As a result of the NLRB election, representatives of the ILGWU and the National Dollar Stores began negotiations on a union contract. Within two weeks, however, the company "sold" its Chinatown factory to its foreman and store manager, in a move that the union viewed as an attempt to evade the company's responsibilities in the wake of the representation election. On February 26, employees of the factory went on strike and Jennie Matyas, organizer for the ILGWU, issued the following press release, summarizing developments since the certification election and explaining the workers' basis for calling the strike.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEB. 26, 1938.
Statement issued by Jennie Matyas, organizer
International Ladies Garment Workers Union.
The Chinese Ladies Garment Workers Union, Local 341, this morning declared a strike against the Golden Gate Mfg Co., operated by the National Dollar Stores, after a very long and extended period of negotiations in an effort to arrive at an agreement covering wages, hours, and other conditions of employment for the employees of the chinatown factory.
In December, 1937, the Union notified the National Dollar Stores that they desired to meet with them for the purpose of collective bargaining. The Employers responded to the effect that they desired the Union to establish whether or not they represented a majority of the employees. On Jan. 24, the Union and the Employers met in the offices of the S.F. Regional Labor Board, and a consent check off election was held in which it was established that the Chinese Ladies Garment Workers Union Local 341 represented the employees in the chinatown factory of the National Dollar Stores for the purposes of collective bargaining.
At this same meeting in the offices of the Regional Labor Board the representatives of the Union, and Mr. Nat Schmulowitz, representing the National Dollar Stores, signed an agreement which included the following paragraph:
"The Company will immediately enter into negotiations with the Union and each party will endeavor in good faith to reach and reduce to writing an agreement concerning the wages, hours of employment and other terms and conditions of employment, which agreement will then be signed by each of the parties hereto."
On January 25, the first meeting was held between the Union and the Employers under the agreement made on January 24, 1938 to negotiate an agreement and after some discussion the parties agreed in writing to the following:
1) That wages would be retroactive to Jan. 24, 1938
2) That the closed shop would be recognized
3) That a hiring system would be set up whereby the employees would be hired through the offices of the Union.
This agreement was signed by the representatives of the Union and by Mr. Harry Yip and Mr. Charles Dreyfus representing the National Dollar Stores.
After this was signed and agreed to, the Employers asked for a postponement in order to draw up a counter proposal on the Union's proposal. This was granted. But in the meantime, the Employers claimed that they made a so called "sale" of their chinatown factory to other persons. An investigation of these persons indicates that some of the so called new "owners" include the foreman of the chinatown factory and a Los Angeles employee of the National Dollar Stores.
Though the "sale" may be legal as to the documents, it is unquestionably a "phoney" sale made for the purpose of evading the signed obligations of the National Dollar Stores, as indicated by the document signed on January 24 by Mr. Nat Schmulowitz, and by the document on January 28 by Mr. Harry Yip and Mr. Charles Dreyfus.
We have had innumerable meetings with the employers, seeking in every way to avoid a strike. The Employers however, did not choose to settle this matter and persisted in hiding behind the so called "sale" of their factory. Our membership therefore had no other alternative but to strike in order to protect their interests and to insist upon the National Dollar Stores carrying our their signed agreement with us.
The prevailing wage scale paid in this factory is $13.33 a week. The Union asks for a substantial increase.--
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