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Frances Perkins, Secretary

Isador Lubin, Commissioner (on leave)
A . F. H inrichs, Acting Commissioner

Union Agreements in
Agricultural-M achinery Industry

Bulletin 7v[o. 761
{Reprinted from the M onthly Labor R eview, January 1944J


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

Letter of Transmittal
U nited States D epartment of L abor,
B ureau of L abor Statistics,
Washington , D . C., January 17, 1944*

The Secretary of L abor:
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on union agreements
in the agricultural-machinery industry. The report is based on an
analysis of 36 employer-union agreements, all of which were in effect
during all or most of 1943.
This report, which appeared in the January 1944 Monthly Labor
Review, was prepared by Everett M. Kassalow, under the supervision
of Florence Peterson and Constance Williams, of the Bureau’s In­
dustrial Relations Division.
A. F. H inrichs, Acting Commissioner.
H on. F rances Perkins,
Secretary of Labor.

Collective Bargaining in the Industry___________________________________
Coverage and Duration of Agreements------------------------------------------------Union Status___________________________________________________________
Collection of Union Dues________________
Wage Provisions_______________________________________________________
Piece-rate Systems_________________________________________________
Interim Wage Adjustments________________________________________
Minimum Call Pay and Recallfor Overtime___ :____________________
Shift Differentials_________________________________________________
Pay for Overtime, Week-end Work,and Holidays________________________
Paid Vacations________
Leave of Absence______________________________________
Seniority Rules________________________________________________________
Less of Seniority__________________________________________________
Lay-off* and Rehiring______________________________________________
Military Service and War Jobs_________________________________________
Safety and Sanitation__________________________________________________
Adjustment of Disputes-----------------------------------------------------------------------Grievance Machinery______________________________________________
Payment During Adjustment Meetings_____________________________
Strikes and Lockouts___________________________________________________




Bulletin l^[o. 761 o f the
U nited States Bureau o f Labor Statistics
(Reprinted from the M onthly L abor R e v ie w , January 1944.]

Union Agreements in Agricultural-Machinery Industry

THE agricultural-machinery industry, for purposes of this report,
includes establishments which in 1939 were primarily engaged in the
manufacture of agricultural machinery and equipment, and new
plants established since 1939 to manufacture these products. The
industry includes agricultural tractors, tractors used on construction
work, and industrial tractors, but excludes agricultural hand tools.1
Many of these establishments are currently engaged in the manu­
facture of tanks and other ordnance production and employment has
expanded considerably as a result of the war program. In September
1939 there were approximately 56,000 workers in this industry; by
September 1943 the number had grown to almost 96,000.
Although a relatively-small number of large plants dominate the
industry, agricultural machinery is also manufactured in a consider­
able number of small plants. Proximity to the market is probably
the chief factor influencing the location of the farm-machinery indus­
try. The grain farms of the Midwest constitute the largest market
for the output of agricultural machinery, and Illinois and Wisconsin
are the leading producers of farm machinery in the country.
Collective Bargaining in the Industry

Approximately 70 percent of the workers in the agriculturalmachinery industry are covered by union agreements, more than
three-fourths of these being employed in Illinois and Wisconsin.2
Most of the large plants are covered by agreements, but the extent
of union organization among the small plants is somewhat less. Of
the 65 agreements in the farm-machinery industry of which the
Bureau has record, 7 cover over 2,500 workers each; 9, between 1,000
and 2,500 workers each; and 9, between 500 and 1,000. The 7 largest
plants under agreement employ nearly two-thirds of the orgamzed
Almost 55 percent of the agricultural-machinery workers under
agreement are represented by the United Farm Equipment and Metal
Workers of America (C. I. O.). The United Automobile, Aircraft
and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (C. I. O.) has
agreements covering nearly 20 percent of the organized workers,
while federal labor unions of the A. F. of L. represent about 15 per1 The 1939 Census of Manufactures divides the agricultural-machinery industry into tw o classes; one
includes all agricultural machinery except tractors, the other is limited to tractors. These two classes are
considered jointly in this article.
2 This report is confined to agreements negotiated b y unions which have agreements with more than one
company. National Labor Relations Board election victories, involving about 6,000 workers, have recently
been won b y various unions in this industry. However, as these unions have not yet negotiated agree­
ments, they are not included in this report.



Union Agreements

cent and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of
America (C. I. O.) represent more than 5 percent. Other agreements
in the industry were negotiated by the International Association of
Machinists (A. F. of L.), United Steelworkers of America (C. I. O.),
the International Union of Molders and Foundry Workers of North
America (A. F. of L.), the United Automobile Workers of America
(A. F. of L.), the Pattern Makers League of North America (A. F.
of L.), and the Metal Trades Department (A. F. of L.).
Unionization in the industry did not begin on a major scale until
about 1937, although a few plants were under agreement before that
date, and some of the larger companies, notably the International
Harvester Co., had established employee-representation associations.
In some cases, organization of these plants by international unions
was facilitated by the existence of these representation plans and many
of the officers and much of the machinery of the inside organizations
were absorbed by the newly established locals of the international
The United Farm Equipment and Metal Workers of America was
originally a division of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee
(C. I. O.). In Julv 1938, this group of locals withdrew from the Steel
Workers and established the Farm Equipment Workers Organizing
Committee, which in September 1942 was granted an international
charter by the C. I. O. and adopted its present name.
The United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement
Workers of America (C. I. O.) secured an agreement in 1937 with
the Racine (Wis.) plant of the J. I. Case Co., one of the largest com­
panies in the industry. This union was originally established^ to
organize workers in the automobile industry, but in 1937 its constitu­
tion was amended specifically to include agricultural-implement
workers. Between 1938 and 1941, several attempts were made to
merge the Farm Equipment Workers and the United Automobile
Workers, but without success.
The Pattern Makers League of North America (A. F. of L.), the
International Molders and Foundry Workers Union of North America
(A. F. of L.), and the International Association of Machinists (A. F.
of L.) have each negotiated a number of agreements covering certain
skilled groups in a number of the large plants in the industry. In
nearly all cases the production workers in these plants have been
organized by other unions. Since this report deals primarily with the
production workers, the agreements for these special groups are not
mcluded in the following discussion.
Coverage and Duration o f Agreements

The following is an analysis of 36 agreements in the files of the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, which cover nearly 90 percent of the
employees in the industry working under agreements. All of these
agreements were in effect during all or most of 1943; a few have
expired during recent months and at present are subject to renegotia­
tion. The greatest number of agreements were originally negotiated
for 1-year periods, but they are automatically renewed from year to
year unless a 30- or 60-day notice of intention to change or terminate
has been filed by one or both parties. Nine agreements, including
six for the International Harvester,plants, are in effect for the dura­
tion of the war.


Agricultural-M achinery Industry

Maintenance workers as well as production workers are included
under the terms of most of the agreements. Twenty-nine of the 36
agreements specifically exclude persons who perform supervisory func­
tions, variously defined as foremen, assistant foremen, or super­
visors; the others make no reference to supervisors or foremen in the
coverage clauses.
Among the larger plants under agreement, which are included in this
report, are the following:4

Company and plant

Allis-Chalmcrs Manufacturing Co.:
Springfield, 111_______________
David Bradley Manufacturing Works:
Bradley, 111_____________________
J. I. Case Co.:
Racine, Wis_____________________

United Farm Equipment and
Metal Workers of America
(C. I. 0 .).
Metal Trades Council (A. F.
of L.).
United Automobile Workers (C.
I. O.).

Rock Island, 111_________________
Rockford, 111____________________
Caterpillar Tractor Co.:
Peoria, 111______ - _______________
Cleveland Tractor Co.:
Cleveland, Ohio_____________________
Deere & Co.:
John Deere Harvester Works, East
Moline, 111.
International Harvester Co.:
Tractor Works, Chicago, 111__________
McCormick Works, Chicago, 111______
East Moline Works, East Moline, 111__
Richmond Works, Richmond, Ind____
Farmall Works, Rock Island, 111_______
Milwaukee Works, Milwaukee, Wis____
Massey-Harris Co.:
Racine, Wis_________________________

United Farm Equipment and
Metal Workers of America
(C. I. O.).
Federal Labor Union (A. F. of L.).
United Automobile Workers (C.
I. O.).

United Farm Equipment & Metal
Workers of America (C. I. O.).
Federal Labor Union (A. F. of L.).
United Automobile Workers (C.
I. O.).

Batavia, N. Y _______________________
Minneapolis-Moline Power Implement Co.:
Minneapolis, Minn___________________
Moline, 111_____________
Oliver Farm Equipment Co.:
South Bend, Ind_______
Charles City, Iowa.
Battle Creek, Mich

United Steelworkers of America
(C. I. O.).
United Electrical, Radio and
Machine Workers of America
(C. I. O.).
United Farm Equipment and
Metal Workers of America
(C. I. 0 .).
United Automobile Workers (A.
F. of L.).

4 Some of these unions have agreements with additional plants of the same and other companies, but these
are omitted because they are not classified b y the Census as belonging to the agricultural-machinery indus­
try. Current agreements for the following organized plants in the industry were not available at the time
this report was prepared, and they are, therefore not included in the analysis: Allis-Chalmers Manufactur­
ing Co., La Porte, Ind. (United Farm Equipm ent and Metal Workers of America, O. I. O.); Oliver Farm
Equipment Co., Springfield, Ohio (United Automobile Workers of America, C . I. O.); Deere and Mansur
Works of Deere & Co., Moline, 111. (United Farm Equipment and M etal Workers of America, C . I. O .).


Union Agreements
Union Status 5

The importance of the National War Labor Board in influencing
the pattern of collective-bargaining relationships is clearly revealed
in this industry. Maintenance-of-membership clauses are included in
17 agreements which cover more than 80 percent of the workers under
the 36 agreements. The clauses were incorporated as a result of
National War Labor Board orders in 13 of the cases, including most of
the large plants, namely, the three J. I. Case Co. plants* the Oliver
Farm Equipment Co. plants at Charles City and South Bend, the
Caterpillar Tractor Co., and the six International Harvester plants.6
Among the four plants which adopted maintenance-of-membership
clauses voluntarily are the John Deere Harvester Works and the
Springfield plant of the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co.
Only a small number of workers in this relatively newly organized
industry are employed under closed- or union-shop conditions which
require union membership as a condition of employment. Two of
the nine agreements which provide for a closed or union shop exempt
those employees who were not members prior to the signing of the
agreement; however, all new employees must join the union. Only
one large plant in the industry operates under a union-shop plan,
namely, the Minneapolis-Moline Power Implement Co. at Minne­
apolis, which has had bargaining relationships with the United Elec­
trical, Radio and Machine Workers for a number of years.
Ten of the 36 agreements, covering between 10 and 15 percent of
the workers under agreement, provide no recognition beyond that of
establishing the union as the sole bargaining agent. These agree­
ments are chiefly confined to smaller plants, although they include
the Cleveland Tractor Co., the two Massey-Harris plants, and the
Oliver Farm Equipment Co. plant at Battle Creek.
Union activity or solicitation of members on company time is
specifically prohibited in most of the agreements. The Allis-Chalmers
agreement, however, states that the union may solicit membership
upon company premises outside of working hours, although the com­
pany reserves the right to withdraw this privilege.

None of the agreements in the agricultural-machinery industry
provides for an automatic check-off of union dues by the company,
and only four agreements permit individual employees to authorize
deductions from their pay for union dues. Two of these are with
plants which recognize the union as the sole bargaining agent, one is
a union-shop agreement, and the fourth includes a maintenance-ofmembership clause.
Although some of the agreements specifically prohibit the collection
of union dues on company time or property, the John Deere Harvester
Works and the Allis-Chalmers agreements permit the collection of
union dues during lunch or before or after work.
* For a detailed explanation of the various types of union status see M on th ly Labor Review, February
1943 (pp. 284-290): Types of Union Recognition in Effect in January 1943.
6 In the International Harvester cases the National W ar Labor Board did not grant maintenance-of-mem­
bership until a m ajority of the members in each local had voted in favor of acceptance of such a clause. T o
date, this is the only case in which the Board has included such an election as a prerequisite in a mainte
nance-of-membership order.

Agricultural-Machinery Industry


W age Provisions

All but one of the agreements covering large plants provide for
piece work as well as time work, but only about half o f the agree­
ments with smaller companies mention both types of rates. Detailed
ocoupational-wage listings are provided in only eight agreements,
although one other agreement specifies an addition of 5 cents an hour
to the regular rate during the time any employee is called upon to do
these minimum hourly rates range from 40 to 75 cents, 13 agreements
provide a plant minimum of at least 60 cents for men. Minimum
rates tend to be somewhat higher in the large plants than in the
smaller plants.
Four agreements have lower plant minimum rates for women
workers than for men, the differences ranging from 10 to 15 cents per
hour. Two agreements specifically prohibit different rates for men
and women doing the same kind of work. In the remaining agree­
ments no reference is made to wages of men and women, as such.
Eleven of the 15 agreements containing plant minimum rates
provide hiring rates for new, inexperienced workers, which are below
the general minimum scale. In nine of these agreements the differences
between hiring an dminimum rates range from 5 to 10 cents; in the tenth
agreement the difference is set at 3 cents and in the eleventh at 22
cents. In six of these plants, the new employee is advanced directly
to the minimum hourly rate after intervals which range from 30
days to 6 months, while in the other five, the minimum is reached by
means of successive increases over a period varying in the different
plants from 90 days to 2 years.
P I E C E -R A T E


Most of the 28 agreements which mention piece work provide for
some form of union participation in rate setting. In two of the
smaller plants the union has a voice in determining individual rates.
In one of these, the agreement states that the management may
modify old rates or set new rates only by mutual agreement with the
designated representative of the union, while in the other, the agree­
ment provides that where piece rates prevail or are to be instituted,
such rates shall be established by a joint employer-union committee.
Sixteen agreements grant the union the right to negotiate with
management on disputed rates; for example, the Massey-Harris Co.
agreement (Batavia, N. Y .), states: “ In the event that an average
piece worker claims inability to make the basic rate, then a time
study shall be promptly made by the company, and on the basis
of such a time study, the company and the union will make mutually
satisfactory disposition of the grievance.”
In addition to granting the union the right to negotiate with manage­
ment over disputes arising in connection with piece rates, some agree­
ments provide specific safeguards for piece workers. The Cleveland
Tractor agreement, for example, provides:
No production workers engaged in work which normally carries a bonus rate
shall be required to work for more than 2 days at the established day rate by
reason of lack of tools or time-study men. At the end of such 2-day period, if
a permanent bonus rate has not been established, a temporary bonus rate shall


Union Agreements

be put into effect; otherwise the operator shall be paid at the rate of 150 percent
of the day rate.

The J. I. Case Co. agreement covering the Racine plant states:
If any established piece rates do not permit a normal operator working at a
reasonable pace to earn at least 10 cents per hour in excess of the base rate, the
job shall be restudied and the revised piece price made retroactive to the date of
the filing of the grievance * * *. If an employee shall fail to earn the base
rate on any assigned operation because of the failure of the company to maintain
jigs, tools, or fixtures, or by reason of faulty stock, or lack of materials, or because
of working on short runs, he shall be paid not less than base rate * * *. Em­
ployees who ordinarily and usually work on piece-work operations shall, when
employed on sample or experimental work or when detailed to serve as instructors,
be paid not less than 5 cents per hour above their average hourly earnings on
piece work.



None of the agreements studied for this industry contains provi­
sions for automatic reconsideration of wages if the cost of living
decreases or increases. In 21 agreements there is no reference of any
land to interim wage adjustments, thus implying that the general
wage rates specified in the agreement, or those existing at the time the
agreement was signed, are to remain for the duration of the agree­
ment. Of the 15 which permit reconsideration of wages, 5 allow the
question to be brought up at any time, while the others provide speci­
fied intervals. Thus, five of the International Harvester agreements
permit the review of wages 6 months after the signing of the agreement
and thereafter every 2 months upon 30 days' notice by either party.
Expressed in one agreement and implied in the others, the basis for
reconsideration of wages is “ to meet changing conditions regarding
hours, wages, and working conditions."


Payment of a minimum amount to employees who report at their
hourly shift time, but are not employed a full shift, is provided in all
agreements except a few with small companies. Not quite half of
the workers, including those at the Caterpillar Tractor Co., the
Allis-Chalmers plant, and the John Deere Harvester Works, are
guaranteed a minimum of 4 hours' reporting pay. The greatest
proportion of the other workers receive 2 hours' pay, although some
are allowed pay for 3 hours.
The same minimum call pay probably applies to work outside
regular hours in most plants, but only about half of the agreements
specifically provide such guaranties for workers who are recalled after
their regular shifts. Some of these set overtime rates for the total
minimum time guaranteed.

With the institution of round-the-clock production in an increasing
number of industries, the payment of shift bonuses has taken on
special significance. All the agreements in this industry, except some
covering small plants, refer to night operations, and about 80 percent
of the workers under these agreements are allowed a wage differential
for night work. Four of the eight agreements which refer to night
work but do not establish night differentials provide that, if the com­
pany establishes 3 shifts in the plant, employees on all shifts are to


Agricultural-M achinery Industry

receive 15 minutes on company time at the regular hourly rate for
the lunch period.
Predominantly in this industry, the same bonus is provided for the
third as for the second shift, some of the agreements specifically
mentioning two night shifts while others merely say “ all night work.”
Under agreements providing night differentials nearly 40 percent of
the workers covered are allowed 5 percent over day rates for all night
work, and 30 percent are allowed 10 percent over day rates.
The proportions of workers under agreements providing shift
differentials are shown in the following table for the various shifts.
Wage Differentials fo r Night W ork in Agricultural-M achinery Industry
Differential paid for—
Proportion of workers covered
b y differentials
Second shift
3 cents per hour............. .
10 cents per hour........... .
5 percent over day rate..
5 percent over day rate..
10 percent over day rate.

8 percent..
20 percent.
5 percent..
3 percent..
28 percent.

Third shift
5 cents per hour.
10 cents per hour.
5 percent over day rate.
10 percent over day rate.
10 percent over day rate.

General night-shift differentials
3 percent.......................................... 5 cents per hour. *
33 percent................. : ..................... 5 percent over day rate.
* One agreement provides a 5-cent differential for “ regular” night workers, and 2 cents for employees
working on rotating shifts.


P a y fo r Overtime W eek-E nd W ork 9 and H olidays

Overtime pay for all work in excess of 8 hours per day or 40 hours
per week, at time and a half, is provided for all production workers
in all the agreements and for maintenance workers in nearly all.
Although many of the agreements provide premium rates for Satur­
day and Sunday work, the majority of these were negotiated before
the effective date of Executive Order No. 9240.7 In 21 agreements,
most of which are for smaller companies, specific reference is made
to Saturday and Sunday or to Sunday only, and most of these exclude
watchmen, firemen, and other maintenance workers from week-end
premium rates. Without exception the larger-company agreements
which refer to Saturday and Sunday provide time and a half for
Saturday work and double time for Sunday work. Some of the small
plants provide time and a half for both days, while others pay double
time for Sunday with no mention of Saturday.
Most of the agreements for the large plants provide time and a
half for the sixth day and double time for the seventh day worked in
a workweek with no premium for Saturday and Sunday as such. The
Caterpillar Tractor Co. agreement specifically states that this pro­
vision on premium pay has been included in order to conform with
the Executive order, and another agreement provides for the restora­
tion of premium pay for Saturday and Sunday work as such after
the war emergency.
7 Agreement provisions regulating pay for week-end work have been superseded b y Executive Order N o.
9240 “ on all work relating to the prosecution of the war.” The order prohibits premium pay for Saturday
and Sunday work as such and makes the payment of double time for the seventh consecutive day of a regu­
larly scheduled workweek mandatory. Payment of a premium rate on the sixth day is permitted if it has
been paid previously either for the sixth day of work or for Saturday.


Union Agreements

Under the Executive order, even where no work is performed on a
holiday, this day is counted as a day worked in computing the sixth
day in a workweek, unless the agreement has a provision to the
contrary. None of the agreements studied included such a state­
ment; one agreement, however, specifically provides for time and a
half after 32 hours in a holiday week.

None of the agreements in the agricultural-machinery industry
provides pay for holidays not worked, but nearly all provide penalty
rates for work performed on designated holidays. The great majority
of the agreements conform to the Government provision that time and
a half be paid for work performed on six designated holidays.8 How­
ever, 10 agreements, which were negotiated prior to Executive Order
No. 9240, fix double-time rates and three specify seven holidays,
while several make no reference to holidays.9 One provides for pay
at the rate of time and a half during the “ war emergency” , with the
return to double time after the war. The six International Harvester
agreements require time and a half on those jobs which customarily
operate on a 7-day basis and double time for emergency work on
legal holidays. Five agreements, all with smaller plants, specifically
exclude watchmen, firemen, janitors, and similar nonproduction
workers from the special holiday rate.
P aid Vacations

Almost 95 percent of the workers under agreement are entitled to
paid vacations after meeting specified service qualifications. Of the
eight agreements which do not contain paid-vacation provisions,
omy one is with a large company.
About 55 percent of the workers are covered by agreements which
provide minimum and maximum vacation allowances based on length
of service. The six International Harvester Co. plants, the two
Minneapolis-Moline Co. plants, and the John Deere Harvester Works
agreements provide 1 week's vacation with pay after 1 year of service
and 2 weeks with pay after 5 years of service. Several agreements of
smaller companies provide graduated vacation allowances, ranging
from 3 days after 2 years' service and 1 week after 8 years, to 1 week
after 1 year and to 3 weeks after 25 years' service.
The Caterpillar Tractor Co. employees receive 2 weeks' vacation,
with pay equal to 4 percent of the employee's gross earnings during
the preceding company fiscal year. All of the remaining agreements
provide 1 week's vacation allowance, the service requirements ranging
from 10 months to 2 years.
Leave o f Absence

Leaves of absence for personal reasons, such as illness in the family
and temporary physical disability, are permitted in 27 of the 36
agreements and cover over 95 percent of the total workers. While
8 Executive Order N o. 9240 requires the payment of time and a half on N ew Year’s D ay, Fourth of July,
Labor D ay, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas D ay, and either Memorial D a y or one other holiday of
greater local importance, and prohibits premium pay for any other holiday.
8 The terms of the Executive order apply to all plants engaged In war production and w ould, therefore
supersede the provisions of these agreements.

Agricultural-M achinery Industry


some agreements limit such leave to 6 months or less, in most of them
no time limits on leave are mentioned. Three of the International
Harvester agreements, which have no limits for other reasons, stipulate
that pregnant employees are to be granted 1 year of leave. Fifteen
agreements, including five which do not specify any time limits on
leave, provide cumulation of seniority during an employee’s absence.
The seniority status of the employee on his return is not mentioned
in the other 12 agreements.
Leave of absence for union business is provided in 22 agreements,
including almost all of the larger companies and covering approxi­
mately 90 percent of the workers. The extent of this leave varies
from 30 days to an indefinite period, although most permit at least
1 year’s leave for union business. Cumulative seniority for employees
on leave for union business is provided for in at least 16 agreements;
under the others the seniority status is not clear.
Seniority Rules

Seniority rights, acquired after serving specified probationary
periods, are provided in all but 1 of the 36 agreements. Although
probationary periods vary from 15 days to 1 year, the greater number
require at least 3 months. Those agreements which require 6 months
or longer before seniority begins are with large companies. These
unusually long periods are due to the normally seasonal nature of the
industry and to the fact that such companies periodically employ large
numbers of temporary employees.
Seniority rights, once acquired, apply to lay-offs and rehiring, and
in many cases also affect promotions. Under a few agreements
senior employees have first choice of shifts and vacation time.
Employees may exercise their seniority rights in connection with
lay-offs and rehiring, or promotions, only in the unit to which seniority
applies. In 19 agreements, covering more than 55 percent of the
workers, the unit specified is the department; in 5 agreements (all
with very small plants), seniority is on a plant-wide basis, but one of
these specifies that seniority applies by occupation. Both the plant
and the department are specified as units in 9 agreements, covering
more than 40 percent of the workers. Included among these are the 6
International Harvester agreements, which state that employees
obtain department seniority after 6 months, and plant seniority
after 1 year. Only 2 agreements, both with small plants, fail to define
the unit to which seniority applies; one of these states that “ seniority
will be recognized insofar as possible * * * but in our factory
the work is in so many departments that no further statement of
seniority can be given definitely.”

Under most agreements seniority is generally retained during
periods of enforced lay-offs— usually limited, however, to a specified
length of time, after which seniority rights are lost. Nineteen agree­
ments, covering more than 95 percent of the workers under agreement,
specify periods from 1 to 5 years, although the greatest number of
these provide for the retention of seniority rights for at least 3 years
following any lay-off; in a few agreements the time varies with the


Union Agreements

length of the employee's previous service. Eight agreements, covering a little more than 5 percent of the workers, set no time limit on the
retention of seniority by employees during lay-off. The others do
not indicate how a lay-off affects the employee's seniority status.
Failure of a laid-off employee to return to work within a specified
time— from a few days to a few weeks—when requested by the com­
pany to report, results in loss of seniority under most agreements,
although in a few cases laid-off employees are permitted to reject
offers of temporary employment without loss of seniority. One
agreement, which establishes no time limit for retention of seniority,
requires laid-off employees to report to the company every 3 months.
In addition to conditions arising from lay-offs, other grounds for
loss of seniority mentioned in agreements include failure to report to
wrork at termination of a leave of absence or furlough, engaging in
other employment without consent of the company, and inability
of the company to find the worker when desiring to notify him to
return to work.

Seniority is the determining factor in selecting workers for lay-off
and rehiring, according to nearly all the agreements. When lay-offs
occur and more than one type of work is included in the plant or de­
partment unit to which seniority applies, longer-service employees
may displace shorter-service employees on other occupations, pro­
vided they are “ capable of doing the wTork of the shorter-service
employee." In some cases, the employee who displaces or “ bumps"
a worker with less seniority is put on probation for a period ranging
from 3 days to a few weeks, and if it is found that he is not performing
satisfactorily on the new job, he may be laid off.
Two agreements, covering a small number of workers, specify that
in lay-offs seniority is to be given consideration along with such other
factors as experience, efficiency, physical fitness, family status, etc.
Two other agreements which include seniority provisions do not
specify the status of senior employees in connection with lay-offs and
rehiring. One agreement provides that at the termination of the
war or national emergency, “ all male employees will be given prior
rights of employment over female factory employees," but also
states that “ wherever possible, preference in hiring will be given to
the wives of the men serving in the armed forces of the country."
Lay-off notice.— Advance notice of lay-offs to employees or to the
union, or to both, is required in about half of the agreements. In
most cases the length of this notice varies from 1 to 3 days, although
one agreement provides for 2 weeks' notice to employees with at least
1 year of service. One agreement with a small plant provides that a
regular employee whose employment is permanently terminated is to
be given 1 week's notice or 1 week's pay in lieu thereof.
Lay-off of union stewards.— Eighteen agreements, covering more
than three-fourths of the workers under agreement, encourage con­
tinuity of grievance-adjustment personnel by providing that the
union's shop committeemen and stewards are to head the company
seniority-rating lists as far as lay-offs are concerned. The number of
union officials with preferred seniority status is frequently specified
in the agreement, and such officials must, of course, be capable of
performing the work of the employees they may displace.

Agricultural-M achinery Industry


Work sharing.— Thirteen agreements provide for work sharing
before lay-offs are made. These agreements cover most of the large
companies, including the six International Harvester plants. Nearly
all of them provide for the lay-off of probational employees before
work sharing commences. In the Cleveland Tractor agreement, all
workers with less than 4 years’ seniority, and in another agreement
with a smaller company, employees with less than 2 years’ seniority,
shall be laid off before work sharing is instituted.
Eleven agreements provide that work will be shared until the
hours are reduced to 32 per week. Two agreements establish mini­
mum workweeks of 36 hours and 30 hours, respectively, before lay­
offs are to be made on the basis of seniority.

Only 1 agreement with a small plant provides for promotion on the
basis of seniority alone. In 21 agreements, covering almost three-fourths
of the workers, seniority is to be considered along with other factors,
such as ability and skill. The greatest proportion of these agreements
include a clause similar to that found in the Caterpillar Tractor agree­
ment, stating that in promotions, “ length of service will govern
whenever qualifications for the next job are approximately equal.”
A few agreements specifically provide that disputes arising out of
promotions may be referred to the grievance machinery. The agree­
ment which provides that seniority alone is to* govern promotions
limits seniority to department units. Several agreements do not
include procedures for promotion; one of these specifies that promo­
tions are to be the exclusive prerogative of management and the
others say nothing about the matter.

Specific reasons for discharge are included in only a few agreements,
the majority merely stating that employees are to be discharged only
for “ just” or “ reasonable” cause. Typical of those giving specific
causes is the Oliver Farm Equipment agreement, covering the Battle
Creek plant, which states:
Causes for discharge may be for insubordination, dishonesty, inefficiency or
violation of shop rules. It is agreed that the decision to discharge an employee
must rest upon evidence that is conclusive and that the reason for discharge will
be clearly stated to the employee.

Most of the agreements provide for appeal of discharge cases and
where the subject of discharge is not specifically mentioned it can be
assumed that discharge cases may be submitted to the regular griev­
ance machinery. In 20 agreements, covering about 75 percent of the
workers, the union is expressly granted the right to submit the cases
of discharged workers under the regular grievance procedure, 17 of
these specifying that if the employee’s discharge is found to be unjust,
he is to be reinstated with full compensation for time lost. Discharge
complaints must be presented to the company within a few days after
an employee’s discharge, and are to be disposed of within a specified
period, usually 5 days. The International Harvester Co. agreements
provide that “ the company must be notified of a claim of wrongful
suspension or discharge within 3 working days after same occurs and


Union Agreements

the case shall be taken up promptly and diligent efforts made to
dispose of it within 5 working days.”
Three agreements— two with the Minneapolis-Moline Co. plants
and one with the John Deere Harvester Works—provide that before
any employee may be discharged the company must give advance
notice to the steward of the department in which the employee is
working. The John Deere agreement further specifies that discharged
employees who so desire will be granted a hearing, in which the em­
ployee, union, and company will participate. If it is decided that the
employee has been unjustly discharged, he is to be reinstated to his
former status, with no loss in pay.
M ilita ry Service and W ar Jobs 10

Reemployment and seniority rights of employees who volunteer or
are drafted for military service are referred to in 26 of the 36 agree­
ments, covering more than 80 percent of the workers under agreement.
Most of the agreements state that upon presentation of an honorabledischarge certificate the employee is to be restored to his former
position, or one of similar status and pay, with no loss in seniority,
unless the company’s circumstances have so changed as to make this
Nine agreements, including those of the six International Harvester
plants, the two Minneapolis-Moline agreements, and the AllisChalmers agreement, include pledges by the company to pay the
premium on the absent employee’s group-life-insurance policy for at
least 1 year. Four agreements require the company to pay a bonus
equal to 1 month’s salary to all employees entering military service
and two specifically provide the payment of earned vacation bonuses.
War jobs.— Six agreements, all but one of which are with large
companies, refer to the seniority status of employees who transfer or
are transferred to other plants engaged in war work. Two, including
the Massey-Harris (Racine) agreement, merely state that seniority
shall accumulate for workers who are drafted by the Government for
occupational as well as military reasons. Twro Oliver Farm Equip­
ment Co. agreements (Charles City and South Bend) provide, that if
the company “ is unable to give full-time employment to an employee,
it will, at the request of the employee, grant him a leave of absence
without the loss of seniority rights to obtain full-time employment in
another defense industry.” Further, the agreements state that
“ added consideration” will be given to any employee “ whose service is
of a special nature and may be necessary for governmental defense
Two of the International Harvester agreements provide special
protection for employees who are laid off by the company and
subsequently enter “ defense” work:
Where an employee having seniority rights with the company and working on
nondefense production is laid off and obtains defense employment with another
company, and that fact is properly certified to the Internationa] Harvester Co., he
will not report back for nondefense production work in order to protect his senior­
ity so long as he retains the defense employment for which he was certified. If
he shifts from one defense employment to another there must be a recertification as
to his new defense employment.
10 For a more complete discussion of this problem, see M onthly Labor Review, December 1942 (p. 1147):
M ilitary Service and War-Job Clauses in Union Agreements.

Agricultural-M achinery Industry


These two agreements further state that if any employee who is work­
ing on nondefense production wishes to accept “ defense employment
with another company * * *” he “ may be released with full
protection of * * * seniority rights” if the International Har­
vester Co. agrees that he “ can be spared or loaned.”
Employees shifted to war-work departments, temporarily created
during the national emergency, are protected from loss of seniority in
the John Deere Harvester Works agreement, which provides that
employees “ will retain and accumulate seniority” in the departments
“ from which they were transferred to war work.” New employees in
these temporary departments accumulate seniority, “ and after the war
will carry this seniority to whatever division they may be transferred.”
Safety and Sanitation

Clauses relating to health, safety, and sanitation are contained in
most of the agreements. Such clauses generally consist of pledges by
the employer “ to furnish healthful working conditions at all times and
to provide adequate and modern devices with regard to safety and
sanitation.” Disputes arising under this article are usually referred
to the regular grievance machinery.
About half of the agreements provide for union participation in the
administration of plant health and safety rules, generally by means of a
special safety committee. The Caterpillar Tractor Co. agreement, for
example, states:
It is agreed that the union will appoint a safety committee of three to encourage
the observance of safety rules and the furtherance of the safety and sanitation
programs, with which committee the company’s safety representatives will meet
once each month at a mutually agreeable time.

Three of the International Harvester Co. agreements, in addition to
providing for union participation in the administration of plant safety
rules, establish 15-minute rest periods in the morning and afternoon for
female employees.
Adjustm ent o f D isputes

All but one of the agreements establish formal machinery for the
adjustment of grievances and the majority provide some form of
arbitration procedure. As might be expected, the agreements cover­
ing the larger plants contain more detailed provisions on the presenta­
tion of grievances, the functions of shop stewards, etc., than do those
covering smaller plants. In only a few cases is the term “ grievance”
defined; for example, the Caterpillar Tractor agreement defines a
grievance as “ any difference which might arise between the parties or
between the company and an employee covered by this agreement, as
to (1) any matter relating to wages, hours of work, or working con­
ditions not covered by this agreement; and (2) any matter involving
the interpretation or violation of any provisions of this agreement.”

Agreements in the agricultural-machinery industry vary consider­
ably with respect to the procedures to be used in presenting grievances
to the foremen. Under the terms of 20 agreements (including the 6


Union Agreements

International Harvester plants), which cover almost 85 percent of the
workers, the employee has the option of presenting grievances to his
foreman alone or of being accompanied or represented by his shop
steward or other designated union official. Eight agreements, cover­
ing small plants, require the employee to consult with his foreman or
other subordinate company official before taking his grievance to the
union. Under the terms of 6 agreements, the union steward presents
the grievances to the foreman, while under 2 others the aggrieved
employee must accompany the union representative.
If grievances are not adjusted through this procedure, the agree­
ments generally provide that the shop steward shall take up the dispute
with the department foreman and, if necessary, with the plant super­
intendent. If the dispute is not settled at this stage, it is referred to
the entire plant grievance committee and some designated company
representative. Five of the International Harvester agreements
provide that if the grievance cannot be adjusted by the employee, or
his steward, and his foreman, it is to be referred directly to the shop
committee of the union and a committee appointed by the plant
When a dispute is not settled by the entire plant committee and the
management representatives, the union may usually call upon an
outside representative, frequently a national official of the union, who
attempts to adjust the difference in conference with top representa­
tives of the company.
To guard against prolonged delay in the disposition of disputes,
almost all the large company agreements impose time limits on the
operation of the grievance machinery and many provide for frequent
regular meetings between the plant grievance committee and the

Shop stewards are paid for time spent in attendance at all formal
grievance meetings with management held during working hours,
under the terms of 11 agreements, covering more than 40 percent of
the workers. Under 10 additional agreements, covering almost 30
percent of the workers, stewards receive pay for time lost only if the
meetings are called by management. Four agreements, covering
slightly over 5 percent of the workers, specifically state that attendance
at grievance meetings is on the employee's own time. No mention
is made in the remaining agreements of payment or nonpayment for
time spent in adjusting grievances.

Arbitration by an impartial individual or agency, when negotiations
between the highest union and company officials fail to result in a
settlement, is provided in 19 agreements, covering three-fourths of
the workers. Fourteen of these, covering more than half of the
workers, provide that unsettled disputes are to be submitted to arbi­
tration at the request of either party. Among these are two Inter­
national Harvester plants (Rock Island and Milwaukee), the AllisChalmers plant, the Minneapolis-Moline plant at Minneapolis, and
the Caterpillar Tractor plant.

Agricultural-M achinery Industry


Five agreements (including the four agreements between the Inter­
national Harvester Co. and the United Farm Equipment and Metal
Workers of America) provide for arbitration only by mutual consent
of both company and union. Under such a clause, the party which
is satisfied with existing conditions may refuse to submit a disputed
issue to arbitration and the aggrieved party must either yield or
resort to a strike or lockout.
Among the 17 agreements which make no provision for arbitration
are those covering the J. I. Case plant at Racine, the John Deere
Harvester Works, the Oliver Farm Equipment Co. plants at South
Bend and Battle Creek, the Cleveland Tractor Co., and the Racine
plant of the Massey-Harris Co.
The Allis-Chalmers agreement provides for a permanent impartial
referee, selected and compensated by both parties, to whom unsettled
grievances are referred for final decision. In the other 18 agreements
which make provision for arbitration, the* arbitrator is chosen at the
time of a dispute. If the company and union are unable to agree on
the choice of an impartial arbitrator, 12 agreements provide that the
selection is to be referred to a designated public agency. Most fre­
quently named agencies are the U. S. Conciliation Service and the
National War Labor Board, although one agreement delegates the
choice to the Illinois Department of Labor, and another to a State
judge. Most of the agreements which include maintenance-of-mem­
bership clauses state that any dispute arising under this particular
provision, not settled under the grievance machinery, is to be referred
to an arbitrator appointed by the National War Labor Board.
Generally, arbitration may be invoked in settlement of any question
arising under the terms of the agreement. For example, the Minneapolis-Moline (Minneapolis) agreement states that all questions arising
under the terms of this agreement or its application are subject to
Strikes and Lockouts

All but four agreements, which make no reference to strikes, place
some restrictions on work stoppages. Almost half prohibit work
stoppages altogether, while the agreements are in effect, and an
additional 13 prohibit stoppages pending operation of all stages of the
grievance machinery. Arbitration is provided in 14 of the 16 agree­
ments which prohibit stoppages for the duration of the agreement,
while only 2 of the 13 agreements which forbid stoppages pending
resort to the grievance machinery include provisions for arbitration.
One other agreement, which provides for automatic arbitration of
unsettled disputes, nevertheless permits strikes on 60 days’ written
notice to the company.
Two of the Oliver Farm Equipment Co. agreements (Battle Creek
and South Bend), which do not include any arbitration clauses,
provide that no strikes are to be called until a strike vote has been
taken by secret ballot under control of an election board consisting
of one representative each from the union and the company, and one
chosen by a designated public agency. All workers covered by the
agreement, including those not at work but possessing seniority rights,
are entitled to vote, and a strike may be called only after a majorityvote approval.