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New York Chamber of Commerce, made a thorough investigation of the problems confronting the industry, and after twenty-three sessions, drafted an instrument in the shape of an amended protocol, which both parties accepted. But the new agreement failed to allay the irritation in both camps, and the long-deferred fight in the industry broke out violently in the shape of a combined lock-out and strike in April, 1916.
The strike lasted fourteen weeks, and resulted in a general increase of wages, a reduction of hours, and the adoption of an agreement on entirely new lines.
The principal distinction between the present agreement and its predecessors consists in the machinery for the adjustment of grievances. The former joint organs for the settlement of complaints, such as Chief Clerks, Committee on Immediate Action and Board of Arbitration or Council of Conciliation, are abolished. The present procedure is very simple. All complaints of the workers are investigated by the Union itself. If substantiated on such investigation they are presented to the Association, which has twenty-four hours within which to remedy the grievance. If the action of the Association is satisfactory to the Union, that settles the controversy; if not, the Union is free to secure redress by its own methods-it is free to call shop strikes, whenever and wherever such strikes seem to it justified and expedient. The special feature of the "Protocol" arrangement is thus eliminated, and the ordinary collective trade agreement between a labor union and an employers' association is adopted. The Union is deprived of the "industrial court" as an instru-. ment for righting the complaints of its members, but on the other hand it is freed from the tutelage of the employers, and has had restored to it the most potent weapon of trade unionism, which has been withheld from it for six years-the right to strike in order to redress grievances.
It would be idle to speculate whether the "Protocol" arrangement with its elaborate machinery is superior or inferior to the system of the simple trade agreement. Such questions cannot be answered in the abstract, but depend upon the special circumstances and conditions of each case. The "Protocol" was probably a very suitable instrument for the cloak industry of New York in 1910, when the Union was new and untrained. To-day the Union no longer requires the artificial stimulant of an elaborate outside machinery.
On the other hand a "Protocol" arrangement may still be very serviceable in industries and places in which our organizations are new and weak or in industries mainly composed of women and subject to frequent changes of the working force. At this time the two extremes are represented
by the agreement of the New York Cloakmakers and the Protocol of the New York Dress and Waist Makers. One accords the utmost freedom of action to employers and workers, the other represents the most elaborate arrangement of joint machinery for peaceful adjustment of difficulties and scientific solution of trade problems. Both are new, both are on trial, and the labor movement will watch their workings with close attention.
HOURS OF LABOR.
From Monthly Review of the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Feb., 1916, p. 37.
Reduction of Hours Due to Trade-Union Activity.
Workers in many firms in the machine trades have decreased their hours of labor to 8 hours per day without appealing to the legislatures. In most cases a reduction of seven hours a week was involved.
Connecticut, 28 firms; Delaware, 1; Illinois, 3; Louisiana, 1; Maryland, 2; Massachusetts, 24; Michigan, 2; New Jersey, 28; New York, 15; Ohio, 16; Pennsylvania, 1; Rhode Island, 1; Wisconsin, 1. Total, 127.
Other, smaller, reductions are as follows:
Forty-nine and one-half hours per week: Ohio, 4 firms. Fifty hours per week: Connecticut, 2 firms; New Jersey, 2; New York, 1.
Fifty-four hours per week: Connecticut, 2 firms; Pennsylvania, 1; Massachusetts, 5; Ohio, 3.
A. F. of L. Data.
The Executive Council of the American Federation of Labor reported to the last annual convention that the eighthour day generally prevailed in the following industries:
Carpenters and Joiners, Coal Miners, Typographical Printers, Cigarmakers, Granite Cutters, Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers, Plasterers, Plumbers and Steamfitters, Lathers, Tile Layers, Composition Roofers, Railroad Telegraphers, Stone Cutters, Marble Workers, Sheet Metal Workers, Elevator Constructors, Bookbinders, Hodcarriers and Building Laborers, Brick, Tile and Terracotta Workers, Cement Workers, Compressed Air Workers, Steam Engineers (in Building Construction), Pavers, Rammermen, Flagg Layers, Bridge and Stone Curb Setters, Paving Cutters, Plate Printers, Printing Pressmen, Stereotypers and Electrotypers, Tunnel and Subway Constructors, Bridge and Structural Iron Workers, Asbestos Yorkers, Quarry Workers, Metal Miners, Flint Glass Workers, Slate and Tile Roofers, Cutting Die and Cutter Makers, Stationary Firemen, Papermakers, PhotoEngravers, Powder and High Explosive Workers, Bricklayers.
LABOR AND THE LAW
LABOR LEGISLATION IN 1915.
Abridged from Bulletin of U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Whole No. 186, December, 1916.
During 1915 labor legislation was enacted in all states which had sessions except Louisiana and Virginia. No session was held in Kentucky, Maryland, or Mississippi. The United States Congress did not enact any legislation affecting labor in the District of Columbia.
Laws relating to contract of employment were passed in California, Indiana, Nevada, Wisconsin, Massachusetts (action for damages by workmen against employers failing to give notice of strikes in advertisements for labor), Iowa, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin (in regard to apprenticeship).
The Lafollette Bill passed by Congress deals with seamen's conditions. It divides the crew and officers into watches, provides for holiday observance, compels coasting vessels to pay wages within two days, and ocean-going vessels within 24 hours; one-half the amount due must be paid at any port reached if demanded; requires inspection in any foreign port on demand of 1st or 2nd officers or majority of crew. Seventy-five per cent of crew must understand the language in which orders are given, and 65% must be able seamen. Other provisions relate to comfort and convenience of crew. Attachment of wages, and assignments are forbidden. Adequate life-saving equipment is prescribed. Officers are not fellow-servants of crew.
The examining and licensing of workmen was the subject of new laws in Connecticut, Vermont, Wisconsin, California, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Utah, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Montana, Pennsylvania, Philippine Islands, Florida, Maine, Oklahoma, and New York. Trades affected in one or more of these states included barbers, chauffeurs, electricians, stationary engineers, firemen, engineers of traction engines, seamen, moving picture machine operators, and plumbers.
Laws mainly concerned with limiting employment on public works to citizens were passed in Arizona, California, New York, Idaho, Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, Porto Rico and New Hampshire. A federal law dealt with the use of domestic material in the manufacture of ordinances. Hawaii, California and Oregon legislated regarding wages and hours of labor on public works.
The methods and times of payment of wages, liability for the payment of wages, liens and other claims on wages were the subject of legislation in many states.
The hours of labor were dealt with in Alaska (referendum for general eight hour for all wage-earners successful), Massachusetts, and New York.
Holidays and rest days were legislated on in Arizona, Hawaii, Wisconsin, New York, California and Massachusetts.
The regulation and inspection of factories, better measures for safety and sanitation, and similar measures for mines, railroads, street railways and steam vessels were dealt with in various states.
Pensions and retirement funds for the benefit of public employees received attention and legislative enactments in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California.
New laws relating to labor organizations were passed in some states. Washington (ch. 181) defines and forbids picketing in labor disputes, including the stationing of watchers, parading, displaying of banners, signs, etc. A referendum has been filed against the act, and it will be inoperative until decided by the election of 1916. California (ch. 487) makes it a misdemeanor to make false representations as to use of union labor, and gives unions the right to register labels and retain the exclusive right of use of the same. Missouri (p. 404) amended the law relative to the use or display of a union card or label without authority from the union. Massachusetts (ch. 62) requires the amounts of deposits made by labor organizations to be reported every five years.
Several states enacted or amended laws regarding cooperative associations, some of them making but a slight distinction between co-operative bodies and corporations generally, while in other cases the separation is more complete. Both productive and consumptive associations are provided for, while in most cases reference is made to the distribution of profits, based either on the amount of purchases or on the amount of wages or earnings of the employees, according to the nature of the association.
Arbitration in labor disputes came in for attention. Colorado (ch. 180) creates a State Industrial Commission "to do all in its power to promote voluntary arbitrationand to avoid the necessity of resorting to strikes, lockouts, etc." Employer and employee must give thirty days' notice of any intended change affecting wages or hours. Lockouts or strikes prior to or during an investigation by the commission, or by an arbitration board appointed by it, are unlawful, and neither side may make a change in the condition of employment, where a dispute has been made the subject of
arbitration, until such dispute has been finally dealt with. Findings of the commission or of a board of arbitration are not binding unless prior agreement in writing has been made. Findings of the commission are subject to review by the courts on appeal. In Indiana (ch. 118) the governor may appoint boards to adjust labor disputes. In Michigan (ch. 230), the governor appoints the state board; the act applies to railroads, mines and public utilities; other employments come under law and agreement of both parties. If the State Board fails, four arbitrators are chosen, one by employer, one by employees, these two to choose two others; if these four fail, the board may name an umpire.
The civil rights of employees in regard to voting at elections were dealt with by some states. Provision to vote while absent from home was made in California, Nevada, Washington and Wisconsin.
Laws relating to free public employment offices and private offices for gain were enacted in Idaho, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Illinois. Michigan (No. 37) authorizes not less than five railway conductors, engineers, and officials to form mutual companies for the purpose of insuring themselves against loss of position by discharge or retirement. An initiated measure of the State of Arizona (p. 19) authorizes the State to engage in any work of manufacture or public utility. The business of banking may be engaged in and a State printing establishment may be set up for the printing of school books and doing the State printing. A general appropriation of necessary funds is made.
Vocational educational laws were enacted by Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana (applicable to the city of Indianapolis only), Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
MINIMUM WAGE LEGISLATION.
The first Minimum Wage Commission in the United States was created by the Massachusetts legislature, in 1911, to study wages of women and minors, and report whether boards should be established to enquire into the need of fixing rates of wages for women and minors in any industry. This 1911 preliminary Commission enquired into the condition of employes in confectionary factories, retail stores and laundries. Its summary follows:
"A large number of women of eighteen years of age and upward are employed at very low wages; it is indisputable that a great part of them are receiving compensation that is inadequate to meet the necessary cost of living."