Stevedores Temporarily Are Talked Out of Refusal to Arbitrate Demands
The National Longshoremen's board, in conference with longshoremen, temporarily talked the strikers out of rejecting the arbitration proposal today.
William J. Lewis, district president of the International Longshoremen's Association, and John Finnegan, local I.L.A. executive committee member, met with board members at the State Building. Harry Bridges, chairman of the joint marine strike committee, was summoned by the board soon after the meeting started.
Mr. Bridges, at the conclusion of the meeting, immediately left for a conference with the joint strike committee, saying that he would discuss arbitration with the seamen later.
Other maritime unions were reported ready to refuse the board's arbitration suggestion as board members went ahead with plans to hold public hearings and call elections, if necessary.
The board had asked that both employers and strikers answer the appeal by Thursday night, so that arbitration could start Friday. However, the joint marine strike committee was understood to have agreed that the question of a closed shop cannot be arbitrated and that arbitration would therefore be useless.
The committee also decided that instead of a joint reply to the board's request, each of the striking unions should draft its own answer.
O.K. Cushing, member of the board, said he had received communications from some of the unions, but withheld a statement until he had heard from them all.
Mr. Bridges declared that the men would not go back to work and submit to arbitration until some solution of the hiring hall problem is reached, so that men will not be forced to congregate on the Embarcadero awaiting calls for work.
The Waterfront Employers' Union was reported making a check of its membership in order to prepare its answer to the board's request for arbitration. The answer will be prepared at a meeting tomorrow afternoon, it was stated.
The national board offices were kept open throughout today, awaiting word from either party and from Washington, it was announced by Mr. Cushing.
Edward F. McGrady, assistant labor secretary, said the board was going ahead on the supposition that its request would be accepted, but indicated that if it is rejected the board is ready to invoke its arbitrary powers, though it will naturally await instructions from Washington.
Mr. McGrady said the board probably would hold public hearings, subpoenaing all concerned. Two days would be sufficient for hearings here, he believed, and the board would then hold hearings at Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, after which it would be able to make recommendations to Washington.
If the need arose he said the board would also call elections in the various unions to determine whether the men were satisfied with their present spokesmen.
"All parties to the controversy and the public must realize that the appeal for arbitration published in the press, to all parties to the controversy to use peaceful and intelligent means suggested for immediately terminating the strike is an appeal by the federal government and should be recognized and responded to accordingly," said a statement from the board.
The joint strike committee countered this with a statement that "the attempt on the part of the Industrial Association to move a few trucks and call it 'opening the port' is nothing but an attempt to scare the strikers into going back to work pending arbitration."
The statement contended the President's board has no power to force
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