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THE SWEATING QUESTION.

FOURTH EDITION. PdBUSHED AT 5.40 P.M.

There was a meeting of the Dunedin Clothing Manufacturers’ Association on Monday night for the purpose of considering a letter and a schedule of prices which had been forwarded by Mr J. A. Millar, secretary to the Tailoreases’ Union. After lengthy consideration it was unanimously resolved to forward the following reply Dunedin, August 27, 1889. Ur John A. Millar. Sir,—Your letter of the 20th inst., addressed to the various clothing manufacturers, was considerel at a meeting of the ( lotting Manufacturers’ Association of New Zealand held yesterday, in n-ply, we beg to state : That the manufacturers of Dunedin, in sympathy with pub ic feeling, hj ,vs lately formed themselves into au assoc atim, the object o' which is to prevent any sweating system taking root in New Zeila d. They have adopted a “log ” un.ier which fair wages can be tamed by workers, but not so high as to b ing out tho cost of clothing osn.h a pr : c ■ as will again increase importation, and Thus throw a great number of femaleß out of employment altogether, and prove an injury not only to the manufacturer, but to too community general I r. We believe that in a trade principally employing females, who ore continually changing their vocation by entering into the married state, a union will be beset with many difficulties. We enclose the Association’s “lov from which you will see that all the Dunedin firms have agreed not to pry lower prices than those fixed by the Association, but leave competition for labor open, any manufacturer being at liberty to pay higher prices. To adopt the prices fixul in your “log” as the minimum would destroy half the manufacturing trade of Dunedin. This /s.ociathrn cannot therefore adopt your "log,” but are willing to ente tiin and give full consideration to any suggestion yonr or any other committee Laving the interest of the workers at heart may make to them. We beg to inform you that we learn that tho wagos psi'l in Auckland are from 20 to 25 per o iiit. le.s than tlvse paid in Dun din. This Association are, however, taking steps to have their “log”f;dopted throughout New Zealand. In conclusion, we Ing to say that the clothing manufacturers of Dunedin having built up a large trade (by far the largest in New Z aland) to the advantage of the whole community, hope that this trade will not be driven away by undue trad harassing interf. rence and we trust sincerely that this communication will have ycur most serious consideration. —We have, etc., (Signed) Hallhnstihn Bugs and Co, Mourns and '•kelyk. Inneb and M'Faelan?. levt, Gtthkie, and Co. Ross AND GLBNDININO (per J. Herons). The Committee of the Tailoresees’ Union also met on Mondav night, and it was agreed that should the reply of the manufacturers be unfavorable a general meeting of the Union be held on Tuesday night to consider the situation. Yesterday the Rev. E. Waddell, president of the’Union, met the manufacturers, but without any good result, the manufacturers declining to abide by any schedule of prices fixed by the Union. The meeting of the Union in tho Choral Hall last evening was attended by about 500 ( members. The manufacturers’ reply having 1 been read and discussed it was unanimously resolved—"Thatacommittee of thisUnionbe formed, to meet on Wednesday afternoon at I two o’clock with any other committee that i the manufacturers may appoint, to see if an att Jcable settlement can be come to ; failing this that tho workers come out on Thursday morning.” A vigilance committee of twentyfive or thirty was also formed for the purpose of taking turns in watchmg the factories and aset rtainlng the names of those who work in them during the time a “strike” is on. TO-DAY’S MEETING. JHE STRIKE AVERTED. mi / vr , nr«.' f iirers’ As-‘'cia*ion met this : . rfAU>tdu*s office, and after j aj Mr tiauv » rT . i Tim combined meeting was acocnlinglv held tins afternoon at the" Young Women’s Oarisdan Assoc... tion Rooms, there being present l ' Hallenstein, Kerens (Ross £ nd Morris (Morris and See lye), GatLrml&uth , and Lew). MF.r’ane (Innesand 5.J taiiai e) on behalf of the Association, and Me«r ß <f> A. Millar, C. Smith. Robert Slater, Fielding, G, Newton, Mias Morrison, and Alias unanimously resolved to ask Mr G. Fenwick to take the chair. Mr Millaxi explained how the meeting name to bo called, and said that the main /.bipok of the Union was to ask tho manufacturers if they would recognise the Union t atpresent constituted. That was the mala*point, and as to the others the Union were prepared to see on wimble arrangement corns to Without resorting to measures which would inflict hardship upon both AN asked whether, in the event of the manufacturers’ reply being ™ «»e affirmative, ths representatives of the Union were empowered to wmo to an orrangJirraJl*^

i Mr MILtAB replied that they were deft, i nitely empowered to come to an under- , standing with tho Association, if possible. ; They hod the power to come to a definite agreement. Mr Hallenstein said that at the manufacturers' meeting this morniog the question of the'Uuion was discussed. He had brought under the notice of those present that under certain arrangements unions had clone a great deal of good and under other arrangements had done a great deal of evil; but he thought a union might be so composed as to leave out the bad and have only the good result. He had in his hands tho resolution which had been come to, and might mention that it hnd been approved of by several persons, including Sir R. Stout, to whom he had shown it. The resolution which he desired to put forward as a proposal was as follows :—"That the Tailoresses' Union and the manufacturers should be governed by a committee, consisting of say two members chosen by the workers, two chosen by the manufacturers, and that these four should elect two outside members quite unconnected with the trade. These two outside numbers shall then agree upnn an umpire, to whom only such matters as cannot be agreed upon by the Committee shall be referred." He would not Bay anything in favor of the proposal, but sincerely trusted it would be the means of averting the calamity of disorganising a large trade. The Chairman said that before any discussion took place he would like to give his opinion on the matter. He did so as being entirely unbiassed, and as being not immediately interested, though, as all would recognise, every member of the community must have an indirect interest in the settlement of the question. So far as he was able to judge of Mr Hallenstein'a proposal—of course he had not given it very full consideration—he would say that it was an eminently fair one; but he took it that it should be. a condition precedent to tliu formation of this Board that tho Tailoresses' Union be recognised by the manufacturers. If that were conceded Mr Hallenstein intimated that it would be. The Chairman said that this lining so the whole thing was ended. Mr Hilar was quito willing that the other m;: tO.'J shou d be submitted to the Board. Mr Millar said that there was "one other matter that ought to be settled by this meeting, but he would speak of it hereafter. The Chairman said that at any rate the cardinal point was the recognition of the Union. He thought all the othcrs'could be got over. After some ducußsion, Mr Millar said that he did not think his Committee would object to the Board of Conciliation, so long as there was equal representation on both Bides. Mr Hallensiein objected to call it a Board of Conciliation. It was that, of course, but not only that. The Board would have power to fix. a log, and say what work should be given out, and so forth. Mr Millar : Then they practically take the power out of the hands of the Union. Mr Hallenstein : They would be the Union. Mr Millar said that according to that reasoning the Union might have members on the Manufacturers' Association. Mr Herocs,: It is practically an amalgamation. Mr Millar said that the proposal would meet with the Union's fullest approval, so long as it was provided that when the separate interests clashed the matters should be referred to this Board. But he did not see how the Union could have manufacturers in the Union. He did not think it would be possible to work on those lines. Mr Hercus : Suppose we try a constitution on that basis. It is worth trying. Mr Slater thought they were losing sight of the main question, which was : Are the manufacturers prepared to recognise the Union ? Get that settled first. The Chairman thought this was putting the matter in an unfair light. He took it that the manufacturers had agreed to recognise the Union, and thereby agreed to employ only Union labor. That was the cardinal point. Mr Hallenstein had, he understood, agreed to that. Mr Hallenstein : Oh, yes. The Chaiuman said that if the Union. Committee only looked at the matter fairly and squarely they would see that the proposal would operate equitably. Mr Newton questioned this, and thought that'.vkh their experience of the past thi-y should bo very particular as to what they did. Mr Hallenstein remarked that if his proposal were given effect to there would really be no Manufacturers' Association. Miss Morrison was of opinion that if the proposal were carried out they might as well dissolve the Union. There would be nothing for it to do. Mr Hallenstein said that there were many minor things that the Union could look after. But with all important questions, such as the fixing of a log, the Joint Committee alone would have power. He did not wish to have a one-sided committee, but would be perfectly prepared to vote for such a man as the Rev. R. Waddell as a member. Miss Morrison : It was never known in the hibtory of trades unionism to have manufacturers on it. Mr Hallenstein : No; this is a new departure. It will bo an improvement, and will only lead to good. Mr Smith said that the proposal altered the constitution of the Union altogether, and the members of Committee had no authority to do that. Mr Millar said that the manufacturers, as he understood, now recognised tho Union. Was that not so ? Mr Hallenstein said that it was so, eubject to the proposal submitted. Mt Millar said that supposing for a moment the recognition were conceded, would it not facilitate matters if they went through the rules to s<?e what the manufacturers objected to, and thus get things into some shape ? Mr Hallenstein said that this was a matter he could not say much about right off. Some discussion ensued as to the basis on which the proposed Board should act. The Chairman thought it inadvisable to hurry Hie matter through, and suggested the calling of a full meeting. Mr Millar said that if the motion were carried the Committee would have power not ouly to make a log but to frame the tailoresses' rules, i Mr Hallenstein : Why should they not have power to have & say in the working of I their own business ? i After further discussion, I Mr Millar said that the matter to which he had before referred as important was this : | He would ask Mr Hallenstein if the manufacturers would agree to this rule of the ! Union :—" No member of this Union to work in a shop where non-unionists are engaged without they receive the consent of the Committee to do so." Tne Chairman remarked that that was

already agreed to. Mr Hallenstein said that that was so. Mr Millar remarked that he was satisfied so long aa the principle was affirmed. It wan one of the vital principles of trado unionism. Mr llallesstein remarked that it would be ucccssHiy iu; him to lay tho proceedings | before a meeting of manufacturers, but practically the questions in ilisputo might be considered tetiled. The manufacturers would, of course, require to look through ' the rules just drafted by the Union. He i would be Lappy to go through them with Mr Millar. The Gii A i km an suggested that it would be better, to prevent ir.iut&kes, that tho agreement ccme to should be put down in W'.jting. Tlila was done, and The Cuaiu&ia* said that after_ this aralc.il/e meeting there seemed to him to \ be nothing in dispute but inoro matters of ' detail. These involved the question of J altering the constitution of the Union, and those present had no power to do that without a general meoting of the Union. But . tha p'oMßftl WM fusible, and it only | wanted a meeting gt tly puffin to bring the i matters in dispute to au e»a» I A short discussion ensued aa to the method ! rtf .Valine with the rules relating to " outaids'' H' Millar stating that the .' rule of 'ihy Tiiiloiwrp' L Tnio:i d,Bt » n ? tl y I stated that such work sjiog d ig future be done outside, i ' Mr Haixexsteih asked whether tne W AU»faQti)r9r» w?f e *9 abide ty tbe ,ulw of

the Union, baoause loma required to be a'tered. Mr Millar said that theirs were not the laws of the Medes and Persians. The Board of Arbitration would have power to alter them as they thought fit. Mr Hallenstein referred to the apprenticeship of the coat and vest hands. Some of the members of the Manufacturers' Association thought that a two years' apprenticeship was too long. Miss Morrison said that in passing that rule the interests of tho employers had been studied. The Tailoresses' Union thought that the employers were entitled to some remuneration, and that was why tho term had been fixed. Mr Hallenstein said that he spoke in the interests of the girls themselves, but if the Joint Committee considered that and other questions it would be all right. Mr Millar said that if tho Board of Arbitration or Joint Committee decided re particulars, and made any alterations, the Union would thereupon work under those rules for twelve months, and then any alterations that might be desired could be effected. The Union, however, could not allow the Committee to interfere with them —the Union would control themselves. A Member stating that he considered there was something under the manufacturers' wording of the resolution, Mr Fenwick replied that there really was nothing more than was conveyed on the surface. Their only desire, he was sure, was to settle the matter in an amicable manner. Mr Millar said that the Joint Committee would be constituted for the purpose of settling all disputes. The Chairman mentioned that the decisions of the Joint Committee would be binding on both sides. Before they could settle the matter properly some little disputes would arise. Mr Slater wanted to know whether members of the Joint Committee would he allowed to attend the meetings of the Union. Mr Hallenstein thought that that question was immaterial. Mr Millar said that the manufacturers would have no control over the internal working of the Union. The latter had fixed upon certain things in connection with particular departments which the Joint Committee could not alter. Mr Hallenstein and Mr Guthrie intimated that they had no desire to go to the meetings of the Union. Mr Millar inquired if tho Union desired to help a sister society, to affiliate with another society, to refuse to admit a certain person as a member, would the Manufacturers' Committee wish to have any say in the Union's decision ? Mr Guthrie : Yes. Mr Millar : I say that we will not, and we have decided that we will not. The Chairman said that he had not the slightest doubt but that the matter would be settled by the Board of Arbitration or Joint Committee. The manufacturers, he felt sure, did not want to interfere with the working of the Union. After lengthy and careful consideration the following was drafted as a statement of the agreement arrived at: — Y.M.C.A.. August 29, 1889. A meeting of the manufacturers and Committee from the Uuion was held this afternoon. Mr G. Fenwick was unanimously elected to the chair Af cer tho opening remarks of the chairman th.G secretary of t\ie TJn ; .ori explained tlie ymrpoßes for which the meeting had been called, and stated that beforegoingintoany business he would like to ask the manufacturers if they recognised the Tailoresses' Union as at present constituted. Jn reply to the chairman, Mr Hallenstein, on behalf of the manufacturers, stated they did, subject to the appointment of a joint committee, to whom shall be submitted all poinds in dispute between the manufacturers end the Union. Further, that part of tho basis of constitution of the Joint Committee shall be the primary right to determine the log to be in force, and Mich other leading principles as may be mutually ag'eed upon be.ween the manufacturers and the Union. Mr Hallenstein pointed out that in his opinion it would be of advantage. After considerable discussion, them was a unanimous opinion tba f , a joint committee should be formed to settle matters of dispute which may from time to time arise, the decision of such joint committee to bn binding on both sides. Mr Hallenstein wi.-hed to know if the rules were haid and fast or not, as if the committee were going to alter them at any time tho manufacturers should be consulted about i-ueh alteration if they offecttd tbrm, find if nece-tary th.it they should b) refeired to the Joint Committee. It was resolved that tho Joint Committee should be appointed in the following manner : Tho Tailoresses' Union to appoint two (2) members, the manufacturers to appoint two (2) members and the.-e four (4) rrembers to elect two (2) additional members quito unconnected with the manufacturers or Union, and these two outbide members to appoint a third member, ono of these three last-mentioned members to be chairman. In tho event of a tie in any voting the chairman *o have a oistirg vote. The above minutes were passed unanimously, as a correct iccord of the outcome of the deliberations of the meeting. George Fenwick, Chairman. Tho meeting then terminated. The Rev. R. Waddell has received a letter from the Christchurch Union stating that the prices at present paid there are higher than the prices proposed to be paid here. A tailoresses' union is in course of formation in Auckland.

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Bibliographic details

THE SWEATING QUESTION., Issue 7997, 28 August 1889

Word Count
3,101

THE SWEATING QUESTION. Issue 7997, 28 August 1889

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