Arbitrators Announce Decision Settling Strike in Garment Industry

Terminating the twenty-five weeks’ strike of garment workers the arbitration board which heard the dispute between the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union and the American Association of Cloak and Suit Manufacturers, made public its award affecting 20,000 workers employed in 800 shops on Monday night.

The award, regarded as a substantial victory for the union, was based not upon the agreement with the Industrial Council, as desired by the contractors, but upon the old agreement between the union and the American Association. The award, which is binding upon both sides, is to serve as the basis of a new collective agreement.

Members of the American Association, employing thirty-five workers from the date of this agreement to June 1, 1928, and thereafter a regular force of forty or more workers, who have been manufacturers or sub-manufacturers in the industry for two years, and who have given thirty-two weeks of employment or its equavalent during the year preceding the reorganization date, shall have the right to displace not to exceed 10 per cent of their workers subject to the following limitations:

(a) That workers displaced shall be replaced through the employment bureau.

(b) That workers discharged in pursuance of such reorganization shall receive a week’s pay.

(c) That reorganization rights shall only be exercised in the months of June, 1927, June, 1928, and December, 1928.

(d) That there shall be no unfair discrimination for union activity in connection with such discharges.

(e) That the new firms admitted to membership in the American Association shall not have the privilege of reorganization until they have been members of the American Association for at least six months.

With reference to the other questions submitted to the arbitrators, the decision is that the old contract between the union and the manufacturers should be used as the basis for the new contract between the two parties. The arbitrators, therefore, ruled:

1. That there shall be no change in the clause of the contract relating to the unionization of designers.

2. That there shall be no change in the clause of the contract covering procedure in discharge.

3. That there shall be no change in the clause of the contract covering access to the shops of the American Association members, and providing for the investigation of complaints.

4. That the reduction in hours and increase in minimum wage scales stipulated in the contract recently entered into with the inside manufacturers shall be embodied in the contract now being negotiated with the sub-manufacturers.

The arbitration board was composed of Judge Bernard L. Shientag, chairman; Herbert Lehman and Professor Lindsay Rogers, of Columbia, all members of Governor Smith’s advisory commission for reorganization of the garment industry. It was the rejection of this commission’s report by the ousted Communist leaders of the New York Cloak Makers Union which led to the prolonged and disastrous strike.

A meeting of 2,000 garment workers at Cooper Union Monday night unanimously ratified the award. Other workers will consider it during the week.

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