NEW YORK (Oct. 27)
The current strike of the employees of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York today prompted the Federation president Irving Mitchell Felt to issue a statement in which he emphasized that the original demands by the union of the employees, if granted, would have cost the Federation approximately $1,000,000 during the first year of the new agreement.
“This amount is, of course, fiscally impossible for Federation or the contributing community to absorb,” Mr. Felt stated. He said that Federation believes that the offers it has made to settle the dispute “are generous and consistent with its financial and communal responsibilities.” He listed the terms of Federation’s proposals as follows:
1. Permanent clerical employees will receive an increase of $10 per week over a three-year period, except for a few employees who are receiving salaries more than 50 percent above the minimum rates, which latter employees will receive a smaller increase. The average clerical salary for permanent employees is $86.85 per week, and the increase would therefore amount to an average of 11-1/2 percent over the three year period.
2. Permanent fund raisers and technical employees will receive an increase of $1,000 per annum over a three-year period. The average salary for permanent fund raisers is $8,411.25 per annum, and the average salary for permanent technical employees is $8,279, 70 per annum. The proposed increase would therefore be approximately 11 to 12 percent over the three-year period.
3. Minimum starting rates in all categories will be increased.
4. A major medical plan will be instituted for permanent employees, to which Federation will contribute $15 per annum for each employees.
5. All retired employees will continue to be covered by Blue Cross hospitalization and health insurance, until the effective date of the Medicare program, provided the union recognizes the right of Federation to retire employees at age 65.
6. Sick leave can be accumulated to a total of 60 working days, rather than 45 working days.
7. A $2,500 group life insurance policy will be granted to each permanent employee.
8. The 35 hour week for clerical employees will be extended to cover six months of the year. The other six months span the annual campaign, during which considerable overtime is paid, and any reduction of the work week to 35 hours for that period would result in additional overtime pay, and therefore be in effect another wage increase.
9. A provision will be inserted in the agreement providing that no professional employee will work seven days in any work week. Heretofore the agreement provided that professional employees could work 7 days in a week only in a “bona-fide emergency.” In a few instances during the height of the fund raising campaign last year a few employees did work seven days in a week because of emergencies and were given additional time off to compensate for such work.
10. Employees who are laid off because of retrenchment or reorganization or the introduction of automated procedures will be given preferential rights for one year to fill permanent vacancies arising in other departments.
11. All new permanent employees will be covered by a union shop.
12. A promoted employee will be guaranteed an automatic increase of at least three percent.
13. Federation is willing to discuss further with the union the issue raised by it concerning the working of late hours by female employees.
The union rejected Federation’s proposals as “inadequate,” and on October 13 the employees walked off their jobs. A spokesman for the union insisted today that Federation had refused to give “acceptable terms” on a number of key issues and that it had refused arbitration of issues in dispute which the local was willing to accept. He said that Federation negotiators at a mediation session last night had threatened to seek an injunction against the employees who have staged a sit-in in the Federation for the past two weeks as part of the strike tactics. The spokesman said that the union planned to vacate the building today.
He discounted the federation offer of a union shop for all new permanent employees on grounds that, from the union’s viewpoint, this would leave unresolved the problems arising from what he called a Federation practice of hiring large numbers of temporary employees during peak periods.