Rochester (NY) Clothiers Exchange Arbitration Files

Collection Number: 5108

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


Rochester (NY) Clothiers Exchange Arbitration Files, 1919-1926
Collection Number:
Clothiers' Exchange (Rochester, N.Y.)
1 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents).
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Rochester (NY) Clothiers Exchange and Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Rochester Joint Board, cases 1-2208 : 1919-1926.
Collection material in English


William M. Lieserson was born In Extonia in 1883. He studied economics at the University of Wisconsin and at Columbia, and from 1910 until 1911 served as an expert on unemployment for the New York State Commission on Employers' Liability and Unemployment He was director of research investigation for the United States Commission on Industrial Relations in 1914-1915, and the chief of the Division of Labor Administration of the Department of Labor in 1918-1919. He served the Rochester men's clothing industry as Impartial Chairman of the Labor Adjustment Board and the New York Men's clothing industry as Chairman of the Petroleum Labor Policy Board at the time of his appointment to the National Mediation Board under the Railroad Labor Act in 1934. During much of this time, he was on leave from Antioch College, where he was a Professor of Sociology. (N.Y. Times, 22 July 1934, p.l.)
Allen Tibbals Burns was born in Haverford, Mass. In 1876. He attended the University of Chicago, where he was later Dean of the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy. From 1926 until 1943 he was Executive Director of the Community Chests and Councils of America. He died on 9 March 1953.
Robert Lee Hale was born in Albany, New York on the ninth of March, 1884. He received the A.B. A.M. and LL.B. degrees from Harvard University, and the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia Univ. where from 1915 until 1949 he was instructor and then Professor of Political Science. He is the author of Valuation and Hate Making: Conflicting Theories of the Wisconsin Railroad Commission: Freedom through Law: and numerous articles which have appeared in scholarly journals. (1952 Directory of the American Political Science Association.) Norman J. Ware was born in Tilsonburg, Ontario, Canada, on the fourth of July 1886. He attendedMcMaster University in Toronto and the Universityof Chicago and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1924. He taught economics and sociology at the University of Louisville, the NewSchool for Social Research (1926-1928) and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut (from 1928until his death).
He served as Impartial Chairman in the Rochester men's clothing industry, Senior Economist in the Bureau of Research and Statistics of the Federal Social Security Board (1936-1937), and Chairman of the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration. In 1943 he was appointed Chairman of the National War Labor Board for region I. From 1945 until his death on 27 December 1949 he was employed by various firms as an industrial relations consultant . He is the author of the Industrial Worker, 1840-1960; The Labor Movement in the United States. 1860-1895; Labor in Modern Industrial Society Labor in Canadien-American; A History of Labor Interaction: and numerous articles published in scholarly journals. (Who Was Who, Vol. II.)


The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America was organized in December 1914, after the militant New York City locals of the United Garment Workers of America had been denied representation at that body's October convention. Although the purposes of the Union were expressed by its Constitution in terms of class struggle and worker solidarity, ACW leaders instituted a program of union- management cooperation based upon the experiences of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union with the Protocols of 1910-1913, and the UGW locals in New York and Chicago with the establishment of permanent arbitration machinery during the same period.
A prototype of subsequent agreements in the men's clothing industry may be found in Chicago Hart, Schaffner & Marx agreements of 1911-1913, since they involved the Union and a single manufacturer, rather than the Union and the associated manufacturers of a particular geographical area, as was the casein the ladies' garment industry. These agreements, however, differed from the majority of Amalgamated Clothing Workers' agreements in following theProtocol's model of grievance machinery: "Clerks" for the workers and the employers attempted to settle disputes on the shop level. In cases of disagreement, the matter went to a "Board of Trade"
(Board of Grievances) composed of equal numbers of representing both sides, but with an impartial chairman. Supreme authority was held by a Board of Arbitration, composed of a representative each of the Union and the manufacturer, and a third person not connected with the industry chosen by the other two.
So complex a system was suitable for the Chicago market, where a few large manufacturers dominated the production of ready-to-wear clothing, or a market in which a strong association of manufacturers might be established. Such an association did exist in Rochester, New York, a conservative city where large firms offering year round employment were organized into the Rochester Clothing Exchange.
Amicable relations between a powerful union and a powerful association were virtually assured, if the Amalgamated Clothing Workers could break down the resistance of employers to the unionization of their workers. At the same time, the absence of intense competition among manufacturers, in the Rochester market limited the area of friction between employees and employers, and permitted a more simple arbitration system to be instituted.
Organizing efforts were relatively unsuccessful from 1915 until the summer of 1918. Although a number of contracts were signed with individual firms, recognition of the ACW was not considered by the Clothing Exchange until a strike at the Rosenberg Brothers factory in July, 1918, threatened the entire market with a general work stoppage. Arbitration by Louis E. Kirsten and William Z. Ripley, each of whom was to serve as Administrator of Labor Standards for the Department of War, resulted in a partial concession to the Union's demands for shorter hours and higher wages.
On January 23, 1919, the Exchange announced that its member firms would institute the forty-four hour week on the first of May. Agitation by the union for an immediate reduction of hours resulted in the signing of the first agreement between the Exchange and the Amalgamated, 13 February 1919. This agreement granted the Union the right to organize, although neither the closed nor the referential-union shop was to be instituted In addition, machinery for arbitration of grievances was established: five Labor Managers were to be
chosen to meet with Union representatives, one each by the four largest firms in the Exchange, and one by the fifteen smaller firms.
An agreement of August, 1920, created a Labor Adjustment Board, composed of the five Labor Managers representatives of the Joint Board of the ACW, and an impartial chairman. The Board was empowered to review discharges, to consider demands for wage
increases, and to control sanitary conditions in the shops. The substance of this agreement have insisted on maintaining the "open" shop, virtually complete organization of workers in the industry, and the establishment of a Labor Exchange in 1925, has given the Union the same control it would exercise in a preferential union shop market.

Montgomery, Royal E. (Royal Ewert), 1896-1966
Clothiers' Exchange (Rochester, N.Y.)

Arbitration, Industrial--United States--Sources.

Form and Genre Terms:
Records (documents).


Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
Rochester (NY) Clothiers Exchange Arbitration Files #5108. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5416 mf: William M. Leiserson Decisions on Microfilm


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