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Anticipating a reply to their demand the cutters held a second mass meeting on the morning of August 20th. When no reply was forthcoming a request for a conference with the Glove Manufacturers' Association superseded the motion to call a strike immediately. Such a request was made to the officials of the association and twenty-four hours' time was given to make reply. As before, the communication was signed, “Executive Committee, Glove Workers' Union."

While awaiting developments, about seven hundred cutters remained away from their benches. This indicated to the employers that a sufficient number of their cutters were seriously concerned to warrant an attempt at conciliation. The president of the association responded to the request sent him on August 20th and, while indicating that the Glove Manufacturers' Association was unwilling to deal with the Glove Workers' Union, he expressed his willingness to meet a committee of cutters chosen at a mass meeting. A committee of five non-union cutters was chosen and conferred with the officials of the association, The only concession offered by the employers was that as soon as business conditions warranted an increase in wages, such increase would be considered by the association.

When serious trouble with the cutters became apparent, most of the manufacturers who were not members of the Glove Manufacturers' Association were organized into a temporary, cooperating association which agreed to abide by the decision of the permanent organization in the management of the strike. With a few exceptions all manufacturers acted in unison throughout the entire period of the strike.

The strike was officially declared August 25th. Immediately all interests in Fulton county were affected by the decrease in the income and hence of the purchasing power of the glove cutters. With the cutters idle it was only a matter of days until all glove workers also were idle. In addition, rumors soon became current that at least one of the large factories expected to move away from Fulton county rather than pay the wages demanded. In the face of these conditions the business men and clergymen of Gloversville and Johnstown tried to effect a settlement of the strike. Although many of the employers as individuals seemed willing to compromise, as an association they were averse to granting any concessions to the strikers.

The chairman of the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration then offered his services as mediator and, after several conferences with the representatives of the Manufacturers' Association, submitted the following proposition to the strikers on September 22d:

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I am assured by the authorized representatives of the associations of manufacturers that there will be no discrimination against individual former employees in regard to reinstatement, and there must be no discrimination against workmen who have remained at work or who have returned to work during the strike.

I have also been assured by them that if the cutters return to their work now in the various factories, the manufacturers will take up the question of changes in the wage rate for cutting and be ready to put such changes as can be made into operation within thirty days after work is resumed. The foregoing being predicated on the continuance of hostilities in Europe and the existence of fair financial and business conditions in this country.

I am confident that the wage changes referred to above will amount to a substantial flat increase for all kinds of table cutting and proportionally on "pull-down" cutting.

The manufacturers assured me that the increase would be at least ten cents a dozen on table cutting and ten per cent on pull-down cutting, adding one-half of a cent when a ten per cent raise would result in a price ending in a fraction of a cent.

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The above proposal was submitted to a vote of the strikers and was rejected by them because of the indefiniteness of the concessions offered by the association. Efforts were renewed to induce individual manufacturers to concede tlfe demands of the strikers and compromises on the basis of an increase of $.15 per dozen were made with some shops. These were isolated cases, however, and caused no breaks in the ranks of the association membership.

On October 5th, at the request of the strikers, the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration began a public investigation of the causes of the strike. The two grievances which were the subject of complaints by the strikers were the failure of their employers to increase wage rates and the increasing burdens of the taxation system employed in the factories. Both, it was claimed, combined to keep down wages while the cost of living was progressively ad. vancing so that a cutter could no longer support a family without the aid of his wife or other members of his household.

It was claimed by the strikers and admitted by the employers that there had been no general increase in wage rates since 1897 and that the scale established in 1897 was merely a restoration of the scale of 1890. It was claimed furthermore that while nominal rates had remained stationary, actual rates had decreased since the use of poorer grades of leather and the introduction of a rigid taxation system resulted in a smaller product in a given time.

Formerly a lot of skins was given to a cutter and he was expected to cut from them the maximum number of pairs of gloves which they would produce. Within recent years an estimator or taxer of skins has been added to the shop force. This man determines the number of pairs of gloves which each lot of skins should produce and each cutter, upon receiving such lot, is expected to cut the number of pairs for which the lot is taxed. The strikers claimed that in many cases skins are overtaxed and that much time is lost in matching parts of gloves from scraps of leather which can be found only by searching about the factory. Some evidence was given too that favoritism was on occasion practised by the taxer in the allotment of skins on consideration of a bonus or present from the cutter. At present, however, this is not a common practice since the employers have minimized the possibility of such favoritism by having another man than the taxer to give out the skins to the cutters.

On the other hand, the employers testified that just as any other manufacturer must make the most economical use of the materials which he uses, so must the glove manufacturer plan to secure the greatest number of pairs of gloves from the skins which he uses. Glove cutters, say the manufacturers, may be divided into four classes in considering their use of the skins allotted to them; some are efficient and conscientious; others are efficient but not conscientious; a third group are conscientious but inefficient; and a fourth group are neither efficient nor conscientious. The first group need not be taxed for they will always get the number of pairs of gloves estimated by the taxer and sometimes more. . Each of the other classes must be taxed or the manufacturer will lose a part of the value of the skins.

In reply to the statements of the strikers that wage rates had not been increased since 1890, the manufacturers claimed that although piece rates have not been increased, the amount of work

in normal years

has increased; that whereas cutters formerly worked only eight or nine months a year they now have work forty-six to fifty weeks per year; and that if the cutters would increase their daily hours their weekly wages would be materially increased.

It was not possible to obtain an exact statement of the number of hours worked per day since, the work being entirely piece work, no record of time is kept and the cutters may enter and leave the shops at will. It is undoubtedly true that a few cutters have other interests than glove cutting and do not put in full time in the shops. But these are probably a negligible part of the whole number of cutters. Most of the cutters work eight to ten or more hours per day. Sometimes they work comparatively short days through choice and sometimes through lack of work.

Because of the conflicting testimony regarding the wages actually paid to glove cutters, the Bureau of Statistics and Information made transcripts of the payrolls of fifteen representative factories for the year ending June 30, 1914, in order to obtain the fairest possible statement of the weekly wages of the strikers. The results of this investigation are recorded in the following table:

CUMULATIVE PERCENTAGE TABLE OF CLASSIFIED WEEKLY EARNINGS*

Number of
cutters in

Cumulative
GRADES OF WEEKLY EARNINGS

each grade Per cent percentage Under $7 00.

457 4.07

4.07 $7 00 to $7 99

38
3.44

7.51 8 00 to 8 99

52
4.70

12.21 9 00 to 9 99.

66
5.98

18. 19 10 00 to 10 99.

94
8.50

26.69 11 0 to 11 99.

126
11.40

38.09 12 00 to 12 99..

108
9.78

47.87 13 00 to 13 99..

112
10.13

58.00 14 00 to 14 99.

110
9.96

67.96 15 00 to 15 99.

112
10.13

78.09 16 00 to 16 99.

70
6.34

84.43 17 00 to 17 99.

51
4.61

89.04 18.00 to 18.99.

39
3.53

92.57 19 00 to 19 99.

29
2.63

95. 20 20 00 to 24 99.

4.25 99.45 25 00 or over...

61

.55 100.00

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* This table includes the average weekly earnings of all glove cutters employed in fifteen fac" tories during the year ending June 30, 1914.

| Only five of these worked steadily throughout the year. 1 Two of these six had helpers.

This table shows that while only 18 per cent of the cutters averaged less than $10 per week, less than 22 per cent averaged $16 per week and less than 5 per cent averaged $20 per week. Much testimony was given at the hearing about the average wage; meaning thereby the wage most often paid to the greatest number of men, without regard to the unusually slow man who necessarily received low wages or the unusually fast man who received proportionately high wages. The above table shows that such average lies in the group of cutters who receive from $10 to $16 per week since 60 per cent of all cutters are found in this group. Within this group the wages are fairly evenly distributed among the grades designated in the table, with about one-half of the group receiving over $13 per week and the other half receiving less than $13 per week.

These figures are for actual weeks worked. Since the factories are open only forty-six to fifty weeks per year, the yearly income of the cutters is somewhat less than this table indicates. For example, if a cutter's wages average $13.50 per week for fortyeight weeks actually worked, his total yearly income is $648. His average weekly income for each of the fifty-two weeks during which he must meet his regular living expenses is only $12.46.

A word of caution should be said here against a common method of finding average wages. For example, in such a case as this one it is a common practice to divide the total earnings by the total number of weeks worked to obtain the average weekly wage. Such an average in the above table amounts to $14.29 per week for actual weeks worked and $13.20 per week on a fifty-two week basis. Because of the wide range of grades of weekly earnings and the irregular distribution of cutters within these grades such an average is obviously not as representative as that which eliminates both the unusually low paid slow workers and the unusually high paid fast workers. Hence the most representative group of cutters are those whose wages are $10 to $16 per week for actual time worked.

The testimony quite generally agreed that glove cutting is a skilled trade requiring three to five years apprenticeship of those who learn it. It is also true that during the past twenty-five years there has been no change in the technique of the trade so that no less skill is required of the cutter now than was required twenty

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