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Collective Bargaining




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Bulletin No:

1063

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Maurice J. Tobin - Secretary
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Ewan Clague - Commissioner




Collective Bargaining
in the Meat-Packing Industry

Bulletin No. 1063
UNITED STATES DEPARTM ENT OF LABOR
M a u r ic e J . T o b in , S e c r e t a r y

B U R E A U O F L A B O R STATISTICS
E wan C la g u e , C o m m is s io n e r

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




Price 30 cents

ii

Letter of Transmittal

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOB,
Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Washington, D. C., February 27, 1952.

The Secretary of Labor:
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on labor-manage­
ment agreement provisions and practices in the meat-packing industry
which is based primarily upon an analysis of fifty agreements nego­
tiated by unions and employers in the industry.
This report was prepared in the Bureau's Division of Wages and
Industrial Eelations, by and under the direction of Anna Bercowitz,
and by William S. Gary, Dorothy B. Kittner, and Eleanor E. Lehrer.

Ewan Clague, Commissioner.

Hon. Maurice J. Tobin,
Secretary of Labor.




iii

Contents

S u m m a r y .... ................................. ........... .........

1

Union and management organizations ....... ...........................
Development of union organization............. ..................
The bargaining unit since World War
Extent of collective bargaining........... ............
Trade associations ................. .................. ..........

2
2

Development of the meat-packing industry .......... ..................
Significant Industry characteristics .............................
Location of the industry and size of establishments..... .
Nature of Job and composition of labor force ..................

7
8
8
9

I I .................................................

5

6
7

Current status of collective bargaining.......... ................
Nature of the sample ........................................ .

10

Formal agreement characteristics .......... ....................... .
Employer unit ................... .................... ............
Occupational coverage ....... ............ ........................
Duration, extension, and renewal of agreements ........... ........

12
12
12
12

Significant (industry) contract provisions ....
Guaranteed weekly wage plans ...............
Weekly guarantees ............... ........
Guaranteed annual w a g e ..... ..... .
Paid vacations ............. ........ .
Holidays ...................... ............
Paid sick leave .......... .................
Service requirements and other regulations
Dismissal p a y .... ................ .
Fringe benefits .......................... .
Clothes-changing t i m e ......... ....... .
Preparation and repair of tools .........
Best periods ........... ...... .........
Meals and meal time .....................
Equipment and monetary allowance ........
Tools, equipment, and safety devices ..
Outer work garments ............... ...
Laundry .................. ...........
Other benefits .......................

13
13




l
h
15

16
17
19
20

20
20

21
21
21
22
22

22
23
23
23

iv -

Contents - Continued
Page
Union and management rights and functions.... .......................
Union rights ...................................................
Union security and check-off.......................... ........
Other union rights and privileges .......... ...............
Management prerogatives ..... .....................................
Discharge ........................ .............................

2 k

Job security ...... ..................................................
Seniority and its applications ....................................
L a y - o f f .......................................................
Rehire ........................
Promotion ........................ .............................
Preferential seniority rights ................................
Effect of transfers on seniority .......................... .
Leave of absence and seniority rights .............................
Military service ...... ................ .......................
Restriction on production work by foremen ............ ............

27
27
28
29
29
30
30
31
31
31

Hours, wages, and working conditions ................................
Hours of w o r k ....... ..... .......................... .........
Wage provisions .........
Method, of wage p a y m e n t .... .................................
Earnings and wage rates .......... .............................
Equal pay for equal work for w o m e n ............................
Minimum call-in (report) pay ........................... ......
Transfer rates ................................................
Rate of pay on temporary assignment ...........
Rate of pay on permanent transfer ....................
Rate for aged and handicapped workers .........................
Interim wage adjustments ................ .....................
Premium p a y ........ ..............................................
Daily and weekly overtime ..........
Week-end w o r k ......
Shift differentials ...........................................
Minimum call-back pay ...........................
Health, insurance, and pension plans ................ .............
Safety, health, and sanitation ........ ..........................

33
33
3^
35
35
36
38
38
38
38
38
39
39
39
*9
+
M
^l
^l
^2

Adjustment of disputes during life of agreement........... ..........
Grievance procedure.... ............................
First step in initiating grievances .......
Final step in grievance procedure .............................
Written notice .................................
Arbitration ......................................................
Work stoppages ......................... ................... .

13
*
13
*




2+
1
2 k

26
27
27

k k

^5
^5
^6
k j

-

V

Contents - Continued

Tables:
1.
2.

Number of production and related workers .....................
Number of establishments and workers in the industry and
in the sample, by region ...................................
3. Distribution of agreements and workers surveyed, by u n i o n ....
Graduated paid vacation plans and service requirements .......
5. Number of paid holidays .........
6 . Total hourly rates of pay for work on paid holidays ..........
7. Types of union security and check-off provisions .............
8 . Qualifications determining lay-off........................
9. Seniority unit applicable in lay-off.............
10. Qualifications determining promotions ............
11. Seniority unit applicable in promotions ......................
12. Leave of absence provisions ............
13. Average weekly hours and earnings for production workers ....
li. Equal pay for equal work for women .............................
15. Interim wage adjustments ..........
16. Premium pay provisions for work on Saturday, Sunday, sixth
and seventh d a y ............................ ...............
17. Types of benefits provided in six agreements ..................
18. Number of steps in grievamce procedures ...........
19. Initial step in grievance procedures .........................
20. Final step in settling grievauaces ........ ...................
21. Step at which written notice is submitted in grievance
a p p e a l ........... ......... ................................
22.
Work stoppages, 1939-50 ..... ...




8
11
12

17
18
19
2k
28

29
29
30
32
33
37
39

1*0
k2
^3
^
45
k6

^8




QxMectiae, Oicvcgaming in the,
M eat- 3 aching, JndudVuf
SUMMARY
Meat-packing establishments, centered largely in the Midwest, are
classified into three general groups: The large national packers— primarily
the so-called "Big Four”; l/ the independent medium-size packers whose pro­
ducts are marketed over a smaller region; and the small local packers.
Approximately 90 percent of the production workers in the industry
work under union contracts negotiated almost exclusively with the Amalgamated
Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America (AFL) and the United Pack­
inghouse Workers of America (CIO). For the past decade, these two unions
together with the National Brotherhood of Packinghouse Workers (Confederated
Unions of America, IND.) have negotiated master agreements with some or
all of the "Big Four" packers, who set the collective bargaining pattern in
the industry. Recently, the two major unions entered into a mutual aid pact
not to conclude a contract with the "Big Four" without full discussion of
common problems.
A large proportion of the labor force in the industry is unskilled
or semiskilled. In fact, about 20 - 25 percent of the workers are found in
the common labor group alone.
An analysis of 50 collective bargaining agreements (including those
negotiated with the "Big Four”), representing almost two-thirds of the pro­
duction workers in the industry, shows that workers in this industry have
attained many significant benefits. Ninety percent of the workers in the
study are guaranteed a weekly wage, commonly for 36 hours, to offset the
fluctuation in employment resulting from the irregularity of the flow of
livestock. The 3 6 - h o u r pay in most cases includes premium pay for overtime,
Sunday work, holiday pay, and pay for clothes-changing time. Workers in
three plants of the Hormel Co. are guaranteed an annual wage, rare in any
industry.
Virtually, every worker in the study is eligible for 3 weeks*
vacation, generally after 1.5 years* service, as well as 8 paid holidays, un­
common in most industries. About 85 percent are granted paid sick leave
benefits based, in almost all cases, on length of service. In addition,
three-fourths of the workers are eligible for dismissal pay if laid off per­
manently because of the closing down of a department.
Most of the workers also receive a number of other benefits such
as pay for clothes-changing time, time spent in preparing and repairing tools
and for rest periods. Generally, they are also furnished such items as tools
equipment, outer work clothes, or are given monetary allowances for the pur­
chase of these articles.

l/

Armour, Swift, Cudahy, and Wilson




2

On the other hand, the agreements show that health, insurance, and
pension plans are not commonly incorporated in meat-packing agreements. A
number of large packers, however, do provide for some welfare benefits as
part of their company-wide program.
Few agreements contain specific measures safeguarding the employees'
health and safety. The large packers have, however, introduced new safety
programs in recent years which have cut down the frequency and severity rate
of accidents.
The majority of workers are covered by agreements which do not go
beyond the minimum statutory union security provisions, namely, sole bargain­
ing, Under this type of security, the union is recognized as the sole bar­
gaining agent for all workers, members and nonmembers. These provisions are
usually strengthened by irrevocable check-off clauses.
Because of the complexity of meat-packing operations, the wage
structure is intricate. It is further complicated by separate rates for the
same job classifications for male and female workers, by geographical differ­
entials, and by the concentration of jobs and workers at the common labor
rate. A Meat-Packing Commission established by the National War Labor Board
during World War II (19^5), after a 2-year study of these problems, recommended
a simplification of the job classifications and of the wage system. These
recommendations were adopted by most of the larger packers and are currently
effective.
Geographic differentials have been narrowed, and efforts are being
made to adjust rates for male and female workers in the same job classifica­
tions.
In an effort to reduce the area of conflict as much as possible,
the grievance machinery is clearly defined. The "Big Three" agreements pro­
vide for permanent arbitration.

UNION AND MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS
Development of Union Organization
Butchers have been organized into unions from practically the
beginning of the combination of slaughtering and meat packing into one indus­
try in the late l860*s. They experienced a succession of gains and setbacks
in negotiating collective-bargaining agreements for almost three-quarters of
a century before they finally met with sustained success. Time after time,
organized workers, particularly In Chicago, the most important meat-packing
area, struck for and won wage Increases and a shorter workday, but usually
lost these gains within a few months.
At firfft, workers in the industry were organized into local craft
groups, especially in Chicago. During the l870's, a number of these inde­
pendent local unions joined the Knights of Labor and formed four separate
organizations of cattle and sheep butchers, hog butchers, sausage makers,
and meat cutters.




3

With the decline of the Knights of Labor, the four separate
butcher unions in 1896 decided to amalgamate into one national organization.
In July of that year, 11 representatives from unions in 7 cities met in
Nashville, Tenn. and formed the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen
of North America (AMCBW). On January 22, 1897, the union was granted an
industrial charter by the American Federation of Labor to organize workers
in the production of meat products; its jurisdiction ranged from slaughter­
ing and processing plants to butchers in retail stores.
The union’s strength was sufficiently formidable by I90I to seek
*
formal recognition. In furtherance of its objective as well as to obtain
increases in wage rates, the union called its first national strike. Sixty
thousand workers responded, 25,000 in Chicago alone. Union recognition on
a national scale was granted. Disputes over application of the terms of the
strike settlement led to another walkout late in I90U. The packers recruited
immigrants and Negroes to replace the strikers and the strike was lost. The
union lost its standing in the big packing centers, but lingered on in some
small independent packing plants. It turned more and more to the organiza­
tion of butchers in retail shops.
Except for the negotiation of the first closed-shop agreement in
the industry with John Cudahy Packing Co. at Louisville, Ky. in 1905, 2/
little headway was made for some years. As late as 1916 , union membership
in the AMCBW was only 7,500.
Participation by the United States in World War I (1917-18)
brought plant expansion and the employment of many new workers. With the
aid of the Stockyards Labor Council set up at the time by the AFL’s Chicago
Federation of Labor, the Amalgamated recruited many of these new workers.
To avoid interruptions in supplies essential to the successful
prosecution of the war, the Government, in 1917, negotiated an agreement
with the larger meat packers which provided that employees would be granted
the right to join unions of their own choosing and that unsettled labor
disputes would be adjusted by a government administrator. As a result,
membership in the Amalgamated expanded rapidly.
later that year, the President appointed Federal Judge Samuel
Alschuler as administrator to settle a dispute with the "Big Five" packers 3 /
arising from union demands for better working conditions and higher wages
to meet rising prices. Judge Alschuler’s first general award, effective
May 5 , 1918, sot a pattern which was followed in agreements with independent
packers. The award granted (1) a basic 8-hour workday; (2) compensation at
premium rates for weekly overtime work and for work on Sundays and holidays;
(3) paid 20-minute lunch periods on three 8-hour shift operations; (k) wage
increases; and (5 ) equality of wage rates for*male and female employees

2/ Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen (AFL), The Butcher
Workman, July 191*9 (p. 5 ).
3/ Armour, Swift, Cudahy, Wilson, and Morrell.
992836 0 —52----2




u.
doing the same class of work, k/ No changes were recommended, however, in
the 1+0-hour weekly guarantee effective at the time, which the employers re­
quested he correspondingly reduced in line with the reduction of the workday
from 10 to B hours. A 1+5-hour weekly guarantee in plants of Swift and Com­
pany was reduced to the prevailing 1+0-hour guarantee to conform with other
plants.
By 1921, the Amalgamated membership had grown to 100,000. Dissen­
sion and factional struggles split the union into several competing groups.
Upon expiration of the arbitration agreements (negotiated during the war)
on September 15, 1921, the "Big Five" refused to continue to negotiate with
the union. In December 1921, the union called a Nation-wide strike, its first
major stoppage since I90I . It sought to maintain the 8-hour day, time and
+
a half for overtime, seniority rights, a guaranteed workweek, and other gains
in working conditions, many obtained for the first time during the wartime
control of the industry. 5/ Despite inner union factionalism and unemploy­
ment, about 1+5,000 workers in plants in 13 cities responded. 6/ After 2
months, the strike ended in defeat. Although the union again failed to se­
cure recognition in plants of the "Big Five", most of the wartime gains in
working conditions were maintained. Torn by increased internal strife, the
union in 1923 shrank to its prewar stature of fewer than 10,000 members. 7 /
Meanwhile, other unions which had been organized by the major com­
panies in 1921, acceded to wage reductions. 8/ These company unions, called
"Employee Conference Boards" or "Employee Representation Plans", replaced the
AMCBW in plants of the "Big Five" during the mid-1920’s, and covered probably
half of the industry’s 200,000 workers. 9/ The AMCBW was able to negotiate
agreements in only a few communities. Its membership remained at a low
level until the early 1930's (approximately 13,000 members in 1930 ).
As in many other industries, enactment of the National Industrial
Recovery Act in 1933 and the passage of the National Labor Relations Act in
1935 again stimulated the growth of trade-unionism in the industry. During

it/ In the Matter of the Arbitration of Six Questions Concerning Wages,
Hours and Conditions of Labor in Certain Packing House Industries, by Agreement Submitted for Decision to a United States Administrator. Chicago, 111.,
April 30, 1918, 1 5 PP.
(
5/ Patrick E. Gorman, President, "The Amalgamated teat Cutters and Butcher
Workmen of North America", Labor Information Bulletin, U. S. Department of
Labor, Vol. 7, No. 8, August 19*+0 (pp. 5 and 6).
6/ Selig Perlman and Philip Taft, History of Labor in the United States,
1895-1932, 1935 (p. 500).
77 Leo Wolman, Ebb and Flow in Trade Unionism, National Bureau of Economic
Research, New York, 1936 (pp. 181 85).
+-I
8/ Levis Corey, Meat and Man, 1950 (p. 287).
9/ Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen (AFL), Report of Pro­
ceedings of the Twelfth General Convention, 1926 (p. 58).



5.

this period, in addition to the AMCBW, 6 "so-called" workers’ unions also
solicited members in Chicago. When, however, the National Recovery Act was
declared unconstitutional in 1935 , the company unions began to disintegrate
and disappear. 10/
Following the formation of the CIO, representatives of some local
meat-packing unions affiliated with the AFL in various parts of the country
met on October 2b, 1937, and formed the Packinghouse Workers Organizing
Committee (IVOC), affiliated with the CIO. The committee’s main organizing
activities were concentrated on the major packing plants.
By 19b0, the AMCBW and the newly formed IWOC were both fairly well
established and had succeeded in entering into collective bargaining agree­
ments with some of the plants of the "Big Four" (Armour, Swift, Cudahy, and
Wilson) as well as with other large independent packers.
On October lb, 19b3, the IWOC was dissolved and the United Pack­
inghouse Workers of America (UPWA) was organized as an international union
of the CIO. At that time, the AM2BW claimed membership of about 100,000;
the UEVA, about 80,000. Since World War II, the two major unions have re­
presented the bulk of the industry’s workers.
In addition to these two international unions, a third union has
negotiated agreements with one of the major meat-packing companies as well
as with several independent packers. It was organized following the dis­
solution of company unions. Until 19b 5> it was known as the International
Brotherhood of Swift Employees. It is now the National Brotherhood of Pack­
inghouse Workers of America (NBIW), affiliated with the Confederated Unions
of America (CUA). In March 19b9, it claimed 19,000 members in meat packing
and other food industries, ll/
The Bargaining Unit Since World War II
Present day collective-bargaining relations in the industry date
back to 19b1. Prior thereto, negotiations were conducted on a plant-by-plant
basis. Each plant of each of the big packers bargained separately and signed
an individual contract. In an attempt to stabilize wages and to eliminate
wage competition, the unions began to press for bargaining on a conpany-wide
basis. Since 19bl-b2, each of the "Big Four" packers has negotiated master

10/ Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen (AFL), Synopsis of
Proceedings of the Fourteenth General Convention, 1936 (p. 67*
ll/ Testimony of Don Mahon, President of the National Brotherhood of
Packinghouse Workers (CUA), at the hearings before a special subcommittee
of the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, 8lst
Cong., 1st Sees, on H. R. 2032, a Bill to Repeal the Labor Management
Relations Act of 19b7, etc., March 7-21, 19b9 (p. 69b).




6.

agreements covering those of its plants represented by the union which had
established its bargaining rights through National Labor Relations Board re­
presentation elections. The agreements are fairly uniform except for certain
provisions, such as seniority, which are sometimes modified by local agree­
ment. These local provisions are, however, subject to approval by the Inter­
national unions. Patterns established by the "Big Four" are usually reflected
rapidly in the contracts negotiated with the independent packers.
The first of the "Big Four" master agreements was signed in 19^1
by Armour and Cudahy with the IWOC. Master agreements, effective August
191*2, were subsequently negotiated by Swift with IWOC, AMCBW and the NBIV
(IND.), and by Wilson with the IWOC. The AMCBW signed its first master
agreement with Armour in 19^-3 •
By 19^9-50> the UFWA had negotiated master agreements with Swift,
Armour, Cudahy, and Morrell covering more than 50 plants; the AMCBW with
Armour and Swift, covering about 22 plants; 12/ and the NBIW, with 9 Swift
plants.
Although master agreements cover somewhat less than 5 percent of
the more than 2,000 meat-packing establishments reported by the Census of
Manufactures for 19^7, they account for more than half of the production and
related workers in the industry.
Extent of Collective Bargaining
In terns of workers employed, the meat-packing industry is about
90 percent covered by union contract. The two international unions, AMCBW
and UIWA, estimate that each represents somewhat less than half the workers
in the industry. Of its 175,000 members in 1950> the AMCBW reported about
90,000 in the meat-packing industry, primarily in packing houses, branch
houses, and other operations outside the "Big Five". The majority of the
remaining members are employed in retail butcher shops, but many work in
canneries, poultry and egg houses, and tanneries. The AMCBW is dominant in
the meat-packing plants on the West Coast, where most of the agreements are
negotiated by employers* associations or other multi-employer groups.
Most of the UIWA’s 80,000 members are employed in plants of the
"Big Five". The union maintains that its agreements cover approximately 80
percent of the production and maintenance workers of these major packers. 13 /
Membership of the NBIW is concentrated mainly among Swift employees,
where it ranks next to UIWA in the number of workers represented. I k /

12/ The union also has contractual relations with individual plants of
Cudahy, Wilson, and Morrell.
13/ Report to the President on the Labor Dispute In the Meat-Packing Indus­
try. by the Board of Inquiry, created by Executive Order No. 993^-A, dated
March 15, 19^8, transmitted April 8, I9H8 (p. 7).
I k / Edwin E. Witte, "Industrial Relations in Meat Packing", in Labor in
Postwar America, ed. C. E. Warne, 19^9 (p. ^9*0»



7

Although negotiations are conducted separately, the AMCBW and UTWA
have, since 1$&6-V7, exchanged information and generally kept each other
informed on the progress of their negotiations. Eecently, they concluded a
mutual aid "bargaining pact to work together in negotiations with leading
packers. The two unions agreed to pool resources to reach agreements with
the packers, and not to conclude a contract without full discussion of
common problems. This represents the first agreement "between competing CIO
and AFL unions in the same fields for joint contract action with common
employers on an industry-wide or Nation-wide basis. 15 /

Trade Associations
None of the national trade associations in the industry partici­
pates in the collective bargaining negotiations. Their principal activities
include technical and merchandising research, public relations, packing
house management, trade promotion, education, and informational services.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE MEAT-PACKING INDUSTRY
The meat-packing industry has been centered in the Midwest almost
from the beginning of its large scale operations. Cincinnati, the first of
the great packing centers, was supplanted by Chicago during the Civil War,
when cattle instead of hogs came to be more widely marketed.
Other factors responsible for making Chicago and the Midwest the
key meat-packing area include: (a) the increasing population in the Eastern
cities, which necessitated procuring livestock from distant localities;
(b) the advent of railroads and their extension westward, making Chicago a
more economic terminus than Eastern cities; and (c) the introduction of
refrigerator cars in the 1870’s.
Meat-packing establishments are usually classified into three dis­
tinct categories: (1) The large national packers who occupy a dominant
positiojj in the industry, generally referred to as the "Big Four": Armour,
Swift, Cudahy, and Wilson,
(With Morrell they are referred to as the "Big
Five".) They maintain large central plants, as well as a number of smaller
plants, mainly in livestock production areas. They also operate numerous
"branch houses" to market and distribute their products in or around most
major consuming areas. (2) The independent, medium-size packers whose opera­
tions somewhat parallel those of the "Big Four" except that their products
are usually marketed over a smaller region and their production is limited
more to pork products. Included in the group are such companies as Hormel,
Kingan- Oscar Mayer, Bath, and Tobin. (3 ) The small local packers who are
,
generally engaged in intrastate operations. These companies usually buy
local livestock, and process and market their products in surrounding areas.
This type of establishment is prevalent in the East, especially in Pennsyl­
vania and New York.

15/

The CIO News, October 10, I9L9 (p. 11), and July 3 1 , 1950 (P. 3)




8.

Significant Industry Characteristics
Immediately prior to World War II, the meat-packing Industry ranked
third in value of product, and eighth in number of employees among the manu­
facturing industries.
Employment in the industry generally attains its peak between
September and February and begins to taper off in the early spring. In the
past decade, employment showed a substantial increase, having risen from 119,^00
in 1939 tc 165,^00 in 1950, or about ho percent (table 1).

Table 1.— Number of production and related workers in the meat­
packing industry, by year, 1939-50 1/

Year

1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950

.............................
.............................
......... .
......... ..... .......... .
..........
.............................
............................. .
....................... .
........... ......... .........
.......... .............. .....
..................... ........ .
.................... ..........

Numier of production
and
related workers
119,400
129,500
145,100
176,500
175,200
172,900
156,300
160,000
167,100
156,200
165,200
165,400

l / These production worker employment series are consistent
w itl the series beginning January 1947, Sxunmary L S 50 4264,

Location of the Industry and Size of Establishments
According to the Census of Manufactures for I9V 7 > approximately a
third of the industry's 2 ,1 5 3 establishments account for two-thirds of the
167,000 production and related workers, and are located in the North Central
States. Illinois ranks as the most important meat-packing center, with Iowa
second. Upward of 30 percent of the industry's total labor force is concen­
trated in the following four urban centers: Chicago, Kansas City, Omaha, and
St. Paul.
A gradual shift westward has been taking place. The increased use
of motor trucks has enabled farmers to bring livestock directly to nearby
slaughtering plants. As a result, Icwa, Missouri, Texas, and California have
become relatively more important meat-packing areas. From 1939 to 19^7> the
percentage of workers in Illinois declined from about 20 to 15 percent of the
industry total.




9
Small-size plants predominate, tut a few large establishments
account for a sizable proportion of the industry*s work force. Twelve
establishments, each employing 2 ,50 0 or more employees in 19 ^7 , accounted
for about a fourth of the total number of employees in the industry. Al­
most two-thirds of all the workers were in 86 plants, which employed over
500 workers each.
Nature of Job and Composition of Labor Force
The slaughtering process in the meat-packing industry is initially
one of disassembly, followed by further processing into cured meats. It was
reportedly the first industry to develop the continuous production lines
system, with its resultant division of labor. Contrary to experience in
many other industries, it was not, however, accompanied by a high degree of
mechanization. 16/ Jobs in the industry are still largely of a manual and
repetitive nature.
The combination of minute divisions of labor, coupled with the
absence of highly mechanized operations, has led to an unusually large pro­
portion of unskilled and semiskilled jobs. In 19^5> the percentage of all
employees classified as common labor in the five largest packing firms —
Armour, Swift, Cudahy, Wilson, and Moire11 -- ranged from 25 to 38 percent,
with an average of about 30 percent. About 25 percent of the male and more
than 50 percent of the female employees were classified as common labor.

17/

Most of the work in packing plants is still unskilled and semi­
skilled hand labor. At present, the percentage of common labor is reported
to range from about 18 to 25 percent. The number of workers in the common
labor grade is lcwer in plants of the independent and smaller packers.
A few jobs in the butcher and maintenance classifications require
a rather high degree of skill. With few exceptions, the skilled Jobs are
held by men.
Certain tasks in the industry are peculiarly adaptable to women
workers. During World War II women represented about 15 to 20 percent of
the total labor force in the industry, largely in the processing departments.
The proportion is now estimated at more than 20 percent. It will undoubtedly
increase in the near future. 18 /
Nonwhite workers have been an important segment of the industry's
labor force for almost half a century. Although they account for about 30
percent of the work force in the industry as a whole, they constitute more
than half the labor force in and around the important Chicago area.

16/ The Termination Report of the National War Labor Board, Industrial
Disputes and Wage Stabilization in War Time, Vol. 1, January 12, 1$&£ December 31» 19^5> Ch. 19, wThe Meat Packing Commission," by Clark Kerr
(P. 1<*5).
17/ Report and Recommendations of the Fact-Finding Board in the MeatPacking Industry Case, February 7> 19^8 (p. 8 ).
18 / United. Packinghouse Workers of America, The Packinghouse Worker,
http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/ 2, 1951 (p. 2).
March
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

10

CURRENT STATUS OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Nature of the Sample
This study is based upon an analysis of 50 collective-bargaining
agreements in the meat-packing and slaughtering industry current in mid-1950. 19 /
The agreements cover 299 plants, with approximately 105,000 production and
related workers, or almost two-thirds of the production workers in the indus­
try. 20/ Six master agreements negotiated with three of the "Big Four"
packers are included: Armour - AMCBW and UIWA; Swift - AMCBW, UPWA, EBPW;
and Cudahy - UFWA. 21/ These 6 agreements represent two-thirds of the total
number of workers in the sample and about b o percent of the production workers
in the industry.
The sample is representative of the geographic distribution of the
industry and of the number of production workers (table 2). Plants employing
fewer than 20 workers were not included in the sample except to the extent
that they may be included in some of the city area-wide and/or employer-asso­
ciation negotiated agreements. Single plant, multi-plant (including master
agreements with the "Big Three” packers), employer association, and standard
area-wide agreements have been included. The two dominant unions— the Amal­
gamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America and the United
Packinghouse Workers of America, as well as the National Brotherhood of
Packinghouse Workers are represented (table 3). The AMCBW represents a
larger proportion of the agreements and plants in the sample, but a smaller
number of workers than the UIWA whose strength lies largely in plants of the
"Big Four."
All of the major provisions in the agreements were analyzed for this
study. Although some agreements were renegotiated after the analysis was com­
pleted, the substantive changes in these contracts (except for the wage adjust­
ments) were not significant. The changes are noted in the footnotes.

19/ The industry is defined to correspond with Standard Industrial Classi­
fications No. 2011 and 2012 (19^5 manual) -- the slaughtering of livestock to
be sold fresh or to be used on the same premises in the production of canned
and cured meats, in the making of sausage and lard, and other products, and
the slaughtering of livestock on a contract basis for the trade.
20/ The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average of 165,000 pro­
duction workers in 1950.
2l/ Since the master agreement negotiated between Wilson and the UIWA had
expired in 19^8 and was, therefore, not included in this study, the other
three major packers are referred to in this report as the "Big Three." An
analysis of the provisions of the new 1950-52 Wilson agreement as well as
the 1950-52 Swift, Armour, and Cudahy agreements (all of which were negotiated
subsequent to this study) reveal few major differences from the provisions
of the "Big Three" agreements used in this study.



-zu—0 988Z06

Table 2#— Number of establishments and workers in the meat-packing industry and in the sample, by region

Region

Total ........................
New E n g l a n d .......... ..... . •
Middle Atlantic ..............#
East North Central ..........
West North Central •••••.... ..
South Atlantic ..............
East South Central
West South Central ..........
M o u n t a i n ...... ...............
Pacifio ......................

fetal establishments anA
production workers in
industry 1/
Number of
Number
prodiction
of
aid
establish­
related
ments
worcers

Number
of
plants

Plants and production
workers in sample
Number of
Number of
production
and
-Big 3"
related
plants
workers

Number of
production
and
related
workers

2,153

16%100

2/ 299

2/ 104,300

81

68,700

86
359
542
236
231
110
217
143
227

3,200
15,000
47,100
59,300
9,500
5,300
11,900
4,900
10,900

5
115
35
41
11
9
7
11
65

2,100
9.800
25,500
47,100
3,900
1,900
4,800
2,600
6,600

4
7
16
24
7
4
6
5
8

2,000
2,900
19,700
30,200
1,900
700
4,600
2,500
4,200

1/ U.S. Department of Commerce, Census of Manufacturers, 1947.
*2/ Although the sample covers less than 15 percent of all establishments in the industry in 1947, the number of
woriEers covered by the 50 agreements represents at least two-thirds of the production and related workers in the
industry# The sample does not include establishments with fewer than 20 employees, except to the extent that they
■ay be included in some of the city area-wide and/or employers* association negotiated agreements#




12.

Table 3.— Distribution of agreements and workers surveyed in the
meat-packing industry, by union

big Tkree^

Total
Number
of
agree­
ments

Number
of
plants

Number
of
workers

Total ......

50

299

104,300

6

81

68,700

A M C B W ......

26

219

29,700

2

22

8,700

.......

21

71

66,700

3

50

52,100

N B P W .......

1

9

7,900

1

9

7,900

Union

vpm

IfumWr
of
agree­
ments

Number
of
plants

Number
of
workers

FORMAL AGREEMENT CHARACTERISTICS
Employer Unit
Of the 50 agreements in the study, 11, accounting for three-fourths
of the workers, cover several plants of a particular company; the "Big Three"
agreements fall into this category. Nine agreements, all AMCBW, with about
10 percent of the workers, are multi-employer, either negotiated with a for­
mal employer’s association or with a group of employers in a given area.
The remaining 30 agreements, covering approximately 15 percent of the workers,
were negotiated with single plants.

Occupational Coverage
Every agreement in the study covers all of the production workers
in the plant and in many instances, maintenance workers. A few agreements,
with a small number of workers, also include truck drivers, cafeteria workers,
and other nonproduction employees in the bargaining unit.

Duration, Extension, and Benewal of Agreements
The majority of agreements in the study, covering about 90 percent
of the workers, were negotiated for periods of 1 year or less. The six
"Big Three" agreements come within this category. 22/ A few agreements
covering 10 percent of the workers were negotiated for periods of more than
1 year but not exceeding 2 years. Only one agreement with a small number of
workers was of 3 years’ duration, and one with about 2,000 workers for a
5-year period. Two agreements run indefinitely, until canceled by either party.

22/ These agreements subsequently negotiated in 1950 are of 2 years*
duration.




13

The "Big Three" and most of the other contracts are automatically
renewed from year to year in the absence of notice by either party to amend
or terminate them. The notice period is generally 60 days, as required by
the Labor Management Relations Act, although a few specify 30 days; one, 60
days by the union and 90 by the company; and one, 90 days.
A few agreements provide for extension of the agreement after its
stated expiration date if negotiations are still in progress. Some remain
in effect for an indefinite period until termination notice is given or
until negotiations for a new agreement are completed, and a few others con­
tinue for a specified period.
Although agreements in this industry are negotiated at various
times during the year, about half of the agreements in the study terminate
in August.

SIGNIFICANT (INDUSTRY) CONTRACT PROVISIONS
The meat-packing industry is one of the few in which the majority
of workers receive a guaranteed weekly, and in some instances, annual wage;
3 weeks* vacation (if they meet specified service requirements); 8 paid holi
days with compensation at double time for hours worked on those days, plus
8 hours' pay for the holiday; paid sick leave; dismissal pay; and compensa­
tion for such activities as clothes-changing, tool-sharpening, etc.

Guaranteed Weekly Wage Plans
Minimum work or wage guarantees have long been provided by the
industry to its hourly paid employees. They reflect the attests by both
management and labor to stabilize and regularize workers' earnings in the
face of seasonal, and even daily, fluctuations in production arising from
irregularity in the receipt of livestock. As long ago as 1912, Swift and
Co. had inaugurated weekly guarantees, which are new widespread in the
industry. 2 3 /
During World War I, the major packers guaranteed ho hours* work or
pay weekly. In 1 9 3 the AMCBW was again able to incorporate weekly guarantees
in some agreements, but they were, with few exceptions, limited to only 28
hours' work. 2 h / During NRA, the guarantee was raised to 32 hours. 25 / In
19^5> as a result of a National War labor Board directive applicable to the
large packers, the guarantee was increased to 36 hours. 26/

2 3 / Edwin E. Witte, "Industrial Relations in Meat Packing", Labor in
Postwar America, ed. C. I. W a m e , 19^9 (p. 500).
2k f Lewis Corey, Meat and Man, 1950 (pp. 305-306).
25 / Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen, Synopsis of Proceedings
of the Fourteenth General Convention, 1936 (p. 6 ).
26/ Directive Order of February 20, 19^5. The Termination Report of the
National War Labor Board, Industrial Disputes and Wage Stabilization in War­
time, January 12, 191*2 - December 31, 19^5, Vol. Ill, Appendix FF (p. 409).




Weekly Guarantees
Forty of the 50 agreements analyzed, covering 90 percent of the
workers in the study, contain weekly work guarantees. Under these guarantees
workers called to and reporting for work at the beginning of the workweek
must he given work (or pay) for the number of hours guaranteed for that week.
No minimum number of weeks of work per year is, however, assured. Commonly
the guarantee calls for 36 hours, though guarantees from 35 to Ho hours are
also in effect.
Employees laid off before the close of the first workday or, less
frequently, by the close of the second day of the workweek do not qualify for
the weekly guarantee in two out of every five agreements. Such employees are
paid only for hours actually worked, unless, as most of the agreements provide,
they are recalled for work in the same workweek in which they are laid off.
In the latter event the full weekly guarantee is restored. The "Big Three"
and a number of other agreements expressly provide for proportionate reduc­
tions of the guarantee far employees hired or called to work after the first
day of the workweek.
Certain attendance requirements must commonly be met to be eligible
for the full weekly guarantee. Workers must generally be present every
scheduled workday or work their full "gang time". Absence (excused or other­
wise) or tardiness generally reduces the guarantee.
Overtime, Sunday and holiday work premium pay, and pay for time
spent in changing clothes are included in confuting the weekly guarantee in
some agreements and excluded in others. The three Swift agreements analyzed
include such premium payments. Most of the plans provide that pay far an
unworked holiday is to be credited against the guarantee, i.e., in a week in
which a paid holiday occurs the employee is to be guaranteed only 28 hours*
additional pay.
"The parties understand and agree that the foregoing
guarantee nrovisions are based on nay and not on hours of
work and that the Company has fully complied with the pro­
visions of this guarantee when an eligible enployee has
been paid a sum of money equal to his regular rate of pay
for thirty-six (36 ) hours, including compensation paid to
him in excess of his straight-time regular rate of pay for
hours of productive work by operation of Paragraphs A (l),
(2), and (A), and C of Section 1 (Holiday and Sunday pay)
of Article IV, Sections I (Call out guarantee) and 5 (Recall
t
guarantee) of Article VIII of this agreement; and of para­
graph 1 (Clothes Changing Time) of Article VIII of this
Agreement; and including compensation paid by operation of
Section 2 (c) (l) (Pay for Holidays not worked) of this
Article." (Swift and Co. - AMCBW (AFL) Master Agreement)
Armour and Cudahy, on the other hand, specifically exclude premium payment
for Sunday work.




15

A few provide that the application of the weekly guarantee is to
"b the same in holiday weeks as in other weeks, hut stipulate that pay for
e
unworked holidays is not to he applied to the weekly guarantee.
"The guarantee of thirty-six (36 ) hours pay per
week shall he the same in holiday weeks as in other weeks.
"The parties understand and agree that the foregoing
guarantee provisions are based on pay and not hours of
work and that the Company has fully complied with the
provisions of this guarantee when an eligible employee
has been paid a sum of money equal to his basic hourly
rate of pay for thirty-six (36 ) hours including compen­
sation paid to him in excess of this straight-time basic
hourly rate for hours of productive work by operation
of Section 5 , Paragraph B, sub-paragraph 1, concerning
overtime and premium pay as stated in sub-paragraphs (A)
and (B) and Paragraph G, Sub-paragraph 1 (a), concern­
ing working through a meal period, Section 6 , Paragraphs
B and C concerning call to work pay and emergency call
to work pay, respectively, and Section 8 , Paragraph A
concerning clothes changing time. However, pay for
holidays not worked shall be excluded from the provi­
sions of this paragraph."
(Kingan and Co., Indianapolis, Ind. - UTWA (CIO)
The employer is not held to the guarantee under some agreements,
if operations have to be curtailed for causes beyond his control, such as
fire, flood, or State or Federal Government orders or actions, or stoppages
for a full day resulting from a breakdown of equipment.

Guaranteed Annual Wage
Plans for guaranteeing income or employment on an annual basis are
rare in any industry. For the past few years, the packinghouse unions in
their negotiations with the big packers have sought to extend the weekly
guarantee to an annual wage plan. At present, Hormel is the only meat pack­
ing company known to have an annual guarantee. The Tobin Co. adopted such
a plan in 19^6. When its agreement was renewed in 19^9> the plan was dropped
at the request of the workers and a weekly guarantee substituted.
The Hormel guaranteed annual wage plan was first introduced into
one department of its main Austin, Minn, plant as early as 1931. The plan
was gradually extended, until by July 1933> it included the entire plant.
In 1938, the plan was incorporated into an agreement with the CIO's Packing­
house Workers Organizing Committee and was made subject to collective bar­
gaining and grievance procedure.
Each worker covered under the plan is guaranteed 52 pay checks a
year, each at least equal to regular full-time pay, whether or not full-time
work is available. In actual practice, full-time scheduled hours vary by
department, from 3 ^ to IfO, but most workers have a 38 -hour scheduled workweek.



16

To compensate for veeks in which the number of hours worked fall
"below the regular schedule, the employee works overtime when necessary, on
a straight-time "basis, except that workers in operating departments receive
additional half-pay for hours worked in excess of 53 in any workweek. Fur­
thermore , in any week in which a worker j c employed more than 10 hours in a
f
single day, he is paid extra half-time f#* all hours worked that week in
excess of k8 .
Workers receive a year-end payment for hours actually worked in
excess of the number guaranteed for the whole year. If, however, by a sti­
pulated date, the worker is indebted to the company for hours not worked,
the "debt" is wiped off the books.
The annual wage guarantee is linked to a work-budget incentive
system and to a joint earnings (profit-sharing) plan.
Under the work-budget system, the company annually estimates, where
possible, the total output expected for each gang and department. This is
then translated into the number of man-hours required to meet the estimated
production. If, in any week, actual production exceeds the work or output
schedule— that is, when "production hours" exceed the "actual clock hours
worked"— the gang or department receives a bonus or "gains”. For example,
if an employee produces the equivalent of 30 production hours in 20 hours
of actual work, he receives 10 extra hours’ pay in addition to his regular
weekly pay.
The profit-sharing plan, in existence since 1938, though referred
to in the agreement, is explicitly not subject to collective bargaining.
Profits, after wages and all other expenses are deducted, are divided between
the employees and the company on a sliding percentage basis. 27/ The employees’
share is split among the individual workers in proportion to their basic
hourly rate. All plant and office employees, except salesmen, regularly em­
ployed for 1 year are eligible to participate.

Paid Vacations
With relatively few exceptions, workers under the agreements included
in this survey can look forward to 3 weeks’ vacation with pay, generally after
15 years’ service (table k). Prior to 19^9, 20 years’ service (15 for women)
was commonly required for 3 weeks' vacation. Employees are generally (80 per­
cent of those in the study) not permitted to continue on their jobs during
their vacation psMod.
Vacations earned prior to a call for military service are granted
to employees in 10 out of the 50 agreements.

2j/ Jack Chernick, Economic Effects of Steady Employment and Earnings,
The University of Minnesota Press, 19^2 (p. 12).



17

Table 4.— Graduated paid vacation plans and service requirements
in the meat-packing industry 1/

Vacation period and
service requirement

JNumter
of
agreements

Number
of
workers

All agreements studied ............

50

104,300

2 weeksf vacation .............
5 years1 service
5 years' service

10
2
8

2/

6,900
200
6,700

39
1
33
5

3/ 96,700
1,700
4 / 93,600
1,400
1 /

3 weeks' vacation
10“years r service
15 years ’ service ..... .
20 years' service

2/
3/
4/
V

4 weeks' vacation
20 yearsf service ..... .........

6/

1
1

6/

700
700

1/ All workers are entitled to 1 week's vacation after 1 year's
service#
2/ One agreement, with 1,800 workers, provides for a vacation
period, on a prorated basis, after 1 year's service until the maxi­
mum of 2 weeks is reached#
3/ Except for two agreements which provide for 2 weeks' vaca­
tion after 3 years' service and one after 4 years, all of these
agreements provide for 2 weeks’ vacation after 5 years' service#
4/ One agreement covering a small number of workers prorates
vacations on a monthly basis up to 1 year's service, and on a
yearly basis up to 5 years' service (2 weeks' vacation)*
5/ Two agreements, covering 1,300 workers, stipulate that fe­
male employees are eligible for 3 weeks’ vacation after 15 years’
service.
6/ Two weeks' vacation is granted after 5 years' service; 3,
after 10 years' service.

The Selective Service Act provides that if the agreement or em­
ployer practice bases vacation credits solely on specified lengths of serv­
ice, ex-servicemen are entitled to full seniority credit for time spent
in service# 28/ A few agreements in the study specifically provide for
accumulation of such vacation credits during the worker1s absence while in
military service#

Holidays

19^6#

Most packinghouse workers have received eight paid holidays since
Workers in most other industries customarily receive six (table 5)« 29 /

28/ U. S. Department of Labor> Bureau of Veterans* Employment Eights,
Veterans* Beemployment Eights Question and Answer Handbook, October 1950
( " ^9 ) .
p.
29 / U. S. Department of Labor, "Holiday Provisions in Union Agreements,
1 9 3 0 , n M o n t h l y labor Reviev, January 1951 (p. 2 5 ).



18

Table 5.— Number of paid holidays in the meat-packing industry
Number
of
agreements

Number
of
workers

s tud l e d .... ..........

50

104,300

Total with paid holidays .............

49

103,600

Number of paid holidays
AT 1 ag’
reements

Number of holidays:
8 .............................
7 .............................
6 ............................. ........
2 ....................... ......
Total with no paid holidays ..........

1/

3/

40
4
4
1

4/

1

1 /

1/101,400
500
1,700
(3/)

V

4/

700

1/ Two agreements, with 2,300 employees, also provide for 3
unpaid holidays. Under terms of 2 other agreements, representing
500 workers, employees are given time off with pay on 6 holidays.
On Washington's Birthday and Armistice Day, the holiday is not
observed bnt the workers receive 8 hours' pay in addition to their
regular pay for work on these 2 days.
2/ One of these agreements, with fewer than 100 employees,
also grants an unspecified number of unpaid legal, National or
State holidays.
3/ This agreement with fewer than 100 workers also provides
for” 6 unpaid holidays.
4/ This agreement, however, provides for 8 unpaid holidays.

The eight holidays most comnonly recognized are: New Year’s Day,
Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, Armistice Day,
Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
Paid holidays on which no work is performed are not counted in
totaling hours worked for the purpose of computing weekly overtime for about
80 percent of the workers.
To receive holiday pay, almost all the workers must meet some work
requirement. Generally, they must have worked on the scheduled workday
immediately preceding and following a holiday.
Almost three out of four workers forfeit holiday pay if they fail
to report for work on a holiday when requested to do so.
The standard compensation for work done on a paid holiday is double
time for hours worked plus the 8 hours’ holiday pay, i.e., three times the
regular rate for a full day’s work (table 6). The clause generally provides
that double the regular rate of pay, in addition to payment of straight time
for the holiday is to be paid for holiday work. Most of the earlier contracts
provided for double time pay, which included the premium payment for the
holiday.
Buies are frequently prescribed concerning holidays falling on
nonworking days, during absences while ill, or on vacation. Holidays falling
on Sunday are usually observed on Monday. Employees covered by half of the
agreements, including the "Big Three", are paid for holidays occurring during



19.

sick leave, but they usually receive only the difference between their re­
gular pay and the compensation due under their sick and accident benefit
plans. Virtually all employees receive payment for holidays falling within
their vacation period. Most of them get an extra day’s pay, and a few
agreements, in addition grant employees an extra day off.

Table 6.— Total hourly rates of pay for work on paid holidays in
the meat-packing industry
Number
of
agreements

Rate of pay
All agreements studied

.........

Agreements providing for paid holidays .
Double time
..........
Double time and one half
Triple time (double time for hours
worked plus 8 hours* holiday pay),.
Not indicated ....................

1/

Humber
of
workers

50

1/ 104,300

49

103*600

2
2

3,400

43
2

100
99,900

200

l/ One of these agreements, representing 700 workers, provides
for”unpaid holidays.

Paid Sick leave
Most of the workers (85 percent) are covered by paid sick leave
plans which were first incorporated in agreements in 19^6. Benefits are
payable in case of illness or noncompensable accidents, except, commonly,
when due to the employee's negligence or misconduct.
The amount of leave with pay is, with one exception, based on
length of service. It is usual practice in the industry for workers to
receive 2 weeks* leave at half pay for each year of accumulated or continuous
service with the company. The following provision is typical:
"Amount of payment - One-half wages computed on the
basis of a forty hour workweek or, in the case of employees
who have a basic workweek either greater or less than forty
(^0 ) hours, one-half wages computed on the basis of such
basic workweek. For absences of less than a full workweek,
daily payments will be based on one-sixth of said one-half
wages computed as aforesaid,
"Extent of payments - Two weeks at one-half wages for
each year of accumulated service or of continuous service,
whichever is the more favorable to the employee, for any one
absence reduced by the payment made for other absences dur­
ing the twelve months immediately preceding the onset of the
current absence."
(Swift and Co. - NBIW (IND.) Master Agreement)
992836 0 —52----4



20.

A small number of workers receive full pay for specified periods of
sick leave, ranging from 7 days a year in one agreement to 7 weeks in the
three Hormel plants.
Only one agreement contains a uniform plan under which all eligible
employees are granted 5 days’ sick leave with.full pay, annually, regardless
of length of service.
In about half the contracts, the company pays only the difference,
if any, between the compensation payment and the sick leave pay when the
disability is compensable under Federal or State Law.
Service Requirements and Other Regulations
In almost every case, an employee becomes eligible for sick leave
pay after 1 year’s service. A worker with 5 years’ service (10 years in a
few cases) generally receives sick pay from the first day of absence, and one
with shorter service after 1 week’s waiting period.
Some, or all, of earned paid vacation time may be used as sick
leave if the employee so desires, under the terms of more than a third of
these agreements.
Medical evidence of illness is required in almost all the agreements
in the form of a certificate from the employee’s or the company's doctor.
Should the certificate of the worker's doctor be unacceptable to the company
doctor, a few agreements call for a final determination by a third doctor.

Dismissal Pay
Dismissal pay for workers permanently laid off because of the
closing of a department or a unit of the business was incorporated in agree­
ments in the meat-packing industry for the first time in 19 ^9 ♦ Workers of
the "Big Three" and a few other companies — three-fourths of the workers in
the study — are now eligible for such pay.
In all cases, the worker Is entitled to 1 week's pay after 1 year's
service; an additional half week’s pay for every year of service thereafter,
up to and including 6 years; and 1 week extra for every additional year up to
arid including 10 years of continuous service. Thereafter, 1? weeks’ pay is
added for each year of continuous service. The employee, if qualified, also
receives vacation pay for the current year in which he is separated.
Payment is made in a lump sum when the worker is entitled to b
weeks’ pay or less. Payments for longer periods are made in weekly install­
ments of full wages, unless the employee prefers to receive larger payments
over a shorter period or requests a lump-sum payment.

Fringe Benefits
Conditions peculiar to the meat-packing industry require workers in
many occupations to change into work clothes on the premises. Federal sanitary
regulations provide, among other things, that these clothes be of readily clean


21.

able material and be clean at all times. In addition, the nature of the
work also requires the use and maintenance of special hand tools, such as
knives and cleavers.
Pay for time spent in changing clothes and maintaining work tools,
and the furnishing of special clothing or of needed hand tools or payment
therefor became a major subject of controversy between the unions and the
packers during World War II. In I9M and 19^5> the National War Labor Board
directed the "Big Four” packers to furnish and maintain necessary tools,
furnish special outer working garments, and to pay for necessary time spent
in changing clothes on the premises. The Board further directed the unions
and the companies to bargain on the actual amount of time to be allowed for
clothe8-changing. Agreement was reached under which workers ware granted
12 minutes daily.
Clothes-Changing Time
Time for changing into and out of work clothes on the premises
is granted to 9 out of every 10 workers in the study. Virtually every
worker is allowed 12 minutes daily. Hormel employees receive a lump sum
weekly monetary allowance of $ 1.50 in lieu of payment for clothes-changing
time and the furnishing of clothes.
In two additional agreements, compensation for clothes-changing
time is expressly included in the wage rates, but the amounts are not
specified. 30 /
Preparation and Repair of Tools
Virtually all workers are paid for time spent in preparing,
sharpening, and repairing tools. The majority of the agreements (including
the "Big Three?) do not, however, Indicate the length of time devoted to
such activity. In a few cases, where the time allowance is specified, it
ranges from 30 minutes weekly to 20 minutes daily. In a few additional
cases, workers receive a weekly lump stun ranging from 25 to 75 cents .
The preparation and repair of tools is assigned to special people
in a few instances to relieve the body of workers from such tasks.
Best Periods
To break the monotony and fatigue of repetitive, continuous opera­
tions, agreements covering nine-tenths of the workers grant rest or relief
periods. In some scattered instances, the rest period applies only to
special groups (cattle killers and boners), or is observed only after the
plant has processed a certain quota, or only after a specified number of
overtime hours.

30/ Compensation for time spent in preparation and repair of tools and
for furnishing outer work clothes is also included in the wage rate.



22

The rest period specified in agreements applicable to If percent of
O
the workers is most commonly 10 minutes for each half shift. Some agreements,
however, provide for only 5 minutes, others for 20 minutes for each half shift.
Workers at Armour are allowed 2 periods of 10 minutes each. (The length of
the rest period is not specified in the Swift and Cudahy agreements.)
Meals and Meal Time
Most employees (80 percent of those in the study) who work more
than 5 consecutive hours without a break for meals receive a penalty premium
of time and a half their regular rate of pay until relieved. In a few cases
it is paid after
hours’ work.
The employer is also commonly required to furnish a meal and to
allow time with pay for eating it to employees required to work beyond their
normal supper hour. The practice is almost equally divided in terms of workers
covered between two types of agreements, one requiring a minimum of 5 conse­
cutive hours’ work after the first meal period, and the other 10 to 10|r hours’
work in any one day before a worker is entitled to such benefits. The length
of this special meal period is generally set at 20 minutes, though a few
small companies allow 30 minutes.
Instead of providing a meal period with pay, one agreement provides
for double the regular rate for all hours worked in excess of 5 hours after
the first meal period. (The regular overtime rate for work in excess of 8
hours daily is time and a half.)
These meal and meal time provisions are generally not applicable
to employees on continuous operations who eat lunch on company time, or
when 5"! hours completes the day’s work, or in case of a mechanical breakdown.
Equipment and Monetary Allowance
Tools, Equipment, and Safety Devices
Most of the workers who are paid a time allowance for clotheschanging are also furnished with necessary tools, equipment, and safety
devices. The "Big Three" packers and most of the other companies supply such
equipment without cost to the workers.
"The Company will furnish those knives, steels, whetstones,
and meat hooks which are necessary for the work. The Company
will continue its present practice in reference to furnishing
all other tools.
"The Company will continue its present practice in re­
ference to the furnishing of safety equipment and, in addi­
tion, will furnish to employees where necessary and required
for the particular job they are on, mesh gloves, wrist guards,
knife guards, leather aprons, hook pouches, knife pouches,
knife boxes, needle pouches, helmets and goggles. All of the
equipment referred to in this-and the preceding paragraphs of
this Article is and is to remain the property of the Company



23

and the Company is privileged to adopt such rules as are
necessary to prevent loss or destruction of its property
including hut not limited to the right to charge em­
ployees for any of the property herein mentioned which
is lost or stolen."
(John Morrell and Co., Iowa and Kansas - U W A (CIO)
In a few scattered agreements, the company grants a combined mone­
tary allowance to cover the cost of tools and equipment as well as work
clothes.
Outer Work Garments
Virtually all regular workers receive a monetary allowance for,
or are furnished with, some outer work garments.
"Each employee shall be given an allowance of 50
cents per week for furnishing work clothes. This shall
be paid to each full time employee who qualifies for the
4-hour guarantee in any day of the workweek or who after
reporting for work is excused because of illness or in­
jury. Newly hired employees will be paid 8 cents per
day for each day worked as a clothes allowance during
the first week of their employment. The provisions of
this paragraph shall not apply to part-time employees
or casual workers."
(Armour and Co. - AMCEW (AFL) Master Agreement)
laundry
Provisions for the laundering of outer work clothes were found in
about two out of every five agreements, including the AMCBW-Armour and the
AMCBW and UPWA-3wift agreements, covering a similar proportion of the workers
in the study. Most of the companies launder the garments at no cost to the
worker. A few grant a monetary laundry allowance.
Other Benefits
Workers at Armour, Cudahy and two other companies are compensated
for time spent in visits to the conpany doctor on order or permission of a
company official. A few other agreements provide that an employee injured
during the workday is to be paid for the entire day if he must leave before
the end of the day. Workers employed by Armour and one other company receive
pay for any downtime caused by delays due to mechanical breakdown, waiting
for material, etc. Armour employees are also paid for delays involving an
accumulated total of 15 minutes daily.




UNION AND MANAGEMENT RIGHTS AND FUNCTIONS
Union Rights
Union Security and Check-Off
A large majority of the workers In the study are covered "by agree­
ments which simply provide for the minimum statutory requirements of the
Labor Management Relations Act, 19^7, with respect to union security (table 7 ).
These agreements (the "Big Three” and a few independent packers) provide that
the union is to be recognized as the sole collective bargaining agent for
all workers in the bargaining unit, whether members of the union or not. The
"Big Three" agreements are strengthened by irrevocable check-off clauses.
Virtually all of the other sole bargaining agreements call for some type of
check-off but do not indicate whether revocable or not.

Table 7.— Types of union security and cheok-off provisions
in the neat-packing industry

Type of provision

tkion security
Number
Number
of
of
agree­
workers
ments

---- CTieck-off
Number
Number
of
of
agree­
workers
ments

All agreements studied ••«•

50

104.300

37

91*600

Union shop
Maintenance of member*
ship ....................
Sole bargaining ..........

31

25,800

19

13,200

1,200
5
1/ 77,300 1/ 13

1/ 77,200

1/

5
1/ 14

1,200

Includes the 6 "Big Three" agreements with 68,700 workers.

During World War II, agreements with the "Big Three" companies
carried maintenance of membership clauses. Under this type of union security,
employees need not Join the union as a condition of employment, but those who
are members when the agreement is signed and those who Join subsequently must
maintain membership for the life of the agreement. When the 19^8 agreements
were negotiated, following passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, the maintenance
of membership clauses were dropped and sole bargaining and irrevocable check­
off clauses were substituted.
Although union shop provisions are found in the majority of agree­
ments surveyed, only one out of four workers is covered. They are more
conmon in agreements with medium- and small-size firms and in those nego­
tiated by the AMCBW (AFL). (All agreements negotiated with employers'
associations and other multi-employer groups fall within this group.)
Under a union shop clause, a worker need not be a union member
when hired, but must Join within a specified period, generally 30 days, and
remain in good standing during the life of the agreement. A few of the union



25.

shop agreements give preference in hiring to -union members, and several
others, to workers formerly employed by the company or in the industry.
A number of agreements make the union shop conditional upon the winning
of an authorization election under the Taft-Hartley Act.
"All enployees in the bargaining unit, who have
been in the enploy of the Company for at least 30 days,
must remain members of the Union in good standing as
a condition of continued employment for the duration
of this Agreement.
"Any new employees hired, who are not members of
the Union, must become members not later than thirty
(3 0 ) days from their date of employment and remain in
good standing, as a condition of employment, for the
duration of this Agreement.
"The Company agrees in the hiring of employees in
the classifications covered by this Agreement, to give
preference to applicants who have previously been in
the employ of this Company, and were not discharged
for cause, and applicants previously employed in the
meat industry who can qualify for the Job open.”
(Albert F. Goetze, Inc., Baltimore, Md. - AMCBW (AFL)
Only a few agreements, covering small companies, contain main­
tenance of membership clauses. One of these agreements, negotiated by the
UIWA, also stipulates that all employees, whether members of the union or
not, are required to pay union dues during the life of the agreement.
Provisions for the check-off of union dues are incorporated in
three out of every four agreements, covering almost 90 percent of the
workers.
The check-off applies to dues alone in 6 agreements; to dues and
initiation fees in 22 (including all but 1 of the 6 "Big Three" master con­
tracts); to dues, initiation fees and assessments in 8 ; and to dues, assess­
ments and fines in 1 agreement.
Written employee authorization is required in almost all of the
check-off clauses, in accordance with the labor Management Relations Act.
A total of 12 agreements, including the "Big Three" stipulate that the
deduction is irrevocable and only 2 , covering very small companies, specif­
ically permit revocation of check-off authorization at any time. Those
with irrevocable check-off generally follow the requirements of the Labor
Management Relations Act by allowing revocation after 1 year if the duration
of the agreement is for a longer period. Most of the master agreements
(all of which are 1 -year agreements), and a few others, contain specific
escape periods at the end of the year (or contract term) during which the
employee may withdraw his authorization.




26

"I hereby authorize and direct my employer, ________
______________ to deduct from the first pay payable to me
each month, the regular monthly union dues for the pre­
ceding month of the United Packinghouse Workers of America,
C.I.O., and the initiation fee of said Union, if due and
owing, and to remit same to the Financial Secretary of the
local union.
’This authorization shall take effect as of the date
’
hereof or as of August 11, 19^8, whichever is later, and
shall continue in effect until August 11, 19^9> or until
the termination of the Master Agreement between Swift and
Company and the Union dated July 22, 19k8, whichever
occurs first.
"The above authorization shall continue in effect
after the expiration of the shorter of the periods above
specified, for further successive periods of one year
from such date, provided there is then in effect a collec­
tive bargaining agreement between my employer and the
union providing for the deduction of union dues and ini­
tiation fees as aforesaid. If permitted under federal
law, this authorization may not be revoked by me prior to
August 11, 19^9> or during any of such successive oneyear periods, except that I may cancel and revoke this
authorization by giving written notice to my employer not
more than thirty (3 0 ) days and not less than ten (10 ) days
prior to August 11, 19^9, o r the termination of said
Master Agreement, whichever occurs first, or prior to the
expiration of any such yearly period or prior to the ex­
piration of any such collective bargaining agreement,
whichever occurs first. In the event of revocation by
me as aforesaid, I shall send a copy of my revocation
notice to the local union.
Date
Signature
(Swift and Co. - TJFWA (CIO) Master Agreement)
Other Union Rights and Privileges
The union is allowed to post notices on bulletin boards in the
"Big Three" packing plants and in more than a third of the others. A few
agreements limit material to specified subjects, and some explicitly ex­
clude material of a controversial or political character.
Union officials are permitted to visit the plant during working
hours, usually for the specific purpose of handling grievances in about a
third of the agreements, chiefly AMCBW. Advance notice of visits, applica­
tion to the company office, or presentation of official credentials are
sometimes stipulated.




27

"The business agent or other representatives
of the Union shall have the right to enter any of the
work rooms of the Employer during working hours for
the purpose of investigation or for the purpose of
discussion with the Employer, his employees or any
other persons, any complaint or grievance. Reasonable
notice to the Employer shall precede such visit or
entry.”
(Stahl - Meyer, Inc., N. Y., N. Y. - AMCBW (AFL)

Management Prerogatives
Certain rights of management are enumerated in about two out of
every three agreements studied, including the AMCBW and UIWA master agree­
ments, and virtually all of the others negotiated by the UIWA, Typically,
these agreements include a brief statement reserving to management the
right to hire, transfer, suspend, or discharge for proper cause, to estab­
lish and enforce standards of production and job loads, and to determine
methods of production. The stipulation that these rights must be exercised
in accordance with other terms of the agreement, and that they shall not be
used in a discriminatory manner, is sometimes added.
Discharge
The usual grounds for discharge of a worker are incompetence,
failure to follow instructions, intoxication while on the job, dishonesty,
persistent tardiness, or absence. A worker may, in a majority of cases
where discharge is mentioned, appeal his case if he feels it is unjust.
In every instance, such grievances are handled, through the regular griev­
ance procedure.
Workers found to be unjustly discharged are guaranteed reinstate­
ment with back pay for time lost in almost half the agreements in the study

JOB SECURITY
Seniority and Its Application
Packinghouse workers are almost invariably laid-off, rehired, or
promoted primarily on the basis of their length of service (or seniority).
Although other qualifications such as ability, training, experience, physi­
cal fitness and requirements of the job are also considered, length of
service is generally the determining factor.
Seniority lists which show the relative seniority standing of
all employees are expressly called for in more than half of the agreements
in the study. In several, male and female workers are to be listed
separately.




28

P o stin g o f s e n io r ity l i s t s i s req u ired p r im a r ily in p la n ts o f the
"B ig T h re e ." In most o f the o th e r s , th ey a re to he made a v a ila b le to union
o f f i c i a l s , upon re q u e s t.
L a y -o ff
Workers in the common la b o r group are most fr e q u e n tly s u b je c t to
l a y - o f f vhen th ere i s a d e c lin e in s la u g h te r in g or v o r k i s slow fo r o th er
re a so n s. 31/ The more s k i l l e d employees in the p la n t are cu sto m arily r e ta in e d .
The r o le o f s e n io r it y in determ ining l a y - o f f s i s c l e a r l y s p e c ifie d
in most o f the agreem ents (ta b le 8 ).

Table 8«— Qualifications determining lay-off in the
meat-packing industry

Total
Qualifications

"Big Three*

Number
Number
of
of
agreements workers

Number
of
agreements

Number
of
workers

Total ......................

50

104,300

6

68,700

Length of service only 1/ ..•
Length of service given""
primary emphasis but other
factors considered ,,.....
Length of service if other
factors are relatively
e q u a l ....................
Weight of faotors uncertain..
No reference to lay-off .....

21

59,800

4

40,300

13

32,500

2

28,400

7
4
5

4,400
800
6,800

—

-

—

•*

1/ Includes some agreements providing for both departmental and plant
seniority under whioh, while reduction in force within department is based
solely on departmental length of service, workers in exercising plant
seniority for other than unskilled jobs must be qualified to perform such
jobs.

Although length of service alone is a primary consideration in most
cases, a worker*s retention is also determined by his seniority unit. The
applicability of seniority for more than half of the workers in the study is
restricted to the department in which they are employed (table 9) • A large
number of workers, however, (including all of the Swift workers), are con­
sidered first within their respective departmental units. Those with least
departmental service may then exercise their plant seniority and replace
other workers with less plant service. 32/ However, "bumping", on a plantwide basis, of workers with 1 or more years* service is prohibited by two of
these agreements.

31/ Beport and Recommendations of the Fact-Finding Board in the Meat*
Packing 'industry Case, February 1 , 19^6 (p. 9)«
32 / Plant seniority is attained after 2 years* service in the Swift-UWA
agreement; 1 year in the Swift-AMCBW and KBPW, and 2 other agreements; and 6

months
http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/ in still another agreement.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

29

Table 9.— Seniority unit applicable in lay-off in the
neat-paoking industry

Unit

Total ...............................
Plant o n l y ......... *........... .
Department only .....................
Department and plant »»....... .
Department and job classification *•.
Unit not indicated..... .
No reference to lay-off .............

Total
Number
Number
of
of
agree­
workers
ments
50

7
3

6
5

68«700

3
3

4,600
55,800
34,000
700
2,400
6,800

20

Number
of
workers

6

104,300

9

"Big Three*
dumber
of
agree­
ments

—

37,400
31,300
—

—

—

—

—

Rehire
To "be rehired, the majority of the workers in the study, in
addition to seniority, must qualify for the available Job or must possess
ability to learn the requirements within a reasonable time. A lesser
number are rehired merely on the basis of their tenure. Half of the
workers in the study are rehired according to departmental seniority only,
a lesser number by department and plant.
Promotion
With few exceptions, a worker must meet certain qualifications
in addition to length of service to be considered for promotion. Most
frequently, an employee with higher seniority status is promoted only if
he is able to perform the Job or learn it within a reasonable length of
time. All of the "Big Three" follow this procedure (table 10).
Table 10.— Qualifications determining pronotions
in the neat-packing industry

Total

■Big Three"

Qualifications

Number
of
agree­
ments

Number
of
workers

Total ..............................

50

104,300

6

7

5,000

-

22

83,000

6

8
6

7,900
2,400

-

—

—

mm

Length of servioe only .............
Length of service given primary em­
phasis but other factors considered
Length of service if other factors
are relatively e q u a l ....... .
Weight of factors uncertain ........
No reference to promotion




7

6,000

Number
of
agree­
ments

Number
of
workers
68*700

68,700

—

30

Promotional opportunities are most frequently confined to the
immediate department in which the vacancy exists. Such provisions cover h
out of every 5 workers in the study, including those of the "Big Three"
(table 11).

Tfcbl. 11.— Seniority unit applicable in promotions in
the meat-packing industry

Total

“Big Three"

Number
of
agree­
ments

Number
of
workers

T o t a l ................ ...............

50

104,300

Plant o n l y ................ *.........
Department only ......................
Department, then p l a n t .......... ....
Department and plant ♦......... ......
Department and classification .......
Unit not indicated «•.........
No reference to promotion ...........

6
21

4,700
83,900
1.000

Unit

1/

3
(1/)

2
10
7

11/
)
300

8,400
6,000

Number
of
agree­
ments
6

Number
of
workers
68,700

_
6

63,700

-

-

—
—
—

—

—

Fewer than 100 employees.

Preferential Seniority Eights
To avoid disruption among a union’s chief representatives in a
plant, especially during a reduction in force, unions try to obtain top
seniority for shop o r plant stewards. Eight agreements (with one exception
AMCBW), covering a small proportion of the workers in the study, carry such
a provision.
Effect of Transfers on Seniority
Seniority rights of the majority of employees are protected when
they transfer from one department to another. In most cases, a worker may
retain seniority in his original department for a maximum of 90 days, while
assigned to a new task. Employees covered by the Swift - AMCBW and NBIV
agreements retain seniority rights in the original department until the
transfer is made permanent. After a stipulated waiting period, the trans­
ferred worker usually attains seniority in the new department, retroactive
as of the date of transfer.




"If at any time before the expiration of the sixty
(60 ) day period employees decide to return to their
original department, they shall be permitted to do so.
Otherwise, employees' seniority date commences from the
day they began in the department to which they shall
have been transferred."
(E. Kahn's Sons Packing Co., Cincinnati, Ohio - AMCBW (AFL).

31
The two Armour and the Swift-UTWA agreements and four others pro­
tect the seniority rights of an employee transferring to a newly created
department by permitting him, in case of lay-offs in, or abolition of, that
department, to return to his former department with all of his accumulated
seniority.
"An employee transferred to a new department
created by the Company, will upon the closing of the
department, or in the event of lay-off in the new de­
partment because of lack of work, have the right to
return to the department from which he was transferred
(providing such employee relinquishes all seniority
rights in the new department) and shall retain the
seniority rights which he would have had, had he re­
mained in his original department."
(Armour and Co. - AMCBW (AFL) Master Agreement)

Leave of Absence and Seniority Eights
Leave of absence, without pay but with seniority safe-guards, for
union business, illness, maternity, civic duty, school attendance by
veterans, or for other "good and sufficient" reason, is granted in 39 of
the 50 agreements in the study (table 32).
Seniority is cumulative in six agreements for employees who are
on leave to fulfill a public office, on sick leave, or for veterans while
attending school. The other agreements merely state that leave is to be
granted "without loss" of seniority, or fail to note the effect of leave
on seniority.

Military Service
Although reemployment rights of employees returning from military
service are protected by the Selective Service Act, more than half of the
agreements contain military service clauses. The majority merely state
that the rights are to be in accordance with the Act. Under the Act, an
employee called for military duty in the Armed Forces accumulates seniority
during his period of service.

Restriction on Production Work by Foremen
Nonworking foremen are prohibited from performing work customarily
done by production workers in lk agreements accounting for two-fifths of the
workers, including the 2 Armour and the Swift-AMCBW. In two agreements,
with relatively few workers, the restrictions are presumably absolute. In
the others, work is permitted during an emergency or for purposes of instruc­
tion, and in some instances, where a gang is incomplete. The Swift agreement
also permits such work if the gang does not justify a full-time supervisor.




Table 12*— Leave of absence provisions in the neat-packing industry 1/

Type of leave

Item

Illness
Dhion business
VUIOJT
ruoiiu
Slot
Short Urm
Iftiion
Maternity
reasons
office
leave
leave
office
leave
Number
number
Humber
Humber
Number
Humber
Humber
Number
Humber
Humber
Humber
Number
of
of
of
of
of
ef
of
of
of
of
of
of
agree­
agree­
agreeagree­
agree­
agree­
workers
workers ments
workers ments
workers ments
workers ments
workers ments
ments

Total with provision ......
Duration of leave:
1 month or less ........
2 months ................
3 months ##••••••.......
6 m o n t h s ...............
1 y e a r .................
Life of a g r e e m e n t .....
Duration not indicated# •
Effect on seniority:
Retained or without
loss ..................
Cumulative ..............
Hot indicated ..........

28

80,200

29

91,900

2/11

££2,000
—
200
—

—
—
—
—
4
16
9

—
—
3,400
78,400
10,100

28
—
1

91,800
100

—

—
1
—
—
—
16

12
16

—

—
18,000

18,300
61,900

12

6

—
—

34,100

—

—

1
3
—
8

—
1,700
4,800
—
27,600

—
2
4
—
—

11
1
—

34,000
100
—

4
—
2

-

30#400

2,000
28,400

mm

—

mm

26

15,500

—
—
—
200
30,200
—
—

6

—
—
6

—
—
—
15,500

1
4
1

200
6,300
9,000

3/

V

5/

89,900

1
3
15
1
—
—
6

800
3/ 3,200
3/74,500
*
“
700

7
1
18

4,300
5/ 1,000
~ 84,600

mm

—
10,700

l/ Based on a study of 50 agreements covering 104,300 workers*
T?/ Two agreements with fewer than 1,300 workers grant less than 1 month#
]f/ These agreements grant a maximum of 2 months* leave after 15 years* service; a minimum of 2 weeks9 leave is granted
to employees with less than 5 years9 service#
4/ All except 1 agreement grant the maximum 3 months9 leave after 15 years9 service; minimum of 2 weeks is granted
employees with less than 5 years* service# One of the agreements also grants leave to veterans to attend school; the dura­
tion of such leave is not indicated#
5/ Applicable only for school attendance by veterans# The effect of leave for other reasons on seniority is not
indicated#




33

"Employees excluded from the bargaining unit,
whether they are exempt from or subject to the
Fair Labor Standards Act, will not be used on work
of a nature performed by employees in the bargain­
ing unit except as follows:
"For the purpose of breaking in new men and
instructing workmen;
"For the purpose of taking an operator's
place temporarily who did not show up for work
or who had to be relieved due to injury or sick­
ness or who, for other reasons, is temporarily
absent from the Job;
"In gangs which are not
to Justify the full-time use
other management enployee in
managerial capacity."
(Swift and Co. - AMCBW (AFL)

sufficiently large
of a supervisor or
his supervisory or
Master Agreement)

HOURS. WAGES. AND WORKING CONDITIONS
Hours of Work
The standard work schedule, where specified, is always 8 hours
daily and hO hours weekly.
Workers in the industry were employed more than 1 0 hours weekly,
*
on the average, from 1939 through 19^9 (table 13). In 19^1 they dropped
slightly. From 19^2 to 19^, when production reached an all-time high,
hours worked rose sharply to 1*9.5* From 1 9 ^ on, they decreased steadily
until 19^9. Since then they have remained fairly stationary. (In August
1951 the average was 1*1.5 hours.)




Ifcble 13.— -Average weekly hours ana average hourly earnings
for production workers in the meat-packing
industry, 1939-50
Average

Tear

weekly
hours

1939

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1940
1941

................... .

1942

. a ......... w e , * . . * * ...... .

....................

......................
.............. .................... .
..............

1943 ......... . . . . . . ....................
1944 ....... . . e a s e . ....................
1945 .....................................................
1946 ............................. ........... .................
1947

* .............. ..................

1948
1949
1950

........... ...............................................

1/

.............. .

.............. ...........................................

........................................... .

Average earnings include overtime pay.

40*6
40.2
39.6
40*9
46.5
49.5
47*5
42.6
44.5
43.4
41.5
41.6

Average
hourly
earnings 1/
$0.69
.69

-74
.81
.87
.92
.94

1.07
1.25
1.36
1.40
1
X # 46

34.
Wage Provisions
The complexity of processing meat into thousands of separate pro­
ducts, combined with great specialization of labor, particularly in large
integrated plants, has resulted in an enormous multiplication of separate
tasks. A large plant may have 1,000 or more individual classifications.
One of the major companies reported close to 100,000 separately established
work standards. As a result, the wage structure in the industry is intri­
cate, matched by few, if any, other industries.
To remedy the complicated wage situation, a Meat Packing Com­
mission was established by the National War Labor Board on March 31, 194-5,
near the end of World War II. As one of its objectives it undertook to
supervise and assist in the adjustment of interplant and intraplant wage
relationships in plants covered by master agreements of the five major
packers which establish the pattern for the industry. The NWLB found that
the internal wage relationships had never been bargained out by the five
companies and the three unions. 33/
Almost 100,000 job rates in nearly 100 plants were surveyed.
The Commission recommended a simplification of the big packers' wage
system into about 25 groupings of related job classifications. Instead of
intervals as low as 1/4- cent, a "labor grade" system ("brackets") provid­
ing uniformly for "concentration points" at 2 l/2-cent intervals was
adopted by the packers and the unions. The packers and the unions then
attempted to assign individual jobs to appropriate grades. Wherever there
was joint agreement, the Commission merely reviewed the decision. In the
relatively small number of cases where there was disagreement, the Com­
mission adjudicated the disputes. 14/ After the job rates were concen­
trated into the labor grades, determination as to whether some of them
should be raised to a higher grade was also made. About 35,000 jobs were
thus raised one or more grades. The most common increases for those job
rates which were raised were one or two grades, or 2 l/2 or 5 cents an
hour. H /
The Commission also tried to standardize and secure greater uni­
formity in rates for the same job in the same area. Not infrequently, the
same job carried different rates in the same department of the same plant,
in different plants of the same company in the same geographic area, and
in plants of other companies in the same area. Complete standardization
was not attempted. 36/
As a result of the review, the industry achieved the first fully
bargained rate structure in its history. Prior thereto, with few exceptions,
only the common labor rate had been negotiated through collective bargain­
ing. All other rates had been unilaterally established by the individual
companies. 2 k /

11/ U. S. Department of Labor, The National Wage Stabilization BoardT
January 1, 1946-Februarv 24.. 194.7. Ch. 18, "The Meat Packing Commission"
Xp. 205) . (Although the NWLB was dissolved at the end of 194-5, the Meat
Packing Commission did not complete its review until February 1947.)
14/ Ibid. (p. 205).
11/ Ibid. (p. 206).
16/ Ibid. (p. 208).



35.

The wage structure is further complicated by separate rates for
male and female workers for the same job classifications, by the concentra­
tion of jobs and workers at the common labor rate, and by geographical dif­
ferentials .
The appropriateness of the geographic differentials has been a
source of contention between the unions and the packers for at least a
quarter century. ,22/ Under the NRA, the packers set up four wage levels
based on the geographic location of plants — "West Coast", "Metropolitan",
"Southern", and "River". The latter was originally applicable to plants
along the Missouri River Valley. Later some of these rates overlapped
rates in metropolitan areas such as Baltimore and St. Louis. Rates for the
same jobs within the same areas, however, varied substantially.
Although variations in the industry still exist, wage differentials
between the North and the South have been narrowed, and differentials within
the same area are not as extreme. Since World War II, "River" rates have
been virtually eliminated through collective bargaining.
Method of Wage Payment
Every agreement in the study calls for payment of hourly rates.
Fifteen agreements, covering almost half the workers, in addition, provide
for payment of piece (or incentive) rates to some workers, usually those in
the killing and boning departments. Four of the latter agreements (includ­
ing Armour and Cudahy) also provide for weekly rates for specified groups,
such as butchers, splitters and floormen, shipping department employees, and
foremen.
Earnings and Wage Rates
Average hourly earnings (including overtime) for meat-packing
workers, as a whole, more than doubled between 1939 and 1950, having risen
from 69 cents to $1.4-6 an hour (table 13). By December 1950 they had reached
$1.57 an hour. The largest increases took place after the end of World War
II. No general across-the-board increases in wage rates were granted between
late 194-1 and the end of hostilities. In February 1943, the National War
Labor Board, in a case involving the "Big Four" packers, denied an increase
on the ground that the average increase in rates had already risen above
the 15 percent "Little Steel" formula. 38/ Hourly earnings did, however,
rise during this period as a result of longer working hours and fringe
benefits, such as allowances for work clothes, clothes changing time, and
time spent in preparing tools.

37/ The Termination Report of the National War Labor Board, Industrial
Disputes and Wage Stabilization in Wartime. Vol. 1, Ch. 19, "The Meat Pack­
ing Commission," by Clark Kerr, January 12, 194-2 - December 3, 194-5
(p. 1055).
25/ Ibid (p. 104.8).




36
After the war, average hourly earnings increased sharply, despite
a steady decline in weekly hours worked, principally because of general
wage increases. Unable to obtain acceptable postwar wage adjustments from
the big packers, the workers called a Nation-wide strike on January 16,
194.6. The following day, the President appointed a fact-finding board to
make recommendations for the settlement of the dispute. On February 7, the
Board recommended a wage increase of 16 cents an hour which was put into
effect by the Secretary of Agriculture who, since January 25, had been
operating the struck plants under Presidential order. Not until April did
most of the companies settle on the basis of the recommended increase. An
additional 7 1/2 cent hourly increase was granted later, effective Novem­
ber 1, 194-6.
In 194-7, most of the workers gained a 6 cent hourly raise; and
in 194.8, two increases of 9 and 4 cents, totaling 13 cents an hour. UPWA
plants at first refused the 9 cent offer effective in January and struck,
but subsequently accepted it in May. The additional 4 cent increase was
negotiated with the unions in October.
In the fall of 194-9, spreads between job rates were increased
from 2.5 to 3 cents. The actual increases ranged from half a cent an hour
in job classes one step above the base or unskilled labor grade to 15 cents
in the highest classifications.
A general wage increase of 11 cents an hour was obtained in
August 1950. The latest general wage increase of 9 cents an hour, to­
gether with an increase widening the spread between the existing labor
grades (brackets) from 3 to 3 1/2 cents was negotiated in February 1951,
subject to approval by the Wage Stabilization Board. These bracket in­
creases were estimated to average about 2.4 cents an hour. Both the com­
panies and the unions agreed that the increase in the differentials was
necessary in the interests of the more skilled workers because all except
one wage increase since 1946 had been uniform increases.
On May 18, 1951, the Board approved the 9-cent across-the-board
increase, and on June 28, approved the widening of the differential between
labor grades from 3 to 3 1/2 cents.

Equal Pay for Equal Work for Women

The equalization of rates of pay for male and female workers in
the same job classifications has been stressed by the unions in the indus­
try. Currently, about half of the workers in the study are covered by 16
agreements (including Armour and Cudahy) which contain such provisions
(table 14).




37

Table 14.— Equal pay for equal work for women in the meat­
packing industry

Equal pay for equal work

--------- K S I ---------Number of
Number of
workers
agreements

All agreements studied .............

50

104,300

Total with provision ........ .
For work normally performed
by men ................
For substantially the same
work as men .........
Same piece work rates for men
and women ..............
General principle stated; no
details

16

55,900

10

1/ 16,600

1

1,000

3

2/ 37,400

2

900

34

48,400

Total without provision

1/

2/

l/ One agreement with fewer than 100 workers provides that
the~employer, in determining rates, may consider a man’s
ability to do other types of work in addition to the parti­
cular job done by a woman. Another agreement, covering 200
workers, provides that a woman performing less than the full
and comparable operation, shall receive a rate of not less than
90 percent. A third agreement, covering about 1,800 workers,
specifies that the provision applies to certain types of jobs.
2/ Applicable to women employed on operations performed by
menT They are also guaranteed the same basic hourly rate.

The most commonly found clause follows:
"The Company and the Union agree to the principle
of equal pay for equal work. Should a woman be trans­
ferred to an operation formerly done by a man, the wo­
man shall be entitled to the rate received by the man;
provided, the job is performed in a comparable manner
and that production is comparable in quality and quan­
tity to that produced by the man."
(George Kaiser Packing Co., Kansas City, Mo. - UFWA (CIO)
The following is illustrative of a few agreements:
".... Female employees employed on piecework
operations which are also performed (either regularly
or at times) by male employees shall be paid the same
piece rate as male employees and in such case shall be
guaranteed the same basic hourly rate as male employees.”
(Armour & Co. - AMCBW (AFL) Master agreement)
With few exceptions, the agreements specifically prohibit dis­
crimination because of sex. Eleven, however, do not implement the clause by
an equal pay provision.




38.

A 194-7 study of the wage structure in meat-packing plants other
than the "Big Four" shows a wage advantage for men in each occupation in
which both men and women are employed in the same jobs. 39/
Minimum Call-In (Report) Pav
Virtually every worker who reports for work at the usual hour or
is ordered to report and finds no work available is guaranteed payment for
a minimum number of hours. Almost invariably he receives pay for 4 hours
at his regular rate.
Transfer Rates
Rate of Pav on Temporary Assignment.— The pay scale of most of
the workers is protected in case of a temporary assignment to a lower-rated
job. Four out of every five employees thus transferred continue to receive
their regular rate of pay. Some variations or qualifications are found in
a few agreements. For example, in three of the "Big Three" agreements a
worker temporarily shifted to a lower-rated job at his own request or be­
cause of a reduction in force receives the lower rate immediately. In two
of the 3 Hormel agreements with annual wage plans an employee on temporary
assignment to a lower rated job carries his regular rate for a maximum of
52 weeks, after which he receives the rate of the job to which he is
assigned.
When employees are temporarily assigned to a higher rated job,
most of them (in 27 of 32 agreements) receive the higher rate immediately
upon transfer. In other instances, the higher rate is applicable after a
day or two.
Rate of Pay on Permanent Transfer.— The majority of employees
permanently transferred to higher-rated jobs, including those of Armour,
Cudahy, and Swift, receive the higher rate immediately. In a few cases,
however, the waiting period ranges from 15 to 270 days. In the latter
case, a worker receives 4 equal increases on the 30th, 90th, 180th, and
270th day after the transfer until his wages equal the prevailing wage of
the classification to which he was transferred. Only one agreement ex­
pressly provides for a lower rate of pay upon permanent transfer to a
lower-rated job.
Rate for Aged and Handicapped Workers
Transfer of an aged, handicapped, or disabled worker to work
suitable to his physical condition is provided for in eight agreements (in­
cluding the Swift-AMCBW). In all but one case such a worker receives the
rate of pay for the job to which assigned. In the one remaining agreement,
he receives either his regular rate of pay or the rate of the new job,
whichever is higher.

39/ U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wage Struc­
ture, Meat Products (except "Big Four"). Series 2, No. 59, 1947 (p. 3).
.



39
Interim Wage Adjustments
It is possible for almost all workers in the meat-packing industry
(93 percent) to receive general wage increases before the termination of the
agreements under which they work. Thirty-nine of the 50 agreements analyzed
contain either wage reopening or automatic wage adjustment clauses (table
15). These reopenings may generally be requested once a year. 4.0/
Table 15.— Interim wage adjustments in the meat-packing industry

Number of
agreements

Provision

Number of
wo A e r s

All agreements studied ....... ...........

50

104,300

With provision for interim adjustment ••••••««

39

96,500

With permissive wage reopening •••••.*••««•
At any time or after specified date ••••
Tied to specified changes in wage
pattern of designated companies
or special areas ............... .

32
27

91,100
89,400

1/

5

1/

1,700

With automatic wage adjustment ...........
Following increases granted by
designated companies .......

4

3,200

4

3,200

Combination
Permissive plus automatic adjustment
following increases by designated
companies
.... .

3

2,200

3

2,200

11

7,800

With no provision for interim adjustment •••••
1/

Agreement also permits reopening at any time.

Premium Pay
Daily and Weekly Overtime
Commonly, time and a-half the regular rate of pay is paid to any
worker who works in excess of 8 hours daily or 4-0 hours weekly. One agree­
ment covering a small number of employees in California provides double

4.0/ The "Big Three" agreements subsequently negotiated in 1950 provide
for an additional permissive reopening once during the first year of the
agreement. This reopening is limited to adjustment of wage rates and to
subject matters not named in or covered by the agreements. The latter may
be reopened only if they involve additional costs to the company under
terms of the Swift and Cudahy agreements. The agreements of these two com­
panies also state that issues of pensions and insurance are specifically
excluded from the pemissive reopening.




40
time. In two agreements, employees are paid double the regular rate after
more than 4 hours' daily overtime. Another agreement calls for daily over­
time pay after 10 hours' work during the months of August, September,
October, and November, but weekly overtime pay starts after 40 hours.
Overtime provisions in the three agreements with annual wage plans
(Hormel) differ markedly from others in the industry. Time and a half is
paid for work in excess of 10 hours daily or 53 hours weekly in one plant.
In the other two plants including the main plant, overtime starts after 12
hours' work in any one day or 56 hours in a week. Employees in regular
operating departments are, nevertheless, paid time and a half for hours in
excess of 53 hours in any one week, or after 48 hours in any one week in
which they are required to work more than 10 hours in any one day.
Week End Work
Premium pay for Saturday work is not common in the meat-packing
industry. Fifteen agreements (less than a third of the study), covering
about 10 percent of the workers, require payment of premium rates for work
on Saturday, and in two of these the premium is paid only for work on Satur­
day afternoon (table 16). Time and a half is the prevailing rate of pay in
Table 16•— Premium pay provisions for work on Saturday, Sunday, sixth
and seventh day in the meat packing industry 1/

•Togr
Day of workweek

Saturday **.....
Sunday #••••«••«•
6th day •••••••##
7th day ........

agree­
ments

2/ 15
fy 45
2
1

Number of
workers

2/ 8,800
1/101,800
1,200

(</)

Number of Premium dumber of Premium
agree­ rate of
agree­ rate of
pay
ments
ments
pay

14
1
2
0

if
If
It
0

1
44
0
1

2
2
0
2

1/ Based on a study of 50 agreements covering 104,300 workers*
T?/ Maintenance or custodial workers, workers on irregular shifts, and
continuous operation workers who are excluded in three agreements, receive
the premium rate for work on the 6th consecutive day of work*
3/ Custodial workers who regularly work on Sundays are generally ex­
cluded# These workers are paid the premium rate for work on their desig­
nated day off or on the 7th consecutive day of work#
4/ Fewer than 100 employees*

all but one agreement and that one provides for double time# In four of the
agreements the premium pay may be denied to employees unjustifiably absent
during the week#
On the other hand, almost all agreements studied call for premium
pay for work on Sunday when not a regularly scheduled workday# With one ex­
ception the rate is double the regular rate of pay#
Only two agreements mention penalty payment for work by production
workers on the 6th day and one the 7th day of the workweek# To be eligible
for the premium, the worker must meet minimum work requirements#




Shift Differentials
A general bonus for night-shift work was first introduced in the
industry in 1942, when a 5-cent hourly premium was incorporated in agree­
ments with the "Big Four" packers. When the 194-6 agreements were negoti­
ated, the shift premium was increased to 7 cents an hour. Virtually e v e r y
worker in the study receives this rate for work on other than the day
shift.
Only two agreements, with few workers, grant a higher bonus for
third-shift work than for second. One specifies an hourly premium of 9 and
7 cents for the third and second shifts, respectively; the other, 7 and 4
cents.
Minimum Call-Back Fay
Nineteen agreements covering four out of every five workers in the
study guarantee a minimum payment to employees called to work either before
or after their regularly scheduled hours. Most of these workers are guaran­
teed 4 hours' pay, generally at time and a half the regular rate of pay,
even though fewer hours may actually be worked. Two agreements, covering a
small number of workers, guarantee the 4 hours' pay at straight time rates
if no work is performed; time and a half if any work is performed.
"With respect to emergency call-in work, actual
hours worked shall be paid at the rate of time and onehalf . . . and, in addition, the difference between the
number of hours worked and four ( - at the straight time
4)
rate."
(Packing Houses of Philadelphia, Pa. - AMCBW (AFL)
Health, Insurance, and Pension Plans
Health and welfare plans, exclusive of paid sick leave, are not
commonly incorporated in meat-packing agreements. It is known, however,
that a number of large packers provide some welfare benefits without in­
cluding them in their labor agreements.
A total of 17 of the 50 agreements analyzed mention such benefits;
6 contain details and 11 refer to benefits only incidentally. 41/ Included
among the latter group are the Armour-AMCBW and Swift-AMCBW and UPWA con­
tracts.
Of the six plans for which details are available, five are fi­
nanced solely by the employer; the other fails to indicate the method of
financing. The specific types of benefits are shown in table 17.

41/ Since this study was prepared, several companies have incorporated
health and welfare plans in their renegotiated agreements.




42

Table 17.— Types of benefits provided in six agreements in
the meat-packing industry

Type of benefit

Number of
agreements

Life insurance ..........•••«••••»•»••»«*•
Accidental death insurance •••..... ••«•••
Weekly accident and sickness benefits •
Hospitalization for employee and family »•
Surgical benefit for employee o n l y ..... .

2
5
4
4
4
3

Medical care benefit
Employee only ..................••»••••
Employee and family ••••••••»*•••«•«••»

4
2
2

Other 1/ ................................

3

l/ One agreement provides for other related benefits as
determined by the trustees; one, for eye examinations and
glasses; and the third, mentions a benefit welfare club main­
tained by employees to which the employer also contributes.

Safety( Health f and Sanitation
.
Employees in meat-packing plants work under conditions not
commonly found in most other industries. In handling livestock they come in­
to contact with germs and disease. Some of the work is dirty, as on the
killing floor; some wet, as in curing cellars; some cold, as in freezers and
in carcass chilling rooms. As a result, workers are subject to undulant
fever, rheumatism, skin diseases, respiratory diseases, and other ailments. 42/
The presence of wet slippery floors and the use of sharp knives
and other cutting tools constitute safety hazards. The accidents are of a
comparatively minor nature, however, consisting mainly of cuts and bruises,
which as a rule do not involve any considerable loss of individual man­
hours. 43/
Meat-packing plants, as processors of food, must conform to State
and Federal health and sanitation regulations. They require medical exami­
nations of workers handling meat directly. This probably accounts for the
small proportion (25 percent) of agreements in which specific references are
made to the maintenance of healthful and safe working conditions for employ­
ees. The latter cover small plants primarily, accounting for less than a
tenth of the workers in the study.

42/ The Termination Report of the National War Labor Board, Industrial
Disputes and Wage Stabilization in Wartime. Vol. 1, Ch. 19, "The Meat Packing
Commission," by Clark Kerr, January 12, 1942 - December 31, 1945 (p. 1046)*
43/ War Manpower Commission, U. S. Employment Service, Labor Market
Information Industry SeriesT Industry Series 201, 1946 (p. 4).



43

As a result of new safety programs in plants of the "Big Four"
and some of the independent packers, progress has been made in recent years
in cutting down the frequency and severity of accidents.

ADJUSTMENT OF DISPUTES DURING L IF E OF AGREEMENT

All three unions play important roles in the handling of grievances.
Especially designated international union representatives of AMCBW and the
UPWA handle disputes arising between the internationals a r their local unions
and the individual "Big Four" packers. The UPWA international office has,
among other departments, a grievance department which has full responsi­
bility for coordinating the handling of grievances and related matters* Al­
though the AMCBW has no special grievance department, its Research Depart­
ment handles all grievances reaching the third or fourth steps in plants of
the "Big Four" packers. Disputes in plants of the independent packers, in
most cases, are handled directly by union district representatives. Both
unions also constantly advise local unions on matters concerning interpre­
tations of the contracts and effective ways and means of presenting
grievances.
Grievance Procedure
Grievances and disputes are adjusted through established contract
grievance machinery, only a few agreements in the study failing to outline
the detailed procedure to be followed. These few are found primarily among
industry-area and association agreements usually covering small firms,
negotiated by the AMCBW. On the other hand, the grievance procedure in the
"Big Three" agreements is outlined in great detail.
Workers may generally appeal their grievances through three or
four successive steps (table 18).




Table 18#— Number of steps in the grievance procedures
in the meat-packing industry

Number of steps

Number of
agreements

All agreements studied ....

50

1 step ..................
2 steps ................
3 steps
..........
4 steps ...........
Not indicated •••••••••*.

1
8
20
13
8

Number of
workers

1/

104,300
500
1/

~

2 ,6 0 0
5 5 ,7 0 0

39,300
6,200

1/ The two Armour agreements provide for 4 steps for
grievances and issues not subject to arbitration#

First Step in Initiating Grievances
The aggrieved worker, or his union representative, or both, gener­
ally file the complaint initially with the foremen (table 19).
Table 19.— Initial step in grievance procedures in the
meat-packing industry

Initial step

Number of
agreements

50

Not indicated .........

700

15

46,600

2

9,100

1

200

2
13

28,400
8,300

2
1/

104,300

4

All agreements studied
Employee and f o r e m a n ...... ......
Employee and foreman, with option
of union representative ....... .
Employee, union representative
and foreman ....... .
Employee and management representative .....................
Employee or union representative
and department representative •♦.
Union representative and foreman «.
Union representative and plant
manager
Uhion representative and "manage­
ment representative" ...........

Number of
workers

200

3

8

1/

4,600
6,200

1/ Includes 1 agreement providing for a one-step grievance
procedure»

Under the Armour and Cudahy agreements, disputes arising over new
rates, new jobs, and job standards (which are not agreed to by the local or
the international union) are handled initially at the third stage of the
grievance procedure, that is, directly by representatives of the interna­
tional union and of the national office of the company. In the case of
Cudahy the same procedure is followed in disputes arising over new of
changed piece rates challenged by the union.
M .... If no agreement is reached locally or if an

agreement is not ratified by the national headquarters
of the union, .the Union shall have the right to submit
such rates for new jobs to the third step of the
grievance procedure for further processing thereafter
as a grievance in accordance with the grievance pro­
cedure set forth in this agreement including arbi­
tration. n
(Cudahy Packing Co.—UPWA (CIO), Master agreement)




45
Final Step in Grievance Procedure
The formalized grievance procedure commonly calls for participa­
tion by international union representatives at the final stage of the appeal
prior to arbitration (table 20).
Table 20.— Filial step in settling grievances in the meat-packing industry

Final step

Number of
agreements

A13 agreements studied ••........ .............. •

50

104,300

1/ 44

1/ 100,000

Representatives at International union level .»
And top plant or management representatives••
And company officials •••••..... ••••••••••»•

25
2/ 5
1/ 20

2/
3/

Representatives at local union l e v e l .... .
And company officials ............
And management representatives •••••••••••.••
And committee representing union and company.

15
4/ 11
y 3

4/

Other 6/ .....................................
Union and management representatives ••••••••
Union and company representatives ..... .

4

Total describing final step .........

Not indicated

i

Number of
workers

5/

80,600
6,500
74,100
12,700
11,200
1,400
100

1

6,700
5,600
1,100

6

4,300

3

1/ Includes 2 agreements describing only the final step.
?/ Includes 3 small agreements which specify that a representative of
the” local grievance committee shall also participate.
3/ Includes all 6 of the "Big Three* agreements with 68,700 employees.
3/ Includes 2 small agreements in which a representative of toe inter­
national union may participate.
5/ Includes 1 agreement providing for a one-step grievance procedure.

%/

Not clear whether representation at local or international union

le v e l.

Written Notice
The complaint must be submitted in writing at some stage of the
grievance procedure in agreements involving four out of every five workers.
They are usually filed at the second or third step (table 21).
A time limit for filing grievances is 6et in only a few agree­
ments, but they cover a third of the workers in the study (almost ex­
clusively employees of some of the "Big Three" companies). The limits range
from 7 to 30 days, the majority specifying 30 days. A number of agree­
ments merely state that all grievances are to be presented at a convenient
time and place during working hours, and are to be disposed of without
unnecessary delay.




Table 21#— Step at which written notice is submitted
in grievance appeal in the meat­
packing industry

Stage of submission

Number of Number of
agreements workers

All agreements studied .... .

50

104,300

Requiring written notice #••••••
First step ...............
Second step •••••••••••***•««

26
8
12
6

84,601
6,400
51,500
26,700

No mention of written notice

24

19,700

The maximum number of union representatives designated to serve on
grievance committees ranges from 3 to 12. The AMCBW agreements call for 3
to 6; the UPWA generally 5 to 12 representatives.
Arbitration
Arbitration as a final step in the settling of grievances is now
a well-established requirement in the industry; 45 of the 50 agreements con­
tain such provisions.
A single arbitrator is authorized to settle disputes in a third
of the agreements representing four out of every five workers; a tripartite
board, in the majority of the agreements, but covering only a sixth of the
workers. The agreements of the "Big Three" companies and a few others call
for the appointment of a mutually agreed upon permanent impartial arbitrator
to serve during the life of the contract. In all other cases, the arbi­
trator or the board is selected on an ad hoc basis, that is, every time a
dispute arises.
Because of the tremendous backlog of grievances during World War
II, the unions pressed for appointment of permanent arbitrators for the
major packers. Swift was the first company to comply. Shortly thereafter,
permanent arbitrators were appointed at Armour, Cudahy, and Wilson. L L f
The impartial arbitrator is selected jointly in almost all the
agreements providing for arbitration. In a third, an outside agency is
named to appoint the arbitrator if the parties fail to agree upon a selec­
tion. A few small companies, however, leave the appointment of the arbi­
trator to an outside agency, when arbitration is requested, without first
attempting to agree upon one. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Ser­
vice is called upon most frequently. The following are also listed:
county or Federal judge, State or city agency, and the American Arbitration
Association.

L k ! United Packinghouse Workers of America, Officers* Reports to the
Third Annual ConventionP 1946 (p. 23).




A7.

As a method of expediting the final settlement of disputes, 15
agreements impose a time limit, ranging from 2 to 10 days, in the selection
of the arbitrator. In 10 agreements limits are also placed upon the time,
generally 1 week, within which the arbitrator’s decision must be rendered.
Work Stoppages
The constitutions of the three unions contain safeguards against
the calling of strikes. Locals of the AMCBW must submit the issue to the
International President, who personally or by deputy in conjunction with
the local committee will endeavor to adjust the grievance. Failing adjust*
ment, the issue is submitted to the General Executive Board. The local
union must be governed by the decision of the Board. If the grievance is
not sanctioned and the local decides to strike, such action will be con­
sidered sufficient provocation for suspension. The constitution of the
UPWA, likewise, provides that no strike may be called without the approval
of the International Executive Board. In case of violation of the Board's
decision, the Board will take the necessary action to secure compliance.
Appeals by locals may be taken at the convention of the UPWA, but in the
interim the action of the Board is binding.
Virtually all of the agreements either unqualifiedly prohibit or
restrict the conditions under which a strike may be called. One-third,
covering a small number of workers, explicitly prohibit work stoppages of
any nature.
"It is agreed that there shall be no strikes, lock­
outs, work stoppages, or slowing of operations in any
department for any reason whatsoever at any time during
the life of this contract."
(E. Kahn's Sons Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, AMCBW (AFL)
More than 50 percent of the agreements (including all of the "Big
Three") covering about U out of every 5 workers, restrict the conditions, or
specify the circumstances, under which a strike may be called. Most of them
permit a strike after the established grievance or adjustment machinery
under the terms of the agreement has been exhausted. In addition, half of
them permit strike action over nonarbitrable issues, or over disputes aris­
ing during wage reopening negotiations, or after refusal of either party to
abide by an arbitration award.
1. "Should differences arise between the company and
the union, or between the company and the employees, or
between employees at the company or should any local
trouble of any kind arise in the plant, there shall be
no strike, stoppage, slowdown, or suspension of work
on the part of the union or its members or lockout on
the part of the company on account of such disputes
until after an earnest effort shall be made to settle
all such matters immediately in the following manner • •




AS,

"It is understood that in connection with such re­
opening on the issue of a general wage adjustment the
union shall have the right to strike and the company the
right to lockout on such issue commencing with a date
which is ninety (90) days after the date the notice in
connection with such reopening shall have been served
upon the other party by the party reopening the agree­
ment."
(Cudahy Packing Co. - UPWA (CIO) Master agreement)
2. "On those cases which the arbitrator has no power
to rule, the Union shall have the right to strike after
a five (5) day notice. The parties agree that such
strike will not be for the purpose of changing any
working conditions."
(John Morrell & Co., Iowa and Kansas, UPWA (CIO)
In the few remaining agreements, work stoppages are permissible
only if either party fails to comply with the arbitration award or in dis­
putes concerning wage rates or reopenings.
Only three contracts, one of which bans stoppages and two others
which permit stoppages under certain circumstances, specifically relieve
the union of any liability in the event of an unauthorized strike, provid­
ing the union uses every reasonable effort to halt the interruption of
operations.
Prior to World War II, work stoppages in the industry resulted
primarily from attempts to obtain union recognition. A 5 / During the war,
idleness caused by work dispute stoppages declined appreciably (table 22).
Table 22.— Work stoppages in -the meat-packing
industry, 1939-50

Year
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950

........
M M . M M

.........
........
....... .
........
........
........
........
*.......
.... .
........

Work
stoppages
25
26
48
33
27
33
51
37
29
26
36
23

dumber of
workers
involved
7,450
2,400
12,000
5,910
4,900
6,400
31,500
91,400
20,900
90,400
5,440
9,800

Ma-n-days
idle
93,200
30,300
213,000
47,100
14,400
15,100
169,000
903,000
134,000
3,780,000
51,200
53,200

45/ U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Strikes in
2243, Serial No. R-1282, 1 9 U ; Strikes in 19A l . Bulletin No. 711, 19A2.



49
After the war, strikes in the meat-packing industry, like those
in many other industries, were based on requests for wage increases.
The two largest controversies, in 194-6 and 194-8, resulted from
the unions1 demands for wage increases. The major 1946 strikes were
settled after a Federal fact-finding board recommended an increase. In
March 194-8, the stoppages followed wage reopening discussions with the
major packers. The AMCBW and the NBPW reached an agreement with the major
packers, but the UPWA held out for a larger increase. After a 10-week
strike, during which a Presidential Board of Inquiry was appointed to
ascertain the facts "with respect to the causes and circumstances of the
dispute" but with no authority to make recommendations, the stoppage was
terminated in plants of Armour, Swift, Cudahy, and Morrell, and the union
accepted the increase previously granted to the other unions. The stoppage
continued at Wilson plants until June, when terms approximately similar to
those of the other companies were negotiated.




☆ U S GOVERNMENT P I T N OF I E: 1952
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