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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 101, no. 24 [2622]: [Articles]: June 15, 1918

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B UILDERS in® Vol. CI NEW YORK, JUNE 15, 1918 No. 24 Joint Conference on Subway Strike Today Board of Estimate and Public Service Commission Will Attempt to Adjust Differences Between Them THE Board of Estimate and Apportionment yester¬ day again took up the matter of adjusting", if possible, the situation created by the strike of the subway workers and which has been the subject of numerous communications, conferences and arguments on the part of the Board and the PubHc Service Com¬ mission. A resolution disapproving of the suggestions set forth in a letter from Chairman Straus of the Public Service Commission under date of June 7, and showing a way out of the difficulty was presented for the benefit of the Board and adopted by a unanimous vote. Comptroller Craig then reiterated his assertion made several times before that the strike is founded on an attempt by the contractors to coerce a cancellation of the contracts now held by the contractors and who seek relief from the city treasury. Judge Ransom, counsel for the Public Service Com¬ mission, refused to go into this phase of the matter, but said that the plan submitted by the Commission under the Lockwood law is the only plan to meet the situation. "The Board cannot relieve any contractor without invoking the Lockwood law," said Mr. Ransom. "We have submitted propositions which you can call can¬ cellations, modifications or new obligations; they will, if adopted, give relief." Comptroller Craig stated that he is opposed to the cost-plus plan of completing the subway work and said that he had been informed by a prominent Federal official that the work being done for the Government on the cost-plus basis requires the services of a regi¬ ment of inspectors to check up and protect the Govern¬ ment from being mulcted. President Smith of the Board of Aldermen, replying to a statement by Judge Ransom that a conference between the members of the Board of Estimate and the Public Service Commission could not be arranged, although every effort had been made to bring about such a conference, said: "If this Board will appoint a committee of three to confer with the Public Service Commission as to the best way to bring about a resumption of the subway work at the earliest possible moment I am sure the problem will be solved. I move that such a committee be appointed and that this Board take a recess until Monday morning to give the committee a chance to report back. There hasn't been a proper spirit of co¬ operation between the Board of Estimate and the Public Service Comm.ission and that is why we are so situated. I believe we can agree if we will only try." Judge Ransom replied: "When you can send a com¬ mittee of this Board to confer with the Public Service Commission you can lock the doors and out of that conference will come a cooperation that will solve the problem and send those men back to work to complete the subways." President Dowiing of the Borough of Manhattan suggested that instead of a committee of three the entire Board go into conference with the members of the Public Service Commission, and this suggestion met the approval of the other members and it was so decided. The question of holding the conference in public or in executive session was debated, and Mayor Hylan and Comptroller Craig both went on record as opposed to executive sessions, but when Mr. Ransom and Borough President Connelly suggested that the contractors might not like the idea of publicly confessing their financial straits it was finally decided to hold the con¬ ference in private and if an agreement was reached then to hold a public hearing. The conference will take place this morning at 9:30 and at a conference held yesterday afternoon between Corporation Counsel Burr and Judge Ransom the legal aspects of the case were gone into and will be presented at the conference today. The Board then passed the following: Resolved, That the Board of Estimate and Appor¬ tionment hereby reiterates its approval of the plan presented in the opinion of the Corporation Counsel on June 7, 1918, for the relief of the contractors of subway construction by a speedy settlement and payment of their just claims by the Comptroller; and it is suggested that the Public Service Commission be requested to cooperate with this Board to that end; and that such relief shall be without prejudice to any appHcation that may be made by any contractor under the Lockwood law. Resolved, That this Board does not favor a general cancellation and annulment of existing subway con¬ struction contracts and the release of the sureties on the bonds of such contractors, but that it will consider the claim of any particular contractor for relief because of war conditions when presented by the Public Service Commission with the necessary facts and particulars in the manner heretofore outlined by this Board. Resolved, That it being the earnest desire of this Board to secure the speedy completion of the subways, that the workmen employed thereon receive just com¬ pensation and that the interest of the people should be fully protected, the Board submits this statement of its policy to the earnest consideration of the Public Service Commission and the contractors and invite their cooperation to carry it into effect. A tie-up of work on the subway costs the city $41,000 a day in interest charges in addition to loss by deteriora¬ tion of materials and tools.