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W. J. SULLIVAN- BOSTON.
On May 17 notice was received from the organizer of the American Federation of Labor that a strike of machine stone workers had occurred in the stone yard of W. J. Sullivan of Boston. The Board offered its mediation to both sides.
On the 20th a committee of hand stone workers called, and said that they expected a committee of machine stone workers by appointment to meet them at the rooms of the Board. The hand stone workers desired to know how their interests would be affected by the contest between the machine stone workers and the employer. It appeared that 10 feeders of freestone to machine planers who had been employed by W. J. Sullivan demanded an increase in wages of 10 per cent. The demand was refused, and a strike ensued in the first week of May. The organizer was sent for, who said, on finding that the machine stone workers did not appear, that the matter might be allowed to rest for a time. Nothing further was heard of the case, but on inquiry it was learned that within three weeks the places were filled; the old hands asked for reinstatement, but only 2 were taken back.
RICE & HUTCHINS - MARLBOROUGH.
On May 20, 26 lasters left their machines in the Middlesex factory of Rice & Hutchins at Marlborough, and went out on a strike until their demands for an increase in the price of lasting hard box-toed shoes should be granted. They had been receiving 30 cents a dozen for plain toes, and complained of doing the hard box-toes at the same price. When the Board interposed, it was learned that the parties were endeavoring to arrange the matters between themselves,
and on May 21 the lasters returned, pending the result of a conference with the firm. The firm shortly afterwards made prices which the men deemed satisfactory, and nothing further was heard from the case.
GRANITE CUTTERS – FITCHBURG.
There was a movement of granite cutters in Fitchburg early in May, in order to establish the union bill of prices, and on May 15 a strike occurred in two granite yards. It was reported that about 75 workmen were involved in both places. Communication was had with both employers, and it was learned that one had already granted the union price list. The union would not recede from its demands. The employers were loth to invoke the assistance of the Board, but after a while, when business became brisk, the prices were paid according to the union schedule, and all hands returned to work.
CUTLERY FORGERS' STRIKE-NORTHAMPTON.
A strike occurred in three cutlery factories at Northampton on May 16, to enforce a demand for the 9-hour work day at the pay formerly received for ten hours. Fifty-two forgers, all told, were involved.
On May 22 and 23 the Board was at Northampton, and mediated between the parties with a view to inducing a settlement..
The factories involved were the Clement Manufacturing Company, the W. A. Rogers Cutlery Company and the Northampton Cutlery Company; they had given employment to about 500, all told, but these were now idle by reason of the strike. The demand in the case of each of these factories was the same. The employees said that it was made at the instance of their national organization ; that every blacksmith in the three shops was a member of the union. Representatives of both parties having consented to a conference, they met on the 28th at the Norwood House, in the presence of the Board, and the issue was fully discussed. No result having been reached on this date, an adjourment was had to the 31st, when it was found that the employers would concede the demand, but were unwilling to do so right away; it only remained to fix the date upon which it would become operative. This question was left to the Board, and after full consideration October 1 was named, which day proved to be satisfactory to both parties. It was further agreed that all hands should return to work on June 3, and that there should be no discrimination against anybody by reason of his activity in the strike.
On June 3 all hands returned to work, and harmony has prevailed in the cutlery of Northampton ever since.
PAINTERS' STRIKE – MALDEN.
Early in May a movement was inaugurated in the painting. industry in Malden, for the purpose of establishing the 8-hour day at $2.50 a day. Owing to the backward season, the workmen devoted their energies to strengthening their organization, and deferred presenting their demand until the weather should clear up.
On the 20th about 200 painters employed in Malden and the vicinity struck to enforce their demand. Some of the employers conceded the demand without delay, but the majority of them refused, in the hope of getting plenty of men to work for the old rates, - $2 and $2.25 for the 10-hour day.
On May 23 notice was received that the parties to the controversy had appointed committees to meet in the rooms of the Board on the 24th, for the purpose of discussing a settlement. On the day appointed, 2 employers, representing 18 of the leading master painters of Malden, and 3 journeymen, representing the workmen involved, appeared before the Board and discussed the difficulty. An agreement was not reached, for the reason that the employers' committee did not see its way to accepting the men's demand that the new rate and the short day go into effect forthwith, but it agreed to report to the Master Painters' Association, and urge its acceptance. The masters' committee said that, while the 8-hour day and the prices were satisfactory, they were not authorized to agree to any change that should go into effect prior to July 1.
The question of compensation for second-rate workmen they claimed should be left to the discretion of employers. At the end of the conference the following proposition was formulated, to express the stage to which negotiations had reached: The following shall be the wages paid the painters in Malden after June 1, 1901, – $2.50 per day of 8 hours, for competent workmen. The real issue was now upon the date, whether June 1 or July 1, and the committees agreed to report to their respective sides for further consideration. The strike was declared off, and the men went to work pending negotiations.
On June 3 both parties informed the Board in writing that the two committees had met again to settle the question of dates, but had disagreed. On this day also the newspapers reported that the strike had been renewed. The Board thereupon went to Malden and brought the parties together in a conference which was protracted into the evening. The masters contended that, owing to the recent rains, their work had been delayed, and it would be impossible for them to finish existing contracts until late in the season ; that, in conceding the better price and the shorter day to go into effect on July 1, they were sure to suffer financially; and they did not see their way clear to make any greater concession. The men argued that other employers in other places, having contracts for the season and subject to the same climate, had already conceded the terms. An agreement, however, was reached and duly signed by both parties, as follows:
MALDEN, June 3. The master painters of Malden and their journeymen, represented by local Union No. 346 of the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators and Paper Hangers of America, hereby agree that on and after June 15, 1901, the wages for competent painters in Malden shall be $2.50 for a day of 8 hours. None but union men shall be employed, except in the case of present employees or newly hired men in each case a week's time shall be allowed for such men to join the union. Newly hired men to be given one week to join the union from the date of biring. Competent men to be given the preference over incompetent men.
On the following day the men returned to work, and the difficulty was at an end.
JOHN P. SQUIRE COMPANY - CAMBRIDGE. In March the coopers employed by the John P. Squire Company demanded an increase in the week's wages from $12 to $13, and over-time work to be calculated at the rate of time and one-half. This demand was subsequently changed to a demand for $14, regardless of over-time. This was refused.
On May 24, 16 coopers went out on a strike, and a sym