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Ewan Clague, Commissioner


Collective Bargaining W ith
Associations and Groups
o f Employers

B ulletin 7\[o. 897

For sale by the Superintendent o f Documents, U . S. Government Printing Office
Washington 25, D . C. - Price 10 cents


fo r
L abor D epartm ent B u lletin N o. 8 9 7
House Document No. 135

Collective Bargaining With
Associations and Groups
o f Employees
Corrections on pages 1 and 6.
The last line on page 1 should read—
unions on the West Coast with employers in a single city.

In other

The next to the last line o f the second paragraph on page 6 should
Secretary o f the Interior.

The agreement covered all the mines which



Worker coverage by group bargaining___________________
Area coverage by group bargaining______________________
Approach to standardization of working conditions______
Nation-wide collective bargaining in the coal industry-----National bargaining on the railroads------------------------------Other industry or trade-wide bargaining_________________
Industry-wide bargaining in mass-production industries__
Negotiation of similar agreements in the steel industry___
Collective bargaining by geographic areas-----------------------Bargaining in the needle trades within metropolitan areas----------------------Other city-wide bargaining_____________________________________
Associations of employers across industry lines---------------------------------------Tables:
1. — Percent of workers covered by collective-bargaining agreements
with associations and groups of employers, by industry-----------2. — Area of bargaining with associations and groups of employers, by


732568— 47



Letter o f Transmittal

U n ited S tates D epartm en t of L abor ,
B u r e a u of L abor S t a t is t ic s ,

Washington, D . C., February 14,1947.
T h e S ecretary of L abor :

I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on collective bargaining with
associations and groups of employers. The study is based on an examination
of the collective-bargaining agreements and other source materials on file with
the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report provides the most recent picture of
the extent to which unions negotiate agreements with associations and groups o f
employers. It brings up to date the study prepared by the Bureau in 1939.
The report was prepared by the staff of the Industrial Relations Branch, Boris
Stern, Chief.
E w a n C laque , Commissioner.
H on.

L. B. Sc h w e l l e n b a c h ,

Secretary of Labor.

Bulletin T^o. 897 o f the
United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics
fFrom the M onthly Labor R eview, M arch 1947]

C ollective B argaining W ith A ssociations and G roups
o f E m p lo y e rs1
Most o f the examples of industry-wide bargaining in the United
States are the product o f generations o f experience, and as a rule the
employer-union relations in these industries have been remarkably
stable and peaceful. In the pressed or blown glassware industry, one
o f the branches of glass and glassware having national bargaining, no
major strike throughout the industry has occurred since collective
bargaining began with an employers’ association in 1888. Similar
conditions have prevailed in the pottery industry since 1922. The 1946
contract between the National Automatic Sprinkler and Fire Control
Association and the United Association o f Journeymen Plumbers and
Steamfitters (A F L ) is a revision of the original agreement o f 1915;
and the 1946 agreement between the Anthracite C,oal Operators and
the United Mine Workers o f America (A F L ) is a compilation of
resolutions, revisions, rulings, and decisions dating back to 1908.
Bargaining on an industry basis exists in the elevator installation and
repair, installation o f automatic sprinklers, pottery and related
products, stove making, and wall-paper industries, and in coal mining.
Agreements covering all the employers in an industry within a geo­
graphic region are somewhat more numerous than those having appli­
cation throughout an entire industry. Even more numerous are the
instances in which associations or groups of employers are dealt with
on a city-wide or metropolitan area basis. In this study, the existing
extent and the areas o f bargaining with associations and groups of
employers are described. The most significant extension o f this form
o f bargaining in recent years occurred during W orld War I I in the
shipbuilding industry. The Metal Trades Department o f the Ameri­
can Federation o f Labor negotiated a master agreement during 1941
with Pacific Coast shipyards organized by unions affiliated with the
AFL. Prior to this time, joint agreements had been signed by these
unions on the West Coast with employers in a single day. In other
1 Prepared by R oy M. Patterson and the staff o f the C ollective Bargaining D ivision o f
the Bureau’s Industrial Relations Branch, under the general supervision o f H arold S.
Roberts, Chief. Special credit is also due for the contributions made by Abraham W eiss,
Jesse Carpenter, and Philom ena Marquardt.


industries, since 1939, the practice only widened in those that had used
this method o f dealing for many years. The number of workers
covered by these agreements increased somewhat as more o f the
Nation’s industry became organized and was brought under agreement*
However, the relative proportion covered in most industries did not
change greatly.
Few o f the examples of collective bargaining on an industry, geo­
graphic, or city basis occurred in the mass-production industries,
although a single agreement in the automobile industry, for instance,
may cover many more employees than an association agreement cover­
ing every employer in an industry or trade within the same city. In
mass-production industries, trends are developing toward standardized
conditions in large segments of industries through corporation-wide
collective bargaining. The efforts of unions are directed first toward
bringing all the plants o f a given large corporation, regardless of geo­
graphic location, within the scope o f a single agreement. A41 example
is the corporation-wide bargaining between the Ford Motor Co. and
the United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers
o f America (C IO ). Notwithstanding the great number of workers
affected, corporation-wide bargaining differs widely from m ultiemployer collective bargaining which is the subject of the present
Early in 1947, more than 4 million workers were covered by agree­
ments negotiated between trade-unions and associations and groups
o f employers. These are about equally divided between manufactur­
ing and nonmanufacturing industries. Approximately a fourth of
all workers covered by union agreements in manufacturing and a
third o f such workers in nonmanufacturing are working under agree­
ments negotiated with groups or associations of employers. The
agreements were negotiated by one or more unions (1) with a formal
or informal association o f employers or (2) with informal multiemployer groups. In presenting the information on agreements, no
attempt was made to distinguish between agreements with associations
and with other multi-employer groups. Identical agreements signed
by separate employers with the same union were included, if there
appeared to have been negotiations with a group or committee o f
Worker Coverage of Group Bargaining

In table 1, the extent o f association and employer-group bargaining
is shown, based upon the percent o f total workers under agreement in
the respective industries.



T a b l e 1 — Percent o f AU W orkers Under Agreem ent W ho A re Covered b y Agreem ents
W ith Associations and Groups o f Em ployers b y Indu stry


80-100 percent

60-79 percent

40-59 percent

20-39 percent

Clothing, m en’s
Clothing, women’s
Coal mining
Laundry and cleaning and
Shipbuilding and boat­
building i

Book and job printing
and publishing
Canning and preserving
Dyeing and finishing
Glass and glassware
M alt liquors
Pottery and related
Trucking and ware­

Building service and
Leather products, other
Newspaper and periodi­
cal printing and pub­

Beverages, nonalcoholic
Hotels and restaurants
Jewelry and silverware
Shoes, cut stock and

0-19 percent
Agricultural machinery
and tractors
Aircraft and parts
Automobiles and parts
Bus and streetcar, local
Bus lines, intercity
Carpets and rugs, wool
Clerical and
transportation, com ­
munication, theaters,
and newspapers
Cotton textiles

Confectionery products
Crude petroleum and
natural gas
D airy products
Electrical machinery,
equipment and ap­
Flour and other grain
K nit goods, except ho­
Leather (tanned, cur­
ried and finished)
Light and power
M achinery and machine

M eat packing
M etal mining
Motorcycles, bicycles,
and parts
Newspaper offices
Nonferrous metals and
products, except jew ­
elry and silverware
Nonmetallic mining and
Paper and pulp
Paper products
products, except re­
Petroleum refining

Railroad equipment
R ayon and allied prod­
R ubber products
Silk and rayon textiles
Steel, basic
Steel products
Stone and clay prod­
ucts. other
Sugar, beet and cane
Telegraph service and
Telephone service and
T obacco manufactures
W oolen and worsted

i During W orld W ar II most of the industry was covered b y tripartite zone standard agreements, signed
b y representatives of unions, employers, and certain government agencies. The. principal association agree­
ment other than the zone standard agreements is between Pacific Coast Shipbuilders and the M etal Trades
Department of the A F L , covering yards organized b y A F L unions.

Area Coverage o f Group Bargaining

The industries are classified by area o f bargaining in table 2.


T a b le 2 .— A rea o f Bargaining W ith Associations or Groups o f Em ployers b y In du stry
Bargaining on a national or
industry-wide scale

Bargaining b y geographic
(regional) areas

Bargaining w ithin a city, county,
or metropolitan area

Coal mining
Elevator installation and repair
Class and glassware
Installation of automatic sprinklers
Pottery and related products
W all paper

Canning and preserving fo o d s 1
D yeing and finishing textiles1
Leather (tanned, curried, and
finished) i
Lumber *
M etal mining
Nonferrous metals and products,
except jewelry and silverware1
Paper and pulp
Shoes, cut stock and findings1

Beverages, nonalcoholic
B ook and job printing and pub­
Building service and maintenance
Clothing, men’s 2
Clothing, wom en’s 2
Confectionery products
Cotton textiles
Dairy products
Hotel and restaurant
Jewelry and silverware
K nit goods
Laundry and cleaning and dyeing
Leather products, other
M alt liquors
M eat packing
Newspaper printing and publish­
Paper products, except wall paper
Silk and rayon textiles
Steel products, except stov es2
T ra d e 2

Trucking and warehousing 2

1 There also is some bargaining on a city, county, and/or metropolitan area basis.
2 There also is some bargaining on a regional and/or industry-wide basis.

Approach to Standardization of Working Conditions

One o f the major efforts o f labor unions in this country has been
directed toward the standardization of working conditions throughout
an industry or area, in order to lift substandard wages and to elim­
inate or reduce the factors of wages and hours in competitive costs.
One o f the ways the labor movement has sought to attain this objective
has been by pressing for Federal or State legislation for the protection
o f certain groups of workers or to establish minimum standards
applicable to all workers. Legislation has been sought especially for
women and minors on the ground that the interests o f society as a
whole require that the health and welfare o f these groups of workers
be protected, and also because they often are in a weak bargaining
position and might be used to lower the standards of all workers.
Certain minimum standards o f health, safety, and sanitation were
established by legislation when large sections of the population felt
a need for such, and the labor movement from time to time has favored
legislative action as the most effective remedy for problems of health
and safety. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, minimum wage
and hour standards have been established in much o f American in­
dustry, thus raising the area of collective bargaining on these issues
to higher levels.
Prior to W orld W ar I I the approach to standardization o f wages
and working conditions through governmental action was secondary
as far as American trade-unions are concerned. Organized labor in
this country has directed its chief efforts toward standardization by
means o f collective bargaining. For this reason the labor movement
generally has encouraged parallel organizations o f employers for
collective-bargaining purposes, in order to obtain extended coverage
under one agreement. In some industries the employers also have
favored the extension of uniform wages and working conditions by
making the terms o f a collective-bargaining agreement applicable to
a large segment o f an industry. When collective bargaining with
groups or associations o f employers has proved impracticable or im­
possible, some unions have utilized the technique o f presenting iden­
tical agreements to the employers within an industry or competitive
area. This latter method usually is practicable only in instances
where there are a large number of small employers, particularly
within a metropolitan area.
Although industry-wide trade associations have come to be a
common characteristic o f American business, the scope o f employer
groups or associations engaged in collective bargaining is generally
much more limited. Within an industry, employers may be organized
for purposes o f collective bargaining on a city, regional or, in a few
instances, nation-wide basis, or two or more such employer organiza­

tions may exist in the same area. As a rule, the unions work toward
the extension o f the collective-bargaining agreement to as wide a
section o f the industry as possible. In a number of cases the unions
and employer organizations together have directed their efforts toward
bringing unorganized sections of the industry within the scope o f
collective-bargaining agreements. A necessary corollary o f dealing
through employers’ associations is a high degree o f unionization
among the employees.
During W orld War II, industry-wide production drives, settling
o f labor disputes by the National War Labor Board on the basis o f
industry or area practice, and the Government’s wage stabilization
policies all contributed to standardization of wages and working con­
ditions throughout industries or areas. Directives o f the National
War Labor Board were influenced by precedent and prevailing prac­
tices in the industry or area and many agreements in the same industry
came to have similar provisions on certain subjects. Frequently an
order o f the Board would affect several employers and the substance
o f the order would be incorporated into union agreements the em­
ployers might have negotiated, without regard to the existence o f an
employers’ association. In the shipbuilding industry, in which a
stabilization commission was established, tripartite “ zone standard”
agreements were negotiated, covering a limited number o f subjects.
The parties to the agreements were the Government itself and most
o f the employers and unions in the industry. The shipbuilding in­
dustry in the United States was divided into four zones, in each o f
which the “ zone standards” determined practices with regard to those
subjects covered by the agreements.
The attention directed to a few national associations with long
records o f collective bargaining should not be permitted to obscure
thousands o f employer organizations which have negotiated agree­
ments on a regional or metropolitan basis and which affect hundreds
o f thousands o f workers. These employer groups vary widely as to
type, structure, procedure, and scope of activity. Some are temporary
and highly informal, with no tangible evidences o f permanent
organization. Others have complex structures with elaborate consti­
tutions and a staff o f full-time employees. Between these extremes
there are wide variations in organization, procedures, and functions.
Nation-Wide Collective Bargaining in the Coal Industry

In anthracite mining a single agreement is signed to cover the entire
industry. In bituminous-coal mining, the union negotiated agree­
ments with the operators in the Central Competitive Field (Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia) from 1898 until 1927. The
732568— 47-------2

agreement for this area set the pattern for negotiations in other
areas between districts o f the union and local associations o f coal­
mine operators. The interstate bargaining relationship in the Central
Competitive Field collapsed in 1927 and was not reestablished until
after the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act. In 1934 an
agreement was signed with the operators in the Appalachian Area
which served, as the previous interstate agreement had, as a pattern
which the remainder o f the industry generally followed. Districts o f
the United Mine Workers o f America negotiate agreements with
parallel associations o f employers, which follow the terms o f the
Appalachian agreement. In 1941 the northern and southern groups o f
operators in the Appalachian area signed separate agreements with
the union, and unified negotiations were not reestablished until 1945.
In that year, the first industry-wide agreement in bituminous-coal
mining was negotiated.
Following the break-down o f negotiations between the union and
the operators in the spring o f 1946, which led to a Nation-wide softcoal strike, and the rejection by both the union and the operators o f
President Truman’s May 16 arbitration proposal, the President on May
21 “ authorized and directed” the Secretary o f the Interior to take over
the mines. On May 29 an agreement was signed by John L. Lewis,
president o f the union, and J. A. Krug, Coal Mines Administrator and
Secretary o f the Interior. The agreement covered all the irines which
were seized.
National Bargaining on the Railroads

The traditional bargaining unit in railroad transportation is the
individual railroad system. The workers are organized on the basis
o f craft, and agreements with the various systems are negotiated by
each craft union or by “ system federations” of shop craft unions.
Although the regular working agreements continue to be signed by
systems, on occasion certain specific questions o f major importance, as
wages, have been settled on a Nation-wide basis. Negotiations are
generally conducted by the nonoperating unions (clerical, mainten­
ance, and shop crafts) and by the operating unions (train and engine
service) separately with representatives of the railroads selected on
a regional basis.
Other Industry or Trade-Wide Bargaining

The American examples o f trade-wide bargaining of longest status
occur in the pottery and glassware industries. Since the early years
o f this century, an annual meeting has been held between the repre­
sentatives of the United States Potters’ Association and the National
Brotherhood of Operative Potters. The current agreement between


these parties, for example, continues a provision for joint discharge
committees first set up in 1913. Since 1888 the National Association
o f Manufacturers of Pressed and Blown Glassware, or its predecessor,
has been meeting with the American Flint Glass Workers Union. The
“ Star Island Agreement” of 1903 established a grievance procedure
which still is utilized in this industry. The Glass Bottle Blowers’
Association o f the United States and Canada signed its first national
agreement in 1890 and currently has an agreement with the Glass
Container Manufacturers’ Institute which affects several thousand
employees in the industry.
In each o f these cases the bargaining agreements are confined
chiefly to detailed piece-rate schedules, although a considerable body
o f “ unwritten law” has developed to supplement the national agree­
ment in governing employer-employee relations within a plant.
Originally, the trade-wide bargaining was established to regulate the
working conditions o f highly skilled craftsmen within these indus­
tries. With the development of technological changes, one skilled
occupation after another has been eliminated. As a result, the unions
have extended their jurisdiction to include a major part o f the workers
in and around the plants and these skilled and semiskilled employees
are now covered in the national agreements to the degree that they
are unionized. In the glassware industry, however, there are some
companies which have negotiated separate agreements. In the
pottery industry virtually all of the vitreous and semivitreous
branches of the industry are covered by the association agreement.
A different kind of bargaining relationship has been built up in the
manufacture of flat glass. B y far the major part o f the production in
this industry is centralized in two large producing companies. These
companies, the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. and the Libby-Owens-Ford
Glass Co., negotiate their agreements jointly, both with the Window
Glass Cutters League (A F L ) and the Federation o f Glass, Ceramic
and Silica Sand Workers (C IO ), but each company signs separate,
identical agreements. The two companies also collaborate in the
administration of the agreement to insure uniform patterns of inter­
pretation. Most o f the other manufacturers are organized into the
Fourcault Manufacturers’ Association which negotiates the agreement
with the unions.
There are a few other instances of industry-wide dealing, each of
them originating from the efforts of a highly skilled craft to protect
its conditions o f employment. Among these are the Wall Paper
Institute and the United Wall Paper Craftsmen and Workers of
North America, covering wall paper printing; the National Automatic
Sprinkler Association and the United Association of Journeymen
Plumbers and Steamfitters of the United States and Canada, cover­
ing sprinkler fitting; and the Manufacturers Protective and Develop­

ment Association and the International Molders and Foundry W ork­
ers Union o f North America, covering stove-molding and hot-water
Employers engaged in the manufacture of paper-mill wire cloth
sign similar agreements with the American Wire Weavers’ Protective
Association. Another instance of trade-wide bargaining occurs in
the installation, repair, and maintenance of elevators. Although wage
rates are negotiated locally, other working conditions are regulated
by conferences between the National Elevator Manufacturing Indus­
try, Inc., and the International Union of Elevator Constructors. A
standard agreement is used in all localities, with the locally negoti­
ated rates inserted as agreed upon.
The manufacture of wooden kegs and barrels should also be men­
tioned as an instance o f national conferences between the employers
and the union. The conferences, however, have resulted in no agree­
ment on an industry scale and discussion of working conditions has
been o f far less importance than mutual discussion o f trade-promotion
Industry-Wide Bargaining in Mass-Production Industries

In the more recently organized, mass-production industries there
are at present no examples of industry-wide collective bargaining
resulting in a single union agreement covering the full range o f
employer-union relations. In a few such industries, however, certain
bargaining relationships have come into existence which produce
considerable uniformity in the agreements throughout an industry.
In the rubber industry, for example, a wage-increase agreement was
signed on March 2, 1946, by the four largest manufacturers, which
affected a large proportion o f the workers in the industry. This socalled “ B ig Four” agreement is limited in scope to a few subjects; it
differs from the usual union agreement also in that it does not have the
customary provisions relating to termination and renewal. The
agreement provides: “This agreement shall finally dispose of all issues
covered in these negotiations including all of the union’s 7-point
program for a period o f 1 year except that during this 1-year period
the general wage scale shall be subject to negotiation if conditions
economically and in the industry warrant, but only on a four-company
(B ig Four) basis.” I f this joint relationship of the four corporations
with the United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastic Workers o f
America is continued in the future, it may be possible to describe the
collective bargaining in this industry as approaching industry-wide
A degree o f standardization has been achieved in the meat-packing
industry through the medium o f uniform expiration dates o f the

agreements with the principal packers. Certain agreements affecting
a large number o f workers negotiated by the United Packinghouse
Workers o f America (C IO ) and by the Amalgamated Meat Cutters
and Butcher Workmen of North America (A F L ), covering various
plants of the four largest corporations in the industry, have expired on
the same day each year for several years.
Negotiation o f Similar Agreements in the Steel Industry

In the basic steel industry in the United States there is no employers’
association which engages in collective bargaining, yet a great deal o f
standardization in industrial relations has occurred in recent years.
The industry is composed of two dominant groups o f employers, one
known as “ B ig Steel” and the other as “Little Steel.” The first in­
cludes the United States Steel Corp. and its subsidiaries, and the
second is made up o f a number of independent companies. The Steel
Workers Organizing Committee, now the United Steelworkers o f
America, first signed written agreements with the U. S. Steel Corp.
in 1937 and since then, with a few exceptions, practically all o f the
basic steel industry has been brought under agreement. Even though
there is no bargaining by employers’ associations, the major provisions
o f agreements throughout the basic steel industry are similar. This
degree o f uniformity is occasioned by a number o f factors, first among
them probably being the predominant position o f the United States
Steel Corp. Agreements with this corporation tend to set the pattern
for the rest o f the industry. Also, by long-established practice the
same wage adjustments generally are made throughout the industry at
the same time. During World War I I directives o f the National W ar
Labor Board, which generally were applicable to large sections o f the
industry, further encouraged the growth o f uniform collective­
bargaining practices. The United Steelworkers o f America, the most
important union in the industry, also tended to bring a degree o f
uniformity into the bargaining relationships and practices. Agree­
ments with most o f the employers in the basic steel industry will expire
in February 1947, and negotiations are in process for new agreements.
(Since this was written the parties have agreed to extend the agree­
ments until April 30,1947.)
Collective Bargaining b y Geographic Areas

In the hosiery industry a bargaining relationship has existed
between the Full-Fashioned Hosiery Manufacturers o f America, Inc.,
and the American Federation o f Hosiery Workers since 1927. The
employers’ association, originally covering only Philadelphia mills,
now covers a major part o f the northern section o f the full-fashioned
hosiery industry. Conferences occur annually, with occasional addi­

tional meetings on specific subjects. Under the agreement the joint
relations are administered by a permanent impartial chairman.
In the textile industry there are association agreements between the
Textile Workers’ Union o f America and associations o f silk and rayon
mills in a number of States. A joint arrangement o f longer standing
exists in the dyeing and finishing of textiles in nonintegrated mills.
In cotton textiles in Massachusetts and in knit goods in Philadelphia
and New York, many of the employers are members of associations
which negotiate union agreements.
Maritime workers usually deal with employer organizations which
represent the shipping operators on a given coast. Practically all
the union agreements in the maritime industry are negotiated with
associations or informal committees representing the employers. On
the Pacific Coast the companies are organized into the Pacific Ameri­
can Shipowners Association. On the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts the
most recent agreement s were negotiated and signed by a Committee for
Companies and Agents, Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, most of the mem­
bers o f which are also members o f the American Merchant Marine
The Waterfront Employers of the Pacific Coast embraces employers
of longshoremen along the entire West Coast ; much o f the work o f
the association, however, is carried on through affiliated local Water­
front Employers Associations in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco,
and San Pedro (Los Angeles). The International Longshoremen’s
and Warehousemen’s Union (CIO ) negotiates a general cargo agree­
ment with the coast-wide association, which signs “ on behalf o f” the
four local organizations. Separate agreements covering dock workers
and ship qlerks are negotiated with each of the port associations. On
the Atlantic Coast the International Longshoremen’s Association
(A F L ) as a rule, negotiates separate agreements with employer asso­
ciations in each port.2
In the Pacific Northwest the pulp and paper industry, although
dealing elsewhere on the basis of individual companies, is combined
into the Pacific Coast Association of Pulp and Paper Manufacturers
which deals with the two national unions in the field. The unions,
representing different occupations in the industry, are the Interna­
tional Brotherhood o f Papermakers and the International Brother2 F or some tim e there has been no form al federated organization o f the unions in the
maritim e industry. F or a few months during 1946, however, the CIO unions and an
independent form ed the com m ittee fo r m aritime unity fo r the purpose o f jo in t negotiations
w ith all employers simultaneously. The American Federation o f Labor, also in 1946,
established a M aritim e Trades Department, composed » o f A F L unions in the industry.
M ost o f the unlicensed personnel on the A tlantic Coast are represented by the N ational
M aritim e Union (C IO ). On the W est Coast these workers are represented principally by
three unions, the Sailors’ Union o f the Pacific (A F L ), the P acific Coast M arine Firem en,
Oilers, W atertenders and W ipers Association (independent), and the N ational Union of
M arine Cooks and Stewards (C IO ).

hood o f Pulp, Sulphite, and Paper Mill Workers. The employers’
organization is described in the agreement as follow s: “ This Pacific
Coast Association of Pulp and Paper Manufacturers * * * o f
which the signatory company is a member, is an employer association
o f a majority of the pulp and paper manufacturing companies in the
Pacific Coast area, comprising the States of Washington, Oregon, and
California, and as bargaining agent with authority to bind its mem­
bers by a majority vote of such mills, has met with a bargaining com­
mittee from the signatory union for a period of years, beginning in
1934 * *
Notwithstanding this provision, each company signs a
separate document with the local unions which represent its employees.
The lumber industry is one which is not yet well organized through­
out the country but in which the dominant method of present dealing
is through associations within the producing area. The Columbia
Basin Loggers’ Association and the Timber Producers’ Association
in Minnesota are examples of associations dealing with the union in
this industry.
The fishing industry, particularly on the Pacific Coast where it is
well organized, is an example o f collective bargaining almost exclu­
sively on an association basis. The employers, however, are organ­
ized into a number o f separate associations, such as the Alaska Packers’
Association and the Central Pacific Wholesale Fish Dealers’
In retail trade, the National Association of Ketail Meat Dealers,
composed o f affiliated State and local associations throughout the
United States, negotiates with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and
Butcher Workmen o f America. The national agreement between
these parties, first negotiated in 1937, is confined to a statement o f
principles and policies of mutual interest to both parties, who agree to
“give their aid and good offices to the execution of fair and reasonable
contracts between local unions and affiliated associations in the various
localities where the said unions and affiliated associations exist.” The
agreement further states that it is recognized “that local conditions
require local treatment and that it is not practical or feasible to include
in this agreement the matters of wages, hours, and conditions of em­
ployment.” In the Midwest, the Central States Drivers’ Council*
an organ o f the International Brotherhood o f Teamsters, Chauffeurs,
Warehousemen and Helpers of America (A F L ) negotiates agreements
with the Central States Area Employers Association Negotiating
Committee. Collective bargaining in canning and preserving foods
on the West Coast is largely on an association basis.
Most o f the shipbuilding and boatbuilding industry on the West
Coast is covered by a master agreement negotiated by the Metal Trades
Department o f the American Federation of Labor. During the war,

as previously noted, bargaining on major issues in this industry was
on a tripartite basis, and wages and certain other questions were
determined by the zone standards. Issues not covered by the zone
standards were settled in the ordinary processes of collective bargain­
ing. A t the present time the zone standards are still in effect.
Bargaining in the Needle Trades Within Metropolitan Areas

Outstanding examples o f stable bargaining relationships over a
long period o f time between employers’ associations and unions are
found in the needle trades. In the men’s and women’s clothing, men’s
hats and millinery, and fur industries the earliest efforts o f unions to
organize were accompanied by efforts to combine into associations the
employers within the producing area. Bargaining has become estab­
lished in these industries, with highly developed industrial relations
machinery within each o f the metropolitan areas which are important
as producing centers. These unions and employers’ associations cus­
tomarily make use of a permanent impartial chairman to administer
the agreement and there are numerous examples of joint trade boards,
stabilization commissions, and other similar bodies which deal on a
day-to-day basis with the problems o f the industry.
These industries all have the problem of “ run-away” shops, which
leave the unionized areas and, with the small capital investment
required, are able to establish themselves in low-wage, semirural sec­
tions. This has been a major reason for the unions’ insistence upon
dealing on an association basis, for it is through the combined pressure
o f both the union and the employer association that these “ run-away”
shops can be brought under control. Another problem within these
industries is the regulation o f the jobber-contractor relationship. Job­
bers have taken advantage of both the extreme seasonal fluctuations
and the small investment required in setting up a shop to encourage
an oversupply o f contractors. Cut-throat competition among the con­
tractors has been furthered by the frequent practice o f establishing
“fly by night” shops for the duration of a contract secured by under­
bidding regularly operating shops. Both the owners o f shops oper­
ating under union conditions and their workers have thus faced a
constant threat to industrial stability. Through collective bargaining,
the oversupply o f contractors has been dealt with and the jobber’s
responsibility for maintaining union conditions in his contract shops
has been established. A large portion of the employer-union negotia­
tions in the needle trades deal with these three-way problems, in
addition to the usual wages, hours, and working conditions.
The employers within a given city are usually organized into more
than one association within each o f the needle trades. The basis o f
distinction is both the type o f product and the classification o f em­

ployers (i. e., jobbers, contractors, or inside manufacturers). The
unions have frequently expressed a desire for more uniformity among
the employers5 organizations throughout the industry. Although a
major part o f the production in the country is covered by the New
York City agreements alone, the unions have made repeated efforts
over several decades to secure industry-wide dealing in the interests
o f national standardization. Thus far, however, only in men’s clothing
has there been a successful approach to industry-wide bargaining. For
a number o f years the Amalgamated Clothing Workers o f America
has negotiated major wage questions with the Clothing Manufacturers’
Association o f the United States and with the Shirt Industry.
Other City-W ide Bargaining

In many industries and trades characterized by numerous small
establishments within a city, collective bargaining has been conducted
with associations o f employers within the city. In many cases the
associations are formal organizations in which the association officers
have the power to bind all members to the agreed terms of employment.
In other cases the employers may unite informally and perhaps only
for the duration of the bargaining conferences. In many instances
the lack o f a continuing employers’ association makes no difference in
the actual negotiation of the agreement, but complicates considerably
the enforcement o f the agreement.
In cases o f city-wide bargaining the extent of coverage o f the
employers’ association generally depends upon the strength o f the
union. It is common to find within a city an organized group o f
employers dealing with the union, while other employers within the
same industry are organized into a separate association or have no
organization. In some cases the union employers form an organized
group within a trade association which also includes nonunion
employers in the city.
There are probably 5,000 local or city employer associations
throughout the country which deal with various unions. More of
these are found in building construction than in any other single
industry. Other examples, in which the predominant method of
dealing is with city-wide associations, are brewing, retail trade, bak­
ing, printing and publishing, restaurants, trucking, and barber shops.
An important development is found in the electrical machinery in­
dustry, where the United Electrical, Eadio and Machine Workers of
America (CIO ) recently negotiated an agreement with the Electronics
Manufacturers’ Association, representing 20 employers in the New
York City area. This association was formed at the insistence o f
the employers, who are relatively small and who previously had
signed separate agreements. The employers desire, through nego

tiating a single blanket agreement, to achieve a degree of uniformity
in wage and working conditions in order to reduce these as competitive
factors in costs.
Associations of Employers Across Industry Lines

Employer-group federations embracing all types of business within
a city are largely a development of the last 10 years and are concen­
trated in the Far Western States. Leader in this field is the San
Francisco Employers Council, formed in 1939, and which in April
1945 had 1,995 members, 919 of whom were affiliated through their
various industry groups. The other members were individuals or
independent companies. The objectives of the council, as stated in
its articles of incorporation, are (1) to encourage the organization
o f autonomous employer groups and cooperation among these groups in
matters relating to labor relations; (2) “ to promote the recognition
and exercise of the right of employers to bargain collectively” ; and
(3) upon request, “ to assist its members and others in matters relating
to the negotiation, execution and performance o f fair labor contracts.”
The council negotiates or participates in negotiations of agreements
between its members and the unions in the city, and performs various
other services.
O f a similar character is the Industrial Conference Board of,
Tacoma, Wash.— an over-all agency for a number o f independent
companies and 15 or 20 employers’ associations each of which has one
or more union agreements. Both the Reno Employers Council of
Reno, Nev., and the Silver Bow Employers Association of Butte,
Mont., participate in the negotiation of labor contracts for their vari­
ous employer groups. In Sacramento, Calif., the Sacramento Valley
Associated Industries is the unifying agency for a dozen or more
associations covering such varied fields as bowling alleys, beverages,
furniture warehouses, taxicabs, machine shops, liquor and tobacco
dealers, retail foods, wholesale bakeries, draymen, druggists, tire
dealers, and building owners. Each association has a union contract
signed in its behalf by an individual, who serves both as executive
secretary to the associations and as general manager of the Associated


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