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August 15, 1957
Mr. Currie

|g Example of Enlightened

V. Lewis B&ssie

Labor Policy

Among the welter of i terns concerning the abuses, recriminations, strikes,
and distrubances in the relations of labor »rgiuila*fcioitl to employers, there
now and then appears an instance where out of the conflict h&a developed a
situation of enlightened policy and cooperation resulting in advantage to
both sides. Such an instance is descrioed in an article by Helen S» Hoeber
in the July, 19S7, issue of the Monthly Labor Review, entitled "Collective
Bargaining by Amalgamated Clothing Workers."
"The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America includes workers engaged
in the production of menfs and boy's clothing other than MHHl clothing, • ,
The industry is characterized by small establishments, althougn there hag
been a recent tendency toward larger Manufacturing units. • • • Nearly 80
percent of the establishments and 66 percent of the workers in 1935 were in
10 leading metropolitan centers."
Collective bargaining between the union and th® employers wag in this
instance as in moet others disturbed by a long series of strikes, resulting
from failure of individual employers or employers associations to reach
agreement with the growing local unions on such questions as the closed shop.
Beginning dth the strike in the Hart, Schaffner and Marx shops in
Chicago in 1910, the principle of arbitration caiae to be firmly established.
Company officials were appointed to hear ^nd decioe grievances and complaints.
"To facilitate settlement of disputes through conciliation, shop chairmen ?mre
elected by the workers, ill grievances were to be submitted first to the shop


chairrasm, who was to attempt to settle them with the superintendent or foreman before utilising the other adjustment machinery,B

In ca&e of failure to

settle the dispute at this level it was referred to a bipartisan board of
arbitration, with an impartial chairman jointly selected. Those principles
gradually spread to other markets and similar arrangements were made in all
the principle centers of the industry.
The Amalgamated also instituted policies of cooperation with management along lines that are usually the sole function of management. The
following examples of this may be notedt
"Union employment agencies v/ere established in each market• . . . .
Adequate records of job seekers were kept, accurate and competent interviewing was established, and political patronage within the union was eliminated. These employment exchanges eliminated the confusion and disorganisation of hiring at the shop,*
"Union experts went into the shops, reorganised the flow of work, subdivided processes, established production standards under week work and later
piece work, standardised styles, substituted machines for hand labor, etc.
This rationalisation policy N&Q adopted by the union in en effort to help
union employers to meet competition," As a result of these efforts production costs were reduced, but employment M M elso lowered, especially among
the cutters. To aeet this situation, "the impartial chairman permitted the
dismissal of 150 cutters, each of whom ;?as paid $500 as e bonus for waiving
hie right to a job in the industry. The bonuses were paid twc-thirds by the
company and one-third by the union,"


»In addition to Improving the competitive petition of firms witnout recourse to wage cutting^ the onion "undertook to lend money through its banks
to employers in financial difflenities• An outstanding ejcasple of this is
the several years of continuous effort by the union to keep ia -usiaass a
large employer in the Beltisore market,*

Another important innovation W M the introduction of unemployment

insurance in th© principal markets. In the spring of 1923 the arbitration
board for the Chicr.go area handed down a wage award and formulated the
principles to govern Ml anemploy&ent £and» » « , The employers and workers
each contributed l£- percent o * the tot&l weekly vmge$. . , . Regulations for
collections and ptyHttt* irtrt altered from time to time in accordance with
the condition of the fund. , , . Banefits -ere not paid ,;hen on strike. Uneaployment in^urencs was @stablish@d in tha Rochester and New York City
markets in 1928• # • • Because the depression occurred soon after the fund
established, benefits were paid in accordance v«ith need rather than
according to fix©d rules,"
Some of the provisions of the existing agreements beWeen the Amalgamated and the employers are as followst

Agreements in the suit and coat industry '.jsually r-ni for 1-year

periods, although a few have £- or 5-year terms. Agreements are autoruatically
renewed unless notie© of intention to change is given Y^ithin a specified time
before th© termination date**
*Both piece and time r&tes tre foimd in these agi-'eefflents, but when the
piece-rate system is followed v/eekiy min.ima axe usually established#


aust be peld weekly. The business agents are responsible for seeing that


the labor costs in each shop conform to the market standard*"
^The r«.RfA, code sta.nda.rds of 56 hours1 and 6 days* work per /eek are
still general in the industry. In a few agreements 4 «xtra hours per week
may be worked during the busy season -ithout the payment of the overtime
"Union membership is a condition of employment in all but three agreements, in which a preferential union shop is established. Hew employees
must be hired through the onion unless the union 1& unable to furnish
qualified workers within a reasonable time, usually 24 to 72 hows.. Such
workers hired on the open market must join the union at the end of their
probation period,"
"All workers must serve a probation period, usually S weeks, after
*'hich time they are considered permanent employees. BifOharft is in all
crses subject to appeal,H
"During slack seasons - « r must be equally divided, i 5 s . a a .ok
r.ofr s
possible, among regular employs es.H
"The initial and major responsibility for securing compliance with
tha agreements ie that of the ehoj chairmen or committees and th© labor
BftAftg«r or other representative of the employer, General wage questions
?nd other matters not involving interpretation of the agreement are frequently referred directly from the dieoutants to a separate board of arbitration."
"Union representatives art usually granted f>cce88 to thft shop, though
oecagionall;f ©n employer reprssentativG must acco.mpjiny them.1*
"Other provisions of these agreements abolish child labor and horns