Tyler Window Glass Company Strike

Articles From The
Sistersville Daily Oil Review

November 25, 1903

Window Glass Men Strike

The blowers, gatherers, snappers and cutters at the Tyler Window Glass company went out on a strike this morning on their own motion and without orders from the officers of the Glass unions. The trouble is over a new wage scale the men want the company sign. It is well known when Eph Wells made a deed to the company for the land on which the glass plant is built, that the company was to operate the plant ten months in a year. The men employed in the plant subscribed for sixteen thousand dollars worth of the stock they have paid about one half. They were to pay for this stock by having deducted from their wages each month a certain per cent of their earnings to pay for the stock they had bought. The new wage scale provides that all the wages are to be paid to the men and not a penny is to be deducted for stock. This is directly opposite to what was agreed to and the company declined most emphatically to change their original contract. Another clause in the wage scale objected to is that the plant is only to run until May 28th 1904. This is less than a ten months run and the company having agreed with Mr. Wells to run ten months if possible and propose to carry out this contract it its possible to be done. This morning the men refused to work, the glass in the pots was bailed out and the factory closed. The men are out on a strike and the managers propose to stand by their original contracts if the plant rots. We understand the men offer subterfuges by which they can get around these two objectionable clauses in the wage scale but the managers say they have made fair and square contracts, propose to carry them out and do not intend to agree to do one thing and do another. There is very little money in the business now and we are sorry the strike is on. The workingmen have everything to lose while the other stockholders have their other occupations and the factory standing idle makes substantially no difference at all to them. Its certainly a silly move.

December 1, 1903

The Glass Strike Situation

The strike at the Tyler Window Glass company is still on but its possible the differences between the working men and the company may be adjusted in a few days. As was stated before, when the company was organized the workmen subscribed for nearly one half of the stock of the company and agreed to pay for this stock by having a certain percent of their wages deducted each settlement made until the stock was paid in full. This was the first and original contract that has never been changed. The new scale for wages provides among other things that no per cent of the wages earned is to be retained to pay for stock bought, a very unfair proposition it seem[s] to us. This rule was inserted in the new wage scale, so we are informed to obviate a difficulty in one factory in Indiana, where, it is claimed, men were working for less money than the wage scale demanded, but the men were paid apparently full wages but in fact a part of the wages earned by the men was deducted to pay for stock, which in fact was not issued, in other words the deduction made for stock was imaginary and was a clear rebate of wages for which the men received nothing. In order to prevent this action which really meant working for less than the scale wages, this new rule was adopted. In the case here the men actually and bona fide subscribed for the stock and will get it when paid.

Yesterday the president of the association or labor union came to the city and proposed first to lease the factory and run it. Manager McCoy said the plant could be leased. This proposition was not urged any more. The men then asked the company if it would sign the wage scale if the men paid up their stock in full. This is the proposition now before the managers of the company. An amicable meeting was held last night and the company has ordered an invoice taken today to ascertain exactly the condition the company is in and to see if it has made or lost money. After the invoice is complete the company will decide the question. The real trouble between the men and company is about the payment of the stock, so if the stock is paid up in full we understand the factory will resume work we hope the matter will be arranged amicable and satisfactory and the plant started up soon. As we view the matter, and we have no interest in it in any way, the men ought to do as they agreed to do and the union ought to provide in the wage scale for its members to pay for stock as they agreed to do. As it is the new wage scale make[s] no provision for the men to carry out their contracts heretofore entered into. No union or any other body of men ought to ask its members to repudiate bona fide contracts entered into and being honestly carried out.

December 16, 1903

Tyler Window Glass Company Muddle

The Review regrets to report the prospects for the starting up of the Tyler Window Glass company plant are not bright as we view the matter. The plant was shut down by the men refusing to work because the directors refused to sign the new scale. The last action taken by the directors was to order an invoice taken. This invoice shows that the Company has been losing money. The plant is in debt at this time between twenty five and twenty eight thousand dollars. It was thought by careful management the factory would eventually pay up its debts and make money.

Yesterday there was a meeting of the stockholders. The notice for the meeting was given by the workingmen in the factory who own stock in the plant. These gentlemen together with perhaps half a dozen stockholders outside of the workmen appeared in person and by proxy and had a majority of the stock and passed a number of resolutions, the substance of which was to change the by laws so as to make the number of directors 15 instead of 9 then six new directors were elected from among the workingmen and their friends. Mr. Smith, bookkeeper of the Sistersville Window Glass company was chosen superintendent of the plant. the [sic] president of the company was shorn of all his power except to preside over the meeting of the directors and we understand the board of directors under the new order of things is to meet tomorrow and we presume will order the plant started up and a new management placed in control of the plant.

The minority stockholders object. They insist the whole action is illegal for the reason the notice of the meeting failed to state what was its object and is therefore no notice at all. Prof. Minor in discussing this matter of notice on page 532 in Vol. I, says "Where times and places are appointed for the meetings by law or charter, or by by-law or usage, every member is presumed to know them, and no special notice is requisite. But if the business to be done is such as is not ordinarily transacted at such meetings, notice that it is to be brought up is necessary, - e. g. the election or amotion of an officer, or the enactment of a by law, &c, and in the absence of such notice, the transaction of business of that kind is illegal, unless all the corporators are present, and all assent."

This seems to the Review to be very plain and clear. Nothing was said in the notice as to what the object of the meeting was to be, new by-laws were enacted, an officer was substantially ousted and his privileges taken from him, new directors were elected, all of which Prof. Minor says cannot be done without legal notice unless all the stockholders are present and assent. All the stockholders were not present and did not consent, but in fact protested. This being the law it looks to us as if the move made yesterday was illegal, void and does nothing whatever but make the breach between the men and the directors wider and more difficult to settle.

We do not think either side will make any headway by pulling apart. Cooler heads should take the matter up and try and make an amicable settlement, otherwise there can only be but one result, that will be a law suit, the plant put into the hands of a receiver, sold at public auction and that will not particularly benefit any body but the lawyers and court officials. The majority of the stockholders have certain legal rights and the law also protects the minority as well as the majority. No company on earth can hope to make a success of any business by working against each other. This plan will go into litigation as sure as the sun shines unless the fight is stopped and an effort is made to adjust differences on a fair and square business basis. The public wants the plant to run. The men want to work, the stockholders want to make some money, but nothing can ever be accomplished by the kind of work we had yesterday. We hope wiser counsels will prevail, if not, then the fight goes into court and that means an idle plant for many months no difference who wins. Let's have cooler counsel, let's have concessions made on both sides and get to work or one side or the other buy or sell. If not, both sides will lose money, the plant will be sold and change hands entirely after months of waiting. It's a fine plant, a good location but its owners engaged in a wrangle will never open the plant or make money for anybody. Let's have a compromise.

December 17, 1903

Injunction Granted

Upon the bill of complaint filed by H. W. McCoy and others who have endorsed notes for the Tyler Window Glass Company amounting to over twenty-one thousand dollars and over drafts amounting to about six thousand dollars more including out-standing bills, the judge has granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or disposal or use of any property that belongs to the Tyler Window Glass Company, also restraining certain directors from disposing of anything belonging to the company and asking for the appointment of a receiver to take charge of the plant and stock to ascertain the indebtedness of the company and to sell the plant and stock of glass on hands to pay the debts the company owes.

This is what was predicted would be done in the Review last night. The notices of the injunction are now in the officers hands to be served and so matters stand until some compromise is made, the debts secured and an amicable arrangement made to start the plant up. We hope some plan will be arranged by which work can be resumed. We think it's time now for cool headed work.

December 18, 1903

Glass Trouble May Be Compromised

We are pleased to state that negotiations are pending looking towards a compromise by the terms of which the Tyler Window Glass Company will probably resume work in a day or two. Last night overtures were made and the men and stockholders will probably reach an agreement this evening or tomorrow by the terms of which the plant will resume work. Both sides seemed to be disposed to agree to such terms and conditions as will start the plant up and we are sure everybody will hope the compromise will be reached.

December 26, 1903

Strike Settled

We are pleased to announce the trouble between the blowers and the directors of the Tyler Window Glass plant was settled Thursday evening and as soon as the furnaces can be repaired a little the fires will be started again. Concession were made that were satisfactory to both sides. The management will not be changed, the men will go to work next week and we feel sure there will be no more trouble in the plant this fire at least. Under the contract the plant can and no doubt will make some money. To make up for the time lost the plant will probably run until about the first of July.

December 30, 1903

Making Glass

The Tyler Window Glass Company made its fi[r]st window glass this morning since it shut down on account of the men striking. The report published in the Wheeling papers yesterday to the effect that Mr. Smith, the genial bookkeeper for the Sistersville Window Glass Co., was the new manager of the Tyler Window Glass Co., is not true. There was no changes whatever made in the officers of the latter company. Under the wage contract the company can and no doubt will make some money, give steady employment to the men and will run until July 1st. We are sure every person interested in Sistersville will be pleased to know the plant is in full blast again.


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