Document 18: "Evidence of National Dollar Stores Attempt to Break Up Union during Organization Period," [May 1938], carbon copy of typescript, ILGWU Collection, MJ F1, Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University.


    The following document reveals the union's preparations for its hearing before an examiner of the National Labor Relations Board of its unfair labor charge against National Dollar Stores. Although the document is undated, internal evidence suggests that it probably dates from sometime in May 1938. The document outlined the evidence of bad faith on the part of management of National Dollar Stores, from the first demotion of a union organizer in December through collusion between the company and renegade organizers from the AFL to sign up striking garment workers for a "sweetheart" union.

Evidence of National Dollar Stores Attempt
To Break Up Union During Organization Period

    In December Mr. Go Quay Sing, active organizer of the Union, was demoted from a machinists' position which he held for 9 years and was placed in the cutting department of which he had no knowledge at all.

(Go Quay Sing will testify to this)

    Go Quay Sing, immediately on being elected president, was discharged the following morning.

(Go Quay Sing will testify to this)

    Dick Love, elected treasurer, was discharged the following morning.

(Dick Love will testify to this)

    Joe Foo, an executive board member, was discharged on the morning following his election to the executive board.

(Joe Foo will testify to this)

    Lum Yee, another member, was discharged.

(Matyas will testify to this)

Developments Prior To and During Collective Bargaining

    Goldstein of the A. F. of L. and someone from the Teamsters' Union came to the factory and spoke to the President of the Chinese Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, Local #341, and asked him to get the membership to change to their union. The President told him that he didn't think the membership would. Thereupon, Goldstein said, "I'll go in and talk to the workers myself." The President, Go Quay Sing, said, "I can't let you go in, you have to get permission from the boss." Whereupon, Goldstein said, "That's okay, it's okay with the boss." Still the President of the local refused to let him in.

(Go Quay Sing will testify to this)

    A few days later when Goldstein and a group of his cohorts walked right into the factory and demanded that the workers change their affilliation, or else the factory would be closed, then the factory foreman, Joe Sun, who is now the present "new owner", said, "Go home, everybody, go home." Subsequently, the workers were locked out for two days.

(Miss Matyas will testify to this)

    At the time the A. F. of L. "Raiding Party" was in the shop. Jenny Matyas, the Organizer of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, telephoned to Mr. Yip to advise him that there was commotion in the factory. His answer was that he knew all about it, that he didn't see what he could do about it. Miss Matyas advised him it would be a simple matter to call the police to eject these men. But Mr. Yip said he was in his Market Street office and could do nothing about it.

    Miss Matyas asked him why the factory manager didn't call the police when men came in and allegedly took over the factory by force and stopped the employees from working. His reply was that he didn't know, that he supposed the manager was nervous and lost his head. Miss Matyas informed him that unless he let the workers continue to operate, it would look like definite collusion between him and this group who called themselves A. F. of L. representatives. But, although the workers remained in the factory all aftermoon, the power continued to be shut, and no work could be done. Subsequently, for two days the workers were locked out.

(Miss Matyas will testify to this)

    In the affidavit that Schmulowitz submitted to the court he makes the statement that at this time the same Mr. Joe Sun, who was then the factory foreman, showed Mr. Goldstein which was the main switch, which Goldstein pulled to shut off the power so that the workers would be obliged not to work, and to listen to their exhortations. In the same affidavit, it is stated that Mr. Sun did this because he couldn't understand English, and was afraid of bodily harm.

(See Hoo Joe Sun Affidavit for this testimony)

    The fact is that there was a Chinese interpreter along with this group of men who tried to cajole the membership into joining the A. F. of L. union.

(Go Quay Sing will testify to this)

    In an affidavit, the admission was made that although Grupp, attorney for the I.L.G.W.U., advised schmulowitz and Harry Yip of the firm that there would be no teamster interference, that they could so persuade themselves by telephoning either Mr. John O'Connell or Mr. Vandeleur.

(See Affidavit of Nat Schmulowitz, March 26, 1938, p. 3, lines 9--13)

    The Dollar Stores nevertheless refused to do even so much as to persuade themselves that they had no cause--other than their desire to help break the morale of the workers--for keeping workers locked out.

(Grupp's statement in argument)

    After the strike, pressure was brought upon the Department Store Employees' Union to persuade their people to walk through the picket line in the following manner: Ted Goldstein, A. F. of L. Organizer accompanied Mr. Schmulowitz, the attorney for the National Dollar Stores, to the home of International Organizer of the R.C.I.P.A. after nine o'clock one evening. There the same Ted Goldstein assisted Mr. Schmulowitz, the firm's attorney, to persuade Mr. Varner to get the Clerk's Union to send their members through the picket line.[A]

(Vail or Baker of Dept. Store Employees' Union will be a witness to this)


    As late as Saturday, April 30, 1938, Ben Chung, a co-worker of Goldstein, and the same man who acted as interpreter at the time of the lockout, called at the home of Kate Lee and said he was working for Dollar Stores now and that the Stores wanted her to belong to the A. F. of L. and that when they obtained 60 members the factory could start work again. (Kate Lee will testify to this, and see letter attached)


149 Mason Street San Francisco, Calif.

Jennie Matyas
Organizer--Educational Director

May 2, 1938

    I, Kate Lee, hereby testify that one Ben Chung called on me at my home on Saturday, April 30, 1938 and asked me to sign up with the A.F.L. and said that he was working for the National Dollar Stores, and that in their behalf he was asking me to join the A.F.L. He said that if he got about sixty signatures, the firm would re-open the factory. He said he already had about fifty signatures, and that as soon as sixty signed with the A.F.L. the firm would re-open the plant.

(Signed) Kate Lee

Union Requests Collective Bargaining

    Immediately after the discharge cases were straightened out, the Union requested a meeting for the purpose of collective bargaining. During this time the A.F. of L. raids were being made. Finally, after the 2-day and 3-hours shut-down, the Dollar Store agreed to a check-off election and agreed that if the I.L.G.W.U. had a majority, it would bargain with them. The check-off election was held by the National Labor Relations Board on January 24, 1938. The I.L.G.W.U. won this election.

Dollar Stores Signs Agreement with Union

    On January 28, 1938, an agreement was signed by Dreyfus and Yip for the National Dollar Stores and Matyas and Sing for the Union. The agreement provided in effect:

    1. That wages should be retroactive to January 24, 1938
    2. Closed shop
    3. Hiring through the Union headquarters

Dollar Store Attempts to Repudiate Agreement and Break Up Union By Sale of Factory

    On the signing of the memorandum agreement of [January] 28, 1938, the Dollar Store was to submit a counter-proposal of a full agreement to the Union.

(See p. 16 of Complaint of Dollar Stores vs. Union)

    Instead of submitting a counter-proposal as the company stated it would, the company made a sale of its factory to the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company in order to evade the collective bargaining and to break up the Union. On February 7, 1938, the company attempted to shift the burden of the collective bargaining to the dummy corporation, the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company.

    The letter was signed by Charles Dreyfus, "acting on behalf of the Dollar Store as the existing owner and on behalf on the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company as the prospective purchaser." (See page 18 of Complaint, Dollar Stores vs. Union.)

    The Union refused to accept the substitution of the Golden Gate Manufacturing Co. for the Dollar Stores. (Kagel will testify to this.)

    Negotiations continued between the parties, the Union asking that the Dollar Stores continue as the real party in interest and as the Employer, and refusing to recognize the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company as such, the company trying to substitute the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company for the Dollar Stores. On February 26 the strike was called. (Matyas and Feinberg will testify to this.)

    The sale to Golden Gate Manufacturing Company was merely a subterfuge to evade collective bargaining and in fact there was no sale at all in that the Dollar Store still kept control of the company.

1. The Price

    The price is $93,000. It is based on $7,500 for machinery, $98,000 for actual inventory minus ten percent (10%) discount or $88,400 net. Payments to be made on the basis of: Machine $500 down, $500 each month; Inventory, $5000 down, $5000 each month. (See Hoo Joe Sun deposition for testimony, March 28, 1938.) This price is deemed rather low. (See Matyas for this testimony.)

    2. Dreyfus acted as attorney for the Dollar Stores and then for the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company and, in fact, in one letter of February 7, he acted as attorney for both. (See letter of February 7; agreement of January 28 signed by Dreyfus for Dollar Stores; letter of February 11, in which Dreyfus acts for the Golden Gate Manufacturing Co., and letter of February 14.) At the time the Chines Ladies Garment Workers Union had the picket lines around the retail stores, Dreyfus called Grupp, attorney for the ILGWU, and wanted to discuss the removal of the picket line from the retail Dollar Stores. Grupp suggested that as Mr. Dreyfus was interested in the Golden Gate Manufacturing factory only, he would discuss removing the picket lines from the Golden Gate plant. Dreyfus immediately said this was not acceptable to him and that he was interested in removing pickets from the Dollar Store. This conversation took place in March, fully a month after Dreyfus was supposed to have severed his connections with the Dollar Store. (Grupp will testify as to this.)

    3. One employee, a janitor, Chan Yee, was employed by both the store and factory before the sale, and after the so-called sale of February 7, remained in the employ of the National Dollar Store as well as the factory right up to February 26, the date of the strike.

    4. All garments produced in the factory between February 8, the date of the socalled sale, and the strike of February 26 still had the National Dollar Store label. At first, during the taking of depositions, the National Dollar Store always claimed that there was no collateral agreement entered into as to the disposal of the product of the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company. Finally, to answer one of the Union's points of argument Dollar Store intimated for the first time, in a deposition, that there was a collateral agreement that the National Dollar Stores were to buy all the finished product which was then in raw material in the factory. Again, when the Union's attorney pointed out that there was obviously no good-will to buy as the only customer was the Dollar Store and, by the description placed on the sale, the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company actually bought nothing, the Dollar Stores again reversed themselves and for the first time stated, in an affidavit which they filed and was served on the Union on April 12, that there was a collateral agreement that in the negotiations for the sale of the factory to the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company it was collaterally understood between the purchaser and the seller that the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company would be privileged to sell any of its manufactured garments to any stores in towns or cities in which the National Dollar Stores, Ltd., had no established stores and, likewise, to any stores in towns or cities where the National Dollar Stores, Ltd., did have stores, provided the items, styles or garments sold were non-competitive with respect to similar or identical items or garments sold to the National Dollar Stores, Ltd. (See affidavit of Harry T. Yip, March 29, 1938, delivered and served on Union, April 12, 1938.)

    In other words, this in fact, would exclude such large cities as San Francisco and Oakland and all the great cities where they may have a certain style that they are selling and, in fact, would totally exclude them from selling to anyone else but the Dollar Stores. (For further facts see Argument of Grupp attached)

    5. Stockholders of Golden Gate Manufacturing Company are to all practical purposes identical with Dollar Store stockholders.

    There are four stockholders: Hoo Sun, Wan Low and two others who hold small shares of stock, $500 apiece, about whom no one, not even the Dollar Company, seems to know much. The majority stockholder, Hoo Joe Sun, also owns stock in the Dollar Store, has been 10 years with the Dollar Store and is the former foreman of the plant under the Dollar Store. Wan Low also is a stockholder in the Dollar Store and has been with the company many years. In 1926 he was its factory foreman at 720 Washington Street. For many years he was a Dollar Store manager in Los Angeles.


    Considering all features of the case--restrictions placed on so-called "sale," fact that stockholders of both companies are the same, etc.--all that National Dollar Stores, Ltd., sold to the Golden Gate Manufacturing Co. was a labor dispute.

A. The Retail Clerks International Protective Association (RCIPA) was the formal name of the retail clerks' union mentioned here.

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