Publication: Proceedings of the General Assembly of the Knights of Labor Eleventh Regular Session
Philadelphia, PA, United States
GENERAL EXECUTIVE BOARD.
ELEVENTH REGULAR SESSION.
To the Officers and Members of the General Assembly, Greeting:
The General Executive Board beg leave to submit to you herewith the annual report of proceedings since the close of the last session of the General Assembly.
In making this report we would, say that it has been our aim to give to every case presented for our consideration as speedy and careful attention as was possible. The system of filing and briefing documents introduced by the General Secretary has proved to be a most satisfactory method of classifying the extensive correspondence of the office. Communications, when received, were filed in regular order, and acted upon at the first opportunity. Occasional delays were unavoidable, owing, to the numerous and important calls made upon the Board, and which, in many cases, required the presence of a member. We can only say that we have been actuated by a sincere and honest desire to act at all times and in all respects in accordance with our best judgment, for the advancement of the cause in which we are engaged.
The following is a summary of the work performed during the past year:
In view of the rapidly increasing volume of business devolving on the General Executive Board, the General Assembly, in session at Richmond, in 1886, passed the following resolutions:
Resolved, That 850,000 be appropriated from the general fund for the purpose of purchasing land, with house attached, the same to be located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Resolved, That the incoming General Officers (and General Officers hereafter elected) shall be the trustees of the same, who shall have the power to locate, purchase and make changes in buildings, if any, and to build or make repairs when necessary.
Resolved, That all acts appertaining to the foregoing shall be reported in detail at the next General Assembly.
In accordance with the instruction thus received, the General Executive Board purchased the property No. 814 North Broad street at a cost of $47,219.71, being less than the sum set aside for the purpose by the General Assembly.
The construction and appointments of the building render it admirably adapted for the purpose for which it was bought. It is a four-story brown-stone structure, and includes a rear building, formerly used as a stable, but at present serving the purposes of a storage house. Much of the furniture and hangings remain as during the occupancy of the former The rooms on the first floor of the building are used as reception rooms and offices, while the former dining room has been converted into the Executive Board room. The rooms on the upper floors are used as editorial rooms and Treasurer's department. The wood carving, frescoing and interior decorations throughout the building are extremelv handsome, and it is the opinion of competent judges that the money expended in the purchase has been well invested. The building is covered by an insurance policy of $40,000. (For a fuller description, see Journal of United Labor, February 19, 1887, descriptive of the property while occupied by former owner.)
Doc. 1. From L. A. 297, Mt. Pleasant, Pa., asking exoneration from twenty-five-cent assessment. Granted an extension of time.
Doc. 678. From D. A. 149, Atlantic City, N. J. In July, 1886, the Glass-blowers' League of the United States, Eastern Division, met in convention, and, after carefully considering the Constitution and Laws of the Order of the Knights of Labor, decided to become incorporated with that body. A sufficient number of Locals having made application, a District charter was granted, and the new Assembly was known as D. A. 149. At the session at which this action was decided on the following resolution was adopted, and ratified at Camden, N. J., November 12, 1886:
Resolved, That the question of apprentices be referred to a joint committee of manufacturers aud League members — committee to consist of five from each organization; the members of committee to be elected at this annual session of the League. The President of League to inform the manufacturers of the creation of said committee, and request manufacturers to appoint a similar committee, and fix the place and time of meeting to adjust the apprentice question to the best interest of all concerned. Further, that if the manufacturers refuse to reduce the number of apprentices for blast of 1886 and 1887, that the League will invest its surplus treasure and assess the trade to start co-operative factories to employ members of the League found in idleness, the result of the apprentice system. Branch No. 1, Millville, N. J.
It was claimed by a majority of the members of D. A. 149 that the District Master Workman had failed to carry out the provisions of this resolution.
In consequence of the representation made, Brother Louis Arrington, of D. A. 143, Wisconsin, in company with Brother Coffey, District Worthy Foreman of D. A. 149, called at the General Office and stated that Brother Tomlin, Master Workman of D. A. 149, had refused to call a meeting of the District, notwithstanding the fact that eight Local Assemblies had requested him to do so, but had instead called a meeting of the Grand League, to be held at New York City, at which time the resolution of the District was formally repudiated.
Upon receiving notification of this action the General Executive Board requested Brothers Tomlin, Arrington and Coffey to appear and make a full statement of the case. After carefully considering the evidence, the Board decided that the interests of the Order demanded an immediate calling together of the District. This was ordered for Friday, November 12, 1886, at Camden, N. J., at which time Brothers Powderly, Hayes and Denny were present. The session proved to be a very stormy one, and resulted in the District deciding to sustain the resolution passed at Atlantic City in July, 1886, and requesting the resignation of the officers of the District.
This action caused the Local Assemblies in New Jersey to withdraw from the District and reorganize the Grand League, with F. S. Tomlin as President. The case was then placed in the hands of Brother Denny, who submitted the following report, which was fully approved:
PITTSBURG, Pa., February 17, 1887.
To the General Executive Board:
I herewith submit my report of the condition of affairs in D. A. 149, with my suggestions appended. Not wishing to tire the Board by rehearsing this matter from the beginning to the present time, as nearly all the Board are familiar with the history of the case, I will make my report as short as possible.
The last meeting of D. A 149 was held in Camden, November 19. At that time there was great dissension in the District, which resulted in the overthrow of F. S. Tomlin and his Executive Committee, and the election of John Coffey as District Master Workman and an entire new Executive Committee. This led to the withdrawal of nearly all the Local Assemblies in the State of New Jersey, and the subsequent reorganization of the Glass-Blowers' League, with F. S. Tomlin as President, since which time a fierce struggle has been going on for supremacy between the two rival organizations. On account ot the sympathy and co-operation of the glass manufacturers, F. S. Tomlin has been able to reorganize branches of the League at the following places outside of the State of New Jersey: Williamsburg, N. Y.; Poughkeepsie, N. Y.; South Brooklyn, N. Y.; Hawley, Pa.; and Bridesburg, Pa. The men at Baker's and Swindells' in Baltimore, working contrary to District Assembly law and rules, refuse to connect themselves with either of the organizations, and are conducting an independent organization among themselves.
According to the figures received from John Sinnott, Secretary of the Glass Manufacturers' Association of the Eastern District, there are 1,200 men employed, of whom 315 are working in conformity with District Assembly laws, leaving 885 working contrary to District Assembly laws. District Master Workman John Coffey gives figures as follows: The men working according to District Assembly laws are 429; this would leave 771 working contrary to District Assembly laws. I think I may safely say that two-thirds of the 1,200 men working in the District are working contrary to District Assembly laws. This would leave one-third of the whole number employed working according to District Assembly laws, and I think this will be found to be about the right estimate.
The conclusion arrived at some time since was to institute a secret boycott against the New Jersey manufacturers. With this purpose in view I went over part of the District and found that orders could be taken away from New Jersey manufacturers, but at this time it would be very difficult to find a place to put them, as about all the manufacturers have all the orders they can fill this season. Any further effort in this direction at this time would drive a large amount of trade to foreign countries.
I therefore recommend that the idea of traveling over the country, instituting a secret boycott, be abandoned for the present, with the understanding that if matters are not straightened up by next fall that the fight be re-opened and prosecuted to the end, at the time when orders are being placed for next year. I also wish to suggest to the Board that if anything can be said or done to bring about a union of the loyal Locals in D. A. 149 with D. A. 143, it will greatly strengthen their position and chances of final success. All of which is respectfully submitted by yours, fraternally,
A. G. DENNY.
The trouble has continued to the present time, and a comparison of the following report with the statement of Brother Denny, under date of February 17, 1887, will show that the glass industry of the country, with the single exception of the State of New Jersey, is now being conducted in accordance with the principles of the Order:
To the Grecn-glass Bottle Trade:
The following are the names of the glass manufacturers in the United States who are and who are not running their factories in accordance with the rules of the Knights of Labor:
FACTORIES NOT RUNNING IN ACCORDANCE WITH KNIGHTS OF LABOR REGULATIONS: Whitney Brothers, Glassboro, N. J.; Moore Brothers, Clayton, N. J.; Bodine, Thomas & Company, Williamstown, N. J.; Whitall, Tatum & Company, Millville, N. J.; Cohansey Glass Works, Bridgeton, N. J.; Kirby & McBride, Bridgeton, N. J.; Binghamton Glass Co., Binghamton, N. Y.; Clark & Shomacker, Bridgeton, N. J.; Moore & Jonas, Bridgeton, N. J.; Craven Bros., Salem, N. J.; Swedesboro Glass Co., Swedesboro, N. J.; George Green, Woodbury, N. J.; East Stroudsburg Glass Co., Stroudsburg, Pa.; Hawley Glass Co., Hawley, Pa.
FACTORIES RUNNING IN ACCORDANCE WITH KNIGHTS OF LABOR REGULATIONS: Burgin & Sons, Philadelphia, Pa.; Henry B. Benner, Philadelphia, Pa.; Samuel P. Rowley, Philadelphia, Pa.: Delaware Glass Co., Philadelphia, Pa.; Crysial Glass Works, Camden, N. J.; Weyman Bros., Woodbury, N. J.; William Tillier, Winslow, N. J.;