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WHITE & WYCKOFF MANUFACTURING COMPANY
On February 6 about 24 employees, pressmen, feeders and compositors, of the printing department of the White & Wyckoff Manufacturing Company, struck for 9 hours a day, at the same pay as they were then receiving for 10 hours' work. The firm refused to concede to the demands of the strikers, and soon began to fill the positions of the men who had left. The printing department is incidental only to the lines which the firm manufactures, and is but a small part of their business. After communicating with both parties to learn the situation of affairs, the Board, on the 27th of February, went to Holyoke and met the agent of the building trades' council and the grievance committee of the pressmen's union, and at the invitation of the firm went with the committee to the factory. An interview was had, in which the situation was fully discussed. Several of the places of the strikers had already been filled, and the firm insisted on its right to make such terms as to hours of labor as were agreeable to their individual employees and themselves. In the course of a month all the places of the men had been filled, and on the 18th of April the strike was formally declared off.
THE STAR BREWERY - BOSTON.
A representative of the Star Brewery of Boston sought the advice of the Board, on February 19, concerning a controversy on the subject of disturbances which, under the existing agreement, should be settled through peaceful negotiations. He said 25 employees were involved. The Board advised that nothing be done that could be construed into a violation of the agreement. On the following day the brewers' agent telephoned to the Board that conference committees had been appointed by the parties. Nothing further was heard of the case. There was no rupture of friendly relations.
THE AMERICAN WOOLEN COMPANY - MAYNARD.
On February 16, 35 women and girls employed as sewers and menders at the Assabet Mills of the American Woolen Company in Maynard quit work, to resist what they claimed was a reduction in earnings. The Board offered its services as mediator to both sides, and on February 21 a committee of 3, representing the employees, met the treasurer of the company, the agent and superintendent of the mills, and conferred on the question of a settlement, in the presence of the Board. The company proposed that the girls work under the new price-list for 60 days, a minimum equal to the old wages being guaranteed for that period, with a view to reopening the case if any dissatisfaction were found at the end of that time. The committee considered the subject favorably, but, though vested with full power, declined to sign agreements without consulting the strikers. The Board and the committee went to Maynard and met the strikers. The situation was explained to them, and a vote was taken which resulted in favor of returning to work, and the strike was declared off. This was immediately made known to the management of the mills. On the following day the mills opened, the strikers returned, and with them 1,100 other employees, who had been idle by reason of the difficulty, found re-employment. When the 60 days had elapsed, no dissatisfaction was expressed on either side.
C. M. BRETT - HUDSON.
On February 18 a strike occurred in the factory of C. M. Brett at Hudson, when 6 treers quit work, to resist new regulations which they considered a hardship. The Board offered its services as mediator, but on investigation it was found that there was no longer any difficulty, other treers had been found to take their places, and the strikers returned to work in other departments of the factory.
PAINTERS – SPRINGFIELD.
There was a movement early in the spring on the part of the Painters, Decorators and Paper Hangers of America, Local Union No. 257, for the establishment of a schedule. The union demanded a minimum price of 3114 cents per hour for painters, 371/2 cents for paper hangers, and that any painter taking work by the day should receive $3 for 8 hours, paper hangers, $3.50 (this is known as rule 4); that over-time work be charged 50 per cent. and Sunday work 100 per cent. extra; a list of piece prices was also submitted.
A controversy over the demands resulted in a strike on the 1st of March, the day appointed.
The master painters offered the 8-hour day at 30 cents an hour, and 35 cents for paper hangers, but that the men should be allowed to work 9 or 10 hours during the months of April, May, June, September and October; and the sole condition of this concession was that the journeymen should abandon rule 4, and not work for such painters and decorators as were journeymen during some seasons and at other times masters.
The master painters claimed that to work extra hours during the busy months was an advantage, whereby the local men might benefit by the extra money and the trade be saved the inconvenience of hiring a lot of out-of-town
The members of the Master Painters' Association said that the employers were greatly embarrassed in this contest by the fact that there was a large number of painters and paper hangers who take contracts, and also perform journeyman work on such jobs; they were journeymen in the eyes of the union, and must belong to the union and be responsible to it.
When the strike occurred in this industry on March 1 the Board offered its services as mediator; but, on investigation, learned that negotiations had been inaugurated which gave promise of a prompt settlement. It was hardly a strike at all, in the sense of any bitterness existing on either side ; both sides had submitted their terms according to the custom of past years, and, pending agreement, there was a cessation of work.
On March 4 a conference of parties was held in Springfield, when rule 4, relating to journeymen who are sometimes masters, was dropped, and the other demands were granted. All the men returned to work on the following day, and a formal agreement was drawn up and signed. This was part of a movement in the trade at various points in the Connecticut valley.
AMERICAN NET AND TWINE COMPANY - EAST CAM
About 40 girls in the employ of the American Net and Twine Company struck on the 27th of February, because of the alleged tyranny of an overseer and the discharge of one of their number. On the 1st of March the Board called at the office of the company in Boston, and learned that the places of the strikers were still open for them if they desired to return, and went to the factory at East Cambridge, where they were told that all who desired to return, except one or two, would be reinstated. After a conference with the employees, they expressed themselves as willing to return, except in the case of one of the girls, and the superintendent of the factory was so informed. He had, however, in the mean time, changed his mind, and concluded that he would take back only such as he desired, on their personal application to him. The help refused to return unless all could return, but in the course of a few days all but 6 returned to work, the places of the latter having been filled.
CHESLEY & RUGG - HAVERHILL,
On March 2 machine operators on turned work and stock fitters quit work in the factory of Chesley & Rugg at Haverhill, because, as they said, of the discharge of 20 men. There were 160 involved in this strike. It was agreed, as a result of negotiations, that the firm would take them back. On March 4, however, a second strike occurred, involving 150 cutters and women stitchers, for the reason, as stated, that the firm did not keep its promise. The Board went to the scene of the difficulty, and found that negotiations were in progress which promised to result in a settlement.