A Letter from L. P. August of Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen to F. Takano, Oct. 9th, 1894
Oct. 9th, 1894
Mr. T[sic]. Takano,
My dear Sir:
Returning to my office after a protracted absence, I find a communication from you written in August, which through some misunderstanding has been delayed. I regret very much that the communication was not placed in my hands earlier, in order that I might have replied before the convention of our organization, which has just concluded its labors in the city of Harrisburg. However, I trust that at this late day I may be able to give you some information which will aid you in your work and if there is anything further that I can do than what I now offer you, you have but to command and I shall take pleasure in obeying your wishes, so far as it is possible in connection with the duties which I have to perform.
I am one who firmly believe in class organization. I believe in the organization of each individual trade under its own head and governed by the laws which it creates. During the twelve years that I have been affiliated with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen I have realized the benefits of trades' organization and have seen the evil effects that come from an organization made up of all kinds and classes. Were I to-day to start out to introduce organization into a country where there was no organization looking towards the bettering of wage workers, I would confine myself to class organization, organization of individual trades, and each trade had its organization, then turn my attention to federation of those trades, whereby they could wrok harmoniously together and promote each other's interests. If you want to educate working men, you must first organize them; but in my judgement it can only be done by each trade or order having its own separate organization and being governed by men who follow that particular calling.
I would most heartily recommend you to Mr. Samuel P. Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor, who is located in New York City and who has been connected with trades' unions and who is fully qualified to enlighten you in every particular upon the benefits derived from such organization as trades' unions represent. I believe that you can apply it to your country as effectually as it has been applied in this, for the reason that the people of your country are enlightened to that degree that they will readily realize the benefits that will accrue to them from organization.
I enclose you copy of an address which I delivered at Harrisburg, which contains something of a history of our organization as a trade's union. I also enclose you a copy of the law of federation, which to-day embraces six organizations of railway employees. I would also recommend you to correspond with Mr. E. E. Clark, Grand Chief Conductor of the Order of Railway Conductors, who is a very able exponent of labor and a firm believer in class organization. I send you a copy of our constitution and such other printed matter as I believe will aid you in your work and I shall be pleased to hear from you further, if there is anything that I can do to help you.
Believe me to be,
L. P. August