Thomas A. Smith.

Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of Statistics and Information of Maryland. 1903. Thomas A. Smith, Chief. (Volume 1904) online

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Schiflf & Bloom, in the making of ladies' garments, went on
strike June 20, because the firm, so the employees claim, kept
t|ieir account books back longer than necessary and refused


to let them know how much wages they had made the previous
week, and also because the firm did not pay sufficient wages.

The women employed by this firm organized a union, entitled
the Maryland Skirt Makers' Union No. 57.

The. real causes of the strike were quite obscured, the men
and women making one statement and the employers another.
The men claimed that it was a lockout. The following was
given out by a committee of the union at the time :

"This is not a strike by the men and women, but a lockout by the
employers. We have been getting from 27 cents to $1.20 for a garment.
We asked for an increase in wages of 10 per cent., but have received
no answer. We have been getting from $15 to $18 a week, but last
week we were given such difficult work that we could not earn but
from $6 to $12. An account of the goods we make is kept in books we
turn in to the firm every Thursday. We have no uniform wage list,
but the firm sets a price on each article. We do not get our books
back until the following Tuesday or Wednesday. This is to keep us
indebted to the firm for time made between Monday and Tuesday or
Wednesday. In order to see wfly wages were so low last week we
demanded that the account books be returned Saturday, which was
pay day.. This was refused. When we refused to go to work yesterday
morning we were ordered out of the building. A committee com-
posed of two women and two men of the union and two outsiders
investigated our demands and have sustained our position. The
statement that we asked the firm to take us back to-day is incorrect."

The difference was never settled, and the loss in wages was
estimated to be $2,500. The employers claim that the employ-
ees refused to do much work on the new styles the first week,
so that they might have an excuse to demand more money
for making the garments. The matter was left unsettled.

On April 15, My Maryland Lodge No. 186, International
Association of Machinists, presented a demand to their vari-
ous employers throughout the city for an advance in wages of
twenty-five cents a day. The increase was to go into effect
on the 1st of June. Some of the firms immediately notified
the Business Agent, Mr. Harry Vollmer, that the increase
would be granted. Others positively refused, and on July i
the employees of eight different machine shops in the city went
on strike. Some of the employers hiid notified their employees


that they would increase their wages even before the demand
was presented. Subsequent to July i the demands were
granted in two of the eight shops and settlement made. Six
chops still remained on strike.

In the shop of Messrs. Murrill & Keizer the men went on
strike before July i, because of the failure of the firm to
accede to their request, but were ordered back to work by the
executive committee of the union, so as to give the firm time
to consider the demands.

The demands of the machinists was presented in the follow-
ing letter:

Owing to the enormous increase in the price of living — in fact, in
almost everything used in the every-day walk of life — it is almost
impossible to exist at the present rate of wages. The International
Association of Machinists has deemed it advisable to request of all
employers of machinists in this city an increase of lo per cent, in wages
now paid their employees, to take effect July i, 1903.

We make this request general, as we deem it unjust to ask it of one
firm and not the other, especially where they are in competition with
each other.

Trusting you will favor us in this request and notify either this office
or your employees not later than June 15 of your intention, we remain,

William Silverzahn, President.
Edwarp V. Wood, Recording Secretary.
Harry F. Vollmer, Business Agent.

All of the shops were very busy at the time and this
accounts for the ready acquiescence of a large number of the
proprietors to the demand of the men. The strike is still on in
the six shops above referred to, with very little prospects of
settlement. The wage loss to the employees is estimated at
about $20,000. The union paid single men who were on strike
$7.00 per week and married men $8.00 per week benefits.


The employees of A. H. Colmary & Co., who were members
of the Boot and Shoe Workers' Union, went on strike July 13.
There were about twenty-two of them — all lasters. They
wanted an increase of wages, which the firm refused. The men
are still out, mostly having gone to work in other .places, and
the firm has secured other employees, while some of the old mea


have returned to work. The firm applied for an injunction
restraining the men from interfering with new employees.
The men claimed they had to wait all day around the shop —
that is, the lasters — and sometimes would only make $6 or
$7 per week.


On July 1/ about twenty stevedores, employed in unload-
ing coffee vessels, quit work because their demand for an
increase of wages to the extent of $4.00 per thousand bags
was not granted. These men were employed by Capt. Talbot
Jones, unloading cargoes for Messrs. C. Morton Stewart &
Co. The men said they were paid $16.00 per thousand bags,
out of which they were compelled to pay the wages of a man
in charge of the engine on the wharf and four truckmen.
A number of colored men w^ere employed to take the strikers*
places, and so far as can be learned the strike was a failure.


On August 6, 475 men and boys, employed by the South
Baltimore Car and Steel Company, in building cars at Curtis
Bay, went on strike after having demanded from their em-
ployers that they be paid off every two weeks instead of
monthly and double time for holidays.

It had been the intention of the company's manager to put
this system in vogue, but it was reported to the men that the
president of the company would not consent to this. The
men in the various departments held a joint meeting and
decided to make the demand. A number of the men were mem-
bers of the Brotherhood of Railway Car Builders' Union
No. 197.

According to the statement made by Mr. Henry Diehl, who
acted as secretary of the meeting, the trouble originated as
follows :

On June i the men appointed a committee to wait on the gen-
eral manager and ask him that the men be paid off twice a month
instead of monthly. The committee was cordially received
and the general manager promised to concede the demand.
The men desired a written agreement, but the manager tali.


them to take his word for the agreement. The men agreed
to this, and on the following Thursday the company posted a
notice to the effect that they would not pay off for another
week. This notice caused considerable discussion among the
men and finally resulted in a mass meeting, with the resultant


The strike lasted for three days and the company finally con-
ceded what the men desired. The loss was about $1,500 in


On August 15 five machinists, employed by the Palmetto
Fibre Company, at Frederick, Md., made a demand on their
employers for an increase of wages of fifty cents a day. The
company refused it and the five men quit work until August
22, being out one week, when their demands were granted and
the men returned to work. The strike was not ordered by
an organization.


In March last the Employers' Association and the employees
in the marble industry of the country agreed that there should
be no strike or lockout without arbitration.

Mr. Wm. H. Evans, of Baltimore, is president of the
National Association of Marble Dealers, and the Marble
Workers' Unions in the various cities are represented in a
national organization, known as the International Association
©f Marble Workers. The employers state their employees
violated their agreement in Philadelphia under the new officers
elected last July. The marble workers in Buffalo repudiated
the agreement during that month and trouble resulted. The
National Association of Dealers thereupon in September
ordered their various members to close up their shops for three
days, lockout all their employees and start up again, only
employing men as individuals and refusing to recognize any

This order affected three large firms in Baltimore, namely
Evans Marble Company, Hilgartner Marble Company and
Hugh Sisson & Sons, involving about 200 hands. The lockout


commenced on September 21 and continued in force, although
the yards owned by the firms above-mentioned reopened as
"open shops" after three days, and they claim to be employing
now about 140 men.

The effect of the lockout was felt on a number of buildings
in course of erection in Baltimore, but subsequently the firms
constructing same managed to get along some way or other.

This was one of the most far-reaching and troublesome
labor differences that occurred in Baltimore during the year,
and indeed in the United States. As an explanation of the
lockout, the National Association of Marble Dealers published
the following advertisement ;

Desiring that the public understand the difficulties between the strik-
ing members of the International Association of Marble Workers and
the National Association of Marble Dealers, the latter association pub-
lishes tlie following correspondence which has passed between the two
associations, preceding it by this introductory statement:

At a meeting in Buffalo last March the executive boards from both
associations signed an agreement for uniform hours of labor, arbitra-
tion, strike and "lockout" clauses. Last July the National Association
of Workmen met in Philadelphia and, after having accepted the Buffalo
agreement (already accepted by their executive committee), one day,
decided on the next day that, as the term of the executive board which
had made the agreement had expired, the agreement was no longer
operative. They then submitted a second agreement, which the National
Association of Dealers found it impossible to accept. A meeting
occurred in Columbus, Ohio, September i, but the members of the
workers' association failed to produce credentials authorizing them
to negotiate an agreement and nothing was done at the meeting, al-
though the dealers indicated that it would be impossible for them to
accept any agreement other than the one signed at Buffalo. Following
this, the workers' association called out all the shops in Philadelphia.
This was followed by a declaration of "open shop" by the dealers,
^'hen a general strike was declared.

These papers show negotiations between the executive committees
of the two associations during the last few days. The committee from
the International Association of Marble Workers is expected to give a
final answer to the committee from the dealers', association this morning.

Baltimore, Md., November 3, 1903.
To R. D. W. Du Bourg, G. P. I. A. M. IV., the Members G. B. C. I. A.
M. W. and the Members of the I. A. M. IV.:
Gentlemen — Referring to the various conferences we have held with
you in this city during the past two days looking to a settlement of the


piresent strike of the International Association of Marble Workeri
against the members of the National Association of Marble Dealers,
we beg to state that we regret we cannot see our way clear to accept
the amended form of our resolutions you submitted to us yesterday.
Inclosed we hand you a set of resolutions that embody our position and
from which, under existing conditions and past experience, we cannot
in justice to our members vary in any material manner. If you will
not pass these resolutions we hereby agree to submit the question of
their fairness and equity to a disinterested board of arbitration for
decision, provided the grand officers of the I. A. M. W. at once order
the workmen now on strike back to work, the men to return to work
on or before the morning of the 5th instant and remain at work pending
the decision of said board.

The board of arbitration to consist of three disinterested parties, one
to be chosen by the N. A. M. D., one to be chosen by the I. A. M. W.
and one to be chosen by the two above provided. The decision of the
board shall be evidenced in writing, signed by at least two members of
the said board, and the decision of any two members of said board
shall be binding upon the N. A. M. D. and the I. A. M. W. and their
respective constituents.

Your answer to this letter is requested by not later than tomorrow
morning. Very truly yours,

W. H. Evans,
Peter Gray,
Charles McDonald,
Jacob Mueller, Jr.,
Arthur Lantz,
F. P. Bagley,
Executive Committee N. A. M. D.

Joint Resolutions Adopted by the Executive Committees o? th«
National Association of Marble Dealers and the Inter-
national Association of Marble Workers
At a conference held at Baltimore, 3d November, 1903.

Whereas, There has heretofore existed a sentiment that the mem-
bers of the National Association of Marble Dealers and the members
of the International Association of Marble Workers were necessarily
enemies, and in consequence a mutual dislike and distrust of each other
and of their respective organizations has arisen, provoking and stim-
ulating strife and ill will, resulting in, severe pecuniary loss to both
parties ; now this conference is held for the purpose of cultivating a
more intimate knowledge of each other and of their methods, aims and
objects, believing that thereby friendly regard and respect may be
engendered and such agreements reached as will dispel all inimical
sentiments, prevent further strife and promote the material and moral
interests of all parties concerned.


I. Resolved, That this meeting adopt the principle of conciliation is
the settlement of any dispute between the members of the I. A. M. W.
and the members of the N. A. M. D.

,2. Resolved, That a conciliation committee be formed consisting of
six members, three of whom shall be marble workers appointed by the
International Association of Marble Workers, and three persons ap-
pointed by the National Association of Marble Dealers.

If a member of the conciliation committee is a party to the dispute
or a member of a local union whose member or members are involved,
he cannot serve on the conciliation committee in the settlement of the
case involved. The president of his national organization shall appoint
a member to take his place in the settlement of the particular dispute.

3. Resolved, Whenever there is a dispute between a member of the
N. A. M. D. and the workers in his employ (when the latter are mem-
bers Of the I. A. M. W.), and it cannot be settled amicably between
them, it shall be referred to the presidents of the two associations
before named, who shall themselves or by delegates give it due con-
sideration. If they cannot decide it satisfactorily to themselves, thej
may by mutual agreement summon the conciliation committee, to whom
the dispute shall be referred and whose decision by a majority vote
shall be final and binding upon each party for a time of twelve months.
Pending adjudication by the presidents and the conciliation committee,
neither party to the dispute shall discontinue operations, but shall pro-
ceed with business in the ordinary manner. In case of a vacancy in
the committee of conciliation it shall be filled by the asso-
ciation originally nominating. No vote shall be taken except by a full
committee or by an even number of each party.

4. Resolved, That the members of the N. A. M. D. will abolish piece
work in their finishing departments except for the polishing of plumbers'
slabs, backs and aprons.

5. Resolved, That the members of the N. A. M. D. shall run the
finishing departments of their factories nine hours per day. The men
to receive for the nine hours the same amount of pay as they received
prior to 21st September, 1903.

6. Resolved, That there shall be no sympathetic strikes or sympathetic

7. Resolved, That the N. A. M. D. recognize the setters of the I. A.
M. W. from and after the going into effect of these resolutions.

8. Resolved, That the N. A. M. D. will recognize the shop locals
of the bed rubbers, polishers and cutters of the I. A. M. W. when either
or both of the following conditions are complied with :

a. When the I. A. M. W. is recognized in the finishing departments
of all marble manufacturers who are not members of the N. A. M. D.
said shops to run the same hours and the men to receive the same wages
as are in force in the shops of the members of the N. A. M. D.


b. When the members of the I. A. M. W. cease to work for or
handle the finished product of all marble manufacturers that refuse
to recognize the I. A. M. W. in their finishing departments as above
set forth.

9k Resolved, That the members of the I. A. M. W. will refuse to work
for or handle the finished product of any firm or corporation that does
not recognize the I. A. M. W. and fails to conform to this agreement.

10. Resolved, That these resolutions and any subsequent ones, unless
otherwise specified, take precedence overany and all agreements that
are now in existence or may be made in the future between a local of
the I. A. M. W. and any employer.

11. Resolved, That all resolutions, unless otherwise specified, shall
remain in force until November i, 1904, and thereafter unless
either party desires to terminate, amend or add to the resolutions.
In which case the party so wishing shall serve written notice on the
other party at least 90 days prior to November i, 1904, specifically
stating its desires.

12. Resolved, That the men now in the employ of the N. A. M. D.
be retained.

National Association of Marble Dealers,

International Association of Marble Workers,
Resolved, That the foregoing resolutions go into cflFect 5th of Novem-
ber, 1903, provided that the men now on strike against the members of
the N. A M. D. are ordered back to work by the Grand Officers of the
I. A, M. W. and return to work on or before Thursday morning,
5th of November. 1903.

National Association of Marble Dealers.
International Association of Marble Workers,
(Copy of Letter from Marble Workers to Marble Dealers.)
Resolution : That the Executive Committee of the I. A. M. W. agree
to return the men to work under the Buffalo resolutions and arbitrate
any proposed changes in said resolutions at any time suitable to both
parties to said resolutions, and that all men employed not members of
the I. A. M. W. be discharged. The proposed changes, if any, to be
arbitrated within 30 days from date of signing of this resolution.

(Signed) Committee I. A. M. W. '

R. W. Du BouRG,
Jas. a. Fitzgeralh.


{Copy of Letter from Committee Marble Dealers to Marble Workers.^
R. IV. Du Bourg and Jas. A. Fitzgerald, Committee I. A. M. W.:

Gents — The Executive Committee of the National Association of
Marble Dealers cannot consider your resolution for the reason that
from past experience it does not consider it safe to return to the Buf-
falo resolution as a whole, and, further, because it would not entertain
for a moment any proposition to discharge tried and old employees at
present in the service of the members of the N A. M. D., nor can
it possibly offer you anything different than the form of agreement
with accompanying letter submitted to you this afternoon.

(Signed) W. H. Evans, Chairman.

There were several conferences held in Baltimore between
the officers of the dealers' association and the marble workers,
but without result so far.

The lockout affected the following firms in Baltimore:
Evans Marble Company, Hugh Sisson & Sons and Hilgartner
Marble Company.

About 200 marble workers in Baltimore were thrown out of
work at first, and numerous small concerns, who get finished
marble from the above-named firms, were inconvenienced or
compelled to lay off some of their employees. The firms,
however, secured some non-union help, and thus continued to
do business, while the members of the International Marble
Workers' Union sharply drew the lines in their fight, and with
the assistance of other branches of organized labor, forced the
discontinuance of considerable work in various sections of the
country. At the time of writing it is impossible to tell of
the final outcome of the struggle.


All the union employees of M. P. Moller, organ builder,
of Hagerstown, went on strike September 21, because their
demand for an increase of ten per cent, in wages was not
acceded to. Mr. Moller refused to recognize the union.
The strike continued up to the time the report went to press,
though some of the old hands returned to work, and others
were employed. The strike was practically lost. It was
ordered by Organ and Piano Makers' Union No. 45.


On Monday, November 2, about twenty-six meat packers,
all members of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Packers'
Union, employed by Messrs. R. M. Jones & Co., stopped work.
The strike was the result of the demand of the union for an
agreement for the year 1904, and they presented it this early
to prevent trouble. The new agreement called for a recog-
nition of the union, which the firm refused to accede to. There
were forty-five employees, thirty-one of whom belonged to
tlie union, and these struck. Mr. G. Mechau is the
Business Agent of the union and had charge of the strike,
which was finally settled by agreement on November 14, and
was successful.


Two hundred employees of the Baltimore Rolling Mills
Company went on strike November 24, owing to the discharge
of two of the men who had been active in forming an organ-
ization of their fellow-workmen. The men continued on strike
until December 2, when they returned to work, except one,
Mr. J. C. Jenkins, the president of the Ironworkers' Union,
which had been organized in the shops. This result was
brought about by agreement between the officials of the com-
pany and the officials of the union, and the result was a recog-
nition of that organization.

Mr. Jenkins was provided for by the men, who elected him
president of the union and paid him a salary for attending to
its business, as it was on his urgent request that they returned to


On December 14 the employees of the firms of H. Good-
man and of Epstein & Singer, cloth hat and cap manufacturers,
went on strike against a reduction of wages of from 5 to 10
per cent. These strikes involved seven men in one shop and
thirteen in the other and had not been settled when this report
was closed.


The canal boatmen running between Williamsport and
Sharpsburg made a demand for an increase of pay per tonnage


for hauling coal. The general manager of the canal offered
them forty cents to Georgetown and twenty-two cents to
WilHamsport. The boatmen claimed that last year they were
paid forty cents and eighty cents per ton, but under a new
arrangement the new transportation company operating on
the canal brought about entirely new conditions, which were
unsatisfactory to the employees. The trustees of the canal
refused to grant the demand of the men, saying that the ques-
tion was entirely under their control. A satisfactory arrange-
ment was subsequently effected without any loss.


About May i the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association
No. 5 decided to make a request of their employers for an in-
crease of wages. The engineers stated their case in the follow-
ing language, through the president of the association:

"It is not the intention of the marine engineers to strike, but to better
their condition. The salary of an engineer twenty-five years ago was
$100 a month. At that time only single engines and forty pounds of
steam were under his direction, but now he carries 250 pounds of steam
and cares for compound and triple expansion engines, electric light
plant, evaporator, hoisting engines and steering engines at a salary
of about $80 a month, and in some cases $60. Side-wheel boats then

Online LibraryThomas A. SmithTwelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of Statistics and Information of Maryland. 1903. Thomas A. Smith, Chief. (Volume 1904) → online text (page 4 of 30)