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BULLETIN OF THE
U. S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
WHOLE NO. 124.
JUNE 16, 1913.
CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION IN THE BUILDING
TRADES OF GREATER NEW YORK.
BY CHARLES H, WINSLOW.
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY. There have been conciliation and arbitration agreements, or agreements to arbitrate differences, between employers' associations and the unions in the building industry in New York City for more than
These agreements, beginning with the agreement entered into by the Master Builders' Association of New York and the Bricklayers' Unions Nos. 2, 33, 35, and 37 and the Amalgamated German Unions of the City of New York, April 24, 1885, included the right to settle every character of grievance except that of trade jurisdiction. This latter question had been considered by the unions prior to the establishment of the general arbitration board in 1903 as “not a subject for arbitration” between employers' associations and the unions, but a proper subject for legislation as between one international union and another. Moreover, the same position had been taken by the bricklayers in a communication to the mason builders as early as April 9, 1885. The communication in part reads as follows: “We fervently hope that we will be able to arrive at a conclusion, admitting that all laws governing our trade must be established by joint legislation between the unions and the employers.” It is significant that the bricklayers' unions of New York have never been attached
1 Section 11 of Article IX of the constitution of the American Federation of Labor which governs the practice of the unions in the building trades reads as follows:
"No charter shall be granted by the American Federation of Labor to any national, international, trade, or federal labor union without a positive and clear definition of the trade jurisdiction claimed by the applicant, and the charter shall not be granted if the jurisdiction claimed is a trespass on the jurisdiction of existing affiliated unions, without the written consent of such unions; no affiliated international, national, or local union shall be permitted to change its title or name, if any trespass is made thereby on the jurisdiction ofan affiliated organization, without having first obtained the consent and approval of a convention of the American Federation of Lahor; and it is further provided, that should any of the members of such national, international, trade, or federal labor union work at any other vocation, trade, or profession, they shall join the union of such vocation, trade, or profession, provided such are organized and affiliated with the American Federation of Labor."
to or affiliated with any board of business agents or any building trades council during this entire period.
The circular embodying the agreement for the first board of arbitration in the building trades, addressed to the bricklayers' unions, reads as follows:
Notice." According to agreement, the Joint Arbitration Committee of the Master Builders' Association and the Bricklayers' Unions of New York City will meet every Wednesday evening at 8 o'clock, at No. 1321 Broadway, to hear grievances and settle all disputes between employers and employees. Complaints will be received either in person or by communications.
The following agreement has been entered into by the above-named organizations, respectively:
New York, April 24, 1885. It is hereby agreed between the Master Builders' Association of New York and the Bricklayers' L'nions Nos. 2, 33, 35, and 37 and the Amalgamated German Unions of the (ity of New York:
First. That the journeymen and foremen who were members of the unions last summer be reinstated on payment of dues to date, and by the latter, of dues and assessments to date, which shall not exceed $50.
Second. That the wages of bricklayers from May 1, 1885, to May 1, 1886, shall be 42 cents per hour, nine hours on any day; Saturday, eight hours, with eight hours' pay.
It is particularly requested that all grievances be immediately laid before the committee in order to avoid all difficulties.
(Signed Marc EIDLIDTZ, Chairman.
H. OSCAR COLE, Chairman. The history of the Joint Arbitration Committee of the Mason Builders' Association and the Bricklayers' Unions, as shown by their minutes, evidences that the same character of grievances that are the real contentions of to-day then gave the building industry serious concern. For example, the following grievances frequently appear: “ ‘Employment of nonunion men,” “discrimination by employers,” “paying under the scale of wages;" and on the part of the employers, “against the restriction of apprentices,” "men leaving employers for higher wages (than the union rate)," "stoppage of work.” However, notwithstanding this friction, both sides seemed content and renewed the agreement yearly. The success of the agreement between the Mason Builders' Association and the Bricklayers' Unions was followed by a second agreement. This second agreement, signed May 10, 1892, was between the Mason Builders and the Laborers' Protective Society, or masons' laborers. Only a few months elapsed before a third agreement in the industry was signed, this time between the Hod Hoisting Employers' Association and the United Association of Engineers. The agreement included, among other matters, an “understanding between the parties concerned in relation to hours of work, scale of wages, sympathetic strikes, and an opportunity to legislate their own affairs."
1 From Industrial Arbitration and Conciliation, by Josephine Shaw Lowell, pp. 66, 67.