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Comprehension Questions 10

Test-Reading Comprehension 10 Passage 1

When A. Philip Randolph assumed the leadership of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, he began a ten-year battle to win recognition from the Pullman Company, the largest private employer of Black people in the United States and the company that controlled the railroad

industry’s sleeping car and parlor service. (*)In 1935 the Brotherhood became the first Black union recognized by a major corporation. Randolph’s efforts in the battle helped transform the attitude of Black workers toward unions and toward themselves as an identifiable group; eventually, Randolph helped to weaken organized labor’s antagonism toward Black workers.

In the Pullman contest Randolph faced formidable obstacles. (**)The first was Black workers’ understandable skepticism toward unions, which had historically barred Black workers from membership. An additional obstacle was the union that Pullman itself had formed, which weakened support among Black workers for an independent entity.

The Brotherhood possessed a number of advantages, however, including Randolph’s own tactical abilities. In 1928 he took the bold step of threatening a strike against Pullman. Such a threat, on a national scale, under Black leadership, helped replace the stereotype of the Black worker as servant with the image of the Black worker as wage earner. In addition, the porters’ very isolation aided the Brotherhood. Porters were scattered throughout the country, sleeping in dormitories in Black communities; their segregated life protected the union’s internal communications from interception. That the porters were a homogeneous group working for a single employer with single labor policy, thus sharing the same grievances from city to city, also strengthened the Brotherhood and encouraged racial identity and solidarity as well. But it was only in the early 1930’s that federal legislation prohibiting a company from maintaining its own unions with company money eventually allowed the Brotherhood to become recognized as the porters’ representative.

Not content with this triumph, Randolph brought the Brotherhood into the American Federation of Labor, where it became the equal of the Federation’s 105 other unions. He reasoned that as a member union, the Brotherhood would be in a better position to exert pressure on member unions that practiced race restrictions. Such restrictions were eventually found unconstitutional in 1944.

1. According to the passage, by 1935 the skepticism of Black workers toward unions was

(A) unchanged except among Black employees of railroad-related industries.

(B) reinforced by the actions of the Pullman Company’s union

(C) mitigated by the efforts of Randolph

(D) weakened by the opening up of many unions toBlack workers.

(E) largely alleviated because of the policies of the American Federation of Labor.

2. In using the word “understandable” in the line indicated by: (**), the author most clearly conveys

(A) sympathy with attempts by the Brotherhoodbetween 1925 and 1935 to establish an independent union.

(B) concern that the obstacles faced by Randolph between 1925 and 1935 were indeed formidable

(C) ambivalence about the significance of unions to most Black workers in the 1920’s.

(D) appreciation of the attitude of many Black workers in the 1920’s toward unions.

(E) regret at the historical attitude of unions towardBlack workers.

3. The passage suggests which of the following about the response of porters to the Pullman Company’s own union?

(A) Few porters ever joined this union.

(B) Some porters supported this union before 1935.

(C) Porters, more than other Pullman employees, enthusiastically supported this union.

(D) The porters’ response was most positive after 1935.

(E) The porters’ response was unaffected by the general skepticism of Black workers concerning unions.

4. The passage suggests that if the grievances of porters in one part of the United States had been different from those of porters in another part of the country, which of the following would have been the case?

(A) It would have been more difficult for the Pullman Company to have had a single labor policy.

(B) It would have been more difficult for the Brotherhood to control its channels of communication.

(C) It would have been more difficult for the Brotherhood to build its membership.

(D) It would have been easier for the Pullman Company’s union to attract membership.

(E) It would have been easier for the Brotherhood to threaten strikes.

5. The passage suggests that in the 1920’s a company in the United States was able to

(A) use its own funds to set up a union

(B) require its employees to join the company’s own union

(C) develop a single labor policy for all its employees with little employee dissent.

(D) pressure its employees to contribute money to maintain the company’s own union

(E) use its resources to prevent the passage of federal legislation that would have facilitated the formation of independent unions.

6. The passage supplies information concerning which of the following matters related to Randolph?

(A) The steps he took to initiate the founding of the Brotherhood

(B) His motivation for bringing the Brotherhood into the American Federation of Labor

(C) The influence he had on the passage of legislation overturning race restrictions in 1944

(D) The influence he had on the passage of legislation to bar companies from financing their own unions

(E) The success he and the Brotherhood had in influencing the policies of the other unions in the American Federation of Labor

Passage 2

Seeking a competitive advantage, some professional service firms(for example, firms providing advertising, accounting, or health care services) have considered offering unconditional guarantees of satisfaction. Such guarantees specify what clients can expect and what the firm will do if it fails to fulfill these expectations. Particularly with first-time clients, an unconditional guarantee can be an effective marketing tool if the client is very cautious, the firm’s fees are high, the negative consequences of bad service are grave, or business is difficult to obtain through referrals and word-of-mouth.

However, an unconditional guarantee can sometimes hinder marketing efforts.(*)With its implication that failure is possible, the guarantee may, paradoxically, cause clients to doubt the service firm’s ability to deliver the promised level of service. It may conflict with a firm’s desire to appear sophisticated, or may even suggest that a firm is begging for business. In legal and health care services, it may mislead clients by suggesting that lawsuits or medical procedures will have guaranteed outcomes. (**)Indeed, professional service firms with outstanding reputations and performance to match have little to gain from offering unconditional guarantees. And any firm that implements an unconditional guarantee without undertaking a commensurate commitment to quality of service is merely employing a potentially costly marketing gimmick.

7. The primary function of the passage as a whole is to

(A) account for the popularity of a practice

(B) evaluate the utility of a practice

(C) demonstrate how to institute a practice

(D) weigh the ethics of using a strategy

(E) explain the reasons for pursuing a strategy

8. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as circumstances in which professional service firms can benefit from offering an unconditional guarantee EXCEPT:

(A) The firm is having difficulty retaining its clients of long standing.

(B) The firm is having difficulty getting business through client recommendations.

(C) The firm charges substantial fees for its services.

(D) The adverse effects of poor performance by the firm are significant for the client.

(E) The client is reluctant to incur risk.

9. Which of the following is cited in the passage as a goal of some professional service firms in offering unconditional guarantees of satisfaction?

(A) A limit on the firm’s liability

(B) Successful competition against other firms

(C) Ability to justify fee increases

(D) Attainment of an outstanding reputation in a field

(E) Improvement in the quality of the firm’s service

10. The passage’s description of the issue raised by unconditional guarantees for health care or legal services most clearly implies that which of the following is true?

(A) The legal and medical professions have standards of practice that would be violated by attempts to fulfill such unconditional guarantees.

(B) The result of a lawsuit of medical procedure cannot necessarily be determined in advance by the professionals handling a client’s case.

(C) The dignity of the legal and medical professions is undermined by any attempts at marketing of professional services, including unconditional guarantees. (D) Clients whose lawsuits or medical procedures have unsatisfactory outcomes cannot be adequately compensated by financial settlements alone.

(E) Predicting the monetary cost of legal or health care services is more difficult than predicting the monetary cost of other types of professional services.

11. Which of the following hypothetical situations best exemplifies the potential problem noted in the second sentence of the second paragraph indicated by :(*)?

(A) A physician’s unconditional guarantee of satisfaction encourages patients to sue for malpractice if they are unhappy with the treatment they receive.

(B) A lawyer’s unconditional guarantee of satisfaction makes clients suspect that the lawyer needs to find new clients quickly to increase the firm’s income.

(C) A business consultant’s unconditional guarantee ofsatisfaction is undermined when the consultant failsto provide all of the services that are promised.

(D) An architect’s unconditional guarantee of satisfaction makes clients wonder how often the architect’s buildings fail to please clients.

(E) An accountant’s unconditional guarantee of satisfaction leads clients to believe that tax returns prepared by the accountant are certain to be accurate.

12. The passage most clearly implies which of the following about the professional service firms mentioned in line indicated by: (**)

(A) They are unlikely to have offered unconditional guarantees of satisfaction in the past.

(B) They are usually profitable enough to be able to compensate clients according to the terms of an unconditional guarantee.

(C) They usually practice in fields in which the outcomes are predictable.

(D) Their fees are usually more affordable than those charged by other professional service firms.

(E) Their clients are usually already satisfied with the quality of service that is delivered.