Seven Stores Sign With Retail Union Special to The Texas Observer PORT ARTHUR, Dec. 27 Local Industrial Union 1814, CIO, is now the recognized bargaining agent for the employees of seven Port Arthur retail establishments and the effective bargaining agent for those of an eighth one. These eight stores employ about 175 workers. The union is picketing 19 stores which employ between 500 and 600 workers. About 200 persons are doing the picketing, and union officials state another 200 are still on strike but not picketing. Business-. men state there has been some “falling away” among the pickets. Grant’s Department Store and Juneau’s Cafe were struck originally, but Grant’s has recognized the union and made other concessions, and Juneau’s has effectively recognized the union without signing a contract, reserving the right to withdraw the working arrangement if the strike fails generally. Six stores recognized the union without strikes: Plettman’s Grocery, Bluestein’s Department Store, Lane’s, Inc. Clothing, Tiller’s Grocery, Holsum Bakery and the Cooperative Association. The latter two stores recognized the union some years ago. The only NLRBconducted election held among the pre-strike employees occurred at Bluestein’s. The employees voted 56-1 for the union. 00 PLEDGES \(Continued from Page “We had a very friendly time,” Parker recalls, and by the end of the evening I got the impression they were all going out the next day and settle the strike. But about a week later they started saying they couldn’t do anything, and then they just stopped talking to me. They got the word from outside, I guess.” The Chamber of Commerce is officially silent about settlement prospects, but unofficially Chamber executives accept the deadlock and say “Nobody will give an inch.” Shelly Weinstein, manager of Lane’s Clothing Store, which has signed with the union, has this to say about settlement: “We would have a much finer community if they would just sit down and discuss it. There’s been too much haggling and petty bickering. Labor and management have got along fine elsewherewhy not here?” One reason management gives for its refusal to negotiate is the origin of the strike, which began without National Labor Relations Board elections and with the assistance of an independent union which was attacked by Attorney General Shepperd as “Communist-led.” Shepperd has stated the situation has altered and the strike is now a straight labor management dispute. The controverted union withdrew from the strike in November, 1953. George Barnes, co-owner of Mrs. Barnes’ Cafeteria, grants that the striking union is now solely under local leadership, but he adds: haven’t won the strike, they have won a communist objectiveclass hatred.” “There’s no question that the strike will go on,” says George Cowart, official leader of the strike. “We have supported it 14 months and we can support it indefinitely. They have refused to discuss the single issue: recognition of the union.” Labor’s position is that it will talk to management anytime. “We are ready to negotiate at any time,” Parker says. But the merchants did not show up last Monday when Riffe, Bob Starnes, CIO regional director in Dallas, Cowart. and others waited for them in a Beaumont Hotel. Nor is there much reason to hope that the economic effects of the strike will cause a settlement, for Port Arthur is as prosperous as ever, the local labor force is basically unaffected, and the picketing workers themselves are at least as NLRB has held that the other 14 struck stores do not come within its jurisdiction. The only recourse for dissatisfied employees not covered by the NLRB-related laws is the strike. These 14 stores are Sabine Hotel, Goodhue Hotel, Three Beall Brothers, Inc., the Fair Stores, Inc., Fred Miller Hardware Store, Lanz Jewelers, Home Laundry, Payne’s Steak House, Farm Royale, Silver Star Cafe, Texas Cafe, Silver Hut Drive-Inn, Golden Arrow DriveInn, and Thomas Brothers Cafe. Five of the 19 struck stores come within the declared jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB ruled that only the employees who had replaced the strikers would be eligible to vote on whether to have a union. The strikers had all been fired. In each of these five cases the vote by the employees working behind the pickets was unanimously against a union. These stores, still being picketed, are Franklin’s, Woolworth’s, McClellan’s Mayfair and C. R. Anthony department stores. The management of these five stores alleged that continued picketing was coercive in light of their current employees’ votes against a union, but the NLRB dismissed the charge on the basis of legislative history leading up to relevant portions of the Taft-Hartley Act. well off now as they were at their previous wages from the struck stores. The financial pains must be occurring among outside retail merchants who are keeping the struck stores in business with cash contributions, and in the national and state CIO treasuries. But in Port Arthur itself, bank deposits at both banks were higher as of October, 1954, than at any time since 1949 \(with one brief exdent of the First National Bank, says “business is very good, with the exception of the struck stores.” A Chamber of Commerce spokesman whose usual public complaint it that retail sales are down $16 million from the previous year boasted at a recent Kiwanis Club luncheon that Port Arthur ranks 16th in the Nation in per capita income and 21st in per capita family income and has an average family income of $6.000 a year, or $550 per month. Thus, stories that gained currency during the summer political campaign that Port Arthur was a “ghost town” were untrue. Nor has the city been “racked with violence.” In fact, G. B. Douglas, the Chief of Police, says there has been “no violence at all” and the strike has been “very unusually orderly.” But the town is full of bitterness and sadness. There is one married couple in Port Arthur who lived happily together for many years. He is an officer of Oil Workers Local 23 and she manages a clothing store. One morning her store was struck. They have argued bitterly. She says it has hurt them both so much they never speak of it now. Even so, the strike will go on. Headlines, which rise and fall like waves, will turn to other things, and the pickets will keep walking, and the retail merchants will keep soliciting funds, and people who grew up together will deepen more the scars of 14 months of strife and hurt. CLASSIFIED ADS To submit a classified ad, write Drawer F, Capitol Station, Austin, or call 70746. Help Wanted STRINGERSThe Texas Observer is building up a bank of reliable reporters all over Texas. Professional reporters of an enlightened turn of mind are urged to contact the Editor, The Texas Observer, Drawer F, Capitol Station, Austin. ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVESIf you have some spare time and would like to help The Texas Observer grow, write the Business Manager for advertising solicitation forms. Percentage of sales can be arranged. The Texas Observer, Drawer F, Capitol Station, Austin. Help WantedFemale Make extra money. Address, Mail postcards spare time every week. BICO, 143 Belmont, Belmont, Mass. Page 4 December 27, 1954 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19 Picketing Rice Hotel 56-Hour Work Week Is Issue, Union Says HOUSTON, Dec. 27 Nineteen striking maintenance workers are threatening to continue picketing the Rice Hotel in downtown Houston “for a year if necessary.” N. E. Coward, executive Secretary of the Houston Labor and Trades Council, stated that the chief unresolved issue between the Rice Hotel workers in Stationary Engineers Local No. 707 and the Jesse Jones interests which own the Rice is the 56-hour work week. “They had agreed to a wage increase up to $350 a month, but the union asked for an hours reduction to 48 hours a week for that same amount of money, and negotiations bogged down on that point,” Coward said. Picketing did not begin, however, until the Rice hired twenty new employees to replace the striking maintenance m e n last summer, Coward stated. Only one of the original strikers, a master mechanic, has gone back to work. “He just forgot about the union and went back,” said the labor leader. The spokesman for the Jones interests, Fred Heyne, was not immediately available for comment. “The way the old man’s bowed his neck there doesn’t look like there will be any way the union can get back in there unless the pickets hurt them,” said Coward. “We’ve had some success. I understand three or four dinners have had to be called off because of the picketing.” The strike is now about four months old. The striking employees service mechanical equipment in the hotel. Knowland To Keynote Student Exchange Talks HOUSTON, Dec. 27The Republican majority leader from California, Senator William Knowland, has ben invited to be the keynote speaker at the Institute of International Exchange benefit dinner Jan. 13 at the Rice Hotel. Knowland’s subject was not anpounced. He was expected, however, to discuss the education exchange programs of the Government and private groups. Knowland was elected majority leader in August, 1953. He has spoken out in derogation of “peaceful co-existence” with the Russians and voted against the resolution censuring Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin. W. P. Hobby, former Governor of Texas, and John T. Jones, Jr., cochairmen for the affair, said that tickets for the dinner will be $50 each. Funds raised will be used to develop educational exchange and scholarship programs in the Southwest. Guests will include ambassadors, foreign students in Texas universities, and educators. LEGAL ADS PUBLIC NOTICE OF DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP, WITH CONTINUANCE Notice is hereby given that the partnership between G. B. Vosburg, and Fred A. Martin, under the firm name of VOSBURG & MARTIN SHOES, of Austin, Texas, was dissolved on the 13 day of December, 1954. All debts due to said partnership are to be paid and those due from the same discharged at 125 West 7th Street, in the City of Austin, Texas, where the business will be continued by Don W. Tobin, and Fred A. Martin, under the firm name of VOSBURG & MARTIN SHOES. 37-4 THE STATE OF TEXAS COUNTY OF TRAVIS In the name and by the authority of The State of Texas Notice is hereby given as follows : To : Clara Tatnell, whose residence is unknown, and the unknown owner or owners of the property hereinafter described or any interest therein ; the heirs and legal representatives and the unknown heirs and legal representatives of each of teh above named and mentioned persons who may Veterans’ Land Inquiry Goes on During Yule AUSTIN, Dec. 27There has been no letup in the feverish veterans’ land scandal investigations during the he liday season, even though most state offices shut up tight over Christmas. The Senate General Investigating Committee began hearings today on the controversy, caused basically by the practice of some corporations of selling land to the State, buying it back in blocks under the Veterans’ land program in some cases without the affected veterans’ knowledge, and continuing to operate it themselves with 40 years to pay The Land Board was to meet again Tuesday to consider again the offer of three South Texas companies to take over liability for payments to the State for land bought in the name of 125 veterans and appraised at $876,344. State Attorney General John Ben Shepperd urged rejection of the offer last week and reported “evidence of fraudulent misrepresentation” to the veterans and the Board. Employees in the Land Office were busy preparing for the Senate hearing Dec. 24, even though State offices were closed then. Governor Shivers and Land Commissioner Bascom Giles did not comment on Shepperd’s eight-page letter last Tuesday in which he said that if the offer were accepted, the ‘corporations would be receiving the benefit of the State’s credit and acquiring land on a 40-year loan at 3 percent interest. Shivers had said when the offer was first made two weeks ago that he thought it sounded like a fair proposition, but it needed further study. Shepperd’s letter was also signed by Col. Homer Garrison, director of the Department of Public Safety, and State Auditor C. H. Cavness, whose departments have been working with Shepperd’s on the matter. The letter said there had been misrepresentation to some of the veterans and to the Board by the three companiesRio Val Develo3 -r -ment Company, Wintergarthm Development Company, and Alamo Development Company. It said that the three companies had capital stock of only $1,000 each, which would provide no real assurance to the State that the “hundreds of thousands of dollars” owed the Veterans Land Fund would be paid. Investigators have questioned 31 out of 40 veterans involved in one transaction, he said, and all 31 said that the entire transaction had been misrepresented to them. Shepperd divided the companies’ propositions into three categories. The largest, affecting 103 veterans, consisted of a company offer to meet all delinquent installments on land not held by the veterans for three years and then buy the land at the end of the period from any veterans who were dissatisfied and wanted out. The companies asked that if their pending applications for block sales were rejected the down payments and closing costs be applied to delinquent payments in some of their other transactions. They also offered to buy out and assume the indebtedness of veterans not satisfied who have held their land more than three years. FOR THE TRUTH YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE NEW YEAR Support and Subscribe to THE TEXAS OBSERVER Don’t miss an issue. And send subscriptions to your friends. And a Happy New Year! Name: Street Address: City & State: One-Year Subscription, The Texas Observer, $4.00 AUSTIN, Dec. 26 Common law marriage, the recognition at law of permanent liaisons not legally initiated, will be a target of the State Bar of Texas at the next session of the Texas Legislature. Judge Jack Pope, chairman of the association’s judicial section legislative committee, explains the stand of the group with these words: “It is imperative that our laws relating to divorce, marriage, and children be re-examined with an eye toward our current problems, because -loose laws produce a loose society.” Judge James R. Norvell, who serves with Pope as associate justice of the Fourth Court of Civil Appeals in San Antonio, said: are grounded on historical necessities that existed in a pioneer society when there were no roads, no public officials, and no member of the clergy available to perform ceremonial marriages.”
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