Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- January 19, 1874Meeting of Stonecutters
In answer to a request signed by Fred Schweitzer, John Hecker, John Perz, Fritz Olendorf, Albert Rapp, Gottfried Sendlinger, Martin Frankenberg, Georg Stenge, and Charles Arnold, approximately forty-two German stonecutters met at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon at 487 South Canal Street to discuss the attitude which they will assume toward their employees during the coming building season. The meeting was very well conducted.
Mr. Isermann called the meeting to order. Mr. H. F. Riepel was elected chairman, and Mr. Olendorf, secretary.
The chairman opened the meeting with a few introductory remarks. The reporter of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung (the only newspaper that published a notice of the meeting) was granted permission to be present.
Mr. Isermann: "Present conditions demand that we stand together. In a few 2months the coming building season will open, and we must now determine what our relations to our employers shall be. Apparently they intend to continue in their old ways, and, unfortunately, there are some workers who do not act in the interest of all workers. The German employees should at least unite more closely to effect an agreement with their employers, and then they should abide by the agreement, no matter what course the English unions may take."
Mr. Paetz: "The proposed union should take as its object the increase of our sick-benefit fund. It should also protect itself against attacks and schemes of other nationalities. We Germans have only suffered when we have fought to keep the promises which we made to others. We must organize to protect ourselves against other workers."
Mr. Williams: "I have followed the trade of stonecutting for many years in Chicago, and I have had contact with two German associations. I am opposed to exclusion of other nationalities. All stonecutters, without respect to 3nationality, must organize. Then, and then only, can we 'dictate' to bosses." Mr. Isermann: "I do not agree with Mr. Williams. All nationalities may join our present association and how has it used our money? The high wages which we received last year were a result of economic conditions and were not brought about by the activity of our association. Up to the present time our union has raised six thousand dollars and has squandered the money. We Germans contributed two thousand dollars of that amount, and had we administered the fund, we would still have the money and could purchase a building where we could have our meetings and our social activities. I do not object to working handin-hand with our English co-workers; but I do demand that the money which is paid by Germans be administered by Germans."
Johann Meyer: "I know that during the past eighteen or twenty years the German members of our association have been slighted by the English members. However, the fault lies with the Germans who did not attend the meetings although their membership is numerically stronger than the English membership. Had they done their duty, the former Treasurer would not have been able to 4abscond or squander the money of the Union."
Chairman: "I know from observation that the Germans could completely control the affairs of our organization if they would act as a unit. The principal offices were entrusted to the Germans for five years. It was not until 1869 that participation in the business matters of the union by the Germans began to decline. It is true, they alone are to blame, because they failed to assert their influence. However, if we Germans again organize an independent association, we will have to take active interest in its success, if it is to be of any benefit to us. I am opposed to any rash procedure and advise that we give this matter very careful thought before we take action, for there are unreliable men among the Germans also."
Mr. Stephan: "I protest against the statement recently made by German stone-cutters who are working on the new post-office--that they are the only respectable representatives of the craft. I think that much dishonesty is being practiced in connection with the erection of this Government building, 5and that we ought to demand a rigid investigation."
Mr. Isermann: "I would like to call your attention to the way the cabinetmakers and masons administer the affairs of their associations. They have special sections for Germans, and we ought to make a similar arrangement. The dishonesty prevailing among employers who are building the new post-office is one of the reasons why this meeting was called. They must cease discriminating against the German element. We are full-pledged citizens of this country and pay taxes, and therefore we have just as much, if not more right to work than the Canadians who were enemies of the Union during the Civil War and who sheltered Rebels."
Mr. Loss: "I have worked at the Federal Building for twenty-two days, and I know that the stonecutters have elected a committee to investigate the alleged dishonesty."
Mr. Schweitzer: "I believe that if those stonecutters employed at the Federal Building who are not citizens of the United States would be dismissed, the 6number of employes would be decreased by eighty-five per cent."
During the course of the debate many very uncomplimentary things were said about Mr. Selius, a stonecutter employed at the Federal Building, who stated that Germans would rather sit at the bar and drink beer than work.
Mr. Isermann recommended that a committee be appointed to draft a program for a future meeting. This recommendation was accepted. The following men were chosen to serve as members of this committee: Hanno Isermann, Friedrich Schweitzer, Johann Meyer, John Williams, Adam Stephan, H. F. Riepel.
I D 2 a 3, III A
Your search criteria returned no results.