The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), Feb. 2, 1881

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p.3 Wind Wafts - The prop. Golden City (sic) purchased by Messrs. Folger Bros. and Copley, is one of the largest of N.T. line.

Yacht Emma - referred to in "Forest & Stream."


A Presentation to President Powers and His Lengthy Reply.

Some days ago the Kingston branch of the Sailors' Union sent to Mr. R. Powers, Chicago, a very handsome gold badge in recognition of his excellent executive ability. Of course the recipient of this favour replied at length giving a resume of his connection with the Union from the time of its formation until the present. He first refers to the great depression of trade and dullness which prevailed between the years 1873 and 1877, and to the movement which took place towards the end of 1877 for the establishment of a Longshoremen's Association and, under it, the more uniform regulation of wages. The great strike of 1877 indicated where great work might be done in the interests of the labourers and while Chicago was in a state of siege, as it were, he (Powers) and a few others held secret meetings and founded what afterwards became an influential and powerful organization. When the strike ended the Longshoremen's Union demonstrated its usefulness in an unmistakeable manner, the attempts to procure labor at figures below those fixed by it proving unsuccessful. The winter passed and the spring of 1878 opened auspiciously and the Union anticipated the improvement of trade. The many seamen who had assembled in Chicago, observed the operations of the

Longshoremen's Association,

and expressed a desire for a similar combination in their interest, and on March 20th, 1878, the first meeting was held to consider the advisability of uniting on certain conditions and for certain well defined purposes. Various meetings followed and several adjournments took place. At one time the seamen complained that the longshoremen were doing in port labor which properly belonged to them (the seamen), but when the representative committees met and had conferences all differences of opinion were dispelled, and the one party promised to do what it could to advance the interests of the other. On the 28th of March, 1878, Mr. Powers says he acted as chairman of the meeting at which the Sailors' Union took definite form. Its membership in a few days were reckoned by thousands. Within a week permanent officers were appointed and a rate of wages fixed. The Union was at first sharply criticized, but in the course of time it became popular and most seamen joined it. Buffalo, Cleveland, Milwaukee and other places soon afterwards had their branches. The movement spread until in 1879 the International Union, having representatives at all ports along the chain of lakes, was satisfactorily inaugurated. There was still some up-hill work, but it did not seriously affect the

Efficiency Of The Branches,

although a few of them suffered in consequence of the inaptness of some of those who held office. The Kingston branch had its changes, but he (Powers) believed that those now in authority in this city are giving the utmost satisfaction. He gave the sketch of the Union's rise and progress because it seemed fitting in one who had so long been at its head, and whose conduct in that position was endorsed by the handsome present the Kingston branch had made him. He had championed the interests of Canadian branches when he could, but in doing this he had but discharged what he conceived to be his duty. He had not been selfish, and for what he had done for others he felt that he had been rewarded. He thanked Mr. Crowley (President of the Kingston branch) for the gift, and complimented the Committee acting with him upon the appropriateness of their design. How could he repay them for their kindness? In the future, as in the past, he would devote his time and energies to the promotion of those interests which concerned the seamen, and in this way he hoped to show that their favours had not been unmerited. Not only did he feel proud of the present, but the members of the Chicago Union and his wife desired to express their acknowledgements.

Mr. Powers is popularly regarded by the members of all the branches of the Union, and by none more so than the Kingstonians, who have, in Mr. Crowley, a local President whose management of affairs has been attended by the utmost harmony and satisfaction.

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Feb. 2, 1881
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Daily British Whig (Kingston, ON), Feb. 2, 1881