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examination of witnesses. As, however, almost all
local federations throughout the country have joined

concernant I'arbitrage et les conseils des prud'hommes, Reime
d'tconomie politique, 1892 ; E. Cavalieri, La questione
dei probi viri in agricoltura ; The settlement of labour dis-
putes in Italy, Board of Trade Journal, June, 1893 ; Arbitra-
tion and Conciliation in Italy, Manchester Evening News,
November 27th, 1903 ; V. Racca, L' arbitrage et la con-
ciliation en Italie, Muste Social, 1903.
* See the Labour Gazette, February, 1904.


the Employers' Association or the Trade Union
Federation at Copenhagen, a further extension of
this privilege seems mmecessary. In January, 1902,
the number of members of trade unions affiliated
to the Trade Union Federation was 72,127, out of a
total membership of all the Danish trade unions of

So far seven awards have been made : four in 1900,
and one in 1901, one in 1902, and one in 1903. In five
cases the employers were the plaintifis, and in one case
the trade unions, and in the remaining case both
parties complained. This latter case was dismissed ;
the employers won four and the trade unions two
cases. The disputes all arose about questions having
no reference to wages ; in four cases strikes had been
illegally declared, in one case the men refused to work
with non-unionists, one case arose out of an illegal
lockout, and in the remainder both a strike and a
lockout had occurred.

This Danish experiment is particularly interesting
in the light of the recent policy of the English trade
unions. There can be no doubt that the Danish
court is very similar to the one which trade unionists
would like to see established in England ; but it
must be remembered, that though the experiment
has been successful so far, the whole thing is on a much
smaller scale than it would be in England, where
trade unionists are about twenty times as numerous
as in Denmark, and also that up to the present no
question having any reference to wages has been
dealt with by the court. It is noteworthy, that in


five cases out of seven the court has been put in
motion by the employers, and one wonders whether
trade unionists would support the suggested amend-
ment of the Conciliation Act, 1896, if they thought
that in the majority of cases the newly established
court would be used by employers against themselves.
American Lcgislalion. — In the United States we
find, as we should naturally expect to do, that
arbitration and conciliation are in the hands of the
various State Governments ; but there is an excep-
tion in the case of railroad employees, for whom the
Federal Government has legislated. In 1888 an
Act was passed to assist the establishment of arbitra-
tion and mediation boards as regards strikes and
lockouts upon interstate transportation lines. In
1898 a new Act was passed* permitting either or both
parties to any such dispute to request the intervention
of the chairman of the Interstate Commerce Com-
mission and the U.S. Commissioner of Labour. In
case the parties agreed to arbitrate, these two officials
would appoint one arbitrator and each of the parties
concerned another. The decision of these arbitrators
is binding and may be enforced in the United States
courts by equity process. Employees shall not quit
the service of the employer before three months after
the award without giving thirty days' notice of their
intention to do so, and the employer is placed under
a similar restriction as regards the dismissal of
employees. So far no case of arbitration has arisen
under this Act.

* Public Laws of 1898, ch. 370.


We may now turn our attention to the laws pre-
vailing in the different States within the United
States of America* ; we shall find that there are two
distinct classes of laws, the one providing for State
boards of arbitration and conciliation and the other
providing for local boards, and it is the former
which we will first examine more closely.

In 1886 State boards of mediation and arbitration
were established in New York and in Massachusetts,
each differing in certain important points, to which
attention will be drawn lower down. The Act of
New York has formed the basis for similar Acts in
New Jersey, Michigan, and Connecticut ; whilst the
Massachusetts law has been the model for arbitration
laws in California, Colorada, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana,
Montana, Minnesota, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin ;
the law of Indiana differs from both of these types.
The composition of the boards forms the best
criterion for distinguishing the three types. The
Massachusetts Board consists of three members
appointed by the Governor, one an employer, one a
workman, and one appointed on the recommendation
of the other two. The New York Board also consists
of three members, one being chosen from the political
party casting the highest number of votes, one from
the party casting the next highest number, and a third
from an incorporated labour organisation of the
State. In 1901, however, the New York Board was

* The texts of all these laws, as also of the U.S. law of 1898,
will be found in the 15th Annual Report of the New York
State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, Albany, 1902.


transferred to the Commissioner of Labour and his
two deputies. In Indiana the Governor appoints one
member who has been ten years of his life an employer,
and another member who has been ten years of his life
an employee, and it is stipulated that these two shall
not be members of the same political party. When
actinpj as a Board of Arbitration these two associate
with them a judge of the Circuit Court of the county in
which the controversy occurs. The State boards,
however constituted, have little authority of an
absolute character. No board can compel the parties
to a dispute to submit to its decision, and even
where the parties voluntarily agree to do so, there is
generally no means of forcing them to abide by the
decision rendered.

There are three ways in which a State board may
come to arbitrate in a dispute : on the initiative of
one of the parties, and experience shows that this
party is generally the employees ; on the initiative
of both parties, a somewhat rare occurrence ; or
on the initiative of the board itself, which is
the commonest way. Almost without exception,
the various laws provide that whenever it shall
come to the knowledge of the board that a
strike or lockout is threatened, or has occurred,
it is the duty of the board to communicate
with the employer and employees and to try by
mediation to eSect a settlement, or to persuade them
to submit the matters in dispute to arbitration.

The decision of the boards is binding only where
both parties join in the application ; it is then


generally provided that it is binding, usually for six
months, or until either party gives notice that it will
not be bound after sixty days from the time of the
notice. Only three States, namely Illinois, Indiana
and Ohio, have established a definite procedure to
compel obedience to the decisions of the State
boards. One party may summon the other before
the court, to show cause why the decision has not
been complied with, and any party refusing to comply
may be punished for contempt. Indiana law goes as
far as allowing imprisonment " for wilful and con-
tumacious disobedience."

We may now consider the working of the State
boards. The Report of the American Industrial
Commission * points out that the only boards
which can be considered as exercising any important
influence upon industrial relations, are those of
Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsm, New York and
Massachusetts. The report further emphasises the
four following points, which in general hold true
of all the American State boards : firstly, the action
of the board in regard to a labour dispute begins, in
a large majority of instances, on its own initiative,
without application by the parties ; secondly, in
nearly all the remaining cases, the application for the
services of the State boards comes from one party
only, and more frequently from the employees than
the employers ; thirdly, the intervention of the

* Vol. XVII. — Many of the volumes of these reports
contain much valuable information about arbitration and
conciliation, particularly in the United States.





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Online LibraryDouglas KnoopIndustrial conciliation and arbitration → online text (page 11 of 18)