Jack Houston’s Editorials in the OBU Bulletin: 29 May 1920
Oh! Canada Oh! Canada
Oh! Canada! Why, oh, why! Are you cursed with a free press: a press free to open its columns to editorial writers, who without taking the trouble to make inquiry into facts are, on some other writer’s misrepresentations, at one minute’s notice ready to tackle any subject on earth, in the heaven above or in the waters under the earth.
On May 21st the Free Press treats of the Soviet Labor Code. Now, some time ago the Bulletin had set out to publish the CODE in full, but our poor little four pages hadn’t the room, so, knowing that many of the workers of Winnipeg were reading the Labor Code in full in other radical publications, we passed up the CODE.
Here is one provision of the Code of which the Free Press says nothing: “All citizens able to work have the right to employment at their vocations.” In case no work can be found for him he is entitled to an unemployed benefit which must be equal to his regular wages.
What would Barrett or Tom Deacon think of a law drawn on that plan for Winnipeg? The Manitoba Employers Association would throw ten thousand cat fits before they would stand for any such Code.
Now, if the Soviet pays him the Soviet expects him to work and if there is no work at his trade they find him another job at a lower grade, but make up his wages to what he drew before, from the unemployment fund.
Then every man must have a month’s holidays at full wages.
Wages are fixed by the trades unions and approved by the Commissioner of Labor. If the bosses don’t agree, the government itself, elevated by the peasants and workers, fixes the scale. No boss ridden, government hand-picked Robertson there.
The Free Press says a worker can’t quit his job. Yes, he can! But his reasons for quitting must be passed on by his shop committee. If the shop committee says No! He may appeal to the union. If the union says No! And he quits, he loses a week’s worth of wages and applies to the Bureau of Labor Distributions for another job. If he does not do that, why, he is treated as a gentleman and a bourgeois, that is, he has no vote and damned little to eat, but takes it out respect[a]bility.
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