« PreviousContinue »
organized for the purpose of securing good streets and the like, but not to consider industrial matters, nor was it large enough to enter into any collective bargain that other employers would feel bound to respect.
The men were said to be well organized. The teamsters engaged in hauling certain kinds of merchandise belonged to one union, those engaged in hauling other merchandise belonged to another; and all unions engaged in handling freight at stations, wharves, vessels, or in transporting it from place to place, besides being members of national or international bodies controlling particular kinds of teaming or freight handling, were reunited again into a central delegate body, known as the Allied Freight Transportation Council. Any real or fancied oppression in one quarter could thus become the subject of more or less general concern; and a strike involving members of a local union might, through sympathy, extend into all branches of the transportation interests.
Whether anything like a defined threat was distinctly made or not, it is certain that the apprehension of a general tie-up in Boston and vicinity was felt throughout the community by all people who had any means of knowing the facts of the difficulty and the sentiments of the parties involved.
The demand of local Union No. 25 was that 10 hours in 11 should constitute a working day, and 60 hours a working week, with a full hour — if possible, the noon hour — for dinner; that the said 11 hours should begin at arriving at the stable and end on leaving it at night; that over-time should be paid for at the rate of 25 cents an hour or fractional part thereof; and that work on Sunday and legal holidays should be compensated by double pay; that, when no work was done on said holidays, no pay should be deducted from the regular weekly wages, and in no case should work be done on the holiday known as Labor Day. The minimum rates of wages were to be according to the following list :
When a full week was not worked, there was to be an extra compensation of 50 cents for each day worked. Regular lumpers were to receive not less than $14 per week; outside lumpers not less than 40 cents an hour, with overtime at the rate of 60 cents; and the fractional part of an hour was to be considered the same as an hour.
The organization was willing to bind itself to do all in its power to further the interests of the employer, and to furnish teamsters and lumpers when needed. No strike should be authorized except as follows: when ordered by the Allied Transportation Council, the American Federation of Labor, the Building Trades Council, the Central Labor Union, or any central body that the union might be connected with, in which case said strike should not be considered either a violation of contract or an annulment of agreement.
In case of strike being ordered by local Union No. 25 of the Team Drivers' International Union, and no mutual settlement of the controversy had been reached by the parties, it was to be submitted to the State Board of Arbitration, and to the committees representing the parties, for the purpose of conciliation.
On December 20 the Board called upon the officers of
local Union No. 25, and offered its services as mediator, with a view to the settlement of any differences that might lead to a rupture of friendly relations between employers and employed.
On the 23d the Board called upon leading master truckmen, with an offer of mediation, and for the purpose of arranging a conference of parties in the presence of the Board. The president of the employers' association and the president of the team drivers' union were interviewed. Individual employers expressed their inability at that time to say what they would or would not do, pending concerted action.
On that evening there was a meeting of the master teamsters, the result of which is set forth in the following communication :
To the Master Teamsters of Boston.
An organized demand has been made upon us of a nature so disastrous to our business that it is deemed absolutely imperative on our part that some united action be taken in the matter.
The unanimous sentiment of the master teamsters, so far as an expression could be obtained by personal interviews, and at the meetings that have been held to consider this matter, seems to be as follows:
First. That the present tariff rate of teaming will admit of no increase in our running expenses.
Second. - That we must absolutely refuse to sign the contract sent out by our drivers.
Third. — That, since we are not a corporation acting as a unit, each master teamster must treat and contract with his own help individually, as he has always done in the past.
Fourth. — That we are and must be governed in the hours of labor by the custom of the merchants, and the regulations of the railroads and steamship companies.
Fifth. — That there is a sentiment more or less prevalent among the merchants and business men that this matter can be adjusted
with our drivers by a raise in their wages; and with this end in view we recommend that a minimum scale of wages be adopted, as follows: for light one-horse vehicles, $10 a week; heavy one-horse vehicles, $11 a week; two-horse vehicles, $13 a week; three-horse vehicles, $14 a week; four-horse vehicles, $15 a week; with the full understanding that we are to be reimbursed for the additional running expenses hereby incurred by a corresponding raise in the tariff rate of teaming.
Sixth. — That in taking this attitude we believe that we are acting for the best interests of the city and all concerned, and we claim and expect the support of the merchants, manufacturers, business men and corporations throughout the city.
Seventh.- That, pending the settlement of this question, whether a general tie-up is ordered, or only a strike in individual cases, no master teamster shall interfere in any way or accept the business or customers of another teamster without his consent.
We, the undersigned, fully indorse the line of action herein embodied, and hereby agree to be governed by the same.
On December 24 invitations were sent to the parties to appear by committee and confer with one another in the presence of the Board, at the State House, on the 26th, for the purpose of adjusting the dispute.
Accordingly, on the 26th, the committees appeared at the appointed time and discussed the demand of the union. The president of the Allied Freight Transportation Trades Council, Oscar F. Cox, representing employees that would be directly affected by a strike of team drivers, was also present. It was clear at the close of the conference that a better understanding had been reached; but the masters' committee had no authority to negotiate a settlement, and it was understood that the employees were to consider the foregoing notice, signed by Luke Hillard as secretary of the Master Teamsters' Association, as their official reply to the demand.
The workmen's committee undertook to lay this reply before the meeting of the union on the following Sunday, December 29, and to send notice to the Board of whatever action might be taken upon it, the Board to transmit the same to the employers, who in their turn would advise the Board of the action taken by their association. In the mean while, the effect of the master teamsters' reply was reported to be unsatisfactory to the union men, and a strike was predicted as the most probable result of the Sunday meeting. To offset this, the Board, in the afternoon of Saturday, called upon the president of the Chamber of Commerce, to consider what influences might be brought into play to avert the strike. He replied that he would do everything for the public good consistent with his position, and be glad to receive a visit from the labor chiefs for the purpose of discussing the difficulty. The president of the Allied Freight Transportation Council was so notified; he immediately communicated with Mr. Lincoln, and they made an appointment for an interview. The interest manifested by Mr. Lincoln was reported at the union meeting on Sunday, and did a great deal to calm the sentiments of that body.
On the 30th the Board, the union's committee, and Mr. Cox, responding to Mr. Lincoln's invitation, met in the Chamber of Commerce. The committee reported that the union had rejected the master teamsters' terms.
On January 1, 1902, a meeting of master truckmen was called by Mr. Lincoln in the Chamber of Commerce, which the Board attended by invitation.
On the 3d an interview was had at the rooms of the Board, between the president of the union and the president of the Allied Freight Transportation Council and Mr. Lincoln. Subsequently a conference of parties in the presence of the Board and of Mr. Lincoln was had, in which several