Saturday, November 28, 2020
This letter was discovered recently and we have been unable to trace any friends or family who either knew or worked for Charles Redele at the time. If this jogs someone’s memories, could they please contact us?

As a busy industrialist with many responsibilities, my wife and I discussed growing apples as a way of relaxation, and we purchased several orchards to grow this fruit outside my corporate responsibilities.

We employed men with apple-growing experience to manage the orchards, but poor work ethics led to increasing lower annual profits and the production was becoming unviable. So, my wife and I decided to sell the orchards.

We sought advice from the Food Growers Association, to help us sell the orchards. They informed us that our production was less than 50% of first-class fruit resulting in very poor prices for our product. My first reaction was to replace our men in the orchard by more efficient employees. Then I began to think over my own actions and motives. I would tell the men working for me that the orchard business was a hobby and I did not mind if I made or lost money. Then at home I would calculate how much money I could put into my pocket.

In 1950, I first met Moral Re-Armament MRA “now known as Initiatives of Change” and my friends suggested that I should be honest and look for the mistakes within myself first and to put People before things. I decided to bring my workers together and to tell them of my dishonesty and said in the future, I would show them the balance sheet, profit and loss accounts. That, together we would jointly agree on how the profits were applied. I had 16 employees and their first reaction was: “We are sixteen and you are one and this would be impossible to work with”. My answer was: “If we as honest fellows do not ask who is right but what is right, there is an answer for every problem. The most difficult problem will be solved by this attitude”. The others just laughed and said: “We do not believe it”.

Since 1950, we have followed my suggestion. For three years we were unlucky with apple crops being destroyed by frost and hail so there were no profits. This was in a time of low unemployment, wages were fixed by government, farm labour was scarce, and workers demanded wages higher than the legal rate. We did not pay over award rates and although our men earned 30% less there was a waiting list of those who wanted to work on our orchards. Over the past six years, with the same workers and machines we have produced 80% first class apples, taking into account hail damage that of course is not caused by our workers.

In the springtime, it is sometimes necessary to remove or ‘thin out’ some of the fruit to enable the fruit on the trees to develop to full size. This is a very labour-intensive job and to complete the ‘thinning’ on time our men asked their wives if they could help, with the extra hands, the task was completed on time. Although, the wives were not used to this kind of work, they enjoyed their time working in the orchard and volunteered to come back at picking time.

The Apple Growers Association annually sponsored a silver cup for the best-kept orchard. Our orchards, which in the past lost money and was untidy, took the silver cup four times in six years. With the same trees, and machines, the only change being a new atmosphere developing with all involved in the production of fruit.

For several years we have made a profit and always, after a few hours discussing, found a solution to distributing these profits equitably. This has always been decided with the full consent

of all of us. This profit sharing does not mean that my wife and I are giving away our profit to our co-workers, it means that through a new attitude the productivity is raised so much that we all received a bigger income out of the orchards.

We took the decision that we should never again decide something, without first consulting all the others. We could more clearly see the light through 10 windows, than through one.

We often discuss how we can share this way of life with others. Reflecting back over the events around the development and operations of apple orchards, and how personalities influence the outcomes of negotiations between an employer and the people who are employed to do the work there is a realisation by both the employer and the employee’s that sharing the problems, work for the best of all. Through the ideology of initiatives of change based on the four absolute standards, it is possible to change the course of human nature.