Drastic Action Planned if New Offer for Arbitration is Refused
President Roosevelt's National Longshoremen's Board is ready to take drastic action should its latest offer of arbitration in the maritime strike be refused. The board asked that both employers and strikers submit to arbitration.
"If this proposal is refused," said Assistant Secy. of Labor Edward F. McGrady, board member, "the board will immediately start to hold public hearings and conduct elections to determine who is to represent the men, possibly along the entire Pacific coast.
"Regardless of what any party may do, we propose to carry on under the mandate given us by the President of the United States."
Forced into the background temporarily by the opening of the port, the board awaited replies from both sides in the maritime strike to its arbitration proposal.
The latest appeal for arbitration, issued last night by the President's board, came after a message from Washington had struck a heavy blow to peace hopes.
Supplementing its appeal, the board issued another statement today pointed out it was the official agency of the federal government to deal with the strike, that it had the full confidence of Secy. of Labor Frances Perkins, and that its arbitration appeal should be recognized and responded to by all parties.
The board had asked Secy. Perkins whether it had the right to compel ship owners to negotiate strike grievances jointly instead of individually. The Department of Labor got a ruling from U.S. Atty. Gen. Homer S. Cummings that the board had no such power.
The board had hoped to persuade striking seamen and other ship crafts to go back to work, while it took up their grievances with representatives of all ship lines.
H.W. Hutton, attorney for the International Seamen's Union, had contended that a ruling of the Supreme Court make it imperative that the lines deal jointly with the strikers.
In its new appeal the board pointed out that it could act as voluntary arbitrator if both parties requested such action, and asked that both strikers and employers reply to the appeal before Thursday night.
There were reports that the employers had indicated their willingness to ask for arbitration, but officials of the board said they had not yet received notification from either side.
Harry Bridges, as head of the San Francisco I.L.A. strike committee, said he did not believe the longshoremen would accept any plan to have all their grievances submitted to arbitration, because, under the provisions of the NRA [National Recovery Act], they might lose their fight for the closed shop, their chief aim. He said no plans had been made to take a vote on the national board's proposal.
Representatives of all other striking maritime unions were to meet during the day and draft an answer to the board.
"The board moved slowly at first, acting in the role of conciliator," said Edward F. McGrady, assistant labor secretary and member of the board. "Then when it found that conciliation was fruitless it stepped into its arbitration role.
"Strike leaders were asked twice to submit the June 16 agreement to a new
vote by all members of the International Longshoremen. Both times they
rejected the proposal. Now we hope that a vote will be taken on a request
for arbitration and that we will have a favorable answer by Thursday, so
that actual arbitration can be started by Friday morning."
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