The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 10 July, 1903

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Shipmasters' Association Not a Labor Union.

Chicago, July 9. - Since practically every branch of men employed on the lakes are now in unions, and there is more or less agitation going on at all times, the associations organized along the lines of benignity are making efforts to distinguish themselves from unionism. The Shipmasters' Association will probably take the first step in that direction.

Grand Secretary Francis B. Higgie has already started the movement through a recommendation that the association's title be changed to that of the Shipmasters' society. The shipmasters have no tenets of unionism and Secretary Higgie says there are many good reasons why this should be generally known. The association, which was organized fourteen years ago, has been maintained for the sole purpose of insurance, paid upon the death of a member to his beneficiaries.

Since the association was organized 151 death benefits of $1,000 each have been paid. There are no dues such as in labor organizations, the fund being kept up by a special assessment of $2 levied upon each of the association's members at the death of one of their number. Only those who hold government licenses to navigate the great lakes are eligible for membership. At last reports the association had upon its membership rolls about 60 per cent of men carrying such papers.


Practically every active member of the Shipmasters' society belongs to the Masters' and Pilot's association, which takes care of the labor end of the craft. They control 95 per cent of the licensed captains and mates and have a strong hold on the situation.

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10 July, 1903
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Dave Swayze
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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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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 10 July, 1903