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The serious delay in the construction of warships, say the officials of the Navy Department, is due to the law which prohibits contractors from employing men more than eight hours a day on government work. To relieve this situation, Secretary Daniels has stated that unless three full eight hour shifts a day can be provided, the men will be required to work overtime. Thus, the union theory upon which this legislation was enacted, that “as much work can be done in eight hours as in ten” is again exploded. With the country on the verge of war, Mr. Gompers is vigorously protesting against any suspension of the rule, and demanding that the individual unions insist upon its being continued in force.
On February 9th, a jury in the Superior Court of California found Thomas J. Mooney guilty of murder in the first degree, for his connection with the bomb explosion at the preparedness parade in San Francisco last July, when ten persons were killed. The conviction carries the death penalty. An appeal has been taken.
The first defendant to be tried, Warren K. Billings, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Three other defendants, Mrs. Rena Mooney (Mooney's wife), Israel Weinburg, a chauffeur, and Edward Nolan, an officer of the International Association of Machinists, are still to be tried. At the Mooney and Billings' trials, testimony was introduced showing the “murder syndicate” to have been connected with the Los Angeles dynamiters.
Mooney was a member of the International Molders' Union, and thousands of circulars have been distributed urging union men to contribute to his defense. According to press reports Bourke Cochran, of New York, who defended Mooney is making every effort to create a sentiment in his favor, under the usual pretext that Mooney is being persecuted by the “enemies of labor."
The Washington state compulsory compensation act, the first law of this character to come before the United States Supreme Court, has been declared constitutional. This affirms the state decree, compelling certain companies to contribute to the state insurance fund. The decision was not unanimous, however, four of the nine judges dissenting.
The Iowa law, which is voluntary upon employers, and the New York law, which is compulsory, were likewise upheld.
Michael J. Boyle (“Umbrella” Mike) has been found guilty in the Federal District Court in Chicago. The charge was a conspiracy with the switchboard manufacturers. The union leaders were to prevent all outside equipment from being installed. In return, the manufacturers were to give the union leaders full control of the labor market. Such a combine opened naturally a tremendous field for graft. With the power to put men on a job or call them off at will, it was only a question of how much extortion a manufacturer could stand in order to get his work done. Building contractors, public utility corporations, small storekeepers, even ministers with churches to build, were all grist for Boyle's mill. His method of collecting, according to the testimony, was simplicity itself. His headquarters were at a saloon. He ordered his victim to report there at a specified hour and “come across.” When the time arrived, Boyle hung his umbrella on the bar and stood within easy hailing distance while the money was dropped in. Needless to say, whenever he went out of the saloon, he carried the umbrella with the handle upward. In eight years as business agent, with a salary which never exceeded $50.00 a week, he is reported to have accumulated $350,000. The smallest bribe reported was $100, which he refused to accept and ordered paid to an assistant: the largest was one of $20,000 contributed by the Chicago Telephone Company, to prevent a strike of electrical workers on the new telephone building. Fourteen of Boyle's co-defendants, including other union officials and switchboard manufacturers, were convicted with him.
The responsibility for such a condition rests exclusively with the closed shop union system.
UNION BUSINESS AGENT HOLDS UP PITTSBURG
Demands That Contract be Given New York Company Rather than Pittsburg Company Whose Bid is
NOTE: This case is similar to that of the Schenley High School, Pittsburg (THE REVIEW, July, 1916) and the Joint Commission on City Hall and Court House is adopting the same method of putting the case before the public through paid advertisements in the daily papers. There is no dispute as regards, wages, hours, conditions of employment or recognition of the union: it is an arbitrary hold-up by the union business agent.
An Explanation to the Public and Organized Labor
Not Be Finished On Time
A strike of the Electrical Workers employed on the New City-County Building threatens to delay completion of it in time for occupancy May 1, as planned.
The strike was ordered and is being continued under the direction of Michael Gordon, Business Agent of the Electrical Workers' Union.
The grievance against the joint owners of the building, alleged by Mr. Gordon, is their failure to give all electrical work on the building to the Lord Electric Company, of New York.
The facts are these: The Lord Electric Company, of New York, was awarded the contract for doing the electric work on the new building.
Their contract contained an alternative provision for furnishing and installing a transformer set, in case the City and County decided to buy electric current instead of making it.
There was a delay in reaching a decision, and the Lord Electric Company, of New York, asked to be relieved of that part of contract, which was done on advice of Counsel for City and County.
A contract was advertised, according to the requirements of the law, governing the letting of contracts by the City and County.
Lowest Bidder Awarded Contract The Lord Electric Company, of New York, bid for the contract. The Craig Electric Company, of Pittsburgh, also bid for the contract. The Craig Electric Company, of Pittsburgh, was lowest bidder. Its bid was $2,877.00 less than the bid of the Lord Electric Company, of New York.
The Craig Electric Company, of Pittsburgh, being the lowest responsible bidder, was awarded the contract in accordance with the requirements of the law.
Nine days prior to the award of the contract to the Craig Electric Company, of Pittsburgh, Mr. Gordon ordered the Electrical Workers to cease work on the building and has since refused to allow them to return to work.
Several attempts have been made by the Joint Commission and its representative to negotiate a settlement with Mr. Gordon, but without result.
Since calling the strike Mr. Gordon has injected two alleged grievances against the City of Pittsburgh, affecting Electrical Workers in two City Departments. The Joint Commission has no control of these matters and no interest in them, but it might be pertinent to point out that these alleged grievances existed during all the time that Mr. Gordon has been Business Agent for the Electrical Workers' Union, hence were in existence during all the time the Lord Electric Company, of New York, has been working on the City-County Building.
No Trouble on the Job The foreman on the job for the Lord Electric Company, of New York, Mr. John R. Williams, President of the Electrical Workers' Union, says there is no trouble on the job, and that he does not know why the men are not working.
Efforts to Settle Representatives of the Joint Commission endeavored to have Mr. Gordon arrange for a conference between them and the Executive Board of the Electrical Workers' Union. This he refused to do, saying that it would be useless for us to talk to men that he controlled.
To meet Mr. Gordon's terms of settlement would involve:
1st–The violation of the laws governing the letting of contracts by the City and County.
2nd Giving a preferential price of $2,877.00 to a New York Contracting Company against a Pittsburgh Contracting Company.
3rd–The withdrawal of a contract already awarded to a Pittsburgh Contracting Company.
The terms laid down by Mr. Gordon are impossible, and therefore cannot be met.
No Unfair Conditions
This dispute involves no unfair conditions to labor. No questions involving the interests of union labor are involved between the owners of this building and any trade or trades employed on it.
Mr. Gordon may have an interest in trying to promote the cause of a New York Contracting Company at the expense of the taxpayers of the City of Pittsburgh and the County of Allegheny. The Joint Commission has no such interest and cannot be used for such purpose.
This statement is made so that the taxpayers may know why their building is being delayed at great expense to them, and that the interested workmen may know why they are not permitted to work under conditions which all admit are satisfactory.”
Joint COMMISSION ON City HALL AND Court House.
MEETING OF INDIANAPOLIS BRANCH N.M. T. A.
The eleventh Annual Meeting of the Indianapolis Branch of the National Metal Trades Association will be held at the Claypool Hotel, Tuesday evening, March 20th. Mr. William H. Barr, President of the National Founders' Association, will be the principal speaker.