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BLANK-BOOK BINDERS - BOSTON.
Early in February the blank-book binders of Boston, numbering about 600 men and women, wbo had been working 10 hours a day for some years, moved upon their employers for a 9-hour work day without reduction of wages. The book binders' agent visited the various employers, and succeeded in obtaining their consent to the demands in most instances. A majority of those that remained conditioned their consent upon the demands being granted by their competitors; while some employers of non-union labor refused outright, saying that it would be equivalent to an increase of 11% per cent. in the cost of labor, which the conditions of their trade would not warrant.
On March 25 a strike was declared in the shop of Robert Burlen, which threw 170 employees out of work. The reason alleged was that this employer was the one stumbling block in the way of success, and that, if he could be induced to grant the demands, the others would do so also. On the following day the Board put itself in communication with the two parties, and brought about a conference between Mr. Burlen and the agents of the union. The result of this conference was that Mr. Burlen agreed to the union demands, provided George Coleman, another employer, could be induced to agree also. The book binders hastily organized the wage earners in Coleman's bindery, and these forthwith declared a strike, involving 40 all told. Mr. Coleman thereupon agreed to the union demands, and the union expressed its satisfaction. All hands returned to work in the Burlen and Coleman binderies, and the threatened general strike was averted.
F. BRIGHAM & CO.- HUDSON.
On March 25 a strike of buffers occurred in the shoe factory of F. Brigham & Co., Hudson, for the cause, as stated, that they were compelled to do hard work on material that was too crude, and that a change from pay by the day to piece prices would result in lower wages than they could afford to work for. The strike threatened to throw all hands in the factory out of work. The Board put itself in communication with the employer, and learned that a new price-list had been generally adopted; that but a few persons had refused to accept it, who, having acted in a disorderly way, were discharged.
PAINTERS - LOWELL.
On January 17, 1901, the painters of Lowell made a demand for a work day of 8 hours at $2.25, instead of 9 hours at $2, the new schedule to go into effect on April 1.
On March 20, 16 master painters paid off their men and notified them that they need not return to work except under the old conditions. The lockout was in effect on the 1st of April The Board went to Lowell on April 3, and had separate interviews with the masters and the officers of the painters', decorators' and paper-hangers' union, representing the workmen involved. A conference was immediately held in the presence of the Board, as a result of these interviews, and a full discussion of the difficulty was had. The employers were willing to concede the 8-hour day, but not with increased pay; the men were willing to work at the old rate, but insisted on the 8-hour day. An agreement was thus effected, and the following contract drawn up, and signed by the representatives of both parties in the presence of a member of the Board :
AGREEMENT BETWEEN MASTER PAINTERS' ASSOCIATION AND LOCAL
UNION No. 39. [C. D. PALMER, witness State Board of Arbitration.] Agreed, that the present scale of wages be adhered to ($2 minimum), and 8 hours shall constitute a legal work day.
Agreed, that journeymen painters shall not hire out by contract.
That masters painters will not hire non-union men, or members who have been expelled by our Union No. 39.
Agreed, that they will hire only those who can show a clear card from our Union No. 39.
Agreed that 30 cents per hour be paid for tearing off paper, preparing walls and ceilings, kalsomining and whitewashing.
Agreed, that master painters will sustain the action of Union No. 39 in dealing with all members violating our constitution and by-laws, by working on a strike or lockout, the penalty not less than $5 for each day worked.
Agreed, that no journeyman painter be allowed to take contract work or sub-contract work unless he agree to become a master painter, and further agree to abide by the schedule price-list of the Master Painters' Association.
Further agreed, that any violation of those agreements, by either parties, will be summarily dealt with by the aggrieved organization.
All hands returned to work, and no further difficulty was experienced in the trade.
PAINTERS - GREENFIELD.
On April 1 a strike of journeymen painters and decorators took place in Greenfield, involving about 40 men, members of local Union No. 211. There were 11 master painters in the town, but the business was largely done by 4 of them. The claim of the workmen was for $2.50 for a day of 9 hours, the previous rate having been $2 for a day of 9 hours, and the employers offered $2.25.
On April 4 a conference was had between the master painters and the journeymen, and the former offered $2.25 a day for 9 hours, and asked for an answer on Saturday, the 6th. On Monday, the 8th, upon receipt of information that the workmen had declined to accept the offer, the Board went to Greenfield for the purpose of meeting both sides and arranging a conference on the following day; and on Tuesday a prolonged meeting was held by the parties in the presence of the Board, but without definite result except that it was evident that the way was open for a settlement within a few days, as the offer of the employer was not positively declined by the men.
The employers offered to leave the whole matter to the decision of the Board or to a local board, but the offer was not accepted by the men. On the next day an interview was had by the Board with the business agent of the painters' union in the Connecticut valley, the situation at Greenfield was considered carefully with him, and he decided to urge the Greenfield painters to accept the settlement offered by the master painters on the basis of $2.25 a day, which they did.
TEAM OWNERS - SPRINGFIELD.
On the 27th of March about 65 team owners who had been working for the city of Springfield refused to work. The controversy came to the knowledge of the Board on the 10th of April, and on the 16 and 17th of April the Board went to Springfield to look into the case. The main difficulty between the team owners and the superintendent of streets of the city related to the size of a load of sand or gravel, and the conditions under which a reasonable load might be carried. The team owners claimed that under favorable conditions they did not object to carrying a load of 5,000 pounds, but that such a load was too heavy when the road was hard to travel. They wanted some definite rules governing the hauling of loads under unfavorable conditions ; and it appeared that it was not so much the judgment of the superintendent of streets that they objected to as that of the foreman under him, and they asked for rules and regulations to govern the discretion of the foreman.
The Board met the mayor and the board of supervisors and superintendent of streets, together with the team owners, at the city hall. The superintendent of streets was not disposed to grant the request of the team owners, but said that he had already put on 16 non-union teamsters, and that he saw no reason for discharging them, and that, further, he was about to put on other non-union men. As it appeared that neither the mayor nor board of supervisors had any jurisdiction in the matter, but that the city council was the tribunal of last resort to decide it, the Board suggested that the teamsters petition the city council for a hearing in the matter, in case efforts at settlement failed. At the conference the team owners were represented by counsel, and after a full examination of the merits of the case it seemed best to leave the superintendent of streets and the counsel for the workmen in conference alone, and the Board withdrew.
After conference, decision on the matter was postponed for ten days, at the end of which time, or soon after, an agreement was reached satisfactory to both parties.