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(1) REPORT OF CHIEF MEDIATOR
Hon. JAMES M. LYNCH, Commissioner of Labor:
Sır.— The following report of the year ending September 30, 1914, is respectfully presented.
This is the 29th year since the Board of Mediation and Arbitration was created, and the 14th year since its organization as a Bureau of the State Department of Labor.
Although the number of industrial disputes recorded in 1914 was less than half as many, the number of interventions by the Bureau was nearly as large as in 1913, with a larger proportion of success than ever before. There were 62 interventions as compared with 68 in 1913 and 41, just about two-thirds of them, were successful. More than 26,000 work people were involved in the disputes settled by the Bureau.
Three disputes concerning piece work prices among the shoe workers of Brooklyn were adjusted by arbitration, a mediator of the Bureau acting as arbitrator on request from both parties. Another dispute of brewery workmen in Albany was also adjusted by arbitration, the chief mediator acting as arbitrator after securing the consent of the disputants to adjust the dispute according to the arbitration provision in their trade agreement. In four other disputes, which were strikes, mediation resulted in a reference of the points at issue to arbitration by specially chosen boards.
Fifteen requests for intervention were received from the workpeople, one from employers and four from the parties jointly, making a total of twenty. In 1913, 22 requests were received. These numbers refer to requests received before the initial intervention. A few of the more important interventions are here described.
On December 31 a strike was threatened by 65 brewery workmen employed in an Albany brewery. They demanded the reinstatement of a fireman who had been discharged for alleged neglectfulness causing damage to one of the boilers. Several conferences had been held without agreement. The chief mediator intervened by request on December 30 and suggested to the officials representing the company and the union that the case in question be referred to a committee of arbitration in accordance with the trade agreement in force. His suggestion was carried out and the mediator was chosen as the seventh member of the arbitration committee. His decision was adopted by a unanimous vote of the committee, the discharged fireman to be reinstated immediately without pay for the time lost.
A strike of 1,328 molders, machinists and others at Depew on February 5 was caused by the discharge of union members who had served on a grievance committee. The Bureau intervened February 10. The company agreed to meet a committee of its own employees, and finally consented to confer with union representatives also. But although the strikers did not demand recognition of the union, no proposition for re-employment offered by the firm was acceptable to them. A number of conferences were held, the mediators attending. The failure of the final conference on March 29 was due to lack of agreement on the time limit within which the strikers were to be re-employed. No settlement was made with the strikers and other men were employed in their places.
About 1,000 glove cutters in 150 factories of Gloversville and Johnstown went on strike August 21 because of the manufacturers' refusal to grant an increase in wages. Repeated efforts by the State mediators and by a committee of business men and clergymen were unsuccessful in adjusting the differences. A public investigation was held by the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration from October 5 to 1t. In presenting its report the Board recommended a compromise increase in wages. Settlements had been made by six firms employing about 150 cutters. The strikers were willing to make a general settlement on these terms but the manufacturers refused to grant any increase at all under the conditions existing, and the strike was continued until January 20, when the strikers voted to return to work.
On September 2, 9,500 painters went on strike in New York City, demanding increase of wages from $18.70 to $20 per week. The Bureau's agents interviewed both parties, urging a joint conference, but neither side was willing at that time to go into a conference. On September 12 a letter was sent to representatives of