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On June 1, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, being Saturday, the strike occurred; but the paper makers did not strike solely through sympathy, — they also alleged grievances, as are set forth in the following letter, addressed to the manufacturers :
HOLYOKE, Mass., May 31, 1901. GENTLEMEN : — At a meeting of local Eagle Lodge No. 1, United Brotherhood of Paper Makers of America, held on the 25th inst., it was unanimously voted to submit to you the following requests, which we sincerely hope you will see your way clear to grant, to take effect on the eighth day of July, A.D. 1901 :—
1. That 64 hours shall constitute a week's work for all tour workers in your employ, beginning at 7 o'clock Monday morning and ending at 4 o'clock in the afternoon of the following Saturday, for which said tour workers shall receive a full week's wages.
2. That your mills shall cease to be in operation for manufacturing purposes from 4 o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday until 7 o'clock in the morning of the following Monday; and that between said hours no work of any kind, nature or description shall be done in any mill by said tour workers.
3. That 9 hours' work shall constitute a work day for all other day employees, except that on Saturday 8 hours' work shall constitute a work day, for which said employees shall receive a full
4. That all employees who receive less than $2 per day as wages shall be granted an increase of 20 per cent. of the present wages paid to each and every such employee.
These requests are the result of careful and deliberate action, in which due consideration has been given to the rights and interests of your company.
In the event that we receive no official reply to this communication on or before June 8 next, we shall consider that the requests herein contained have been granted.
Given under seal of Eagle Lodge No. 1, United Brotherhood of Paper Makers of America, by its grievance committee hereunto duly authorized.
P. S. Address all communications to Eagle Lodge No. 1, United States Brotherhood of Paper Makers of America, Lock Box 672, Holyoke, Mass.
A reply to this communication was expected on June 8, but the firemen's strike precipitated the paper makers' strike earlier.
The Board went to Holyoke and had several interviews with the various parties. It was learned that 25 mills were involved, 17 belonging to the trust. The strikers were about 3,000 in number, principally the firemen and their sympathizers, the
makers. Finally, through the efforts of the Board, a conference was had at Hotel Hamilton between the committees representing the firemen's union and the paper makers on the one hand, and the paper manufacturers of Holyoke on the other, in the presence of the Board ; and, as a result, it was agreed by both parties to maintain friendly relations until such time as should be agreed upon later, say June 15, when it was expected that the manufacturers would be in a position to present to the representative committees a scheme for settling the difficulties. It was understood, moreover, that on invitation or notice from the manufacturers conferences might be held on such details as might arise during the deliberations, pending the final conference, at which it was hoped that the whole question affecting their future relations would be finally settled.
On June 14 the mayor of Holyoke informed the Board that everything was going satisfactorily between the parties. During the pendency of the negotiations the strikers returned to work, and, though the controversy broke out two or three times later in the summer, there was no recurrence of strikes, and toward autumn the parties had established their understanding.
IVER JOHNSON'S ARMS AND CYCLE WORKS - FITCH
A strike occurred on June 13 to enforce a desire for the 9-hour day in the Iver Johnson's Arms and Cycle Works at Fitchburg, involving members of the metal polishers, buffers, platers and brass workers' union. The factory shut down immediately, and did not re-open until the autumn. About 63 men were out of work. The mediation of the Board was offered to the employer soon after the difficulty occurred, but without response, and was renewed several times within the month; until at last a letter was received on July 15, saying that it would be useless for the Board to go to Fitchburg, repairs having just begun which would occupy at least several weeks. Nothing further was heard of the difficulty.
THOMAS A. KELLEY & CO. - LYNN.
Eighteen stakers went out on strike on June 10 from the factory of Thomas A. Kelley & Co., Lynn, to emphasize their objection to the foreman, and subsequently 40 glazers quit work as an expression of their sympathy with the strikers. Seventy-five others were idle in consequence, at an estimated wage loss of $200 a day. The obnoxious foreman resigned his employment on being required to teach apprentices. On June 21 the Board interposed with an offer of mediation. The strikers said that the only objection to working in Kelley's factory had been removed, now that the foreman had taken himself out of the way, and they were ready for an understanding with their employer about returning to work. On the 24th the Board had an interview with the employer, and the following understanding was arrived at: that the new foreman should have authority to hire and discharge, and, if the strikers would furnish the foreman with the names of all who wished to return to work on the morrow, there would be stock enough ready for them, and that the glazers could get to work later, when the manufacture had sufficiently advanced for them to begin.
This arrangement was made known to the strikers and was satisfactory to them, and soon all hands returned to work.
UNITED SHOE MACHINERY COMPANY – BOSTON.
On May 20, the date of the machinists' strike, the machinists employed in the Goodyear shop of the United Shoe Machinery Company of Boston, to the number of 300, struck. .
At the request of the employees' representative, the Board interviewed the officers of the company on June 24, and learned that the disarrangement of system brought about by the general machinists' strike had been partially overcome by a reorganization of the shop; the new system, however, was not such as gave promise of re-employing any considerable number of the old hands; there was always likely to be a vacancy somewhere, but it was only in such cases as in the event of increase in the number of workmen required that any further number of the old hands could be reinstated.
The employees were informed of the company's attitude, and were recommended to confer with the officers of the company, with a view to some understanding whereby the old hands, or at least some of them, might return to work.
The employer received them in an amicable way, but said that, under the circumstances, he could not re-employ a large number. Nothing further was learned of the difficulty.
QUINCY MARKET COLD STORAGE COMPANY
A strike of firemen employed by the Quincy Market Cold Storage Company, Boston, occurred on June 24.
The men complained that they were required to work 12 hours a day for $15.75 a week, while firemen employed elsewhere received a minimum wage of $16 a week for 8 hours daily labor; that their spokesman had been discharged by the engineer in charge, on making request for a change to 8 hours.
The Board interposed, and offered its mediation to both parties. The employees said in reply that they would respond to any invitations of the Board to confer with the employer with a view to settlement. The company declined; said there was nothing to confer upon; that they considered the strike a discharge; that the men had discharged themselves, and their places were now filled. This was reported to the workmen in question, and they expressed their satisfaction with the Board's efforts. It was subsequently learned that the new hands employed in firing were working on 8-hour shifts.
COAL DEALERS – BROCKTON.
The coal dealers of Brockton appeared before the Board on June 25, and conferred with a committee representing the coal handlers in their employ, upon the question of their demand for the 8-hour day at $2.
The conference was adjourned until the following day, when a settlement was reached, through the mediation of the Board.