There will be no strike of the 5,000 members of the Hebrew Butcher Workers Union before the High Holidays.
That fact was announced definitely yesterday by Joseph Belsky, the organization’s secretary, who explained that this week is being devoted to conferences between executive officials of the union and representatives of New York City’s kosher shop owners, in an effort to reach some agreement as to the terms of new employe-employer contracts to be placed into effect in October.
Contracts now operative expire early that month. The union is seeking a five-hour reduction in the present fifty-five-hour working week of its members. It is satisfied with the wage scale now in force, which provides for a minimum weekly wage of $40 for workers, Belsky says.
Decision not to attempt to call a strike before Rosh Hashonah, Belsky explained, was reached partly because of criticism to which the organization was subjected when it indicated that it might take that course of action, and partly because of the fact that the above-mentioned contracts will not expire until after the holidays are over.
Shop owners who are negotiating with the union as to the terms of agreement renewals are in the main members of two employers’ associations: The Federation of Kosher Shop Owners of Greater New York and the New Deal Kosher Butcher Shop Owners of Greater New York. Neither of these organizations, it was pointed out, has a collective agreement of any sort with the Hebrew Butcher Workers Union, which has negotiated in all cases with individual store owners.
Representatives of the New Deal group will confer with union officials at the latter organization’s offices at 9 o’clock tonight. Sessions with shop owners who belong to the Federation the other employers’ combination, will be held later this week.
Belsky received a letter yesterday from Marion Tanner Pearson, executive officer of the New York Regional Labor Board, 45 Broadway, requesting the union to defer any plans for a strike until it sent delegates to a meeting in her office. In a subsequent telephone conversation with the labor board official, Belsky explained that there is no immediate danger of a workers’ walk-out and that before plans for such course of action are put into effect his organization will willingly participate in a conciliatory conference.