Rabbis are making a racket of the industry.”
“You should hesitate to make such a statement,” warned Louis J. Gribetz, counsel to the slaughterers, “because you are admitting that the wholesalers are not interested in Kashruth in New York City.”
“I do not hesitate to make that statement,” returned Bernstein heatedly.
Louis Nizer, attorney for the retailers, said:
“We welcome rabbinical supervision, but through rabbinical supervision the shochtim are trying to force us to pay more than we can afford.”
Nizer charged that, while the shochtim are honest, unscrupulous union organizers make a racket of the slaughtering industry.
“The Shochtim are controlled body and soul by racketeers,” he declared.
Repeatedly Bernstein tried to divorce the religious issue from the hearing. He characterized the hearing as a simple dispute between laborers and employers. Judge Rosalsky, however, maintained that the religious issue is “part and parcel of the dispute.” Shochtim cannot slaughter in the ritual manner, he said, unless they are given enough time and freedom from worry.
PRESENT THREE DEMANDS
Max Belkin, vice-president of Local 440, presented the minimum demands of the slaughterers. They are:
1. Shochtim not to kill more than fifty coops of fowl per week.
2. A minimum salary of $65 in wholesale markets.
3. A minimum salary of $45 in retail markets.
The delegation from the Shochtim Union refused to accede to the request of Judge Rosalsky that picketing cease in the markets where there are strikes in progress pending mediation.
If these minimum demands are not granted, it was learned last night, a strike by 12,000 to 15,000 men looms as a strong possibility, with the Hebrew Butchers Workers’ Union, Local 167 of the Teamsters and Market Workers Union and the Salesmen and Pluckers Union joining Local 440 of the Shochtim.
Meanwhile, the members of these unions have been instructed not to touch any poultry slaughtered by non-union shochtim.
In a statement of policy at the opening of the conference, Judge Rosalsky said:
“I know more about this business than you think I do. In 1911 I tried the most important trust case in the country which involved the poultry industry.
“Kashruth is a question of cooperation, not of controversy. Kashruth is more than a business proposition. The public must approve of the character of the shochtim’s work.
“I know how complex is the shochet’s work. I know that it takes time to kill a chicken in accordance with the kosher ritual. I am concerned not only with the labor but with the religious aspect of the problem, for the Jews of New York City must be guaranteed kosher poultry.”
SUNDAY HOLIDAY FOR ALL
Following a conference with representatives of all groups engaged in the poultry industry yesterday, Mayor LaGuardia announced that henceforth all poultry markets, butcher shops, slaughter houses and chicken stores would remain closed all day Sundays.
The order is to be effective July 22.
It was announced that members of the conference unanimously agreed with the mayor’s decision.
According to announcement made following the conference, the mayor pointed out the fact that most stores are closed on Sunday and that the failure of some to close caused others to remain open to meet the competition.
The mayor expressed the contention that his order would eliminate competition among the stores open on Sunday and permit all to enjoy a day of rest.
While Judge Otto Rosalsky, mediator appointed by Mayor LaGuardia in the threatened strike by the poultry slaughterers, was negotiating to avert the strike, representatives of four wholesale and retail local unions reached an agreement at a meeting yesterday morning to cooperate in the present, or any future, trouble.
This agreement was announced after the meeting by David Diamondstone, secretary of the Chicken Drivers Union Local 167. Acting as spokesman for the delegates of the unions present, Diamondstone said: