Newspaper coverage provides some of the best source material on the Chinatown strike. This early account documents that the overwhelmingly non-Chinese retail clerks in the National Dollar Stores outlets lent their support to the strike by refusing to cross a picket line that Chinese garment workers maintained. The goals of the strike--increased wages and an assurance of continued employment--were also clearly articulated in this article. In addition, the union demanded a guarantee of eleven months employment during the year and payment of a bond to back that guarantee, probably in response to the tactics employed by the company to try to avoid contractual obligations to workers.
Breach of faith and labor contracts were alleged on two sides yesterday as the Chinese local of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union placed picket lines around three National dollar stores and a factory.
An actual strike was called by 108 Chinese workers at the Kearny and Washington streets factory, an establishment formerly owned by the Dollar Stores, but now known as the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company.
Members of the Retail Clerks' Union, AFL, refused to pass picket lines established by the ILGWU, a CIO union, around the three Dollar stores.
The union asks recognition, a union shop and a $20 wage for a 35-hour week, according to Jennie Matyas, ILGWU organizer. Company representatives never offered above the present scale of $13.33 for a 48-hour week, said Sam Kagel, Pacific Coast Labor Bureau negotiator for the union.
The Dollar Stores are "fully unionized," and since negotiations for the factory workers started several months ago, sold the factory to other parties, Nat Schmulowitz, Dollar Stores attorney, said. "A union can only strike against employers; the Dollar Stores are not the employers of the factory workers," he added.
Other company objections named by Schmulowitz were the union's demand for a guarantee of 11 months' work, and a $10,000 bond to support the guarantee.
On the sale of the factory, Kagel, for the unions, made the statement, "It may be legal as to documents, but it's obviously phoney as to intent. The same people have represented the Dollar Stores and the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company."
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