German Immigrant Ancestors
in Syracuse and Onondaga County, New York
The Crouse-Hinds Company
Transcript of a phonograph recording:
“A Message to Crouse-Hinds Employees and Their Families”
7” 33-1/3 rpm long-playing microgroove
Distributed 11 June 1960, with cover letter from Bob Sloan,
President of Crouse-Hinds
Text of accompanying cover letter:
The President’s Letter
June 10, 1960
To Crouse-Hinds Employees:
This record carries a message which we believe will be of interest to you and your family. I hope you will listen to it together.
The wage-earner is not the only member of the family who will be affected by the June 17 election. A steady job and steady income are of great concern to everyone in the family.
Before ordering these records, we made an informal check and found that 80% of you either owned or had access to a standard Long Play (33 RPM) record player. We hope that the others will ask a friend or neighbor to play it for them.
[signed] R. J. Sloan
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Phonograph message, Side 1:
This is Bob Sloan speaking. As the National Labor Relations Board election approached, we had originally thought of having a series of meetings at the shop where I could speak to the Crouse-Hinds employees who are going to vote in the election. However, we lacked the proper place, so we decided to use this type of record mailed to your home. We ran an informal check and found that 80% of you had access to a record player. This record has the added advantage of giving your wife or husband and children the chance to hear the Crouse-Hinds story also.
The way you vote in the election can have a great effect on their future welfare.
I want to talk to you about what we’re trying to do at Crouse-Hinds. I want to talk to you about your job and your family’s welfare.
Since 1955, and at a faster rate since 1958, we have been trying to gear Crouse-Hinds with the competitive condition which we are facing. Also we must recognize that we are no longer a small business and that we must grow up to our size.
Growing up can be a disturbing period in the life of an individual and also in the life of a corporation.
At the outset, let me make it very clear that we are in business to make a profit, and we believe that you want it this way. Profits are the source of all jobs and benefits. I know of nothing more discouraging than working for a company which is not making money. You don’t work for such a company very long because it goes out of business very quickly.
We are blessed by a great business inheritance from the earlier management of this company. Chief among these blessings is a reputation for the integrity and honesty of our people and our products. It is our job and our intention to maintain both of these.
Now let’s talk about some of the details, particular those affecting you. In the Family Circle a year ago February, we said, “The present management of Crouse-Hinds Company is fully aware of the many problems throughout the entire company and is dedicated to the job of making changes and corrections where it is proper to do so.” We have made considerable progress and still have other areas under study. Some of the actions which have been taken are:
Job classification, so that the relationships between jobs are fair to all;
Pay increases to keep us in step with the community rates;
Job evaluation and establishment of ranges in weekly pay;
Our insurance plan has been reviewed, resulting in increased benefits, particularly in the area of insurance for retired people, where we are ahead of the programs now being proposed to Congress;
Quicker benefits under major medical insurance; improvement of maternity payments, including those for complicated cases, and so forth.
Employee relations policies have been reduced to writing for all to see.
We have introduced bereavement pay in the case of death in the family, call-in pay, report-in pay, pay for volunteer firemen when on duty.
We have guaranteed eight paid holidays which are more than any other large local manufacturing company, organized or unorganized.
In the future the selection of the two floater holidays will be based on your expressed desires.
We are posting seniority lists and observing them. All these actions are directed towards eliminating favored treatment of any employee.
The great majority of you have not known any layoff since the Great Depression of the Thirties. With sales forecasting and inventory controls, the number of layoffs will be constantly reduced or eliminated.
We are making every effort to provide safe working conditions. The need for production or the cost of safety equipment is never a consideration when the safety of an employee is involved.
We have constantly improved working conditions. There have been extensive improvements in the locker room facilities in the foundry and elsewhere. We are starting on a similar improvement in the plating room at once. In the past two years, we have greatly improved the hospital facilities, particularly by the employment of Dr. Dale as full-time physician.
I doubt if there is any company in Syracuse that does more to keep its employees informed on company news, on the state of business, than does Crouse-Hinds. This is done through supervisors, Family Circle, confidential newsletter, and the President’s letters. We feel that you are entitled to all this information, and are interested because it affects your job and your welfare.
We’re doing our best to make a grievance procedure work, but we must have your help. After so many years without a formal procedure, we recognize it is difficult for one to gain acceptance. Nothing in the world will make this system work faster than the filing and proper handling of grievances. The only way to make this plan succeed is to have demonstrations of its use. We now have a set of policies against which grievances can be judged. These policies are open to you and if you feel you have been discriminated against, I beg of you to file a grievance.
Let’s talk about pay, which is of interest to everyone. It is our intention to pay everyone the proper rate for the job he is doing.
We recognize that inflation is making your family’s food and clothing cost more, and we take this into account whenever rate ranges are adjusted. I think it is only fair to say that in return for a fair day’s pay we expect to get a fair day’s work.
Please turn this record over for the balance of my message.
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We have greatly increased the size of our standards department in the past two years to meet your demands for extension of the incentive plan as rapidly as possible. We are even getting into the indirect labor area, which is of course far more difficult to rate than the direct labor.
Incentive pay is an effort to give those willing to make an extra effort an opportunity to increase their earnings. Under an incentive system, all workers are guaranteed their day rate.
We have provided superior fringe benefits in accordance with good practice and within our ability to pay. We are leaders in some benefits, and in others we are close to the leaders. No company can afford to be the leader in all possible benefits.
We are endeavoring to build an organization structure in the company which will insure its continued growth, provide adequate supervision for the future and be ready to take care of the expansion which must come in future years. We are seeking the necessary people within our own organization.
Through the supervisory candidate plan all of you are given a chance to ask for consideration as supervisors. It is to the advantage of the Company as well as the employees that those with ability be recognized. We are striving to widen the opportunities for promotion of properly qualified people.
The service to our customers is of constant concern to us. Happily it has improved in recent months. You have reduced the time required to ship an order. Quality control has been successfully applied. As we have often said, our job security depends on only one thing: and that is orders from our customers. No one but customers can provide job security. Each one of us has a stake in keeping the customers satisfied.
It is our job to seek out new products to maintain our position of leadership not only in our present fields but in those which we must enter to maintain and increase our volume.
We cannot count on our present products to give us the volume of sales necessary to healthy growth and to the creation of adequate new jobs. New lines of products must and will be found.
When we have accomplished everything I have outlined so far, we will not be at the end of our task. There is always more to be done. New problems will always be before us.
We are already aware of many of them. There is a limit to how much an organization can afford to take on at one time. We must feel our way and take care of the most important items first.
In this talk I have avoided any direct reference to unions. This has been a talk about Crouse-Hinds. However I think it would be proper if I answered a question often asked about why I am opposing any union at Crouse-Hinds.
You heard me say that I feel a union would be much more of a hardship on the employees than it would be on the Company. I think the deplorable situation at Carrier proves this clearly. Carrier people were ordered off their jobs without a part in the decision. They clearly showed their feelings by going back to work as soon as they were assured the police would protect them from violence. I don’t think any of you want to put yourself in this position.
The Company does not want to deal with you as a clock number with no recognition of you as an individual. It might be a great deal easier to treat each of you this way but I don’t think either you or I want to operate on this basis. On the other hand we in management are aware that we must recognize the reasonable desires and opinions of the majority. It is our job to find out what these are. Carrier and many other situations have proved that unions do not represent the real desires of their members.
I hope I haven’t talked too long, or have attempted to cover too many subjects. I have tried to speak as I would talk to you and your family if we were sitting in your home, trying to understand the problems in connection with our jobs.
Our salesmen are trained to always ask for the order, so I should do likewise. If you don’t want a union at Crouse-Hinds, you must mark your ballot in the square under “Neither,” n-e-i-t-h-e-r.
I am tremendously enthusiastic about the future of Crouse-Hinds. Thank-you for listening.