Sidor som bilder

A strong effort was made to induce the employes of the whole Southwest system of railways to join in a general strike; but the employes of that system, outside the Wabash lines, had no complaint to make, and the agreement made in March having been strictly complied with, no cause existed on those lines for a strike; consequently they refused to join.

The Locomotive Engineers also refused to be drawn into expensive, and as far as they were concerned, uncalled for complications. The railway company quietly increased its shop force by employing new men, and no difficulty was experienced in operating the road.

This virtually ended the strike, and the discharged workmen were compelled to seek other employment.


The strike of the conductors and drivers of the several street car lines in St. Louis in October last, was instituted for the purpose of effecting a reduction in time of labor. The claim was made that work of fourteen to eighteen hours per diem was expected of them. Those of the conductors and drivers who quit work at once joined the organization of Knights of Labor, and established an assembly known as "Cleveland Assembly." The management of the strike was in this way placed in the hands of the executive committee of said assembly, and this committee insisted upon a settlement of differences between the street car managers and their employes to be made through its agency. This the street car managers refused to do, but expressed themselves as willing to treat with their own men independently of this committee.

The supply of labor, such as is required to run street cars, being far in excess of the demand, new men could be readily supplied to fill the places made vacant by the strikers, and the strikers, for this reason, failing to accomplish their purpose of stopping the street car service, in some instances resorted to violence, destroying the property of the companies, injuring passengers on the cars, and even endangering the lives of some of them. These actions, in connection with the fact that the strike was inaugurated at a time when St. Louis was full of strangers visiting the Exposition and Fair, lost the strikers all sympathy of the public, and every effort possible was made to stop their lawless acts and bring the perpetrators to justice. The supposed instigators and perpetrators were, however, soon arrested, and the strike practically ended.


The strike of the coal miners at Bevier, Macon county, Mo., was inaugurated April 1, 1885, the miners refusing to work under a proposed reduction of twenty-five per cent. on the preceding year's wages. I was requested by both miners and operators to attempt a settlement of the differences, and, with that end in view, met the miners and operators at Bevier, when I made two propositions, under either of which I supposed an agreement could be reached.

The first was a sliding scale plan—the minimum price for mining coal to be 87 cents a ton, and if the selling price of coal should reach $1.70 or over per ton, forty per cent. of the amount over $1.70 should go to the miner. A committee of employes of the mine was to be appointed every month to examine the books of the operator, and from their report the basis of wages was to be made.

The second plan was that the miners should work at a reduction of. 12 per cent. of the preceding year's wages until the price of coal would warrant better pay.

Both propositions were rejected, not so much on account of the price to be paid, but on account of the recently enacted law, known as the "Screening Law," which provides that the coal shall be weighed on top of the shaft before screening, and paid for on a basis of eighty pounds a bushel.

At a subsequent meeting, held June 11, 1885, an agreement was reached and accepted by both operators and miners, and which also conformed to the "Screening Law." This was as follows:

The price of mining coal from April 1, 1885, to October 1, 1885, to be 3 cents for 100 pounds; and from October 1, 1885, to April 1, 1886, to be 4 cents per 100 pounds, unscreened, mine-run coal, to be weighed on top of the shaft.

Mr. Atwill and Mr. Watson, on behalf of the operators, accepted this proposition. The miners of Mr. Atwill's mine resumed work, but when those employed in Mr. Watson's mine presented themselves to resume work they were requested to sign the following contract, which they refused to do, and the strike was continued until July 1st:


This agreement, made this 16th day of June, A. D. 1885, between W. S. Watson, of the first part, and D. W. Roberts, of the second part, witnesseth:

That said party of the second part has agreed, and by these. presents does agree, to enter into the employment of the said party of the first part, as a miner of coal, to commence on the 16th day of June, A. D. 1885, and continue therein until the 1st day of April, 1886, and to abide by, adhere to and observe all the rules and regulations hereto appended, which are made a part of this contract, and abide by and observe all the rules and regulations promulgated from time to time by the said coal company, with the consent of the party of the second part, for the purpose of regulating mining and other employment in and about the coal mines of the said coal company, and not to be absent without leave, except in case of sickness or other unavoidable contingency that would prevent him from work; also to keep his room in good working order.

The said party of the first part agrees to pay the party of the second part for each 100 pounds of coal mined by him and delivered on pit cars at the face of the room where the same is mined, as follows, viz:

For mining three and a half cents per 100 from April 1, 1885, and four cents from October 1, 1885, to April 1, 1886.

All coal to be thoroughly free of sulphur and clay, not riddled.. Said first party hereby reserves the privilege, however, of closing the mines at any time, or of reducing the number of miners by discharging them, or such of them as the superintendent or person having charge of the mines for the time being may think proper, including said second party. All payments to be made at the regular pay day, and in accordance with the rules and regulations aforesaid; and the pay day will be on the 20th of each month for all wages or moneys that may have been earned during the last calendar month previous to such pay day.

And it is hereby expressly agreed to and understood by the party of the second part, that should he become a tenant of the party of the first part, during the term of this engagement, that in case of its termination, either by his discharge from said company's employ, or in any other way, he will vacate the premises so occupied by him as early as praticable thereafter, upon verbal notice from the company's agent or superintendent, and that he will not be entitled to receive any part of the wages due him for labor performed, should the party of the first part so elect, until the premises are vacated, and the keys of the same delivered at the company's office.

And the party of the second part further agrees that he will not stop work, join any "strike" or combination for the purpose of obtaining or causing the company to pay their miners an advance of

wages, or pay beyond what is specified in this contract, nor will he in any way aid, abet, or countenance any such "strike," combination or scheme for any purpose whatever during the time specified in the first clause of said contract. And if the second party shall violate any of the provisions of this contract in this regard, at any time, he shall thereby forfeit all claims for coal previously mined and not paid for, and the first party be released from liability therefor.


I. Every employe of the Company will be required to be ready for duty when the whistle blows for work, every morning, and will be expected to perform a full day's work of ten hours in his respective line of employment, unless the foreman of his department orders less time to be worked. Engineers are strictly forbidden to lower any miner or underground laborer into any pit after seven o'clock, a. m., without order from the Pit-Boss or person in charge of the pit head.

II. No suspension of work shall take place during working hours, except in case of actual necessity.

III. Any employe feeling aggrieved in any respect, must present his claim to the Pit Boss in person. If they fail to adjust the matter in a manner satisfactory to the employe, it may be referred to the Superintendent, (if either party desire), whose decision, upon the hearing of both sides of the question, will be final.

IV. Any employe who may have been discharged by the Company, or who, with the consent of the Company, may have left its service, shall receive all arrearages of pay due him at once. The Company will consent to their employes leaving their service without previous notice, except under circumstances that in their judgment would indicate bad faith.

V.-No person will be allowed to interfere in any manner with the employer's just right of employing, retaining and discharging from employment, any person or persons whom the superintendent or Pit-Boss having charge of the mines for the time being may consider proper; nor interfere in any way, by threats or menace, or otherwise, with the right of any employe to work, engage to work in any way, and upon any terms, and with whom he may think proper and best for his interest, or the benefit of his family.

VI. No employe will be permitted to fill his place by another man without the consent of the Superintendent.

VII. Every employe will be paid once a month, at the regular pay day, all wages or moneys he may have earned during the last calendar

month previous to such pay day after deducting any indebtedness which such employe may owe to the Company, or which the Company, with the consent of such employe, may have assumed to pay to any

other person.

VIII.-It shall be the duty of every miner working in the mines to keep his room in said mines in good order and repair; and any such miner who shall willfully, negligently, or carelessly suffer his room to get out of order or repair, and who shall not, upon request, immediately put the same in repair, the Company may put such room in repair at the expense of the miner in default, and may retain the amount of such expense from the next or any future payment to which said employe would be otherwise entitled, until fully reimbursed for such expense.

IX. No miner who has left the employment of the Company, whether voluntarily or by discharge, will be entitled to receive any arrearages of pay due him for labor performed, whether on the regular pay day or during the interval preceding pay, until he shall have put his room and road way in perfect working order, as required by his contract with the Company. All miners leaving said employment will be required to procure the certificate of the Pit-Boss that they have complied with the requirements of this rule, as aforesaid, before making application at the Company's office for final payment.

X.-Any tenant of the company, upon leaving its service, whether voluntarily or by discharge, will not be entitled to receive any part of the wages due him for labor performed, until he shall have vacated the premises occupied by him, (should the Superintendent or other person in charge of the mines for the time being so elect), and presented the keys of the same at the office.

A settlement of the differences caused by the new screen law was effected June 26, 1885, at Rich Hill, to which place I had been called by both operators and miners, on the following terms:

Miners in the Rich Hill mines to be paid 50 cents per ton, or 2 cents per 80 lbs. of mine run coal, to be weighed on top of the shaft. For sixty days, beginning July 1, 1885, the coal to be reweighed after screening, the percentage of loss in 80 lbs. of mine run coal by screening to be the basis upon which the price to be paid shall be fixed, not to be below 2 cents for 80 lbs.., thereby making wages equal to those received before the strike.

This settlement was satisfactory to all concerned, and finally the miners in all other mining camps, including those of Bevier, resumed work on practically the same basis, varied only by dissimilar conditions of mines.

L S-2

« FöregåendeFortsätt »