Page images
PDF
EPUB

CARPENTERS' STRIKE - BOSTON AND VICINITY.

About the middle of June the Carpenters' Council, representing the carpenters' unions of Boston and vicinity, issued a demand for the 8-hour work day, to go into effect on the 1st of July. The unions involved were members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. The Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, having a central office in England and several branches in the vicinity of Boston, joined in the movement, but insisted on an increase of wages as well as on a reduction of the working time from 9 to 8 hours. This complicated the difficulty.

Before the time set for the strike, several of the employers conceded the demand for 8 hours a day, without reduction of pay, and more than 1,000 carpenters continued on at work. It is said that there were 5,000 others involved in the district covered by the unions.

When the strike was declared, several of the employers complained that they did not know precisely what the demand was, — whether it involved an increase of pay as well as a reduction in hours, or not. The two sections of the workmen thereupon agreed that the wage question should be postponed to the 8-hour day.

On July 1, the day of the strike, a committee of carpenters reported to the Board that they had applied to the carpenters and builders for a conference, which had not yet been conceded. The Board advised them to continue their effort for a conference, and in case of failure to report again, saying that the Board was always ready to mediate when negotiations flagged.

On the same day, July 1, some members of the amalgamated society passed the following resolution :

Whereas, we, the carpenters of Boston and vicinity, in consideration of our present situation, hearing complaints that the master carpenters and builders, having complained that they have no definite knowledge of what they are requested to comply with, therefore be it

Resolved, that we here assembled do authorize the committee having jurisdiction to inform said carpenters and builders that 8 hours shall constitute a day's work, with a minimum rate of wages of $2.70 a day.

Whereas, the committee appointed from the United Carpenters' Council to communicate with the Master Carpenters Association with reference to trade movements, said master carpenters having refused to comply with said request, therefore be it

Resolved, that this body again request the Master Carpenters Association, through its secretary, that this conference be granted.

On July 5 the American Brotherhood and the English Society met by committee to consider the question of a minimum rate of wages. The society had made a demand for 35 cents an hour, which they afterwards changed to $2.70 per day of 8 hours. At this meeting between the two organizations it was decided to fix the minimum rate at $2.50, with the understanding that in no instance should men then receiving more than that amount be reduced. The employers offered no organized resistance. Every day saw concessions of the demands in one place or another, until on the sixth day of the strike it was reported that there was no longer any controversy.

P. O'RIORDEN & SONS – BOSTON. On July 9, 30 men employed as drivers by P. O'Riorden & Sons of Boston struck, with a view to having their pay increased from $10 to $11 a week, $11 being at the time the minimum weekly wages of all other union coal teamsters in

the city and vicinity. The 30 men in question worked exclusively for Messrs. Curran & Burton of Boston, under a contract existing between P. O’Riorden & Sons and the wholesale coal dealers.

The Board called upon Messrs. Curran & Burton, with a view of bringing about a conference between Messrs. P. O’Riorden & Sons and their employees. Messrs. Curran & Burton said that they must have their coal delivered, and that if P. O’Riorden and Sons couldn't do so, they would have to give their contract to somebody who could. O’Riorden & Sons at first refused to pay the rates demanded, but after some interviews with Messrs. Curran & Burton they finally concluded to accede to the demand; and a settlement was arrived at on July 11, when all hands returned to work.

[ocr errors]

P. O'RIORDEN & SONS- BOSTON.

The foregoing strike of coal drivers had extended, by reason of a similar demand, to 165 other employees of P. O’Riorden & Sons, engaged in driving teams transporting sand and gravel. One hundred and ninety-one drivers were said to be out of employment. Interviews were had with the employer, but he refused to confer on the subject of a settlement, saying that, whatever he might or might not pay to the coal drivers, the others were already receiving all they were worth.. Business was at a standstill for a few days, when negotiations were begun with the coal drivers that resulted in a settlement satisfactory to both unions, and all hands returned to work at the same time.

HOLYOKE STREET RAILWAY AND MOUNTAIN PARK

- HOLYOKE.

Certain trades unions of Holyoke, being of the opinion that the Holyoke Street Railway was opposed to organized labor, blamed the management for a failure to organize the street railway employees. Again having failed to induce the firemen of that company to join the union, they applied to the president to discharge the firemen, and on his refusal to do so declared the company “unfair to organized labor,” on June 23. It was said that this act affected 10,000 per

sons.

Mountain Park, having a theatre or casino on Mount Tom, to which the railway company carried passengers, came under the ban. Painters, scene shifters, stage hands and others quit work or were ordered off.

The people who patronized the Holyoke Street Railway or resorted to Mountain Park for entertainment were ostracized. This attitude was maintained for nearly two months.

By July 15 it was said that there was an appreciable diminution of travel. Arbitration of one kind or another had been suggested; but the president of the railway company declined to entertain any proposition to refer the dispute to the judgment of any body.

The Board communicated with the mayor, with whom it had co-operated on several previous occasions, and learned, in response to inquiry, that there was nothing in the situation that afforded any promise of successful mediation.

On August 11, however, the boycott was suddenly removed by the Central Labor Union of Holyoke, which gave as a reason for its action the existence of the great steel strike which was being waged in other parts of the country.

STONE WORKERS' STRIKE – BOSTON. On July 15, 100 men, employed in the stone yards of Boston and vicinity 10 hours daily, went out on strike to enforce a demand for a 9-hour day.

Notice was immediately sent to the Board, and the Board offered its services for the purpose of arranging a settlement.

On the 16th and 17th information was received that a settlement had been effected, to date from August 1, 1901; this applied only to a few shops, however.

At a conference on the 18th, at the rooms of the Board, the Connecticut Steam Stone Company of Cambridge was the only employer that responded to the invitation. The conference was without tangible results. The employers were willing to grant the 9-hour day, but they did not care to have it go into effect immediately; they offered to have the change date from November 1. This was rejected by the workmen, and withdrawn by the employers immediately afterwards.

After further mediation the offer was renewed and promptly accepted, and on July 22 it was reported that all the strikers had returned to work under the 9-hour day agreement, with the reduction of one hour's daily wage until November 1, at which date they were to receive the full day's pay for 9 hours. This, however, applied to skilled men only.

TRIMOUNT MANUFACTURING COMPANY - BOSTON,

On July 10, a strike of 27 milling-machine hands occurred; and the Board promptly offered its services, in case negotiations then pending should fail.

It was learned that a general strike of allied metal workers

« PreviousContinue »