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Constitution of the Kansas State Federation of Labor

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Adopted in convention, July 3, 1890.




Recognizing the fact that self-preservation demands a closer relationship be¬tween all branches of organized labor, in order that equality of right and privilege may be obtained for wage-workers, the representatives of trade unions in Kansas, in convention assembled, have organized ourselves into a "STATE FEDERATION OF LABOR," and call upon all wage-workers in the State to join with us in an endeavor to obtain an eight-hour work day, better general conditions of labor, and other needed industrial and social reforms.

We affirm the natural and legal right of all wage-workers to organize themselves peaceably together for the protection of their rights and the advancement of their special vocations, and condemn as autocratic, tyrannical and vicious, the spirit that would deny that right.

We believe in the strict autonomy of distinct trade interests, but advocate the closest possible unity in matters of general concern.

ARTICLE I.—NAME. SEC. 1.  This organization shall be known as the " KANSAS STATE FEDERATION or LABOR," and will be composed of such trade unions as will affiliate with it and con¬form to its laws and regulations.

ARTICLE II.—OBJECTS. SEC. 1. The objects of this Federation are: (1) The formation and encourage¬ment of Local Trade Unions in all the trades in towns and cities where a sufficient number of workmen can be found in any one trade. • (2) The formation of Central Trade Unions in every town and city where several trade unions already exist. (3) The formation of Federal Trade Unions in all towns where there is not a suf¬ficient number of workmen in any one trade to organize separate unions. (4) To otherwise assist in strengthening our several National and International Unions. (5) To assist each other at all times by practising those precepts of unionism which teach us that union men should use union-made products.

ARTICLE III.—CONVENTIONS. SEC. 1.  The conventions of this Federation will be held annually at such time and place as the delegates at the preceding convention may select.


SEC. 1. The representation in annual conventions will be as follows: Each union affiliated with this Federation, three (3) delegates; but only one vote when the yeas and nays are demanded on any question.

SEC. 2. No organization which has seceded from any local, national, or interna¬tional trade union, will be allowed representation or recognition in this Federation.

SEC. 3. Delegates will not be entitled to sit in conventions of this Federation, unless the per capita tax of their union is paid in full to date.

SEC. 4. All elective officers shall be members of the succeeding convention, but without vote unless they are delegates.


SEC. 1. The officers of this Federation shall consist of a President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and a Federation Council of five members, all of whom shall be elected annually by the convention.

SEC. 2. The President shall be the chief executive officer of this Federation. He will occupy the chair at the opening of the annual convention, call it to order and preside over its deliberations until his successor has been duly elected. He will, also, at the opening of the convention, appoint the following standing committees (three members each), viz.: Credentials; rules and order of business; constitution and laws; officers' reports; finance; resolutions; and to them will be referred, with¬out debate, all matters properly belonging to them.

SEC 3. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to make and keep a complete record of the transactions of the conventions of this Federation, and of such other matters as may come into his hands during his term of office, and turn the same over to his successor. He shall also assist the President in the discharge of correspondence, and must make annual reports to the convention.

SEC. 4. The Treasurer shall be the custodian of the funds of this Federation, will disburse the same only on orders signed by both the President and Secretary, and must make annual reports to the convention.

SEC 5. It shall be the duty of the Federation Council to pass judgment upon all strikes, lockouts, and other matters that may be referred to them, subject, however, to the approval of the convention, and always having due respect for the higher au¬thority of national or international union law. When strikes or lockouts have been approved they may direct the Secretary to issue and distribute to all unions in the State a circular setting forth the facts, and calling upon them for such assistance as may seem wisest and best.

SEC 6. Should a vacancy occur in any office, between annual meetings of the con-vention, it shall be filled by appointment by the President, subject, however, to the approval of the Council. ■ If the office of President becomes vacant, then the Vice Presidents will succeed in regular order.

SEC 7. All officers of this Federation shall labor earnestly and use all honorable means to organize new unions in every trade, and enlist them under the banner of their own National or International Union, if any exist; or, if no National or Inter¬national body exists in that trade, or if from any other cause it is impracticable to organize separate unions, then a “Federal Union" may be organized under a charter from the American Federation of Labor. Federal Unions may embrace all unorganized trades, but should be subdivided into separate unions as rapidly as increased membership will permit.    (See Sec. 2, Art. VII.)


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SEC. 1. The revenue of this Federation will be derived from unions affiliating, each of which shall pay the sum of two dollars as an affiliation fee, and also a per capita tax of one cent per member per month, payable monthly to the President and by him to be deposited with the Treasurer; except, that Central Trade Unions will pay the sum of four dollars per annum (payable quarterly) in lieu of per capita tax, and in addition to the two dollars affiliation fee.

SEC. 2. Any union affiliated with this Federation and not paying its per capita tax before the 20th of the month, will be reminded of the fact by the President of the Federation, and if at the end of three months such union is still in arrears, it will be reported to the Council, and with their consent will be suspended from membership in the Federation, and can be reinstated only by paying all arrears.

SEC. 3. The funds of the Federation must be kept in some reliable bank, subject to the provisions of Sec. 4, Art. V., and the accounts of the year must be closed and balanced three days prior to the assembling of the convention.

SEC. 4. Whenever the revenue of the Federation will warrant, the President may, with the advice of the Council, direct the employment of organizers and trade-union lecturers in the interests of the Federation.


SEC 1. Always recognizing the inalienable right of each trade to manage its own trade affairs, it will still be the duty of this Federation to secure the unification of all labor organizations in matters of general concern, and so far as we can, assist each other in times of trouble, by financial aid and otherwise, especially in the spirit of the 5th clause of Sec. 1, Art. II, of this constitution.

SEC. 2. Any seven wage-workers in any one or more trades, and of good charac¬ter, residing in any town in Kansas where there is not already a union in their trade or trades, may apply to the President of this Federation for a Certificate of Affilia¬tion, and after having subscribed to this constitution may form a local body to be known as a "Federal Trade Union." They must hold regular meetings, and by association and converse endeavor to strengthen and advance the trade-union movement for a shorter work-day and better general conditions of labor. They may make their own rules and by-laws, but none in conflict with those of the Fed¬eration or any national or international union, and must not admit to membership workmen in any trade that has, or may hereafter have, a separate local or federal union in that town. Applications from seven or more in any one trade that has a national or international union, will be referred to that union. Applications from seven or more in any one trade that has no national or international union, will be referred to the American Federation of Labor. Applications from seven or more in several unorganized trades may be temporarily attached to this State Federa¬tion, or referred to the American Federation, as seems wisest and best.

SEC. 2. Each union affiliated with this Federation must make monthly reports to the President, on blanks to be furnished by him.

SEC. 3. Questions coming within the jurisdiction of this Federation and not cov¬ered by this constitution, will be referred to the Federation Council, and they may make rules governing the same until the next convention.

SEC. 4. This constitution can be amended only at regular sessions of the con¬vention, and then only by a two-thirds affirmative vote.


The following resolutions were adopted by the convention:

RESOLVED, First, That we urge all trade unions in the State of Kansas to attach themselves to and affiliate with this State Federation, to the end that we may ex¬tend organization among wage-workers on trade-union lines.

Second, That we demand a universal eight-hour work-day and better general con-ditions of labor for all working people, and pledge allegiance and support to our National and International Unions, and the American Federation of Labor, in ef¬forts to secure it.

Third, That this State Federation recognize and recommend the first Monday in the month of September, each year, as "Labor Day" and a universal holiday for working people, and urge a public observance of the day by all trade and labor or¬ganizations.

Fourth, That this State Federation endorses the efforts of the Topeka Trade and Labor Assembly to secure the enactment of an eight-hour city ordinance to govern labor performed and contracted for by the city of Topeka, and urge like action by trade unions and other labor organizations in all cities and towns in Kansas.

Fifth, That we endorse the efforts of the Topeka Salesmen's and Clerks' Union to secure an earlier closing hour in stores and mercantile houses, urge the spread of the movement to other cities and towns, and call upon all good union men to assist them by patronizing only such merchants as concede a shorter work-day.

Sixth, That we endorse the action of the Journeymen Barbers' Union in demand¬ing a shorter work-day, urge the spread of the movement, and call upon all union men to patronize union shops.

Seventh, That we urge the exclusive patronage of the Cigarmakers' Union "Blue Label" cigars.

Eighth, That we condemn the employment of children under 15 years of age in any trade, and urge the Legislature of Kansas to enact laws prohibiting the regu¬lar employment of children under that age.

Ninth, That we endorse the apprenticeship systems of the various trade unions.

Tenth, That we request the Governor of Kansas to give audience to the recommendations of this Federation in future appointments of a Commissioner and [xxxx]nts in the State Bureau of Labor Statistics.               

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