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the four men who had been discharged, it was claimed unjustly, was also an important consideration at the outset. Later on, apprehensions lest some of the work people might be refused reinstatement produced a hesitation on the part of the strikers to return to work except under circumstances favorable to their contention.
On the 18th it was learned that a similar strike had occurred in the Merrimack Mills, treated elsewhere in this report; and the workmen's committee was composed of three from the Hamilton and three from the Merrimack Mills. As early as September 20 it was apparent to the Board that the employer was willing to reinstate all except the four men he had discharged. On the 26th the Board had an interview with the discharged men, and discussed the bearing which their part in the controversy had upon the interests of the many. They were not disposed to stand in the way of a settlement, and accordingly notified the Board that they would withdraw from the controversy. The question of extra compensation for overtime being the only point of dispute that remained, the difficulty was greatly simplified. The workmen's committee was requested to say what they would or would not do in the matter of returning to work, and the question was taken under consideration by them. The Board then informed the superintendent of the mill concerning the progress made thus far. It appeared, however, for the first time, that the management of the mill had objection to certain other employees whom it deemed undesirable because of their participation in the difficulty; and, until some assurance could be received from the employer that there would be no discrimination, the prospect of a settlement seemed to be as remote as ever.
On the following day the Board was at Lowell, and had an interview with the treasurer, the agent and the superintendent of the Hamilton Mills, with the result that objection to any striker other than the four discharged men was set aside, and a promise was received that all would be reinstated without prejudice or discrimination. The question of extra compensation for overtime work was then considered, and the management assured the Board that no overtime would be required in the future, except in case of emergency, whereupon the question of extra rate of pay would be considered.
On offering to reinstate all the past employees without discrimination, the management also wished it understood that this was not meant to be all at once, but only so fast as repairs of machinery, then in process, would permit.
The workmen's committee, on learning the substance of this interview, did not feel sufficiently warranted to declare the strike off, but expressed their willingness to return to work on the terms transmitted by the Board. They undertook to secure, if possible, a vote to that effect of the employees in interest, at their meeting to be held in the evening of September 27.
At this stage a change in the personnel of the committee and a misunderstanding of the terms transmitted led to the strikers' rejection, in full meeting, of the proposition to return to work. This being communicated to the Board, a member went the next day to Lowell and attended another meeting held that evening, September 28, at the strikers' headquarters, where the true situation was fully explained to the union by him. Another vote was taken thereupon, which unanimously reversed the vote of the
previous meeting, and determined the return of all hands as soon as the mill might be ready to receive them.
On the 29th this final resolve of the workmen was communicated officially by the Board to the management, and arrangements were made to receive as many of those who would return as could be accommodated. There was reason to believe that all applicants would be taken back in a short time. In a few days the work in the Hamilton Mills was going on the same as before the strike.
MERRIMACK MANUFACTURING COMPANY
In September the print workers employed in the Merrimack Mills at Lowell demanded "time and a quarter," or 25 per cent. extra for work in excess of eight hours. No reply to the demand had been received on the 17th, when at the end of the work day, as they reckoned it, they withdrew. This was in contravention of a notice posted in the mills by the management, to the effect that such withdrawal should be considered final. The next day none of them returned to work, and a long contest was inaugurated. A strike committee was appointed to act in conjunction with a like number of recent employees of the Hamilton Mills. Several departments were involved; on the 19th some women employees quit work in sympathy, and about 400 operatives were out of employment. On the 22d, when the strikers were paid off, each received a yellow slip, which was interpreted as a discharge. Other help was hired in their places. In marked contrast with the strike at the Hamilton Mills, in another quarter of the city, some street rows threatened the public peace, but there was no serious rioting. The Board was at Lowell on the day of the strike, and from that time on had a number of interviews with the parties. The employer stated that overtime work was necessary to steady employment, and therefore
of advantage to the operatives. Hence, they could not fairly insist on extra pay for it. Moreover, it was not in his power to grant such a demand, since none of his competitors paid it.
At a conference between the Board and a committee of the workmen, the latter requested the Board to convey to the management a proposition that all hands be reinstated, and the matter be referred to the Board for arbitration.
This proposition was taken by a member of the Board to the management on September 27, and was respectfully declined by it.
A committee of citizens was appointed by the mayor for the purpose of endeavoring to adjust the difficulty; but it held only one meeting, discussed the difficulty and adjourned, subject to call.
On October 2 the following correspondence was made public:
LOWELL, MASS, September 29, 1900.
JOHN W. PEAD, Esq.
DEAR SIR: I have the honor to inform you that John O'Hare and Patrick J. Mahoney who stated that they were a committee appointed by the men who were formerly in the employ of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company, requested me that I should write you and state the propositions of the former employees of the company for a settlement of the unfortunate difference existing between them and the authorities of the corporation, and it is this: that the men return to work in a body; that the corporation then appoint one man, the men appoint a man, and those two appoint a third, all questions in dispute to be submitted to them for arbitration, their decision to be finale and both parties agreeing to abide by the decision. I have submitted the proposition to you as the person highest in authority in Lowell, to speak for the Merrimack Company, as the mayor of the city in which we are all