Publication: The Trenton Evening Times
Trenton, NJ, United States
ANCHOR POTIERY MAY REMAIN OPEN
Modification of Improvement Orders May Result in Continuance of Plant
Officials of the Anchor Pottery, New York Avenue, have served notice on their 250 or more employes that the plant will close down July 1. The notice is due to the fact that the State Labor Department and the health representative of the pottery manufacturers and operatives have changes and Improvements for the betterment of sanitary conditions.
The demands were made following on inspection of the 24 potteries and flint mills in Trenton. The inspectors were Commissioner of Labor Lewis T. Bryant, Chief Labor Inspector, John Roach and William Muschett, the last named representing the potters and operatives.
Following the inspection many owners of the different plants were ordered to make changes, which, it is said, will cost several thousand dollars. The officials of the Anchor Pottery find themselves at this time unable to adhere to the suggestions made only from a modified standpoint.
FIND DEMANDS UNREASONABLE
William H Griggs secretary and general manager of the Anchor Pottery said this morning "Since the present management took hold of the Anchor Pottery it has spent about $30,000 to improve the plant for the betterment of all. We have compiled complied with every order of the Labor department, but the time has come when we cannot continue without having some idea as to where it will end. We have treated our employes fairly, giving them steady work during the past year. We paid out $150,000 for labor alone.
"If the Labor Department and a committee of our employes will go over the plant and agree upon what improvements are practical and necessary we will make the changes, but only on condition that no more demands are made for a reasonable length of time. We would be willing to meet anything in reason, otherwise we must give our employes an opportunity to find employment elsewhere."
One pottery owner stated this morning that the potteries are continuously harassed by the subsequent demands for improvements. He said that an order is made after every inspection, and that owners really don't know where they stand.
The Anchor Pottery notice that it will shut down July 1, is not due to the lack of orders, it is stated, but, solely to the demands for improvements, which are considered unreasonable. The pottery has run steadily for the past year, and has on, hand enough orders to keep it busy for at least six months. Mr. Griggs stated that the future prospects are very bright.
MERCER PLANT OBJECTS,
The Mercer Pottery Company, plant of which is on Muirhead Avenue, and which employs about as many operatives as the Anchor, may take the same action as the latter, if extensive modifications of the recommendations are not made. While no definite action has been taken by the officials of the company, showing that the recommendations would be complied with, an intimation was given tending to the impression that the plant would not be in a position to carry out the mandates of the inspectors and might therefore shut down.
The inception of the movement to have improvements and changes made in the potteries and flint mills was credited last night in union circles to the Rev. Milton A. Craft, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Sheridan and North Clinton Avenues. It appears that a number of parishioners of the Rev. Mr. Craft had died from tuberculosis. This clergyman, it is claimed, appealed to Commissioner of Labor Bryant to investigate the condition of the shops.
Later, Mr. Bryant went to Europe, where he obtained valuable information on the matter at many of the pottery centres there. Returning to New Jersey, his time was absorbed with an investigation of the hat industry in the northern section of the state. No apparent effort was then being made to alleviate the conditions surrounding the Trenton potters and flint workers.
The members of Kilnmen's Local No. 35, desiring to hurry the investigation, had a conference with Commissioner Bryant and within two weeks after this meeting the first plant was visited by the commission, his chief inspector, and the potters representative, Mr. Muschett.
A leading unionist declared that while some of the industries might close their doors, others would remain open. He said that the improvements needed were already being placed in position by the Trenton Potteries Company and that the Trenton China Company intended to do the same. The changes or improvements asked he said, are: Elimination of dust, proper ventilation, good working facilities, lunch rooms and heating of kiln sheds in winter.