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James O'Meara, stoneyard, Balti- Controversy. Stoneyard workers.. Hours of labor.

Indian Valley Coal Co., Shick

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Work of United States Board of Mediation, 1930-31

HE United States Board of Mediation was constituted under the terms of the railroad labor act of 1926, to handle cases of dispute which the carriers and their employees have been unable to settle in conference. When disputes between carriers and their employees can not be settled through mediation proceedings, the law directs that the Board of Mediation shall endeavor to induce the parties to submit their controversy to arbitration. The arbitration board shall be composed of three or of six members, as the parties may determine, one-third of whom shall represent the carriers, one-third the employees, and one-third shall be neutral. If the representatives of the carriers and of the employees fail to name the neutral member or members of the board, it becomes the duty of the Board of Mediation to appoint such member or members.

As shown by the annual report of the board for the year 1930-31, it began operations in July, 1926, since which time 618 cases involving changes in rates of pay, rules, or working conditions have been submitted to the board. Of these 618 cases, 504 had been disposed of by June 30, 1931; 54 of these were acted upon during the fiscal year covered by this report. Of these 54 cases, 24 were settled through mediation, 4 were submitted to arbitration, 12 were withdrawn through mediation, 6 were withdrawn during process of investigation, 2 were withdrawn without mediation consideration, and 6 were retired without mediation proceedings by action of the board. At the end of the year one of the four cases submitted to arbitration during the year July 1, 1930, to July 1, 1931, had been concluded, and one case was withdrawn before the award was rendered. In the remaining two cases the interested parties had not met in an effort to agree upon the appointment of the remaining arbitrator or arbitrators.

Since July, 1926, the board has also received 596 cases involving grievances or differences arising out of the interpretation or application of existing agreements concerning rates of pay, rules, or working conditions which had not been decided by an appropriate adjustment board by which they had been considered. Of these 596 cases, 413 had been disposed of by June 30, 1931; 248 of these were acted upon during the fiscal year covered by this report. Of these 248 cases, 74 were settled through mediation, 113 were submitted to arbitration, 58 were withdrawn through mediation, 1 was withdrawn without mediation consideration, and 2 were closed without mediation proceedings by action of the board. At the end of the year, 10 of the 113 cases submitted to arbitration during the year July 1, 1930, to July 1, 1931, had been concluded with 3 arbitration proceedings. In the remaining 103 cases which involve 3 arbitration proceedings, the interested parties had not met in an effort to agree upon the appointment of the remaining arbitrator or arbitrators, or were making effort to otherwise dispose of their differences.

Of the total of 1,214 cases of all characters thus far received and accepted for mediation, 917 cases have been disposed of as follows: By mediation 376 cases, by arbitration 183, by withdrawal through mediation 265, by voluntary withdrawal 32, and by board action 61. Of the 297 unsettled cases, 276 have been assigned for mediation, and practically all of these assigned cases have had the attention of mediators in initial conferences. There remain 21 cases unassigned to mediators.

During the year covered by this report the board rendered two interpretations of mediation agreements, making a total of three interpretations rendered in the 376 cases disposed of through mediation agreements during the 5-year period.

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Industrial Disputes in Porto Rico, 1930-31

'N THE fiscal year 1930-31 there were 41 industrial disputes in Porto Rico, including strikes and other controversies, according to a typewritten summary prepared by the mediation and conciliation commission of that island. Approximately 12,000 employees were involved in these disputes. The largest strike in the year under review was on the sugar plantation of the United Porto Rican Sugar Co. The conflict involved thousands of laborers in seven towns. The demand of the strikers was for better labor conditions. At the request of the parties to the controversy the commission visited the towns affected by the strike and on March 9, 1931, the dispute was terminated with the signing of an agreement before that body

Another strike against the United Porto Rican Sugar Co. was begun on February 5, 1931, on the Island of Vieques. Over 1,300 agricultural laborers were involved. On February 12 the commission went to the island and the controversy was satisfactorily adjusted on February 16.

The strike against the Yabucoa Sugar Co., which started on January 10, 1931, involved about 3,000 laborers. Some 10 days later, after the commission had an interview with the company and the workers' representative, an agreement was signed.

The number taking part in the conflicts in the tobacco industry ranged from 50 in the cigar makers' strike at Gurabo on August 23, 1930, to 400 in the tobacco strippers' strike at Vega Baja in the middle of July, 1930.

Among the other industries in which strikes occurred in the year covered in the commission's report are: Baking, dock work, hat manufacturing, municipal work, newspaper work, bookbinding, fruit packing, coffee selection, iron-foundry work, and needle work. The most outstanding strike in these industries, as far as numbers of strikers are concerned, was that on January 19, 1931, of 250 fruit packers at Bayamon. The demand was for higher wages and a. reduction in working hours. After the commission had gone twice to the place of the controversy the employers, the Porto Rican Consolidated Co., made a proposal which met the favor of the employees, and work was resumed.

Strikes in Greater Shanghai, 1931

N 1930 in Greater Shanghai there were 82 strikes and 5 lockouts

A report on these industrial conflicts has been compiled by the bureau of social affairs of the above-mentioned municipality. The following data are taken from that publication..

Of the 87 disputes, 78 or nearly 90 per cent were concerned with collective bargaining. The question of wages constituted the main cause of conflict, 36 controversies having to do with this matter. Other questions in dispute were, in the order of their importance: Engagement or dismissal, 13 cases; collective agreement, 12 cases; and treatment which was the cause of friction, 9 cases. The remaining causes of dispute were comparatively insignificant.

The results of the disputes were as follows: Workers' demands entirely accepted in 21 cases, partially accepted in 38 cases, and rejected in 22 cases. Employers' demands were partially accepted in 4 cases and rejected in 1 case. The outcome of the controversy was not known in 1 case.

In the 87 strikes and lockouts occurring in 1930 the total number of man-days lost was 810,102, and the total wage loss, Mexican dollars, was $469,477 (United States currency $141,782).1

The strikes and lockouts are classified in the following table by industrial groups, by nationality of management, by number of workers involved, and by number of man-days lost.


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1 Conversion into United States currency on basis of Mexican dollar at par-30.2 cents.

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