Publication: The Glassworker
Pittsburgh, PA, United States
SECRETARY CLARKE'S REPORT.
A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW.
Complete Size-Up of Affairs is Embodied
in the Annual Report of the National
Secretary-Treasurer — Valuable Financial
Statistics and Trade Data Submitted.
Many Highly Interesting Points Are
Brought Out by Clarke — The Usual
Thoroughness Characterizes His Report
Which Will be Perused With Great
Interest by All
CONDITION OF THE ORGANIZATION.
Our laws require that I render a report for the year that has elapsed, while the progress and achievements of our noble institution renders this duty a pleasure.
Not in any one year since the birth of our grand organization has such advancement been made as has crowned our efforts since we met one year ago.
At that time we had under way the completion of the peace agreement that finally brought joy and consolation to the hearts of the membership of the Glass Bottle Blowers' Association and the American Flint Glass Workers' Union. After this memorable event you witnessed our triumphant march into the councils of the American Federation of Labor over the protest of those who desired to take advantage of of those who desired to take advantage of us from a stragetical position, and on April 29 we found ourselves engaged in the very pleasant task of agreeing with the officers and representatives of the United States Glass Co. to operate all their plants under the jurisdiction of our union — this being the culmination of a fight that had been waged, more or less, since Sept. 24, 1893.
On May 3 by the settlement with the Rochester Tumbler Co. we witnessed the transforming of that city from a non-union center to a union settlement, insofar as the making of glass is concerned, and on June 6 a signed agreement was secured from the Economy Tumbler Co. at Morgantown. W. Va., that makes this plant a closed shop. Then on June 7 a settlement was effected between the Huntington Tumbler Co. and our union — all of which are achievements that should bring good cheer to our membership everywhere.
There is a valuable lesson to be drawn from the conflict with the United States Glass Co. and its pleasant ending. There is an old maxim, ''The man that steers the ship knows where the rocks are."
In 1893 when trouble was brewing with the United States Glass Co. the officers who were then steering; our ship, laden with the membership and the destiny of our union, saw from their "lookout" the rocks on which they feared the ship might founder and gave the alarm. Those who had the power to avert the tragedy, however, paid little heed to the warning, with the result that is so well known to us all — the battle was fought and lost and from it we inherited the unlimited system, the abolition of the summer stop rule, decreased wages, increased moves, piecework, and many other detriments too numerous to enuemrate [sic] enumerate here, all of which can be traced to the very fact that when the rocks were visible and warning was given it was disregarded.
The contrast: In directing the work of the organizers it was understood and distinctly recognized that the national president should occupy the watch tower and when danger threatened us he would give the alarm, after which all guards (officers) should rush to his aid. How well he filled that position and how completely his plans worked out are best shown by the results accrued. When the advice of your officers was disregarded we lost, but when regarded we won. Moral — when in doubt heed the advice of your officers.
It is an easy task to execute a policy under command but it is an entirely different task to plan a policy that, when executed, shall bring the results desired.
My reports for August, November, February and May are so replete with information relative to the finances of our organization that it renders it rather unnecessary to say anything more on that subject, yet we can at all times find so much before us that, it is not hard to find something to say, consequently the question evolves: What is best to say and what is most timely?
The Peace Agrement [sic] Agreement.
The May, 1912, issue of The American Flint contains the stenographic report of the conference held between the representatives of the Glass Bottle Blowers' Association and the American "Flint Glass Workers' Union, the outcome of which was a signed agreement between the representatives of the two associations which obligated the membership of each organization to perform certain duties. This agreement was made to become operative Aug. 1, 1912, and, as chairman of our committee, I am pleased to state that we were successful in carrying out our promise to the letter. It caused me a great amount of anxiety and much labor, but I never ceased until the task was accomplished in every particular.
On the other hand. the G. B. B. A. has fulfilled its part of the agreement in all places, except at Alton, Ill. At Alton the caster place and press workers were expelled from membership in the G. B. B. A. and refused to unite with our organization, yet they continued at work independent of both organizations. There were approximately 25 men employed at Alton in these two departments.
At this writing, we understand, the caster place workers are all idle and only two press workers are employed. Eight of the caster place workers have applied to us for admission, but we have not taken definite action on their applications, as we do not wish to do anything that may harass the officers of the G. B. B. A. who have promised to have this question dealt with at their coming convention and insist on its adjustment before the plant resumes operation next season.
In the adjustment of this matter we transferred a total of 153 men to the G. B. B. A. We issued 131 special withdrawal cards, three have been returned, and two were duplicates to take the place of cards that were lost. Those holding withdrawal cards can return to our organization at any time they feel so disposed by presenting their withdrawal card and a card from the G. B. B. A. showing they are in good standing: in that organization.
We issued 40 certified applications to members to joint the G. B. B. A. Ten of them were issued to members who had withdrawal cards, but it was necessary for them to secure permits due to their going over as individuals; five permits were returned; one was a duplicate, and 24 were issued to members who were permitted to join that organization but cannot return without our consent, as they were not forced to join in order to establish peace.
It is impossible for me to state accurately just the number of members we gained in the adjustment, but we increased our membership 16 at Millville, 12 at Baltimore, 8 at Montreal, 2 at Bellaire, and places for 32 press workers were created at Jeannette. We do not, however, mean to measure the good accomplished in the membership lost or gained. It must be measured by another rule — the rule of reason. in establishing peace between approximately 20,000 men we expect to be able to accomplish more for this number by united action than could be attained by permitting that great many to be split in twain. This is common sense. The agreement is like wine — it will improve with age. If any one doubts the necessity of the agreement they will soon be converted if they will read page 3, circular 14, issued May 8, 1913.
When the provisions of the agreement were completed with the Glass Bottle Blowers' Association withdrew its protest filed against the A. F. G. W. U. uniting with the American Federation of Labor, but we received notice then that the International Association of Machinists had entered a protest against our organization receiving a charter from that body.
However, after some delay during which time meetings were held with a view to adjust the matter, but without avail, the subject was heard by the executive council of the A. F. of L. President Rowe and the writer appeared for our side, and after a lengthy argument the council, decided to grant our charter over the protest of the Machinists' organization. The charter was issued under date of Oct. 21.
Your delegates to the A. F. of L. convention proceeded to Rochester, N. Y., on Nov. 10, arriving there on the morning of the 11th, only to learn that our right to a seat in that convention had been protested by the delegates from the Machinists' organization.
After the question had been thoroughly aired before the credential committee and on the floor of the convention, the delegates, by a vote of 177 to 29, decided that we should be seated over the protest that had been filed against us. For particulars on this subject see the report of your delegates which appears elsewhere in this record.
There was so much good feeling established by the adjustment of the difference between the Greens and Flints, and knowing that some may doubt this being true, it was agreed that a testimonial be secured in the form of a group picture, a reproduction of which appears within.
On the moldmaking controversy I advise that the same persistent effort be continued until the question is properly adjusted, after which, I trust, that our relations with the Machinists' organization shall he as they should be.
Correct the Record.
This is the thirty-seventh convention held by the A. F. G. W. U. — thirty five of which were regular (one was a bi-ennial) and two special. But our records regarding them are not clean. To illustrate: The proceedings of the Wheeling (1902) convention are recorded as the twenty-fourth convention when in reality it was the twenty-sixth. The proceedings of the following convention are recorded as the twenty-sixth while it was the twenty-seventh, and all succeeding proceedings have followed in rotation with the belief that the preceding ones were correct. Our last year's proceedings are recorded as the thirty-fifth, yet I advise that this convention be known as the thirty-seventh convention and all future records be made to harmonize with this change.
The following table shows the membership of the organization, as well as the membership of each department as reported May 31 of each year since the writer has been secretary:
Press, 1907, 1593; 1908. 1629; 1909, 1664; 1910, 1911; 1911, 1928; 1912, 1929; 1913, 2414.
Cutting. 1907, 451; 1908, 371; 1909, 1519; 1910, 2217; 1911, 2258; 1912, 1860; 1913, 1989.
Chimney, 1907, 1603; 1908, 1520; 1909, 1411; 1910, 1411; 1911, 1400; 1912, 1150; 1913, 1292.
Punch and Stem, 1907, 340; 1908, 358; 1909, 371; 1910, 433; 1911, 540; 1912, 669; 1913, 951.
Bulb, 1907, 506; 1908, 666; 1909, 671; 1910, 636; 1911, 856; 1912, 804; 1913, 784.
Mold Making, 1907, 463: 1908, 463; 1909, 488; 1910, 506; 1911, 544; 1912, 584; 1913, 658.
Paste Mold, 1907, 448; 1908, 504; 1909, 513; 1910, 530; 1911, 478; 1912, 514; 1913, 514.
Caster Place, 1907, 331; 1908, 382; 1909, 380; 1910, 311; 1911, 423; 1912, 441; 1913, 486.
Iron Mold, 1907, 381; 1908, 369; 1909, 347; 1910; 365; 1911, 340; 1912, 354; 1913, 344.
Shade and Globe, 1907. 218; 1908, 209; 1909, 218; 1910, 192; 1911, 165; 1912, 145; 1913, 134.
Machine Press, 1907, 290; 1908, 278; 1909 227; 1910, 247; 1911, 186; 1912, 176; 1913, 98.
Insulator, 1907, 76; 1908, 61; 1909, 56; 1910, 51; 1911, 48; 1912, 41; 1913, 43.
Engraving, 1907, 27; 1908, 22; 1909, 19; 1910, 37; 1911, 54; 1912, 62; 1913, 32.
Stopper Grinders, 1907, 8; 1908, 8; 1909, 9; 1910, 10; 1911, 17; 1912, 14; 1913, 18.
White Liners, 1907, 156; 1908, 154; 1909, 89; 1910, 31; 1911, 14; 1912, none; 1913, 10.
Prescription, 1909, 45; 1910, 13.
Total membership, 1907, 6891; 1908, 6994; 1909, 8120; 1910, 8901; 1911, 9251; 1912, 8743; 1913, 9767.
Next Secretary Clarks takes up the car fare problem and makes some excellent suggestions calculated to bring better returns for the organization. The issuance of new card cases is referred to in the next item followed by the cost of publishing and distributing the Flint magazine, expenditures, $3,586.13, receipts, $25; the continuance of the two per cent assessment rate is recommended and next the interest on deposits is given for the year, $4,631, and a total of $35,808.14 during Clarke's insumbency [sic] incumbency, which sum is 62 per cent of all the interest received in the history of the Flints.
It is a great pleasure to submit with this report a table, which I hope will prove the most complete ever compiled dealing with the affairs of our association. In this record will be found, in concise form, a review of the financial history of our institution from its birth; the rate of trade assessments and per capita tax, receipts and expenses year by year, gain or loss during the year: the amount received for interest each year, amount paid for relief year by year; membership — employed and unemployed so far as could be ascertained — and last but, not least, a statement showing the average cost to each employed member to support the National Union during the past twenty years.
If the reader will pause sufficiently to consider that the writer was compelled to appeal to our older members to secure the records from which this data was compiled, as well as bear in mind the fact that the system of recording matters in our early history was very inadequate, then he will have some conception of the great amount of work necessary in order to arrange the facts which I am now enabled to place before you.
From 1878 to 1885 the money paid out for relief was not systematically reported, this being due to the fact that the funds used for such purpose were not systematically collected, consequently in order to report the receipts and expenditures for that period (1878 to 1885) I was compelled to make estimates. Yet I feel that the estimates made are as nearly accurate as it is possible to secure from the incomplete record before me.
This table shows that the total receipts from 1878 to 1913 amounted to $4,252,952.96, while the expenses during the same period were $4,092,850.39, leaving a balance of $160,102.57 in the treasury on June 1. 1913.
From the birth of the organization to May 31, 1913, there was expended for relief alone the enormous sum of $2,964,907.91. When you consider the fact that our membership prior to this report never reached 9,000, with but two exceptions, then you can form some idea of the loyalty and determination of our membership.
I would commend to our members a careful perusal of the facts contained in this table. Compare the receipts and expenses of recent years with former years; note the rate of taxation now and that of years gone by, as well as make a comparison of the cost to the individual to support the national union now and that of other days. To illustrate: During the year ending May 31, 1895, the average amount paid to support the national union by each individual employed was $70.77, while during the past 12 months the employed members paid on an average the sum of $14.94. In other words, the cost per member the past 12 months was only 21 per cent of what, it cost the men of 1895. This point alone is worthy of much consideration, as it answers the argument of those who endeavor to show that the expense of supporting the national union is greater now than in former times.
The statistics referred to by Secretary Clarke were commented upon editorially in these columns a few weeks ago.
From July 18, 1908, to May 31, 1913, we expended $215,598.37 for organizing purposes, while in the same space of time we received $57,869.70 which can be credited to this movement. In other words, we expended $157,728.67 more than we received.
Owensboro Bank Failure.
This bank suspended operation April 22, 1908, at which time we had $20,160.90 on deposit. We made a claim against the institution for $20,673.05, the difference being in interest accumulated. To date $12,217.64 has been received.
No Members on Relief Roll.
It is a great pleasure to be able to report that we have no members on our relief roll, this being the second time in ten years that we have been able to make such a statement.
We find that an average of 7,978 employed members paid on an average of $14.94 for 2 per cent assessments during the year. This indicates that the employed members earned on an average of $747 during the year, or $14.94 a week for 50 weeks.
When the loaning of money to delegates was first introduced it was done for the express purpose of assisting those who were forced to meet some unexpected expense, but it was never intended that it should be subjected to the abuses that now prevail.
To impress this more vividly upon the mind of the reader it is only necessary to relate that during the 1896 convention the sum of $72 was loaned to delegates; during the 1897 convention, $15 was loaned; during the 1898 convention $40 was loaned, while at our recent convention the vast sum of $955 was loaned. This is positively wrong. There is absolutely no excuse for such a condition.
After sad experience and much labor I have reduced the paying of strike benefits to a system; a system that has been the means of instilling confidence where suspicion once rested — a system that enables us to give the cost of each struggle and the amount of relief paid to each individual. This system permits the secretary to know just how many men are on the relief roll in each locality, each week, the amount dispensed and what for, as well as the balance on hand. Every three months we publish in our quarterly report an itemized statement of the amount of relief paid to each individual in each locality. This permits each member of the organization to know to whom the relief is being; paid, and how much they are receiving. This system not only protects our funds and eliminates suspicion, but it simultaneously avoids grie