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THE CONNECTICUT LABOR PRESS
s 4? 7175 o3 BY THE 1 ! e w JHlavei Oistact CdDiiid (Dir ALsiirpteiniteir In response to the announcement published by the Master Builders' Association of New Haven, the New Haven District Council of Carpenters and Joiners makes t-hfa appeal to the seme of justice and intelligence of the people of this city. , ' Our appeal to your sense of justice is based upon the FACT that, the increased rate of pay asked for, one dollar per hour, does not anywhere near meet the increase in our cost of living and the higher cost of necessary working tools to the craft. ' . Our appeal to your intelligence concerns the absurdity of the claim that any material increase of rent can be justly charged to the difference of ten cents an hour in pay which lays between us and the master builders. , , - . In New Haven The price of rents during the past five.years has increased from 100 to 150 per cent. The increase in wages of the carpenters during the past five years has been 50 per cent. Think it over. - ! ' ' - k ;! .:, . , AND don't lose sight of the fact that rents of apartments or tenements in which NO carpenters have been employed since their completion, have also been raised tremendously. Why is Master Builders' Offer Fair ? The Master Builders state that they have conferred with the Chamber of Commerce of New Haven and The Employers' Association and that these organizations find by "investiga tion" that the wage which the Master Builders havp offered as a compromise,' (namely 90 cents an hour,) is fair and greater than the relative increases. in the cost of living. V Nothing is offered by the Master Builders, ! however, to indicate what investigation the Chamber of Commerce committee made or upon what information it bases its endorsement of the Master Builders' stand. ., r , v ' ; " V'' V . The Chamber of Commerce committee certainly cannot base its endorsement upon" tner fact that the cost of living for. the carpenters has increased over 100 per cent. during the past five years as against an increase in wage of 50 per cent, during that period. v We would further like to ask when and by whom the Chamber of Commerce was ap pointed the supreme court of decision on the' question of whether existing wages are exces- , sive or not, without giving a fair and impartial hearing to all parties concerned? As to the investigation of the Employers' Association we never heard of it. By whom was it conducted, when and where? No labor organization was ever asked for any information as to relative wages and costs of living, that we know of. In any event we can hardly conceive of an investigation conducted by the Employers' Association developing the information that the wages were too low. '.' -.. :-r :: ,' - v ' Consequently we respectfully submit that these endorsements are without value. Ninety Cents an Hour is '-.Not a Fair Wage The assertion that it is found by investigation that the wage which the builders have offered, 90 cents an hour, is a fair rate of wage cannot be borne out by facts. The increase in the cost of carpenters' working tools during the past1 five years has been from 100 per cent, to 300 per cent, and the increase in the cost of work clothes as much or more., Sweet Orr overalls which were 85 cents a pair are now $2.50 while, overalls and jumpers, formerly $1.50, are now $5. This is in addition to the cost of living, previously referred to. Carpenters Have Repudiated 'No Agreement . On September 1, 1919, the carpenters did make an appeal for 75 cents an hour with the r'equest for a signed agreement to April, 1921. The contractors, believing we were demand ing an increase on a falling market, granted the increase but refused to sigBfan agreement. We challenge .the production of a single signed agreement covering this period by any member of the Master Builders' Association. Such being the case we have had no agree ment to repudiate, as charged by the Master Builders. Our Refusal Sustained liy The U. S. Supreme Court Is it any wonder that we refuse to handle this non-union mill work? AND, what is more, we are sustained in this refusal by a decision of the United States Supreme Court in the suit instituted against the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America by the Payne Lumber Company, based upon this very refusal. Arbitration Proposal Apparently Junked Jn January, 1920, in conference between the New Haven Master Builders' committee and the general office of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners a proposition was submitted by the carpenters looking toward the peaceful settlement of our differences without cessation of work. . It was proposed that the Master Builders grant the 90 cents an hour which they pro fess to be willing to give as a minimum rate, leaving the additional 10 cents to be submitted to a board of arbitration. If the arbitration board decided that90 cents was the right price that would have remained the figure without further discussion. We have been led to be lieve that this arbitration proposal was never submitted to the membership of , the Master Builders' Association by its committee. . - , , Another instance of unusual business tactics is disclosed by the fact that on. March 19th, when the secretary of the Master Builders' A ssociation was notified .that unless the car penters received the $1 an hour rate by Monda y, March 22nd, they would cease work, and he told the carpenters that there would be" a meeting of the -board of directors, after which he would notify, the carpenters upon what action was decided upon. Up to the present time no . word has ever been received from him, leaving the Master Builders' Association' one of the very few builders associations in the .country which do business along these lines. - Increases in Rents Due to Wage Increase Negligible We want to say to the rent paying public that the increase in rents, which would result from the increase in our wages, would be so slight on any building that it should not affect inflation of any rents. ' If the public isinterested in knowing where' the increased cost comes in we would sug gest an investigation of the cost of materials. ' The Master Builders' Association employs only about 35 per cent, of the cerpenters in this city and when the independent builders fi nd it possible to pay the increase asked for we don't 'see why it isn't possible for the larger contractor to pay the same scale of wage. . , . - . ...... ... , - . Contractors' Prices for Carpenters May Help, Rent Increases Contractors have been charging $1.25 to $1.50 an hour for the services of the carpenters while paying them 75 cents an hour. Sincere investigators of increased rents may well find food for thought in this fact. They may well ask, is it necessary for any business to charge an added cost of 75 to 100 per cent, for overhead on wages? h. ..... ' . ' . .... "" 'v. Carpenters Only Have 9 Months a Year In considering the carpenters' wages it is well to recall that owing to climatic condi tions a carpenter gets paid for only about 9 months in a year while his extortionate cost of living continues right along for the entire 12 months. ' ' We Stand Opposed to Child Labor In relation to our "Un-American" refusal to handle materials from non-union wood working shops we would say that our stand in regard to this matter is based upon an un ; ' alterable opposition to child labor and the exploitation of helpless workers under conditions . which are a flagrant outrage upon humanity. If this be "Un-American" then to that ex tent we are "Un-American". :' ' In Americanism as we understand the term we yield nothing to any man, as our war record will show, and we are not ready to throw our Americanism aside at the end of the war for the benefit? of our pockets. . Hpw many New Haven home owners realize that the doors in their residences were turned out from immense machines operated by children of 12 years in the "open shop" sash and door factories of the Middle "West and that similar conditions governed the product of the greater proportion of all the hardwood trim t One has only to refer to the reports of Frank P. Walsh as chairman of the Industrial Relations Committee of Congress in order to verify this. Mill owners of THIS section have long desired to have all mills placed on a union basis so that the competition with the "open-shop" mills of the Middle West and South where these conditions exist, might be eliminated. Because of this competition with machine made, child labor products, it is impossible for the skilled mechanic of this section to get just wages. Y WE BELIEVE THAT THE PUBLIC OF NEW HAVEN WILL RECOGNIZE THE JUS TICE OF OUR CLAIMS. , WE BELIEVE THAT THE PUBLIC WILL HAVE NO DIFFICULTY IN SEEING THROUGH THE FLIMSY PRETEXT THAT OUR INCREASE IN WAGES WILL BE THE CAUSE OF INCREASED RENTS. WE BELIEVE THAT THE PUBLIC WILL AGREE WITH US THAT WE ARE EN TITLED TO AN INCREASE IN WAGES SOMEWHERE NEAR IN KEEPING WITH THE INCREASE IN OUR LIVING COSTS. WE BELIEVE TH AT THE PUBLIC WILL REALIZE THAT NO DESIRE TO DIC TATE TERMS ACTUATES OUR EFFORTTHAT IT IS A PURELY SELF DEFENSIVE MOVE, BASED UPON ACTUAL NECESSITY. WE COUNT UPON THE SPHtlT OF FAIR PLAY WHICH PREVAILS IN THIS CITY TO GIVE US A SQUARE DEAL AND FAIR PLAY. ' Signed by the DISTRICT COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS. Endorsed by the NEW HAVEN BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL. . . March 30, 1920. ' i V.