A meeting of those interested in the formation of a society to secure a uniform hour of closing amongst business places in the town was held at the Young Women’s Christian Association Rooms last evening. Mr T. Howard occupied the chair, and there was a large attendance of male and female shop assistants. The Chairman Bald the meeting that night was largely attributable to Mr Braithwaite’s failure to secure combination amongst the drapers in regard to the matter of early closing. It seemed as if nothing short of the formation of a society would accomplish what Mr Braithwaite had failed in. He (the chairman) was selected as one of a deputation to wait upon Mr Macdonald, who had held out against Mr Braithwaite. It was said that he had been approached in a wrong manner, but after leaving him he (the speaker) was that no amount of argument could ever induce Mr Macdonald to close early,—(Laughter.) _Mr Chinn, who formed one of the deputation, used every persuasion with Mr Macdonald, who, however, denied receiving any benefit from closing at six o’clock. They then told him that they had pledged themselves to use every endeavor to compel him to close, and that they would do it.—(Hear, hear.) At a previous meeting a committee was formed to endeavor to draft a constitution of some sort upon which to form a society. That had been done, and a very fair basis for a society would be brought before the meeting. It had been found during the week that there was a good deal of sympathy with the movement from different quarters, but something more than sympathy was wanted. He thought they had depended too much upon sympathy alone, and they now saw that it was necessary for them to take some active steps and see what they, as employes, could do for themselves. In forming the society they should, if possible, make it as representative of all businesses as possible, and that night an opportunity would be offered of electing office-bearers from all businesses. It, however, did not follow that because they were a mixed society that one branch of the trade must fail to close early because the society failed to get any other particular branch to close.—(Hear, hear.) If they went in for making everybody close they might fail, whereas if they started with as many as possible they might afterwards induce others to come in with them. He thought they would be able to form a very large society. Some fifty-five of the employes of the house with which he was connected were prepared to join, as also were a large number connected with other houses.
ARTICLES OF CONSTITUTION, The Secretary (Mr A. Millar) then read the articles of constitution, which were as follows: known as the “ Early Closing Association,” and shall consist of employes in retail houses. (2) The Association is established for the purpose of reducing the hours of labor in all retail houses to reasonable limits. (3) Having secured a uniform hour of closing, to use any legitimate means to make the movement permanent by bringing judicious pressure to bear upon any de? faulting employer, by example and other educating influences upon the (4) Further, to draw up a list of all holidays occurring during the year, and submit the same to the employers for their confirmation ; the Committee to have power to deal with all special holidays in conjunction with employers. (5) The management of the society shall be vested in a president, vicepresident, secretary, treasurer, and seven members of committee (representing the various businesses, and elected in accordance with the rules), and who shall be known as the Committee, Mr Simon wished to know if thefarticles of constitution, as read, fixed tho time of closing ? The Chairman replied that the hour waa yet to bo fixed—the articles simply said “ reducing the hours of labor to a reasonable limit,” and that limit would be fixed by the Committee.
Mr Gale thought that the society should include all persons who were employed in wholesale establishments.
The Chairman c The articles of constitution state that the Association shall pnly consist of employes in retail houses, Mr Gale : That’s a mistake, I fancy, I would suggest The Chairman thought that Mr Gale’s suggestion should be put to the meeting as a motion.
Mr Gale therefore moved—" That the words ‘ in all places of buainess ’ be inserted instead of the words ‘inretail houses.’ ” This was agreed to, Mr Corrigan asked why employers should not be members of the Committee as well as employes. The Chairman replied that it rested with the meeting whether the society should bo controlled by employes only, or partly controlled by employes. They wished to show no disrespect to the employers, but should any dispute arise in the future, they would be handicapped by having employers on the Committee. They would not be able to express their sentiments so freely. The employers could become members of the society, bat would have no voting power, Mr Harlock said the chairman had referred to a defaulting person—a shopkeeper who distinctly refused to close, and it had been said that compulsion would be Used to effect the desired object. What authority had they to compel any man to close ? There was no power other than by legislation that could compel a man to close. They had no power at any rate. The ChA i ®M an drew Mr Harlock’s attention to the fact that Article 3 of the constitution said that the members would use any legitimate means to make the movement permanent—by pressure, by example, and by other educating influences. As long as legitimate means were resorted to, there was no harm} A Voice : We won’t break his windows. The Chairman said that the members would, of course, give an expression of opinion as to the most advisable course to pursue. Ope member would have to be guided by the other members of Committee. Mr Haelock asked if, when ap employer objected to close at the time specified, a system of boycotting would be instituted ?
The Chairman said that if boycotting were instituted the members of tho Committee would have to give their concurrence to that course being pursued. Mr Berry proposed, and Mr Anderson seconded, and it was agreed, that the articles of constitution as amended be adopted. This was carried.
The proposed rules of the society were then read and considered seriatim.
Mr Simon considered that LI for honorary members, as suggested by the rules of the society, was too much, and would debar employers from becoming honorary members. Five shillings was quite enough, and he would move that the annual subscription should be fis. jit was not the employers’ money that the society \yanted, it was the employers themselves, and they sflquld be glad to get jtbem at any price. A discussion epsued, the annual subscription for honorary niembers being ultimately fixed at 10s fid, on the motion of Mr Stewart, seconded by Mr CpiNN. Mr Cottrell thought that employers should be admitted as members of the socjety, and be allowed to vote tho sapie as pther members of the society, and he moved accordingly. The CpAjtRMAN said that there was a g°°d representative meeting, and perhaps it would be just as well to t.eat th,e feeling of those present ip the matter. Mr EeILWV was of opinion tfiat employers should have a say 1“ the management of the society as well as employes. In consequence of a certain amount of influence which would be gained by allowing employers to become members much good would be done to the society. He seconded the motion.
Mr Baxter thought the admitting of employers would interfere with the right of speech of the fltfler members of the Association, There were doubtless a few technical points which would have to b.e settled at some time or other, and instead of there being any talking done by employes at the meeting, the talking would be reserved for outside.
Mr Cottrell said that the employes
would not be debarred from talking by the presence of employers. The former could talk until they were blue in the face, Mr Baxter thought Mr Cottrell was too anxious to get the employers enrolled as members. He (the speaker) could not make it out, and thought that there was something hidden—something under all this (Cries of “ No ” and “ Hear.”) Mr Bellgtt thought that a man should speak bis mind, no matter where he was. They should speak out at any meeting, and not allow anything to keep their opinions back.—(Hear.) The Secretary said that it was useless to discuss the matter, because the first article of constitution, which had been passed, settled the matter—employers could not become other than honorary members.
ELECTION OF OFFICE-BEARERS. The election of office-bearers resulted (as follows:—President, the Rev. Rutherford Waddell (proposed by Mr Masters, seconded by Mr Chinn); vice-president, Mr J. Todd (A. and T. Inglis); hon. secretary, Mr T. Howard ; hon. treasurer, Mr A, Millar; committee Messrs Cottrell, jun, (fancy goods), Fowler (bootmanufacturing), J. A. X. Reidle (m usic warehouse), Anderson (bakery), Turner, Bellett (bookselling), and Kerr. The Secretary mentioned that 171 persons had promised to become members of the Association.
Mr Masters suggested that the Association should use every endeavor to secure a weekly half-holiday. —(Applause.) The Chairman promised that the Committee would do their best to carry out Mr Masters’s suggestion. The meeting terminated with votes of thanks to the chairman and the Press.
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EARLY CLOSING., Evening Star, Issue 8015, 18 September 1889
EARLY CLOSING. Evening Star, Issue 8015, 18 September 1889
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