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The same number of disputes were settled by mediation and by arbitration as last year, 26 by mediation and four by arbitration. Three of the four arbitration cases were thus settled after mediation by the Bureau of Mediation and Arbitration, arbitration being the suggestion of the mediators. There were but two cases of successful mediation by other agencies than the Bureau, which were the Delaware and Hudson strike, settled by a representative of the Federal Board of Mediation and Conciliation, and a strike of laborers at Harrison in which the sheriff arranged a conference resulting in settlement.
Only five public service disputes occurred in 1914. The most serious was the strike of engineers, firemen, conductors, trainmen and telegraphers on the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. That strike involved 3,155 employees but lasted only one day, a settlement being obtained through mediation by a representative of the Federal Board of Mediation and Conciliation. One small strike of freight handlers took place in Albany and the other three were in New York City.
We appreciate the fine spirit of cordiality with which the efforts of the Board have been received generally both by employers and workmen, and are grateful for the advice and assistance received from the Commissioner and other officers of the Department of Labor.
WM. C. ROGERS, Second Deputy Commissioner of Labor.
(2) REPORT OF INTERVENTIONS
Albany, Brewery Workmen.- On December 31 a strike was threatened by 65 workmen employed in an Albany brewery. They demanded the reinstatement of a fireman who had been discharged for alleged neglectfulness cauusing 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.
Albany, Machinists.—A strike of machinists in Albany occurred December 18, 1913. The cause of the strike was the discharge of employees who were officers in the union and the union claimed that 65 men quit work but the company reported that only 37 went out and that the six men were discharged because of business conditions and inefficiency, not because of their union activities. The Bureau intervened on December 17, the day before the strike, but the manager of the company would not agree to a conference. After the strike occurred a conference was arranged, on December 23, but did not result successfully. The company's manager stated that they could re-employ only about 10 or 15 men and would not promise to reinstate the others when there should be work. No settlement was made with the strikers.
Albany, Teamsters.—About 200 teamsters employed by several trucking firms went on strike May 1, 1914, for an increase in wages of one dollar per week. Several conferences were held during the month of April between representatives of the employers and the teamsters' union. One of the mediators was invited to be present at all of those conferences. On April 27 the mediator presented to a meeting of the union a proposition from the employers offering an increase of 50 cents per week, effective January 1, 1915, and a similar increase on January 1, 1916, or that the wage question be referred to a board of arbitration. This proposition was rejected by the union and the men quit work May 1. Another conference was arranged by the mediator but the employers offered no further concessions and declared that if the men still refused to arbitrate they would begin business Monday morning, May 4, with other employees. A special meeting was held by the union on Sunday, May 3, when the mediator and the general organizer of the international union secured a unanimous vote of the men to submit their demands to arbitration. The arbitrator rendered a compromise award.
Altman, Laborers.— On July 20, 1914, 200 laborers employed in erecting a dam near Altman struck for an increase in wages from 171/2 to 20 cents per hour and for lower prices for food and shack rent. The Bureau was notified of the strike on July 21 by a member of the strikers' committee. A representative intervened the next day and arranged a conference between the superintendent in charge of the work and the strikers' committee, which resulted in a settlement of the strike. The men returned at the old rate of wages but shack rents were discontinued.
Buffalo, Garment Workers.-A strike of garment workers occurred in Buffalo about August 1, 1914. The company reported that the strike was caused by a demand for the discharge of a foreman, but the strikers claimed it was against reductions in wages. The strike affected directly or indirectly 110 employees. A mediator intervened by request of a union official on September 3 but was not successful in his efforts to arrange a conference because the employer refused to meet or treat in any way with the employees.
Depew, Molders.-A strike of 1,328 molders, machinists and others at Depew on February 5, 1914, 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 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 and suggesting compromise measures. The failure of the final conference on March 29 was due to a 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.
Gloversville, Glove Cutters.--About 1,200 glove cutters in 150 factories of Gloversville and Johnstown went on strike August 21, 1914, because of the manufacturers' refusal to grant an increase in wages of 25 cents per dozen for men's gloves and 20 cents for women's gloves. Other employees to the number of 3,900 were thrown out of work by the strike. 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 14. 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. The strike failed and the strikers returned to work January 20, 1915.
Hornell, Building Trades.— The building trades were working under great uncertainty in Hornell during the latter part of June and the first part of July, 1914. A new building trades council had been formed by the painters', plumbers', bricklayers' and carpenters' unions. The council demanded that all business between the employers in those trades and their employees should be done through the business agent of the council and that the council working card should be recognized on all jobs. The employers refused to treat with the council or with the unions because of their membership in the council and this dispute caused the stopping of work by a few men and reduced considerably the amount of building work in the city. On July 10 the Bureau's representative conferred with both sides separately and convinced the contractors that the best thing for them to do was to deal with and through the local unions as they had been accustomed, regardless of the existence of the council, the unions to take care of council matters themselves. This they did and the controversy was settled. New York City, Automobile Bodymakers.— On January 28, 1914, 180 automobile body makers in one factory went on strike. The cause of the strike was the discharge of some men, the union claiming that one man in particular was discharged because of his activity in union affairs. The Bureau intervened on February 16, holding consultations with the president of the company and the international president of the union, who was in charge of the strike, as result of which a joint conference was arranged for the following morning. At the conference, the company offered to take back such men as they needed but announced to the committee that the working hours would be increased from 5012 to 51 per week. This proposition was rejected by a vote of the union. Other efforts to arrange a conference were unsuccessful until March 11 and 12. The conference of March 12 was held at the office of the Bureau. The company was represented by its president and two stockholders; the strikers by the president of their international union and a representative of the American Federation of Labor. Terms of settlement were agreed upon, that the men should be reinstated as fast as work could be found in the different departments, and hours of work to remain as before the strike, 5042 per week. The union agreed to accept these terms but after this action some misunderstanding arose and the union voted then to reject the company's offer. On receiving this re port the Bureau arranged another conference to try to readjust the trouble. It was arranged that a meeting of the union should be held on March 16 at which the Bureau's agents should be present. This meeting was held and after a long session a secret ballot was taken, resulting in the acceptance of the terms offered on March 12. The strike was then declared at an end and the Bureau assisted in making arrangements for the return of the employees to work. The men returned to work on the 17th.
New York City, Boatmen.—On November 25 and December 16, 1913, demands were made on 180 firms interested in coal transportation by water in New York harbor, by the members of the Tidewater Boatmen's Union, which included in their union nearly all employees in this line of industry, for a flat rate of pay of $60 per month to take effect January 1, 1914, the rates