Document 19: Agreement between ILGWU and the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company, 8 June 1938, ILGWU Collection, MJ F2, Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University.

Introduction

   The strike and its attendant legal struggles continued for 105 days, but in early June, the union and representatives of National Dollar Stores and the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company reached a three-way settlement that led the union to sign contracts with both firms. This first contract covered wages and working conditions at the Chinatown factory, the central issues that led to the strike in the first place. It constituted a one-year contract between the ILGWU and the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company. It provided for recognition of the union, a union shop at the factory, and no discrimination against union members. It set a 40-hour work week and provided a 5 percent wage increase, with a minimum weekly wage of $14. The contract provided detailed provisions for setting piece wage rates for different jobs to ensure satisfactory earnings under the agreement. In fact, striking workers adopted the contract by only a slim margin (the vote was 31 to 27); still, it offered real gains for the workers, while also representing a compromise from original demands for guarantees of security of employment over the period of the contract.

   THIS AGREEMENT, made and entered into this 8 day of June, 1938, by and between THE GOLDEN GATE MFG. CO., a California Corporation, doing business as a manufacturer at 720 - Washington Street, San Francisco, California, and the INTERNATIONAL LADIES' GARMENT WORKERS UNION, CHINESE LADIES' GARMENT WORKERS LOCAL No. 341,

WITNESSETH:

   That WHEREAS, the Employer is engaged in the cotton and rayon dress manufacturing industry at 720 Washington Street, San Francisco; and

   WHEREAS, the Employer is the Golden Gate Manufacturing Company, a corporation,

   WHEREAS, the Union represents the workers of the Employer for the purpose of collective bargaining; and

   WHEREAS, the parties hereto desire to cooperate in establishing conditions of wages, hours of employment and other terms and conditions of employment affecting the workers of the Employer;

   NOW, THEREFORE, and to that end and purpose, the parties hereto agree as follows:

   FIRST: For the purpose of this agreement, the following words are defined as follows:

   (a) Whenever the word "Employer" is hereafter used, it refers to the Golden Gate Manufacturing Co.

   (b) Whenever the word "Union" is hereafter used, it refers to the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union, Chinese Ladies' Garment Workers Union Local No. 341 and any local union of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union subsquently established or formed in the crafts included in this agreement.

   (c) "Union Shop" is defined as a shop that employs only members in good standing of local unions of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union, Chinese Ladies' Garment Workers Union, Local No. 341, except as otherwise herein provided, producing garments in the cotton and rayon dress manufacturing industry under contractual relations between the Employer and the Union and which observes the rules and regulations set forth and agreed upon herein.

         SECOND:

   (a) The Employer recognizes the Union as the sole collective bargaining agency for and on behalf of all employees employed by the Employer in the factory at 720-Washington Street, San Francisco, save and except the executive and office employees located in said factory.

   (b) The Employer agrees that he will maintain a union shop but the Employer may hire from any source he so desires, provided that the employees shall be requested to make application to join the union immediately after their definite employment and upon application to the union, by said employee, the said application will be accepted by the Union, upon reasonable terms and conditions.

   (c) No employee shall be deemed to be definitely employed until such worker remains in the factory of the Employer for a trial period of two weeks and if after such trial period such worker is retained in the factory, he or she may then be deemed to be an employee and shall be required to request membership in the union which membership will be accepted by the Union. The two weeks trial period means ten (10) full working days completed by the worker, and that the Employer may call upon the union and request its consent to extend said trial period for a longer time.

   (d) All present employees not now members of the union shall be obligated to join within five days from and after the actual date of the execution of this agreement, and the Union agrees that employees not heretofore members of the union shall be privileged to join and shall be accepted in the union upon payment of the regular initiation fee of $15.00.

   (e) There shall be no discrimination by the Employer against any employee on account of membership or activity in the union, provided such activity does not interfere with their work; nor shall there be any discrimination by the Union against any employees who have not heretofore become members of the Union.

   THIRD: (a) That the union shall have the right to have its representative, not on the payroll of the Employer, visit the shop of the Employer for the purpose of examining the Union standing of the workers, which examination shall not involve the loss of work time; provided, however, that all such examination shall be had on notice to the Employer, and at reasonable time, and the Employer shall in each instance designate a representative to accompany the Union representative making such examination.

   (b) A committee of two members of the Union, upon exhibiting proper credentials from the Union shall, unaccompanied by any representative of the Employer, be permitted to visit the shop of the Employer before and after regular working hours of any day, and on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, if the shop is open, or if any person is on the premises, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the hour and work-day provisions of this agreement are being fully complied with.

   (c) The Employer agrees not to make or cause to be made any work for any person against whom the Union has declared a strike until such strike in each case is fully settled; provided, however, the term "strike" shall not include a secondary boycott.

   FOURTH: That a week's work shall consist of forty (40) hours, Monday to Friday inclusive.

   FIFTH: (a) Nothing in this agreement shall prevent the Employer from operating a piece-rate basis.

   (b) That no apprentice in the factory shall receive a wage less than the minimum provided for in the State of California, which said minimum is not to be considered the maximum; and an apprentice may be discharged at any time without review.

   SIXTH: (a) The Employer shall pay an increase of five percent (5%) over the wages which were paid to its time workers employed at fixed wages at the close of business on February 25, 1938. This increase shall not apply to piece rates.

   (b) No existing fixed wages or existing piece rates shall be reduced.

   (c) It is further understood and agreed that established sub-standard workers shall only receive the amounts actually earned upon piece rate.

   (d) The minimum wage for the 40 hour week paid to all employees shall be $14.00 per week and shall be paid to all piece workers whether earned or not, providing they work a full week, except as herein otherwise provided. The minimum wages provided herein shall not be considered the maximum.

   (e) The piece rate shall be so determined that not less then 75% of the workers shall earn not less than the $14.00 minimum provided in this agreement. The apprentices and established sub-standard workers shall not be included in the calculation of 75% as set forth herein.

   (f) The employees may select a price committee of not less than three (3) nor more than five (5) whose duty shall be to confer with the Employer to adjust the piece rates for piece rate workers when and if 75% of the workers do not earn the $14.00 minimum.

   (g) It is agreed that the Employer shall set and post the piece rate on all item or items. The piece rate on all new item or items shall be set and posted no later than 8 A. M. of the 3rd day after such new item or items have been started by the workers. It is further agreed there shall be no stoppage or cessation of work by the employees pending the determination of any piece rate. Any adjustment shall be retroactive as of the date when said item or items were started by the workers.

   (h) In the event the price committee and the Employer cannot themselves agree upon the price to be set for the aforesaid item or items then and in any such event the provision of paragraph 8 hereof shall be the procedure by which such dispute shall be determined.

   (i) It is further understood and agreed that nothing contained herein shall prevent the Employer from discharging any workers for incompetency, if the piece rate is right.

   SEVENTH: That the workers shall have the right to choose from among themselves one who shall act as their representative, to be known as Shop Chairman, and whose duties shall consist of collecting dues directly from the employees outside of working hours, and receiving complaints.

   EIGHTH: (a) In the event that there is a dispute concerning any of the terms of this agreement which cannot be adjusted between the Employer and the employees, the Union and the Employer hereby agree to endeavor to their utmost to amicably adjust the matter. In the event they are unable to do so the matter is to be submitted for arbitration to a committee consisting of two representatives of the Employer and two representatives of the Union. Should this committee fail to agree, they are to call in a third impartial person, agreeable to both parties, and the decision of the majority of the committee shall be final and binding. In the event the parties hereto cannot agree upon the third impartial person, then and in such event said third impartial person shall be appointed by the Senior Member of the Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeal.

   (b) That all decisions made by the aforementioned arbitration committee shall be complied with within forty-eight (48) hours after receipt of written notice of such decision by both parties.

   NINTH: (a) That the Employer shall have the absolute right to discharge any employee at any time within a period of ten (10) working days from the beginning of the employment; that such right shall not be subject to review; that after such ten (10) day period a worker may be discharged or punished for any just cause, or incompetency, misconduct, insubordination in the performance or work, soldiering on the job, or in addition, for breach of reasonable rules.

   (b) A complaint for any alleged improper discharge must be filed by the worker in writing with the Union and with the Employer within 24 hours after the discharge and if said discharge be a reviewable one, said complaint shall be forthwith and not later than forty-eight (48) hours thereafter submitted to and ruled upon by the arbitration committee and in the event the decision by such arbitration committee is in favor of the worker then he or she shall be forthwith reinstated and in addition, he or she shall be paid full wages for the time lost from the beginning of discharge and such wages shall be computed on the basis of the work prevailing in the factory during the period of the discharge and also in relation to the average earnings of the employee within four (4) weeks prior to the date of discharge.

   (c) In the adjustment of disputes between the parties hereto, complaints of improper discharge of workers shall have precedence over all other cases and decisions on such complaints shall be rendered within forty-eight (48) hours after a complaint has been filed, unless the time is extended by mutual consent.

   TENTH: That during the period of this agreement there shall be no general lockout, strike, individual shop-lockout, individual shop strike, sit-down strike, primary or secondary boycott against the Employer, or shop stoppage by the employees for any reason or cause whatsoever; that there shall be no individual lockout, strike, sit-down strike, or stoppage by the employees pending the determination of any complaint or grievance; for the purpose of this clause, a dispute shall be considered determined if the Employer or the Union refuses to submit themselves before the Arbitration Committee. Should there be a stoppage of work by the employees, immediate written notice thereof shall be given by the Employer to the Union, in which event the latter obligates itself in good faith to endeavor to return the workers to their work within twenty-four (24) hours after the receipt by the Union of said written notice and in the event of the failure of said employees to return to work, such failure shall be considered a conclusive presumption of proper cause for discharge.

   ELEVENTH: (a) During the periods of time that work is slack and the Employer is unable to supply full time employment for all of the workers of the shop, the available work shall be divided as equally as possible by crafts among the regular employees.

   (b) A regular employee for the purpose of being eligible under this section for distribution of work shall have been continuously employed full time for at least three months immediately prior to the slack period and any employee not having full time employment for at least three months immediately prior to the slack period shall be subject to lay-off without review.

   TWELFTH: The Employer may divide the workers into shifts and alternate them.

   THIRTEENTH: (a) All legislation regulating and dealing with health, fire and sanitary conditions, shall be fully observed and fully enforced. Sanitary and healthful drinking facilities shall be provided in the factory.

   (b) The minimum wage provided herein shall be superseded by any laws of the State of California which shall be legally applicable to and binding upon both parties hereto and which shall impose more stringent requirements regulating wages, hours of work, than are prescribed in this agreement.

   FOURTEENTH: All manufacturing homework of any kind is prohibited.

   FIFTEENTH: No person under the age of 16 years shall be employed in any manufacturing process.

   SIXTEENTH: No female employee shall be employed in excess of eight hours in any one day or forty-eight (48) hours in any one week.

   SEVENTEENTH: The following holidays shall be observed: New Year's Day, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day without pay and Labor Day with pay. It is understood and agreed that one day's wages shall be deducted from the week's wages of all employees for the week wherein a holiday aforementioned occurs with the exception of Labor Day.

   EIGHTEENTH: Any work performed in excess of eight (8) hours in any one day or forty (40) hours in any one week, or any work performed on any Saturdays, Sundays, or any of the aforementioned holidays shall be paid for at the rate of one and one-half times the regular wags paid to time workers, and one and one-half times the regular established piece rate to piece rate workers.

   NINETEENTH: Wages shall be paid every two weeks and such wages are to be paid in cash or check.

   TWENTIETH: Any worker who is called to work shall be guaranteed at least one-half (1/2) day's continuous work.

   TWENTY-FIRST: (a) The Employer and the Union signatory to this agreement at the time of its execution shall be bound thereby during the term of this agreement and shall continue to be bound thereby for and during the full term thereof, and any and all liability under this agreement of the Employer and the Union shall continue for and during the full term thereof.

   (b) The Employer shall not enter into partnership or consolidate or merge with another person, firm or concern in the industry unless the new firm assumes all accrued obligations to the workers of the Employer. Upon the formation of such partnership or upon such consolidation or merger, such new firm shall give preference in employment to the workers of the absorbed concern over all other workers except those then employed by the firm which continues in business.

   TWENTY-SECOND: Neither the Employer nor the Union shall be bound by any restrictions of any kind, nature or description whatsoever not specifically contained herein.

   TWENTY-THIRD: That this agreement shall become effective as of June 8, 1938, and shall remain operative and binding upon the parties hereto until the 7 day of June, 1939; that if either of the parties hereto shall desire to make any changes, modifications or additions to this agreement at the expiration hereof, it shall notify the other party of such desire in writing at least one (1) month prior to the date of the expiration of this agreement that within ten (10) days of the receipt of such notice, the parties hereto shall meet in conference for the consideration of such proposed changes or additions; that in the event that the parties are unable to agree upon a new contract on or before the 7 day of August, 1939; this contract shall cease and terminate; that if no such notice is given by either party to the other, as aforesaid, this agreement shall automatically continue and remain in force for another year.

   IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have caused these presents to be signed by their respective officers and their seal to be affixed the day and year first hereinabove written.

   INTERNATIONAL LADIES' GARMENT WORKERS UNION,

GOLDEN GATE MFG. CO.

   CHINESE LADIES' GARMENT WORKERS

   LOCAL NO. 341

By (Signed) G. W. Wong Low

   By (Signed) Jennie Matyas, Org. I.L.G.W.U

   (Signed) Go Quai Sing, Pres.

   


 
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