Publication: Crockery & Glass Journal
New York, NY, United States
THE GLASS STRIKE ENDED !
THE great strike of the table glass workers, which commenced here on December 10, 1887, and afterwards spread to the other districts East and West, came to an end on Saturday evening, April 28, when the manufacturers' executive committee and the representatives of the workers came to a final agreement on the few questions of difference still outstanding. At the last general conference between the committees, which lasted three weeks, all matters relating to numbers and prices were satisfactorily determined, and nothing remained but the consideration of the rules adopted by the manufacturers at the general meeting of November 30, last year. No agreement could be come to, but finally the manufacturers decided to discuss Rule 2, which admitted non-union as well as union men to the factories. However, a new bone of contention arose in regard to Rules 7 and 9, affecting the number of apprentices allowable in each factory, and on these rules there was another break in the negotiations. The manufacturers having on Saturday agreed to rescind these rules, and there being no other differences, the strike was declared off. Your correspondent does not think it necessary to go back further in the history of the strike than by recounting the progress of the latest conference that led to the final compromise, as the JOURNAL, has not only given a comprehensive and succinct account of the strike from week to week during its prevalence, but has also recently printed a review of the aspects of the struggle up to a few weeks ago, which information there is no use in repeating. It may be remarked, however, in general reference to the contest, that there never was a similar one in this of any other industry where so many conferences were held, nor where the numerous efforts to settle the trouble were so frequently nullified by apparently slight differences; and many trivial causes. Though people may think from reading the above that victory inclines generally to the workers, they need by no means be assured of anything of the kind. Though the manufacturers made concessions on some of the rules, they gained substantial advantages in numbers and prices, and must not therefore be regarded as losers, for it was mostly on these questions that the first disagreement commenced, as far back as last August. But as the trouble is now settled, it may, perhaps, be as well to let it rest. The controversy has been long and bitter enough — though no violence or personal animosity accrued from it — without entering into a new discussion as to who got the better of it.
Some of the factories here will start work this week, and the rest probably by Monday next. As, with one or two exceptions, all the furnaces have been kept fired up, there need be no delay in resuming. A few manufacturers say, however, that though they are pleased at the termination of the strike, they were fully prepared to remain closed until the fall. They will nevertheless go to work within a week — some sooner, perhaps, and some later. As the dull season of the trade is now at hand manufacturers will commence to prepare for the fall business, and work will be at once begun on what were to be the new spring patterns if there had been no strike. There is still demand for staples, which had become very scarce, and for sundry odds and ends cut off by the strike, but no large, general business is expected for the present. Neither are prices likely to be any greater, as with the exception of the few staples alluded to they have never advanced any since the commencement of the trouble. And furthermore it may be said that with the product of all the new factories that have opened since the beginning of the season and have been in operation all along, added to the output of the great works situated here, the chances for any increase in prices in the fall are very slim. Indeed, some manufacturers are speculating on the probability of a large decrease in prices owing to the reasons stated above, the only alternative seeming to be the discontinuance of some of the newer and weaker concerns from inability to meet the competition. It is said that some of these latter had barely trade enough during the strike to keep afloat, and if so the question is asked. How can they expect to get along now? At all events, judging from the poor business that has been done all spring in tableware, it is doubtful if all that will be in operation before the week is over will be able to make great headway.
There were no new factories built in this vicinity during the strike, but many were erected West. It is believed now that owing to the resumption of work here the movement toward the West will be curtailed, if not abandoned. A few glass manufacturers who went from here to investigate, and returned last week, express disappointment at the inducements offered in the West, and even before the strike ended at all had given up all idea of moving there.
|Date completed:||August 20, 2010 by: Bob Stahr;|