Completely reversing his stand on the poultry market situation, Market Commissioner William Fellowes Morgan yesterday apologized to officials of Shochtim Union Local 440 for his statement last week that slaughterers are being overpaid, and left with Mayor LaGuardia’s secretary, Major Dunham, a recommendation that Arthur Simon, Health Department investigator in charge of kashruth, be appointed mediator in the poultry market difficulties.
The apology took place at City Hall where a delegation from Local 440, headed by Philip Chodesh, president of the union, called to protest to Mayor LaGuardia the statement last week by Commissioner Morgan.
Since the Mayor was out of town, Major Dunham took the delegation into the office of Louis Lande, chief examiner for the Board of Aldermen.
Dunham phoned Morgan requesting him to come to City Hall, and he arrived shortly afterwards. Before Commissioner Morgan members of the delegation delivered an impassioned protest against his statement.
Officials of the union said he made the statement while under the influence of market proprietors and with no real knowledge of the situation.
The price of slaughtering poultry in the kosher manner, it was demonstrated, amounts to less than one-half cent per pound.
The delegation also asked that Arthur Simon, who was present at the conference, be appointed mediator in the poultry industry.
After the meeting Commissioner Morgan told a Bulletin reporter that he had been entirely mistaken in his stand on the slaughterers. Flushing with embarrassment as union officials listening to the interview urged him to elaborate his statement, he declared that he now realized he had made the statement last week with no knowledge of the statistics involved.
“I am not opposed to union labor,” Morgan asserted, “I only want to stop the racketeering in coops, trucking and feed charges.
“I regret that my statement encouraged the market men in their lockout against slaughterers and market workers. I now realize that the lockout was against labor, not against the rackets.
“I am sincerely sorry if I caused any trouble to the shochtim, and realize that I should not have brought that point up in my speech to the commission merchants last week.
“I am going to call Leroy Peterson, NRA poultry code administrator, in Washington, and explain to him that I was mistaken. I am going to tell the same thing to the wholesalers.”
With Lande, Morgan went in to Major Dunham and placed before him the recommendation that Simon be appointed mediator. The Mayor will receive the recommendation this morning, and the appointment is regarded as likely.
Simon is known for his sympathy toward the shochtim. He recently submitted to the Mayor a report following an investigation into the slaughtering of poultry. The report recommended that slaughterers not kill more than fifty coops of fowl per week. This recommendation has become a salient point in the slaughterers’ struggle against the market men, who have been trying to force them to slaughter more than fifty coops per week.
The jubilance of the shochtim yesterday was in marked contrast to the dejection with which they faced the future on the previous day. They hailed the sudden victory with undisguised glee.