Learn about Life in the 1920s

Progressive Industrial Relations Policies of Standard Oil

WHAT might be called "the industrial platform" of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was recently summed up by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., at a dinner of the employees of the country.

It seems to Mr. Rockefeller that the great corporation with which his name is associated has taken a high stand in regard to industrial relations. This is the way he interprets its attitude from the public utterances of officers and published reports of the Company, as quoted in the New York Times: -

1. That there are four parties to industry—the stockholders, who provide the capital; the management, which brings technical and managerial ability; the workers, who furnish manual skill, and the public, which supplies the market. All four parties are essential; their interests are common interests; the well-being of each is dependent upon just and proper consideration of the others.

2. That labor and capital are partners, not enemies; that the bitterness, antagonism and warfare that too often exist between them is quite as much the fault of capital as of labor, and can be replaced by confidence, cooperation and friendliness only as misunderstanding gives way to a common appreciation of the other's problems and point of view; that this result is most readily brought about through frequent contact between the employees and the executives of the company, for the discussion of matters of common interest.

3. That the seven-day week and the twelve-hour day are uneconomic and anti-social, hence bad business; that the worker is a human being, not a machine; that he does his best work when he has adequate opportunity for home life, recreation, self-improvement and worship. One day's rest in seven and a working day of reasonable length is the standard which has been set up in the company and is being extended into the various branches of its business as rapidly as is practicable.

Source: The Literary Digest for January 5, 1924