March 3, 1934
Interview with L.E.D
W - Am up against it, and have come to yell for help. Sickness has cost $600 so far; last month saw end of reserves; this month go in debt; no hope of preventing increasing indebtedness in future.
D - Am very sympathetic; have just been thru something myself. (Wayne had suggested striking while the iron is hot)
W - Efforts to increase income by night school teaching and magazine article writing failed. Former due to lack of Ames support; latter to either rotten authorship or overcrowded field.
D - (Graciously) The field is pretty crowded.
W - Such a personal appeal is embarassing to me, but is simply necessity.
D - The doors of this office are always open; get things off your chest whenever you feel the urge. Am glad to hear employees' point of view, although usually I can do nothing for them.
W - It means a lot to me to be able to discuss things with you frankly; had regarded you as too far removed from us to welcome this intrusion.
D - Not at all. Which do you prefer: work at the sub-station, or work with Chamberlain?
W - For the same pay I prefer the sub-station, because of the opportunity to use the leisure hours on that job for constructive personal work. If return to the Power Station will renew contact with the Engineering Department, I wish to keep that as my ultimate aim.
D - The substation Job was an emergency move, and you should not be stuck there. Isn't the injured man back yet? (Typical tactics)
W - Yes he is back; the new man has returned to the line gang.
D - (Scornfully) He's not needed there.
How about dividing your time with maintenance and engineering, so that when and if engineering picks up you will be ready to jump into the harness. You are next in line for such work.
W - I am glad to know that. Naturally I would be glad to do anything to resume activities in engineering. I have become quite accustomed to burying my pride, and my main immediate concern is to make ends meet, but my ultimate hope is to resume work in which I can invest my pride.
D - You realize that many companies simply let their men go instead of providing some sort of a job, as we have done. (He would bring that up) We all have to give up a lot of things these days. (As if this were news).
W - Absolutely, and I am simply grateful for having any kind of a job. (Phone rings)
W - Mr. D., if you could see your way to giving me $25 more per month I believe I could swing my personal budget. (Eye to eye, and silence)
D - We have too many back there now. One man is all we need, and we are loaded down with three. Can you suggest how it would pay to add you to the picture?
W - How can I place a dollars and cents value on drawings, or records. You either want them or you don't. There is plenty of work available.
D - Yes, we could hire 20 men, if we wanted.
Well, I'll Consult H. and M. and see what can be worked out; but I can promise you nothing.
W - Thank you kindly for discussing this with me. I feel that I have a better appreciation of you, and the general picture.
Additional L.E.D. views expressed in the interview in the "Lion's den":
D - The crazy policies at Washington will probably ruin the entire structure of business within a few years. They are removing profit, and business will not recover without it. Every move the NRA has made handicaps the average man's chances a bit more. Unfortunately we have to wait till election day to kick them out, and in the meantime they will do irreparable damage to industry. I look for greater distress two years from now than we have ever experienced. The outlook is black.
W - If not NRA, how would you put the ten million back to work?
D - I don't know. I have no solution.
W - Well, you've got to hand it to them. They promised to take the iniative, and they have done that, right or wrong.
D - They haven't fulfilled any campaign promises. They said within a year unemployment would cease, and all they have succeeded in doing is spend untold sums that have not been earned, and they have wrecked a financial structure which they swore to hold intact.
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