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CANADIAN RAILWAY TELEGRAPH HISTORY-Canadian Telegraphic Historical Newspaper Accounts


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Article Twenty-Nine
"Grand Trunk Railway Telegraph Operators Contemplate Strike"
Announced 01 December 1898

A press dispatch from Montreal states that the telegraph
operators and agents employed by the Grand Trunk Railway
of Canada, are contemplating strike action against the
company.  A committee has been negotiating for sometime
with General Manager Melville Hays.  Chief Davis, of the
Order of Railway Telegraphers, states:

	"The committee have seemingly exhausted all honourable
	 efforts, and Mr. Hays insists on raising technical
	 points.  He wishes to delay the committee as much as
	 possible, and refuses to meet with them without their
	 first securing written authority from the individuals in the
 	 telegraph department to represent them. This the committee
 	 absolutely refuses to do. It is not necessary, and it has
	 never been the custom.  The fact that 90 per cent of the
	 telegraphers on the Grand Trunk belong to the O.R.T.
	 is prima-facia evidence of our right to represent the men."

     But why object to giving conclusive evidence? A prima-facia
     case does not amount to much before court or a jury. We know
     nothing about the strength of the ties by which 90 per cent of
     operators are joined to their brotherhood; but if the fidelity
     of these members is as feeble as that of other brotherhoods
     has proved to be in similar megotiations in past years, Mr Hays
     has good ground for believing that somewhere from 25 to 75
     per cent of the operators would be found to be practically
     independent, and perhaps on the side of the company, when it
     came to a test.  Brotherhood committees are so often self-
     appointed or lack binding authority that railroad managers are
     excusable for treating their claims with suspicion. On the other
     hand, if nine-tenths of the operators on the road are really 
     united in a given policy, why should they hesitate to avow their
     responsibility for it?

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