The success of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad with the union-management cooperation plan, and its recent adoption by other important railroad systems, have drawn public attention to the principle of according the unions constructive functions in industry as holding a possible key to the ultimate solution of the general railroad labor problem.
The policy of union-management cooperation was started as an experiment in one of the large equipment repair shops of the Baltimore & Ohio in 1923. It was extended in 1924 to all 45 of the company's maintenance shops, employing 22,000 men. The original plan is now being adapted for application throughout the transportation and maintenance of way divisions of the road, with the promise of further significant success in improving the morale and enlisting the cooperation of the workers.
The Importance of Improved Morale
One of the fundamental needs of the transportation industry since the war, the importance of which is recognized by all railroad executives, has been a better morale on the part of its working forces. More than fifty per cent of the total money outlay of the railroads goes regularly to the payment of wages to labor. From twenty to thirty per cent is expended in the purchase of materials and supplies. Any scheme of cooperation which will increase labor efficiency, and bring about a conscientious effort on the part of 2,000,000 railroad employes to eliminate waste, is certain in the existing situation to result in large money savings to the roads.