Page images
PDF
EPUB

Cuba, the president of the Springfield lodge of that association, the secretary of the Boston lodge and three others called upon the Board, and said that the attitude of the employer in Springfield was unfavorable to their demands, and that a written answer had not as yet been received from the local management, as they promised. The Board telephoned to Springfield, and was informed by the local management that the answer had been sent. The substance thereof was made known to the strikers, and they requested that the Board call upon Mr. Bliss, the president of the road, with a view not only to resolving the difficulty thus far, but to preventing a general strike of boiler makers along the lines of the road, and most particularly at Albany and at Boston.

An informal meeting was thereupon had with Mr. Bliss at his office in Boston, and, at the instance of the Board, Mr. McNeil, grand president of the national body of boiler makers, was introduced, and a conference with a view to a settlement was thereupon had in the presence of the Board. Mr. Bliss was informed that seven boiler makers in his employ would call for an interview on the morrow, and he said that he would receive them. The whole difficulty and the proposed general strike were discussed. Mr. Bliss said that, while he thought the strikers should give the foreman a further trial, he desired further time to settle the matter.

On the next day a conference of parties took place at the Boston office of the Boston & Albany road, between the president of that road and the grand president of the general body of workmen. The Board was then informed that an agreement had been reached, whereby the strikers were to return to their former positions in the forenoon of the next day, and the controversy was to be referred to the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

State Board. Such information as was applicable to this juncture was given, and blank forms of application left them.

A joint application was received, signed by Messrs. Bliss and McNeil as the agents respectively of the parties in interest, praying the Board for the adjustment of their dispute. Pending the arbitration, the Board was notified on November 28 that the controversy had been settled by agreement between the parties in interest. The application was thereupon placed on file.

A difficulty that at one time threatened to "tie up” the operations of a great road was averted. All hands returned to work, and in a few days all was going the same as before.

THOMAS G. PLANT COMPANY-BOSTON.

By the first week of November the Thomas G. Plant Company, shoe manufacturer of Boston, had made some changes of machinery in the department of edge setting. The employees of this department, 34 in number, who had been idle while the machines were setting up, returned to their places on November 5. Having worked with the new machines a day, they were notified that certain changes in prices had been decreed by the president of the company. The edge-setters reckoned that the new prices would reduce their pay about $2 a week, and resented what they deemed a short notice. All but two of them left the factory on November 6, declared a strike, formed a local union, and on the 7th were affiliated with the Boot and Shoe Workers' Union.

The workmen claimed that the change was a reduction without previous notice of any kind, and "strenuously objected to such proceedings on the part of the firm.'

On the other hand the employer claimed that with the new machines earnings would be greater by the new prices. Pickets were posted on all the approaches to the factory, and threats of a general strike were made.

The Board offered its services to both parties on the 9th and 14th, but it was plainly a contest of endurance: on the one hand was a union, confident in the power of organization, and on the other was an employer, resolved to main

tain a free shop. Both were inflexible; but the edge-setters' union, following the practice of the general body to which it belonged, was willing to confer with the employer in the presence of this Board. The president of the company, however, expressed his satisfaction with existing conditions. He had been running on full time, and would so continue. He doubted the probability of a general strike. He had all the edge-setters that he needed, and would take back none of the strikers except possibly a few of the very best. The Board notified the men that the prospect of a settlement was not good, and they expressed their determination to continue the strike.

The matter gradually passed from notice, and at latest accounts the factory was running in all departments without impediment of any kind.

ACUSHNET MILL CORPORATION AND HATHAWAY MANUFACTURING COMPANY-NEW BEDFORD.

The Acushnet and the Hathaway mills of New Bedford are under the general direction of Joseph F. Knowles, the treasurer. On Saturday, November 17, the superintendent of the weaving department notified the loom fixers of both. mills, about 100 in number, that thereafter each of them would be expected to keep adjusted and in good running order one hundred instead of eighty looms, of the kind known as Draper. This was considered a hardship by the men in question, and on the following day a special meeting of the loom fixers' union was held to consider the demand. Early in the forenoon of the 19th the president of the national union of loom fixers and the secretary of the local union asked for an interview with the treasurer; but he declined to discuss the subject except with loom fixers in his employ. They thereupon threatened a strike, and a meeting was held without delay. It was then said that the treasurer was willing to confer with his employees; but they declared a strike, and indicated which officers of their union had been selected to act for them. They took the precaution to avoid the appearance of anything like a breach of the peace, in voting not to approach the mills while the strike was on.

On the 21st the Board went to New Bedford and had separate interviews with both parties. On the 22d its good

« PreviousContinue »