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Brief History of Local No. 24 Amalgamated Lithographers of America

"January 14, 1915 was the date the "Charter" of Local No. 24 was issued under the name of the Amalgamated Lithographers of America, Local No. 24.  It has operated under this "Charter" continuously since that time and is the reason for this anniversary observance.  It must be noted that this was not the start or founding of the "Local", nor its first Charter.

The first seeds were sowed in the early 1890's or possibly the 1880's when members of the "Romar Fishing Club" then a secret society, who in June of 1882 changed their name to the "Hudson Lithographic Association", affiliated with the Noble Order of the Knights of Labor.  They ceased to be a secret organization and began to organize lithographic workers wherever they found them.  These members left their jobs and journeyed to many cities, of which Pittsburgh was one, and spread the word that a National Organization of Lithographics Workers was being formed to protect their mutual interests.

By 1901 there were thirty-three members in the Pittsburgh area.  A few of these members and their local roll members were Brothers Henry Ruff No. 1; Fred Litschge No. 2' Henry Loshelder No. 8, John Dierker No. 16 and Jacob Schmid No. 22.  On October 20th, of this same year these members made application for a charter from the Lithographers International Protective and Beneficial Association of the United States and Canada, (who previously, as the Hudson Lithographic Union, withdrew from the Knights of Labor and in 1887 formed the Independent Lithographic International Protective Association and still later in 1894, when broadened in scope, changed their name to the L.I.P. and B.A.) and by 1902 was granted its first charter with the five previously mentioned brothers being some of its chartered members.  It is difficult to trace back the exact date these Brothers became active in the Union and the industry, but in April 1924, Local 24 gave a banquet for Brother John Dierker, Roll No. 16 in honor of his 5oth year in the industry.  This establishes him as an 1874 lithographer.  Then, also the minutes show that in May of 1927 the Union had its 25th anniversary banquet.  This substantiates the 1902 date being the original date the union was chartered.

Our first record of attendance at conventions, as a Local, was in 1904.  It was attended by Brother Thomas Reese, presumably the President, then in 1906 by Brother Finley.

It might be interesting to note at this time some conditions that existed in 1905.  There were at that time 5 Union Shops in the area, 16 Litho presses, the work week was 48 hours, the rates of pay were:  Artists $36.66, Provers $30.00, Engravers $24.20, Pressman $22.60, and Stone Grinders $13.20.  The apprentice ratio was one apprentice to three and one-third journeymen.

Since our early days, our progress has been steady.  We have had many difficulties but made many gains.  The interest of the worker has always been its top objective.  In order to better be able to care for our members the Local proposed in December 1939 the possibilities of having a full time paid President because of the increasing burdens place on the office.  It was decided that the Local could not afford a full time officer but that at a later date one could be established.  This dream of the old-timers for a centrally located office with a paid President again was being considered in the year of 1953.  After many meetings of the Council Board, Membership and International, the first full time President with a centrally located office was established the first of November 1953.  In looking back over the years we find that the Local now consists of approximately 400 members.  Our contract being in force, now calls for a 35 hour work week with wage scales as follows:  Artists $119.53, Photographers $119.53, Platemakers $113.05, Paper Pressman $122.15, Paper Feeders $75.08, Tin Pressman $128.27, Tin Feeders $82.25.  These advantages are along with the three and four week paid vacations, guaranteed paid holidays, paid Health and Welfare programs, time and on-half, double and triple time for overtime hours worked, plus many other benefits granted by the Local.  We are moving forward, as an example we now have an apprentice school operated jointly by the Union and our Management.  This is to be further expanded so as our Journeyman may be better equipped in their particular craft.  We have an active Education Committee and an important Health Committee to care for the needs of the members.  Our Membership rolls are increasing.

In all of our progress let us stop for a moment and pay credit where credit is due, that is to the older members whose untiring and unselfish efforts made all of this possible.  Awards are to be given to our members with 25 or more years uninterrupted service to this Local, also our active Past Presidents are to be remembered.

A complete history of the Local will be made available at a later date.

Theodore T. Meyers    

(Source: 40th Anniversary Book, January 28, 1956, an excerpt from the "History of the Lithographer Local No. 24," compiled by President Theodore T. Meyers.)