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Annual report of the State Board of Arbitration and Conciliation online

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as representing the Mason Builders' Association, and
took part in the discussion, but no other of the em-

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ployers interested offered any suggestion or made any
statement to the Board.*

It appeared from the testimony at the hearing that
the unions of the building trades of Boston were heartily
in favor of establishing such relations with their em-
ployers that, instead of resorting to strikes and lockouts,
all differences which might arise should be discussed
amicably, and, in case of failure to agree, should be
referred to the State Board of Arbitration, or some
other board of arbitration to be established by agree-
ment of the parties concerned. It appeared also that,
when a committee of the hoisting and portable engineers
called upon and met the committee of the Mason
Builders' Association, a printed agreement was set be-
fore the workmen, with a request that they should first
sign the paper in behalf of themselves and those whom
they represented. They hesitated about doing this,
and said that it seemed to them the better course to
discuss what they had met to talk about, before signing
anything ; and, in any event, iheir authority as a com-
mittee was not suflScient to warrant them in siorninff
the paper presented. This ended the interview, for the
employers positively refused to discuss any questions
at issue without the .preliminary of signing. There-
upon the Central Labor Union of Boston took up the
cause of the engineers, and made an unsuccessful effort
to obtain a conference between the engineers and the
Mason Builders. Then followed, as has already been

* A question having beQn raised as to the accuracy of this statement, it is
proper to state here that, according to the stenographer's report, Mr. Wood-
bury said, ** I represent Woodbury & Leighton, McNeil Brothers, Soule & Son,
C. Everett Clarlc & Co., and also other builders who are members of the
Mason Builders' Association."

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1897.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 40. 89

stated, the attempts of the Building Trades Council and
the State Board, — all without practical results.

Owing to the course of affairs, and the fact that the
workmen struck without first applying to the State
Board, under the law, it is unnecessary for the Board
now to express any opinion concerning the reasonable-
ness or unreasonableness of the demands made by the
engineers, for the enforcement of which they went on
the strike. Under the circumstances of this case, all
that this Board can. now do is to report the conclu-
sions as to which party to this controversy ** is mainly
responsible or blameworthy for the existence or con-
tinuance of the same."

First. — The Board regrets that it was deemed neces-
sary to resort to the strike in the first instance, for it
is reasonable to suppose that all the later attempts of
the Central Labor Union, the Building Trades Council
and the State Board to further some reasonable scheme
of arbitration could have been entered upon with more
hope of success if there had been no strike on hand
to embarrass all concerned.

Second, — The Board is of the opinion that, when
the representatives of the hoisting and portable en-
gineers had met their employers, it was unwise, if not
unreasonable, for the employers to refuse to talk with
them about grievances or supposed grievances, unless
they should first accept and adopt without discussion a
certain plan devised by the employers for the settle-
ment of all differences. This opinion is formed with-
out any reference to the merits of the proposed plan,
or the validity of the workmen's objections to it. On
these points the Board expresses no opinion.

Third. — It appeared at the hearing that the mason

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builders are all either members of the Master Builders'
Association or closely allied with that corporation. It
therefore seems to this Board that it was a proper and
commendable thing for the Building Trades Council to
undertake to confer with the larger body of employers
in the trades, with a view to settling the grievances of
the engineers, and at the same time to make such an
agreement for the future as would assure more stable
relations between employer and employed. Conse-
quently the Board regrets that the Master Builders'
Association declined to meet the council for the pur-
poses suggested, and it is to be hoped that the mem-
bers of that association, in view of the public and
private interests involved, will yet reconsider their
position, which, if persisted in, may weigh heavily
against all reasonable and impartial attempts in the
future to solve the labor question fairly to all con-

By the Board,

Bernard F. Supple, Clerk.

Eesult. The hope so mildly expressed by the
Board that the Master Builders' Association
would reconsider their position and co-operate
to bring about a settlement of the difficulty, was
not fulfilled by any action of that body. One
thing, however, may be noted: after the report
of the State Board was published, the agitation
of the strike on the part of the workmen and
the unions ceased, and the public was subjected
to no more annoyance by reason of it.

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1897.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 40. 91


Among the Marlborough applications, filed
January 22," 1896, was one relating to reductions
made in the factory, of John O'Connell & Sons.
On September 4 the Board received a letter
from the agents of the "Boot and Shoe Work-
ers' Joint Council," in Marlborough, stating that
they had been unable to settle prices with the
firm, and asking the Board to take up the ap-
plication and proceed to a decision, A few days
later the same agents filed, at the request of the
Board, a list of eight items which they claimed
to be still unsettled.

After an unsuccessful attempt to arrange a
meeting at Marlborough, an interview was had
with a member of the firm, in Boston. The
point was taken, that the application filed Jan-
uary 22 was no longer in force, and bound no
one, for the reason that everything that was in
dispute at the above date had been settled. It
was stated, further, that the firm had received
from the agents of the union a list of prices
desired for the work represented by the eight

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items in the list filed with the Board. The firm
replied that the prices asked for would not be
paid, but that a list would be submitted to them
by the firm, and if not satisfactory to the work-
men, the firm would pay by the day for the
work covered by the disputed items. Such a
list was prepared, but was not acceptable to the
workmen, and thereafter the work was paid for
at day prices.

These statements were not controverted by
anyone, and therefore the Board answered that
there being grave doubts, to say the least,
whether any action could be legally taken
against the objection of the firm, under the ap-
plication already filed, the Board was of the
opinion that, if the employees had any matters
in dispute with the firm, such matters should
properly be presented in the form of a new ap-
plication, containing a list of items, and stating
distinctly what was desired. The Board heard
nothing further of the matter.

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1897.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 40. 93


On September 25 there was a strike of the
sailmakers of Boston for a nine-hour day, with-
out reduction of wages. The employers objected
that the condition of business would not warrant
what was, in effect, a demand for increased wages,
but some of them at least were disposed to agree
to a nine-hour day, with a proportional reduction
of wages. On the 30th the Board entered into
communication with the employers and workmen,
and found that the former were not organized, but
were intending shortly to effect an organization
with which to meet the attacks of the strikers.

The Board's offer of mediation was accepted
by the strikers, so far as to agree to meet the
employers in conference with the State Board, for
a settlement. The employers were not willing to
say, in advance of receiving an invitation to a
conference, whether they would accept it, or not.
Accordingly, on October 9, the Board invited
both parties to meet the Board for a conference
on the 13th instant, " provided a settlement shall
not have been reached before that time.''

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At the time appointed a committee representing
the striking workmen appeared, but a letter was
at the same time received from the Master Sail-
makers' Association, saying that, while they had
no question in regard to the good intentions of
the Board in the matter, they " must respectfully
decline to attend said conference.'' This action
on the part of the employers was undoubtedly
influenced by the fact that the strike of sailmakers
in Gloucester had ended in failure. The Boston
strike soon died out. In fact, the Board heard
nothing more about it after the attempt at a

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1897.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT— No. 40. 95


The sailmakers of Gloucester struck, on Sep-
tember 28, stating their grievances as follows:
"That there shall be no monthly men employed
in any loft; that there shall be but two appren-
tices in a loft, and that their time shall be three
years; that nine hours shall constitute a day's
work and $3 a day's pay; that 36 cents shall be
paid for all overtime, including legal holidays;
that we shall make rules and sign petitions, one
week after this petition is signed, to go into effect;
that we, the journeymen of Gloucester, refuse to
work in a loft where these rules are not observed.''

The first result of the agitation was the forma-
tion of a master sailmakers' association by the
employers, and at a meeting it was voted that, in
view of the depressed condition of business, it
was necessary to adhere to the rate of wages then
paid, that is, 30 cents per hour. It was also voted
that nine hours should be considered a day's work,
to be paid for at the above rate, overtime to be
paid for at the same rate.

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An interview was had with the workmen at
Gloucester, on October 6; and, in reply to a
question, they said that they would accept an
invitation to a conference with the employers and
the State Board, if such a conference could be
arranged. Two days later, interviews were had
with some of the employers, relative to a con-
ference, but the strike was then breaking up and
the men returning to work; consequently noth-
ing was done by the Board, and the strike came
to an end on the following day.

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1897.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 40. 97


On or about September 22 the firm of Gregory,
Shaw & Co., of South Framingham, shoe manu-
facturers, exhibited to their employees a revised
and reduced price list, which it was intended to
put in force on November 1 following. Four
days later the executive board of the union re-
turned the list to the superintendent, saying that
they could not accept the proposed list, but
would be willing to sit down with him and make
up a new list to be agreed to. No reply was
made to this. On October 26, the executive
board wrote a letter to the firm, saying, among
other things, that they were still ready to join in
making up a fair list of prices, or they would
agree to submit the case jointly to the State
Board. In the answer which was received no
notice was taken of the above suggestion or

In the latter part of October, notice was given
by the superintendent that on Saturday, the 31st,
the factory would shut down for repairs, and
would be re-opened on November 5. However,

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on the day next preceding the appointed time
for resuming work, the employees voted not to
accept the new schedule of wages, and practi-
cally all the employees remained away from
the factory. The firm then advertised for new

By a letter dated November 10, and received
on the following day, the selectmen of Framing-
ham, acting in accordance with chapter 269,
Acts of 1887, section 5, notified the State Board
"that differences exist between the firm of
Gregory, Shaw & Co., of Framingham, and their
employees, and that said employees are at pres-
ent idle.'' In response to this notification, the
Board visited South Framingham, on the 13th,
and met successively the superintendent of the
factory and a committee of the workmen. It
was learned that all but about thirty or forty
of the employees were out, and, although a few
new ones had been engaged, not much was being
done in the factory.

The superintendent said that the reduced list
had been prepared with care, and in view of
what the firm could afford to pay, not bringing
the prices down to the basis of their most active
competitors, but recognizing the fact that their
immediate neighbors, although not competitors

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1897.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 40. 99

of theirs to any extent, were paying higher
prices than their real competitors, who were more
remote. In view of these facts, he said that the
firm could not consent to submit the wage list
to arbitration; that the factory was open to any
one who might apply for work, and there would
be no discrimination against the old employees.

The workmen were found equally firm in their
determination not to yield to any arbitrary list
made up by the firm, without, as they thought,
allowing the employees sufficient consideration.
They thought also that their willingness to sub-
mit to arbitration and the refusal of the firm
should count in favor of the workmen. Under
this state of facts the Board could do nothing
but wait for such a change of feeling on one
side or the other as seemed likely to come in
the course of time.

The Board has communicated with the parties,
from time to time, either directly or indirectly;
but, at the time of writing this report, no mate-
rial change has manifested itself in the attitude
of the parties towards each other.

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On December 24 occurred a noteworthy strike
on the part of employees of the West End Street
Railway Company, in Boston. The facts and
grievances are so fully set forth in the statements
published by the respective parties, that not much
in the way of comment will be necessary.

On December 1 M. L. Young, president of the
conductors', drivers' and motormen's union, pre-
sented to the corporation, for consideration, a pro-
posed agreement, which was as follows: —

Article 1.

All revenue work in car service shall be described as
regular cars, extra cars and special (or chartered) cars.

Article 2.

No more than ten (10) hours' work to be performed
within twelve (12) consecutive hours will be exacted
from conductors, drivers or motormen in any one day,
except as provided by law.

All time to be calculated from the time they report
for duty until relieved or car put up and accounts

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1897.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 40. 101

Article 3.

All work done by regular men shall be laid out on
the basis of ten (10) hours' work, to be done in not
more than twelve (12) consecutive hours, and men shall
be paid at the rate of two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50 *)
per day for all work as described in article 2.

In all cases wherein the work of regular men, owing
to accident or unavoidable delay, exceeds ten (10) hours,
such overtime shall be paid at the rate of thirty (30)
cents per hour, in addition to the amounts above pro-
vided, as follows : —

For ten (10) minutes or less, five (5) cents.

For over ten (10) minutes and less than twenty-one
(21) minutes, ten (10) cents.

Men doing full schedule work, which shall not exceed
peven and one-half (7J) hours, on regular night cars,
shall receive two dollars and fifty bents ($2.50).

Extra cars shall be paid at the rate thirty (30) cents
per hour, any fraction of one-half hour to be called one-
half hour. Any work done in five consecutive hours to
be paid one dollar and twenty-five cents ($1.25).

Article 4.

All special (chartered) cars starting previous to ten
(10) P.M. to be paid at the rate of thirty (30) cents per
hour. Conductors, drivers and motormen of such cars
starting between ten (10) p.m. and five (5) a.m. shall ,
be paid one dollar ($1) for the first two (2) hours or
fraction thereof, and at the rate of fifty (50) cents per
hour thereafter. ^

* This demand was soon changed to 92.25.

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Article 5.

All men on cars starting before three (3) p.m. who
report within one hour after their car has 'gone out shall
be placed at the foot of the extra list for that day only.
On cars starting after three (3) p.m. such men shall be
placed at the foot of the extra list for the balance of that
day and also for the following day; and in either case
shall be charged with a tardy report, and for the fouith
tardy report they shall be charged with a miss.

Three subsequent misses shall be treated in a like man-
ner; but for the fifth within one year (said year to begin
January 1) he shall have the standing only of a new man
employed by the company, beginning at the bottom of
the extra list.

A division superintendent may, within his discretion,
accept an excuse from an employee for the first or any
subsequent miss.

When conductors, drivers or motormen are placed at
the foot of the extra list for missing, as provided in this
article, they shall report (at the station to which they
have been ordered) each day while so rated at seven (7)
A.M. roll-call and remain until six (6) p.m., unless de-
tailed or excused. Each failure to do so will be called
a miss, and will entail an additional day at the foot of
the list.

Article 6.

All extra conductors, drivers and motormen shall re-
port each day at seven (7) a.m. roll-call at the station
to which they are regularly assigned for work, and re-
main there until six (6) p.m., unless previously detailed
or excused. Failure to do so will place the offender at
the foot of the extra list for one day.

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1897.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 40. 103

Extra men will find it to their advantage to report
before seven (7) a.m. roll-call, and men so reporting
after five (5) a.m. shall be listed and receive work in
rotation as they report, holding such position only until
seven (7) a.m., aft;er which time each man will take his
regular position on the list.

The division superintendent may detail in rotation
extra men to report at any station prior to seven
(7) A.M. Men especially detailed for early work shall
have precedence for work given out before seven

(7) A.M.

Failure to report on time will subject the offender to
the same penalty as provided for extra men missing at
seven (7) a.m. roll-call.

Work to be given out to the extra men oil the follow-
ing plan : —

When there is but one central station or headquarters
for the assignment of extra men in a division, the man
longest in service in that division shall be the first man
on the list, and shall be assigned to the first vacancy
occurring each day, unless already detailed or excused.

When there is more than one central station or head-
quarters for the assignment of extra men in a division,
men shall be rated by stations, at each of which the
man longest in service in that division shall be the first
man on the list, and shall be assigned to the first vacancy
occurring each day at that station, unless already de-
tailed or excused.

All extra men shall be allowed to exchange cars or
places on the list at each station, holding such place
of men exchanged with until change of time, when each
man shall receive his rating at station according to
length of service in the division.

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Extra men shall retain their position or rating on the
list when returning from any forenoon detail, said posi-
tion or rating to cease, if also assigned to work on the
afternoon list or detail. With this exception, work
given out to extra men at any time of day shall be
according to rating.

All early reporting men shall be paid for time held
at station previous to seven (7) a.m. roll call, unless
detailed for work.

Article 7.

Conductors, drivers and motormen of all cars re-
porting at or before five-thirty (5.30) a.m. to have not
less than one-half hour for breakfast, and these and all
other conductors, drivers and motormen to have at least
one hour and thirty minutes for dinner; and said time
to be allowed as near the middle of the day's work as
possible. And that no conductor, driver or motorman
be required tovwork more than six (6) consecutive hours
without such meal time being allowed.

Article 8.

Regular men having no Sunday time and are com-
pelled to report shall be paid for the time held at station.

Article 9.

When, in any division, there is a regular car to be
given away, arising directly or indirectly from resigna-
tion or discharge, the regular man who has been longest
in the service of the company in that division shall have
the preference in making application for such car.

All cars shall be advertised on the list at least three
days before they are given away.

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1897.] PUBLIC DOCUMENT — No. 40. 105

When necessary to re-rate the men at one or more
stations, they shall be re-rated at those stations only,
the car getting through first according to schedule to
be given to the man at those stations who has been
longest in the service in that division.

Regular cars to be given away, ari^sing from change
of time tables, shall be given to the extra men, be-
ginning at the head of the extra list ; but when regular
cars are lost by change of time, the men displaced shall
have the place on the extra li-^t to which they are
entitled by their rating.

When a line of cars is transferred from one division
to another, the men running such cars shall, if they
desire, also be transferred, and shall retain their care
until a change of time, or new rating, when they and
all other men in that division shall receive their rating
from the time hired with the company. Any man losing
his regular car through change of time shall have the
right to ask for any car to be given away in that

This article is subject to the provision that no man
shall be assigned to service upon an electric car unless,
in the judgment of the division superintendent, he is
competent for such service.

Article 10.

No conductor, driver or motorman shall be compelled
to work more than two (2) weeks without having a
day off, if he desires it.

Regular men or extra men, when assigned for work,
desiring to be excused, must notify the official in charge
of the station from which they run, or at the office
of the superintendent (as he may direct), at or before

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two (2) P.M. on the day preceding the day they desire
to be excused.

Men asking to be off, having failed to give notice
on the previous day, if excused, shall forfeit, to the
man taking their places, all pay for the trips they have
run when the same do not constitute half of the work
on that car for the day.

Article 11.

If, under pressure of necessity, a division superin-
tendent decides it to be expedient to run extra trips,
he may call upon regular men for such duty; but a
record of such extra work shall be kept, and such work
shall be distributed, as nearly as possible, from time
to time, among all the regular men in that division,
so that they may be called upon to do no more than
their fair share of extra work of this nature.

Regular men, when called upon to do such extra work,
shall be paid at the rate of thirty (30) cents per hour.
No single trip of this kind to be run at less than fifty
(50) cents. Regular men so reporting shall receive not
less than fifty (50) cents, whether the trip be run or not.

When necessary to loan men from one division to
another, they shall be taken from the bottom of the
extra list, and shall receive for each day so detailed not

Online LibraryMassachusetts. State Board of Arbitration and Con MassachusettsAnnual report of the State Board of Arbitration and Conciliation → online text (page 5 of 70)