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Several attempts were made to bring parties together in conference before the day appointed.
On September 3, word was received from the employer to the effect that all had been settled. The strike was not officially declared off, but it was reported that the places of the men had been filled.
BEEF HANDLERS - BOSTON.
Uneasiness of the men engaged in unloading beef from cars and loading ocean steamships gave rise to many rumors of a strike on September 15. A meeting, however, being held on that day, revealed the fact that sentiment was rather in favor of a committee to solicit from the employers an increase of pay, and that it would be time enough to indulge in strike talk after the employers had responded. Replies were expected from the following: Armour & Co., Cudahy Packing Company, Swift Brothers & Co., G. H. Hammond Company and Nelson Morris & Co. A committee was accordingly appointed to act with the president of the State branch of the American Federation of Labor.
The State Board opened up communication with the employers on the following day, and learned that as yet no demand had been received. A promise was given at the same time that the Board would be notified in case of difficulty growing out of such demand. On the 17th such a demand was made, and a strike ensued in consequence of the refusal of the firms to grant the request. The employers said, in response to inquiry, that they anticipated no difficulty whatever in unloading cars and loading vessels, for the reason that they could readily obtain all the help they needed of that kind.
One hundred and ten men were out of employment. On
October 23 the longshoremen, who, it had been stated, were expected to take the places of the strikers on occasion, voted to go on sympathetic strike on the following Monday, October 28. The longshoremen have five separate organizations, including about 3,000 men. Many of these were opposed to the action, for the reason that they deemed the meat handlers' demand excessive; and still others hoped that some sort of compromise might be effected. Individual sentiment was stronger than the union, and when the day arrived no strike occurred. The employers found no difficulty in obtaining longshoremen to unload cars and load steamships. The strike was never officially declared off.
NEWBURYPORT SHOE COMPANY – NEWBURYPORT. Towards the latter part of July a representative of the Haverhill Shoe Council notified the Newburyport Shoe Company of a price-list which he desired to submit for consideration, and was informed in reply that, since the agent was an outsider, he would not treat with him.
On the 1st of August 38 hand sewers quit work, twothirds of whom remained out on strike at last accounts.
The Board investigated on the 6th of August, with a view of bringing the parties together, if possible, to effect a settlement; and, having interviewed both sides, learned that the prices and earnings were very nearly satisfactory to the men, and that their demand at that time was for recognition of the union, unionizing the shop, and double prices for sample work.
The employer said to the Board that he would discuss the difficulty with a committee of his former employees, but not with the agent of the Haverhill Shoe Council. The agent,
on being informed of the employer's attitude, said that the proposition that he should meet a committee of his former employees could not be entertained; that he had no doubt of his ability to satisfy him, if he would grant the interview; and, furthermore, he would promise not to interfere in any other department of the factory for one year. The treasurer and manager of the company, however, firmly refused to entertain the latter proposition.
A conference was impossible under the circumstances, but the Board advised both parties to give notice of any change that might occur in the situation, and promised to render whatever assistance might be in its power.
On August 9 the employer reported that some of the old hands had returned to work, and on the 15th he further reported that there were 12 men now in the places of the 38 strikers, and that with machines he expected to be able to do the work with a smaller number of men.
Nothing further was heard of the case.
On the twenty-seventh day of August 150 shoe workers went out on strike in the factory of L. A. Crossett, to enforce a demand for a 9-hour day, without reduction of pay.
Mr. Crossett had been absent in Europe, and not yet returned.
The Board went to Abington on the 29th, and learned that the employer had just returned. He claimed he had not had sufficient time to consider how it might affect him, or to inquire what his competitors were paying; but, in case he should grant it, it could not go into effect before September 1, and he was determined to close the factory until that
date. On reporting this attitude to the employees, their committee admitted that the strike was too hasty. Advice was given that they appoint a committee to confer with Mr. Crossett at the earliest opportunity. On the 3d the employer advised the Board by telephone of the employees returning to work at the rate of 9 hours a day, without reduction of pay.
WALKER & PRATT MANUFACTURING COMPANY
On September 18, 1899, an agreement was made between the sheet metal workers and the stove furnace dealers of Boston. Articles 8 and 9 directed how grievances might be remedied or claims satisfied; Article 10 forbade strikes, lockouts and general shut-downs, until articles 8 and 9 had been complied with; and Article 13 set forth the mode of terminating the agreement.
After the lapse of eleven months, the secretary of the Sheet Metal Workers' Union sent to the Employers' Association the following message:
I am instructed by the Sheet Metal Workers' Union No. 17 to inform you that we consider the agreement drawn up by both sides is still in force, and we propose to live up to our agreement, and expect your association will do the same.
In March of 1901 a demand in writing for a minimum wage of $2.75 a day, and double time for all over-time, Sundays and holidays, to go into effect on the first Monday in June for two years. This demand, in the form of a trade agreement, with blank places for stating such other points as might relate to particular shops, was sent to the employers. In the course of the season 31 firms are said to have acceded to the demand. Not receiving the attention that
the men felt it was entitled to, the following letter was sent by the Amalgamated Sheet Metal Workers' International Union to the Boston Stove and Furnace Dealers' Association on May 1, 1901:
Mr. HASSON, Secretary.
DEAR SIR: At our last regular meeting the report of the conference committee was considered, and an order was unanimously passed that we declare null and void the agreement entered into by this union and the Boston Stove Dealers' Association, as being of no practical value to either party.
GEORGE R. HENDERSON, Recording Secretary.
On August 28 a strike of 31 tin and sheet metal workers. employed in the shops of the Walker & Pratt Manufacturing Company occurred. They struck to enforce the demand. The treasurer of the company called and gave notice of the strike, and requested the services of the Board in persuading the men to live up to their agreement. A conference was forthwith had between Mr. Walker and the representatives of the workmen. The men admitted that they had not literally followed the mode prescribed for notifying the employer of their grievances, nor the mode prescribed for terminating the agreement, but claimed that they had done all that was equivalent; that no reasonable employer could have the slightest doubt that they had a grievance that should at least be considered, and that the employer had exhausted their patience by ignoring communications; he could not complain if the men ignored the stipulations of a worn-out agreement; that this was not a hasty action upon their part, that they had these sentiments as far back as last May.
It was further alleged that the strike in Walker & Pratt's