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AMERICAN BRIDGE CO.1
PULASKI HIGHWAY CONTRACT, CORRESPONDENCE AND REPORTS
Phila., July 2nd, 1931.
Pittsburgh, Penna. DEAR SIR: For your information, beg to advise that at a conference with our attorneys at Newark yesterday afternoon it was decided to change the date for starting erection of the bridge on the Jersey Meadows, for the N. J. Highway Department, from July 8th to July 13th. This order to comply with legal notification to property holders along the right of way, etc.
Everything now appears to be lined up in pretty good shape, and plan of campaign definitely outlined. Yours truly,
(Signed) J. B. GEMBERLING,
AMERICAN BRIDGE COMPANY,
Phila., July 18th, 1931.
Pittsburgh, Pa. DEAR SIR: I called on Col. Hudson yesterday for a little chat, and during our conversation he expressed himself very emphatically as being opposed to our starting any work whatsoever in connection with the erection of Route #25, Section 2, until our legal status has been definitely settled, with reference to Jersey City. He thinks it would be extremely impolitic for us to make any move until the Governor of the State of New Jersey approves. Col. Hudson was very hopeful of having an early decision.
In regard to transportation of our men to and from the job; we are considering two schemes, namely, by water and by rail. We are making progress in the investigation of both.
We are also considering the feasibility of chartering a big boat, and having the men living on this boat, anchored in the Hackensack River, a few hundred yards from the site. This, however, is a more expensive method, and will probably not be so satisfactory to the men.
It has been pretty definitely fixed in my mind that it would not be safe for our men to travel to and from the site by automobile in small groups, as quite a number of McClintic's men have been attacked in using this means of transpor
A hearing on the American Bridge Co. and the strike of its employees during the construction of its part of the Pulaski Skyway leading from New Jersey into New York City was held on Wednesday, March 3, 1937. At that time testimony was taken from Curtis S. Garner, general manager of erection for the company, and Edward P. Bergin, a union member who was shot by Ralph Golden, a guard, during the strike. This testimony and exhibits pertinent thereto appear in pt. 7 on pp. 2353-2405 and 2563-2596.
tation, and one of them, I understand, has been severely beaten and is now in the hospital.
While with Col. Hudson, he showed me a letter he had received from our Contracting Department, requesting an extension of time, due to our delay in starting, and he assured me that the Commission was disposed to handle this matter in a very liberal manner, and that he anticipated no difficulty in getting an extension.
I have been informed that the money to pay and board the Union pickets is: coming from the middle-west, and is being furnished by the International. Yours truly,
(Signed) J. B. GEMBERLING, JBG/c.
July 20, 1931. Subject: G-4000–7—Viaduct to Hackensack River. Mr. J. B. GEMBERLING,
Division Erecting Manager, Philadelphia, Penna. DEAR SIR: We have your letter of the 18th relating to your call on Col. Hudson, Chief Engineer. I believe Col. Hudson's attitude toward our starting work on Route 25, Section 2, is a proper one and agrees with the attitude of this Company. In other words, it is exactly the same as talks you and I have had. No effort should be made toward starting erection of this work until the State Government has definitely cleared up with the Jersey City officials the question about the right of way over certain streets passing under the viaduct.
There is nothing in our way to prevent taking steps toward beginning our operations as promptly as we can after the State has shown the City of Jersey City that we have the right to cross the streets with our tracks and as I stated to you in your office last Thursday, all necessary preliminary steps can be taken so that when the way is clear, we will be ready to start without any delay:
I expect to be in the East sometime during this week to discuss this work further with you in your office and in New York, and will let you know a little later when I will be with you. Yours truly,
(Signed) C. S. G.,
General Manager of Erection.. CSG:W.
JULY 21, 1931. Subject: G-4000-7, New Jersey State Highway, Viaduct to Hackensack River. Mr. L. A. PADDOCK,
President, Building. DEAR SIR: The State of New Jersey filed an injunction against Jersey City this morning, which will prohibit the police officials from interfering with any of our operations in connection with starting erection of the viaduct for the New Jersey State Highway.
The injunction is to be thrashed out with the City during the next week or ten days, but we are informed by our attorneys that we can now proceed.
All arrangments have been made for shipping equipment and we expect to complete arrangements during the next two or three days for taking care of our men at the site.
Mr. Gemberling will be in Jersey City tomorrow to take steps toward providing temporary fences around certain portions of the work and look into certain features in connection with the protection of our men.
I will be in Mr. Gemberling's office Thursday and in Jersey City on Friday.
Incidentally, The McClintic-Marshall Construction Company informed me this morning that they were letting some of their guards go, as pickets were getting fewer. Some of the McClintic-Marshall men have been attacked after they left work.
The Phoenix Bridge Company is going ahead with their work and both companies are getting all the men they need. Yours truly,
(Signed) C. S. G.,
General Manager of Erection. CSG:W.
JULY 22, 1931. Mr. CLYDE MacCORNACK, General Manager,
Phoenix Bridge Company, Phoenixville, Penna. DEAR MR. MacCORNACK: I appreciated your calling me on the telephone this morning and we were glad to hear that you are making a start with the New Jersey State Highway work. As I told you over the telephone, the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey has taken action in Court to prevent the police officials of Jersey City from interfering with our laying tracks across streets necessary to enable us to begin our erecting operations and we are informed by our attorney that we can now proceed.
I will be in Philadelphia tomorrow with Mr. Gemberling and in Jersey City the following day, as we are trying to complete arrangements toward beginning our operations. I hope we can keep up a good family spirit among the field forces of the three companies. As a matter of fact, we are trying our best to encourage it and I am quite sure that both yourself and Messrs. Gibbs and Gendell are doing the same thing. When I return from Jersey City the latter part of the week, I will telephone you. Yours truly,
(Signed) C. S. G. CSG:W
General Manager of Erection. Copy, Mr. E. A. Gibbs for information of yourself and Mr. Gendell.
C. S. G.
JULY 27, 1931 Subject: G-4000_7— Viaduct to Hackensack River, New Jersey State Highway. Mr. L. A. PADDOCK, President, co Mr. E. A. Smith,
Chicago, Illinois. DEAR Sir: Late this afternoon Mr. A. L. Davis telephoned me that a member of the New Jersey State Highway Commission had called a meeting for Tuesday at 11:00 a. m. in the Highway office at 47 Clinton Street, Newark, New Jersey, and requested representatives of the three companies interested in the building of the elevated structure running over the Meadows to be present; and Mr. Davis stated that I would represent the American Bridge Company. I understand Mr. Gibbs, Vice Presidnet of McClintic-Marshall and Mr. MacCornack, General Manager of Phoenix Bridge Company will be there. All representatives will have their attorneys.
I made it a point to find out whether there would be any labor representatives and was told there would be none.
Our men are not on a strike and there is no reason for us to begin discussing labor problems with representatives of the Labor Unions in Jersey City and other towns along the highway that is being built.
I asked Mr. Gemberling to meet me in New York and we will go over to the meeting with our attorney, Mr. Brown. Yours truly,
(Signed) C. S. G. General Manager of Erection.
(Stamped: Received, Gen. Mgr. of Erection, Jul. 31, 1931)
UNITED STATES STEEL PRODUCTS COMPANY
PRIVATE TELEGRAPH SERVICE
New York, July 30, 1931 L A PADDOCK American Bridge Company
Pittsburgh, Pa. We started work this morning at 3:30 with 17 men on the Jersey job who worked without interruption until I left at 4:00 PM More bridgemen arrived this afternoon Others have been ordered to report tommorrow morning. We are well organized with plenty of guards and the railroad company have furnished armed police on their right of way to guard their property and ours Locomotive cranes and other equipment moving from Philadelphia and Gary Extension of erection tracks and beginning of falsework will start early next week Have two good methods of transportation for men
The spirit of our organization at present time is very good
C. S. GARNER 4:05 PM
JULY 31, 1931.
Subject: G-4000-7—New Jersey State Highway, Route 25, Jersey City
Get copy of letter written by Mr. Gemberling to Mayor Haig' applying for permission to cross streets.
Date of application for injunction, July 14.
Meeting of Abraham Jellin, Commissioner, with representatives of the three companies, July 28.
Meeting of attorneys and representatives of the three companies, July 29, to prepare joint article for newspapers.
EXHIBIT 2865 (Extract from the Newark Evening News, Thursday, July 30, 1931, Page One, Column Two, Page Two,
ROUTE 25 Jobs STAY OPEN SHOP
CONTRACTORS IN STATEMENT DASH IRONWORKER HOPES OF UNIONIZATION
“We have operated, are operating and will continue to operate on a strictly open shop basis.”
With this positive statement, the three contractors erecting the elevated Route 25 between Newark and Jersey City killed any hope union ironworkers leaders had that the companies would consent to unionizing the job.
The statement was given out in behalf of the McClintic-Marshall Corporation, the Phoenix Bridge Company and the American Bridge Company, each doing a section of the work.
In union labor circles here the statement of the Big Three as the companies are referred to in the industry—is regarded as an answer to Theodore M. (Ted) Brandle's recent declaration, "We will use every effort to unionize these jobs. Brandle is the leader of North Jersey Ironworkers. He has asked Highway Com. missioner Jelin to act as mediator in labor difficulties on the work.
It is considered that the companies, in adhering to their open shop policy of many years, are determined to thwart Brandle and the International Ironworkers Association in their efforts to compel the bridge contractors to unionize. This fight has been in existence over a period of years, with the companies successful
Shelton Pitney of Pitney, Hardin & Skinner issued the statement. An explanation of the companies' position was issued, because of "so much interference by outside interests with the orderly and peaceful conduct of the work,” and because "so much newspaper publicity has been given to this interference."
STATEMENT OF CONTRACTORS
The statement follows:
"We have operated, are operating and will continue to operate on a strictly open shop basis. For the last twenty-five years we have employed and will continue to employ ironworkers and other workmen without regard to their membership or non-membership in any labor organization.
"We are paying our ironworkers $14 for an eight-hour day, which is the highest rate that has been paid in the past in the erection of similar structures in this locality, such as the Outerbridge, the Kill van Kull Bridge, the Goethals Bridge and the Pennsylvania Railroad bridges over the Hackensack River.
“We have had and now have no dispute whatever with our employees, nor have they made any complaint touching wages, hours or working conditions. There is obviously, therefore, nothing for arbitration. There has been neither strike nor difficulty in obtaining sufficient competent and trained men.
"It has always been our policy to give preference insofar as practicable to local men. Consistent with that policy we have given and intend to give preference to workers residing in New Jersey. Whatever properly skilled employees who are Jerseyites and who are willing to work under open shop conditions and for the specified wage apply for work and jobs are open, such applicants will, of course, have preference over non-residents for the vacancies.'
"Our only difficulties have been those created by the outside interference to which we have already referred. Many competent ironworkers of this state have been prevented from getting work on these jobs solely because of the intimidation and fear of violence from the so-called union 'pickets'.
"The purpose underlying the interference which we have experienced, namely, to force upon us a closed union shop, is illegal in itself and the so-called 'picketing' whether peaceful or violent, is likewise illegal because unrelated to any dispute with our employees. A contractor engaged upon a public work has no possible justification for refusing a citizen of New Jersey employment because he is not a
"We shall complete our several contracts with the State Highway Commission and in so doing must continue to call upon the proper public authorities for protection to the extent that it may become necessary in the light of any further interference and violence that may be encountered.”
(Extract from the Newark Evening News, Friday, July 31, 1931, Page One, Column Four, Page Two,
WORKERS CLASH IN JERSEY CITY
TWO INJURED, ONE ARRESTED AS OPEN SHOP BRIDGEMEN FIGHT UNION PICKETS
Open shop bridgemen and union ironworker pickets clashed this morning on the Jersey City side of the Hackensack River, near Lincoln Highway, where labor troubles are affecting the erection of the Route 25 elevated highway, between Newark and Jersey City.