To Ship And Boat Owners
A card from the owners and proprietors of ship and boat yards, appearing in the columns of your paper, Mr. Editor, stating that the Ship Carpenters' and Caulkers' Protective Union attempted virtually to coerce men to belong to the union, we beg leave to contradict it as unreasonable and unjust. We simply claim to be united for our mutual protection and the protection of our families, and we submit our case and our cause before an enlightened and discerning public.
We further claim to be a benevolent society visiting the sick and burying the dead. We proposed to the bosses to reduce our wages from three dollars to two dollars and fifty cents, on old and new work, for eight hours as a day's work, our business being one of the most laborious of any to work at - excessive toll under a burning sun naturally exhausts and weakens - so, on the long hours we were not in a condition to work the last of them, and in a position very often our feet refused to carry us home, discouraged and dispirited, to our families.
We would beg to remind the majority of these men that it is but a few short years since they worked with the tolls with us, and were always the first to demand high wages. A little prosperity, we are sorry to say, to some, drives honorable and manly feeling to the winds. We would ask, was it not by our sweat and toil, together with the exorbitant profits on materials, that made them rich in so short a time? A certain gentleman, whose name is affixed to their card, promised a public speech, in a public hall in our city, when he was aspiring to political honors, that he honestly considered eight hours for the hard-working man, and he would require no more. "Consistency is a rare jewel."They intimated to us they would send more men to strange cities in Canada, and give them three dollars per day for eight hours work, on order to crash and oppress their fellow citizens, confident it would not be out of their pockets, as the owners of vessels and boats were to be charged three dollars and fifty cents.
Our motto is "be just and fear Not," for our dependence is on Him who protects the poor. We give our time, our sweat and our mechanical labor; we claim to be the producers, while they idly stand by, making and compelling the owners to pay fifty cents on each man, with profits untold. With regard to not having Union men, we would wish to remind them of the extent of this continent, the facilities, its laws, its government, holds out to honest labor and mechanical science, from the building of a frigate to digging in or on the water works. Our wealth is in our mind and muscle, not in the perishable ways of ship or boat docks.
We ask for nothing but what is fair and just, and will remain, as usual, good Union men, now and forever. We would respectfully inform those wanting ships or boats built, spar making or caulking done, that we are prepared to do it in a workmanlike manner, and at the shortest notice.
Ship Carpenters' and Caulkers' Union