Click Here to Return to Index

Click Here to Return to Milestones

Tumbler Works Trouble

Milestones Vol 25. No. 4

(Freedom, PA, December 5, 1877)

On Monday afternoon, a notice was posted up in the packing room of the Rochester Tumbler Company by the proprietors requesting all of the workmen who were connected with the Glassworker's Union to step into the office and get their pay and leave the works. As a consequence, all the men, save two, excepting the stockholders, marched forward, took their pay and left the works. It seems that for some time past the proprietors have been suspecting the men of forming a union in connection with those in Pittsburgh.

A few days since, it is said, more definite information was obtained through some boy who had been taken into the union; hence the posting of the notice as above.

According to this information, the men and boys had formed themselves into a union for the purpose of securing higher wages and of fixing a lesser number of tumblers for a day's work. No man was to be discharged by the proprietors without a consultation with the officers of the union, and no action was to be taken until March 1, 1878, everything to go on in the meantime as if no union had been formed. This is one side of the story.

The men themselves say that the proprietors suspected one or two men of belonging to the union and were afraid of others joining. In order to get these out of the road they posted the notice, and that, too, after being told that nearly all belonged to the union, and those that did not would not stay in the works if the others were discharged. They also claim that Mr. Kane, one of the proprietors, himself belonged to the union in Pittsburgh, being a master workman in the order.

It is quite probable that a union of some kind was either actually formed or underway, although one of the men informed us that they were only holding a meeting or two in order to prepare for a grand ball, and that the proprietors were mad just because they couldn't find out all about it. The firm is now running only six or eight "shops," out of sixteen, and say they will soon have all of them going again without taking back any of the discharged men.

It is to be hoped, however, that some satisfactory arrangement can be made between the men and the company, as this is a bad time of the year for men to be out of work when there is plenty of it to do. We think a little giving way on either side would be judicious, and restore harmony and prosperity once more.