers in the shingle mills,
commonly called the “ shingle weavers/' about 1890. The shingle
weavers were never very numerous, the group in any mill being
small. They were very mobile, the range of skill required was small,
and most of the work could be done by any one of the group. In
addition, the method of wage payment— by the piece— and the de­
pendence of all the crew upon tne pace set by tne shingle sawyers,
drew them together. The dangers of the occupation, particularly to
the sawyers, made them daring. This group was much better fitted to
take the lead in union activity than any other group in the industry.

About 1890 they formed the West Coast Shingle Weavers' Union,
with locals in Ballard, Tacoma, Snohomish, Arlington, Sedro Woolley,
and Chehalis. The union probably deserves much of the credit for
the increase in wages which occurred about that time, when the rate
for packing shingles went to 10 cents per thousand. In 1893 the
union struck against a cut of 1 cent per thousand and lost. This
strike and the panic which occurred while the men were out destroyed
the union. During the next few years wages went down until the
men were packing For 3 cents per thousand.1 Attempts seem to have
been made during the two or three years preceding 1901 to reorganize
the union, but little seems to have been accomplished.2 Taking
*
advantage of the good shingle market in 1901, the weavers carried
on a vigorous agitation for better wages and conditions. This
resulted m a general increase in wages and the formation of shingle
weavers' locals in many of the shingle centers of west Washington.
In nearly every case the union was the result of a successful strike
for better wages. These locals were chartered directly by the
American Federation of Labor, but were loosely associated together
through a “ grand council." 1
In January, 1903, the various shingle weavers' locals held a con­
vention at Everett, at which they united to form the International
Shingle Weavers' Union of America. Among the locals represented
at this convention were Aberdeen, Arlington, Ballard, Castle Rock,
Edmonds, Elma, Everett, Fairhaven (now Bellingham), Hartford,
Marysville, Olympia, and Sedro Woolley, all in west Washington,
and Marinette, Wis.1 A comparison of available data from various
sources leads to the conclusion that there were 24 locals in existence
at that time, although they were probably not all represented at the
convention. Among the nonrepresented locals were probably locals
at Seattle, Snohomish, Tacoma, Blaine, and Hoquiam.5 The mem­
1 Shingle Weaver, Feb 8,1913, p. 1. “ History of the shingle weavers’ union.”
2 Timberman, June, 1900, p. 17.
» Washington' State Bureau of Labor, biennial reports 1903-1904, p. 100 et seq.; 1907-1908, p. 100; 19091910, pp. 47-82; Shingle Weaver, Jan. 27,1912, p. 7.




55

56

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

bership of the international union during the first year reached
1,300, a very creditable showing considering the small number of
men employed in the industry.6 The international union soon began
the publication of a monthly journal, the Shingle Weaver, which, on
April 1, 1911, became a four-page weekly.
During the first few years of its existence the International Shingle
Weavers’ Union was involved in many strikes, most of them of minor
importance. Among the more important were the Everett trouble
in 1904, the Ballard and general strikes of 1906, the Grays Harbor
strike in 1911-12, and the second Ballard strike in 1913. The trouble
in Everett in 1904 began early in the spring when the shingle mills
attempted to secure a general suspension of operations to strengthen
the market and some of the mills refused to close. The mills which
closed demanded that the union call its members out of the mills
which continued to operate and so make the shutdown general.
This the union refused to do. On April 26, 1904, the State com­
missioner of labor secured a settlement whereby the union and the
employers entered into # agreement with regard to wages and a
an
further agreement that when me price of shingles fell below an agreed
minimum the mills were all to snut down and the union would call
its members out of any plant which refused to close.7 About two
months after this agreement was reached, on June 27, 1904, the
Everett mills locked out their shingle weavers for a cut of 20 per
cent below the agreed scale. All mills were shut down for about
five weeks, but about August 1 the old wage was restored and the
men returned to work.8
'Hie general strike of 1906 began at Ballard on April 1 when the
union there went on strike ostensibly to secure the union scale which
was being paid elsewhere. As this meant only a nominal increase,
it was generally recognized that the strike was for recognition of the
union and it was fought out on this ground. The owners refused to
negotiate with the union in any way. The international union
supported the strikers, while operators in other parts of the State
assisted the mills, and both sides prepared to make the issue of
recognition state-wide. On July 17 the international called out all
of its members on the West Coast, tying up about 60 per cent of the
shingle production. After about two weeks, on July 30, a special
convention of the union in Tacoma called the strike off and the
men went back to work wherever they could secure jobs, the union
being practically destroyed.9
The next important strike occurred on Grays Harbor in 1911-12.
The union had undertaken an aggressive organization campaign
there, but on October 10, 1911, before they had quite completed it,
two plants discharged their union employees, whereupon the union
promptly called a strike at both plants. Before long two other
plants joined in the lockout. The trouble caused considerable bitter­
ness, particularly in Hoquiam, where some disorder occurred, and
in spite of efforts by the Hoquiam Chamber of Commerce to secure
a settlement, the strike dragged along until it merged into the I. W.
« American Federation of Labor
Proceedings of thirty-first annual convention, 1911, p. 87
7 Washington, State Bureau of Labor. Biennial report, 1903-1904, p. 27 et seq.
8Idem, p. 63; Pacific Lumber Trade Journal, July, 1904, p. 30, August, 1904, p. 18.
* Washington State Bureau of Labor. Biennial report, 1905-1906, pp. 194-196; Pacific Lumber Trade
Journal, June, 1906, p. 9; July, 1906, pp. 9, 33; August, 1906, p. 10; September, 1906, p. 9; Shingle Weaver,
Feb. 8, 1913, p. 1.
.
-»




AFFILIATION W IT H AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR.

57

W. strike on March 14. 1912. When the I. W. W. trouble was settled
most of the original demands of the shingle weavers were granted.1
0
The Ballard strike in 1913 began on April 7, when the union went
on strike for the union scale, an advance in wages of about 10 per cent.
About 300 men went out. The union stood firm, but strike breakers
were brought in, causing conditions in the mills to become bad. On
July 14 the union called the strike off and the men went back to work.
It explained its action by stating that one mill had decided to yield
and to start work on July 14 with a union crew, but that the other
operators combined and bought the mill to prevent this defection in
their ranks, which convinced the union that the operators were
receiving outside assistance. It was therefore considered wise to
call off the strike and preserve the union.1
1
Mention must be made here of the frequent attempts made to
withdraw the Shingle Weavers7 Union from the American Federa­
tion of Labor and to affiliate it with the I. W. W. The latter charged
that the officials of the Shingle Weavers7 Union prevented the
members of the union from making such a change when the majority
favored it. At the 1912 convention of the Shingle Weavers7 Union
a resolution favoring such a change of affiliation was introduced,
but it was unanimously rejected.1
2
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF W O O D SM E N AND SAW M ILL
W ORKERS.

Among the many attempts made before 1913 to organize the saw­
mill and logging-camp workers on the West Coast there are few which
deserve more than passing notice. A number of locals were organized
among these workers before 1905, but they do not seem to have had
a very vigorous or long life.1 In 1905 the American Federation of
3
Labor granted a charter to the International Brotherhood of Woods­
men and Sawmill Workers. The peak strength of this union, less
than 1,250 members, was reached in 1906. By 1911 the membership
had fallen to about half that number, and the union was suspended
from the Federation of Labor for failure to pay the per capita tax.1
4
The international offices were at Lothrop, Mont., and the only local on
the West Coast of which a record is available was local No. 24 at
Everett, Wash.1 About 1906 an organization called the Royal
5
Loggers was formed among the loggers on Puget Sound. It seems
to have made considerable headway, as 3,000 loggers attended its
picnic at Seattle, July 4, 1906. It was disrupted after the promoter
absconded with its funds.1
6
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF TIM BER W ORKERS.

Following the suspension of the International Brotherhood of
Woodsmen and Sawmill Workers by the American Federation of
Labor in 1911, the tenth annual convention of the Shingle Weavers7
10 Aberdeen W orld, Oct. 25,1911, p. 4; Oct. 27, pp. 1,4; Shingle Weaver, Oct. 28,1911, p. 1; N ov. 18, p. 1;
Dec. 16, p. 1; Jan. 27,1912, p. 2 et seq.; Mar. 9,1912, p. 1. See also account of the I. W . W . strike, pp. 65
to 66, post.
n Timber Worker, Apr. 12,1913, p. 1; May 24,1913, p. 1; Jan. 31,1914, p. 6.
12 Industrial Worker, Jan. 23, 1913, p. 1; The Everett Massacre, by Walker C. Smith, Chicago, 1917,
p. 29; Shingle Weaver, Feb. 1,1913, p. 10.
is Timberman, June, 1901, p. 5; July, 1903, p. 10.
h American Federation of Labor. Proceedings of the fortieth annual convention, 1920, p. 33 et seq.; 1911,
p. 87.
is Washington State Bureau of Labor. Biennial report, 1909-1910, pp. 47-82.
1 Pacific Lumber Trade Journal, July, 1906, p. 59; Industrial Worker, Spokane, Nov. 23, 1911, p. 4.
®




58

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

Union, meeting at Sedro Woolley, Wash., in January, 1912, voted
to instruct the officers to attempt to secure from the American
Federation of Labor an extension of jurisdiction to cover the entire
lumber industry.1 This extension was granted in November, 1912,
7
and during December the extension of jurisdiction was indorsed by
a referendum vote of the Shingle Weavers, Union. The Portland
convention in January, 1913, made the necessary changes in the
constitution to provide for the enlarged scope of its activities. The
name of the union was changed to the International Union of Shingle
Weavers, Sawmill Workers, and Woodsmen, and the name of its
journal to the Timber Worker.1 These changes became effective
8
on March 1, 1913. A year later the union voted to change its name
to the International Union of Timber Workers.1
9
The shingle weavers had often agitated for the eight-hour day,
and at the Hoquiam convention in January, 1906, they voted to
strike for it on June 1, 1907,2 but the strike of 1906 left them unable
0
to press the demand, and eight years elapsed before they were
again in a position to do so. At the Aberdeen convention in
January, 1914, a resolution was unanimously adopted instruct­
ing the executive board to attempt to secure the eight-hour day
in the lumber industry, on the basis of the same hourly pay
as for the ten-hour day, except that the minimum daily wage
should be $2.25. Time and a half was demanded for over­
time. A strike was ordered for May 1 in case the demands were
not granted voluntarily.2 The matter of a strike assessment was
1
left to the executive board, which levied an assessment of one day’s
pay per month for March and April, but only $4,354 of this was ever
paid in.2 The convention voted not to submit the question of a
2
strike to a referendum, as it was thought most employers would be
willing to grant the demands promptly, and that the strike would
be necessary in but a few places. Also the result of a referendum
could not be known much before April 1, and this would seriously
cripple the strike preparations.2
3
The union soon found that the employers were by no means as
ready to grant the eight-hour day as it had expected. Instead, they
launched an aggressive attack on the union. On February 9, 1914,
an Everett firm discharged 23 union men and precipitated a strike.
The other Everett operators threatened a lockout if the strike was
not settled by the early part of March. Seven other mills closed
for a few days, then opened on the open-shop basis, with the
union not recognized in any way.2 As a part of the same movement
4
a plant in Raymond locked out all union men on February 18, and
14 other Raymond mills soon joined in the lockout. After a few
days the men came back on the open-shop basis with the union not
recognized.2 2
5
6
n Shingle Weaver, Jan. 27,1912, p . 10.
is Idem , Feb. 1,1913, p . 2; Feb. 22,1913, p. 2.
« Timber Worker, Mar. 21,1914, p . 3.
so pacific Lumber Trade Journal, February, 1906, p . 34.
21 Timber Worker, Jan. 31,1914, p. 12. Proceedings of twelfth annual convention, resolution No. 104.
« Timber Worker, Jan. 31,1914, p. 16; Feb. 1,1915, pp. 2 and 7.
»8 Idem , Jan. 31,1914, pp. 12,18,19.
24 Washington State Bureau of Labor, Biennial report, 1913-1914, pp. 120-122; West Coast Lumberman,
Mar. 1,1914, p . 34; Timber Worker, Feb. 21,1914, p. 1.
26 Washington State Bureau of Labor, Biennial report, 1913-1914, pp. 120-122; West Coast Lumberman,
Mar. 15,1914, p. 39.




AFFILIATION W IT H AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR.

59

At the same time there was a growing feeling among the members
of the union that political action was more desirable than direct
action, and nine locals demanded a referendum on the strike call.
Before another local could take similar action, thus making it manda­
tory on the executive board to hold the referendum, the board called
a special convention at Seattle for February 26-27, 1914. At this
convention it was resolved:
That all employers, as far as they can be reached, in the lumber industry, be com­
municated with and a full statement made setting forth our position on the 8-hour
question for the 1st of May. In case a sufficient number return favorable replies
another convention may be called and further arrangement made for the inauguration
of the 8-hour day on May 1. On the other hand, in the absence of a sufficient number
of favorable replies from employers the international union shall advise all local
unions to suspend all preparations for the 1st of May and devote all possible energy
to the development of sentiment in favor of the 8-hour initiative measure to be voted
on at the forthcoming election in November.2
6

The defeat of the eight-hour measure in November was attributed
by the vice president of the union partly to the action of the employers
in shutting down their mills and camps just before election, so that
the employees would lose their votes.2
2
6
7
The action of the union in calling a strike and then deciding to
trust to political rather than industrial action marked the turning
point in its history. The membership immediately began to fall off.
This is shown in the following statement which gives the member­
ship of the Timber W ork ed Union locals affiliated with the Washing­
ton State Federation of Labor from 1914 to 1916, by quarters:2
8
Affiliated
locals.

1914: First quarter........................................................................... 22
Second quarter....................................................................... 20
Third quarter.......................................................................... 20
Fourth quarter..........................................................................18
1915: First quarter........................................................................... 11
Second quarter....................................................................... 5
Third quarter.......................................................................... 4
Fourth quarter........................................................................ 4
1916: First quarter........................................................................... 2

Members.

2,293
1,768
1,523
1,158
617
118
116
71
23

Not all locals were affiliated with the State federation, and it is
probable that locals continued to have at least a nominal existence
after they withdrew from the State federation. Still these reports
reflect something of the drop in membership suffered by the Timber
Workers’ Union during this period. This decrease in membership is
also shown in Table 15, which shows the annual membership of the
union from the time of its organization in 1903 until the reorganiza­
tion in March, 1918. This table is compiled from the number of votes
allowed the union in the American Federation of Labor conventions,
where the constituent unions were granted 1 vote for each 100 mem­
bers or major fraction thereof.
2 Interview with Harry Call, then a vice-president of the union, June, 1922; Timber Worker, Feb. 1,
6
1915, p. 2; Mar. 7,1914, p. 1; Washington State Federation of Labor, Proceedings of fourteenth annual
convention, 1915, p. 10 et seq.
27 Timber Worker, Feb. 1,1915, p. 5.
2 Washington State Federation of Labor, Proceedings of fourteenth annual convention, 1915, pp. 29-34;
8
fifteenth annual convention, 1916, pp. 33-39: sixteenth annual convention, 1917, pp. 31-36.

55853°— 24— BulL 349------5




W EST COAST LU M BER IN D U ST R Y .

60
T

a b l e

15. -M EM BERSHIP i OF THE TIMBER W ORKERS’ UNION FROM 1903 TO 1918, BY
YEARS.*
Year.

1903.'......................
1904.........................
1905.........................
1906.........................
1907.........................
1908.........................
1909.........................
1910.........................
1911.........................
1912.........................
1913.........................
1914.........................
1915.........................
1916.........................
1917.........................
1918.........................

Members.

Name of union.

International Shingle Weavers’ Union of America.
Do.
Do.
Do.
Do.
Do.
Do.
Do.
Do.
Do.
International Union of Shingle Weavers, Saw Mill Workers, and
Woodsmen.
2,500 International Union of Timber Workers.
Do.
700
400 International Shingle Weavers’ Union of America.
500
Do.
»206
Do.

1,300
1,400
1,600
1,700
1,800
1,700
1,800
1,800
1,500
1,500
3,100

i To the nearest 100 members.
* American Federation of Labor. Proceedings of the thirty-first annual convention, 1911, p. 87; pro­
ceedings of thirty-eighth annual convention, 1918, p. 22.
s The membership reported for 1918 was the actual membership at the time of the reorganization on
March 1,1918.

The employers took advantage of the weakened condition of the
union and during 1915 launched many attacks upon it. On February
1, 1915, the union was engaged in 15 strikes and lockouts in as many ’
towns in Washington 2 and the number was rapidly increasing. On
9
February 19 the Everett mills posted notice of a cut of 20 per cent
in wages, effective March 1. The union voted to strike and went out
on February 22. The strike was lost, and on May 12 it was called
off on the promise of the operators to raise wages again when the
market improved.3 During the year the union fought 55 lockouts,
0
involving the entire membership and lost in nearly every case.33 The
1
2
union was almost completely destroyed.
REORGANIZATION OF INTERNATIONAL SHINGLE W EAVERS’ UNION OF
AMERICA.

As a result of the disastrous strikes in 1915 and the complete failure
of the Timber Workers’ Union to organize the lumber industry, the
American Federation of Labor, in the fall of 1915, revoked the juris­
diction of the union over the sawmill and camp workers. This left
the union with jurisdiction over only the shingle weavers, just as it
was before 1913.3 Early in 1916 the shingle weavers began to revive
2
the union, and by April 1 , 1916, there were 24 locals functioning,
although only 14 were represented at the convention in Seattle on
April 3. At this time the union was reorganized with the name it
held before 1913, the International Shingle Weavers’ Union of
America. The control of strikes was put in the hands of the execu­
tive board 3 * and the Seattle Union Record was made the official
3
organ of the union. The last page of the Record was turned over
2 Timber Worker, Feb. 1, 1915, p. 12.
9
so Washington State Bureau of Labor, Biennial report, 1915-1916, pp. 237-239; Seattle Union Record,
Mar. 13, 1915, p. 3.
3 American Federation of Labor. Proceedings of thirty-fifth annual convention, 1915, p. 38.
1
3 Shingle Weaver, Apr. 4,1916; Seattle Union Record, Feb. 12, 1916, p. 4; Interview with Harry Call,
2
June, 1922.
3 E. P. Marsh, vice-president of the Shingle Weavers’ Union and president of the Washington Stato
*
Federation of Labor, reported to the Federation that the chief cause of the disaster to the Timber Workers’
Union was the strong element in the union which objected to signing contracts with the employers.—Wash­
ington State Federation of Labor, Proceedings of fifteenth annual convention, 1916, pp. 16-18.




AFFILIATION W IT H AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR.

61

to the union and was called the “ Shingle Weaver,” and all references
to the Shingle Weaver after April 1, 1916, are to this sheet.3 The
4
loeals affiliated at this time were Aberdeen, Anacortes, Bellingham,
Edmonds, Everett, Granite Falls, Inglewood, Kapowsin, Kelso,
Marysville, Monroe, Olympia, Port Angeles, Raymond, Seattle, Sedro
Woolley and Snohomish in Washington; Eureka, Calif.; Mellen and
Soperton, Wis.; and Manistee, Menominee, Munsing, and Sault Ste.
Marie, Mich.3
5
The first business before the reorganized union was to secure the
restoration of the wage scale, which had been cut the year before,
Shingle prices had advanced in the spring of 1916, and the union
demanded the fulfillment of the promise made it the year before that
the scale would be restored when shingles recovered their 1914 price.
Many of the operators denied ever having made such a promise and
refused to raise wages. The union called a strike for May 1, 1916, in
all mills which did not grant the increase demanded. Most of the
mills readily granted the demands, and it was only in Everett and
Anacortes that the strike assumed serious proportions. At Everett,
particularly, there was a great deal of bitterness which resulted in
considerable violence. Most of the 470 men who struck there went
into other jobs, but enough remained to maintain a picket line. On
November 8 the strike was called off because of I. W. W. trouble
there. The employers failed to meet the union's idea of fairness in
the situation, and the strike was resumed on December 11. How­
ever, during the winter and early spring the strike gradually died
out there and at Anacortes.3
6
At the annual convention held at Everett on May 17 preparations
were begun* for a strike in the summer of 1917. On June 30 there
were still 24 locals, but Inglewood and Monroe, Wash., and Munsing,
Mich., locals had lapsed, while charters had been granted at Van­
couver, British Columbia; Nahma, Mich., and Seattle.3 It was with
7
this strength that the shingle weavers entered the great strike of
July 16, 1917.3
8
N E W INTERNATIONAL UNION OF TIM BER W ORK ER S.

After the American Federation of Labor revoked the jurisdiction
of the International Timber Workers' Union over the sawmill and
camp workers, these workers began to form locals. Finally, in 1916,
these locals merged into a new International Union of Timber
Workers, which did not include the shingle weavers. In January, 1917,
the union held a convention at Aberdeen.3 The union was indorsed
9
by the State federation in the spring of 1917 and at about the same
time received a charter from the American Federation of Labor.
MSeattle Union Record, Mar. 11,1916, p. 6; Apr. 8, p. 1; Shingle Weaver, Apr. 15,1916.
* Shingle Weaver, Apr. 22,1916.
* Washington State Bureau of Labor, Biennial report, 1915-1916, pp. 239-242; "Washington State Feder­
ation of Labor, Proceedings of sixteenth annual convention, 1917, p. 10 et seq.; Shingle Weaver, May 20,
Nov. 11, Dec. 2, and Dec. 16,1916.
3 Shingle Weaver, Mar. 17, Apr. 21, and June 30,1917.
7
m See Ch. IX .
8 Washington State Federation of Labor, Proceedings of sixteenth annual convention, 1917,p. 136;
9
American Federation of Labor, Proceedings of fortieth annual convention, 1920, p. 35; Shingle weaver,
Jan. 20,27,1917
'




CHAPTER V III— INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD.
PRINCIPLES AND ATTITUDE OP TH E I. W . W .

To understand the nature and significance of the I. W. W. in the
West Coast lumber industry it is necessary to recall the analysis of
labor types made in Chapter VI. The members of the I. W. W.
have been recruited almost entirely from the migratory and hobo
groups, with a sprinkling from the lower levels of the settled workers.
The number of this latter type depends upon the general industrial
and social conditions. Such workers feel more easily and naturally
than do the more permanent portions of the laboring classes the
appeal of the closing words of the communist manifesto: “ The pro­
letarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world
to win. Workers of the world, unite! ” It is easy for the I. W. W.,
a frankly revolutionary organization which takes these words whole­
heartedly, to make headway among men of this type; in fact, the
migratory lumber worker has had no small place in shaping the ideals
ana tactics of the I. W. W.
It is perhaps possible to express the essential principles of the I.
W. W. m five statements: (1) The interests of the employer and the
employees are absolutely contradictory ; they have nothing in com­
mon; (2) the wages system must give place to an industrial society
managed by the workers themselves; (3) labor organizations must
be based on industrial rather than craft lines; (4) the aims of labor must
be secured by industrial rather than political action; (5) a new moral
ideal and code must be developed which shall recognize the rights
of human life and happiness as taking precedence over the rights of
property. Mostof theseideasare cleany expressed in the “ Preamble,”
the real platform of the I. W. W .,1 while the other ideas are held by
the leaders to be implicit in that statement. The assumption under­
lying all of these ideas is the belief in the class war. The relation
between the lumber workers and these principles is set forth in the
following paragraphs.
Among the important points of difference between employers and
employees we may note the questions of wages, hours, working and
living conditions, and the control of industry. It is these which
attract the notice of the migratory worker, and he is not apt to
notice those points where their interests are harmonious— in the
general prosperity of the industry and the community and the gen­
eral well-being oi all parties to the industrial arrangement. How­
ever, he comes in contact with a great many employers who also fail
to see these points of mutual interest. The wandering worker is, by
virtue of that fact, not normal, and he fails to get the normal and
sensible point of view. He is very likely to personalize .all the evils
of the present maladjustment of industrial conditions in the em­
ployer, whom he believes to be in control of those conditions, and to
believe the guilt personal when it is properly institutional.

W ith this diagnosis of the situation— that the whole trouble comes
from the selfishness of the employer— these workers desire to elimi1 The I. W . W . “ Preamble” is printed on nearly every publication put out by the organization.

62




tNDtjSTRIAL WORKERS OR TH E WORLD.

63

Rate the source of the trouble, the employer himself. While they are
doing this they want to overthrow the whole system which permits an
employer to secure control over the lives of the workers. Because
the employer has abused his power he should be shorn of it, they
claim. There is a real desire on the part of the wandering worker
for a measure of authority. One of the elements of his dissatisfaction
is the thwarting of his instinct for mastery, and he dreams of the time
when he will be able to control industry for his own good. The syn­
dicalist ideal of control of ind 1 1
1 J
#
r trade-unions
offers just the means needed
Not merely
does it furnish release from ba
,
jo gives a new
system which has elements of real pyschological worth.
The lumber industry, particularly the logging branch of it, is not
readily organizable along craft lines. The logging camp employs a
large number of unskilled or semiskilled workers and only a few
highly skilled men of many different crafts. The same thing is true
to a somewhat lesser degree of the sawmill. There are engineers,
machinists, carpenters, blacksmiths, and many other crafts peculiar
to the lumber industry, but usually there are not more than two or
three men of any one craft in a given camp or plant. In the camps
most of the men live together in the bunk house, and when not at
work are associated very closely together. In the mills the contact
is not so close, but acquaintance among the workers is quite general.
This close affiliation of all workers, whether or not of any'craft, as.
well as the small number of any craft in a locality, has hindered the
formation of the craft type of union. In most of the mills the skilled
workers have risen from the ranks of the unskilled and still feel a
strong community of interest with the poorer paid men. While in a
few mills there has been an attempt made by the management to
break down this solidarity by paying the skilled workers unusually
high wages and the unskilled men low wages, in general the feeling
of solidarity is strong, thus making for the industrial rather than the
craft type of organization.
During the first four conventions of the I. W. W. there was a
bitter fight between those who believed in the use of political action
by labor and those who rejected it entirely. The latter finally won
in the fourth convention in 1908, largely by the aid of the “ overall
brigade ” from the Pacific coast.2 It is easy to see why the migratory
worker has no use for political action. In the first place he seldom
remains long enough in any locality to have a vote. A survey of
three logging camps in one precinct on Willapa Harbor in 1910, with
crews aggregating over 300 men, showed that while a large majority
of the men were citizens, less than half had been in the precinct the
30 days necessary to vote, although the camps had been in con­
tinuous operation for months.3 Again, the migratory worker often
comes into conflict with the peace officers in the various communi­
ties he visits, and has come to feel that the police, sheriffs, and town
marshals do not respect any of his rights and that there is a different
law for him than for the employer. Such instances as the Bisbee
“ deportation” in 1917 and the numerous occurrences of a similar
nature but on a smaller scale have left the I. W. W. and the migra2 The delegates from Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, and Spokane, who “ beat” their way from the coast to
Chicago, largely dominated the convention. See Industrial union Bulletin, September and October,
1908
aSurvey made by the writer in August, 1910.




64

w est

coast l u m b e r

in d u s t r y .

tories in general with the opinion that “ There is no equality before
the law, no justice in the courts.” 4 An editorial in Solidarity some
years earlier expressed the same conviction thus: “ The I. W. W.
has thoroughly tested the law in this instance [the Aberdeen free
speech fight o f 1911-12], and has found it just what we understand it
to be— a mask to hide the mailed fist of the ruling classes.” 5
6
The I. W . W . thinks of morality as simply the reflection of the
ideas of the dominant economic class. As such, morality has no
more validity than the title of that class, the employers, to the
control of economic life. Accordingly its challenge to that control is
a challenge to common moral ideas, which it hopes to displace by a
code more in harmony with what it considers the interests of the
workers. A single quotation will show its position:
The I. W. W. does believe in “ right” and “ wrong.” But we understand that
these terms are relative, depending in their ethical significance upon the standpoint
from which they are considered. Our ethical code is interpreted solely from the
standpoint of the working class and its interests. * * * We are indeed not con­
cerned with what the master considers “ right” or “ wrong.” * * * We want the
earth and * * * anything which tends to promote that revolutionary tendency
is right.®
ORGANIZATION ON TH E W E ST COAST.

Very shortly after its organization in June and July, 1905, the
I. W. W. began its propaganda on the West Coast and soon had a
number t)f flourishing locals. The Seattle local had several branches
with a combined membership of 800 before the organization was a
year old.7 By March, 1907, there were locals at Portland, Tacoma,
Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Ballard, North Bend, Astoria, and Vancouver,
Wash.8
The I. W. W. first attracted public attention on the West Coast
during the sawmill strike in Portland in March, 1907. The trouble
began at a plant in North Portland when 28 chute men struck on
March 1 against an increase of hours to 11 per day and for
wages of $3 per day, an increase of 50 cents per day.9 By Monday,
March 4, the strike had spread to another plant, and both plants
were badly crippled. The I. W. W. immediately stepped in, and
300 men joined the I. W. W. Local No. 319. The following day
the secona mill was completely closed, and the strike had spread
to two other plants. In all about 600 men were out. The mills
began importing strike breakers from Puget Sound, paying $3.75 per
day, but most of these deserted when they discovered the conditions
in Portland. By Thursday 1,100 men were out, and that night the
I. W. W., which now had 1,400 members, held a mass meeting at
which it formulated its demands— a 9-hour day, with a minimum
wage of $2.50 per day. The I. W. W. locals at Aberdeen, Hoquiam,
and Bridal Veil sent financial assistance and the Portland Central
Labor Council voted its indorsement. By the end of the week only
one of Portland’s 12 mills was running. There were about 1,850 men
on strike and 1,847 members in the 1. W. W. Early the next week
it began to look as though the shortage of lumber would throw out
of work 8,000 building laborers in Portland, while lack of market
for logs would close down the Columbia River camps, throwing
« Solidarity, July 31, 1915, p. 6.
6Idem, Dec. 16,1912, p. 2.
•Idem, Jan. 4, 1913, p. 2.




* Solidarity, Sept. 18, 1911, p. 2.
» Industrial Umon Bulletin, Aug. 24, 1907, p. 3 et seq.
»The Journal, Portland, Oreg.. Mar. 2, p. 1.

INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD.

65

another thousand men out of work. The State labor commissioner
offered his services as mediator, which offer was accepted by the
I. W. W. but rejected by the employers. The I. W. W. sent a num­
ber of its leading organizers into Portland at this time, and the
Western Federation of Miners, an affiliated union, sent $20,000 for
strike funds. About March 15 the Central Labor Council withdrew
its indorsement of the strike, denounced the I. W. W., and branded
anyone who aided either the I. W. W. or the strike as a traitor to
labor. After March 19 the mills secured crews, and by March 27
all mills were running quietly again. The I. W. W. claimed that the
strike was broken by the scabbing of the members of the American
Federation of Labor.1 One of its organizers reported that the strikers
0
readily found work elsewhere, but that the serious crippling of the
mills led to an increase of wages and an improvement oi conditions.1
1
In common with all other interests on the West Coast the I. W. W.
suffered during the depression of 1907-8, but a year later had recov­
ered sufficient strength to begin thepublication, on March 18, 1909,1
2
of a weekly paper, the Industrial Worker.
During 1910 and 1911 agitation and organization went on with
reat vigor, and by the end of 1911 there were quite a number of
W. W. locals on the West Coast. Of the strictly lumber worker
locals, Seattle Local No. 432, which had been organized on March
1, 1908, with 68 charter members, was the largest. In the spring of
1911 it started a move for the organization of the lumber workers
in the region.1 Locals were formed at Snohomish, Aberdeen, Ray­
3
mond, and Marshfield before the end of 1911.1 On February 12,
4
1912, delegates from these and other locals of lumber workers met
at Seattle and organized the National Industrial Union of Forest and
Lumber Workers.1
5

f

STRIKES.

The most important lumber strike with which the I. W. W. was
connected before 1917 began at Hoquiam, Wash., on March 14, 1912,
when 25 members of the crew of a sawmill walked out and closed the
mill. No demands were made at that time, although it was generally
understood that the strike was for better wages. The mill was
paying $2 for a 10-hour day. The strike spread at once to another
plant which was paying $1.80, but not to one which was paying $2.25.
That day 250 men joined the I. W. W. The following day the first
mill resumed but was shut down again a day later. Two days later
60 more men left the second mill, which closed, while another mill
raised wages to $2.25, thus escaping trouble. By March 19 there
were 300 men out at the two struck mills in Hoquiam and the strike
spread to Aberdeen (the two are really but one city), where two
mills were affected. By March 22 six mills in Aberdeen were closed,
in addition to three mills which were closed when the trouble began.
One of them resumed the next day.1
6
1 The Journal, Portland, Oreg., Mar. 4, 1907, p. 1; Mar. 5, 1907, p. 1; Mar. 6, 1907, p. 1 et seq.; Mar. 7,
0
1907, p. 1; Mar. 8, 1907, pp. 1, 3; Mar. 9, 1907, p. 1; Mar. 11, 1907, p. 1; Mar. 12, 1907, p. 1; Mar. 13,1907, p.
1; Mar. 16, 1907, p. 1; Mar. 19,1907, p. 6: Mar. 25, 1907, p. 1; Mar. 27,1907, p. 1.
1 St. John, Vincent: The I. W. W., Its History, Structure, and Methods. Chicago, 1919, p. 20.
1
1 Brissenden, Paul: The I. W. W. New York, 1919, p. 229.
2
1 Solidarity, Sept. 16,1911, p. 2; Industrial Worker, Apr. 6,1911, p. 4.
8
1 Solidarity, July 15,1911, p. 3; Aug. 12,1911, p. 1; Jan. 13,1912, p. 1.
4
1 Industrial Worker, Nov. 23,1911; Solidarity, June 15,1912, p. 2.
5
1 Aberdeen World, Mar. 14,1912, pp. 1, 6; Mar. 15,1912, p. 1; Mar. 16,1912, p. 1, et seq.; Mar. 18, 1912,
8
p. 1; Mar. 19, 1912, pp. 1, 8; Mar. 22.1912, pp. 1, 4; Mar. 23, 1912, pp. 1, 4.




66

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

On March 24 the Aberdeen Trades Council refused to indorse the
strike. Violence began on March 25, and the day following there was
a noon riot at a plant in the heart of Aberdeen, and the police used
force in quelling the rioters. On March 27 a committee of citizens
began efforts to settle the strike. On April 1 the police began to
round up the I. W. W. leaders on Grays Harbor, of whom 45 were
arrested, and the I. W. W. hall was closed. At Hoquiam 150 strikers
were loaded into box cars, held for a few hours, and finally threatened
and released.1 The strikers claimed that the reason the men were
7
not actually deported was because of the opposition of the mayor
of Hoquiam and the refusal of the railway company to move the
cars.1
8
Meanwhile the strike had spread to Willapa Harbor where all the
Raymond mills but one closed on March 26. Four hundred and
sixty deputies were sworn in and about 50 Finns and 150 Greeks
were shipped out of town. The deportation of the Greeks caused
considerable trouble, as they appealed to the Greek consul in Tacoma
and he came back with them to Raymond. He was, with difficulty,
prevailed upon to advise his countrymen to leave Raymond for
good and they went to Tacoma. Following this the mills soon re­
sumed and generally secured full crews again. South Bend, 4 miles
from Raymond, was not affected.1
9
On April 2 the Grays Harbor strikers formulated their demands,
which included the payment of the union scale, all strikers to be
reinstated, and a preferential union shop to be established. These
demands were signed by representatives of the Shingle Weavers’
Union, the I. W. W., the Lytle mill workers, the Longshoremen’s
Union, and the Marine Transport Workers’ Union of the I. W. W.2
0
The citizens’ committee proposed that the strike be settled on the
basis of a minimum wage of $2.25 per day; that preference should
be shown to American labor; that no members of the I. W. W
should be employed; and that an otherwise strictly open shop should
be maintained. To guarantee that there should be no discrimination
the committee recommended that an impartial employment bureau
should be established, to be financed by the mills but managed by
the citizens’ committee. The mills accepted these proposals2
1
and, although the strikers do not seem formally to have accepted
the proposals or called the strike off, crews were rapidly secured,
and by April 17 all mills were once more running with full crews.2
2
While the Grays Harbor trouble was still unsettled the I. W. W.
issued a call to all lumber workers in western Washington to strike
on April 19. The demands were for union recognition, better living
conditions in the camps, a nine-hour day and a minimum wage of $3
per day. On May 7 the strike was called off without any agreement
with the employers and without gaining any of their demands.
The I. W. W. claimed that 5,000 men struck and closed 46 camps,
but this is doubtless a great exaggeration.2
3
The years following 1912 were distinctly unfavorable for the
I. W. W. In 1913 it had a number of small strikes in the fir region,
1 Aberdeen World, Mar. 25, 1912, pp. 1, 4, 8; Mar. 26, 1912, pp. 1, 2, 4; Mar. 27,1912, pp. 1,6; Apr. 1, 1912,
7
pp. 1, 6; Apr. 2, 1912, pp. 1, 6.
18 Shingle Weaver, Apr. 29, 1912.
19 South Bend Journal, Mar. 29, 1912, pp. 1, 4; Apr. 5, 1912, pp. 1, 4.
20 Aberdeen World, Apr. 3,1912, pp. 1, 6.
21 Idem, Apr. 5, 1912, pp. 1, 8.
22 Idem. Apr. 8, 1912, p. 1; Apr. 17,1912, p. i.
28 Industrial Worker, Apr. 18,1912, p. 1; Apr. 25, 1912, p. 4; May 16, 1912, p. 4; June 9,1912, p. 1.




INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD.

67

particularly one at Marshfield, Oreg., and another on Puget Sound
and Grays Harbor. In spite of great claims made for them by the
I. W. W., neither of the strikes seem to have been of much con­
sequence. The I. W. W. does not seem to have been well organized
or very strong, and the market was not in a condition to favor the
strikes.2 At this time the I. W. W. was suffering a decline in mem­
4
bership and strength and it was several years before it recovered the
loss. In September, 1913, the total membership reported to the
eighth I. W. W. convention was 14,250, of whom 640 were in the
lumber workers’ national union.2 In March, 1914, the Industrial
5
Worker suspended publication and its list was taken by Solidarity.2
6
CHANGE IN M E TH O D OF ORGANIZATION.

During this period of decline there was much analysis of the
plans and tactics of the I. W. W. in an attempt to find and remedy
the faults which had brought the organization to this condition.
A reading of Solidarity shows that there was a large degree of agree­
ment among the members of the I. W. W. that they had been fol­
lowing a wrong lead in their methods of organization and propaganda.
When they began to organize the migratory workers there was but
little precedent to guide them, and they had to work out a type of
organization which was within their limited means, which would
reach the workers, and which would hold them. The plan adopted
met the first two conditions but in practice it failed m the third.
This plan was to hold street meetings in the cities where the loggers
congregated when out of work, and thus to secure their attention
and interest. There was a general feeling that the migratory worker
had no very great love for his job and that the place to which to tie
him was the central local. However, as the men did not work in the
cities where the central locals were, they were out of touch with their
union when they went back to work, and since with the majority of
this type of worker “ out of sight is out of mind,” they rapidly lost
all interest in the union. An I. W. W. organizer who was in close
touch with the lumber and logging strikes in 1912 and 1913 claimed
that it was the distance between the local and the job which caused
the loss of the strikes.2
7
One of the earliest and most successful experiments in a better
coordination of job and union was undertaken by the Marshfield,
Oreg., Lumber Workers’ Local No. 435, which was organized in the
fall of 1911, on the basis of what was then called the “ camp delegate
system.” All of the lumber workers in the Coos Bay region were
urged to join the Marshfield local. It planned to establish perma­
nent branches, with a building and a secretary in charge at each
important point on the bay. On each job a delegate would be placed
who would sign up new members, receive payment of dues, hold
meetings, and, in general, look after the interests of the men on the
job. In case the job delegate should be discharged or quit, it was a
very simple matter to appoint another member to act in his stead,
and no possible amount of labor turnover could interfere with this
« Washington, State Bureau of Labor, Biennial report, 1913-1914, pp. 119,120; Solidarity, June 7,1913,

p. 1; July 12,1913, p. 4.

» Timber Worker, Oct. 25,1913, p. 2.
2 Solidarity, Mar. 28,1914, p. 1.
6
27 Idem, Jan. 10,1914, p. 3.




68

W E ST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

arrangement, provided, of course, that a single member of the
union remained on a job.2 This type of organization was widely
8
copied by the lumber workers.2 There were never many autono­
9
mous locals but most all locals had several branches and job deleates who could enroll new members, collect dues, sell literature,
irect the members in their activities, and keep them in touch with
the union. From such an environment it was natural for the mem­
bers to make the I. W . W . hall their headquarters when they Went to
town.
This change in the method of organization of the I. W . W . locals

f

was accompanied by an equally great change in the attitude toward
the job. The early leaders accepted the idea that the ties which
bind a man to his job should be as tenuous as possible, and the fact
that a man left his union behind when he went to his job would serve
to draw him away from the job; it would keep the members very
mobile. They thought that the best member was the one who was
most foot-loose, the one who could move most readily.3 Psychologi­
0
cally there is a very close connection between this hatred of the job
and sabotage. The crippling of a machine through ,the removal or
breaking oi an essential part is of the same nature as the crippling
of an organization through the removal of a key man. But the
I. W . W . found that its own strength depended on binding the mem­
bers to their jobs. This attitude toward the job tended to break
down the sentiment in favor of sabotage.
During the period of experimentation, of finding itself with regard
to its attitude toward the job, the I. W . W . advocated and practiced
sabotage, not merely the “ conscious withdrawal of efficiency” but
the more destructive Irind as well. The files of its papers from 1912
to 1917 are full of praise of sabotage and records of its successful use.
The ninth annual convention at Chicago on September 24, .1914,
passed unanimously and without debate the following resolution:
"'That all speakers be instructed to recommend to the workers the
necessity o f curtailing production by means of ' slowing down’ and
sabotage. All rush work should be done in a wrong manner.” 3
1
Following out a recommendation of this convention a pamphlet and
a book on sabotage were adopted as a part of the I. W . W. propaganda
and circulated as widely as possible by the organization.3 The
2
editor of the Industrial Worker, in a series of editorials on sabotage,
described and recommended nearly every possible kind of sabotage,
and the only qualification he made as to their use was that sabotage
must not be so used as to injure fellow workers or consumers, although
scabs and those who disregarded a well-advertised boycott were
expressly excluded from this protection.3 From 1912 to 1917 the
3
wooden shoe and the black, snarling cat, two emblems of sabotage,
were common illustrations in the I. W . W . press. Members of tie
union report that early in 1915 the I. W . W . held meetings in Seattle
under the direction of some of the national leaders, at which the
question of the relative merits of individual sabotage and job solidarity
were discussed, with 50 to 1 in favor of the former.
2 Industrial Worker, Feb. 1,1912, p. 3.
8
29 Solidarity, Jan. 3.1914, p. 3; Nov. 21,1914, p. 2 et seq.; Nov. 28,1914, p. 2.
a Idem, N ov. 21,1914, p. 3; Feb. 2,1916, p. 2; Sept. 30,1916, p. 3.
®
3 Idem, Oct. 3, 1914, p. 4.
1
« Solidarity, Oct. 3,1914, p. 4; Apr. 10,1915, p. 1; Evidence and Cross-examination of Winiam D. Hay­
wood in the Case of the United States v. Wm. D. Haywood et al., by Wm. D. Haywood, Chicago, 1918,
p. 142 etseq.
os Industrial W orker, Jan. 23,1913, to Apr. 24,1913.




INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF TH E WORLD.

69

FO R M ATIO N OF LUM BER W O RK ER S’ INDUSTRIAL UNIO N , N O . 500.

The National Industrial Union of Forest and Lumber Workers
went to pieces during the depression of 1914-15, although lumber
workers' locals continued to exist in a number of places, particularly
at Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Spokane. In tne summer of 1916
none of them had many members, there being but 50 in the Seattle
local.3 In February, 1916, the Spokane local became a branch of
4
the Agricultural Workers' Organization of the I. W. W. and, with the
financial backing of that body, began an aggressive membership drive
among the lumber workers of the Inland Empire.3 On April 1, 1916,
5
the Industrial Worker was revived.3 On July 3, 1916, a conference
6
of several hundred I. W. W. lumber workers was held at Seattle,
which decided to launch a vigorous membership campaign to line up
the loggers in the I. W. W.3 At its annual meeting in Minneapolis,
7
about November 1, 1916, the Agricultural Workers' Organization
voted to advise the lumber workers among its members to form an
independent industrial union. The tenth convention of the I. W. W.
supported this move. As a result the Lumber Workers' Industrial
Union No. 500 was formed in Spokane on March 5-6, 1917.3
8
Meanwhile things had not been going so well with the I. W. W. on
the West Coast, where it had become involved in trouble at Everett,
growing out of the shingle weavers' strike there. The I. W. W.
conducted a free-speech fight which grew more bitter as it grew older,
and which culminated on November 5,1916, when the Seattle I. W. W.
chartered a steamer and took about 250 of its members to Everett to
enforce its “ right" to speak on the street. When the steamer
reached Everett the sheriff ordered them not to land. Immediately
shooting began, whether from the boat or wharf was never deter­
mined, and two men on the wharf and five on the steamer were
killed and a number wounded. None of the passengers landed from
the steamer, but all returned on it to Seattle, where they were re­
moved either to the hospital or to the city jail. Some were later
released, but 74 were charged with murder On the trial in Seattle,
in the spring, on a change of venue, the one man brought to trial was
acquitted, after which the others were released.3
9
8 The I. W . W . in the Lumber Industry, by James Rowan, Seattle, 1919, p . 24; The Everett Massacre
4
by Walker C. Smith, p. 34.
8 Rowan, James: The I. W . W . in the Lumber Industry, Seattle, 1919, p. 25.
6
8 Smith, Walker C.: The Everett Massacre, p . 36.
6
.
w Solidarity, July 15,1916, p. 1.
*
8 The I. W . W . in the Lumber Industry, by James Rowan, Seattle, 1919, pp. 25, 30; Proceedings of
8
tenth I. W . W . convention, p. 150.
8 The I. W . W . and the Law: Everett, by N. F. Coleman, in Sunset Magazine, July, 1917, pp. 35,68-70*
^
The I. W . W . and the Golden Rule, by W . V . Woehlke, in Sunset Magazine, February, 1917. pp. 16-181
62-65; The Everett Massacre, by Walker C. Smith.




CHAPTER IX — THE 1917 LUMBER WORKERS' STRIKE.
BEG IN N ING OF STR IKE.

The strike in the lumber industry in the Northwest during the
summer of 1917 deserves special attention, not only because it was
by far the most extensive labor disturbance the industry had ever
known, but also because it furnishes the key to an understanding of
the industrial problems therebefore and since. This strike, which
extended to most of the West Coast, brought to a head many influences
and tendencies which had been gathering strength for years, and in
its settlement set in motion forces which have profoundly affected
the subsequent course of industrial relations.
An improvement in the lumber market during L916 and the early
>art of 1917 increased the demand for labor to a point where the
eaders of both the I. W. W. and the American Federation of Labor
felt that the time had come to make a determined stand for an im­
provement in conditions and a shortening of the working-day. This
intention to make these demands as soon as the time should be
opportune guided the activities of both groups. At the Spokane
convention of the I. W. W. on March 5-6, 1917, it was agreed that
the time had arrived to strike for better conditions, and a set of
demands were drawn up. These may be summed up in four requests—
better living conditions in the camps, the 8-hour day, better wages,
and union recognition.1
The actualstrike began in Apr ii, 1917, on the log drives2of Idaho and
western Montana ana caused considerable trouble.3 About June 15
several hundred men employed in the camps of a plant near Sand
Point, Idaho, walked out because they were tired of conditions,
especially the food. The I. W. W. immediately supported this
strike and issued a call for a strike of all lumber workers in the Spokane
district, comprising eastern Washington, Idaho, and western Mon­
tana. The call brought out a large portion of the men from the camps
and some from the mills. Nearly all the camps but only a few mills
closed. Early in July the I. W. W. claimed that 20,000 men were
out, but this is probably about ten times the true figure. There had
probably never been as many as 10,000 men employed in the milk and
camps of that region at one time, and one-fifth seems to be a liberal
estimate of the number who struck. Charges of violence and ter­
rorism were freely made by both sides, probably partly true and
partly false in both cases.4

1

SPREAD OF STRIKE TO W E ST COAST.

During the spring and early summer there were a number of small,
local disturbances on the West Coast, but it was not until July 14
that the big strike broke there. At the annual convention of the*
1 West Coast Lumberman, Apr. 1,1917, p. 42.
a In some parts of Idaho and Montana many of the logs are “ driven” to the m ills rather than m oved by
rail. In “ driving” logs advantage is taken of high water to float the logs downstream.
* West Coast Lumberman, May 1,1917, p. 30; Solidarity, Apr. 28,1917, p. 1; June 9,1917, p. 4.
< Solidarity, June 30,1917, p. 1; July 7,1917, pp. 3, 6; July 14,1917, p. 3; July 21,1917, p. 1; Oregonian,
July 2,1917, p. 8; July 11,1917, p. 1; Aberdeen W orld, July 12,1917, p . 2.

70




LUMBER WORKERS’ STRIKE OF 1917.

71

Shingle Weavers’ Union on May 21, 1917, the union instructed the
executive board to write to all the shingle mills in an endeavor to
secure the eight-hour day by conference. In case this attempt had
not succeeded by June 20, the board was instructed to call a special
convention for June 30. The special convention voted to call a
strike on July 16, and opened the charters of all the locals for new
members.5 On July 6 the Timber Workers’ Union, in convention at
Aberdeen, drew up a set of demands. The most important of these
were for a minimum wage of $3 for eight hours in the mills and $3.50
for nine hours in the camps; better sanitary arrangements in mills
and camps; greater freedom from control by* the employer in matters
not properly a part of the work, as for example, employers’ censoring
of mail in camps; union recognition; and the closed shop. The
union demanded a conference before July 12, wi+h a threat of a strike
on July 16 if its demands were not granted.6 On July 10 the presi­
dent oi the Timber Workers’ Union and the president of the Shingle
Weavers’ Union conferred in Aberdeen and agreed that the two
unions should work in closest harmony in all matters pertaining to
the strike.7
Instead of conferring with the union as requested, the employers
got together on July 9 and decided to fight. At this meeting the
Lumberman’s Protective Association was formed to resist the demands
of the union. It was decided to raise a campaign fund of a half
million dollars and to fine any member who operated his plant less
than 10 hours per shift $500 per day. A strong executive committee
was elected and the following resolution adopted:
Resolved, That the establishment of an 8-hour day in the lum ber industry at this
tim e when production in all manufacturing industries must be maintained at the
maximum is im possible, and that employers therein hereby pledge themselves
unequivocally to maintain a 10-hour day for the purpose of maintaining the maximum
production in the lum ber industry.8

Attempts were made by Federal and State officials to bring the
two parties together, but although the unions were willing to accept
mediation the employers refused, and nothing came of it.9
Meanwhile the I. W. W. had been actively discussing a strike,
especially during the first week in July, when the camps were shut
down. About the time the camps resumed the I. W. W. sent out
from its Seattle office on July 9 a notice to all its members to the
effect that it had called no strike and advised the workers not to
“ fall for the bunk” of a timber workers’ strike.1 A few days later
0
a conference of I. W. W. leaders and job delegates was held at Seattle
to canvass the situation and decide on a course of action. It was
the general feeling at this meeting that all the members of the I. W. W.
would go out on July 16 with tne timber workers. It was decided
that the time to strike had come, and a strike call was issued. The
delegates went back to the camps with the word: “ Boys, the strike
is on; roll up and get out.” Most of these delegates reached the
camps on July 13, and the strike began the next morning.. The
* Shingle Weaver, May 26,1917; June 30,1917; July 7,1917.
e Aberdeen W orld, July 6,1917, p. 1; Oregonian, Portland, Oreg., July 7,1917, p. 6.
i Aberdeen W orld, July 11,1917, p. 2; Shingle Weaver, July 14,1917, p. 1.
« Aberdeen W orld, July 10,1917, pp. 1, 4; Oregonian, July 10,1917, p. 14; “ Tying up western lumber,”
by E. Merz, in New Republic, Sept. 29,1917, pp. 242-244.
9 Aberdeen W orld, July 9, 1917, p . 1; July 10, 1907, p. 1; July 11, 1907, p. 2; Oregonian, July 11, 1917,
p. 16: July 16,1917. p. 1.
w Aberdeen W orld, July 3,1917, p. 4; July 9,1917, p . 3; July 10,1917, p. 4.




72

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

action of the I. W. W* in striking two days before the other unions
may be partly explained by the bitter feeling between the two groups,
but probably a better explanation is the well-known I. W. W. plan
of surprise attacks on the employer. Monday, July 16, the timber
workers and shingle weavers went out as they hadplanned, and the
strike of the three unions spread rapidly over the West Coast.
The I. W. W. demands, formulated and presented some time after
the strike began, were similar to those of the timber workers. These
included a demand for an 8-hour day in both mills and camps, with
a minimum wage of $3.50 per day in all places: more sanitary and
attractive camps; the abolition of the hospital lee,1 piecework, and
1
bonus systems, and no discrimination against the 1. W. W., but
included no demand for the closed shop.1 The I. W. W. did not
2
expect to secure all of these demands, but the strike was a protest
against conditions under which its members had long suffered, and
the inclusive nature of the demands reflected the thwarted ideals of
years. These demands show that the causes of the strike can not be
found in any single incident, such as the Everett trouble of the pre­
ceding fall. It was an outburst of resentment against conditions
which had been growing more and more intolerable for years, but for
which no remedy had theretofore been apparent.1
3
EXTENT OF STR IKE.

On August 1 the West Coast Lumberman reported that probably
75 per cent of the lumber production in western Washington had been
cut off by the closing of the mills, but it denied that all of the mills
which were shut down had been forced to close by strike trouble,
as some of them claimed to have been able to continue cutting had
they so desired. A few days later a representative of the American
Lumberman reported that not over 15 per cent of the mills on the
West Coast were running.1
4
It is extremely difficult to estimate the number of men actually
on strike. The President's Mediation Commission reported that the
industry in the Northwest employed about 70,000 men, but this
included the eastern parts of Oregon and Washington, Idaho, and
western Montana, as well as the West Coast region. As over threefourths of the men employed in the industry in the whole Northwest
are on the West Coast, it seems safe to place the number of men in
the West Coast strike district as something over 50,000 at the begin­
ning of the strike. The number of men idle was then probably
between 40,000 and 50,000. How many of these were actually
strikers and how many were idle because of fear, intimidation, or
the closing of the plants in which they worked, it is impossible to say.
The employers claimed that at least 75 per cent of the men would
return to work were it not for the pickets.1 In line with this estimate
5
is the estimate of Carleton H. Parker that the I. W. W. membership
was not to exceed 3,000, although there were about 7,000 who were
u Most mills and camps held back from the wages a charge of $1 per month for hospital fee, which
entitled the worker to free hospital care in case of injury or illness.
MSolidarity, Aug. 11,1917, p. 7.
is Washington State Bureau of Labor. Biennial report, 1917-1918, pp. 65-67; President’s Mediation
Commission, Report on the labor troubles in the lumber industry, in the sixth annual report of the
United States Secretary of Labor; The Casual Laborer, by Carleton H . Parker, pp. 91-124.
m W est Coast Lumberman, Aug. 1,1917, p. 26; The Telegram, Portland, Oreg., Aug. 7,1917, p. 2.
is Washington State Bureau o f Labor, Biennial report, 1917-1918, p. 73; Four L Bulletin, March, 1922,
p. 17; Four L News Letter, May 15,1922, p. 1; West Coast Lumberman, Sept. 1,1917, p . 19.




LUMBER WORKERS’ STRIKE OF 1917.

73

supporting them and actively joining in the strike.1 The shingle
6
weavers’ and timber workers’ unions were very weak, but it is impos­
sible to state their exact membership. At the American Federation
of Labor convention in the fall of 1917 they voted a strength of 500
and 200, respectively, but undoubtedly there was a larger number of
striking members on whom they were not paying dues. On March
2, 1918, the former had a membership of 206 and the latter of 2,324.1
7
It is probable that a large number of strikers joined one or more of
the unions, paid dues once, perhaps for several months in advance,
and then paid no more attention to the organization. Probably
10,000 would be a safe maximum figure for the combined member­
ship of the three unions during the summer of 1917, and it might
easily have been as small as half that figure. The total number of
strikers could not have exceeded 20,000 and was probably less.
TH E EIG H T-H O U R D AY ISSU E.

As the strike developed all the demands except that for the eighthour day dropped into the background and the struggle was fought
out on that question. Attempts at mediation were made by various

At
a
fmblic agencies, but nothing came of them. mayorRaymondthatcoh­
erence was held, but without results. The
stated
the
reason for the failure was that the West Coast Lumberman’s Associ­
ation (he probably meant the Lumberman’s Protective Association),
to which the operators belonged, would notpermit them to recognize
the union nor grant the eight-hour day.1 Early in August a meeting
8
of strikers and employers was held with the Washington State
Council of Defense, at which the strikers presented two propositions
and the employers one. The men proposed either that they be
given an 8-hour day with 8 hours’ pay until they could show that
they were doing as much in 8 hours as formerly in 10, or else a 9-hour
day with 10 hours’ pay until April 1, 1918, when the day should be
shortened to 8 hours without decrease in daily wage. The latter
proposition carried a pledge to cooperate in efforts to secure a
national 8-hour day in the lumber industry. The employers pro­
posed a return to work on the old conditions with a referendum to
be held on January 1, 1918, under the State Council of Defense, to
choose between an 8-hour day with 8 hours’ pay or a continuance
of the 10-hour day. This also carried a promise to work for a
national 8-hour day. All three propositions were rejected.1
9
INTERVENTION OF TH E G O VERNM ENT.

Late in July the strike began to interfere with the supply of
lumber for the Camp Lewis cantonment, and soon after the ship
carpenters on Grays Harbor refused to handle lumber from 10-hour
mills.2 The Government was thus brought into the trouble and
0
Secretary of War Baker and Governor Lister, of Washington, urged
the employers to grant the 8-hour day with time and a half for
overtime. The latter did the unprecedented thing of issuing a
MParker, Carleton H .: The Casual Laborer, p. 114.
1 American Federation of Labor. Proceedings of thirty-eighth annual convention, 1918, p. 22.
7
is Oregonian, Portland, July 31,1917, p. 5.
19 West Coast Lumberman, Aug. 15,1917,1 1 21 et seq.
.
20 Oregonian, Portland, Oreg., July 26,191, 19l’g Sgttle Un*on Record. Aug. 4,1917, p. 1; Washington
6’
y
State Bureau of Labor, Biennial report, 1917




74

WEST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

proclamation calling upon the employers to concede the 8-hour day
with 9 hours’ pay and time and a half for overtime, but the em­
ployers would not yield.2 2 The lumbermen believed that the 8-hour
1
day was economically impossible owing to the keen competition of
other lumber regions where camps and mills were running 10 hours.2
3
This interference of the Government was bitterly resented by many
of the employers.
At the very outset of the strike Secretary Baker and Governor
Lister sent troops to Grays Harbor to protect mills which were cut­
ting lumber for the Camp Lewis cantonment.2 The I. W. W. estab­
3
lished picket camps near every struck camp that they could reach
and attempted in every possible way to prevent men from going
into the camps, while the other unions did most of the picketing in
the mills. In some places, particularly at Raymond, injunctions
were secured to prevent picketing, and some strikers were fined for
violating the injunctions.2
4
TERM IN ATIO N OF STR IKE.

It was estimated that about 10 per cent of the mills and camps,
about 150 in all, mostly shingle mills, granted the 8-hour day and
were able to resume. None of these were members of the Lumber­
man’s Protective Association.2 Some of these mills later went back
5
to a 10-hour day, and the unions declared it was because of the
pressure of the Loggers’ Association, which refused to supply logs
to 8-hour mills.2 It is more reasonable to account for the shortage
6
of logs for 8-hour mills by the fact that there were not logs enough
for all mills, and the loggers naturally preferred to furnish logs to
mills which stood with them in the fight for 10 hours.
By September 1 it was apparent to the leaders of the I. W. W. that
they would not be able to bring the employers to terms by means
of a prolonged strike, since strike funds were running low and the
men were drifting back to their jobs, permitting the mills and camps
to reopen. Accordingly, a referendum was held to determine the
sentiment of the members with regard to a future policy. While
no report was ever made as to the exact vote cast, it was announced
that the result of the referendum was to transfer the strike to the
job, and most of the members of the I. W. W. went back on the iob
to continue the strike there.2 The shingle weavers and timber
7
workers did not officially call the strike off, but they permitted their
members to return to work. The former held a special convention
late in October and decided not to call the strike off until the 8-hour
day was universal in the shingle mills, but it permitted any local
union to determine its attitude with regard to resuming work.2
8
« Washington State Bureau of Labor, Biennial report, 1917-1918, p. 67 et seq.; Oregonian, Portland,
Oreg., Aug. 16,1917, p. 15.
2 west Coast Lumberman, Aug. 15, 1917, p. 19; U. S. Congress, House of Representatives, Select Com­
2
mittee on Expenditures of the W ar Department, Subcommittee on Aviation Testimony, vol. 2, pp.
1182-1192 (66th Cong., 2d sess.). „
2 Aberdeen W orld. July 18,1917, p . 1; July 19,1917, p . 1.
3
24 Letter of L. L . Thompson, Attorney General of Washington, Apr. 1,1919; South Bend Journal, Sept.
7,1917, p . 1; Sept. 21,1917. p . 1; West Coast Lumberman, Sept. 15,1917, p. 22.
» Washington State Federation of Labor, Proceedings of seventeenth annual convention, 1918, p . 72 et
seq.; Oregonian, Portland, Oreg., July 29,1917, p. 7
2f Shingle Weaver, July 28,1917; Aug. 11,1917.
2 Solidarity, Sept. 29,1917, p . 8.
7
2 Shingle Weaver, Oct. 27,1917.
8




LUMBER WORKERS’ STRIKE OF 1917.

75

The employers took the general position that the strike was a good
thing for the industry in that, among other things, it saved the mar­
ket from a collapse, it demonstrated the solidarity of the employers,
it showed the radical nature of the unions, and it eliminated disturb­
ing elements. They had early taken the position that they could
open their plants when they were ready, but that they preferred to
fight the matter out once for all. It is probably true that they could
have resumed sooner had they made a determined effort to do so,
but it is also probably true that six months later they would have
made a different statement with regard to the seriousness of the
situation.2
9
I. W . W . “ STRIKE ON TH E JOB.”

When the mills resumed operations in September, 1917, the
Shingle Weavers7 and Timber Workers7Unions dropped out of sight,
and the remaining trouble was furnished by what the I. W. W.
called its “ strike on the jo b 7 or “ job strike.7 In this type of strike
7
7
the workers remained on the job, but they did everything possible
while there to hinder production and reduce profits. The tactics
practiced there were slowing down, rapid shifting from job to job,
and sabotage. In the slowing-down process, or the “ conscious
withdrawal of efficiency,7 they very definitely curtailed production,
7
sometimes to less than one-iourth of normal. One report states
that at a camp where the normal production was 50 cars of logs per
day, demands were presented and refused. Immediately the output
began to fall off. Each day7 production was 5 cars less than the
s
day before. The demands were finally granted when output reached
but 5 cars per day. In shifting to increase turnover and disrupt the
organization two general lines were followed—sometimes the crew
would quit in a body when things did not suit them; at other times
they would quit at the end of eight hours and be discharged for it.
As there was a shortage of men they had little difficulty m getting
work elsewhere. Sometimes the crew were not all I. W. W., and
some of them were loath to leave, in which case intimidation had to
be used to get them to go with the rest. As the I. W. W. was stronger
in the camps than in the mills these tactics were more often used
there, but slowing down and a large turnover were common in both
places.3
0
The extent to which sabotage, other than that just referred to,
was practiced by the I. W. W. is naturally hard to determine. The
I. W. W. had advocated sabotage in such a situation, but during
this period, in view of war prosecutions, had changed the nature of
its propaganda and now insisted that it was not its purpose to destroy
any property, as it intended to take all property over for itself— it
only aimed to destroy profits. But the hope of taking possession
of machinery some time in the future will act as a deterrent only to
the most optimistic radical. In addition, the hobo laborers, the type
of labor prevalent in the industry, would be expected to have little
regard for law or property even in the absence of I. W. W. propa­
» West Coast Lumberman, Aug. 1,1917, p. 19; S^pt. 15, p. 19.
«> Industrial Worker, issues during fall and winter, 1917-18; Loyal Legion publications during the war
period.

55853°—24—Bull. 349----- 6




76

W EST COAST LUMBER INDUSTRY.

ganda in favor of sabotage. That the I. W. W. as an organization
advocated or practiced sabotage during this period has not been
proven, but there seems to be an abundance of evidence that indi­
vidual members of the organization did resort to such practices as
driving spikes in logs to break the saws, putting emery dust in
machinery, wasting material through careless work, and similar
methods. The only conviction secured was that of three members
of the I. W. W. who went into a logging camp in the Olympic
National Forest and induced the crew of fire fighters to strike while
a forest fire was raging. For this they each served one year in the
Federal prison.3
1
3 As to this conviction see West Coast Lumberman, Jan. 15,1918, p. 34; records in the office of the United
1
States district attorney, Seattle, in the Case of Thomas Noal, Robert Solen, and E. A. Matson. On the
general subject of sabotage during this period, see U. S. Congress, House of Representatives, Select Com­
mittee on Expenditures in the War Department, Subcommittee on Aviation, Testimony, vol. 2, pp. 957
et seq., 1182-1192; Final report, p. 33 (66th Cong., 2d sess.).




CHAPTER X.— ORGANIZATION OF LOYAL LEGION OF LOGGERS
AND LUMBERMEN,1
OBJECT OF ORGANIZATION.

When the members of the I. W. W. carried the strike to the job
and proved that, although they were regularly at work, they could
seriously interfere with lumber production, the Government had to
adopt other measures to secure the requisite amount of airplane
material. In August, 1917, the shipment of airplane material was
but 202,264 feet. The mills resumed operation in September and
shipments increased to 2,683,307 feet and in October reached
3,495,175 feet. Then there was a slight falling off in November.
Not only were these shipments far below the requirement of 10,000,000
feet per month, but less than half of the lumber shipped was suitable
for actual construction. Furthermore, demands were increasing.2
*
A representative of the War Department had been sent to Portland
in the early summer to supervise and inspect purchases of airplane
material, but he failed to secure sufficient supplies, and early in
October Col. Brice P. Disque was sent to the West Coast to investi­
gate conditions connected with the production of airplane materials.
He spent about two weeks investigating and reported to Washington
early in November, following which he was sent back to Portland
with definite orders to get the lumber needed.
While on his tour of investigation in October, Colonel Disque held
a conference with 12 or 15 of the leading employers of the West Coast,
at which one of the loggers suggested that the Government organize
a patriotic organization of some kind, a “ loyal legion,” to line up
the workers behind the Government program. This suggestion was
enthusiastically received by the other employers and by Colonel
Disque, and from it the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumberman,
commonly called the “ Four L,” was born a month later.4 As so
conceived the Four L was to be merely a propaganda agency to
counteract the I. W. W., and as such it was carried on for a con­
siderable period.5 After his return to Portland on November 15,
Colonel Disque\>erfected the plans for the launching of the Four L
and submitted them to Secretary of War Baker, who on November 23
approved them in a telegram in which he said: “ I heartily approve