Delegates from the Association of Federation Workers, representing more than five hundred employes of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, 71 West Forty-seventh street, appealed last night to the Federation board of trustees for the rescinding of wage cuts and the resumption of the practice of annual salary increases.
Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, president of Federation, declared that the board of trustees would refuse to take notice of this demand.
In their statement to the board, the Federation workers declared that Federation, in ignoring their repeated protests, “has relegated to a position of unimportance the question of salary standards of workers in Federation agencies. The workers are dissatisfied and impatient, and feel that by March of 1934 they are entitled to know what salaries they are receiving for the year which began in January.”
According to members of the delegation, Judge Proskauer then asked, “Has anybody else got anything to say?” Cora Lieberman, spokesman for the workers, replied, “We are waiting for an answer.” “There will be no answer.” Judge Proskauer replied.
The association represents 500 Federation employes, most of them being case workers and clerical workers. The association sent a telegram to the board of trustees, demanding a definite answer by Thursday, when they will hold a general meeting.
Judge Proskauer, in a statement last night characterized the committee as representing a very negligible number of Federation employes. “I am delighted to say that the vast majority of our employes have complete loyalty to Federation.”
Describing the precarious financial position of Federation at the present time. Judge Proskauer declared that the board of trustees will nevertheless ask the various charitable institutions to make certain restorations in the low-salaried grades. The parent organization has no authority to carry out this demand, he declared.
Judge Proskauer quoted from a correspondence between Mary van Kleeck, director of studies at the Russell Sage Foundation, who defended the Federation employes, and himself. In his letters, Judge Proskauer declared, “We are starting the year 1934 with a reduction in pledges and no reserves whatever. In addition, we have to face increased commodity costs. The stark fact remains that with a given amount of money we can cut down in only two places–one is in our salary scale; the other is in the amount of relief given to the unfortunate, for whose succor we are organized.”