Publication: The Glassworker
Pittsburgh, PA, United States
FLINT WORKERS READY TO CO-OPERATE
TO MEET ANY EMERGENCY OF NATION
President Wm. P. Clarke, in his report
to the Forty-First Annual A. F. G.
W. U. Convention Defines the Patriotic
Position of the Organization.
Trade Questions are Analyzed.
YEAR HAS BEEN PROSPEROUS
The report of the national president of the A. F. G. W. U., William P. Clarke, is a very comprehensive document, covering every phase of the flint glass industry and containing statistics and data of a most illuminating character.
After welcoming the delegates to the forty-first convention and impressing upon them the importance of their labors as representatives of the association, President Clarke gives a brief hint as to the vast proportions of the work of the president, mentioning that during the past year, he had found time to travel 16,088 miles; issued 17 circulars, written 4,935 original letters and 274 telegrams in addition to holding conferences with manufacturers and workers and attending to the mighty task of steering the course of the organization.
As to the co-operation of the American Flint Glass Workers' Union with the federal government in the general work of meeting all emergencies of the war, President Clarke had this to say: In the bill arranging for the reorganization of the army, which was adopted during the month of June, 1916, section 120 provides that any manufacturer failing to meet the requirements of the secretary of war, that that official is empowered to take over and control such industry, and the refusal of any manufacturer to aid would mean a jail sentence for not more than three years and a fine to not exceed $50,000 in the discretion of the secretary of war.
Practically every industrial establishment in this country has been surveyed and can be commandeered for the use of the government at a moment's notice. This law is applicable to the glass industry the same as it is to the steel industry, but whether any of the plants' wherein our members are employed shall be taken over is a question for the future to decide.
Conserving the interests, rights and welfare of the workers is a problem. Representatives of labor have been meeting to aid in promoting the work so necessary to the nation's success in this conflict. It is reasoned that if we held aloof and failed to assist in protecting the worker, then we would be required to allow those whom we represent to labor under the direction of others, and without an opportunity for redress for wrongs that might be committed, which would otherwise have been avoided.
There is much to be done to alleviate un-necessary anguish that our participation in the war may entail. The minds of men will not be normal, especially so if they and that those nearest and dearest to them are deprived of the necessities of life, and perhaps the bread winner at the front. If the aims of the labor leaders of the country are achieved many things will be accomplished to assuage, the suffering of our people, while at the same time the trained minds and skillful hands of the workers in the various industries will be utilized for the preservation of our present working standards and wages.
I have attended three meetings at Washington where the interests and duty of the workers were considered. At the suggestion of President Gompers, and approved by the Council of National Defense, I was made a member of the mediation and conciliation committee. This work will be done voluntarily and the only remuneration that I expect is the opportunity to serve my country and at the same time keep in touch with the general conditions, and in this manner gain valuable information that may aid me in directing the work of our institution and thereby attain all that is possible for the good of our membership.
There is no doubt that men holding membership in our organization shall go forth to serve their country: in fact, many have already gone, and it is my firm belief that we should have a record of each individual who enlists, as we cannot fore-tell what may transpire that would make such a record necessary.
Therefore, I advise that the committee on officers' reports devise a plan whereby an accurate list may be compiled containing the correct name of each man enlisting, and such other detailed information as you, in your judgment, believe essential, and that a uniform blank be prepared for convenience sake. This record to be compiled under the supervision of our national secretary.
In addition to compiling a list of the names of those that enlist it appears proper that appropriate action be taken with reference to their financial standing. It occurs to me that a recommendation to the various local unions to discontinue charging dues, etc., would receive favorable consideration.
Referring to violations of agreements by members of the A. F. G. W. U., President Clarke shows his emphatic disapproval as follows:
If we cannot compel members to adhere to agreements made in good faith, then how can we, with anything approaching consistency, complain about others violating agreements? During the year several such unfortunate instances have occurred, as a result of which the officers of the union have been embarrassed by the conduct of our members.
It was an easy matter for your president to make a plea for an increase in wages for the press and iron mold departments at the conference held on June 6 and 7, compared with the difficult task of justifying the breaking of our agreements.
With the greatest earnestness I could summon I brought this action home to the 22 members who attended the workers caucus, at which time I dwelt particularly upon the attitude of the gatherers in embarrassing the membership as a whole, stating that it was my opinion that if the gatherers would not adhere to our agreements, then self-preservation justified other of our members in plants so affected in accepting the positions of the gatherers at the minimum wage paid for the character of work that they are accustomed to doing, and in that way bring the gatherers to their senses.
To bring this matter to your attention in a definite form I recommend that in those instances in which members of our union violate our agreements by ceasing work, unless such violations are approved by the president of the national union, that other members employed in a plant where our contracts are violated be authorized to do the work of the members committing such violations, provided they are not required to work for a smaller wage than the minimum rate paid in the branch of the trade in which they are employed. That is, a presser should receive the minimum wage for pressing, etc. This question should be considered by the committee on officers' reports.
The report includes an earnest recommendation that four organizers be continued in the A. F. G. W. U. on the ground that their constant application to the task of uplifting non-union workmen has a beneficial effect far in excess of the expense involved.
The death of President Denis A. Hayes, late president of the Glass Bottle Blowers' Association of the United States and Canada, who died Jan. 2, 1917 was fittingly referred to.
Superannuation Voted Down.
The voting down of the superannuation proposition is briefly outlined in part as follows:
This is a subject that has occupied the attention of many conventions and has troubled the minds of many representative men. At the Tiffin convention last year the proposition was given recognition to the extent of having a committee appointed to prepare a plan for adoption by our organization. The committee met on Oct. 30 and devoted five days to their task resulting in their plan being presented for consideration by the membership under date of Nov. 3.
The result was that the proposition was rejected by a vote of 2,866 to 327, and it is to be hoped, that this action will be the means of disposing of this proposition definitely.
It may not be amiss here to state that the vote cast on this question was the largest ever recorded on any proposition submitted to the trade in the recollection of the writer. And yet only 32 per cent of the members exercised their right to vote on this important subject, and of these, 90 per cent felt the proposition was not feasible and voted to reject it.
The Four-Hour Law.
The report contains the report of the commitee on four-hour law for the benefit of the many, whom President Clarke says are constantly violating it or inquiring about it:
We are constantly receiving complaints about members violating the "Four-Hour Law" along with requests from others wanting to know what the law is. For this reason I am publishing the law which was enacted at the Detroit convention and reads:
Report of Committee on Four-Hour Law.
We recommend that no department of the A. F. G. W. U. working on a limited basis be permitted to make more than one turn's work in four and one-half hours.
Be it further recommended that all shops use discretion in making their move on all wares and as far as possible work up to the full time of their turn.
And under no consideration shall any member leave the factory in less than four hours.
Any member violating this rule shall be fined $2.
F. E. Sigward, J. W. Martin, Harry Weeks, Wm. Gardner chairman; Thos. C. Devine, secretary.
(C. Pepper voted "No.")
This record can be found on pages 149, 152 and 160 of the proceedings of the Detroit convention.
Applications for Membership.
President Clarks makes the following recomendation:
The close observer of affairs in our organization has, no doubt, noticed that much of the space in our trade circulars has been utilized in submitting the names of applicants for membership in the various departments. It is indeed seldom, if ever, that an application is rejected. The thought occurs that better results can be accomplished by granting permission to local unions to admit applicants to membership by securing the consent of the national president, thereby avoiding unnecessary printing and at the same time facilitate matters so that the meetings of our local unions shall not be prolonged un-necessarily.
I recommend this plan to your cansideration [sic] consideration and trust that the committee on officers' reports will give us the benefit of their views.
The following table gives a record of all A. F. G. W. U. local unions that have been instituted during the past years and back as far as the early part of 1914:
Local Union No. 40, Machine and Press, Arcadia, Ind., May 30, 1914.
102, Cutters, Hammonton, N. J., July 31, 1914
54, Press and Iron Mold, Lonacoming, Md., Oct. 31, 1914.
75, Moldmakers, Huntington, W. Va., Nov. 7, 1914.
82, Punch tumbler, Byesville, O., Nov. 29, 1914.
85, Cutters, Jeannette, Pa., Dec. 29, 1914.
94, Chimney, New Cumberland, W. Va., Feb. 20, 1915.
100, Chimney, Sand Springs, Okla, March 19, 1915.
43, Bulb and Tube, Cleveland, O., April 18, 1915.
84, Cutters, Columbia, Pa., May 7, 1915.
104, Egg Makers, Fairmont, W. Va., May 23, 1915.
112, Mold Makers, Winchester, Ind., June 15, 1915.
106, General Line, Sapulpa, Okla, June 20, 1915.
114, Cutters, Lansing, Mich., July 22, 1915.
115, Cutters, Clevland [sic] Cleveland, O., July 28, 1915.
116, Punch Tumbler and Iron Mold, Cameron, W. Va., Aug. 7, 1915.
102, Cutters, Fall River, Mass., Oct. 9, 1915.
76, Press and Machine, Millersburg, O., Dec. 18, 1915.
104, Cutters, Suffern, N. Y., Jan. 15, 1916.
131, Lamp Workers, Millville, N. J., Feb. 4, 1916.
132, Lamp Workers, Vineland, N. J., Feb. 4, 1916.
133, Lamp Workers, Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 8, 1916.
134, Lamp Workers, Baltimore, Md., Feb. 15, 1916.
124, Mold Makers, Terre Haute, Ind., Feb. 16, 1916.
114, Chimney, Redcliff, Alberta, March 20, 1916.
102, Caster Place, Dunkirk, N. Y., May 4, 1916.
135, Lamp Workers, Millville, N. J., May 13, 1916.
115, Mold Makers, Columbus, O., June 18, 1916.
129, Lamp Workers, Detroit, Mich., June 23, 1916.
117, Caster Place, Spring Mill, Pa., June 28, 1916.
128, Lamp Workers, Norwich, Conn., Aug. 14, 1916.
92, Mold Makers, Milwaukee, Wis., Aug. 15, 1916.
93, Cutters, Lake City, Minn., Sept. 11, 1916.
4, M. M. Cutters, Stopper, Newark, O., Sept. 28, 1916.
76, Punch Tumbler, Lumberport, W. Va., Nov. 11, 1916.
15, Press, Paden City, W. Va., Nov. 12, 1916.
84, Lamp Workers, Chicago, Ill., Dec. 16. 1916.
93, General Line, Fostoria, O., Jan. 6, 1917.
121, Punch Tumbler, Kingwood, W. Va., Jan. 20, 1917.
104, Mold Makers, Coshocton, O., Feb. 11, 1917.
123, Caster Place, Waterbury, Conn., Feb. 2, 1917.
117, Cutters, Indianapolis, Ind., March 29, 1917.
130, Lamp Workers, New Yorfk [sic] York City, April 16, 1917.
44, Mold Makers, Bridgeton, N. J., April 24, 1917.
The report emphasized the importance of presenting all needed facts at conferences for the adjustment of disputes, and the delegates are urged to emphasize this point in their reports when they return home.
The fact is pointed out that it would cost the A. F. G. W. U. 18 cents per member residing in Canada to affiliate the organization with the Trades and Labor Congress of Canadam which has 45 international unions affiliated with it, and the question of affiliating is put up to the A. F. G. W. U. membership.
The report also calls attention to the manner in which local union by-laws are presented to the national president and the suggestion is made that such laws be typewritten and presented in duplicate.
Referring to the organization's financial resources President Clarke says:
It is indeed very gratifying to note that at the close of our fiscal year, May 31, 1917, we had $268,482.50 in our national Treasury. This is the largest reserve fund our association has ever had, and it is an indication of the progress and prosperity of the union, especially so when our assessment has not been in excess of 2 per cent since March 1, 1916.
A glance at the quarterly report, issued by Secretary-Treasurer Shipman shows that our membership is greater than at any period in our history. Ten years ago our membership was 6,891, while today we have 9,850. This means an increase of 43 per cent in the past decade, which is very gratifying.
Many complaints have been registered relative to members of various local unions violating the week's notice law, and then securing their card from the financial secretary and departing without making the facts known to the officers of the local union that has jurisdiction. In order to avoid recurrence of such violation we are printing herewith section 3 of article 21, page 45, of the national constitution, and earnestly urge the financial secretary of each and every local union to insist on a member producing a factory card bearing the signatures of the factory committee and manager before thev issue a transfer card. The law reads:
""No person shall receive a card to change his place of work until be presents to the financial secretary a card from the factory committee showing him to have worked his notice, or to have been released by the company."
Details of six appeals from the decision of the national president to the executive board, the executive board upholding the decision of the president, are given.
Scarcity of Gas.
The alarming condition of the fuel supply is noted as follows:
Never in the history of the flint gass industry have the manufacturers and workers been as badly handicapped as they have during the past year because of the scarcity of natural gas, coal, oil, and other materials. This situation became very serious and in some localities our members were securing very little work. For instance, between January 1 and March 13 the members of Local Union 13 made only 15 turns out of 63 starts, due entirely to the scarcity of natural gas.
We have had requests from both manufacturers and workers to allow them to work at any time when fuel could be obtained. As a rule, natural gas could be secured during the night when it was not obtainable during the day. In every instance I took a broad view of the subject and gave permission to our members to work at any hour fuel could be obtained, provided they did not violate the four-hour law or exceed 11 turns per week.
My authority for this action was based primarily upon precedent, with the additional understanding that a law prevailed that warranted such precedent being established. After devoting many weeks to a search of the records we finally discovered that in Circular No. 14, dated Feb. 23, 1891, Local Union 66, of New Brighton, Pa., presented a petition to the trade which read:
"On account of the scarcity of gas the men found it impossible to make time,