Page images

under considerable difficulty. On this date the following application was received from the men:


To the Honorable the State Board of Conciliation and Arbitration, Bos

ton, Massachusetts. The undersigned respectfully represents that a strike has occurred, and its extension is seriously threatened in the freight transportation business at Boston, in this Commonwealth, involving all transportation concerns in this city and the R. S. Brine Transportation Company, and 15,000 men employed by them as handlers of freight, and that the nature of the controversy, briefly stated, is as follows:

A strike occurred upon the teams of the R. S. Brine Transportation Company, owing to the refusal of that concern to keep an agreement made through its agents (a committee of master teamsters) with local Union No. 25 of the Team Drivers' International Union (through a committee).

The police force of Boston is being used at considerable expense to the tax payers to assist said Brine Company to carry on busi

Large crowds are attracted to the sections of the city where the teams of said Brine Company are commonly known to frequent, and the peace of the city, as well as its business interests, is seriously threatened.

The said Brine Company have refused the good offices of your honorable Board and of other reputable and public-spirited citizens, including the mayor of Boston and the president of the Chamber of Commerce. Wherefore, your honorable Board is respectfully requested to put itself in communication, as soon as may be, with said employer or employees, and endeavor, by mediation, to effect an amicable settlement between them; and, if the Board considers it advisable, investigate the cause of said controversy, and ascertain which party thereto is mainly responsible or blameworthy for the existence or continuance of the same.

Dated this twenty-fifth day of January, A.D. 1902.

The Allied Freight Transportation Council, including in its membership all members of local Union No. 25 of the Team Drivers' International Union,

By its Attorney,


On February 1 Ralph W. Easley, secretary of the National Civic Federation, and James Duncan, another member, representing also the American Federation of Labor as first vicepresident, called, and informed the Board that the National Civic Federation had been invoked by the representatives of the striking teamsters in Boston; and Mr. Duncan handed the Board the following letter:


Boston, Mass., February 1, 1902. WARREN A. REED, Esq., Chairman and Associate, Massachusetts State

Board of Arbitration. GENTLEMEN: - As I am fully appreciative of the good work of your Board in the past, I am equally desirous of its fullest use for the future, and therefore, from practical as well as humanitarian motives, earnestly request that, in the event of either of the contending parties in the pending transportation dispute refusing to accept your valuable services as arbitrators, you immediately grant and announce a public hearing on the points at issue, with the object in view of placing the blame for the present local transportation entanglement where it belongs, as well as to show beyond cavil which parties refuse settlement. The public, which in the end suffers the most, is entitled to this information from an official source, and look to you for it; and if this is done, the good sense of the people of Boston will cause them to morally throw their influence on the side of right, and thereby end a contention which has been discreditably prolonged.

Trusting this appeal will meet with your immediate approval, and that the results will be satisfactory to all parties interested,

I am,


JAMES DUNCAN, First Vice-President.

The employees' committee were sent for, and, in their name, President Hartnett, President Cox and Mr. Cavanagh responded; other labor leaders were also present. As a result of this meeting, the Board invited Sherman L. Whipple, Esq., counsel for the R. S. Brine Transportation Company, to meet the Board at the State House on February 3.

On February 3 the Hon. Charles Francis Adams, Secretary Ralph M. Easley and James Duncan, all of the National Civic Federation, had a joint session with the State Board of Conciliation, at which a letter from Mr. Whipple was received, requesting that the hour of meeting be deferred until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Mr. Whipple met the Board at the time set. Mr. Easley and Mr. Duncan were also present. The employees' application was considered, in view of the injunction proceedings then pending. At the conclusion of the meeting the following recommendation, the joint product of the National Civic Federation and the State Board, was made public: –

On Saturday (February 1) the Board invited Mr. Whipple to meet representatives of the National Civic Federation and the Board, to talk over informally the question of whether anything could be done by conference in the present difficulty. Mr. Whipple in response sent a letter, in which he said :

Anything that the Brine Transportation Company can reasonably do to assist in preventing a strike which may injure other persons employing labor in Boston, its officers will do with pleasure, and I am authorized to confer to that end. I will call on you for that purpose, if desired, as soon as I am released from court. As to the relations of the Brine Company itself with the team drivers' union, you are aware that a number of its employees "struck” some two weeks since. This strike, which was ordered by the union, was followed by a series of acts perpetrated against the Brine Company and those it employed, which made it necessary for the company to take proper action to prevent the ruin of its business and injury to its employees. Legal proceedings were thereupon instituted against the union and its members, which proceedings are now pending and in process of adjudication. Under these circumstances I deem it proper to postpone discussion of or comment upon this controversy between my clients and the union until the court . decision. Any other course would, to my mind, be a distinct impropriety. When the court shall have rendered its decision, and it shall appear either that no rights of the company have been violated, or that having been wronged, it shall have compensation for the wrong and protection of the law for the future, the remaining disputes, if any, between the company and the union may well be considered in the aspect of conciliation and arbitration.

In accordance with the idea contained in the above letter, we met this afternoon and discussed the general questions outside of those involved in the case pending in court. It was thought best to advise the unions to postpone further agitation until the decision of the case in court, when the entire matter would be taken up, and further conference held looking to the adjustment of the whole difficulty.

Subsequently, the court dismissed Mr. Cox, and the temporary injunction against the other defendants was continued in force until further order of court. Immediately after the order of court the Board had a further conference with Mr. Whipple, and opened up negotiations which are still pending.

A short period of peace followed, during which many of the members of the workmen's committees returned to their avocations. One of the members of the Allied Freight Transportation Council, a freight handler named James Sheehan, after a long absence from the freight shed, returned with a view to taking his former position as employee of the Boston & Albany Railroad, when he was informed that he stood discharged, and that his place had been filled. This gave rise to another difficulty, which is under consideration at the present time.

This new controversy, however, having arisen since January 1, and still the subject of negotiation, will more properly be treated in the next annual report of the Board.

The Brine difficulty was so closely connected with the

teamsters' controversy of 1901 that it has been deemed proper to insert it here in sequence, although, since it too originated within the new year, it also might more properly be treated of in the next report.

The foregoing annual report is respectfully submitted.


State Board of Conciliation and Arbitration.

BOSTON, March 10, 1902.

« PreviousContinue »