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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
JA E J. D
MS
AVIS, Secretary

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
ETH E T STEW
ELB R
ART, C m
om issioner

BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES )
BUREAU OF LABOR STA TISTICS \

LABOR AS AFFECTED

BY

THE WAR

{N o . 2 8 3
SERIES

H IS T O R Y O F T H E S H IP B U IL D IN G
LABOR
ADJUSTM ENT
BOARD
1 9 1 7 TO 1 9 1 9
j !
f

I !




W
ILLAR E H TCH ISS and H R R. SE G R
D . O
K
EN Y
AE

MAY, 1 2
91

W IN
ASH GTON
G VER M T PR TIN O F E
O
N EN
IN G F IC
12
91




PREFACE.

The following history of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board
was begun immediately after the board’s dissolution on March 31,
1919. Unavoidable circumstances have delayed its completion, but it
is believed that there is enough of permanent interest and value in
the story still to warrant publication. The work is a joint product
in the sense that each author has read and approved the contributions
of the other. Chapters I, II, VIII, IX , X , and X I were written by Mr.
Hotchkiss, and Chapters III, IV, V, VI, VII, and X II by Mr. Seager.
Our thanks are due to the members of the board for helpful infor­
mation and suggestions and to the officials of the Emergency Fleet
Corporation for permission to make free use of the board's files
after it went out of existence. We are, however, alone responsible
for the accuracy of the information presented and for the opinions
expressed.
To Hon. Ethelbert Stewart, United States Commissioner of Labor
Statistics, we are indebted for the privilege of having the history
included among the publications of the bureau of which he is the head.
W i l l a r d E. H o t c h k is s .
H e n r y E. S e a g e r .
November 1, 1920.
[ N o t e .— Henry f t . Seager, professor of political economy, Columbia University,
was secretary of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board Oct. 1, 1917, to Dec. 15,
1918, and Willard E. Hotchkiss, director, National Industrial Federation of Clothing
Manufacturers, was supervising examiner for the board June 1, 1918, to Mar. 31,
1919, and secretary of the board Dec. 15, 1918, to Mar. 31,1919.]




3




CONTENTS.

Chapter I.— Origin and organization of the board..................................................... 7-14
Chapter II.— Adjustments on the Pacific coast, 1917............................................... 15-23
Chapter III.— Delaware River award........................................................................... 24-28
Chapter IV.— Delaware River piecework award........................................................ 29-31
Chapter V.— South Atlantic and Gulf awards............................................................. 32-36
Chapter V I.— North Atlantic and Great Lakes awards............................................ 37-41
Chapter V II.— Final awards of the board, October, 1918........................................ 42-48
Chapter V III.—Administrative work of the board................................................... 49-57
Chapter I X .— Development of administrative machinery...................................... 58-72
Chapter X .— Operations after the armistice............................................................... 73-83
Chapter X I .— Post-war voluntary agreements........................................................... 84-90
Chapter X I I .— Conclusion.............................................................................................. 91-97
Appendix A.—Memorandum for the adjustment of wages, hoijrs, and condi­
tions of labor in shipbuilding plants..................................................................... 98, 99
Appendix B.— Report of the conference committee of national labor adjust­
ment agencies................................ ............................................................................ 100-102
Appendix C.—Wage scale for employees in shipyards of Atlantic coast, Gulf,
and Great Lakes, effective October 1, 1918-..................................................... 103-105
Appendix D.— Supplementary ruling on piece rates for riveting, chipping,
and calking, drilling, reaming, and countersinking for the Atlantic coast and
Gulf districts.............................................................................................................. 106,107




5




BULLETIN OF THE
U .

S .

B U R E A U

wo. 283.

O F

L A B O R

S T A T I S T I C S .

W A S H IN G T O N .

m ay

,

1921.

HISTORY OF THE SHIPBUILDING LABOR ADJUSTMENT BOARD,
1917 TO 1919.

CHAPTER I.—ORIGIN AND ORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD.
The Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board was a product of the
war emergency. It was impossible for the Government through the
Emergency Fleet Corporation of the United States Shipping Board,
the agency created to promote ship production, to advance far
with its shipbuilding program without having to concern itself
with labor. Shipyard owners were reluctant to commit them­
selves to contracts to deliver finished ships, at stated prices, the socalled ‘"lump-sum7 contracts, without some stipulation making the
7
Fleet Corporation as purchaser liable for unexpected increases in
wages. The interest of the Government in labor costs under the
so-called u cost plus” contracts was equally obvious. Even more
important to the public interest than the maintenance of just and
fair wages was the avoidance of stoppages in shipyards through in­
dustrial disputes. As shipyard owners and shipyard employees
habituated their minds to the fact that thenceforth ship production
would be exclusively for Government account and the Government
would be the ultimate paymaster, they both, as a matter of course,
looked to the Government to take the initiative in organizing ma­
chinery for regulating wages and working conditions and adjusting
disputes. Moreover, the demonstrated patriotism of the organized
workers was an asset that could be utilized fully only through some
organization that would rally them to the enthusiastic promotion of
every branch of industry upon which the building of ships depended.
The underlying thought directing the effort to work out some
practicable plan of organization was the obvious one of all parties in
interest coming together to meet a national emergency in which as
citizens all were equally interested. The object of this coming
together was a fair and honest adjustment of individual and group
T
interests in such a way as to secure from labor the heartiest coopera­
tion in meeting the emergency and a willing effort to bring about
maximum output of ships. No intelligent estimate of the work of
the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board, either in whole or in its
details, can be formed unless it is held constantly in mind that ships
and more ships dominated the board’s thought throughout the active
period of the war.
AGREEMENT OF AUGUST 20, 1917.

During the summer of 1917 Louis B. Wehle, an attorney represent­
ing the Emergency Fleet Corporation, called upon Samuel Gompers,
president of the American Federation of Labor, and discussed with




7

8

SHIPBUILDING LABOR ADJUSTM ENT BOARD.

him the advisability of entering into an agreement with the Federa­
tion under which machinery for settling disputes in shipyards having
contracts with the Emergency Fleet Corporation and the Navy should
be created. Mr. Gompers referred Mr. Wehle to the officers of the
Metal Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor.
After conference between Mr. Wehle and officers of the Metal Trades
Department, an agreement providing for an adjustment board was
signed August 20, 1917.1
Some of the officers of the Metal Trades Department who partici­
pated in the conference were favorable to having the agreement cover
the construction not only of the ship but also of its entire equipment,
but upon further inquiry this plan was abandoned, because it became
evident that the task would be too great to be undertaken by one
board. However, it was understood that later a board would be cre­
ated, similar to the one established under the agreement, which would
have jurisdiction over the entire equipment of the ship. In passing,
it should be noticed that a metal trades labor adjustment board, plans
for which took definite form only in the fall of 1918, was contemplated
at this early date in the history of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment
Board.
ADJUSTMENT BOARD.

The jurisdiction of the board extended to disputes “ concerning
wages, hours, or conditions of labor in the construction or repair of
shipbuilding plants or of ships in shipyards under the United States
Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, or under said Shipping
Board, or under contract with said corporation or with said board.”
It will be noted that in this language work for the Navy Department
T
is not specifically mentioned. It was from the first intended, how­
ever, that the board should under certain circumstances have juris­
diction over working conditions and wages in private shipyards doing
work for the Navy Department.
The second paragraph of the agreement provides:
If a question coming under the jurisdiction of the board arises with reference to such
construction in a private plant in which construction is also being carried on for the
Navy Department, the Secretary of the Navy or such person as he may designate shall
sit with voting power as a member of the board. In the event of a tie vote, when the
board is so constituted, the decision shall be referred to the chairman of the Council of
National Defense or to such person as he may designate. This memorandum shall in
no way serve as a precedent for procedure in Government plants under the War or
Navy Departments.

The contracts of the Navy were such that it was necessary to
exclude from the jurisdiction of the board certain Navy work, but
except for this limitation the jurisdiction of the board was to extend
to work for the Navy Department in private shipyards as well as to
work for the Emergency Fleet Corporation. The effect of exclusion
of certain Navy work from the jurisdiction of the board will be dis­
cussed in a later chapter. It was specifically stipulated that the
agreement should not m any way serve as a precedent for procedure
in Government plants under the War and Navy Departments. The
navy yards were thus specifically placed beyond the jurisdiction of
the board.
One of the members of the board, according to the agreement of
August 20,1917, was to represent the public and was to be appointed
i T h e t e x t o f t h e a g r e e m e n t is r e p r o d u c e d i n t h e M o n t h l y R e v i e w
L a b o r S t a t is t ic s fo r O c t o b e r , 1917 ( p p . 2 6 -2 9 ).




o f th e U n ite d S ta te s B u r e a u o f

ORIGIN AND ORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD.

9

by the President of the United States. The second member was to be
appointed by the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet
Corporation. In the case of disputes in plants doing work for the
Navy Department, an additional member appointed by the Secretary
of the Navy was to sit, with full voting power on the issues presented
in such disputes. When the matter under consideration had to do
with the construction of shipyards or steel ships, a representative of
the metal trades, designated by Samuel Gompers, president of the
American Federation of Labor, was to sit as labor member of the
board. An alternate representative was also to be appointed by
Mr. Samuel Gompers to sit when questions having to do with the con­
struction of wooden hulls were under consideration. The question
which one of them was to sit when general matters were under con­
sideration was to be determined between them, or, in case of a disa­
greement, Samuel Gompers was to designate the one to sit.

In addition to the three or, in the case of Navy work, four members
just specified, provision was made for “ associate” members repre­
senting, respectively, the owners of the plant or plants concerned in
any dispute and the majority of the workers in the craft or crafts
interested. In case a tie vote occurred when the representative of
the Navy was sitting as a sixth member, decision was to be referred
to a person designated by the chairman of the Council of National
Defense (the Secretary of War).
EXAMINERS.

The agreement set forth that the plants in which construction on
Government account was going on should be grouped into geographical
districts and that the builders and the representatives of international
labor organizations to be designated by the labor member of the board
should agree upon a person to act as examiner, the conditions of selec­
tion being laid down by the board. In the event of failure to select
by this method, the board, by unanimous vote, was to appoint an
examiner. Examiners were subject to removal by unanimous vote of
the board at any time.
The agreement of August 20, 1917, did not contemplate that
examiners would undertake the adjustment of disputes until certain
other efforts had failed. The board took cognizance of a dispute
irrespective of the source from which information of it came, but the
agreement made the district officer of the Emergency Fleet Corpora­
tion the initial adjusting agency and provided that he should report
to the board any dispute which he could not adjust satisfactorily
to the principals concerned. Before reporting he was required to
confer with the local spokesman or representative of the crafts
affected, and with the heads of any interested local labor organization
designated by the labor member of the board or, on their request,
with the heads of international labor organizations interested or their
authorized representatives. After providing in this way for efforts
to bring about adjustment through the district officer, the function
of the examiner was set forth in the following language:
When it appears to the board that such dispute can not be so adjusted, it will
promptly send an examiner for said district to such plant to bring about mutually
satisfactory adjustment, the terms of which shall, if they receive the approval of the
examiner, be in a report submitted by him to the board for its ratification. If the
examiner does not succeed in bringing about such adjustment, he shall, in his report
to the board, recommend terms of adjustment. The board, after due consideration
and such investigation as may seem necessary, shall decide the questions at issue.




10

SHIPBUILDING LABOR AD JUSTM EN T BOARD.

ADJUSTMENT OF DISPUTES.

The general basis for adjustments was set forth as follows:
As basic standards with reference to each plant where such construction is being
carried on, the board shall use such scales of wages and hours as were in force in such
plant on July 15, 1917, and such conditions as obtained on said date in such plant.
Consideration shall be given by the board to any circumstances whatever arising after
such wages, hours, or conditions were established, and which may seem to call for
changes in wages, hours, or conditions. The board shall keep itself fully informed as
to the relation between living costs in the several districts, and their comparison
between progressive periods of time.

In order to meet the situation created by unavoidable delays in
making adjustments, and by agreements to continue work pending
adjustment, provision was made that u under proper conditions”
decisions of the board should be retroactive. In such cases a proper
accounting was to be provided “ in accordance with the direction of
the board.;;
The finality of the board’s decisions was provided for in the follow­
ing language:
The decisions of the board will, in so far as this memorandum may be capable
of achieving such result, be final and binding on all parties.

It was provided that after the expiration of six months following a
final decision by the board, any question of wages, hours, and condi­
tions in any plant, so decided, might be reopened upon the request of
the majority of the craft or crafts at such plant affected by the agree­
ment or decision.
PARTIES TO THE AGREEMENT.

The memorandum containing the agreement was signed, on behalf
of the Government agencies concerned, by Edward N. Hurley, chair­
man of the United States Shipping Board; by W . L. Capps, general
manager of the Emergency Fleet Corporation; and by Franklin D.
Roosevelt, Acting Secretary of the Navy.
The following labor representatives signed, in person or by proxy,
on behalf of their respective organizations: Samuel Gompers, presi­
dent of the American Federation of Labor; James O’Connell, presi­
dent, and A. J. Berres, secretary of the Metal Trades Department,
American Federation of Labor; John Donlin, president of the Build­
ing Trades Department, American Federation of Labor; John R.
Alpine, president of the United Association of Plumbers, Gas, Steam
and Hot Water Fitters, etc.; William W . Britton, president of the
Metal Polishers, Buffers, etc., International Union of North America;
James A. Franklin, president of the International Brotherhood of
Boiler Makers, Iron Ship Builders and Helpers of America; John J.
Hynes, president of the Amalgamated Sheet Metal Workers’ Inter­
national Alliance; William H. Johnston, president of the Interna­
tional Association of Machinists; J. W . Kline, president of the Inter­
national Brotherhood of Blacksmiths of America; Frank J. McNulty,
president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers;
Milton Snellings, president of the International Union of Steam
and Operating Engineers; Joseph F. Valentine, president of the
International Molders Union; James Wilson, president of the Pattern
Makers League of North America; Theobald M. Guerin,2 general
executive board, first district', United Brotherhood of Carpenters and
Joiners of America.
2 T h is s ig n a t u r e w a s w i t h d r a w n a f e w w e e k s la t e r .




ORIGIN AND ORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD.

1 1

ORGANIZATION OF ADJUSTMENT BOARD.

Upon recommendation of the officers affiliated with the Metal
Trades Department, the president of the American Federation of
Labor appointed as labor representative on the board A. J. Berres,
secretary of the Metal Trades Department.
The Secretary and the Assistant Secretary for the Navy, and Chair­
man Hurley and Admiral Capps for the Shipping Board, conferred
with Mr. Gompers and with the officers of the Metal Trades Depart­
ment as to a suitable person to represent the public. The outcome
of these conferences was a letter from the Secretary of the Navy to
the President of the United States recommending the appointment of
V. Everit Macy, of New York, president of the National Civic Federa­
tion. The President appointed Mr. Macy as recommended. The
first suggestions for a member representing the Emergency Fleet
Corporation and the Navy were not followed, owing to the fact that
the men whose names were suggested were thought by labor repre­
sentatives to be antagonistic to organized labor and hence not suited
to occupy a responsible position in an organization whose success
necessitated the active cooperation and support of organized labor.
Finally Mr.- Hurley, on behalf of the Shipping Board, submitted the
name of E. F. Carry, of Chicago, president 01 the Haskell & Barker
Car Co., who was appointed as the third member of the board.
The board immediately organized, electing Mr. Macy chairman,
Mr. Carry vice chairman, and Mr. Berres secretary; Mr. Wehle was
assigned by the Emergency Fleet Corporation as counsel for the
board, and Mr. Kemper was appointed as clerk and stenographer.
SHIPBUILDING LABOR SITUATION DURING SUMMER OF 1917.

There was a grave condition of unrest among shipyard employees
at the time the board was organized. A strike involving 10,000 to
15,000 men was in progress in the shipyards surrounding New York,
and there was also a strike in a plant at Wilmington, Del. A strike
vote had been taken by the employees in various shipyards in Seattle,
Portland, and San Francisco.
Upon consultation with Mr. Hurley, telegrams were sent by the
board on September 2 to the Metal Trades Council of Seattle assuring
them that, if the men would remain at work and would send repre­
sentatives to Washington to present their requests to the Shipbuilding
Labor Adjustment Board, the expenses of three delegates would be
paid, and any decision arrived at by the Shipbuilding Labor Adjust­
ment Board would be made retroactive to August 1, 1917. On the
following day a similar telegram was sent to Portland.
Early in September the boiler makers of San Francisco went out on
the issue of unfair material, which had been pending there, and on
September 17 the other trades went out on account of wages.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR INCREASED WAGE PAYMENTS.

Pending the outcome of communication with the Pacific coast,
the board held several conferences with yard owners and men in New
York and with the superintendent of the Wilmington plant of the
Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation and the union leaders at Wil­
mington.
The first question that arose in these early conferences was whether
the cost of any wage increase should be borne by private employers




1 2

SHIPBUILDING LABOR AD JUSTM EN T BOARD.

or by the Government department interested. The Shipping Board
itself had been so recently organized and the conditions and facilities
of the various yards were so varied that the Emergency Fleet Corpo­
ration was compelled to make a variety of contracts. In addition, the
Government had commandeered all vessels under construction in the
shipyards and assumed varying degrees of responsibility under these
commandeered contracts.
It was clear that the question of financial responsibility for the
payment of any increased wage awarded by the board was the first
question to be decided. The issue was immediately brought to the
front by the yard owners in New York and Wilmington flatly refusing
to appoint representatives on the board until this question of financial
responsibility was determined.
FINALITY OF BOARD’S DECISIONS.

Realizing that many millions of dollars were involved and that
precedents would be established that would continue for the duration
of the war, the board addressed to Chairman Hurley on September 7,
1917, a memorandum on the subject of financial responsibility for
wage increases. On the following day a letter was received from Mr.
Hurley, inclosing one from Admiral Capps, general manager of the
Emergency Fleet Corporation, in which the position was taken that
final approval of any decision involving increase in wages should be
left for the Emergency Fleet Corporation, the ground for this position
being that without such right of review the chairman of the board
and the general manager of the Fleet Corporation could not be held
responsible for the cost of ships. This responsibility, they contended,
could not be delegated to others.
The board felt that the position of the chairman and the general
manager of the Fleet Corporation was in conflict not only with the
spirit of the agreement of August 20, but with the specific provisions
of the agreement which provided that all decisions handed down by
the board should befinal and binding upon all parties to the agreement.
The representatives of the Navy and the American Federation of
Labor approved the stand taken by the board. Upon receipt of Mr.
Hurley's letter, Mr. Carry, Emergency Fleet Corporation representa­
tive on the board, felt compelled to resign and presented his letter of
resignation to Chairman Hurley on September 11, 1917.
Between that time and September 23, many conferences were held
between the two remaining members of the board and the three
parties signatory to the agreement of August 20. The question was
finally laid before the President of the United States, and at a con­
ference in which the President was represented by Mr. Tumulty, and
at which Mr. Macy and Mr. Gompers were present, an understanding
was reached that the board's decisions were to be final and not subject
to review by any of the parties signatory to the agreement.
Mr. Carry was reappointed to membership on the board, and the
Fleet Corporation assumed responsibility for seeing that decisions of
the board were immediately put into effect and wages paid in accord­
ance with such decisions. The Navy Department and the Emergency
Fleet Corporation agreed to take up through their local staffs the
adjustment of any increased wage scale with each company, according




ORIGIN AND ORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD.

13

to the terms of the particular contract under which the company was
operating.
The initial organization period of the board’s history was concluded
by the action of the President in supporting the finality of the board’s
decisions. At the time the agreement of August 20 was signed, it was
felt that the board should interfere as little as possible with the
prevailing conditions in individual shipyards. It was the impression
of all parties that the board would be required to function only in
cases where strikes were about to occur, and that the wages estab­
lished by the board would be minimum wages. If these assumptions
had fitted the actual facts of the situation, the question of review and
of responsibility for wage increases might not have come to the front
with such insistence. The far-reaching powers confirmed by the Pres­
ident of the United States and the acceptance of the responsibility
for wage increases by the Government lay at the foundation of all
the subsequent work of the board.
AGREEMENT OF DECEMBER 8, 1917.

Experience on the Pacific coast as set forth in the next chapter re­
vealed the necessity for material changes in the machinery of adjust­
ment. In the revised agreement of December 8, 1917, reproduced as
Appendix A (see p. 98), the provisions under which the board was
constituted were changed to read as follows:
When disputes arise concerning wages, hours, and conditions of labor in the con­
struction or repair of shipbuilding plants, or of ships in shipyards, under the United
States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, or under said Shipping Board,
or under contract with said corporation, or with said board, or if questions coming
under the jurisdiction of the board arise with reference to such construction in a
private plant in which construction is also being carried on for the Navy Department,
and attempts at mediation or conciliation between employers and employees have
failed, the adjustment of such disputes shall be referred to an adjustment board of
three persons, hereinafter called the “ board,” one to be appointed jointly by the
said corporation and the Navy Department, one to represent the public and to be
appointed by the President of the United States, and one to represent labor, to
be appointed by Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor.

Other changes brought about by the revised agreement were as
follows:
1. In addition to the power of appointing examiners on its own
initiative in case the representatives of employers and workers failed
to agree, provision was made that “ if the board deems it advisable
itself to name an examiner or examiners” it might do so by unani­
mous action without referring the matter to the representatives of
employers and men.
2. The revised agreement omitted the detailed provision for adjust­
ment as between the district officers of the Emergency Fleet Corpora­
tion arid the local representatives of labor.
3. The language with respect to basic standards for adjustment
was changed from “ such scales of wages and hours as were in force
in such plant on July 15, 1917, and such conditions as obtained on
said date in such plant” to read “ the wage rate prevailing in the dis­
trict in which such plant or plants are located, provided such wage
rates have been established through agreements between employer
and employees and are admitted to be equitable.”
4. The revised agreement made provision for a board of review and
appeal, to be made up of three members named jointly by the Emer­




14

SHIPBUILDING LABOR AD JUSTM EN T BOARD.

gency Fleet Corporation and the Navy Department and three members
to be named by the president of the American Federation of Labor.
These changes all worked in the direction of simplification and
centralization. More definitely than the agreement of August 20
that of December 8 placed upon the international officers the authority
to represent labor even in cases having a local significance and made
one board, in which the Government, the general public, and labor
were each represented by a single member, the instrument for all
adjustments. Realization of the necessity of such a board, with
>ower both to make final decisions and to create its own machinery
or enforcing them, came not because of any preconceived theory but
because of the growing appreciation of the gravity of the emergency
which confronted the country and of the importance of unified action.

S




C H A P T E R

I I .—

A D J U S T M E N T S

O N

T H E

P A C IF IC

C O A S T ,

19 17.

On October 3, 1917, the members of the board started for Seattle.
During the preceding week Henry R. Seager, of Columbia Uni­
versity, became executive secretary.
The board was also ac­
companied by W . Jett Lauck as statistician, who later organized
and directed, in cooperation with Carleton II. Parker and W . F.
Ogburn of the University of Washington, the investigations into
wage rates and cost of living in Seattle, Portland, and San Fran­
cisco on which the Pacific coast decision was based.
As the members of the board were about to start on this trip, Mr.
Carry was taken ill and was compelled a second time to resign; the
Emergency Fleet Corporation appointed Louis A. Coolidge, of Bos­
ton, treasurer of the United Shoe Machinery Co., as his successor.
As explained in the preceding chapter, delegates from Seattle and
Portland had come to Washington, expecting to adjust the matters
in dispute in the Puget Sound and Columbia River yards. Unfor­
tunately their arrival in Washington was coincident with Mr. Carry’s
first resignation and the confusion resulting from the conflicting
views as to the real status of the board. Consequently, there was
no one in Washington at the moment with whom these delegates
could officially negotiate. On September 21 the Portland representa* tives returned home, and on September 23, the very day on which
the board reconvened after the binding authority of its decisions
had been conceded, the Seattle delegation also departed. On the
same day the board sent telegrams to the coast, saying that it ex­
pected to go there and hear all questions in dispute. Notwith­
standing this action, by the time the disappointed delegates reached
the coast, all the employees of the yards in Seattle and many of those
in Portland were on strike. The strikes in Seattle, Portland, and
San Francisco practically tied up the entire shipbuilding program
on the coast. It involved 40,000 shipyard employees besides 10,000
other metal trade workers in California whio had agreed to abide by
prices established by the Navy.
The situation created by the failure of the delegates from the
coast to accomplish anything by their journey East was an extremely
delicate one. It was felt that the active cooperation of the inter­
national presidents of the unions involved would be necessary, in
order to reestablish industrial peace. Five of the international
presidents, therefore, were requested to go to the coast and coop­
erate with the board in getting the men back to work, pending
final settlement of the questions in dispute. They responded to
this request and joined the board shortly after its arrival m Seattle.
SHIPBUILDING SITUATION IN SEATTLE.

The situation that the board found in Seattle was most compli­
cated. Before the outbreak of the European war, the Seattle Dry
Dock & Construction Co. was the only shipbuilding corporation in
the city. During the period from 1914 to our entry into the war,
two additional steel-ship yards had been built. Several yards had
been opened for the construction of wooden ships. Immediately




15

16

SHIPBUILDING LABOR AD JUSTM EN T BOARD.

upon the American declaration of war, two more steel-ship yards
and many wooden-ship yards were begun in the Puget Sound dis­
trict.
The longer a shipyard had been established the less remunerative
were its contracts, for during the period from 1915 on there had been
a rapid increase in the cost of material and labor. The owners of
one of the steel-ship yards in Seattle were also interested in large
lumber operations and started building ships originally for their
own use. The demand for ships, however, even before our entry
into the war, was so great that this company was able to sell the
vessels built for itself at large profit and to obtain many remunera­
tive contracts from private companies and foreign Governments.
This company was managed by a far-sighted man who, in midsummer,
1917, came to Washington and obtained contracts from the Emer­
gency Fleet Corporation for the full capacity of the yards for some
time in advance. Realizing the competition for labor, a clause
was inserted in these contracts providing that the prices on ves­
sels included a 20 per cent increase over the wages they were then
paying.
LABOR CONDITIONS.
The increase in the number of shipyards naturally created a
great shortage of men skilled in the shipyard crafts, and the com­
panies holding recent contracts had a great advantage in bidding
for labor over those companies which had older contracts for lower
priced ships.
The metal trades in Seattle had been accustomed for the most part
to entering into annual agreements with the trade-unions. The
agreement in force at the time of our entry into the war was to
expire on August 1, 1917. The majority of men employed in the
metal trades were in July, 1917, receiving wages well above the basic
$4 per day provided for in the agreement; the employees of the Seat­
tle steel-ship yard mentioned above were very largely in this class.
A 20 per cent increase over the existing wages, therefore, did not
mean an increase over the wages stipulated in the existing agreement,
but over a figure considerably in excess of that amount. The con­
tracts and the policies of this company were instrumental in causing
a great deal of the unrest that later developed. As this company
was in a position to execute its contract profitably under any wage
situation that was likely to arise, its employees received the impres­
sion that it was willing at its own expense materially to increase their
compensation and that it was their generous advocate before the
Government board. The mental attitude thus created was reflected
in all the attempts at adjustment throughout the whole period of the
war. Even after the armistice, this mental attitude persisted and
furnished the whole psychological foundation for the Puget Sound
strike in the winter of 1919.
Since competition for shipbuilding labor extended all the way from
Vancouver to San Diego, with the Government as the sole contracting
party, the effect of the Seattle situation reacted on the entire coast.
A large number of new shipyards had been established within the
preceding few months, and each of them was making a desperate
effort to recruit its forces as far as possible from the older yards.
Naturally anything which worked toward high wages for the em­
ployees of one company was far reaching in its effects.




ADJUSTMENTS ON THE PACIFIC COAST, 191*7.

17

DEMANDS OF UNIONS.
In July, 1917, the Metal Trades Council of Seattle submitted a new
agreement to the yard owners. This agreement provided for pay­
ment of $6 per 8-hour day for all basic crafts, and increased the
wages of laborers, helpers, and semiskilled men in proportion. This
agreement was proposed to take effect August 1, 1917, and to remain
in effect for one year. There were also clauses providing for the
closed shop and other union conditions.
Owing to the clause in the contracts of the Seattle company above
mentioned, this company was able, without financial loss, to sign an
agreement which went very far toward granting all the demands of
the men. They agreed to pay $5.50 a day for all the basic trades
from August 1, 1917, to January 1, 1918, and $6 a day thereafter.
Some of the wooden-ship yards entered into similar agreements with
their relatively few metal trades employees.
The other shipyards, having older or less favorable contracts de­
clared that they could not concede the demands of their employees
without incurring serious financial loss. They, therefore, refused to
accept the proposed scale. The unions thereupon decided to call a
strike, not only in all the shipyards, but in all the metal trade estab­
lishments in Seattle. Much ill-feeling and disappointment were
caused by the return of the Seattle delegates without any settlement
haying been made in Washington. In some way the delegates had
gained the impression from their talk with Mr. Hurley that the au­
thorities in Washington felt that their claims were just and that the
men were entitled to the $6 per day asked for.
Another complication was the fact that the competition among
the large number of yards building wooden ships had enabled the
carpenters to sign an agreement with 90 per cent of the shipyards
for a scale of $6 a day for shipwrights, carpenters, and calkers.
When it was announced that the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment
Board would visit Seattle and hold hearings for the purpose of deter­
mining a fair wage scale, many of the smaller shops in that vicinity
signed agreements with the unions granting their demands, pending
the establishment of a wage scale by the board. These agreements
>rovided that both parties to the dispute would be bound by the
ater decision.
ACTION BY BOARD.

f

In accordance with the section on basic standards in the agreement
of August 20, the board caused a careful inquiry to be made into the
changes in the cost of living which had occurred during the life of
the previous agreement of the unions, i. e., from August, 1916, to
August, 1917. There was some controversy as to which of the various
figures secured should be given weight in making wage determina­
tions, but the local circumstances on the coast in the fall of 1917 were
such that cost of living was brought less insistently to the considera­
tion of the board than were the peculiar conditions created by the
wages already being paid and by the expectations which the men
had been encouraged to entertain.
The board began its hearings October 8, 1917. As a first step a
local representative of employees in the steel-ship yards and a local
representative of the wooden-ship yards were formally accepted to
membership on the board. Similarly a representative of the steel305330— 21— Bull. 283------- 2




18

SH IPBUILDING LABOR ADJUSTM ENT BOARD.

ship yard owners and a representative of the owners of woodenship yards were invited to sit with the board as members.
Public hearings were held morning and afternoon for five days,
and during the evenings the board met with representatives of the
men, trying to persuade them to return to work pending the decision.
Owing to the fact that employees of the shipyards of Portland were
also still on strike and that the competition for labor extended along
the entire coast, the board realized that it would be unwise to render
a decision establishing the wages and conditions of employment for
Seattle alone without having knowledge as to conditions in other
localities. This situation forced the board to consider whether it
would not be wise to establish a uniform rate of wages for the entire
Pacific coast in order to prevent the shifting of men from locality to
locality. A suggestion to this effect met with the unanimous ap­
proval of the shipyard owners and of the representatives of the men
in Seattle.
After giving the subject careful consideration, the board decided
that it would hold hearings in Portland and San Francisco before
making any wage decision, since it was clear that, in the event of
the entire coast being agreeable to a uniform rate, it would be
necessary to strike some sort of an average between the varying rates
in effect at different points on the coast.
While it was generally agreed that a uniform rate was advisable,
it was suggested that no awards be handed down until the board had
finished its hearings. This suggestion met with opposition from the
men in Seattle, and many of them, owing to the experience of their
representatives in Washington, were opposed to returning to work
until they knew the terms they were going to receive. The board
decided, however, to proceed with the hearings in Portland and San
Francisco. The international presidents of the unions had joined
with members of the board in making a patriotic appeal to the men
to return to work. By the time the board left Seattle on October 13,
1917, several of the unions of the Metal Trades Council had responded
to this appeal. The vote to return upon the old conditions, pending
final decision, was based on the promise that any award would be
made retroactive to August 1.
The boiler makers7 organization, which contained nearly half the
men employed in the steel-ship yards, had not voted on the question
of returning to work, and in consequence the five international
presidents remained in Seattle after the board left in order to assist
in obtaining a vote from all organizations immediately to resume
work. This end was speedily accomplished and the international
presidents joined the board in Portland early in the following w^eek.
The board arrived in Portland Monday, October 15, 1917, and began
its hearings the following day. A representative was chosen by the
shipbuilders to sit with the board and represent both the wooden and
steel shipyards, where the men in the wooden and steel shipyards
chose separate representation.
SHIPBUILDING SITUATION IN COLUMBIA RIVER DISTRICT.

Before 1914 there had been only one steel-ship yard in Portland.
There was also one large firm which manufactured the boilers used
on the entire coast, and agaiffet which the strike in San Francisco on
account of unfair material had been called. About the time of our




ADJUSTM ENTS ON TH E PACIFIC COAST, 1917.

19

entry into the war, three other steel-ship yards were constructed in
Portland, and a large number of wooden-ship yards were opened in
the Columbia River district.
LABOK CONDITIONS.
The labor conditions in Portland were entirely different from those
in Seattle. The struggle between organized labor and the employers’
association had been going on with bitterness for some years, and the
employers’ organization had been sufficiently strong to defeat all
attempts of the unions to obtain recognition. Owing to the rapid
multiplication of shipyards, and the shortage of labor after our entry
into the war, the unions had obtained a good foothold, but their
position was in no way comparable to that which the unions occu­
pied in Seattle. Unlike the workers in the Puget Sound woodenship yards, the shipwrights in the Columbia River district had not been
able to secure from employers the $6 rate, and, in general, wages in
Portland were considerably below the rates for similar work in
Seattle.
ACTION BY THE BOARD.
* For two days the board held hearings, mornings and afternoons,
and spent the evenings in informal conferences with representatives
of the men and with employers, trying to get the men back to work
pending the decision of the board. The feeling of distrust and antago­
nism on both sides was too deeply rooted to permit of fairminded
statements of the case, and not much progress was made. The
storm by which the air was finally cleared broke forth in connec­
tion with an incident which well illustrates the lengths to which pre­
vious labor struggles had gone, and shows how these struggles com­
plicated the task of the board.
During one of the hearings it was brought out that the employers’
association had the previous year introduced a bill in the State legis­
lature making it an act of conspiracy for anyone to try to change
the relations between the employer and his employees. This pro­
posed law failed of passage in the legislature, but a few months before
the arrival of the board in Portland it was enacted as a city ordinance.
The second evening on which a conference was held, one of the
labor leaders while on his way to the conference was arrested under
this “ conspiracy” ordinance and taken to the police station, together
with some 120 other men who were talking in small groups in the
street. This arbitrary action created an immediate crisis in the nego­
tiations. The board expressed indignation that such action should
be taken at a time of national emergency when a Federal board was
trying to adjust disputes. The employers suggested that the mayor
of the city should immediately be summoned before the board, but
as a Federal body the board had no jurisdiction over either the
mayor or the ordinance under which action had been taken.
The employers expressed surprise that the public authorities should
so drastically enforce the ordinance and their deep regret over the
occurrence. It was suggested, therefore, that two of the employers
present should accompany two representatives of the union to the
police-station and either bail out or obtain the discharge of all the
men detained. About midnight this joint committee returned,
having brought about the release of the men arrested.




2 0

SHIPBUILDING LABOR ADJUSTM ENT BOARD.

AGREEMENT AS TO WORKING CONDITIONS.
Success in this joint effort so changed the atmosphere that hearings
during the next two days resulted in rapid progress. After the five
international presidents arrived from Seattle and participated in the
later conferences, an agreement was drawn up and signed by them and
by the leading employers. Among the most important stipulations
of the agreement 1 were the following: All questions relating to basic
wage scale and overtime should be left to the determination of the
board; grievances should be taken up by shop committees and pre­
sented to the foremen and superintendents, and if necessary, to the
president of the company, the examiner being called in if the presi­
dent failed to adjust the matter satisfactorily; no discrimination
should be practiced against committeemen nor, in the reemployment
of men, against those who had taken part in the existing strike.
Some question arose in connection with later adjustments as to
whether this agreement limited the jurisdiction of the board in the
Columbia River district, and a demurrer to certain findings of the
board was expressed by one of the yards on the ground that the
particular exercise of jurisdiction was not in accord with the agree­
ment. The board considered itself bound by the Columbia River
agreement, which was entered into for the duration of the war, but
since that agreement itself contained an express provision making
the memorandum of August 20, 1917, binding as part thereof, the
board could see no basis for the demurrer. Except as to the working
conditions prescribed by the agreement, the jurisdiction of the board
was not affected by it.
An interesting but, for the purposes of the board, not a very im­
portant question arose as to whether the agreement was a recogni­
tion of the unions. Although it was drawn up after several confer­
ences between the employers, the international presidents, and the
Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board, the employers maintained
that they had in no way recognized the unions, but had made the
resulting agreement with the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board.
In any case, both sides had attached their signatures to the instrument.
After the agreement had been executed, all the Portland unions
voted to return to work pending the decision of the board as to
wages and hours to be rendered at the conclusion of hearings to be
held in San Francisco.
SHIPBUILDING SITUATION IN SAN FRANCISCO.

The board began its deliberations in San Francisco on October 22.
The president of the Iron Trades Council represented the employees,
the assistant to the general manager of the Union Iron Works repre­
sented the shipyards.
President Wilson and Mr. Hurley had requested Gavin McNab,
of San Francisco, to obtain a temporary settlement of the San Fran­
cisco strike, pending the arrival of the board. Mr. McNab had been
accepted as the President’s representative by both parties to the
dispute, and had succeeded in the task set some time before the
board’s arrival.
As labor conditions in San Francisco had for many years been
determined by joint negotiation and joint agreement between em­
1 T h e t e x t o f th e a g re e m e n t a p p e a rs in fu ll in
L a b o r S t a tis t ic s fo r M a r c h , 1918 ( p p . 72, 7 3).




th e M o n th ly R e v ie w o f th e U n ite d S ta te s B u r e a u o f

ADJUSTMENTS ON THE PACIFIC COAST, 1917.

21

ployers and employees, strongly organized on both sides, the pre­
sentation of the contentions of both sides was much more elaborate
and time consuming than had been the case either in Seattle or
Portland. In consequence the decision was not rendered until
November 4, 1917.
PACIFIC COAST AWARD OF NOVEMBER 4, 1917.2

The Pacific coast award handed down at the conclusion of the
meetings in San Francisco was one of the three decisions in the
board’s history in which action was not unanimous. In dissenting
from the decision reached, the local representatives of labor were
joined by the labor member of the board. Their reasons for dis­
senting were that the Puget Sound district had obtained the wage
rates paid by the Skinner & Eddy Corporation, which were higher
than the rate contained in the award of the board. The labor rep­
resentatives took the position that this condition should be given
greater weight in arriving at a wage rate for the entire coast and held
for a basic rate of 15.50 instead of the $5.25 awarded. The majority
of the board, on the other hand, held that the higher wage, applying
only to 6,000 men should not be made the basis for the wages of
50,000 men, w^hen the increase which such a wage represented was
in excess of what was called for by the increase in the cost of living.
After some general statements concerning the policy of the board
and the conditions of industry, the Pacific coast award contains the
following statement concerning the factors considered in making the
wage award:
In arriving at a fair wage scale, we have had two ends in view: Equalizing wage
rates in the three shipbuilding centers, and adjusting wages to the higher cost of living
resulting from the war.
The enticing of workers from one plant to another and from one city to another has
had a demoralizing effect on the production of ships. The establishment of a uniform
wage scale for the San Francisco, Columbia River, and Puget Sound districts will have
a steadying influence. Therefore, since the cost of living in these districts is substan­
tially the same, we have decided upon a uniform scale for all of them.
In order to preserve the standards of living in existence before the war, we took as a
basis the rates on which employers and employees had united, as shown by the agree­
ments in effect June 1, 1916. To determine the increase in the cost of living from
that time until October 1, we made use not only of the evidence presented at our
hearings in three cities, but also of all other available material and investigations,
including Federal, State, and municipal reports. The wages fixed represent the
wages current in the three cities, increased to conform to the ascertained increase in
the cost of living.
We believe that public opinion approves the intention of the Government to pro­
tect, so far as may be possible, American standards of living. On the other hand, we
do not believe that advantage should be taken of the national emergency to increase
wages beyond a point corresponding to the increased cost of living. Attracting workers
to the shipbuilding industries of the Pacific coast by establishing higher wage3 than
are justified by the expense of living would, we believe, instead of improving the na­
tional labor situation, cause even greater disorganization than already exists. As a
,
national board we feel bound to view our task nationally and arrive at decisions that
will tend to increase the production of ships and other essential commodities, not
merely in one locality but in the whole country.
^Cooperation of employers and employees will be counted upon to adjust in propor­
tion to the scale hereby fixed all differences, if any, which now exist or which may
hereafter arise with respect to wages of employees not specifically named in the at­
tached schedule. ^ In any event, it must be borne in mind that any such differences
not covered by this report and decision are subject to prompt adjustment through the
medium of the examiner of each district.
2 T h e f u l l t e x t o f t h is a w a r d a p p e a r s in t h e M o n t h l y R e v i e w o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s B u r e a u o f L a b o r
S t a t is t ic s fo r M a r c h , 1918 ( p p . 6 7 -7 3 ).




2 2

SHIPBUILDING LABOR AD JUSTM EN T BOARD.

In selecting the rates prevailing June 1, 1916, as the basis for its
decision instead of those prevailing July 15, 1917, as proposed in the
memorandum, the board carried out the spirit, rather than the let­
ter, of the agreement. The supplementary provision of the agree­
ment that “ consideration shall be given by the board to any cir­
cumstances whatever arising after such wages, hours, or conditions
were established" clearly made it mandatory that the board should
go back to the period when the rates which prevailed on July 15,
1917, first became effective. To have taken as a basis the rates of
July 15, 1917, which had already been in effect many months, would
have been highly unfair to the men. It was both more reasonable
and more in harmony with the spirit of the agreement to take
the rates mutually agreed upon before our entry into the war and to
date the calculation of the increase in the cost of living from the
period when these rates first became operative.
The wage for the so-called basic crafts in steel-ship yards was fixed
at $5.25 for an 8-hour day, with that for other crafts and workers in
proportion. The rate for shipwrights in waoden-ship yards was fixed
at $6, and for wood calkers at $6.50. The limited time at the dis­
posal of the board for the formulation of its impatiently awaited de­
cision caused it to include rates only for the crafts recognized in all
the districts and to leave to the examiners, whose appointment was
made a part of the award, the determination of the proper correspond­
ing rates for the other more special crafts in the respective districts.
As already stated the basic rate of $5.25 was strenuously objected to
by the representatives of the men on the ground that higher rates were
already being paid by one of the Seattle yards and by other individual
employers in Seattle. The board believed that it met this objection
by the insertion in the award of the provision that “ rates of wages
now being paid in excess of the minimum rates fixed are in no wise
altered or affected by the establishment of these rates," and also be­
lieved that the increase for those receiving lower rates was all that
the facts warranted.
The representatives of the Emergency Fleet Corporation and of the
Navy, to whom appeal was made, feared that unless some further
concession was made the men in Seattle and San Francisco, if not in
Portland, would again walk out and felt that this must at all costs be
avoided. They, therefore, hit on the expedient of a 10 per cent “ war
bonus" to be paid from December 15, 1917, to February 1, 1918, to
all employees in the Pacific coast shipyards affected “ who work for
six consecutive days in any week, a total of not less than 48 hours."
On and after February 1, 1918, when under the agreement a new
award might be demanded for the Puget Sound yards, this 10 per cent
was to be added for all employees without any attendance requirement
to the wage scales fixed by the board or under its authority. The basic
scale was thus raised on February 1 to $5,775 without any action by
the board, its task being limited to a determination of whether a still
further advance was required on that date by the increase in the cost
of living or by other circumstances.
The principal issues submitted to the board were dealt with in sec­
tion 6 of the award as follows:
First. The minimum rates of wages to be paid the different classes of employees in
the shipyards covered by this decision shall be as set forth in the schedule appended
hereto (Exhibit A), which is made a substantive part of this award.




ADJUSTMENTS Oltf THE PACIFIC COAST, 1911.

23

Second. These rates are to be retroactive for employees in the shipyards of the San
Francisco Bay district from September 22, for those in the shipyards of the Columbia
River district from September 5, and for those in the yards of the Puget Sound district
from August 1.
Third. The shipyard owners shall pay to employees who were employed by them
during the interval from the dates specified above for the respective districts and the
dates when the new rates fixed by this award are put into effect, back pay for all the
time they worked in such interval equal to the difference between their wages calcu­
lated at the new rates and the wages they actually received, such back pay to be paid
within two weeks after this decision is to take effect.
Fourth. Rates of wages now being paid in excess of the minimum rates fixed are in
nowise altered or affected by the establishment of these rates.
Fifth. The working conditions in the shipyards of the San Francisco Bay district
shall be those agreed to by the representatives of employers and employees in said dis­
trict as appended hereto (Exhibit B), which agreement is made a substantive part of
this award.
Sixth. The working conditions in the shipyards of the Columbia River district shall
be those heretofore established by the parties according to the terms of Exhibit C,
hereto appended, which is made a substantive part hereof, and all existing craft condi­
tions not changed by said Exhibit C shall remain unchanged unless modified by
agreement of the parties approved by this board; provided that double time shall be
paid for work on holidays and on Saturday afternoons in June, July, and August, and
that rate of payment for work in excess of the 8-hour day shall be fixed by mutual agree­
ment, or failing agreement by the examiner for the Columbia River district.
Seventh. The working conditions in the shipyards of the Puget Sound district shall
be determined by collective agreement of the employers and employees in the ship­
yards of said district, subject to the approval of the board.
Eighth. This decision shall apply to all shipyards of the San Francisco Bay, Colum­
bia River, and Puget Sound districts which were involved in disputes with their
employees during September or October, 1917.
Ninth. In accordance with the understanding reached by all parties throughout
the coast district, no'chojige shall be made in any existing craft conditions nor shall
any new craft conditions be established until the same shall have been agreed upon
between employer and employee, subject to the approval of this board.
Tenth. This decision shall be put into effect on or before Monday, November 12,
1917.

As is stated above, Exhibits B and 0, attached to the award,
contain agreements as to working conditions in the San Francisco
Bay and the Columbia River districts, respectively. Among the dis­
tinctive provisions of the agreement which covered the San Francisco
Bay district were the following: After February 1, double time was
to be paid for overtime and certain specified holidays; an additional
5 per cent was to be added to the daily rate of all men working on
night shifts; grievances were to be taken up by duly authorized
representatives of the firm and the union involved, or by a conference
should these two representatives fail to adjust the difficulty, and by
the examiner of the district should the conference in turn fail; strikes
and lockouts were to be abandoned; the life of this agreement, unlike
that of the Portland agreement, which was made equal to the dura­
tion of the war, was to be one year, a conference being announced to
meet 10 months after the signing of the agreement to consider the
relations to be established for the future.
Henry McBride, of Seattle; Richard W . Montague, of Portland,
and Mortimer Fleischacker, of San Francisco, were appointed exam­
iners to represent the board on the Pacific coast in connection with
the many issues that inevitably arose under this award. The return
of the board to Washington immediately after the announcement of
the award and the difficulties and delays incident to long-distance
communication thereafter threw upon the Pacific coast examiners a
specially heavy burden.




C H A P T E R

I I I .—

D E L A W A R E

R IV E R

A W A R D .1

Even before the board started for the Pacific coast, disputes had
arisen in some of the Delaware River yards. On August 28, 1917,
about 600 men, members of the International Brotherhood of
Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, and Helpers, struck at the Harlan
& Hollingsworth plant of the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at
Wilmington. Strikes occurred also in this period in plants in and
near Philadelphia. During the boards absence Raymond B. Stevens,
vice chairman of the United States Shipping Board, succeeded in
adjusting the differences on the basis of a 10 per cent increase in
wages and the promise that any later award by the Shipbuilding
Labor Adjustment Board shoulcl be retroactive to the date when
the men returned to work, November 2.
Preliminary hearings were held by the board in Philadelphia, on
December 20 and 21, at which opportunity was given to representa­
tives of the employees of all of the Delaware River shipyards and
to the shipyard owners to present their grievances. These hearings
resulted in the appointment of a joint committee of shipyard owners
and representatives of employees to agree upon a uniform classifica­
tion oi the occupations involved in steel-ship building which might
be made the basis for wage determinations.
The board reopened its hearings January 3, 1918, and continued
in session through January 11 and on January 14 and 15. Early in
the series of hearings the subcommittee presented its report, which
was accepted and made the basis of the classification of crafts, not
only for the Delaware River district, but also for all the districts,
except the Pacific coast, for which the board subsequently made
awards.
One of the most difficult problems presented b^ the yards in the
Delaware River district was the lack of uniformity in their wage
scales. In the absence of collective agreements each yard had acted
independently in the fixing of wages, and as a result the rates of
compensation paid to the same crafts by the different yards varied
greatly. These differences in hourly rates were made even greater,
as regards earnings, by complicated piecework, allowance, contract,
and bonus systems. Having no scale of wages adopted by mutual
agreement on which to base its decision, such as was available on the
Pacific coast, the board was compelled to average the wages actually
paid b^ the different yards and to modify the resulting rates by giving
due weight to all of the evidence submitted, particularly that in refer­
ence to the increase in the cost of living collected for it by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor. The
principal aims of the board in formulating its award were to adjust
the rates fairly to the increase in cost of living and to establish sub­
stantial uniformity of rates and conditions in all of the yards of the
district, and thus put a stop to the enticing of men from yard to yard,
so detrimental to efficient production.
The decision was announced February 14, and was to take effect
February 25, 1918. The wage rates prescribed were made retroi T h e D e la w a r e R i v e r a w a r d o f F e b . 1 4 ,1 9 1 8 , as r e v i s e d M a r . 1 ,1 9 1 8 , is p r in t e d in f u l l i n t h e M o n t h l y R e ­
v i e w o f t h e U n i t e d S t a te s B u r e a u o f L a b o r S t a t is t ic s f o r A p r i l , 1918 ( p p . 1 82 -1 8 8 ).

24




DELAWARE RIVER AWARD.

25

active to November 2, 1917, for all steel-ship yards of the Dela­
ware River district actually engaged in the building of ships for the
Navy Department and the Emergency Fleet Corporation; and to
January 15, 1918, the date of the hearing on conditions in those
yards, for yards predominantly in course of construction and for
crafts which appeared before the board with definite demands.
The hourly wage rate for skilled craftsmen was fixed at 72.5 cents
or $5.80 for the standard 8-hour day, as compared with $5,775 the
standard daily rate prescribed since February for Pacific coast ship­
yards. The inclusion with this standard rate for first-class mechanics
of several second-class and specialist rates made the Delaware River
wage scale as a whole, however, somewhat lower than the official
Pacific coast scale.
COMPARISON OF PACIFIC COAST AND DELAWARE RIVER AWARDS.

A comparison of the decisions for the Pacific coast and the Delaware
River districts reveals very striking differences, due mainly to the
diverse customs and conditions which the board found in these dis­
tricts when they made the awards. The Saturday half-holiday was
granted in the Delaware River district for the entire year, in keeping
with a long-established custom. Because of the lack of adequate
housing facilities near the yards, the reimbursement of employees for
their car fare was granted when the cost to or from a yard exceeded the
8 cents charged for an exchange ticket by the street-car lines of Phila­
delphia. In accordance with established custom in this district, an
addition of 10 cents to the hourly rate was granted to employees in
dry docks. This proved unsatisfactory because some of the yards
did repair work outside of dry docks while, on the other hand, one of
the yards used its dry dock as a way for new ship construction. On
the joint recommendation of the examiners later chosen for the dis­
trict the 10-cent differential was subsequently made to apply to all
employees engaged on repair work as contrasted with new con­
struction.
Another characteristic of the Delaware River award wa3 the recog­
nition in the case of some of the crafts of a second-class mechanic.
This was again in conformity with local custom as embodied in the
uniform classification of occupations recommended by the joint
committee of yard owners and employees. In no case was a second
class inserted by the board except on the basis of such recommenda­
tion ; in several instances the second class was omitted from the wage
scale, although some of the yards were in the habit of dividing their
mechanics not merely into two, but into three, four, or even more
classes. The controlling consideration in determining whether or
not a rate for second-class mechanics should be included for any
craft were the adequacy of the available supply of fully qualified
mechanics to do all the work required and the ease with which the
work of a first and of a second class artisan could be distinguished.
For example, in the case of carpenters, there was found to be a
serious deficiency in the supply of qualified ship carpenters, but a
more nearly adequate supply of ordinary house carpenters. It
seemed expedient under these conditions to recognize a second class
for ship carpenters with the expectation that it would be used as a
starting rate for training house carpenters for the special work re­
quired on a ship.




26

SHIPBUILDING LABOR AD JUSTM EN T BOARD.

SPECIAL SYSTEMS OF PAYMENT.

The special methods of payment, other than at hourly rates, i. e.,
piece rates, allowance, contract, and, bonus or premium, presented
one of the most serious problems with which the board was called
upon to deal. Piece rates for the crafts engaged on the hull, riveters
and calkers, drillers and reamers, were viewed not only by the yard
owners but by a great majority of the employees immediately con­
cerned as indispensable to efficient production and to a satisfactory
scale of earnings. The premium or bonus system was the central
feature in the shop organization of one of the largest and most efficient
yards on the river. Even the contract system for one of the crafts,
the ship fitters, was deemed by many of the yard owners and by the
most skillful of the fitters themselves as preferable to the straight
hourly wage system. As a war agency the Shipbuilding Labor
Adjustment Board considered the speeding up of ship production
its paramount duty. On the basis of the evidence presented by both
sides it early decided that the abolition of piecework would be inex­
pedient and that uniformity must be sought rather through the pre­
scription of uniform piece rates, which would become more and more
defensible as the yards were all raised to the 100 per cent efficiency
in equipment and organization, which must be the goal of all Govern­
ment regulating agencies in the war emergency. Piece-rate scales
for riveting, chipping and calking, drilling, reaming, and lining up
were therefore included in the decision.
As regards the other special systems of payment, the board laid
down in its decision the broad principle 2 that “ no bonus or premium
in addition to the minimum rates and piece rates prescribed in this
award shall in future be paid,” but added the saving clause “ except
with the express permission of the board.” In response to the letter
calling attention to this proviso, which accompanied the decision, only
the yard already referred to, which had made the premium system a
central feature of its organization, requested permission to continue
it in operation. After satisfying itself that a change for this yard
would be disrupting at the very time when the production of more
ships was the crying need of the hour, the desired permission was
granted. Requests to introduce the premium system subsequently
made by other yards were denied on the ground that introducing the
system was a very different matter from maintaining it when already
in full operation, and that other methods more acceptable to the
employees would better bring about the increased efficiency which
the yard owners desired.
Uniform piecework scales were an addition to this decision not
found in the Pacific coast award. A feature of that award conspicu­
ously absent from the Delaware River decision was the prescription
of shop committees. This omission was due to the board's confident
expectation at the time its decision was rendered that the yard
owners and their organized employees would enter into a joint
agreement establishing machinery for the prompt and amicable
adjustment of local grievances and its conviction that machinery
adopted by joint agreement was preferable to any machinery which
it might prescribe. When it was realized that the yards of this dis­
2 Section 3 of award.




DELAW ARE RIVER AW ARD.

27

trict were not yet ready to enter into a joint agreement with repre­
sentatives of their organized employees, the provisions for shop
committees embodied in the South Atlantic, North Atlantic, and
Great Lakes decisions, subsequently issued, were made in the
October decision to apply also to the Delaware River and Baltimore
districts
EXTENSION AND REVISION OF AW ARD.

Although its decision was based upon investigation of conditions
in the Delaware River yards, the board satisfied itself that the best
interests of the Government would be served if the Delaware River
district were made to include also the yards in and near Baltimore.
Request for such an extension having been received from the organ­
ized workers in these yards, it was formally ordered on February
16 in notices communicated to the yard owners and representatives
of the employees, respectively.
In response to requests from yard owners and men a conference
to consider the revision of the clecision was held in Washington on
February 26. Representatives of the yard owners and of the men
of both the Delaware River and Baltimore districts were present.
The result of this conference was the announcement of a revised
edition of the award under date of March 1. The changes in classi­
fication and rates in the new award had to do chiefly with the inclu­
sion of rates for certain occupations that had been overlooked, e. g.,
packers, passer boys, etc., and a revision of certain rates that were
proved to be out of harmony with the general scale, that is, those
for plumbers, pipe fitters, drillers, etc. Further conferences and the
hearings preparatory to the South Atlantic and North Atlantic
decisions of March 4 and April 6 made possible a second revision of
the decision under date of April 6, in which further additions and
corrections were made and the scale of wage rates was made sub­
stantially uniform for the whole Atlantic coast and Gulf.
The scale of piece rates which had been handed down in the
original award had been revised under date of February 25 and
thereafter the piece rates, though recognized as a part of the award,
were printed and distributed separately in the well-known “ black
books”
The provision for reimbursement of the men for the cost of trans­
portation to and from work was restated to make clear that the
entire cost of transportation, and not merely that which was in
excess of 8 cents, was to be paid to the men. This generous policy
toward employees living at a distance was deemed necessary, since
these men must lose much time in their trips back and forth, even
when reimbursed for their expenses, and complaints of inability to
get and retain sufficient employees were constantly increasing.
E. C. Felton, of Philadelphia, and Judge George Gray, of Wil­
mington, Del., were chosen examiners for the district on the joint
recommendation of representatives of the yard owners and the organ­
ized employees. In August an assistant examiner was appointed to
supervise the yards in the Baltimore district. The maintenance
of industrial peace and the fairly prompt adjustment of grievances
in the district during the ensuing months was due in a large measure
to the work of these examiners.




28

S H IP B U IL D IN G LABOR A D J U S T M E N T BOARD.

Machinery for the adjustment of disputes and the enforcement of
the award in the yards of the Delaware River and Baltimore districts
was in full operation when the revised decision of March 1 was
issued. When it is remembered that 60 per cent of the tonnage
being constructed on the Atlantic coast was being built by the
yards on the Delaware River and vicinity, the enormous load put
upon this machinery becomes evident. But for the fact that the
office of the board in Washington was near enough to be kept in
constant telephonic communication with the offices of the examiners
in Philadelphia and Wilmington, the machinery would hardly have
stood the strain put upon it. In consequence of this propinquity
it was possible to try out in this district without disastrous conse­
quences many of the issues involved in the attempt to regulate
wages and working conditions for an entire industry through a
Government board.




CHAPTER IV.—DELAWARE RIVER PIECEWORK AWARD.
Among the causes of dissatisfaction and unrest in the Delaware
River yards which were brought to the attention of the board at its
Philadelphia hearings, none was more serious than the divergent
piece rates paid by the different yards for substantially the same
work. Not only were the rates different, but in the case of riveting,
where the proceeds must be divided among the riveters, the holderson, and the heaters, constituting the usual working gang, the plan
of division was different. In one yard the practice had even grown
up, after a strike on the part of the heater boys, of paying the heaters
a special bonus in addition to their proper share of the gang’s pay.
Great as these differences actually were, they were magnified still
mors by rumors that constantly circulated up and down the river
causing the pieceworkers in some of the yards to feel that they were
receiving less than their fellows in other yards, even when as a matter
of fact they were receiving as much or more. This was possible
because the yard owners failed to supply their pieceworkers with
printed piece-rate scales, arguing that they might be misinterpreted
and give rise to endless controversy, and even failed to revise the
printed scales supplied to their foremen and counters to correspond
to reality, depending on verbal statements that to the printed scales
a certain percentage was to be added.
Dissatisfaction with the prevailing piece-rate scales extending
over a long period and the conviction, based on experience, that if
they exerted themselves to increase their earnings beyond a certain
amount the rates would be cut, had caused the organized employees
to enter into a tacit agreement not to turn out more than a certain
daily amount of product in their different lines. This limitation of
output, though the almost inevitable result, in a competitive industry,
of piece rates whose stability was not guaranteed by some authority
in whom the employees had confidence, was a serious obstacle to
that maximum production of ships which w the board's constant
~as
aim.
Representatives of both the shipyards and the organized em­
ployees united in urging the board to undertake the standardization
of piece as well as of hourly rates.. Appreciating that a uniform
scale of piece rates must result in widely divergent piece earnings
in shipyards differently equipped and managed, the board had
refrained from any such attempt on the Pacific coast. On the
Delaware River there seemed more ground to hope that all of the
yards might be brought speedily up to maximum efficiency and that
the improvement of the backward yards would be hastened by the
establishment of uniform piece rates and the necessity this would
impose of better equipment and better management if skilled piece­
workers were to be retained. Moreover, conditions as regards the
attitude of pieceworkers toward their work were so unsatisfactory
when the board held its hearings that it seemed as though any change
must be a change for the better.




29

30

S H IP B U IL D IN G LABOR A D J U S T M E N T BOARD.

STANDARDIZATION OF PIECE RATES.

As a basis for the standardization of piece rates, the board first
secured from the different yards the piece-rate scales in effect at
the time of its hearings and from the organized pieceworkers a state­
ment of their demands. This information was not always comparable
since different yards used different methods of describing the work to
be done. It proved necessary, therefore, to request the joint com­
mittee of the representatives of the yard owners and the organized
employees to agree upon a uniform description of the different
kinds of work to be covered by the piece-rate scales, and to submit
this in turn to the yard owners and to the pieceworkers for a restate­
ment of their current rates and of their demands, respectively.
All of the information so secured having been tabulated, conferences
were held, under the chairmanship of the secretary of the board,
with j oint committees representing the yard owners and the different
piecework crafts to secure as far as possible joint recommendations
as to scales of piece rates that would be fair and reasonable under all of
the circumstances. Both sides showed an admirable desire to agree
upon a fair scale of rates, and such merit as the scales finally approved
by the board may have had was largely due to the work of these joint
committees, whose sessions were often continued late into the night.
The joint recommendations of these conference committees, or
separate recommendations, when the two sides could not reach an
agreement, were carefully considered by the board, after it had
decided upon the hourly wage rates to be fixed. With some modifi­
cations the joint recommendations were approved and proportional
rates fixed for work for which no joint recommendations were forth­
coming. The publication of uniform piece-rate scales for riveting,
chipping and calking, drilling, reaming and lining up as appendixes
to the decision of February 14, 1918, brought the -proposed rates for
the first time to the attention of all the yard owners ana pieceworkers
concerned. Naturally many objections and criticisms were raised,
and not a few errors were discovered. The board considered these
in the rehearing on the Delaware River decision on February 26,
made such modifications and corrections as were proved fair and
reasonable, and incorporated them in the first edition of the “ black ”
or 1 piece-rate” book, the proof of which was held up until the
1
scales could be put in final form.
One purpose of the attempt to standardize piece rates was to put
an end to the constant bickering between employees and yard owners
as to the rates to be paid and to cause pieceworkers to give their
undivided and whole-hearted attention to the problem of turning
out the greatest possible number of ships. A further measure in
this direction was the formal announcement that the piece rates
established should u under no circumstances be lowered during the
duration of the war.” The following notice was printed on the
inside cover of the “ black book” and on placards which were posted
conspicuously in all the steel-ship yards to which the rates applied:
The piece rates prescribed as part of its award b y the Shipbuilding Labor Adjust"
ment Board, and printed in the piece-rate book for Delaware River and Baltimore
shipyards, shall under no circumstances be lowered during the duration of the war.
In the name of the people of the United States, we urge employees in shipyards to
do their utmost toward winning the war b y removing all limitations upon output
and hastening in every possible way, each according to his capacity, the production
of ships.




S h ip b u il d in g L a b o r A

d justm ent

B

oard.

DELAW ARE RIVER PIE C E W O R K AW ARD.

31

ENFORCEMENT OF THE AWARD.

The constant breaking in of new men without the special skill ac­
quired by long training, incident to the enormous expansion of the
American shipbuilding industry during 1917 and 1918, makes com­
parisons of average output during the war period misleading. It
appears certain, however, that there was a decided improvement in
the morale and efficiency of pieceworkers on the Delaware River
during the months immediately following the publication of the
uniform piece rates and assurance that they would not be cut. If
this improvement did not continue, it was due to the circumstances
outside of the control of the board to which reference must now be
made.
The Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board relied entirely upon
the Navy Department and the Emergency Fleet Corporation for the
enforcement of its decisions. In the case of its hourly rates, uniform
rates signified uniform earnings, craft by craft, and enforcement was
comparatively easy. In the case of its “ black book” rates, so long
as the yards remained equipped and managed with varying degrees
of efficiency, uniform rates signified diverse earnings for men of the
same ability in the different yards and enforcement was correspond­
ingly difficult. From the very beginning certain of the steel-ship
yards failed to adhere rigidly to the “ black book” rates, and as the
number of yards to which these rates applied was increased by the
completion of new yards and by the extension of these same rates
to the New York and New England districts (order of July 18, 1918),
violations became so common that the prescribed scales represented
not the rates actually paid, but, as one yard owner expressed it, the
springboard from which the much higher rates offered by some of
the newer and undermanned yards jumped, as the competition for
qualified pieceworkers became more and more frantic. The depar­
tures from the uniform rates assumed a variety of forms. In some
cases there was a simple percentage addition to the pieceworkers’
earnings. A method of evasion less easy to detect was to add a
certain number of rivets to those actually driven or of feet to those
actually calked as a basis of payment. Most common of all was the
resort to the “ allowance system,” which in its most flagrant form
substituted a lump sum for the nominal piece rates to be paid, irre­
spective of the amount of work done. In one case it was found that
gangs of highly skilled riveters were guaranteed an allowance of $60
per day of eight hours as contrasted with the allowance rate of $22.75
permitted under exceptional circumstances in the rales laid down by
the board. The demoralizing results of an hourly rate of $3.30 to
favored riveters (the equivalent of the $60 day rate to the riveting
gang) when the hourly rate fixed for other skilled craftsmen was 72.5
cents, can well be imagined.
As evidence of wholesale violations of the piece-rate scales fixed
by the board accumulated, the efforts of the Navy Department and
Fleet Corporation to enforce these scales were increased, but as the
relative scarcity of skilled pieceworkers increased even more, viola­
tions continued up to the time of the signing of the armistice, when
the feverish pressure to increase ship production was suddenly
relaxed.




CHAPTER V.— SOUTH ATLANTIC AND GULF AWARDS.
In many ways the situation presented by the shipyards of the
South Atlantic and Gulf offered more serious obstacles to the standard­
ization of wages and working conditions than those of any other sec­
tion. Most of them were new yards born of the war emergency. Not
only was there a deficiency of skilled workmen of the crafts employed
in shipbuilding, but many of the employers knew little of the business,
having been induced by the prospect of large profits, by patriotism,
or by both motives combined to venture some of their own and a good
deal of the Government’s money in an unfamiliar enterprise.
Wooden-ship yards predominated, but there were also steel-ship
yards, which planned to draw their materials from the Alabama steel
mills. Some of the yards were located at places like Jacksonville,
where manufacturing industries were already established, but most
of them were at small ports where agriculture and fishing were the
industries in which the local population had previously been engaged.
Finally, the race problem was an overshadowing influence in the labor
situation, and a source of perennial friction and dissatisfaction irre­
spective of whatever adjustments of wages or hours might be decided
upon.
Disputes had arisen in the Gulf yards about Mobile, Ala., and Beau­
mont, Tex., while the board was absent on the Pacific coast. Upon
its return and its decision to deal first with the demands of employees
of the Delaware River yards, it sent special representatives to effect
temporary adjustments of pending disputes, secure information with
reference to local conditions, and prepare the way for hearings and a
formal decision by the board, to be undertaken as soon as the Dela­
ware River award should be concluded. These representatives ac­
complished their principal purpose of preserving industrial peace, and
the information they brought back was of substantial assistance to the
board in its later deliberations.
Owing to unavoidable delays the formal hearing on conditions, dis­
putes, and demands in the South Atlantic and Gulf yards was not held
until the week beginning February 20, 1918, when representatives of
most of the yards and of the organized shipyard employees, three from
each locality, came to Washington at the invitation of the board to
present their grievances and proposals.
All of the evidence submitted indicated the prevalence of lower
wage rates and less favorable working conditions in the South Atlantic
and Gulf ports, particularly for unskilled laborers, than prevailed
on the Delaware River. Also the scarcity of skilled craftsmen was
emphasized and the probable necessity of training men locally,
since a similar scarcity was beginning Co be felt in all the shipbuilding
centers of the country.
PROVISIONS OF AWARD OF MARCH 4, 1918.

In the light of all of the evidence presented and the knowledge it
had acquired in connection with its previous awards, the board issued
its award for the South Atlantic and Gulf yards on March 4,1918- It
32




SO U T H A T L A N T IC AN D G U LF AW ARDS.

33

was made retroactive to various specified dates for the different yards
and districts in conformity with promises made by representatives of
the Emergency Fleet Corporation or of the board itself in connection
with the settlement of earlier disputes. This retroactive provision,
unavoidable under the circumstances, proved a source of endless
friction because of disputes as to the amounts due individual em­
ployees under it, and the inability of the auditors of the Navy Depart­
ment and the Fleet Corporation to complete the necessary auditing of
accounts for weeks and even months after the decision was rendered.
In regard to hours and working conditions, the board established for
the district the same standard conditions, with minor exceptions, that
it had prescribed for the Delaware River yards. The only important
variation was that the Saturday half holiday for these yards was
limited to the summer months, as on the Pacific coast, since no such
half holiday had been recognized in the South prior to the board’s
award, while in the Delaware River district the half holiday through­
out the year was an established local condition of long standing.
Provision was made for the election of shop committees similar to
the provision jointly agreed to for the Columbia River yards, and
thus a long step was taken toward the recognition of the right of the
employees to treat collectively with their employers.
Since several of the South Atlantic and Gulf yards were poorly situ­
ated from the point of view of adequate local housing facilities, a
provision was inserted similar to that of the Delaware River award,
directing the shipbuilding companies to provide employees coming
from a distance and expending more than 10 cents a day for trans­
portation with free commutation or other tickets.
There were also special provisions designed to insure the health,
safety, and comfort of employees in the yards of the district. These
were all the more important because so many of the yards were new,
and therefore inadequately equipped, and because outside work under
the Southern summer sun was specially exhausting.
The wage scale fixed was determined by the wage rates found to be
in actual operation and the information procured by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor in regard
to the increase in the cost of living. In general the rates were 5 to
10 cents an hour lower than those fixed for the Delaware River. In
the case of laborers, in conformity with established local custom, rates
were prescribed for “ laborers” and for “ common laborers.”
To meet the great shortage of fully qualified journeymen in the
yards of this district “ shipyard owners unable to secure an adequate
force of fully qualified journeymen at the rates specified [were per­
mitted to] employ men who [had] not yet become fully qualified
journeymen at minimum hourly rates 10 cents less than those fixed
for such journeymen [in the award]; provided that such men if re­
tained in employment [should] be advanced to journeymen’s wages
after * * * six months.”1
EFFECT OF AWARD OF MARCH 4, 1918.

There had been disappointment in the Delaware River district
because the board’s award failed to raise the wage rates at once to
i Concluding paragraph of award of March 4.

30533°— 21— Bull. 283------3




3 4

SH IP B U IL D IN G LABOR A D J U S T M E N T BOARD.

the rates granted in the Pacific coast award. That was as nothing to
the disappointment felt by employees in the South Atlantic and
Gulf yards because they were not at once given the rates fixed for
the Delaware River. The lower rates which had prevailed and the
lower costs of living, owing, among other things, to the milder climate,
were entirely overshadowed in their reasoning about the rates they
should receive by the consideration that they were doing the same kind
of work on the same kind of ships for the same Government and there­
fore, they thought, deserved the same rates of pay. Dissatisfaction was
particularly felt with the provision permitting the payment of 10 cents
less than the scale to men who were not fully qualified journeymen.
It was insisted that many of the yard owners would make the result­
ing lower wage their standard rate of pay, claiming that none of their
men were really qualified journeymen. The reliance of the board
upon the sense of fairness of the yard owners and upon the judgment
of its examiners in seeing that the spirit of the award was carried
out was unfortunately not shared by the representatives of the em­
ployees.
At the same time that it issued its award the board took steps to
appoint examiners for the three districts into which the South At­
lantic and Gulf yards w'ere divided. Through the efforts of these
examiners the shipyard employees were induced to continue at work,
meanwhile preparing arguments to convince the board that a re­
hearing should be granted and that its decision should be revised.
During the weeks immediately following the announcement of the
South Altantic and Gulf award, the board was more than occupied
with hearings on conditions and demands in the North Atlantic
yards. It was not until the end of the month (Mar. 28 to 30) that
it was able to grant to representatives of the South Atlantic and
Gulf employees the rehearing that they had so earnestly demanded.
Little new evidence was presented at this hearing, but two aspects
of the case were made to stand forth with compelling clearness.
First, it was brought out that not merely the employees concerned
but their employers and the local representatives of the Government
shared the opinion that the speeding up of the shipbuilding program
in the South Atlantic and Gulf yards could best be brought about by
making the wage rates for skilled employees the same as were paid
in the Delaware River district. Second, it was proved that the
southern yards could not hold even the inadequate number of skilled
workers they possessed during the hot summer months about to begin
unless they were permitted to pay at least the same wage rates as
their northern competitors.
The hearings on conditions in the North Atlantic yards, showing
wide local variations and an increasing competition among yard
owners for skilled employees, predisposed the board to lend a sympa­
thetic ear to the arguments for a uniform wage scale for the whole
Atlantic coast and Gulf district. The board unanimously agreed
that only such an adjustment offered promise of stability, and that,
notwithstanding the undoubted differences in wage rates and cost of
living between North and South before our entry into the war, equal
pay for equal work in whatever section of the country performed
was the only principle that could be safely adopted by a Government
wage board as the basis of its policy.




SO U T H A T L A N T IC AN D G ULF AW ARDS.

3 5

REVISED AWARD OF APRIL 6, 1918.2

The board issued on April 6, 1918, the same date on which the
North Atlantic award was made and the second revised Delaware
River decision was announced, a revised South Atlantic and Gulf
award, which established the same wage scale for skilled workers
for the whole Atlantic coast and Gulf, except for the Newport News
yard, for which a scale adapted to its very special conditions had
meantime been established.
The preamble of this revised decision explained so clearly the
grounds for the important changes made that it should be quoted:
To the South even more than to the North the shipbuilding industry is a new in­
dustry. Not only shipyards and equipment have to be called into being, but skilled
mechanics have to be drawn in or trained in numbers far beyond the available local
supply. To these obstacles to the successful prosecution of the industry, the long,
hot summer offers a further handicap. Testimony not only from employees but also
from employers and the district officers of the Shipping Board Emergency Fleet
Corporation presented at our second hearing indicated a very general conviction that
unless wages and other conditions are made as attractive in southern yards as they are
farther north skilled workers, whose earnings permit them to move freely from place to
place, will migrate. In fact we are advised officially that such migration from one
southern city has already begun. Unless this tendency is checked, the completion
in any near future of the ships in process of construction in the southern yards m il be
impossible.
In the light of these facts we have decided to substitute a modified wage scale for
that previously announced. B y means of it we hope that the shipyard contractors
may be enabled to draw skilled mechanics to their yards from interior towns. En­
couraged b y it we hope that these skilled craftsmen and the employees in the southern
shipyards will disprove the current assumption that southern labor is less efficient
than northern labor and set an example to the whole country by turning out the ships
we so vitally need in record-breaking time.
B y establishing the same wage scale for skilled mechanics for the whole Atlantic
coast and Gulf, we have made it possible in coming months to institute accurate com­
parisons between all shipyards. The actual cost of each ton of shipping turned out
by the different yards will from now on measure the efficiency of the shipyard em­
ployers and employees in these yards and enable the Government to decide wisely
what yards should be fostered through additional shipbuilding orders and what should
be suppressed because unable to keep pace with the rest of the country. Southern
shipyard owners and shipyard employees are thus given an opportunity by our decision
to show that they can build ships as economically and efficiently as the shipyards of
any other district. W e believe that they will seize this opportunity with loyal en­
thusiasm for the benefit of our common country.

The differential in the rates for “ laborers" and “ common laborers"
was made 10 cents in this award by increasing the rate for laborers to
the 40 cents an hour prescribed for the whole coast.
AWARD OF MARCH 7, 1918, AS TO NEWPORT NEWS SHIPBUILDING & DRY
DOCK CO.3

In addition to the general decision applying to yards south of
Chesapeake Bay, the board issued on March 7 an award fixing wages
and working conditions for the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry
Dock Co. This yard was unique in that it employed a large proportion
of colored men and boys, not only as unskilled workers but for some
of the most highly skilled work involved in shipbuilding. Its force
had been built up through the careful training of employees for their
2 See the Monthly Review of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for May, 1918 (pp. 130-136)
for full text of this award.
3 This award is printed in full in the May (1918) issue of the M onthly R eview of the United States
Bureau of Labor Statistics (pp. 127-130).,




3 6

SH IP B U IL D IN G LABOR A D J U S T M E N T BOARD.

special work in the yard itself, and relations between the employing
company and the majority of the employees were satisfactory. To
impose 011 this large and efficient plant in its comparatively isolated
position and with its unique organization the standard wage scale
which appeared adapted to other plants on the coast would have
retarded rather than hastened ship production at the very time
when the vessels under construction at this yard were particularly
needed by the Navy Department. Under the circumstances, the
board felt constrained to prescribe wage rates for the yard based on the
rates it found in force but advanced to correspond with the increase
in the cost of living. By gradual degrees these rates were further
adjusted in amending decisions issued during succeeding months,
and the way was prepared, without any impairment of the yard’s
efficient organization, for bringing it under the award applying to all
of the yards of the Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes issued on
October 24, 1918, and effective from October 1.




CHAPTER VI.—NORTH ATLANTIC AND GREAT LAKES AWARDS.
NO RTH ATLANTIC AW ARD.1

The situation as regards wages and working conditions in the North
Atlantic shipyards presented obstacles to standardization only slightly
less serious than those encountered in the South Atlantic and Gulf
districts. The owners of the yards located in and near New York
Harbor had been in continuous conflict with the strongly organized
building trades of New York, Newark, and the other centers, and
though they had persistently refused to treat with the representatives
of the labor organizations, their hours and wage rates approximated
those prevalent in the building trades. At the other extreme were
the yards along the Maine coast which, like some of the southern
yards, had only farming and fishing as competitors for the local labor
supply and were therefore able to secure employees by offering only
a little more than these industries could afford to pay. Moreover, in
addition to yards constructing steel and wooden vessels of every con­
ceivable type, the North Atlantic ports contained most of the repair
yards of the country. In New York Harbor, particularly, the pressure
under which repair work was habitually performed haa given rise to
customs in reference to extra compensation for overtime, special pay­
ments to the night shift, etc., which were a constant cause of com­
plaint in the shipbuilding yards proper, which could not and felt that
they should not extend the same privileges to their more regularly
employed men.
As a preliminary to its hearings in reference to conditions, disputes,
and demands in the North Atlantic yards, the board sent investigators
to the principal adjacent industrial centers, who collected fairly com­
plete data in regard to wages, hours, and other conditions in the
manufacturing and building industries most closely related to ship­
building. It also secured full information from the shipyards them­
selves as to the hours they were working and the wages they were
paying, and was therefore fully informed in reference to general indus­
trial conditions in this district before it undertook to make its award.
The formal hearings to which representatives of the shipyards and
of the organized employees interested in shipbuilding were invited,
began on March 11, 1918, and occupied the succeeding 10 days, cover­
ing the steel-ship yards of New York and vicinity, Boston and
vicinity, and in and near Bath, Me.; the wooden-ship yards of New
England coast; and the repair yards of New York Harbor. As was in­
evitable the preparation of the demands of the employees devolved
principally upon the well-organized building trades of the New York
district.
After careful deliberation the board rendered its award on April
6,1918, extending the Delaware River wage scale to the North Atlantic
yards at the same time that, as already explained, it was applied by
its amended decision to those of the South Atlantic and Gulf.
1 See Monthly Review of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for May, 1918 (pp. 136-142) for
text of award.




37

88

S H IP B U IL D IN G LABOR A D J U S T M E N T BOARD.

In explanation of its decision it prefaced its award with the follow­
ing statement:
The wage rates set forth in E xhibit A are higher than those now paid in the North
Atlantic shipyards and as high or higher than the rates paid in the most representative
outside shops employing the same crafts as the shipyards. Nevertheless they are lower
than were requested b y the representatives of organized labor at oar hearings. The
principal argument urged for still higher rates was the increase in the cost of living in
the vicinity of Nev/ York City claimed to have been not less than 100 per cent since
the beginning of the war.
Appreciating the justice of the contention that wages should be advanced to keep
pace with the rising cost of living, we have made a special effort to secure exact infor­
mation on this point. A thorough investigation of changes in the Nev/ York district,
not only in retail prices of food, clothing, and other items consumed by wage earners,
but also in rents, related to the family budgets of over 600 typical families whose
heads are employed in shipbuilding, has been made for us b y the United States
Bureau of Labor Statistics. This proved an increase so much smaller than that
claimed by the representatives of labor that we submitted the data which they pre­
sented at our hearings to the bureau for careful analysis. The bureau’ s report shows
that the principal reason for the discrepancy was the difference in the method used in
the two investigations. The bureau correctly weighted each item in its investigation
according to the proved importance of that item among a normal fam ily’ s expenditures;
in the investigation of the men showing the 100 per cent increase all items, even the
most insignificant, were treated as of equal importance. Thus salad oil, increasing
275 per cent, was treated as equally important with bread, increasing only 33J per cent;
caps, increasing 100 per cent, as equally important with suits of clothes, increasing only
52.2 per cent. Other reasons for the abnormally high increase in the cost of living
shown was the comparison of the prices of vegetables and fresh fruits in the winter with
their prices in the summer, and of the prices of winter garments with those of summer
garments. In view of the fact that the conclusions of the Bureau of Labor Statistics
as to the true rise in the cost of living since the beginning of the war correspond closely
with other investigations, such as those made for the railroad brotherhoods and sub­
mitted by them in connection with their request for an increase in wages, we feel con­
strained to accept it as substantially accurate. Adding this increase to the wage rates
submitted by the men as having prevailed in shipyards in 1914, we get rates somewhat
lower for nearly all crafts than those given in E xhibit A. We believe, therefore, that
the wage scale fixed makes full allowance for the increased cost of living in the New
York district, which appears to have been about the same as in other localities.
Because of this fact and of the necessity which the w imposes of adopting the
rar
policy which will result in the maximum production of ships in the minimum time,
we have thought it our duty to disregard local considerations and to stabilize as much
as possible the whole shipbuilding industry. Though this policy does not benefit wage
earners equally in all sections, it works injustice to none. We count confidently on
the patriotic cooperation of both shipyard owners and employees to make this national
war policy a success.
PROVISIONS OF AWARD.

The working conditions prescribed in the award were the same
as those prescribed for the South Atlantic and Gulf yards, except
that employees engaged on repair work “ upon or for vessels under­
going repair” were given the same extra compensation for overtime
and for work on Sundays and holidays as was customary in their
respective yards when the award was rendered.
There were also the same provisions in regard to the organization
of shop committees and the adjustment of grievances through these
committees as in the South Atlantic award.
The extra compensation of men engaged on the night shift was
made 5 per cent, a provision which gave rise to much controversy
owing to the higher rates customary in some of the repair yards.
Finally, as in the Delaware River and South Atlantic awards,
work in excess of 12 hours a day or 60 hours a week for any employee
was prohibited “ except when ordered by the Navy Department or the
Emergency Fleet Corporation, or to protect life or property from




N O R T H A T L A N T IC AND GREAT L A K E S AW ARDS.

3 9

imminent danger.” The purpose of this provision, in addition to
discouraging the excessive hours and therefore the inefficiency that
had resulted in some yards from the desire to speed up production,
was to encourage the introduction of additional shifts as soon as an
adequate force of employees could be drawn into the shipyards from
the less essential industries.
Although there was a good deal of disappointment with the award
on the part of the employees, particularly in the New York district,
it was accepted and lived up to in good faith so far as the men were
concerned. It was a much more difficult matter to get the yards to
put it into operation. As they had not been parties to the agreement
which created the board, many of them viewed this interference with
their right to determine wages and working conditions for themselves
as unreasonable and even intolerable.
The succeeding months were a period of continuous struggle for the
examiners appointed to represent the board in the different districts
to secure compliance with the award by the yards under their juris­
diction and acceptance of their interpretations of its provisions, which
were disputed even when expressly confirmed by the board itself.
GREAT LAKES AW ARD .2

The issuing of the north Atlantic award left unprovided for only
the Great Lakes district. Local disputes had occurred in several of
the yards of this district and in one case a settlement had been
effected with the promise that any award later made by the board
should be retroactive for that yard to the date when the men went
back to work. The employees, confronted by steadily increasing
living costs, had become so impatient for some readjustment of
wages that the shipyard owners, with the authorization of the Emer­
gency Fleet Corporation, introduced a new scale to be effective on
April 1, 1918.
All of the shipyards on the Great Lakes were open shop in the
sense of being unwilling to deal with the international unions to which
an increasing number of their employees belonged. The officials of
these unions, being fully advised as to the existence of the board and
the scope of its authority, viewed any adjustment proposed by the
yard owners as temporary and insisted upon their right to present
their grievances and demands directly to the board, as had then been
done in all of the other districts of the country.
As in the north Atlantic district, the board sent representatives to
the shipbuilding centers of the Great Lakes to secure information in
regard to wages and working conditions in related industries. It
also received reports from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose
agents were busy in that district, in regard to changes in the cost of
living in the principal industrial centers on the lakes. Immediately
on the completion of its North Atlantic award, it invited represent­
atives of the Great Lakes yards and of the organized employees to a
hearing in Washington which occurred on April 8 to 10.
The evidence presented at this hearing and the other data secured
showed conclusively that conditions in the industrial centers about
the Lakes were similar to those found in the Delaware River district,
8 The variations in this award from the North Atlantic award are set forth on page 142 of the May,
1918, issue of the Monthly Review of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.




4 0

'

S H IP B U IL D IN G LABOR A D J U S T M E N T BOARD.

and that substantial justice would be done to all concerned if the Dela­
ware River scale were extended also to this district. Having decided
upon this course, the board was able to proceed rapidly with the
drafting of the award, which was announced on April 19 and made
effective for all of the yards from April 1.
In explanation of its decision the board prefaced its award with
the following statement:
Tlie shifting of employees from yard to yard, which we have found to be one of the
most serious influences retarding the progress of the shipbuilding industry, can only
be checked effectively b y making conditions uniform over an entire competitive
area. With the easy means of transportation about the Lakes, and from the Lakes to
the seaboard, the Great Lakes region now constitutes part of the same competitive
area as the north Atlantic coast. This is demonstrated not only b y the movement
of employees from the shipyards of the Lake region to those of the Atlantic coast
in response to higher wages, but b y the substantial uniformity in the wages paid in
the yards, for example, of Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago, and in those of
Philadelphia and Baltimore, before our decision fixing the wage scale for the Delaware
Pdver and Baltimore districts was rendered on February 14. We have made a care­
ful study of all of the evidence as to wages and other conditions in the shipyards of
the Great Lakes submitted at our hearings on April 8 to 10, and have come to the
conclusion that substantial justice will be done to all classes of employees if we
establish for these yards the same wage scale, hours, and other regulations that we
have established for the yards on the north Atlantic coast. This wage scale will
advance substantially the wages now paid in these yards to nearly all crafts; but to
make certain that the wages of no individual employee will be reduced in conse­
quence of the change, we have inserted a provision (fourteenth) declaring expressly
that such wages shall not be altered or affected b y this decision .

The provisions of this award with reference to working condi­
tions, extra compensation to the night shift, limitation of working
hours, shop committees, etc., were the same as those of the north
Atlantic decision and therefore require no special attention.
Walter L. Fisher, of Chicago, was appointed examiner for the
Great Lakes district, and under his direction a conference was held
in Chicago on May 31 and June 1 at which piece-rate scales to be
recommended to the board were agreed upon, and the interpretation
and application of the important provisions of the award were con­
sidered. The board approved the special piece-rate scale proposed
for riveting, justified by the smaller type of vessel building on the
Great Lakes, but decided after careful study that the Delaware
River scales for chipping and calking, drilling and reaming were
equally adapted to the Great Lakes yards, and that they should be
followed.
POLICY OF BOARD AS TO JURISDICTION OVER YARDS.

In connection with the north Atlantic and Great Lakes awards, a
difference of opinion in reference to the policy which it was wise and
proper for the board to pursue developed among its members. A
minority opinion by the Navy Department’s and Emergency Fleet
Corporation’s representative on the board was appended to these
awards as follows:
In m y opinion there should be a clear disavowal of any intention to impose the
findings of the board upon shipyards within which no disputes between employer
and employed have arisen resulting in the failure of attempts at mediation or con­
ciliation between tho^e directly involved. The board, under the memorandum
creating it, has no jurisdiction over such yards. It is established to meet a grave
war emergency; and its machinery should not be used b y organizations of employers
or employees to strengthen permanently such organizations or to change working
conditions in plants where labor controversies do not im peril effectiveness of opera­
tion or im pede production.




N O R T H A T L A N T IC A N D GREAT LA K E S AW ARDS.

41

The opposing view of the majority was that, while a literal ad­
herence to the exact wording of the agreement creating it would
limit its action as suggested, regard to the spirit and purpose of the
agreement required the broader policy which the board had adopted.
Both experience and reason, in the opinion of the majority, demon­
strated that failure to extend a decision to all of the yards within a
competitive area would result in friction and demoralization, rather
than in harmony and efficiency. If the yards left out paid less than
the rates established by the decision, their employees would almost
certainly strike for the official rates. If they paid more the deci­
sion would itself be discredited in the yards to which it applied, and
agitation for higher rates would persist on the part of the rank and
file, however loyal the officials of the unions might be to their obli­
gation to have the decision accepted and lived up to. As explained
in Chapter II this last alternative was actually experienced in the
Puget Sound district because of the policy of one of the Seattle
yards, and the absence of uniformity in that district which resulted
was a perennial source of unrest and dissatisfaction in the ship yards
of the whole Pacific coast. While recording his opinion, the minority
member, of course, accepted the decision of the majority as con­
trolling, and subscribed to all of the other provisions of these deci­
sions, which applied, as indicated, to all of the private yards doing
work for the Navy Department or the Emergency Fleet Corporation
in their respective districts.




CHAPTER VIL—FINAL AWARDS OF THE BOARD, OCTOBER,
1918.1
During the summer of 1918 the general labor situation became
increasingly strained. The limited labor force of the country, no
longer recruited by immigration, was reduced by the draft at the
very time that the expansion of war industries called for more and
ever more workers. Employments for which women and girls were
fitted met the situation by drawing them into industry. Shipbuild­
ing and other undertakings requiring men had no such resource.
For them the labor problem, in the sense of the problem of securing
an adequate force of workers, became ever more acute.
Up to this period the numerous labor adjustment boards that had
been created2 had operated quite independently. Confronted by
convincing evidence of the increase in the cost of living and of the
necessity, in their respective fields, of higher wages as a means of
attracting the additional men which were required, they tended in
each new decision to adjust wages upward. The consequence was
an actual bidding against each other for workers by the different
Government departments concerned with vital war industries. This
doubtless benefited wage earners by giving them higher wages, but
it could not increase the available labor supply. Instead it merely
increased the labor turnover and thereby lessened the output of our
national industries at the very time when increased production was
so vital to our success in the war.
Such a situation had been cles 1
en by the advisory comformulate plans for the
mission appointed by Secretaiy
reorganization of the labor activities of the Government to meet the
war emergency. In accordance with its recommendation a National
War Labor Policies Board had been created, on which all of the im­
portant governmental departments having to do with labor matters
were represented. It was hoped that this War Labor Policies Board
would be able to unite the different departments on a national labor
policy including uniform standards as to working conditions and har­
monious action touching wage adjustments.
No group concerned with labor adjustments on behalf of the Gov­
ernment was more alive to the necessity of a definite national labor
policy than the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board. Required
to fix wages in shipyards from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from
the Great Lakes to the Gulf, it observed the demoralizing results from
one end of the country to the other of the haphazard methods that
had been followed, at the same time that it appreciated, from its
own experience, the steadying: effect of uniform wage scales applying
over great areas.
1 See Monthly Labor Review of United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for December, 1918 (pp. 198212). for text of these awards.
2 Altogether some 18 Government labor adjustment boards were created during the war. Several of these
functioned under the War Department (e. g., Emergency Construction Wage Commission, National Har­
ness and Saddlery Adjustment Commission, etc.). Several served under the Railroad Administration.
The Fuel Administrator had a labor adjuster. Closely connected with the Shipbuilding Labor Adjust­
ment Board was the National Adjustment Commission, concerned with the loading and operation of
ships. Finally, the National War Labor Board had jurisdiction over industries for which no special
boards had been constituted.
42




F IN A L AW ARDS OF T H E BOARD, OCTOBER, 1918.

4 3

Although not officially represented on the Labor Policies Board,
the members of the shipbuilding group gladly served 011 committees
of this board as long as there appeared any prospect that it would
succeed in its task of developing a national labor policy. Meantime
it withheld any further wage adjustments, although a readjustment
of the Pacific coast scale had been demanded and was due as of August
1, in the hope that agreements might be reached that would make
any new scale a steadying and stabilizing influence rather than a new
incitement to labor shifting and general unrest.
Unfortunately the opposing interests of the different departments
of the Government and the absorption of each in its own problems
and difficulties were too great to be overcome through the agency of
a board organized as was the Labor Policies Board.
As soon as this became clear, the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment
Board decided that it was its manifest duty to explain the dilemma
which confroated it and the other adjustment boards directly to the
President. In August the members and secretary of the board pre­
sented the subject to President Wilson in a personal interview and
were greatly encouraged by his expressions of interest and of a desire
to bring the departments together in some common plan of action.
PRO PO SED NATIONAL LABOR POLICY.

As a result of this interview the President requested Secretary
Wilson to call together in his name representatives of all of the labor
adjustment boards to confer as to ways and means of bringing about
the unification which all felt to be necessary. Meantime the Ship­
building Labor Adjustment Board was authorized to announce that
its new awards were being withheld at the request of the President
pending conference to determine the Government’s future labor
policies.
Out of the conference called by Secretary Wilson grew the Confer­
ence Committee of National Labor Adjustment Agencies, which, as
the result of protracted discussions, finally agreed upon the formula­
tion of ‘ ‘ recommendations * * * to serve as a basis for a national
labor policy to be announced by the President,” and presented them to
Secretary Wilson for transmission to the President on October 14.
The President did not consider it expedient at that critical
period himself to proclaim the substance 01 these recommendations
as the national war labor policy, and as a consequence their formal
publication lacked the authority necessary to make them bind­
ing and effective and the country emerged from the war, with
the signing of the armistice on November 11, as it had entered it,
without any clear-cut national labor policy to which all departments
of the Government were bound to conform. Although little of prac­
tical consequence thus came of these recommendations, they are so
important as recording the conclusions of the Shipbuilding Labor
Adjustment Board and other wage- adjusting agencies as to what
should constitute the national labor policy that they are repro­
duced in full as Appendix B (see p. 100).
The further delay in the announcement of its long overdue awards
caused so much unrest and dissatisfaction that the Shipbuilding Labor
Adjustment Board finally decided to release them in advance of the
anticipated presidential proclamation establishing national standards
for all governmental industries. The new wage scales were formally




44

S H IP B U IL D IN G LABOR A D J U S T M E N T BOARD.

submitted to the conference for the information and guidance of
other departments of the Government before they were made public,
and the danger that standards as to working conditions might con­
flict with those which it w hoped that the President would soon an­
^as
nounce was avoided by the insertion in both the Pacific and the At­
lantic, Gulf, and Great Lakes decisions of the following provision:3
Pending the announcement of a national labor policy standardizing working condi­
tions on Government work and work for the Government, the working hours, holi­
days, and extra compensation for overtime, holidays, and work on the night shift
shall remain as established for shipyards and repair yards in the respective districts
by previous decisions of this board.
UNIFORM WAGE SCALE ISSUED.

As a consequence of its experience of the results following the es­
tablishment of different wage scales for different shipbuilding dis­
tricts, the board was convinced by the summer of 1918 that the inter­
ests of the Nation would be served by the establishment of one uni­
form scale for the whole country. The issue of a single award to
apply to all shipyards was precluded by the different classifications of
shipyard occupations that had been adopted in Pacific coast and
Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes yards. It was therefore de­
cided to issue simultaneously two awards, one for the Pacific Coast
and one for the Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes, but to make the
wage rates fixed in both for identical occupations, so far as feasible,
the same. These awards were formally announced on October 24,
the new rates being retroactive for employees in Pacific coast yards,
as had been promised, to August 1 and effective for employees in
Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes yards as of October 1. Both
decisions announced that the readjustment was intended to con­
form to conditions as of October 1 and would therefore remain effec­
tive at least until April 1, 1919.
Even though it was convinced that uniform rates for skilled occu­
pations would serve the best interests of the Government, the board
still felt bound by the memorandum creating it to give careful con­
sideration to the increase in the cost of living in the different sections.
Fortunately the changes in the cost of living reported by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics supported rather than opposed the board’s plan
of unifying rates. Before October 1 the bureau’s agents had made
careful studies of the changes in the cost of living measured by refer­
ence to a normal family budget in the 5 Pacific coast and 16 of the
principal Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes shipbuilding centers.
These covered approximately the periods since the board’s previous
wage adjustments in the different districts. Averaging the increases
reported for the Pacific coast centers, the board found that the in­
crease from October, 1917, when the cost of living made the basis
of its previous Pacific coast award had been calculated, to October,
1918, was 20 per cent. Similarly averaging the increases shown for
the Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes centers for the eight months
from December, 1917, to August, 1918, the board found that the in­
crease had been 15 per cent. In the absence of statistics for the
precise period, February to October, since the first of its previous
decisions for eastern shipyards had been made, it assumed that the
increase for these months was the same as for the overlapping eight
months covered by the bureau’s investigation— that is, 15 per cent.
3 S e c . X X I I I , o f P a c ifi c c o a s t a w a r d , a n d S e c . X X V o f t h e A t l a n t i c c o a s t , G u lf , a n d G r e a t L a k e s aw-'ard.




FH STA L

A W A R D S

O F

T H E

B O A R D ,

O C T O B E R ,

1918.

45

PROVISIONS OF AWARDS.

Applying the 20 per cent increase to the basic wage which had
been fixed for skilled crafts in Pacific coast yards of $5.25 per diem,
the board found the new daily wage called for to be $6.30, or 78.75
cents an hour. Similarly, applying the 15 per cent increase to the
basic wage for skilled trades in eastern shipyards of 70 cents an
hour, the board found a new hourly wage of 80.5 cents indicated. In
view of the nearness of these rates, the board felt fully warranted in
striking a rough average and fixing on 80 cents an hour as the new
basic rate for skilled shipyard occupations in all the shipyards of the
country. This was, if anything, overgenerous to employees in Pa­
cific coast yards, but the local labor situation was so favorable (had
free play been allowed to the law of demand and supply) to even
higher rates there that averaging up rather than averaging down was
deemed expedient.
The smallness of the increase was a great disappointment to many
of the employees, who had demanded and confidently expected to
receive $1 an hour. Nevertheless the award was accepted and its
provisions carried out, except in some of the Pacific coast yards,
especially those of Seattle and San Francisco, where, as explained
later, dissatisfaction with the new rates and other circumstances
eventually led to strikes.
While basing its new rates chiefly upon the ascertained increase
in the cost of living, the board deemed it inexpedient to increase rates
already above the base rates in exact proportion to the increase in the
cost of living. Such higher paid employees were given advances
of approximately 15 instead of 20 per cent in Pacific coast shipyards
and of approximately 10 instead of 15 per cent in eastern yards,
with occasional modifications for the purpose of establishing one
uniform rate for a given occupation for the whole country, when this
was thought feasible.
As the rates established by these awards are still (August, 1920)
the standard rates in most of the shipyards of the country, and as
they have had a widespread influence on wage scales in related
employments, the complete wage schedule of the Atlantic coast,
Gulf, and Great Lakes award is reproduced as Appendix C (see
page 103.
In its earlier awards the board was under the necessity of laying
down rules at the same time that it applied them. To forestall the
controversies to which this practice inevitably gave rise, the board
formulated, as a part of these decisions, the principles by which it
would in future be guided. The dissolution of the board before
another general award was called for prevented it from applying these
principles, but they are not without interest as recording the policies
and procedure which the board had come to consider expedient.
They are stated in identical language in Section II of both awards as
follows:
(а) Until such time as the President may determine that the national interest
requires suspension of the policy of advancing the wages of laborers, helpers, and
journeymen in the basic skilled crafts to correspond with “ general and material
increases in the cost of living ” 4we shall deem it our duty to be guided in future read­
justments by such ascertained increases.
(б) The authority upon which we shall continue to rely for information as to changes
in the cost of living is the agency of the National Government which has been created
4

Quoted from the memorandum creating the board.




46

S H IP B U IL D IN G

L A B O R

A D J U S T M E N T

B O A R D .

and is maintained to make statistical investigations of labor conditions— the Bureau
of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor.
(c) After conference with representatives of the other governmental wage-adjusting
agencies, we have decided that the dates at which it will be most expedient to make
wage adjustments are October 1 and April 1 . We have requested the Bureau of Labor
Statistics to make the necessary investigations, so that we may be advised of future
changes in the cost of living in time to announce on those dates whether readjustments
are required and what readjustments.
(d) To give precision to the expression “ general and material increase in the cost
of living, ” we rule that, as used in the memorandum, this phrase means an average
increase in the cost of living in the shipbuilding centers of the district to which any
wage adjustment applies of not less than 10 per cent. It is clearly our duty to relieve
shipyard employees of the burden that “ material” and long-continued increases in
the cost of living would impose upon them; but we deem it also our duty to relieve
Government industries of the unsettlement and loss that result from readjustments in
wages, unless increases in the cost of living that are really “ material” have taken
place.
(e) We divide the country for wage-adjustment purposes into two districts: (1 )
Pacific coast and (2) Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes. For administrative
purposes in the settlement of grievances, until further notice, we divide the ship­
building centers of the country into nine districts— two on the Pacific Coast, one on the
Great Lakes, two on the South Atlantic and Gulf, and four on the north Atlantic.
INCLUSION OF ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONS.

In addition to fixing new rates for occupations which had pre­
viously been under the jurisdiction of the board, the decisions an­
nounced for the first time rates and working conditions for certain
occupations not previously regulated. These were draftsmen and
copyists, leading men and quartermen, guards, watchmen and
sergeants, and instructors. The variable rates of pay and conditions
of employment in the different yards for these occupations had
given rise to much controversy. The board hoped that this would
be lessened by a standardization of rates which would assure all
employees in these occupations just and equal treatment in all of
the yards of the country. The immediate effect of the announcement
of the new rates was protest from yards wiiere higher rates than were
authorized by the board, particularly for leading men and quartermen
in piece-rate occupations, had prevailed. The existence of these
higher rates and their unsettling effect for other yards had been one
reason for the board’s action, but the duration of its authority was too
brief to enable it to meet all legitimate objections and see the advan­
tages that it had hoped for from standardization actually realized.
For the protection of individuals whose compensation had been
higher, the decisions contained the provision (Section XIV) :
Hourly or weekly rates of wages now being paid to individual employees in excess
of the rates fixed are in no wise altered or affected by the establishment of these rates,
provided that employees taken on or transferred to a different occupation after this
decision becomes effective shall be paid the rates established in Schedule A; provided
further that this shall not be interpreted to sanction rates improperly fixed by any
shipyard.

There were also in both awards provisions5 that rates of wages
for occupations not included would be established later and that
“ meantime, existing rates for these occupations are to remain un­
changed, except on the recommendation of the district examiner
approved by the board.”
In some of the earlier decisions 6 yard owners had been required
to reimburse employees for their transportation expense to and
s S e c . X X o f t h e P a c ifi c c o a s t a w a r d ; S e c . X X I o f t h e A t l a n t i c c o a s t , G u lf , a n d G r e a t L a k e s a w a r d ,
c S ee C h a p ters I I I a n d V .




F IN A L

A W A R D S

O F

T H E

B O A R D ,

O C T O B E R ,

1918.

47

from the yard when this exceeded a stated amount per day. Ex­
perience had shown that the Emergency Fleet Corporation and the
Navy Department could best handle the problem of labor supply
for the yards, and it was therefore deemed expedient for the board
to divest itself of jurisdiction over this whole problem in favor of
these authorities. This was done through Section III of the At­
lantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes award.
Some of the earlier awards had made provision for shop com­
mittees to serve as local administrative bodies in the adjustment of
grievances. As explained in Chapter VIII the Atlantic coast, Gulf,
and Great Lakes award contained a general provision setting up
shop committees in all yards in the eastern district. The Pacific
coast award continued in operation the Portland agreement providing
for shop committees for the Columbia River district, but left local
adjustments in the other districts, as theretofore, to the agencies
mutually agreed upon by the yard owners and organized employees,
subject always to appeal to the board through its examiners.
TRAINING AND RATES OF WAGES OF LEARNERS.

Other important provisions of the awards were the sections in
reference to the training of learners.7 The importance and difficulties
of the problem of training learners are discussed fully in Chapter
VIII, and it is, therefore, necessary at this point merely to indicate
what these provisions were. Both awards contained the following
general pronouncement:
f At a conservative estimate, the shipyards of the country will require 200,000 addi­
tional employees to carry out the present shipbuilding program. Whenever the
board shall be convinced by investigation, in connection with which the representa­
tives of the employees, as well as the shipyard owners, shall be consulted, that there
is an inadequate supply of qualified mechanics in any occupation, and that this
can not be met by transferring qualified mechanics from nonessential industries in
other parts of the country, the board will issue regulations covering the following
points:
(1)
The method of training new men to be set up and administered subject to the
supervisory control of the director of industrial relations of the Emergency Fleet
Corporation; (2) the rate of wages to be paid those admitted to the training course; (3)
the duration of the course; (4) the rate to be paid graduates of the course during a
stated probationary period before they shall be entitled to receive the wages fixed
for fully qualified journeymen; and (5) the method of determining when graduates of
the course have acquired sufficient skill to entitle them to be ranked as qualified
journeymen.

Supplementing this general statement of a proposed policy, the
carrying out of which was made unnecessary by the signing of the
armistice, the Pacific coast award contained a definite statement
of approval of systems that had been entered into by mutual agree­
ment between yard owners and organized employees in Seattle, by
which new men might be licensed to work for a definite period as
learners at learners' rates, provided that they should thereafter,
if still employed, be entitled to the full journeyman's wage.
The Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes award contained more
specific provisions for learners' rates in certain occupations in which
there was a generally admitted shortage of qualified journeymen.
For example, learners undertaking to become riveters and chippers
and calkers were to receive 56 cents an hour for a period of six weeks,
7 S ec. X X I I , o f th e P a c ific c o a s t a w a rd s ; S ecs. X X I I I a n d X X I V
G rea t L a k es a w a rd .




o f t h e A t l a n t i c c o a s t , G u lf , a n d

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when, if retained in employment, they were to be given the 80-cent
rate of qualified journeymen. Similarty, learners for the lower paid
occupations of driller, reamer, etc., were to start in at the laborer's
rate of 46 cents, but after periods of employment varying from two
to four weeks, if retained in these occupations, they were to receive
full journeyman’s wages. To prevent any tendency to employ
learners to the exclusion of available journeymen in piece-rate
occupations, there was a general provision that: “ Whenever put on
piecework learners are to receive the regular piecework rates.”
Although the armistice followed so soon after the announcement
of these definite regulations regarding learners, they were not without
value as principles for the guidance both of yard owners and union
leaders as to a fair and reasonable method of meeting a labor shortage
in any skilled trade. The periods of training prescribed were delib­
erately made short for the purpose of attracting a large number of
promising candidates from less essential occupations.
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS.

In addition to the provisions considered there were others of minor
importance which call for no special comment or discussion. Among
them the following were included in identical language in both
awards:
Section Y. Discrimination against union or nonunion men 'prohibited.— Believing
that in this national emergency past differences between employers and employees
must be forgotten in the common determination to produce the maximum possible
number of ships, the board will not tolerate any discrimination either on the part
of employers or employees between union and nonunion men; provided that this
declaration is to be interpreted so as to conform with the principles laid down by the
President of the United States in his proclamation of April 8, 1918, creating the
National War Labor Board.
S ec . YI. Weekly pay.— Except where otherwise provided by joint agreement,
employees shall be paid at least once a week on the company’s time and in no case
shall more than one week’s pay be held back.
S ec. VIII. Prompt payment on withdrawal from employment.— Any employee
laid off, discharged, or quitting of his own volition shall as promptly as possible and
in any event within 24 hours receive all wages due him.
S ec . IX. Compulsory insurance assessments prohibited.— Disapproving of insurance
assessments arbitrarily required by employers and with due regard to the limitations
of existing statutes, we direct that no employee who makes request for exemption
in writing shall be required by the employing shipyard to pay any assessment not
made obligatory by State law for insurance, medical attendance, or other benefits.
S ec. X. Medical first aid to be provided.— Competent medical first aid shall be
provided for employees requiring such aid and paid for by the employer.
Sec. XI. Adequate toilets, washing facilities, and drinking water to be provided.—
Shipyard owners are directed to provide for their employees adequate and sanitary
toilets, washing facilities and pure drinking water, properly cooled during the summer
months.
S ec. XII. Additional sanitary precautions.— Our attention has^ been called to
the danger to the health of painters resulting from the use of spraying machines and
from poisonous gases and fumes in inadequately ventilated portions of the vessel
in which they are employed. We request that our examiners bring such conditions
when found to exist in their districts promptly to the attention of the director of
industrial relations.
S ec. XVI. Further extensions of existing premium, bonus, or contract systems without
express authorization prohibited.— A primary purpose in adopting a national wage
scale for shipyard employees is to stabilize labor conditions. Experience has taught
us that the premium, bonus, and contract systems of wage payment may, unless
controlled, be used to entice employees from one shipyard to another. We therefore
direct that no further extensions of the premium, bonus, or contract systems be made
in any shipyard without the express written authorization of this board.




CHAPTER VIIL—ADMINISTRATIVE WORK OF THE BOARD.
The Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board originated in an atmos­
phere of labor conflict. It was natural, therefore, that its members
should at first count on the normal opposition of interest and con­
sequent vigilance between the employers on the one side and the
employees on the other as a large factor in enforcing awards. It
was expected that there would be a tendency on the part of em­
ployers toward holding standards down, at least to the point fixed
by the board. The situation in Seattle, in which there had been an
acute labor shortage and where some of the firms were encouraging
men to ask for more than the board was willing to give, was regarded
as exceptional, and it was not at that time foreseen that one of the
major difficulties would be to prevent employers from going beyond
the standards set.
Under the actual conditions that developed, however, employers,
instead of being influenced by the simple motive of securing labor
as cheaply as possible, were actuated by extremely complex and varied
motives. This complexity showed itself in the fact that alongside of
a tendency to exceed the board's findings in order to make a bid for
labor, the same employer would act, with respect to other features of
the award, in accordance with his normal employer psychology which
tended toward depressing the standard. The employer naturally saw
the situation from the standpoint of his own difficulties; this inclined
him to push up the standard at the point of momentary shortage even
at the expense of disarranging established relations between different
workers and different crafts.
Though in many cases the persistence of the instinctive opposi­
tion between employer and worker was a serious obstacle to the
administrative work of the board, the absence of normal employer
reactions presented an even greater difficulty. If at the beginning
of the war some plan could have been devised by which shipyard
owners could have retained an economic interest in keeping down
costs, many of the things which failed to be done because of inade­
quate administrative machinery might have occurred automatically.
DIFFICULTIES IN ENFORCING AW ARDS.

Without dwelling too long upon the conflicting motives of yard
owners, a glance at the problems which had to be faced in trying to
enforce the board's awards indicates to what extent there was a failure
to utilize what the yard owners might have contributed to the
efficiency of enforcement. Such a survey also reveals at once the
conflicting points of view from which the employers approached the
several problems of adjustment.
In.so far as yard owners were assured of reimbursement there was
a distinct tendency for them to support the rates fixed by the board.
This tendency was naturally emphasized in the case of yards holding
“ cost plus" contracts. Inasmuch, however, as the machinery for
reimbursement was a matter for future development the older and
30533°— 21— B ull. 283------- 4




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more conservative yards frequently held to the general attitude toward
wage payment by which they had been habitually moved. On the
whole, ship construction in the well-established yards was less specula­
tive even under war conditions than it was in the newer yards, and
this meant that the newer yards were more likely to hold “ cost
plus” contracts.
Another feature which tended to differentiate builders was the
varying degree to which attention was concentrated on war con­
tracts to the exclusion of regard for the permanent conditions of
the industry. Here again the older and more conservative builders
were more likely to feel their responsibility for controlling costs than
were the newer and more speculative employers.
The problem, however, was not a simple one of grouping builders
into two classes. The net result of varying motives was to make the
reactions of employers with respect to any problem at issue always
a matter of great uncertainty. This whole phase of the situation
may be summarized in the following statements:
(1) Acceptance by the Government of the obligation to reimburse
for wage increases tended to undermine the responsibility of builders
for holding down costs.
(2) Whatever of normal employer psychology was retained by
the more conservative builders was continuously being torn down
by the competition of the newer and more speculative yards.
(3) The reaction of the new conditions upon the builders created
a situation in which practically no responsibility for initiating
machinery of enforcement could be left with the employer.
All this is said, not with an idea of criticizing employers as a whole
or any particular group of them, but merely to point out the situation
which actually developed. The fault was attributable rather to the
emergency character of the measures taken and to the fact that there
was no time or opportunity to study out in advance the psychological
effects of policies adopted. If the work of the board were to be under­
taken again with the present experience as a guide, it would doubt­
less be possible to leave greater responsibility with employers and thus
to secure from them larger cooperation than was actually obtained.
It is likely that even in the existing case this result would have
gradually been attained had the war continued.
CHIEF ADM INISTRATIVE PRO BLEM S.

The following were among the chief problems which subjected the
adminstration of the board’s awards to strain: Retroactive pay,
learners’ and intermediate rates, classification of workers, competi­
tion for labor, uniform piece rates.
In connection with retroactive pay and with the handling of inter­
mediate and learners’ rates, the principal difficulty was that of
insuring that the workers received what they were justly entitled to
under the awards. Classification questions sometimes involved a
depression of rates and sometimes an unauthorized increase. In
connection with the other problems enumerated the task was chiefly
to see that the awards were not exceeded. It was not at all uncom­
mon to find the same yard persistently omitting to come up to the
standards fixed by certain provisions of the awards and at the same
time exceeding the standards fixed by other provisions.




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RETROACTIVE PAY.

The most serious problem with which the examiners had to deal
during the early months under the several awards was the question
of retroactive pay. Neither the yards themselves nor the Fleet Cor­
poration had worked out any system of accounts for dealing with
such a problem, and yet the fact that the earliest awards were made
in pursuance of promises to make them retroactive made it neces­
sary, in justice to men who had remained at work, that the awards
should be substantially uniform in this regard.
The problem of retroactive pay was enormously complicated by the
excessive turnover in the industry during the fall of 1917 and the
greater part of 1918. Retroactive pay was regarded as a right which
accrued to any worker employed in a shipyard craft during the inter­
vening period, and it was not legally affected by the fact that the
worker might have ceased to be employed before payment was
actually made.
Since the technical difficulties of making payment were not exactly
the same in any two yards and since they were not of a nature to be
anticipated by any agency of the Government, payments in varying
amounts and under varying circumstances were taking place in
different yards, and workers going from yard to yard were spreading
all sorts of stories concerning the basis upon which such payments
were made and the status of the workers who received payment.
A large percentage of the strikes and threatened strikes in the ship­
yards during the first half of 1918 arose out of disputes over retro­
active pay, and the awards of 1917 and of the early months of 1918
had actually expired before all the questions of retroactive pay under
them were settled.
Unfortunately the efforts to incorporate the work of the Ship­
building Labor Adjustment Board into a national labor policy
resulted in delay of the awards of October, 1918, beyond the time
for which they had been definitely promised, so that again the ques­
tion of retroactive pay had to be dealt with. The problem, however,
was considerably simplified under the October awards, since the ex­
perience under earlier awards improved the machinery and clarified
the understanding of yards concerning the payments to be effected.
There was never a time, however, when a considerable part of the
work of examiners did not have to do with questions of retroactive
pay and such questions continued to arise for months after the board
dissolved.
LEARNERS’ AND INTERMEDIATE RATES.

Naturally at the outbreak of the war most of the qualified journey­
men in the various shipbuilding crafts were employed in the estab­
lished shipyards. Unless this force of workers could be supplemented
by men drawn from other pursuits it would be impossible to carry
out the necessary shipbuilding program. The magnitude of this
task was not anticipated nor would it have been possible for a new
and immature agency like the Emergency Fleet Corporation imme­
diately to have coped with it even if its nature and dimensions had
been at once recognized. The result was that the new yards were
compelled to work out plans for securing a partially adequate labor
supply, while the old yards had to do their best to hold their men




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and to supplement their forces in order to provide for enlarged
operations.
In the absence of a national labor policy adequate to restrain them
the more aggressive operators, through various devices, undertook
to bid up rates in such a way as to attract workers from other yards.
Other builders, who saw more clearly the fundamentals of the
national situation, tried to develop plans for creating a new supply
of shipyard labor. Although the unions had waived most of their
apprenticeship regulations at the time they signed the agreement
creating the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board, the awards of
1917 and of the winter and spring of 1918 did not provide for the
payment of any rates other than those for recognized journeymen
in the various shipbuilding crafts.
Some of the most carefully planned of the newer yards, however,
worked out elaborate systems for dividing up the operations of
various crafts in such a way as to enable men drawn from other
occupations and entirely inexperienced in shipyards to learn the
various specialized tasks. In this way forces made up largely of new
workers were developed to carry on the work of the yards in question.
Naturally, had the board been able at once to provide a sufficient
force to watch over the enforcement of its awards in all the yards,
some adjustment of wages for learners in the various crafts would
have had to be worked out. In the absence of such provision many
of the yard managers remained for months entirely ignorant of the
conditions of the award. The new workers, equally ignorant, did
their work without reference to the award and for the time being
were satisfied with the conditions under which they were working.
A notable example of a new yard manned by new workers was one
at Quincy, Mass. In October, 1917, the site of this yard was a
desolate marsh. At the time the April, 1918, award for the North
Atlantic district was handed down the plant was just about to begin
operations. The physical and technical plans for this plant were so
perfect that within one year from the time of breaking ground it was
one of the best appointed shipyards in the country.
The first manager of the plant gave the same attention to working
out the plans for labor that he did to material equipment. Seeing
the shortage of trained shipyard workers he recognized at once that
the ordinary craft divisions would have to be modified in order to
meet the new situation. Accordingly he sent out through the sur­
rounding territory and, to use the phrase of the older organized
workers, called in “ barbers, ball players, and musicians” and under­
took to teach them the mysteries of shipbuilding.
This entirely reasonable purpose ran counter to the award of the
Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board at two essential points. In
the first place there had been no provision for learners’ rates for the
men in question. In the second place the scheme involved an
extensive division of crafts into specialties for which no “ interme­
diate” rates between the rates for helpers and for journeymen had
been authorized. Aside from the plan for learners’ rates and for
intermediate rates the whole idea of the plan was to provide for
gradual promotion by easy stages, with corresponding gradations
in rates.




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If the plan could have been worked out with the workers isolated
from other workers it would probably have succeeded. At any rate
it appeared to be a natural way of going at a difficult problem.
Indeed it did succeed in so far as it produced a supply of reasonably
capable workers. One of the major premises of the plan, however,
was that it would produce contented workers because, it was argued,
the individuals in question would be adding the mastery of a valuable
craft to their industrial equipment, and at the same time receiving
higher wages than they had ever received before or had ever expected
to receive.
The two facts of which this line of reasoning failed to take account
were, first, the gradual spreading of information about the awards
of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board, and second, the ac­
tivities of organized labor. Instead of remaining contented non­
union ubarbers, ball players, and musicians/7 the men promptly
organized and became union shipbuilders attached to the various
shipbuilding crafts. The fact that they were not receiving the rates
fixed by the board for the crafts in which they were employed was in
the first place a strong argument for joining the union, and once in,
it impelled them to fight for the union scale, irrespective of whether
or not they were full-fledged journeymen in their respective crafts.
All these circumstances brought it to pass that during the summer
of 1918 the beautiful picture of a happy family dominated by the one
idea of becoming more efficient and helping Uncle Sam build ships
had been considerably changed. There was an insistent clamor for
the rates fixed by the board and the cries became more insistent as
time went on. Finally a strike was called and the situation had to
be patched up with the promise of later adjustment, on condition
that the men continued at work.
The apparent reasonableness of the original plan viewed from a
purely managerial standpoint, coupled with the fact that neither the
board nor the Navy Department, for which the plant was building
destroyers, had worked out in advance any plan for dealing with the
situation, made the board reluctant to insist on a rigid and immediate
observance of the award. It was still more reluctant to order back
pay in the amount of the differences between what the men had
actually received and what they would have received at the board's
rates for the crafts in question. Obviously a barber who worked in
a shipyard was not at once a journeyman boilermaker or machinist,
and the fact that no rate was fixed for barbers when they w
^ent to
work in shipyards did not make him one.
This particular problem was not settled until after the expiration
of the April award. The October award provided learners' rates for
certain crafts and stipulated certain periods of time at the end of
which learners, if retained, should be advanced to the full journey­
man's rates. Since the examiner had failed to work out an adjust­
ment of the situation, the board finally ruled that for those crafts in
which learners' rates were provided in the new award the same period
of time before advancement to the full rate should be applied to the
workers who had been employed as learners without authorization
under the old award. For crafts in which no learners' rates were
provided a maximum period of three months was fixed from the
expiration of which time payment of the full rate was ordered.




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While the settlement was a reasonable one under all the circum­
stances, it ran counter to the manager’s ideas of developing ship­
builders at minimum cost. The case is set forth at length because it
is typical of the early difficulties arising out of independent and fre­
quently conflicting activities as between the board and the manage­
ments. The fact that both the board and the management from
their respective angles were aiming toward maximum production of
ships did not prevent the awards and managerial regulations in such
cases from operating at cross purposes. If the situations arising out
of the great need for shipbuilders had all been anticipated, provision
for a more effective handling of them could doubtless have been
worked out in advance.
In this particular case, if the board had had at its disposal in the
examiner’s office facilities for dealing with the situation promptly
and comprehensively when it arose, a more reasonable accommoda­
tion of the manager’s efforts to the board’s awards would have re­
sulted. Since the war itself was an emergency, it was hardly to be
expected that all these circumstances would be foreseen. This case
was one of the most aggravated of those arising out of the necessity
of learners’ rates, but it was thoroughly typical.
As already indicated, the award of October, 1918, made definite
provision for learners’ rates in crafts in which the supply of craftsmen
was still inadequate. The October, 1918, awards were so soon fol­
lowed by the armistice that the board’s activity with respect to
learners’ rates under them was largely confined to preventing their
extension after the need for them had passed.
CLASSIFICATION OF W ORKERS.

As already implied, the awards of the board were based on a craft
organization of shipbuilding operations. Previous to the war, how­
ever, there had been nothing approaching uniform classification.
Current craft names that had a definite meaning in one locality had
a very different meaning elsewhere. These differences were not alone
territorial, but in many cases applied to neighboring yards in the same
territory. Division and specialization of crafts of the sort under­
taken at the plant in Quincy, Mass., added to the difficulty of drawing
a line between crafts. The introduction of learners, moreover, tended
to obscure the line between journeymen and helpers.
When the workers in a yard became organized the union rule that a
journeyman was anyone who used the tools of the craft offered a
simple if not always satisfactory solution of the problem of journey­
man and helpers, but even so, it was not always easy to say what con­
stituted using the tools. Old helpers were being introduced to the
work of journeymen and new helpers were taking their places, at the
same time that entirely new workers were being trained in the various
crafts and parts of crafts. With the best of good will, confusion was
inevitable.
The question whether a worker should be classified as journeyman,
learner, or helper was frequently less difficult than that of placing him
in the right craft. The different shipyards of the country had devel­
oped under differing circumstances. Different territories had special­
ized in different types of ships and developed each its own classifica­
tions. The boats built on the lakes were of one type, those built on
the coast of another, and the industry in different territories had had




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a different history. Then, again, there were the differences between
the old and the new yards and between the ordinary and the fabricat­
ing yards. The newer and specialized yards naturally aimed at a
classification to fit their peculiar circumstances, while the old yards
were more or less governed by historical influences. Finally, the dif­
ferences in equipment, as between yards, forced a different organiza­
tion of work, and the dearth of materials was such that these differ­
ences could not readily be overcome.
In addition to the differences arising out of the history and organi­
zation of yards there were other differences arising out of the general
labor situation in different territories. The most striking illustration
of this is the classification “ marine erector.” This classification was
used in the Delaware River territory as a partial disguise for certain
differentials in shipyard rates as contrasted with those for similar
crafts in the building trades. The building trades’ plumbers and pipe
fitters have a flat rate, whereas in shipyards the work has been
habitually divided between first and second class journeymen. To
avoid the conflict which would naturally arise out of such a difference
in the same labor market the term “ marine erector” was spread over
a group of operations in which the ones in question were included.
There were also many differences in connection with such craft
names as “ riggers,” “ marine riggers,” “ ship riggers,” and “ yard
riggers.” Also differentials were customarily allowed in such crafts
as blacksmiths, anglesmiths, and forgers for handling extra heavy
materials.
Classification complaints were by no means confined to differences
in neighboring yards, although these were the most serious. Organi­
zations of workers brought it about that differences at distant points
would frequently be made the subject of controversy. Considering
the origin of the board it was natural that organized labor should
concern itself with holding the board responsible for enforcing com­
pliance with awards, and this meant in practice that effort would
usually be made for the highest classification for each kind of work
that was anywhere found. The cases in which the same work was
differently classified and the much more numerous cases in which the
facts concerning the nature of the work were in controversy consti­
tuted a very considerable part of the issues presented to the board
for adjudication.
Classification controversies of the sort just described, along with
cases of retroactive pay and learners’ rates, illustrate the situation in
which the tendency of employers to hold conditions down was most
in evidence. In these cases in which it was claimed that yard owners
fell below the provisions of the award, the board was occupied with its
original and contemplated function of settling disputes. But though
classification disputes between management and men were numerous
they were not the only classification difficulties of which the board
had to take cognizance.
COMPETITION FOR LABOR.

Very soon after the shipbuilding program was launched it became
lain that falling below the award was not the chief source of danger,
to shipyard might recruit its force by paying learners’ rates to men
ie
not qualified as journeymen. Many others, however, tried to re­

?




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cruit by finding means of paying more than the authorized wages
to journeymen employed in other yards.
These efforts as applied to workers on an hourly rate did not usually
manifest themselves in the form of an open violation of the award.
More frequently, irregular efforts to secure workers were brought
about by fictitious classifications. In this connection the differences
in classification just described must be kept in mind; they made it
comparatively easy in many cases to list a worker in a craft or classi­
fication which paid a higher rate than was justified by the work he
was actually doing. Even with sincere effort to live up to the
awards there would inevitably have been during the early months
extensive differences in classification in different yards; but there
was not such effort on the part of many yards. During the whole
period of the war yard owners in one section were advertising in
other sections in such a way as to create the impression that rates
much higher than the board’s rates were being paid. Foremen in
one plant were creating similar impressions among workers of other
plants in its neighborhood. Frequently such impressions were not
borne out by the facts, but in many cases they were.
The lowest paid workers in the shipyards are the laborers, and
laborers are a necessary part of the force. In one shipyard on the
Pacific coast investigation of pay rolls in August, 1918, indicated
that not a single laborer was employed. Of course laborers were
employed but they were classified as helpers. Further investiga­
tion showed that helpers were being classified as second-class journey­
men, second-class journeymen as first-class, and first-class journey­
men were given titles indicating duties which as a matter of fact
they were not performing. Juggling of classifications w doubtless
^as
accompanied in certain cases by manipulation of time records, es­
pecially in connection with overtime.
PIECEW ORK RATES.

Probably the greatest deviations from awards were in connection
with piecework. Some of these abuses have already been noted in
the chapter on the “ Delaware River Piecework Award.” It should
be emphasized here that most of the stories concerning fabulous
earnings in shipyards, many of them doubtless true, were based on
the abuses of piece-rate scales.
At the time the first measures toward a uniform scale were adopted
there was a well-established practice in the shipbuilding industry of
providing a special arrangement for pieceworkers when the work
was of such a nature that the regular piece rates could not well be
applied. Pieceworkers, accustomed to earn much more than hour
workers, are always reluctant to do special work at a normal hour
rate. To meet this difficulty it became customary to do work not
covered by the piece-rate scale under “ agreement’ ’ with the foreman
covering the particular work. Work normally covered by the piecerate scale, but which for some reason was obstructed or delayed was
done on an “ allowance” based on the worker’s normal earnings at
piecework, usually his average for the three days previous.
This system, rough though it was, worked well enough in normal
times. The administrative difficulty which developed with the
award arose from the fact that the yard owners no longer had a




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motive for holding allowance and agreement payments down to a
minimum.
When the Delaware River scale was adopted there was doubtless
a sincere purpose on the part of the older established yards to adhere
to it and thus bring wholesome standards into a chaotic situation.
Flagrant differences, however, between yards in their ability to
create uniform conditions placed a premium upon those who violated
the spirit of the award. The opportunities for profits thus offered
were eagerly seized upon by some of the newer yards working under
“ cost plus” contracts. A condition of competition soon developed
which forced more conservative yards to follow in part the example
of the speculative yards in order to keep their labor forces from dis­
appearing. Hence the serious abuses already noted.
In dealing with the complex questions above described, it was in­
evitable that the board should change its early ideas concerning its
own functions. With the changed concept came also a change in
the agencies by which the work of the board had to be carried on.
Many-sided activities could not be successfully undertaken without
adequate machinery. The way in which this machinery developed
is set forth in the following chapter.




CHAPTER IX.—DEVELOPMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE
MACHINERY.
The memorandum of December 8, 1917, compared with that of
August 20 of the same year, shows at once the influence of adminis­
trative considerations. The original provisions for a special repre­
sentative of the Navy, for local representation of employers and
workers, and for differentiation in the representation of steel-ship
yards and wooden-ship yards were abandoned in favor of a single
national board of three members.
The refusal of their president to sign the agreement for the carpen­
ters was of course one of the reasons for changing the provision with
respect to wooden-ship yards, but experience on the Pacific coast in
the fall of 1917 had shown that a board of varying composition was
bound to be so cumbersome that continuance of the plan would
jeopardize effective operation. Attention was coming to be directed
less exclusively toward the thing to be done and more toward how to
do it.
It is true that the idea of the thing to be done had undergone con­
siderable change, and this change itself involved important adminis­
trative considerations. While the revised memorandum still features
the work of the board in settling disputes between management and
men, the Government’s acceptance oi obligation to reimburse tended
to put yard owners in the position of onlookers and to shift emphasis
from disputes to uniformity. Local representation, besides being
cumbersome and of doubtful value locally, tended to endanger uni­
formity and this was a strong argument for its abandonment.
The reasons which made it impractical for the board to confine its
activity to settling disputes have been set forth in an earlier chapter.
Chief among them was the premium which such a policy placed on the
raising of disputes. As soon as the board undertook to extend the
basic standards used in settling disputes to the whole territory in
question, it became not only a judicial but a legislative body. This
status was greatly emphasized when shortly, irrespective of disputes,
it handed down awards for each of the shipbuilding districts. For
the purpose of making awards to be imposed on all employers and
workers alike in the several shipbuilding territories a central board
which viewed its work from a national point of view was the only
appropriate agency.
Handing down general awards at once made the board a legislative
body, but it was still contemplated that it would become only to a
limited extent an administrative body. While it was recognized
from the start that there must be back of decisions authority for their
enforcement, implying some limited administrative machinery, it was
believed that this machinery could be kept comparatively simple.
The technical and accounting tasks resulting from decisions were ex­
pected to be carried out by the Emergency Fleet Corporation and the
Navy Department, thus removing the necessity for the creation of
machinery for that purpose by the board. Assuming the natural
reactions of employers before the award, it was to be expected that
reimbursements for wage increases would remove any motive for de­
pressing the wage scale and would thus insure effective cooperation
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of employers in carrying out awards. Union officers also were pledged
to use their best efforts toward holding workers to the provisions of
the awards.
EARLY ADMINISTRATIVE METHODS—EXAMINERS.

The provision for examiners in the revised memorandum of Decem­
ber 8, 1917, implied clearly that the examiner was intended to func­
tion primarily in connection with disputes between the management
and the men. The questions of labor supply and the prevention of
unfair competition for men were supposed to be dealt with by the
Emergency Fleet Corporation and the Navy.
Following the idea that the work of the board was to be only to a
limited extent administrative, its first examiners were volunteer
workers on a part-time basis. The theory developed during the spring
of 1918 was that examiners would report their findings to the board
and that if confirmed these finding^ would be turned over to the
Emergency Fleet Corporation or the Navy for execution. In case
decisions called for some action on the part of the workers, the inter­
national officers of the shipbuilding crafts were expected to see that
they were carried out. The yard owners, the international officers,
and the two Government agencies concerned were, under this theory,
to be the administrators of the board’s findings.
Actual practice deviated widely from this plan. By the spring
of 1918 examiners had been appointed in each of the 11 shipbuilding
districts. The work had so accumulated that it was necessary to
provide most of the examiners with paid assistants
Early in June, 1918, Willard E. Hotchkiss, of the University
of Minnesota, was appointed supervising examiner, and it became his
task to spend a considerable portion of his time in the field conferring
with examiners, keeping the board advised of the situation in different
territories, and coordinating the work of examiners with that of the
board in Washington. Great difficulty had been experienced in
securing volunteer examiners who could undertake the delicate
judicial tasks that the service required. All of them were anxious to
avoid as far as possible administrative duties and none of them
wished to build up an extensive organization. They therefore
omitted to utilize fully the authority they had to employ help. The
result was a great congestion of complaints in examiners’ offices and
in many cases a lack of sufficient knowledge about the complaints
to deal with them effectively. Many violations of the award failed
to receive the timely attention they deserved. In only one or two of
the examiners’ offices was the force in any way adequate to keep
abreast of the business in hand.
During the summer of 1918 it was possible, through the reports of
the supervising examiner and with the cooperation of the examiners,
to place assistants in several of the district offices and to adopt plans
for securing the prompt dispatch of business, but otherwise the ad­
ministrative functions of the board were not at that time emphasized.
COOPERATION WITH EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION.

However, for several months preceding the armistice the tendency
to boost earnings so greatly outweighed the tendency to keep them
down that the obligation to protect the interests of the countrybecame
a controlling consideration. To meet this obligation steps were taken




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to bring about more effective administrative cooperation with the
Emergency Fleet Corporation and the Navy, to the end of reducing
abuses under the awards to a minimum.
In the spring of 1918 various industrial relations services that had
grown up in the Emergency Fleet Corporation were brought into one
department under direction of Leon C. Marshall, of the University of
Chicago, who had previously taken a prominent part in drafting a
national labor policy and urging its adoption. It was expected that
this move would make it possible for the Fleet Corporation more
effectively to enforce the awards and thus relieve the board of many
of its administrative burdens.
During the early summer, plans were advanced for building up
district organizations in the industrial relations division. Since the
demands of various war services had pretty thoroughly depleted the
supply of persons qualified for district work of this sort, the building
of an organization was not an easy task. Discussion of the subject,
moreover, made it clear that while the work of the industrial relations
division covered many things with which the board was not concerned,
there was so much overlapping that two district organizations might
become a source of confusion and annoyance.
Mr. Marshall's appointment as director of industrial relations of
the Fleet Corporation, although it did not at once change the official
relations between that division and the board, did have the effect of
making the personal connection between the two bodies much closer.
The confidence in which he was held by the representatives of the
workers also enhanced the general attitude of cooperation. When
in the late summer the question arose of securing a successor to Mr.
Coolidge, the Fleet Corporation and Navy representative on the
board, it became obvious that Mr. Marshall’s appointment to the
vacancy would have the effect, both personally and in respect to
the subject matter involved, of bringing the different elements in the
situation into their proper relationship. His appointment to the
board was therefore made and this appointment introduces the final
phase in the board’s development on the administrative side.
COORD IN ATED AD M IN ISTRATIVE O RGANIZATIO N.

Mr. Marshall’s dual position of member of the board and head of
the industrial relations work of the Fleet Corporation greatly facili­
tated the ta>sk of coordinating administrative field work. The organi­
zation through which this end was achieved was as follows:
1. Substitution of paid full-time, for volunteer part-time, exam­
iners of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board.
2. Provision that examiners should be at the same time district
representatives of industrial relations.
3. Appointment of a field manager of industrial relations in the
Emergency Fleet Corporation.
4. Joint participation of the board, its secretary, its supervising
examiner, and the field manager of industrial relations in the appoint­
ment of examiner-district representatives.
5. Duplicate reports of essential activities to the field manager
and supervising examiner.
6. Joint action in all matters of common interest.
It does not fall within the scope of this report to enlarge on the
functions of district representatives. It should be pointed out,




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however, that since they represented all branches of industrial rela­
tions activities many of these duties fell within fields with which the
board had no direct concern. In this work they were aided by
assistants, who had no connection with the board, and the repre­
sentatives themselves, in their capacity as district representatives,
were, in the first instance, responsible to the district manager of the
Fleet Corporation, though reporting directly to the field manager
of industrial relations.
As examiners the men in charge of the several districts were respon­
sible to the board and as such they did their work under the general
oversight of the supervising examiner. The work they did as exam­
iners might be administrative or it might be judicial. They inter­
preted the awards of the board subject to appeal, they heard com­
plaints, settled disputes, and in general saw to it that the awards
were enforced. Since they represented both the board and the Fleet
Corporation they were in no danger of trespassing on someone else's
jurisdiction and they were usually sure in one capacity or the other
of having authority to do the thing that needed doing. On the other
hand, representing the entirely independent judicial authority of the
board, they occupied an advantageous position with reference to the
district manager and other local officers of the corporation.
The district organization just described is not one which can be
simply charted; it was based more largely upon the assumption of
personal cooperation at certain strategic points than upon any funda­
mental principles of organization. Mr. Marshall's dual position
practically assured such cooperation at most of these points, and the
personal relations of members of the board to the director general of
the Fleet Corporation were adequate to correct any lack of coopera­
tion that developed.
The time that elapsed between adoption of the new plan and the
signing of the armistice was too short to give it a fair test. As was
natural, experience had already brought about considerable im­
provement in local administration under the volunteer examiners,
especially in the case of those who had made provision for reason­
ably adequate assistance. It should also be noted that the new
plan did not bring a complete change in personnel, since several
examiners and active assistant examiners became examiner-district
representatives under the new plan. The new appointees naturally
were unfamiliar with the work and one or two of them retired with­
out ever having become effective.
All in all the plan of merging the district work of the board and
the industrial relations division was a distinct step forward. It
seems likely that its success would have been still more apparent
had the war continued.
As it was, neither the work of the board nor of its examiners ter­
minated with the armistice. The October awards were scheduled
to expire on April 1, 1919. Immediately after the armistice all the
parties to the original agreement requested the board to continue to
function until the award expired. The problems that arose after
the armistice involved to some extent a liquidation of the abuses
which the pressure of the war emergency had permitted to develop,
especially in connection with piecework. In this task the fact that
local officers could act both as representatives of the board and of
the Fleet Corporation was a great advantage. All things consid­




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ered, the field organization developed a high degree of efficiency
during the time of its operation.
During the time when the joint district organization was under
consideration, considerable discussion was devoted to the question
of having a representative of the district office in every shipyard of
importance. This action was definitely contemplated by some of
the men who were most active in developing the general plan. On
the other hand, some of the men who were thinking primarily of the
work of the board and of disputes arising under the awards were
inclined to believe that the easy access that would be secured by
having a representative in every yard might tend to encourage
nonessential complaints. Also the limited supply of qualified men
available for this sort of service was an important consideration.
In actual practice the Delaware River district was the only one
in which there was any close approach to a representative for each
yard. The other districts were divided into manageable territories
with a person in each territory acting as assistant to the examinerdistrict representative. Had the armistice been longer delayed the
numerous services of the Fleet Corporation might well have re­
quired a considerable extension of the local force.
The armistice did not at once diminish materially the work of the
board; it thus happened that a limited force of assistants to the
examiner-district representative instead of a large force of yard
representatives were employed. These assistants, moreover, were
very largely occupied with work in connection with complaints in
which they appeared as representatives of the board rather than of
the Fleet Corporation.
The work of examiners and their assistants varied materially
from yard to yard and from district to district. There was a great
difference in plant equipment and in the efficiency of management
among the plants. In many respects the older and well-established
yards had a great advantage over the new yards, an advantage
which no amount of war-time support from the Government could
entirely overcome. Naturally, also, the extent to which many of
the new yards were merely emergency creations depending on
Government support placed them outside the category of established
business institutions, and in many cases they were lacking in that
dependable sense of responsibility that a business institution of long
operation acquires. Aside from these differences, the organization
for dealing with employees was in many yards almost entirely
lacking, whereas other yards had ample machinery for settling all
complaints that involved matters of merely internal concern.
Naturally, these and other variations in history and organization
were reflected in the atmosphere in which human relationships were
handled. While the purpose of the work performed by the board’s
representatives was determined by the awards, the actual carrying
out of that work obviously had to take account of the whole setting
of the industrial relations problem in the particular plant.
FUNCTIONING OF SHOP COMMITTEES.

Another important difference between the yards, and especially
between the different shipyard districts, was the variation in the
functioning of shop committees. At the time of the first awards




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there was serious objection on the part of many yard owners to the
introduction of shop committees, tne thought being that such a sys­
tem was the first step in the direction of unionization. Partly be­
cause of these objections, provision for committees was omitted
from some of the early awards. At the time of the October, 1918,
awards, therefore, shop committees were functioning with varying
degrees of success in some of the districts, whereas in other districts
there were no committees at all. Under the peculiar circumstances
created by the war, the provisions against discrimination between
union and nonunion men contained in all war-time adjustments
resulted in a practically complete organization of shipyard workers.
In the absence of shop committees, complaints came to be handled
through local officers of the union, and a situation developed in
yards where there had been no committees in which employers were
anxious for committees and union representatives were reluctant to
have them introduced.
As above noted, the October, 1918, award for the Atlantic, Gulf,
and Great Lakes territories contained a blanket provision for shop
committees in all yards. The award provided for the election by
secret ballot of committees made up of three members for each of
the different shipyard crafts, with a further provision that the chair­
men of the craft committees should constitute a joint shop commit­
tee. The October award was effective in introducing the shop com­
mittee system into practically the w
^hole shipyard industry, and the
process, considering the newness of the idea in the industry, engen­
dered comparatively little friction.
In the absence of complaint, elections were regularly held in the
yard without the participation of anyone except the men themselves.
In case of complaint, however, examiners were authorized to super­
vise elections and to provide for holding them in some neutral place.
In a few cases the examiners or their representatives were compelled
T
to take cognizance of the rules under which shop committees were
operating, and on rare occasions they were forced to abrogate the
election. A ruling of the board handed down on January 2, 1919,
illustrates the principles under which the safeguarding of elections
was secured. The ruling reads as follows:
No foreman, contractor, or other person having the right to hire and dismiss men,
and no one who has a direct pecuniary interest in the work of other men in the craft
shall be permitted to vote or to take any part in the election of a committee.
When it is shown to the satisfaction of the examiner that any ineligible person or
persons have participated in an election or that persons eligible have not had an
opportunity to participate in an election, he may declare the election void.

Both the action of the examiner in calling new elections and the
ruling of the board were formally protested by the yard owner in
this case, but the general principles set forth were almost uniformly
recognized.
RELATION OF UNIONS TO SH O P CO M M ITTEES.

Among others there were three outstanding conditions under the
October awards that determined the practical functioning of shop
committees. Perhaps the most important of these was the position
which the union had secured in connection with previous adjust­
ments in the particular yard or territory. A closely related condition
was the location of the yard with respect to the centers of union




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organization. A third factor was the varying attention given to the
development of shop committees by the different examiners and
their assistants.
In the Delaware River district, in which the unions were unusually
strong, the habit of making adjustments primarily through the busi­
ness agents of the unions had become well established under the
earlier award, which contained no provision for shop committees.
The tradition thus established placed committees under a handicap.
In contrast, a yard like one at Bath, Me., in which the workers,
although organized, were drawn from local sources and retained
strong local interests, offered a favorable situation for their more
effective functioning. Accordingly, in the Bath yard and in many
yards similarly situated, adjustments of detail under the different
awards were mutually worked out between the management and the
shop committees, business agents and representatives of the board
coming in only when questions of more general significance were at
issue.
An important consideration affecting the operation of shop com
**
mittees is the balance in a particular shop of union and nonunion
men, or of men belonging to different or conflicting unions. In a
Fore River (Mass.) plant the workers ordinarily classified as machin­
ists were fairly evenly divided between the International Union of
Machinists and a rival organization known as the Amalgamated
Engineers. Elections were usually controlled by the members of the
International Union and the members of the Amalgamated were more
or less constantly urging recognition as a separate craft on the ground
that domination of the committee by the International Union, ex­
cluded the members of the Amalgamated from representation and
was consequently unfair. There were a few occasions when the
antagonism between these two groups threatened considerable diffi­
culty in the yard, but the situation never assumed large proportions
and was in no sense typical of conditions in shipyards generally.
Being a matter of purely local concern no general ruling with respect
to conflicting unions was ever made.
A question of more general significance was that of the relation
under the shop committee system of union and nonunion men. The
processes of organization in most of the yards went on during the
early part of the war without reference to the provision for shop com­
mittees. Unionization in the great majority of the yards progressed
so rapidly that at an early date committees came to be made up almost
exclusively of union men. In the case of one of the yards in the
Columbia River district, however, the committees were made up of
nonunion men during the early period, and of union men later.
A significant result of this change arose out of a case in which an
agreement was reached to leave the question of wearing a union
button in the yard to the decision of the shop committee. Two men
were discharged from the yard for violating a rule against wearing
the union button, and the shop committee, which had become a union
committee, decided under the agreement in favor of their reinstate­
ment. The decision of the examiner and later of the board confirming
the action of the shop committee was vigorously protested by the
yard. The significance of the case, however, for the purposes of this
review is by way of illustration of the kind of problems that are likely
to arise when union and nonunion men are working side by side.




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As far as it goes, the comparatively meager experience along this
particular line would seem to indicate a tendency for committees to
be either union or nonunion. The view of union representatives was
almost universally to the effect that mixed committees were im­
practical. It is doubtful whether this view would be borne out in
open shop plants operating in general industry under normal condi­
tions, especially in plants where the traditions surrounding employee
representation had been developed before the union had come to
exercise a large influence. The war-time experience in shipyards
with respect to the relation of union and nonunion men under the
committee system is worthy of consideration as illustrating one
sort of situation likely to arise under employee representation. The
conditions, however, are probably not typical, either with respect
to the relations of union and nonunion men or with respect to the
relations between members of rival unions.
PRO M O TIO N OF SH O P COM M ITTEE IDEA.

The most active promotion of the shop committee idea by an exam­
iner occurred in the Great Lakes district. Mr. William Pitt, who suc­
ceeded Mr. Fisher as examiner just prior to the October, 1918, award,
made a special effort to enlarge the scope of committees, and secured
from the board an interpretation of the shop committee feature of the
October award especially designed to increase the prestige and influ­
ence of these committees. He also went to particular pams to secure
the cooperation of both the yard owners and the local representatives
of unions in his effort to place greater responsibility upon shop com­
mittees than they had previously borne.
The most tangible direction taken by the examiner’s efforts was
his insistence upon a determination of questions that came before
the craft committee before passing them on to the shop committee,
and a similar insistence that cases coming before the shop committee
should be definitely disposed of and come to the attention of the
examiner only in case of disagreement or appeal. Obviously an
undertaking of this sort demanded a large amount of educational
effort. Not only was it essential to secure the cooperation of the
yard owners and the business agents of the unions, but likewise to
bring the members of shop committees and the workers, whom they
represented, to a realization of the advantages to be derived from a
constructive effort to settle disputes through representatives whom
they themselves had selected.
The change in the general shipbuilding situation brought about
by the armistice and by the prospective dissolution of the Ship­
building Labor Adjustment Board could not fail to modify somewhat
the natural working out of the committee idea. However, enough
experience was gained to indicate significant opportunities along
the line of enlarging the functions of shop committees, and at the
same time to show that such enlargement in no way tended to under­
mine any constructive efforts of local business agents.
In discussing the operation of shop committees under the awards
of the Shipbunding Labor Adjustment Board, it must be borne in
mind that the scope of their powers was comparatively limited. The
detailed specifications contained in the awards with respect to wages
and working conditions eliminated from committee consideration
30533°— 21— B u ll. 283------- 5




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a large part of the cases in which the opportunity for developing
constructive statesmanship on their part might have been greatest.
Under these circumstances it became exceedingly difficult to enlarge
their activities beyond those of mere grievance committees.
However, the far-reaching character of some of the difficulties
that arose with respect to classification, and the complicated con­
siderations frequently involved in questions of retroactive pay and
numerous other questions that arose as a result of the rapid expansion
of the industry, left a very much larger field of operation for the shop
committees than would be true of committees in general industry in
times of peace, if wages, hours, and working conditions were excluded
from their consideration. The rapid expansion of the industry also
resulted in many inefficiencies in yard operation which naturally
gave scope for valuable service in pointing out possible economies.
Considering the situation from these different viewpoints, it is per­
haps not unfair to say that in spite of their apparently limited scope
the abnormal and complicated situation of the whole shipbuilding
industry gave these committees nearly as great opportunity for con­
structive work as would be likely to obtain in general industry under
normal conditions.
EFFECT OF SH O P CO M M ITTEES.

Whatever the comparative scope of shop committees in shipyards
and other industries, the committees represented clearly a distinct
advance in organizing the relations between the shipyard employers
and employees. They brought into the industry a" form of plant
organization in which all employees were eligible to participate and
to deal directly with management, without relying exclusively upon
outside agents. From this standpoint, after making full allowance
for the perversities of individual committees and committeemen
on the one hand, and of certain persons in managerial positions on
the other, there can be no doubt that, taken as a whole, shop commit­
tees did promote more wholesome and cordial relations between the
employers and employees.
While clearly the result of their activities was in the direction of
bringing about a more complete conformity with the board’s awards,
it was generally possible for committees and management to get
beyond a mere technical compliance with specific provisions and
work out constructive measures for overcoming difficulties that were
a source of friction and inefficiency.
Mention has already been made of efforts to secure the cooperation
of local union representatives in connection with the activities of
shop committees. The success of such efforts naturally varied
according to the circumstances in the particular territory and the
particular yard. Results were also largely affected by the person­
ality of the business agent on the one hand and of the representa­
tives of management in the particular yard on the other. The nature
of these difficulties can perhaps best be understood by reference
to extreme cases on both sides. In two or three instances business
agents insisted that the purposes of the award could be carried
out only by electing shop committees at union headquarters and
making them definitely the agents of the local union representa­
tive. In at least one of these cases the management of the yard in




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question went to the other extreme and insisted that the shop com­
mittees must be elected under the supervision of the employers,
with the idea of securing as committeemen persons who were satis­
factory to the management. Both these contentions were naturally
repudiated by the examiner, since they were in direct violation of
the terms of the award and either of them would defeat the purpose
for which the shop-committee feature was introduced into the awards.
The election of committeemen was only one of the circumstances
affecting their relations to management on the one side and to rep­
resentatives of the union on the other. Whenever a large majority
of the workers in any yard or craft were members of the union, it was
of course to be expected that the union could influence the election
of committeemen, whatever the detailed provisions for holding the
election, and it could usually control committees in such yards with
respect to issues over which serious conflict arose. That power of
ultimate control, however, was not the same thing as habitual domi­
nation by the union, and in many cases the shop committees showed
an independence of judgment that exerted a very important moderat­
ing ana educative influence upon local union representatives. In
most cases the representatives themselves gladly recognized this
factor as a wholesome and constructive influence in the whole sit-,
uation, and put themselves in cooperation with it, without in any
sense sacrificing their own functions as official union representatives.
Where this occurred substantial progress was made, not only in
working out the specific problem with which the committees and
union representatives were dealing but also in building up a good
will for both the committees and those union representatives that
gave evidence of a power and disposition for constructive coopera­
tion. The number of union representatives in the more important
shipbuilding territories who did not ultimately come into relations
of substantial cooperation was comparatively small
Just as there were some union representatives who showed a desire
either to dominate or to eliminate the shop committees, so there
were some managers who, since they could not eliminate them
officially, showed a disposition to prevent them from functioning.
The most extreme case of this sort was that of one yard whose man­
agement throughout practically the whole period of the board’s
activity succeeded in finding plausible pretexts for dismissing em­
ployees who were active as committeemen. There were other yards
who employed essentially the same tactics with less success. The
provision against discrimination because of committee activities was
very specific and definite in the awards of October, 1918. Neverthe­
less with the numerous causes for dismissal, especially in yards in
which the relationship between the management and men was habitu­
ally strained, the power of persecution was never entirely removed.
The above discussion of shop committees refers chiefly to yards
other than those in the South and on the Pacific coast. The labor
situation and other conditions under which shipbuilding was carried
on in the South were so different from those in the other parts of the
country that experience there was less typical than would otherwise
be the case. In the Columbia River district the functioning of shop
committees was not dissimilar to that in eastern yards in which union­
ism was a comparatively new phenomenon. In the yards around




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Puget Sound and San Francisco Bay, on the other hand, employers
and employees were already so accustomed to working under volun­
tary trade agreements in which the business agents of the unions
played a large rdle that there was little disposition on either side to
experiment with shop committees.
Considered in relation to the shipyards of the Atlantic coast and
the Great Lakes, the shop committees probably represent one of the
most constructive results of the board's activities. Just what the
ermanent effect of the war and immediate postwar experience will
ave upon the organization of industrial relations in shipyards is
something that only time can tell. The fact that the shop committee
principle was introduced into all of the voluntary agreements entered
into in 1919 would seem to indicate that shop representation has be­
come an essential part of industrial relations administration in the
industry.

E

SETTLEMENT OF QUESTIONS AFFECTING NAVY.

Reference has already been made to the original plan of having a
special representative of the Navy on the board and to the subsequent
change to a single representative appointed jointly by the Navy and
the Emergency Fleet Corporation. Even after this change a special
Navy representative sat in some of the later conferences and the pro­
posal was made but never put in force, that upon some of the ques­
tions of policy before the board there should be both a Navy and a
Fleet Corporation member, each with one-half a vote.
As concerned nearly all the practical details of operation from day
to day matters were handled by the regular machinery above de­
scribed. There were, however, certain questions affecting the Navy
which the machinery of the board and the later joint machinery of the
board and the Emergency Fleet Corporation could not settle without
cooperation from the representative of the Navy. These matters in
the main had to do with reimbursing yards for retroactive pay and
with work under certain Navy contracts that were excluded from
the jurisdiction of the board.
The Emergency Fleet Corporation was created for a special purpose
and was intentionally relieved from many of the restrictions to which
the regular departments of the Government were subject. The Navy
Department, not enjoying these exemptions, proceeded under the
ordinary bureaucratic routine. On the other hand, except for the
exempted contracts just mentioned, the Navy was committed to the
adjustments arrived at by the board.
These adjustments included, among other things, the payment of
retroactive pay. In one of the early cases representatives of the
Navy indicated that the Navy would not be legally empowered to
make the retroactive payments to which it was committed under the
agreement) and rested this view on an opinion of the Comptroller of
the Treasury to the effect that the work in question had already been
paid for and therefore it could not legally be paid for again. Retro­
active pay would constitute a second payment for the same work.
In this case the yard owner advanced the payment, taking his chance
of future reimbursement.
The uncertainty surrounding the power of the Navy was always a
source of much difficulty in making adjustments in yards doing Navy
work. The numerous repair yards in the vicinity of New York and




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elsewhere were practically always in difficulty because yard owners
would not make the adjustments decided on without assurance of
reimbursement and the Navy was usually slow to give such assurance.
A peculiar difficulty in this connection was the reluctance of local
Navy representatives to give the necessary specific authorization for
certain payments even when the Navy authorities in Washington had
approved the same payments. The result was that many claims
were always pending and never settled, making friction and unrest
a more or less constant factor. Adjustments on Navy work soon
came invariably to be made subject to the technicalities and delays
in securing payment. Such adjustment the workers were inclined to
regard as no adjustment at all.
Moreover, the difficulties just described were not confined to Navy
work. Not infrequently Navy work and work for the Fleet Corpora­
tion were going on side by side in the same yard. In these cases when
a particular payment to workers was authorized reimbursement
would come in part from the Fleet Corporation and in part from the
Navy. Difficulties in the way of allocating the work of particular
employees meant that all payments‘would be withheld pending as­
surance of reimbursement from both the Government agencies
concerned.
At the time when the board was organized the Navy had let cer­
tain lump-sum contracts whose terms did not permit of their being
brought under the awards. The question just which contracts came
under this head always appeared to be more or less uncertain, so much
so that it was nearly always necessary to consult the representatives
of the Navy when the question was raised. This was easy enough in
Washington, but was frequently embarrassing for local representa­
tives. On several occasions it happened that important negotiations
were under way concerning work that superficially appeared to be
under the board’s jurisdiction, when, under advice from the Navy,
jurisdiction was withdrawn. However inevitable uncertainties of
this sort may have been, they were bound to be a source of unrest in
the yards.
SHIPPING BOARD, DIVISION OF OPERATIONS.

The war emergency building program of the Shipping Board was
turned over to the Emergency Fleet Corporation. The division of
operations of the Shipping Board, however, had to provide directly
for repair and remodelling work. Practically the same difficulties
with respect to jurisdiction and reimbursement as have been described
in connection with Navy work applied with equal force to work for
the Shipping Board. The Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board
always claimed jurisdiction over the work and made adjustments
accordingly, but the officers of the Shipping Board, especially the
legal officers, were inclined to question the claim.
Practically the last official act of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjust­
ment Board was to insist on settlement of a claim adjusted many
months before, payment of which the legal division of the Shipping
Board had persistently withheld. The amount of work done directly
for the Shipping Board was not such as to make the jurisdictional
question one of major importance. In individual cases, however, the
embarrassment was a real one.




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RELATION OF CENTRAL OFFICE TO EXAMINERS.

The original theory of a board to settle disputes did net call for a
large force at the central office in Washington, but even with the
change in the scope of work undertaken the plan of keeping the cen­
tral force small was rigidly adhered to. The regular clerical force
never exceeded a chief clerk, a file clerk, and three stenographers.
As noted above, a supervising examiner was added to the overhead
force in June, 1918, and somewhat later an assistant secretary and a
statistical assistant were added. On the resignation of Mr. Seager as
secretary, which took effect on December 15, 1918, the offices of
secretary and supervising examiner were merged. Later there was a
similar merger of the offices of assistant secretary and statistical
assistant.
The relation of the central office to examiners was partly deter­
mined by geography, partly by the personal factor, and partly by the
problems that arose. During the summer of 1918 the supervising
examiner was in frequent touch with the examiners and to a consid­
erable extent with yard owners'and labor representatives from New­
port News north and in the Great Lakes territory.
The southern territory had its own problems, many of them ex­
tremely difficult, arising out of the nature of the labor force, the
emergency character of the yards, and the general industrial situation
in that section. Building in the South was not, however, relatively
of as great importance to the general program as it was in most of the
other regions. Since the southern territory was so largely sui generis
the policy of decentralization was carried further there than it was
elsewhere. Paid full-time examiners were appointed in the spring of
1918 with headquarters at Jacksonville and New Orleans, and they
exercised much freedom in working out the peculiar problems of their
territories.
Pacific coast examiners of necessity had to depend largely on their
own resources, supplemented by free use of the telegraph. At the
time of the reorganization under the examiner-district representative
plan all of the examiners from the coast spent a considerable time in
Washington and thus became familiar with the work of the board
from the Washington angle. The difficulty of administering the
award on the Pacific coast did not arise out of any detachment of the
board’s local representatives but rather out of the detachment of the
wage earners and their representatives from the international organi­
zations which were responsible parties to the creation of the board and
one of the agencies for carrying out its awards. The effect of this
detachment culminated in the Seattle strike of January-February,
1919, referred to in Chapter X .
The day-to-day work of the board and its secretary was concerned
largely with hearings and conferences on questions arising under the
awards and with the formulation and communication of decisions and
interpretations. These hearings and decisions were in some instances
on appeal from decisions of examiners but more frequently they were
on questions raised in advance concerning matters mat the examiner
was called upon to decide. In all cases procedure was entirely in­
formal, with every effort made to avoid an atmosphere of contention.
Naturally this effort did not always succeed.




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As a general principle official communication with yard owners
and with labor representatives was conducted through examiners,
but relations established in many cases before examiners were
appointed made it impossible and undesirable to adhere strictly to
this rule. On one or two occasions complaint was made that the
effectiveness of the examiner’s work was being impaired by direct
communication of advice to yards or to workers. There were on
the whole very few cases in which any difficulty was found in avoid­
ing a too rigid adherence to official routine on the one hand and, on
the other, protecting the position and influence of the examiner. A
tendency of labor representatives to insist on dealing with head­
quarters was perhaps the greatest influence that led the central
office at times into matters that might have been locally disposed of.
The relations between the several parties to labor adjustments
under the board’s awards are illustrated by a case that arose in one
of the districts during a prolonged illness of the examiner. Appeal
was made to the assistant examiner for the reinstatement of some
20 “ leading men” (“ workers with minor supervisory duties” ) who,
as their representatives claimed, had been discharged on account
of membership in the union. The assistant examiner on inquiry
found that both union and nonunion men had been discharged, and
wrote the representatives of the men a letter in which he expressed
the opinion that there appeared to have been no discrimination
against union men and hence no violation of the award.
Following a protest of the men and their representatives the
supervising examiner called a hearing in the local office of the exam­
iner and directed both parties to send representatives prepared to
give full information. Representatives of the yard failing to appear,
seven of the men concerning whom their representatives were able
to furnish concrete information appeared and gave evidence to the
effect that they had severally been called before an employer’s
representative and advised to take out withdrawal cards from the
union, which they declined to do. They further set forth that these
interviews in each case were shortly followed by notice of dismissal.
A transcript record of the hearing was sent to the yard owners,
together with a letter in which the supervising examiner in the name
of the board expressed regret that the yard had not been represented,
and asked that the owner’s reply to the allegations made by the men
be forwarded to the board during the following week. No reply to
this communication having been received within the next two weeks,
the board issued an order directing that the men be reinstated. The
yard declined to carry out the decision, whereupon the examiner, as
district representative of indutrial relations, took the matter to his
superior officer in the Emergency Fleet Corporation.
When the matter was brought to the attention of the manager of
the yard by the district manager of the Fleet Corporation, he de­
clined to reinstate on the ground that the supervising examiner
had acted illegally in holding a hearing upon a matter already
settled by the assistant examiner, and that therefore all subsequent
proceedings were illegal. After several other dilatory pleas peremp­
tory orders for reinstatment were given by the director general of
the Emergency Fleet Corporation. As the decision for reinstate­
ment provided for pay on account of time lost by dismissal, it was




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necessary for the examiner to secure affidavits concerning all such
time. Though the yard succeeded in delaying execution of the
decision for months, such of the men as continued to press their claims
were ultimately reinstated.
In this case there was substantial cooperation between the exami­
ner, the board, and the Fleet Corporation. The plea of conflict
between the examiner’s office and the office of the board was raised
on purely technical grounds. The case is typical of the cooperative
relation between the several public agencies. The attitude of the
yard was in no sense typical. It was one of a very few cases in
which the yards demurred at decisions reached, and of such cases it
was the most extreme.
Reinstatement cases were always regarded by the board as re­
quiring the utmost care in handling. The very few cases in which
reinstatement was ordered were cases in which either the evidence of
discrimination was clear or in which a particular worker had suffered
injustice. The board was always aware that interference with
ordinary and necessary discipline would tend to undermine the work
that all concerned were trying to accomplish. The chief difficulty
was the tendency of yard owners to put too much responsibility for
discipline on the board rather than too little.
The emergency nature of the circumstances under which the
machinery of the board was operating largely precludes any consid­
erable application of its experience to normal industrial relations in
time of peace. The peculiar relation of the Government to the
whole enterprise, moreover, entirely overshadowed the ordinary
reaction that would come out of a similar enterprise under private
initiative. Especially was this true under a plan in which the yard
owners’ interest in costs was largely undermined. In spite of abnor­
malities, the experience of the board shows that it is possible to
specialize the handling of industrial relations in a nation-wdde
industry and provide for the judicial handling of major and minor
disputes according to accepted principles of justice and administra­
tion, and that without an excessive amount of governmental
machinery.




CHAPTER X.—OPERATIONS AFTER THE ARMISTICE.
At the time of the armistice the Emergency Fleet Corporation had
contracts out which it was estimated would occupy the more impor­
tant shipyards for something like a year. The question at once
arose whether the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board should
continue to function with respect to work on these contracts. The
awards of October, 1918, as nas been explained, were to continue
in force for at least six months; that is, until April 1, 1919. They
were in no way conditioned upon the duration of the war.
Immediately after the armistice the representatives of the Emer­
gency Fleet Corporation and the Navy Department met with the
international presidents of the shipbuilding crafts which were parties
to the agreement of August 20, 1917, and it was unanimously decided
to request the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board to continue
to function during the life of the October awards.
The principal change in the shipbuilding situation brought about
by the armistice was of “
course the disappearance of the war emer­
gency. Associated with this was an anticipated change from the
acute labor shortage that had prevailed to a condition of surplus labor.
These changes served to develop a more conciliatory attitude,
particularly on the labor side, and by decreasing the number of new
issues brought forward, gave the board much needed time to try
to eradicate some of the abuses which had sprung up under its awards.
Except for this relaxation of pressure, the day-to-day operations of
the board and its local agencies were not at once materially affected
by the armistice.
ADJUSTM ENT OF PIECE RATES.

As explained in the last chapter, the October awards had to do with
the basic conditions of wage adjustment as affected by changes in
the cost of living and in the general war situation prior to October,
1918. The actual wage schedules were confined to the hour rates,
a later adjustment of piece rates being promised.
In the case of the Pacific coast yards, where the board had not
yet attempted to standardize piece rates, it was understood that a
conference on piece rates between the yard owners and union repre­
sentatives would soon be held. It was thought that the San Fran­
cisco and Seattle examiners could represent the board at these piece­
work conferences and therefore that it would not be necessary for
a member of the board to attend in person. Owing to the greater
urgency of other issues in San Francisco and to the disturbances
which led to the Seattle strike in January, 1919, the proposed piece
rate conference was delayed for several months. In the meantime
there continued to be great unrest among the Pacific coast workers.
The situation on the Pacific coast was so detrimental to ship
production that the board and the Emergency Fleet Corporation
finally decided to send there a joint representative. Accordingly
Mr. Marshall proceeded to the Coast early in February.




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On the basis of the information he secured the board finally decided
not to issue a decision in reference to piece rates on the Pacific coast but
to leave them, as theretofore, to voluntary agreement. After further
delay voluntary agreements between the yard owners, the union
representatives, and the Emergency Fleet Corporation were finally
arrived at. This outcome was felt to be all the more advantageous
because it did not depend for its continuance on the authority of the
board, which was so soon by mutual agreement to be dissolved.
During November, 1918, the board held several conferences in
Washington with respect to piece rates in the Atlantic coast, Gulf,
and Great Lakes yards. The recommendations made by represen­
tatives of the workers were so conflicting that they served to empha­
size the difficulties opposing standardization in this field, rather than
to assist in its accomplishment. The board even felt that “ it would
lay itself open to the criticism of treating the different crafts and the
different districts quite unequally if it were to comply with them.”
All the evidence before the board went to show that the piece rates
established by previous awards were as well balanced as it would be
possible to make them in the absence of prolonged study of all the
details of operation in the various yards. The only reason for a
change, therefore, was to adjust the piece rates to the increase in the
hourly rates granted in the October award and based on the increased
cost of living.
It will be recalled that the increase in the hourly rates granted to
the higher paid employees, among whom the pieceworkers belonged,
was 10 per cent. The board, therefore, left the existing piece rates
in operation and directed that the earnings under them for each
pay period should be increased 10 per cent. This decision applied
to riveting, chipping and calking, drilling and reaming, and counter­
sinking and, in the case of the Great Lakes yards, to fitting, those
being the crafts for which uniform piece rates were in operation.
LIMITATION OF ALLOWANCE SYSTEM.

During the summer of 1918 it became clear that the so-called
allowance system in shipyards was being more and more abused.
Previous to the piece-rate decision agents of the Emergency Fleet
Corporation had collected evidence which indicated that payment
on allowance covered a substantial part of the work of the piece­
work crafts. In some cases the figures showed that under the pro­
vision for an allowance based on the three days' previous average,
fast gangs had been permitted to establish averages on relatively
easy work and that these averages had become the basis of payment
not only for the particular gangs but for the whole yard. Further­
more, once these averages were established, they were continued
for months quite regardless of the productive efficiency of the gangs.
Yards working under “ cost plus" contracts could of course greatly
increase their own profits and swell the earnings of workers out of
all reason if permitted to continue this sort of practice. For­
tunately, the Emergency Fleet Corporation had held up reimburse­
ment to those yard owners whose practice with respect to the allow­
ance system showed the most glaring abuses. But the abuses of the
system had continued and, due to the competition of irresponsible
owners, had even spread to the older and more stable yards.




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It goes without saying that so-called piecework operators who were
able to earn two or three times the normal hourly rates without any
corresponding responsibility for output would soon become accus­
tomed to a standard of earnings which could not be maintained either
in justice to the Government or to craftsmen, frequently more
skilled, operating under legitimate hourly rates.
The board felt, therefore, that it must accompany its piecework
decision with some regulation tending to restrict the allowance
system within its proper limits. It was accordingly provided that the
10 per cent increase, granted as above mentioned by the decision
of November 30, should not apply to earnings based on agreement
or allowance. It also made this further provision concerning the
allowance system:
Section V .— Limitation on the allowance system.— The most serious abuse in connec­
tion with the payment to pieceworkers that has developed is the excessive payments
at the expense of the Government under cover of the “ allowance system.” In its
previous decision the board made the basis of payment to pieceworkers, when for any
reason the piece-rate scale could not be applied, the average earnings at piecework
for the preceding three days. The board feels that this is a fair rule when fairly admin­
istered, but it has so much evidence of its abuse that it must now qualify it so that it
can not be used as a device for substituting for the hourly rate what is virtually a new
hourly rate out of all proportion to the rates paid in other than piece-rate crafts. It
has therefore to attach to the provision making the three-day average piece-rate earn­
ings the basis of compensation to pieceworkers who for any reason are not working
on piecework, the following rule: “ Provided that this shall not be less than the hourly
rate fixed in Schedule A of the decision or more than one and one-half times such
hourly rate. ’ ?

Since it had been agreed that the award should date from October
1 it seemed necessary, in order to put the pieceworkers on a par with
the hour workers, to provide in the piece-rate decision for retro­
active pay. Conferences revealed the fact that divergence in the
methods of recording piecework operations would make it impossible
to determine the exact amount of retroactive pay to which the
different groups of workers were entitled. It was necessary, there­
fore, to decide upon a sum which would constitute the additional
compensation during the intervening period to which piecework­
ers were fairly entitled. After careful study of the earnings of
pieceworkers it was decided that this sum should be 80 cents for
every full day worked; that is, the same amount as was added to the
day wages of riveters and chippers and calkers, by increasing their
hourly rates from 70 to 80 cents. This amount was naturally the
object of much criticism, since many pieceworkers had earned consid­
erably more than the $8 per day to which, on the basis of the 10 per
cent increase, it corresponded. The board’s difficulties with this
problem illustrated the obstacles which oppose any effort to render
finely balanced justice between groups of workers operating at dif­
ferent crafts and under different conditions in a highly complex
industry.
INTERPRETATION OF PIECEWORK AWARD.

Immediately after the piecework award numerous questions
concerning its interpretation arose. These controversies in several
cases resmted in stoppages. There was serious unrest among the
pieceworkers during December, 1918, and January, 1919, due chiefly
to the establishment by the board of the maximum wage to be paid
for work under the allowance system. About the middle of Decem­




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ber delegations from the yards in the Delaware River and Baltimore
districts waited on the board to protest against the restrictions
concerning the allowance and the agreement systems. As a result
of conferences with these delegations it was agreed that the inter­
national president of the boilermakers’ union should hold further
conferences with the representatives of the men with a view to
reaching an agreement which would at the same time correct the
abuses of the system and satisfy the men. Pending the results of
these conferences a ruling was adopted on December 18 by which the
provision restricting compensation on allowance to one and one-half
times the hourly day rate was extended to include work by agreement.
After receiving the report of these conferences with representatives
of pieceworkers, the board on January 27 and January 28,1919, handed
down two extensive rulings covering the whole piece-rate situation.
The ruling of January 27 applied to the crafts covered by the uniform
piece-rate scales, that of January 28 to piecework in other crafts.
The significance of the ruling of January 27 is that it was based
upon an attempt to define accurately the terms “ allowance” and
“ agreement. ” From the standpoint of administration and of the
working relations between the board and the Emergency Fleet
Corporation the formulation of the rule constituted one of the
most significant acts of the board. It is, therefore, reproduced in
full as Appendix D. (See p. 106.)
Inasmuch as the piece rates in operation on the Great Lakes were
not the same as those on the Atlantic coast a separate decision had
been made for the Lakes yards. Moreover, the allowance system
had not developed significantly in the yards of the Great Lakes.
The above ruling, therefore, did not apply to the Lakes yards.
The ruling of November 30, 1918, had provided, with respect to
piecework in crafts not covered by uniform piece rates, that each
application for approval and for increase in previous rates should be
considered on its merits, having in mind the earnings in relation to
other earnings in the yard. After the decision, numerous piece
rates were submitted for approval and they presented so many
different questions of policy and practice that the whole matter was
made the subject of a separate ruling on January 28, 1919.
The essence of the ruling was that yards working under lump-sum
contracts were at liberty to agree with their workers upon mutually
satisfactory piece rates. Insamuch as such rates would be arrived
at in relation to the hour rates in the same crafts, and inasmuch as
they would naturally be introduced with the thought of reducing
costs, it was provided that any claim for reimbursement should be
on the basis of the hour rates in the crafts affected.
In the case of agency yards and yards operating on “ cost plus”
contracts it was provided that agreements with respect to additional
piece rates should be subject to approval by the local representative
of the Emergency Fleet Corporation.
In order to grasp the full significance of these rulings it must be
understood that they were made at a time when the Emergency
Fleet Corporation was attacking vigorously the problem of reim­
bursing shipyard owners for increased wage costs. The investiga­
tions of the Fleet Corporation and of the board’s representatives had
revealed serious abuses. Representatives of the workers acknowl­
edged these abuses and offered their assistance in eradicating them.




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The process, if successful, inevitably meant a radical reduction of
earnings for many workers.
Moreover, it should be recalled that immediately after the armi­
stice action by the Navy Department and the United States Shipping
Board had put all of the shipyards on a rigid eight-hour schedule,
thus eliminating all overtime. It had been anticipated that the
reduction of earnings thus occasioned would cause serious outbreaks,
but in no case did any notable disturbance arise. The restriction of
the allowance and agreement systems coming so soon after the reduc­
tion in earnings by the cutting out of overtime created a delicate
situation and one which, even with the prospective increase of labor
supply, might have caused serious difficulty except for the successful
efforts of the international officers in holding the men in check.
DEFINITION OF SHIPYARD OCCUPATIONS.

Much progress was made after the armistice in the direction of a
better definition of crafts and of greater clarity in the description of
work performed by operators in the several crafts. This process
was greatly aided by the book on shipyard occupations published by
the Emergency Fleet Corporation in October, 1918. Representa­
tives of the workers gave careful attention to the classifications to see
that the shipyards conformed to them. Some of the variations led
to much debate. A notable example was the definition of leading
men and quartermen, especially the basis on which quartermen were
distinguished from assistant foremen and foremen. The board did
not, however, attempt to hold the yards to precisely the same defi­
nition of crafts or to uniform practice in yard organization. It deemed
it wise to permit even greater differentiation in organization and
rates for special occupations than had been expedient during the
war period.
The most important contribution of the board during the period
following the armistice was not the adjustment of disputes between the
yard owners and the men but the gradual bringing of the industry
back to the basis of independent initiative and independent regula­
tion of conditions which preceded the board’s creation and would
again be controlling after its approaching dissolution.
Early in the winter of 1918-19 conferences with representatives of
the Hog Island yards were held and the board was asked to bring the
working conditions there within the scope of its awards. An effort
to accomplish this purpose met with so many technical obstacles
that the end sought was never completely achieved. Conditions,
however, were brought more nearly into line with those of other
shipyards than they had been at any other period. The establish­
ment of shipyard representatives in the Delaware River district
served to bring the management at Hog Island into closer working
relations with the board, and resulted thereafter in the substantial
adherence of the Hog Island yard to the board’s awards.
By and large, it is. fair to say that the problem at the Hog Island
yards was never a problem of adjustment so much as it was a problem
of supply and yard organization. The effort to secure the thousands
of employees imperatively needed for the Hog Island yards disturbed
the labor conditions in other yards, but considering the magnitude
of the work undertaken and the novel methods by which it was at­




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tempted to carry it out, it is doubtful whether any machinery for
labor adjustments could have lessened the friction which inevitably
resulted.
The cessation of hostilities did not change the obligation of the
Emergency Fleet Corporation under the agreement to see that the
employees in shipyards enjoyed the benefits of the October awards.
The armistice, however, removed the necessity, from the Govern­
ment's standpoint, for preventing shipyards from exceeding the
awards, since the keen competition for shipyard labor was over.
This was the position taken by the director general from the time of
the armistice, but there were so many special conditions that it was
not found practicable to issue at once a general order to that effect.
The question whether or not rates in excess of the award were per­
missible when the yard owners themselves assumed the burden
remained a source of considerable controversy. There was a strong
feeling on the part of some shipyard workers an4 their representa­
tives, especially those in Seattle, that the Government was standing
in the way of higher wages which the workers might but for official
opposition have been able to obtain from their employers. The
foundations of the policy which the Government was pursuing, that
is, fair treatment of all districts and stabilization of wages and working
conditions to prevent the wasteful shifting of employees were probably
comprehended by only a minority of the workers.
SEATTLE STRIKE.

An outstanding event of the post-armistice period was the Seattle
strike which followed the failure of the appeal that had been taken
from the October award. The conditions in the Seattle yards which
receded the 1917 award have already been described (Chapter II.).
t will be recalled that delegates from the Pacific coast had gone to
Washington in the late summer of 1917 for the purpose of securing an
increase in wages and that strikes had begun both in Seattle and
Portland upon the failure of their mission; also that the newly
created Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board had gone to the
coast following on the heels of the returning delegates, and, after
holding hearings in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, had issued
the Pacific coast award of November 4. One of the great obstacles
to a settlement at that time arose, as has been pointed out, from the
exaggerated expectations of the men, especially in one of the Seattle
yards. The contracts that the Government entered into with that
yard had provided for reimbursement on the basis of a 20 per cent
increase above the relatively high level of wages existing in the yard
at the time and thus put the owners of the yard in the position of
being able to express to the men a willingness to pay wages largely in
excess of any scale ^vhich could be justified in comparison with the
wages paid, or likely to be paid, in other territories. The psycho­
logical reactions of this situation spread to all of the Seattle workers
and remained a controlling influence throughout the whole war and
postwar periods.
The demand of representatives of the Pacific coast workers for a
substantial increase on February 1, 1918, had been denied by the
board, since it could not be justified by any increase in the cost of
living above the 10 per cent “ war bonus, 7 which became a permanent
7

?




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addition to the wages of all employees on that date. Added to these
grounds of dissatisfaction was the long delay in the granting of the
next award, due in August, but not announced until October, and
the disappointingly small increase in wages which it contained.
Since the Seattle workers had already received a 10 per cent addition
to the wages fixed by the board in 1917, the granting of a total increase
of only 15 per cent, including this 10 per cent, fell so far short of
meeting their expectations that they felt that they had practically
been held stationary in order that the workers in other sections
might be raised to this level. Add to this the general spirit of unrest
developed and stimulated among workers in the Puget Sound dis­
trict and we have the foundation for the grave discontent which
manifested itself so dramatically.
Appeal was promptly taken from the October award and an appeal
board of six was created, as permitted under the revised memorandum
of December, 1917. Three representatives of the men were appointed
to sit on this board with the three representatives of the Navy
Department and the Fleet Corporation. The appeal board left the
October award in operation by a tie vote, the Navy and Fleet repre­
sentatives voting to sustain the award, the representatives of the
workers voting in favor of the appeal. Since it had been widely
stated at the time that the appeal was under consideration that the
award would never be accepted by the workers in the Seattle terri­
tory, and reports were even current that a strike vote had actually
been taken before the meeting of the appeal board, the refusal of
the Seattle unions to accept the result did not come as a surprise.
With the signing of the armistice, the pressure for maintaining
roduction was naturally greatly reduced. This meant that the
overnment was not in a position to make an appeal to patriotism
or .to exert any great pressure upon the workers. When the strike
actually occurred late in January, the old issue of the willingness of
the yard owners to consider the demands of the men, and the unwill­
ingness of the Government to have them considered, immediately
came to the front. The men continued to press their earlier demand
for a basic wage scale of $1 per hour. Some of the yards offered to
raise the scale from 80 to 85 cents an hour without reference to
reimbursement. It was clear, however, that the representatives of
the Government ought not to put themselves in the position of per­
mitting persons who had repudiated an agreement to which the
Government was a party to benefit by that repudiation, at least so
long as the overt act of violating the agreement continued.
There were some 30,000 or 40,000 workers in the Puget Sound
shipyards directly involved in the Seattle strike. The contention
of the shipyard workers gradually became an integral part of the
general labor situation in Seattle, and, indeed, of the whole coast.
The development of the shipyard strike into a general strike that
paralyzed the whole community largely distracted public attention
from the original issues. This was especially true in view of the
dramatic activities of the mayor and the military in bringing about
a resumption of work. The contest, however, Was one of more than
local significance in its relation to shipbuilding.
Observers disagree concerning the extent to which the general
strike was supported by the rank and file of shipyard workers. At
any rate, there was within the ranks of shipyard workers a very

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definite cleavage between the so-called “ radicals,” following local
leaders, and the conservatives, who recognized the leadership of the
international unions.
The return to their jobs of workers in other employments who had
struck in sympathy did not, of course, adjust the shipbuilding con­
troversy. It left unsettled not only the issues between the workers,
the yard owners, and the Government, but also the contest between
the “ radicals” and the conservatives among the workers themselves.
This contest was brought to a climax in a Pacific coast meeting of
the metal trades, held in Portland in February. On the invitation of
representatives of workers who favored following the leadership of
the international unions, Mr. Marshall, who had gone to the coast
in the interest of a general piece rate adjustment, consented to re­
spond to questions. After this convention there was never serious
danger that the strike would extend to the other territories on
the coast or elsewhere.
As a result of this and other conferences it was finally agreed that
the shipyard workers should return without discrimination on account
of having struck. Since, however, some of the shipyards had filled a
part of the positions with workers who had been employed in good
faith, and since the strike itself was in violation of an agreement
with representatives of the workers, neither the yards nor the Gov­
ernment undertook to guarantee the reemployment of all of the
persons who had gone on strike. No date was fixed for the official
termination of the strike, but there was a gradual resumption of
work.
SIGNIFICANCE OF SEATTLE STRIKE.

The significance of the Seattle strike from the standpoint of war­
time labor policy lay not so much in the dramatic elements that have
attracted public attention as in the revelation of the cross-cur­
rents withm the ranks of organized labor and of the extent of the
power exercised by the officers of international unions in behalf of
agreements into which they have entered. There was some criti­
cism of the international officers of the various shipbuilding unions
because they did not take a more decided public stand against the
wholesale violation of their agreement by the Seattle workers. In
this connection it should be remembered that the precise method of
dealing with a critical and dangerous situation, like the one which
developed on the Pacific coast is, primarily, a matter of strategy
rather than of principle.
The facts that the international officers condemned the strike,
that without exception they ordered the men back to work, and
that they denied them strike benefits from the international treas­
uries and forbade the circularizing of the general membership for
contributions were, in the opinion of the board, sufficient evidence
of their good gaith in upholding their agreements.
On the question of strategy it obviously appeared essential to all
of the international officers that they should act in unison. There
is reason to believe that the advisability of going beyond the steps
above enumerated was seriously considered by the international
presidents in conference at Washington. Legally, it would have
been possible for them to have forfeited the charters of all locals
whose officers failed to carry out the orders of the international in




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getting the men back to work, and also to have forfeited the mem­
bership of all the union workers who omitted to comply with the
order to return to work. There is reason to believe that this policy
was advocated by some of the international presidents. In con­
sidering the wisdom of it, however, the balance between radical
and conservative views among union members must always be
borne in mind. The more drastic the methods adopted by the inter­
national officers in attempting to reestablish control over their locals
and their membership on the Pacific coast the more ammunition they
would have given to the radicals among their members, with the
possible result of firmly establishing control locally in the hands of
extremists.
Another factor in the situation was the uncertainty concerning
the preponderance of sentiment among the Seattle workers. If the
strike had been purely a matter of the local machine, with but
slight support from the rank and file, drastic measures might well
have been the most effective. If, however, a substantial majority
of the workers were really in favor of the strike, the result of can­
celing local charters and memberships might well have been to
stimulate the formation of independent radical unions which it
would ha\e been difficult for the international organizations to
reabsorb.
The weight of opinion among international officers seems to have
been that the denial of financial support would mean of necessity
that the Seattle strike must languish, and that any action on their
part which would give the radicals opportunity to charge the inter­
national officers with being too friendly to employers, or which
would give them any other talking point, would be detrimental to
the cause of the speedy resumption of work in accordance with the
agreement. Taking all of the complex factors into consideration,
there is strong reason for maintaining that the international officers
showed not only complete good faith in their dealing with the Seattle
strike, but that they clearly manifested their patriotism and a high
degree of statesmanship.
OTHER ACTIVITIES OF THE BOARD.

A part of the activity of the board during the postarmistice
period was directed toward perfecting its local organization. The
work of the examiner-district representatives was becoming all the
while more important, and, although carried on under the advice
and with the close cooperation of the board, was in the nature of a
preparation for taking over the adjustment work after the dissolu­
tion of the board on April 1. The same process of interpretation
that had gone on under the earlier awards was necessary under the
October awards, although naturally much of the ground covered had
been broken by earlier decisions.
With the subsidence of the Seattle strike the conditions in the
other yards of the country became more quiet. All in all the con­
clusion of the postarmistice period on April 1, 1919, found the
situation in the shipyards in a relatively satisfactory condition.
There were few problems of fundamental importance pending, great
progress had been made toward the elimination of abuses that had
sprung up during the war period, and the conditions for removing
30533°— 21— Bull. 283-------6




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the hand of the Government from the industry were much more
favorable than they would have been a few months earlier. The
district organizations by this time had become thoroughly familiar
with the conditions under which the shipyards were being operated
and were well qualified to deal with the situation through the
subsequent period.
Before the board dissolved the director general of the Emergency
Fleet Corporation had announced that the wage schedule contained
in the October award would be continued during the subsequent
six months. Inasmuch as the potential supply of labor prior to
April 1 was much greater than it had been, this decision was, at
the time, eminently satisfactory to the men, although there were
here and there expressions of discontent. Changes in the labor
market after that time resulted in its becoming less satisfactory than
had been anticipated, and as time went on the continuance of the
award in the face of further increases in the cost of living led to con­
siderable unrest. Wages were tending to increase outside of the
shipyards, and there were determined efforts on the part of various
labor groups to increase the hourly rates which had been established
by the board.
Immediately subsequent to the issuance of the board's ruling of
January 27, 1919, defining the terms “ allowance” and “ agreement,”
the Emergency Fleet Corporation issued its general order No. 165,
which restricted to a definite percentage of the total amount of
work done upon a ship the amount that might be done on the “ allow­
ance” basis. In the Delaware River district, where much of the work
had been done on the “ allowance” basis, this order led to strikes
and considerable unrest. The order also pressed to the front in con­
nection with this unrest many difficult technical questions relating
to shipbuilding practice, due to numerous differences in interpretation
of the items in the piecework schedule. '
The proximity of the yards in the Delaware River district made
it easy for workers to compare these interpretations and discover
which were most advantageous to them. Settling the various
questions which arose in this way was particularly difficult because
of the lack of standard practice in shipyards and the disagreement
on the various points among experienced shipbuilders. It was one
of the problems which never reached full and satisfactory settlement.
The situation in the shipbuilding industry at the time the board
concluded its work was one of great uncertainty. Part of this
condition was the natural reaction from the artificial stimulation
to which shipbuilding had been subjected during the war. The
cooperation of the board, the Emergency Fleet Corporation, ship­
yard owners, and respresentatives of workers resulted in substantial
progress in the direction of liquidating the abnormal conditions of
the postwar period. There was always in the background, how­
ever, the question what was going to become of the industry itself
when existing contracts with the Government expired. This question
was especially significant whenever adjustments looking toward
the future were under consideration.

In these circumstances, the significance of the work of the board
and its various agencies can not be judged in reference to the con­
dition in which they left the industry, but must be appraised rather
in reference to the contribution made toward the winning of the




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war. Whether or not a board responsible to the constituencies which
the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board, represented and organ­
ized as was this board, was the best agency for handling the ship­
yard labor problem during the war is a question on which opinions
may differ. It is clear, however, that no such expansion of the
industry as actually occurred could have taken place without some
kind of organization reaching out into all of the territories in which
shipbuilding was being carried on.
The conditions in the industry in April, 1919, were surely more
stable, and the necessary contraction of shipbuilding more orderly,
than they would have been had not the tradition of responsible guid­
ance and systematic procedure in industrial relations obtained
during the war and immediate postwar periods. Discussion during
the months following the armistice of future independent agree­
ments between the shipyards and representatives of the shipbuilding
crafts, and the agreements, described in the next chapter, were clearly
the result of war-time adjustments. Viewed from the standpoint
of the organized workers, the fact that these agreements were in
contemplation was probably an influence making for industrial peace
and stability in most of the shipbuilding territories when the board
was dissolved.




CHAPTER XI.—POSTWAR VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS,
At the beginning of the war shipbuilding, with the exception of
certain yards on the Pacific coast, was an open-shop industry.
Unionism among its workers had not spread to the extent of having
any particular influence on problems of operation. The general
atmosphere of the country under war conditions and the prohibition
of discrimination between union and nonunion workers were both
favorable to organization. By the time the spring awards of 1918
were handed down the industry, with the exception of the South,
was substantially unionized and even in the South white workers
were generally organized.
The provision against discrimination in the awards of the Ship­
building Labor Adjustment Board was obviously intended to operate
as much as a protection to nonunion workers in union yards as it was
for union workers in nonunion yards. The effect of the provision,
however, while it prevented a closed shop, was to make possible a
fairly complete organization of yards in all territories.
The international presidents of the unions in the principal ship­
building crafts, excepting only the carpenters, were parties to the
agreement under which
Labor Adjustment Board
was organized, and the
A . . tion of the board always
.
depended on their cooperation. The only difference brought about
by the refusal of the international president of the carpenters to sign
the agreement was that cooperation at the top was lacking for that
craft, but this did not prevent local officials of the carpenters from
agreeing to abide by decisions of the board in advance of the issue of
all of the important awards nor remove the necessity for dealing
with such officials in making day-to-day adjustments.
Whatever their original views about organization, shipyard owners
during the war became accustomed not only to dealing with employees
who were organized, but also, with few exceptions, to dealing with
the officers of unions. When the armistice Came and the Ship­
building Labor Adjustment Board was about to discontinue its
work, the question at once arose how the yards were to deal with
their employees in the future. Individual owners were naturally
inclined to answer the question each in harmony with his own views
and with the labor conditions as he saw them in his own territory
and his own yard.
Somewhat in advance of the armistice an attorney and director of
the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation raised the question of making
a union agreement to become operative in the several Bethlehem yards
when the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board should go out of
existence. The question thus informally raised was for several
weeks under consideration by officers of the corporation and repre­
sentatives of the unions. In the meantime the armistice occurred
and made the question of future labor relations one for early
consideration.
84




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AGREEMENT BETWEEN BETHLEHEM SHIPBUILDING CORPORATION AND
METAL TRADES DEPARTMENT.

During the late autumn of 1918 several conferences between the
executive officers of the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation and the
international presidents of the principal shipbuilding unions were
held. The labor member of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment
Board, who was also secretary of the Metal Trades Department of
the American Federation of Labor, was an active participant in
these conferences. Finally, on January 7, 1919, an agreement be­
tween the Bethlehem company and the Metal Trades Department
was entered into. The importance of this agreement justifies its
incorporation in full. It reads as follows:
Agreement made this seventh day of January, 1919, between the Bethlehem Ship­
building Corp. (Ltd.), a Delaware corporation (hereinafter called the company) and
the Metal Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor (hereinafter
called the department). Witnesseth that—
Whereas the department is an organization composed of national and international
unions (hereinafter called the unions) affiliated with the American Federation of
Labor, many of the members of the said unions being in the employ of the company
in its various plants; and
Whereas the company recognizes the said unions collectively as a suitable agency
to represent its employees in questions arising as to wages, hours of labor, and general
working conditions; and
Whereas the department is authorized by the express consent of each union which
is a member of the department to enter into an agreement with the company providing
for the relations of the unions with the company—
Now, therefore, it is agreed as follows:
(1) The unions shall select a committee of five members (hereinafter called .the
internationals’ committee) which shall represent the unions in questions arising
between the unions and the company.
(2) The members of the internationals’ committee shall be selected in such manner,
for such terms, and with such provisions for alternates as the unions may from time
to time determine.
(3) The internationals’ committee may appoint agents, delegates, or officers who
shall have such authority in dealing with the separate managements of the plants of
the company, or with employees’ committees in such plants, or on behalf of such em­
ployees’committees, as shall expressly be conferred by the internationals’ committee.
(4) The internationals’ committee, or any member thereof, or any person expressly
authorized by said committee shall have access to any plant of the company on the
business of the internationals’ committee, in accordance with rules and regulations
agreed to by the internationals’ committee and the company’s committee.
(5) The relations of the unions with the company and with the separate manage­
ments of its plants (including in the term “ unions” all departments, councils, federa­
tions, central, local, or other organizations affiliated with the American Federation
of Labor, and all agents or officers thereof) in matters affecting wages, hours of labor
or working conditions are to be carried on exclusively through the internationals’
committee, or in accordance with the rules of said committee from time to time
established, and not otherwise.
(6) It is understood that the employees will select local or plant committees that
will function in the same manner as provided for in the Shipbuilding Labor Adjust­
ment Board awards, subject to such changes or modifications as may from time to
time be agreed upon by the internationals’ committee and the company’s committee.
(7) The company shall appoint a committee of five members (hereinafter called
the company’s committee) to meet with the internationals’ committee at regular
intervals and otherwise subject to the joint call of the chairmen. The members of
the company’s committee shall be appointed in such manner, for such terms, and
with such provisions for alternates as the company may from time to time determine.
(8) The internationals’ committee and the company’s committee shall jointly hear
or consider all grievances or other questions affecting wages, hours of labor, or working
conditions which have failed of adjustment, and any other matters as to which such
joint consideration will tend to avoid misunderstandings, or will improve the con­
dition of the industry and of its employees. Any officer representing a union shall




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have the right to be present at a hearing in the subject of which the interests of his
organization are specially concerned, or to confer with the committees, sitting jointly,
on any question which in his judgment requires consideration or adjustment.
(9) The internationals’ committee shall pay the compensation and expenses of its
own officers, agents, or delegates, but the company will pay the reasonable com­
pensation and expenses of its employees for time actually spent in service on craft
or other committees in accordance with provisions and rules from time to time made
and agreed upon by the internationals’ committee and the company’s committee.
(10) A national or international union, any of the members of which are employees
of the company, and which is not a member of the department, may become a party
to this agreement by notice to the department and to the company of its intention
to conform to the provisions thereof. Any such union may withdraw from the agree­
ment upon notice to the department and the company. Either the department or
the company may terminate this agreement at any time by giving 30 days’ notice in
writing.
In witness whereof, Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. (Ltd.), has caused these
presents to be signed and its corporate seal to be hereto affixed by Eugene G. Grace,
its president, and Joseph W. Powell, a vice president, and the Metal Trades Depart­
ment of the American Federation of Labor has caused these presents to be signed by
James O’Connell, its president, and A. J. Berres, its secretary, all on the day and
year first above written.
B ethlehem S hipbuilding Corporation (L td .),
B y E. G. G race , President.
J. W . P ow ell , Vice President.
M etal T rades D epartment ,
B y Ja s . O ’ Connell , President.
A. J. B err es , Secretary-Treasurer.

The Bethlehem agreement at once raised a question of policy for
other yards. A few days after the agreement was signed a conference
took place between the director general of the Emergency Fleet
Corporation, the members of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment
Board, the examiner of the board for the Great Lakes district and the
principal shipbuilders on the Great Lakes. The Director General
called the attention of the builders to the Bethlehem agreement, and
raised the question whether they would be interested m negotiating
a similar agreement. The builders took the question under advise­
ment. Shortly following this conference a letter was sent to all the
shipbuilders of the Atlantic coast, Gulf, and Great Lakes yards,
advising them of the Bethlehem agreement and suggesting that steps
be taken looking toward similar agreements in other yards.
AGREEMENT BETWEEN ATLANTIC COAST SHIPBUILDERS’ ASSOCIATION
AND METAL TRADES DEPARTMENT.

It will be recalled that this was the time immediately preceding
the Seattle strike. It was also the time when the board and some of
the union representatives were cooperating to eliminate abuses in
shipyards, especially those in connection with piecework. All in all,
there was a general condition of unrest in shipyards throughout the
country. The question of a union agreement was brought up shortly
after in the Atlantic Coast Shipbuilders’ Association, and became the
subject of active discussion. The executive committee of the asso­
ciation was instructed to confer with the officers of the Emergency
Fleet Corporation and of the Navy and with the Shipbuilding Labor
Adjustment Board with reference to an agreement. Several confer­
ences were held, which were followed by conferences with the offi­
cers of the Metal Trades Department of the American Federation of
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Some of the builders who were members of the Atlantic Coast
Shipbuilders’ Association were inclined to regard union conditions in
shipyards as a war phenomenon inspired by the labor policy of the
Government. These builders were opposed to any agreement or sug­
gestion of an agreement looking toward the perpetuation of union
conditions. Those who were most pronounced in this view finally
separated from the Atlantic Coast Shipbuilders’ Association on ac­
count of the attitude taken by the association looking toward such
agreements. Other resignations were threatened, and negotiations
were long delayed.
In the meantime the director general of the Emergency Fleet
Corporation issued an order continuing the wages and working condi­
tions of the “ Macy” award of October, 1918, in operation until
October 1, 1919, unless changed by mutual agreement.
Finally, on August 20, 1919, the administrative council of the
Atlantic Coast Shipbuilders’ Association reached an agreement with
the Metal Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor.
This agreement was similar to the one previously signed by the
Bethlehem Corporation.
Of the 34 yards represented in the association 19 were covered by
the agreement. Eleven yards elected not to be subject to the pro­
visions of the agreement. The remaining yards were parts of the
Bethlehem Corporation, and were covered by that agreement.

Soon after the agreement with the Metal Trades Department
was signed, similar agreements were entered into with other crafts
represented in shipyard operations. The only substantial differ­
ences between these agreements are in the size of the boards created
and in certain details which arise out of the history and organization
of the particular crafts.
Up to the present time (August, 1920) the boards created by
the JBethlehem and the Atlantic coast agreements have not been
especially active. The general condition of the shipbuilding industry
has been such that the influence of the agreement has naturally been
in the direction of maintaining the existing status rather than of
starting negotiations for new conditions. Both the agreements
continue the shop committees essentially as they existed under the
awards of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board. These
committees have in the main furnished the machinery for taking
care of the adjustments that have had to be made from day to day.
ATTITUDE OF GREAT LAKES YARDS AS TO UNION AGREEMENTS.

The Atlantic coast agreements cover all the yards of the Delaware
River territory and a large part of the other Atlantic and Gulf yards.
Early in 1919 a plan was suggested for bringing the Great Lakes
yards into such an affiliation with the association that essentially
the same industrial relations machinery would function in all of the
shipbuilding territories except the Pacific coast. Builders on the
Lakes, however, preferred to maintain their identity and the proposed
affiliation did not take place. The company which was the largest
of the builders on the Lakes not only opposed a nation-wide affilia­
tion, but likewise did not favor an association of the Lakes builders
of a sort to make a uniform agreement practicable.




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Although the yard owners on the Great Lakes had at first looked
with disfavor on shop committees, the committees had come to be
more effective in the Lakes yards than perhaps anywhere else in the
country. Bj the beginning of 1919 owners had apparently come to
believe that industrial relations could be more successfully conducted
through the shop committees than they could through agreements
with the international officers of the unions. The employees in
the Lakes yards were, of course, organized and the committees were
made up of union men. Nevertheless, through the efforts of the
examiner for the Lakes district, the committees had developed a
degree of responsibility that enabled them to function in some measure
as employee representatives as distinct from representatives of the
union. The international officers of the different unions were on the
whole favorable to the way in which the shop committees had devel­
oped and desired them to be successful, but naturally not in a way
to displace the union itself.
After the question of a union agreement had been for some time
discussed the largest shipbuilding company signed an agreement
along the general lines of the Bethlehem agreement, but the example
was not fdlowed by other builders on the Lakes.
SITUATION ON PACIFIC COAST.

With the possible exception of the Columbia River district the
influence of war policies was less pronounced on the Pacific coast
than in other shipbuilding territories. The outstanding facts, of
which the board had to take account when it went to the Pacific
coast in 1917, were the union control of labor in the Puget Sound
and San Francisco Bay territories and the open-shop conditions on
the Columbia River. The agreement for the ’ Columbia River
district voluntarily entered into by both sides at that time definitely
recognized the open-shop conditions and made substantial conces­
sions to the determination of the builders to hold union develop­
ment in check.
The board could not, however, change the policy laid down in
the agreement of August 20, 1917, in which working conditions
for the various shipbuilding crafts were determined with union
cooperation. The relations between yards of the Columbia River
district and their employees under the agreement with the board
were to be carried on through craft committees of three members
each, elected by secret ballot. The chairmen of these craft com­
mittees were to constitute a joint shop committee along the lines
later developed in eastern yards. It was expected that many of
these committees would be nonunion committees. When later
with the growth of organization they came to be predominatingly
union committees considerable question arose as to their status.
The builders of the Columbia River district were always extremely
solicitous lest the conditions on the Puget Sound should be extended
to the Columbia River.
A consolidation of shipbuilding districts undertaken by the
Emergency Fleet Corporation in the summer of 1918 threw the
Portland and Seattle districts together. This consolidation was
shortly followed by provision for an examiner-district representative,
responsible jointly to the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board




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AR VOLUNTARY AGREEM
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89

and the industrial relations division of the Emergency Fleet Cor­
poration, to serve the whole of the enlarged district.
Gov. McBride, who had been serving in Seattle, was the most
available person to serve for the combined districts and was there­
fore appointed. The appointment at once became the subject of
protest on the part of the Columbia River yard owners, because
they believed it would tend to introduce the union conditions of
Seattle into the Portland yards.
An assistant examiner had previously been serving in Portland
and had made some decisions that the Portland owners considered
unduly favorable to the unions. Possibly this fact influenced the
operators in their protest. However, the protest was not followed
up. In all of his activities the examiner was careful to recognize
any existing difference in conditions between the Seattle and Port­
land yards.
The question of the status to be occupied by Pacific coast yards
after the board should discontinue its work did not become one for
immediate consideration until after the Seattle strike. There was
in the background, however, in all of the negotiations concerning the
October, 1918, award and the later adjustments or attempts at ad­
justments with respect to piece rates, the question of future condi­
tions. The policy of the board after the armistice was to throw as
great responsibility upon the yard owners and the employees for
the determination of conditions as was consistent with the mainte­
nance of its own awards.
The arrangement under which the men returned to work after the
Seattle strike contemplated a general conference in Washington be­
tween the Pacific coast operators, union representatives from the
Pacific coast yards, the international officers, and representatives of
the Emergency Fleet Corporation. Such a conference was held dur­
ing March, 1919, and resulted in a document which was to be sub­
mitted to the workers in the coast yards. The document provided
for maintaining the working conditions substantially as they had
been under the awards of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board
and for recognizing the existing conditions with respect to organiza­
tion as they were found in the different coast territories. The con­
troversial point was of course the wage scale, and this was a point
upon which there was a wide difference of viewpoint between the
operators and the men. The agreement failed of ratification by the
men. During the summer representatives of the Emergency Fleet
Corporation went to the coast with the idea of bringing about some
sort of settlement, but their efforts were not successful. A point
which seems to have been overlooked by the workers on the Pacific
coast was the freedom of the Government to build ships or not to
build them in Pacific coast yards. The impossibility of providing
for harmonious industrial relations in these yards tended to confine
operations to yards in which there was a possibility of operating
under agreements and conditions worked out with the purpose of
treating all parties fairly.
SIGNIFICANCE OF BETHLEHEM AGREEMENT.

The effort to come to a general understanding along the lines of the
Bethlehem agreement was not successful, but it can still be main­
tained that this agreement represents a significant event in the field




90

SHIPBUILDING LABO ADJUSTMENT B A D
R
OR,

of industrial relations. Although the agreement applied to the Bethle­
hem Shipbuilding Corporation and not to the Bethlehem Steel Company,
which had its own shop committee system along somewhat different
lines, a suggestion of its possible influence may perhaps be seen in the
fact that the recent steel strike caused hardly a ripple in the Bethlehem
company. The significance of the document is found in the fact
that it is concentrated upon the one thought of collective bargaining
upon which both the employers and the representatives of the em­
ployees were able to meet. The objection of the open-shop employer
to unionism does not have to do primarily with collective bargaining
but it has to do with the closed shop, with restriction of output, and
with what he considers the objectionable activities of business agents.
The Bethlehem agreement is documentary evidence of the possi­
bility of the parties at least entering into an agreement for the crea­
tion of adjusting agencies, and one which, on the surface at least, seems
to be directed toward efficient production.
Close association with both the representatives of the unions and
of the Bethlehem company at the time this agreement was in process
convinced the members of the board not only that the agreement had
an honest purpose on both sides, but that it was entered into heartily
and freely with a real hope and expectation that it would result in
harmonious relations and efficient production in the yards of the
Be 1 1 1
closed shop in the Bethlehem
ag
/
A
L the more thoughtful of the
se
union representatives recognized that, granted a sufficient degree of
organization to make an agreement possible and enforceable, the
presence of a small minority of nonunion workers is a matter of com­
parative indifference.
By confining their attention to collective bargaining under union
auspices and making collective bargaining an instrument for enforc­
ing standards of wages and working conditions, the unions in this
case were able to establish a promising basis for forestalling industrial
conflict in a large part of the industry.




CHAPTER XII.—CONCLUSION.
The Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board owed its existence to
the war emergency. As the magnitude of the shipbuilding program
forced on the country by the war became apparent, the need of some
adjusting agency of comprehensive scope to settle disputes that
might interrupt the progress of shipbuilding was felt, just as were
similar needs in connection with the other essential war industries.
That the organization that was adopted on August 20, 1917, under
the stress of this compelling situation would not be entirely satis­
factory was a foregone conclusion. Some of its defects were cor­
rected in the revised agreement of December 8, but this revised
agreement avoided making radical changes. The difficulties en­
countered in drafting the original plan had been too serious and too
recent to make either the Government departments or the respon­
sible labor leaders concerned willing to hazard the whole undertak­
ing by proposing fundamental modifications.
In the light of subsequent developments one essential defect in
the organization of the board must now be admitted. No one of its
three members represented the shipyard owners, who were so vitally
affected by its decisions. It was apparently the thought of those
who joined in the original agreement that the provision for local
representation of the yard owners and the employees directly in­
volved in a dispute would give to the shipbuilders a sufficient voice
in the decisions of the board. When the provision for local represen­
tation was wisely eliminated from the revised agreement, however,
no substitute form of shipbuilder representation was inserted. As
a consequence the shipyard owners were prevented from making
whatever contribution to a better formulation of awards might
have been suggested by their practical knowledge and experience,
and were in a position, throughout the history of the board, to
dispute its authority on the ground that they were parties neither
to its creation nor to its operation. The happy personnel of the
board whose members, as appreciated by all who came in con­
tact with them, were dominated by the single purpose of making
adjustments that would be at once fair to both sides and conducive
to maximum ship production, went far to overcome this defect in
organization. However, it can hardly be doubted that if from the
outset the public, the Navy, and the Fleet Corporation had been
represented jointly in the person of the chairman, so that a tech­
nically competent shipbuilder, chosen by the yard owners of the
country as the third member of the board, could have added his
special knowledge of the industry to the invaluable technical knowl­
edge of the labor representative, some mistakes might have been
avoided, and, what is even more important, the yard owners might
have been impressed from the outset with their obligation to carry
out in good faith whatever decisions the board, to which they would
then have been parties, might render.
To say that this would have been desirable is by no means the
same as to assert that it would have been feasible. ICven at the close




91

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SHIPBUILDING LABO ADJUSTMENT B A D
R
OR.

of the war the yard owners were without any adequate national
organization. In the summer of 1917 they were so separated and
so little acquainted that the attempt to bring them together on the
selection of a representative might have delayed the organization
of the board indefinitely. That a shipbuilder representative was
not included in the board’s membership was, however, a handi­
cap which impeded the efficiency of the board in connection with
nearly all of its official acts. This should in fairness be borne in
mind in judging of the value of the services which the board, in
spite of it, was able to render. It should also be recalled when
similar boards are organized in the future. All experience seems
to indicate that the ideal form for such a board is equal representa­
tion on the part of the employers and employees concerned, with
a public or government or public-government representative to
serve as chairman.
Accepting the necessity for nation-wide adjustment of wages in
an industry which permanently or during an emergency possesses
a semipublic character, the question what administrative machinery
is required to make adjustment effective is one of scarcely less im­
portance than the question what constituencies an adjustment
board should represent. The machinery through which the findings
of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board were administered
has been described at length in Chapter VIII. Many of the fea­
tures of that machinery were so obviously the outgrowth of fortuitous
circumstances in the development of war-time shipbuilding policy
that general conclusions drawn from their operation might be ex­
tremely misleading. Nevertheless, the experience of the board
does seem to indicate clearly that cooperation between employers,
representatives of workers, and a Government agency, in time of
national stress, can work out and administer satisfactory adjust­
ments through comparatively simple machinery. If the constitu­
tion of the board, as suggested in the preceding paragraph, had at
the start assumed a larger responsibility on the part of employers,
the necessity for extensive machinery would have been even less.
The qualifying circumstance in this connection is, of course, the
fact that many of the details of administration in connection with
the decisions of the board were in the hands of the Emergency
Fleet Corporation or the Navy. In a considerable measure, how­
ever, these details were the result of the Government’s taking such
large responsibility for the practical administration of shipbuilding;
and they do not negative the general conclusion that the basic work
of labor adjustment can be done with a comparatively simple admin­
istrative machine. If this be true, it is, o f course, a fact of great
significance in connection with future national labor adjustments
which may become necessary.
STANDARDIZATION OF WAGE AND LABOR CONDITIONS.

Another important problem on which the board’s experience should
throw light concerns the extent to which the standardization of wage
and labor conditions is a desirable aim. In the situation in which the
board found itself from month to month, there was little opportunity
to consider whether further standardization would or would not be
kadvantageous. The demand for it from the side of the employees




CONCLUSION.

93

was well-nigh irresistible and as long as the work was being done for
the Government and the Government was in the last analysis paying
the bills, there seemed no good reason why this demand should not be
complied with. Little by little any preconceptions the members of
the board may have had against standardization were swept aside by
the progress of events. The active competition for the inadequate
supply of skilled shipyard workers among the Pacific coast districts
and the high turnover and general unrest that resulted made the case
for a uniform Pacific coast scale seem convincing as soon as the board
acquainted itself on the spot with the conditions.
On returning east and taking up the problem of adjusting wages for
the Delaware River yards, one member of the board was already
convinced that a uniform scale for the whole country offered the only
effective means of stemming the rising tide of industrial unrest. This
policy was not at once adopted, but the scale determined upon for the
Delaware River yards was rapidly extended to the other eastern dis­
tricts, so that by April, 1918, there was substantially one Atlantic coast,
Gulf, and Great Lakes scale. Developments during succeeding months
made the board unanimous in deciding to embody m its October, 1918,
awards uniform scales for nearly all occupations for all the shipyards
of the country.
The arguments fbr standardization which brought about this result
were chiefly psychological. From the point of view of the workers
affected the case stood thus: They were engaged in producing ships
to assist the Government to win the war. The Government was not
only paying for the ships but was a party to an agreement with the
heads of the shipyard unions which provided that wages and working
conditions should be fixed by a board. Experience had already con­
vinced the organized workers— and the proportion organized was
growing by leaps and bounds— that their interests were best served
by having standard or union rates of wages for each craft in each
locality. Why should not such standard rates, not now union but
board rates, be established for all of the yards of the country ? The
ships were being built for the Government and the Government was
paying for them. What justification was there for paying at different
rates for identical Government work, whether it was performed in the
South or in the North, on the Atlantic or on the Pacific ? If bringing
wages to a level had meant leveling them down there would undoubt­
edly have been strong opposition, but it was a time for leveling up.
Under the cicumstances the causes which had brought about existing
differentials in favor of the Pacific as contrasted with the Atlantic or
of the north Atlantic as contrasted with the south Atlantic were
impotent compared with the forces that were pushing toward uni­
formity on a national scale as a means of achieving a great national
purpose.
The case was somewhat less convincing to the shipyard employers
than to the men but their experience brought them, also, to favor uni­
form rates. There was a shortage of competent shipyard mechanics
the country over. The first impulse of the individual employer under
these circumstances was to offer higher wages to attract employees
from other yards. But this was so obviously a game at which two
could play that the larger yards quickly realized mat new men must
be tramed for the industry. From an early period the intelligent,




94

SHIPBUILDING LABO ADJUSTMENT B A D
R
OR.

progressive owners, therefore, favored a policy that would prevent
yards from drawing employees away from one another and so stabilize
conditions that the new men that they trained themselves would
continue in their employment.
The board was impressed by the arguments that caused employees
and employers to favor uniformity, but was sooner convinced in favor
of a uniform national scale than either, because of its broader contact
with the whole shipbuilding situation. The practical considerations
which made a uniform scale seem best calculated to promote the
public interest are set forth in the preamble to the revised south Atlan­
tic and Gulf award of April 6, 1918, quoted at length in Chapter V.
As there stated the supply of trained shipbuilders was entirely in­
adequate to meet the needs of the southern yards, and yet they could
not retain the workers they already had unless given as high a wage
scale as had been extablished for other districts. Moreover, as
pointed out, the establishment of a uniform wage scale for all of the
yards would enable the Government to determine readily which
yards were best manned and most efficiently organized and therefore
most deserving of additional contracts and of financial support in
executing them.
STANDARDIZATION OF PIECE RATES.

Convinced of the wisdom of standardizing the hourly rates of wages,
so that men doing the same work would command the same rate of
pay in whatever yard the work was performed, the board allowed
itself to be persuaded that standardizing piece rates for the occupa­
tions in which piecework prevailed would also prove advantageous.
Such standardization was first effected for the Delaware River and
Baltimore districts. From here it was extended to the whole north
Atlantic and, with modifications, to the Great Lakes. Although
efforts were made to standardize piece rates also for the Pacific coast
yards in the autumn and winter of 1918-19, the plan encountered so
many obstacles that it was never carried out.
No part of the awards made by the board proved more difficult to
enforce or caused so much friction and unrest as the decisions in
reference to piece rates and the compensation of pieceworkers.
Reviewing the whole experience, it is now apparent that the inherent
difficulties opposing the attempt to standardize piece rates were too
great to be overcome. In fact, it is not too much to say that there is
a fundamental incompatibility between the idea of piece rates and
the idea of standardization. The whole purpose of piece rates is to
stimulate production by making a direct financial appeal to the
individual to turn out the largest product of which he is capable.
The purpose, on the other hand, of standardization is to make the
employee satisfied that he is receiving in the place in which he is
employed as much as he could command for the same work elsewhere,
reliance being placed upon the pride of the workman in his work,
his ambition to rise to a higher position, and the stimulus of the
foreman directing his labor to keep his output up to a maximum.
Standardization, as regards hourly or day rates, with its inevitable
tendency to weaken the direct financial incentive to the worker to
increase his output, was wise public policy during the war, because
it was the only policy which could be adopted and defended as a




CONCLUSION.

95

basis for the regulation of wages by a national board and because it
could be supplemented by the patriotic appeal that was continually
made to the workers to do their best to help the Government win the
war. By adopting it the board put itself in a position where it could
say that it was treating all the workers alike.
Standardization as regards piece rates could offer no such justifica­
tion. By taking from the employer control over this method of
compensation it prevented him from so adjusting piece rates to day
rates in his plant that his pieceworkers would feel the urge of financial
gain sufficiently to speed up production and yet would not be able
by so doing to increase their earnings to an extent that would make
day workers dissatisfied. It could not be claimed by the board that
by standardizing piece rates in all the yards in a district it treated
all of the pieceworkers alike. On the contrary, it was soon demon­
strated that because of the marked differences in efficiency of
equipment and management among the yards, such a policy resulted
in treating them quite differently. In the better equipped and better
managed yards pieceworkers paid in accordance with the board
rates could earn much more than equally able workers in the less
well equipped and well managed yards. Thus, instead of creating
the feeling that all were treated alike, standardization of piece rates,
when pay envelopes were compared by workers in different yards,
fostered the suspicion that favoritism was being shown. Under the
plan the better yards tended inevitably to attract skilled and am­
bitious pieceworkers from the poorer yards. To hold their men the
poorer yards were under an almost irresistible temptation to offer
more than the authorized rates either directly or through some
subterfuge like the allowance system The board believed that a
uniform piece-rate scale would spur the poorer yards to bring their
equipment and management to the level of the best. It undoubtedly
did have that tendency, but the obstacles to be overcome were too
great and the period of the war was too short to permit the results of
the tendency to show themselves very conspicuously. The quick
way to equalize conditions was by paying above the board rates, and
this was done on a scale that far outweighed any of the expected
advantages from standardization.
The alternative to the standardization of piece rates that was
seriously proposed to the board by some of the labor representatives
was the abolition of piece rates. To do away with the method of
wage payment that most of the yard owners deemed most conducive
to the speedy production of ships seemed, however, too radical a
measure in the face of the war emergency. Standardization was
attempted instead because it involved a less sweeping change and
because there was such widespread dissatisfaction with prevailing
iece-rate systems. It was perhaps the best plan that could have
een chosen under all of the circumstances. If, however, the regula­
tion of wages by a board in plants that are both widely separated and
of varying degree of efficiency is to be undertaken as a regular and
continuous policy, it may confidently be concluded from the Ship­
building Board’s experience that the wages of all employees should
be placed on an hourly or daily basis and other methods relied upon
to stimulate the workers to increase their output. Methods of pay­
ment related to the individual output of the worker, like the piece
method or premium method, must, to operate fairly, be worked out

E




96

SHIPBUILDING LABO ADJUSTMENT B A D
R
OR.

for each individual plant. They, therefore, can not be made part
of a policy of wage regulation for numerous plants through a board
without giving rise to continuous friction and dissatisfaction. In
certain industries, like coal mining, the difficulty may be, and is,
overcome through fixing a fair piece rate for one plant or mine and
using that as a basing point, rates in other plants or mines varying
from it by what are considered fair differentials. But for a rapidly
evolving and changing industry like shipbuilding during the war,
decisions in regard to fair differentials could hardly be made rapidly
enough to adapt themselves to the ever new situations.
The issue in regard to piece rates which proved so troublesome to
the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board presents itself in con­
nection with the problem of collective bargaining in every industry
in which the piece method of payment has been employed. While
many collective agreements including piece rates are regularly made,
there can be no question that the attempt to embrace them in a col­
lective bargain affecting many plants greatly complicates the problem.
This difficulty of adjusting fairly piece rates in a number of different
plants as part of a standard wage agreement, rather than objection
to having each employee rewarded according to his individual capac­
ity, is a principal reason for the well-known preference of experienced
labor leaders for hourly or daily rates.
SUCCESS OF APPEAL TO WORKERS’ PATRIOTISM.

The last aspect of the work of the board which merits emphasis is
the success achieved in trying to supplement the appeal of self-interest
by the appeal of patriotism as a motive to increased production.
When the board was created the relations between employers and
employees in the industry were strained to the breaking point in
nearly all of the shipbuilding districts. The board was successful in
restoring and maintaining substantial industrial peace during the
duration of the war chiefly because it constantly impressed upon all
those with whom it came in contact the vital contribution the ship­
building industry was making toward the winning of the war and the
obligation this imposed upon everyone connected with it to do his
utmost for the common cause. And it reenforced its exhortations
by example. Every member of the board and everyone connected
with it was dominated by the desire to help win the war. This
raised the proceedings of the board above the level of ordinary wage
adjustments and goes far to explain whatever confidence and prestige
the board won for itself during the 18 months of its active existence.

The appeal to patriotism was, of course, made use of by other de­
partments of the Navy Department and the Emergency Fleet Cor­
poration. In fact as time went on there was danger that too much
reliance might be placed upon it and too little upon the more efficient
organization and direction of the shipbuilding industry. On the
whole, however, there can be no question that whatever improve­
ment in ship production occurred, allowing for the rapid expansion
of the industry and the constant breaking in of new men which this
necessitated, was in direct proportion to the extent to which employers
and employees were brought to forget their differences and to join
together in the whole-hearted effort to produce ships, and ever more
ships.




CONCLUSION.

97

It is to be hoped that an equally serious emergency may not soon
again confront the country, but the experience proves what a great
reservoir of latent productive power may be unlocked when all of
those participating m industry concentrate their undivided attention
upon increased production. It is this possibility of increased pro­
duction through oetter relations and more whole-hearted cooperation
between employees and employers that gives promise of success to
plans for developing copartnership in industry which might otherwise
seem visionary and impracticable. The one essential to success for
any departure from the simple wage system is a new psychological re­
lationship between the worker and the product. If under a proposed
plan the average wage earner can be made to realize that his wel­
fare and the welfare of his fellows will be increased in direct propor­
tion to the increase in the product, a surplus may be expected as a
result of an increase in average efficiency by means of which real
improvement in general wellbeing may be brought about. The
great task before the industrial statesmen of our time is to devise
such a system of industrial relations that the average worker will be
inspired to do his best from day to day by motives as compelling as
was the motive of patriotism in stimulating ship production during
the war.
30533°— 21— Bull. 283------- 7




APPENDIXES.

APPENDIX A.— MEMORANDUM FOR THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES,
HOURS, AND CONDITIONS OF LABOR IN SHIPBUILDING PLANTS.
When disputes arise concerning wages, hours, and conditions of labor in the con­
struction or repair of shipbuilding plants, or of ships in shipyards, under the United
States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, or under said Shipping Board,
or under contract with said corporation, or with said board, or if questions coming under
the jurisdiction of the board arise with reference to such construction in a private
plant in which construction is also being carried on for the Navy Department,
and attempts at mediation or conciliation between employers and employ ees have
failed, the adjustment of such dispute shall be referred to an adjustment board of
three persons, hereinafter called the “ board,’ ’one to be appointed jointly by the said
corporation and the Navy Department, one to represent the public and to be appointed
by the President of the United States, and one to represent labor, to be appointed by
Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of I^abor. It is understood,
however, that this memorandum shall in no wise serve as a precedent for procedure
in Government plants under the War or Navy Departments, except as may be author­
ized by such departments.
The plants where such construction is being carried on shall be geographically
districted by the board. In each district, the contractors in whose plants such con­
struction is being carried on, and the representatives of such international labor
organizations as have members engaged in such production or construction in such
plants, and as are selected for the purpose, by the labor member of the board, shall be
called upon, under conditions to be laid down by it, to agree upon a person or persons
who shall act under the direction of the board as examiner or examiners in such dis­
trict. If the board deems it advisable itself to name an examiner or examiners, or
if the representatives of the contractors and of the labor organization do not agree,
then the board shall by unanimous action select a person or persons for such position.
The examiner shall be subject to removal by the board at any time by majority vote.
It shall be the duty of the district officer of the United States Shipping Board Emer­
gency Fleet Corporation to report promptly to the board, and to the examiner of the
district, if such examiner shall have been appointed, any dispute with reference to
wages, hours, or conditions of labor which he is unable to adjust satisfactorily to
the principals concerned.
As basic standards where such construction is being carried on, the board shall use
the wage rate prevailing in the district in which such plant or plants are located,
provided such wage rates have been established through agreements between employer
and employees and are admitted to be equitable. Consideration shall be given by
the board to any circumstances arising after such wages, hours, or conditions were es­
tablished, and which may seem to call for changes in wages, hours, or conditions.
Where no such agreements exist, and where as in the ease of new industrial districts
a proper basis of wages and conditions is difficult to determine, the board shall have
the right to put into effect the rates which were awarded after due investigation and
determination in other districts in which living conditions and cost of living are
substantially the same. The board shall keep itself fully informed as to the relation
between living costs in the several districts and their comparison between progressive
periods of time. The decisions of the board shall, under proper conditions, be retro­
active, and it shall be the duty of the board to make the decision effective. At any
time after six months have elapsed following such ratified agreement or any such final
decision by the adjustment board on any question as to wages, hours, or conditions in
any plant or district, such questions may be reopened by the adjustment board for
adjustment upon request of the majority of the craft or crafts at such plant affected by
such agreement or decision, provided it can be shown that there has been a general
and material increase in the cost of living. The decisions of the board will, in so far
as this memorandum may be capable of achieving such result, be final and binding on
all parties; provided, however, that either the employers or employees in any district
may have the right to appeal from the decision rendered by the adjustment board to
a board of review and appeal to be made up as follows: Three members to be named
98




APPENDIX A.

99

jointly^ by the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation and the
United" States Navy Department, and three to be named by the president of the
American Federation of Labor.
It is hereby stipulated and agreed that this memorandum shall supersede and stand
in place of the ‘ ‘ Memorandum for the adjustment of wages, hours, and conditions of
labor in shipbuilding plants, ’9signed August 20,1917, and that it shall become effective
this 8th day of December, 1917.
(Signed)
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Acting Secretary of the Navy;
Charles Piez, Vice President, United States Shipping Board Emergency
Fleet Corporation; William Blackman, Assistant to General Manager;
James O’Connell, President, Metal Trades Department; John I. Nolan,
International Molders Union of North America; J. A. Franklin, Inter­
national President of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders and Helpers of
America; James Wilson, President, Pattern Makers League of N. A .;
Milton Snellings, General President, International Union of Steam and
Operating Engineers; G. C. YanDornes, General Vice President, I. B.
of B. & H .; F. J. McNulty, by J. J. P., I. B. E. W .; John J. Hynes,
President, Amal. Sheet Metal Workers of A .; William H. Johnston,
I. A. of M., per P. Flaherty.




APPENDIX B.—REPORT OF THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE OF NATIONAL
LABOR ADJUSTMENT AGENCIES.
The following recommendations are submitted to serve as a basis for a national labor
policy to be announced by the President of the United States.
I .— H AR M O N Y OP ACTION B Y LABOR ADJUSTING A G E N C IES.

1. A conference of national labor adjustment agencies, composed of two representa­
tives of each Federal labor adjusting agency, should be established to meet at regular
intervals for the purpose of promoting unified action and stability in reference to
matters under their jurisdiction. Effective methods shall be established by each
agency for conference with such other agencies as may be directly concerned by a
proposed award, and in no event shall a decision effecting a change in standard rates
or working conditions theretofore fixed by an authorized governmental agency be
deemed to be concluded, nor shall such award be promulgated until the conference
is first consulted as to its effect upon the industrial situation of the entire country.
2. It is recommended that appropriate steps be directed to be taken to secure what­
ever modification of existing agreements creating labor adjustment agencies is neces­
sary to enforce the national labor policy that may be declared by the President.
3. Any complaint as to the application or operation of the principles and standards
herein proclaimed shall be referred to the National War Labor Board for adjudication,
in so far as its jurisdiction applies. And nothing herein is intended to repeal or
amend the provisions of the presidential proclamation of April 8, 1918, establishing
the National War Labor Board, and fixing its jurisdiction, its general procedure, and
the principles upon which its action and decisions should be based.
II.— STANDARD OF W A G E S A N D W O R K IN G CONDITIONS.

The following industrial standards should govern the various adjusting agencies
for the purpose of securing maximum efficiency during the war, regularity of work on
the part of the employee, continuity of employment on the part of the employer, and
to secure stability for industry. All the provisions should be interpreted with these
great ends in view.
1. Differentials.— The principle of wage differentials relating to emergency war
construction, shipyards, loading and unloading of ships, general manufacturing and
railroad shops should for the present be recognized because:
(a) The transitory character of war construction and emergency shipbuilding has
resulted in the establishment of rates of compensation in such occupations higher than
are maintained in organizations which are part of the permanent industrial life of the
Nation.
(b) The supreme necessity for ships makes it necessary to attract the additional
workers required for their construction from nonwar industries and from localities
remote from shipbuilding centers. This involves serious dislocation in the lives of
workers who engage in such work. The relatively severe conditions under which
shipbuilding construction is at the present time carried on entitle the men to a pay­
ment of compensation at a rate somewhat in excess of that paid employees in similar
occupations in other industries not subject to such conditions, and a sufficient number
of men can not otherwise be obtained.
(c) To determine whether or not existing wage differentials should be eliminated,
and, if so, upon what basis, will require not only extensive investigation, but the
closest cooperation of employers, employees, and representatives of the Government
departments affected thereby. The administrative machinery to conduct such investi­
gation and bring about such cooperation has been established and is being perfected.
Pending the operation of this machinery any radical change in existing conditions
would be arbitrary, would create confusion, and would seriously embarrass the agences which are now working toward a solution of these problems, and thus handicap
war production.
2. Principles governing wage adjustments.— (a) The national policy calls for the
maintenance of proper standards of living—such standards as are appropriate to
American citizens devoting their energies to the successful prosecution of a righteous
war. Changes in the cost of living, therefore, call for adjustments in wages. In
making such adjustments due regard must be accorded to securing maximum war
production and to the state of the national finances, but no alteration of the national

100




APPENDIX B.

101

p licy a to A e n sta d rd sh u o c r u til th G v rn e t h s a n u c d
o
s
m rica n a s o ld c u n
e o e mn a n o n e
th n cessityfo th re u no sta d rd o a c sse tom th ex e cieso th
e e
r e d ctio f n a s f ll la s
eet e ig n
f e
w r T p rm th co tin a ce o su sta d rd w c nn t to stro g u g th t
a . o e it e n u n f ch n a s e a o o n ly r e a
im ed te a dd sticste s b ta e bya th G v rn e t a e c s eq ip edw
m ia n ra
p e kn
ll e o e m n g n ie u p ith
p w r to p en fu e in re sein th c st o liv g.
oe
rev t rth r c a
e o f in
(6) The application of the broad principle of maintaining standards of living can
not be reduced to mathematical formula, but must follow the rules of reason and
justice. In essence, reason and justice demand that this rule should apply in full
force to those workers whose wages afford but a small margin over the amount neces­
sary for the maintenance of their economic efficiency.
(c) Reason and justice further demand that the principle of adjusting wages to ,
changes in the cost of living should apply only where a fair and equitable wage pre­
vails. This principle should not operate to prevent workers whose wages were below
a proper standard of living from securing an equitable adjustment.
(d) In the interest of stability, revisions of wage scales based upon changes in the
cost of living as herein provided should be made semiannually. The semiannual
adjustment should be based upon a comparison of the cost of living for the current
six months’ period with that of the corresponding period of the preceding year, and
any change should apply to the succeeding six months.
3.
Standard working conditions.— (a) Eight hours shall constitute a day’s work on
all work to which the 8-hour statutes of August 1, 1892, as amended, and of June
19,1912, apply, and in all direct and sublet contracts for Government work. On all
work to which the 8-hour statutes of August 1, 1892, as amended, and of June 19,
1912, apply, and in all direct and sublet contracts for Government work, except in
continuous industries and continuous occupations, and except in the production or
extraction of raw materials necessary for war work, four hours shall constitute a day’s
work on Saturdays for the months of June, July, and August. Where a short work­
day on Saturdays has been established in industries excepted above or for a greater
number of months than those specified, the number of hours heretofore constituting
a day’s work on Saturdays should not be increased. Any time in excess of the hours
specified above is to be considered overtime.

(b) In w r tim o G v rn e t w r , o e
a
e, n o e m n o k v rtim sh u be re u d o p rm d
e o ld
q ire r e itte
o ly w e th p b n cessityd m n s.
n h n e u lic e
e ad

Compensation at higher rates for overtime is paid as a means of protecting workers
against unduly long hours and of penalizing employers who require such hours. Under
the extraordinary conditions created by the war, however, there has developed a
great temptation to break down the standard workday and to work irregular hours
and at undue rates in order to secure the extra compensation paid for overtime. This
not only threatens all proper standards of work but has hindered war production and
resulted in a serious drain on the finances of the Nation. All Government authori­
ties are therefore charged to use every effort to put a stop to this abuse.

C m e sa n fo o ertim a d fin din p r g a ha fo h u w r e s sh ll b
o p n tio r v
e, s e e
a a r p , r o rly o k r a e
a o e a d o e a th h u r te a d fo p c w rk rs a o e a d o e-h lf tim
t n n n -h lf e o rly a s n r ie e o e t n n n a
es
th a e g h u p c w rke r in sfo th to l n m e o h u s w r e o p ce
e v ra e o rly ie e o a n g r e ta u b r f o r o k d n ie
w r c m u da th e do e c p yp rio , excep w e ec m e sa na ah h r
o k o p te t e n f a h a e d
t h r o p n tio t ig e
r teis n wb gp ; b tinn c s sh ll c m e sa na ara in e ce o d u le
a
o ein aid u
o a e a o p n tio t te x ss f o b
tim b p id
e e a .
( c) On all Government war work and on all direct or sublet contracts for Government
war work, no work shall be performed on Sundays or holidays except such as is indis­
pensable, and in such cases the rate of compensation for such work should be not more
than double the regular rates, computed as provided for in the preceding paragraph.
When work on Sundays and holidays is necessary, every precaution should be taken
to prevent irregular attendance on week days for the sake of the extra compensation
on Sundays ana holidays.
(d) The Federal Government recognizes for the purpose of extra compensation the
following Federal holidays: New Years Day, Washington’s Birthday, Decoration Day
(Memorial Day), Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
On State and National election days, employees enjoying the voting privilege shall
be allowed not to exceed half a day without loss of pay, in order to exercise their right
of franchise.
(e) For night shifts in war industries, except in continuous industries and con­
tinuous occupations, extra compensation, not exceeding 10 per cent, should be added
to the total earnings at day shift rates.

(/) T e p y en o b n se o a y e trac m e sa no gift, w ich in th ju g
h a m t f o u s, r n x o p n tio r
h ,
e d­
m t o th p o e G v rn e t a th ritie h v th effect o in rfe g w th
en f e r p r o e m n u o s a e e
f te rin ith e
e b e sta d r s o c m e sa n a d o e w rk g c n itio s o w ic te d
sta lish d n a d f o p n tio n th r o in o d n r h h n
to p m te a u n c ssa sh g o e p y en sh u b p h ite .
ro o n n e e ry iftin f m lo m t, o ld e ro ib d




102

SHIPBUILDING LABOR ADJUSTMENT BOABD.

in.—ENFORCEM ENT

OF STANDARDS.

1. Should any employer or worker refuse to abide by the award of an appropriate
labor adjusting agency, the Government will utilize all the power at its disposal,
including the withdrawal of privileges, to secure compliance with such award.
2. Strict measures should be taken by the War Industries Board and all Govern­
mental agencies to prevent interference by war or nonwar industries with the applica­
tion of the standards herein established.
Respectfully submitted.
(Signed)
F e l i x F r a n k f u r t e r , Chairman.
O c t o b e r 14, 1918.
From Emergency Construction Wage Commission:
J o h n R.

A l p in e .
Jo s. H . A l e x a n d e r ,

Colonel Q. M. C.

From Fuel Administration:
R e m b r a n d t P e a le .
B. N oyes.

P.

From Labor Department, Division of Mediation and Conciliation:
Joh n

B. Lennon.

From National Adjustment Commission:
R obert

P.

B ass.

From National Harness and Saddlery Adjustment Commission:
Sa m u e l J. R o s e n s o h n ,
W. E. B r y a n .

Major, J. A. G.y U. S. A ., Office o f Secretary o f War.

From National War Labor Board:1
From Navy Department:
A lbert L. N orton,

Commander, U. S. Navy.

From Railroad Administration:
W. T . T y l e r .
(Except as to the semiannual revision to meet changes in cost of living to which the
Railroad Administration objects.)
From Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board:
A . J. B e r r e s .
V . E v e r it M a c y .

From War Department:
F. W. T u l l y , Major, Ordnance, detailed to Office o f Secretary of War.
1 The representatives of this board declined to commit themselves in advance to these or any other stand­
ards, on the ground that their task was Judicial and they could not, therefore, announce standards before
reviewing all the evidence in each specific case.




APPENDIX C.—WAGE SCALE FOR EMPLOYEES IN SHIPYARDS OF
ATLANTIC COAST, GULF, AND GREAT LAKES, EFFECTIVE OCT. 1, 1918.
OCCUPATION.1

Rate per
hour.

Acetylene Department:
Burners, first class.........................$0. 76
Burners, second class........................... 70
Burners’ helpers................................... 54
Chippers................................................. 58
Grinders................................................. 58
Welders.................................................. 80
Welders’ helpers...................................54
Angle smith department:
Angle smiths, heavy fires 2.................96
Angle smiths, heavy fires, helpers
. 64
Angle smiths, other fires.....................80
Angle smiths, other fires, helpers.
. 54
Furnace men on shapes and
plates (shipwork)..............................90
Furnace men on shapes and
plates, helpers...................................64
Electric welders....................................82
Heaters in angle work......................... 64
Blacksmith shop:
Back handler........................................54
Blacksmiths, heavy fires 2..................96
Blacksmiths, heavy fires, helpers
. 64
Blacksmiths, other fires...................... 80
Blacksmiths, other fires, helpers.
. 54
Boilermakers......................................... 80
Boilermakers1helpers......................... 54
Drop forgers........................................... 80
Drop forgers’ helpers........................... 54
Hammer and machine forgers,
heavy 3........................................ 1. 48
Hammer and machine forgers’
helpers................................................ 64
Hammer runners, heavy.............
Hammer runners, other...............
Heaters............................................
Heaters to heavy forgers..............
Levermen or cranemen................
Levermen or cranemen’s helpers
Liner forgers...................................
Liner forgers’ helpers....................
Boiler shop:
Boiler makers..................................
Boiler makers’ helpers
Flange turners.......................................86
Flange turners’ helpers.
.64
Drillers (pneumatic).
.68
Holders-on.
.60
Planer hands......................................... 64
Rivet heaters.
.50
Rivet heater boys (Newport
News)...........
.30

OCCUPATION.

Rate per
hour.

Boiler shop—Concluded.
Slab furnace men.......................... $0. 86
Slab furnace men’s helpers................ 64
Bolting and liner department:
Bolter..................... : .............................. 58
Liner men.............................................. 64
Liner men’s helpers.............................54
Cement department:
Cementers.............................................. 60
Cementers’ helpers...............................50
Chipping and calking department:
Chippers and calkers........................... 80
Packers................................................... 58
Tank testers........................................... 86
Cleaning department:
Leaders 4.................................................64
Coppersmith department:
Coppersmiths.........................................86
Coppersmiths’ helpers.........................54
Heat, frost, and asbestos workers
(pipe coverers).................................. 80
Heat, frost, and asbestos workers’
(pipe coverers’) helpers...................54
Pipe fitters............................................. 80
Pipe fitters’ helpers............................. 54
.80
Plumbers
.54
Plumbers’ helpers___: ............... .
Steam fitters...................................
, 80
.54
Steam fitters’ helpers................. .
Drilling and reaming department:
Drillers (pneumatic)
.Drillers (pneum atic)................................bo
68
Reamers ( pneumatic)..........................58
Electrical department:
Electricians........................................... 80
Electricians’ helpers............................54
Joiners.................................................... 80
Machinists, first class...........................80
Wiremen.................................................64
Erecting department:
Marine erectors, first class.................. 80
Marine erectors, second class............. 72
Marine erectors’ helpers......................54
Specialists or handy men................... 62
Fitting-up department:
Angle and frame setters...................... 80
Fitters..................................................... 80
Fitters’ helpers............ ........................54
Plate hangers (regulators), first
class..................................................... 70
Plate hangers, second class................ 60
Plate hangers’ helpers
.54

1 The occupations enumerated in this decision are described in the Handbook on Shipyard Occupations,
published by the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, copies of which may be
obtained through the district examiners of the Shipbuilding Labor Adjustment Board.
a Angle smiths and blacksmiths, heavy fires, are angle smiths and blacksmiths who normally require
two or more helpers in connection with tneir work. Laborers and back handlers are not to be considered
h e l l >ers under this definition.
•Hammer and machine forgers, heavy, are men who normally work billets 6 inches in diameter and up,
and use a furnace for heating. Men doing drop-forging work are not to come within this classification.
* Leaders work along with the gangs they direct and are not to be confused with “ leading men.”




103

104

S H IP B U IL D IN G LABOR ADJUSTMENT B AR .
O D
o c c u p a t io n

.

Rate per

hour

Foundry department:
Casting cleaners (hand and
machine chippers)..................... $0. 58
Chippers and grinders......................... 58
Cupola tenders...................................... 80
Cupola tenders’ helpers...................... 54
Molders...................................................80
Molders’ helpers................................... 54
Furnace department:
Heaters................................................... 64
Leaders 4.................................................76
Strikers....................................................64
Hull engineering department:
Joiners.....................................................80
Joiners’ helpers..................................... 54
Marine erectors, first class.................. 80
Marine erectors, second class............. 72
Marine erectors’ helpers...................... 54
Specialists or handy men................. 62
Joiner department:
Joiners.....................................................80
Joiners’ helpers..................................... 54
Machine men.........................................80
Machine men’s helpers....................... 54
Lumber department:
Machine men.........................................74
Machine men’s helpers........................54
Machine shop:
Machinists, first class...........................80
Machinists, second class......................72
Machinists’ helpers.............................. 54
Specialists or handy m en.. %
............. 62
Metal polishers, buffers, and
platers................................................. 80
Material labor department:
Brakemen, yard....................................62
Checkers, material............................... 64
Conductors, locomotive..................... 64
Conductors, road crane........................58
Engineers, locomotive.........................72
Firemen, locomotive........................... 50
Hoisting and portable firemen...
.58
Hook and chain fasteners (hook
tenders)............................................... 58
Hook and chain fasteners, lead­
ers4.......................................................68
Operators of aerial hoists, single
and double cableways, hoisting
donkeys and winches, hoisting
cranes and derricks, with
carrying capacity of over 3
tons......................................................80
Operators of nonhoisting donkeys
and winches.......................................70
Switchmen, yard.................................. 62
Mold loft:
Joiners.....................................................80
Joiners’ helpers.....................................54
Loftsmen................................................ 90
Loftsmen’s helpers............................... 54
4 Leaders work along with the gangs they direct ai
6 Men putting lighter materials and equipment on
6 Men working with cranes on building berths and
* Layers-out are men who lay out work direct fror




OCCUPATION.

Rate per

hour.

Paint department:
Painters and polishers.................. $0. 74
Painters and polishers’ helpers..
. 54
Painters, bitumastic........... . .............. 80
Red leaders............................................60
Pattern shop:
Pattern makers..................................... 86
Plant maintenance department:
Hosemen.................................. .............. 70
Saw filers................................................80
Saw filers* helpers................................ 54
Tool grinders.......................................... 70
Toolsmiths (tool dressers)....................82
Power-house department :
Engineers (steam and electric)..
. 80
Firemen..................................................58
Oilers.......................................................58
Water tenders........................................ 58
Rigging department:
Erectors 5................................................ 62
Erectors, leaders 4................................. 72
Riggers, loft............................................74
Crane riggers6.........................................70
Crane riggers, leaders6........................ 80
Riveting department:
Heaters....................................................50
Heater boys (Newport News).............30
Holders-on..............................................60
Passers.....................................................36
Passer boys (Newport News)..............25
Riveters............................... .................. 80
Rivet testers.......................................... 86
Stage builders........................................ 66
Ship carpenter department:
Ship carpenters, first class.......
.80
Ship carpenters, second class.............74
Ship carpenters’ helpers......................54
Ship shed department:
Bending rollers...................................... 80
Countersinkers....................................... 64
Drill ers(operators of drill presses)
. 64
Mangle rollers........................................ 66
Offset ters.................................................64
Planers.................................................... 64
Punchers.................................................64
Pressmen, first class............................. 72
Pressmen, second class........................ 64
Pressmen’s helpers............................... 54
Sawyers................................................... 54
Scarfers....................................................64
Ventilation department:
Sheet-metal workers.............................80
Sheet-metal workers’ helpers............. 54
All departments:
Checkers, material................................64
Common laborers (South Atlan­
tic and Gulf)...................................... 36
Counters (piecework)........................... 68
Laborers.................................................. 46
Layers-out,7 5 cents in addition
to journeyman’s hourly rate.
Storeroom clerks................................... 58
Timekeepers...........................................58
I are not to be confused with “ leading m e n . ”
hip with aid of block and tackle,
ttmg out docks,
the blue print.

APPENDIX C.
WAGE

SCALE

FOR

EM PLOYEES

OCCUPATION.

IN

Rate per
hour.

Calkers............................................... $0.80
Calkers7helpers.........................................54
Ceilers and plankers.................................68
Cut-off saw operators............................... 58
Fasteners 8..................................................68
General helpers......................................... 54
Millmen...................................................... 80
Oakum spinners............................... 9 2.50
Ship carpenters, (shipwrights),
first class.................................................80

105

S H IP Y A R D S

N O T IN C L U D E D

OCCUPATION.

ABOVE.

Rate per
hour.

Ship carpenters, (shipwrights),
second class..................................... $0. 74
Ship carpenters, (shipwrights),
helpers.....................................................54
Ship joiners................................................ 80
Stage builders............................................ 66
Treenail machine operators.................... 58
Woodworking machines (small),
operators..................................................58

8 Fasteners embrace men operating either air or leetrically driven augurs or hammers, driving driftbolts or treenails, fastening timbers with strap irons, fastening drift bolts after driving, managing treenail
cap tools, and splitting and wedging treenails,
a Per bale.




APPENDIX D.— SUPPLEMENTARY RULING ON PIECE RATES FOR RIVET­
ING, CHIPPING AND CALKING, DRILLING, REAMING AND COUNTER­
SINKING, FOR THE ATLANTIC COAST AND GULF DISTRICTS.
I. DEFINITION OF T E R M S .

(а) Black-book rates.—These are the rates for riveting, chipping and calking, drill­
ing, and reaming and countersinking originally established by decision of this board
dated February 25,1918, and modified by a decision dated November 30, 1918. The
term “ black-book rates” is derived from the color of the binding of the book.
(б) Allowance.— The term “ allowance ” in this ruling is used only with respect to
the operations named in the black book. It is permissible only when the work in­
volved in these operations is of such a character as not to permit straight piecework
to the extent of at least one-half day’s operation, which should be ready in advance.
Allowance thus refers to work ordinarily described by such terms as “ odd,” “ stray,”
“ pick-up,” “ obstructed” work.
(c) Agreement.—The term “ agreement” in this ruling is used only with respect
to operations in riveting, chipping and calking, drilling, and reaming and counter­
sinking, which are not listed in the black book. Since these operations are not listed
in the black book, they become a proper subject of agreement between the rate setter
of the yard and the piece-rate workers. The term “ agreement ” as herein used refers
to the establishment of an agreed piece rate and not to an agreed lump sum for a
certain volume of work, which latter is termed “ contract work.”
II. RULING.

(a) All riveting, chipping and calking, drilling, and reaming and countersinking
operations which are listed in the black book shall normally be done at straight piece­
work. In cases in which allowance, as defined above, is permissible, the basis of
compensation on such allowance is to be the average earnings at piecework for the
preceding three days, provided that these shall not be less than the hourly rate fixed
m Exhibit A of the decision dated October 24, 1918: And provided further, That the
maximum allowance to riveting gangs for a day of eight hours shall be $29.10, and
that the maximum allowance for the other piecework crafts covered in the black
book shall not exceed double the hourly day rate.
(b) In all riveting, chipping and calking, drilling, and reaming and countersinking
operations which are not listed in the black book the agreement system as defined
above may be used. The agreement rate should be in proper balance with the rates
for work of a similar type in the black book. This principle, rather than limitation of
earnings, will guide the rate setter of the yard and the pieceworkers in making agreed
rates. The ruling of December 18, 1918, by which no agreement work could be com­
pensated in excess of one and one-half times the hourly day rate is rescinded.
Rates fixed by agreement which are to continue in operation for more than one week
shall be reported to the examiner of the district and shall be superseded whenever
uniform piece rates for such work shall be fixed by the board.
(c) All work in riveting, chipping and calking, drilling, and reaming and counter­
sinking is to be done on straight piecework or agreement or allowance or hourly day
rates. No extension of contract, premium, or bonus systems is authorized.
(d) So much of the following piece-rate decisions and rulings as may be inconsistent
with the foregoing ruling are hereby repealed:
Decision of November 30, 1918, concerning readjustment of piece rates and retro­
active pay to pieceworkers in Atlantic coast, Delaware River, and Gulf steel-ship
yards.
Ruling of December 10,1918, concerning maximum allowance work and readjusting
riveting gangs’ pay.
Ruling of December 18, 1918, concerning restricting compensation allowance work.
Ruling of December 18, 1918, concerning restricting compensation work by agree­
ment.
(e) This ruling is effective from February 1, 1919.
106




107

APPENDIX D.
III.

PREVENTION OP A B U S E S .

It is a function of the board to fix rates. It is not its function to police or inspect
the work so as to prevent abuses of these rates. So much evidence has been pre­
sented, however, concerning abuses in the application of agreement and allowance
in the past that the board calls the attention of the Emergency Fleet Corporation
and the Navy Department to the situation. The board points out that as the terms
are used in this ruling the amount of agreement work in riveting, chipping and calk­
ing, drilling, and reaming and countersinking should be a limited amount. Allow­
ance work as defined in this ruling is, of course, limited to the operations listed in the
black book and should be, under proper management, a small percentage of such
operations. The board earnestly recommends to the Emergency Fleet Corporation
and the Navy Department that steps should be taken to bring the amounts of agree­
ment and allowance work in the yard down to proper limitations.
(Signed)
V. E verit M a c y , Chairman,

Appointed by the President of the United States.
(Signed)

L. C. M arshall ,

Appointed by the Navy Department and the Emergency Fleet Corporation.




(Signed)

A. J.

B

erres,

Appointed by the President o f the American Federation of Labor.

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