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What Is to Be Gained by Watchmakers' Union?

From American Horologist magazine, April, 1936

What Is to Be Gained by Watchmakers' Union?

Through years of observation we have noticed many watchmakers' unions organized with all good intent of assisting the man at the bench. But can any section of the country point out any real benefits derived through this sort of cooperation? We think not, and here is the reason.

Watchmakers are not employed in great numbers. Often the highest number being employed in the larger stores will not exceed five, but how many stores use more than one? Very few! How then can such groups benefit through unions? They cannot! It has been noticed that these men are mislead believing they can secure higher wages, shorter hours. This is desirable, to be sure, but the surest way to secure better pay for your endeavor is to better your personal ability at the bench; make yourself more valuable to your employer; improve your ability to meet the public.

Many, yes the majority of watchmakers are hoping for a state legislation to protect their field of endeavor through licensing, and still many are affiliated with our organization. Have these men stopped to think of the light they place themselves in? First, they want to be protected through state licenses; to be looked upon as professional men. Second, they identify themselves with unions, and the unions, in all due respect to them, are a body of workers. Have you ever heard of a professional man belonging to a labor organization? You have not! Then why should the watchmakers be so blind as to identify themselves with such labor groups?

We would advise all watchmakers to hold fast to their high ideals and aspirations of being classed and so recognized as professional men, and secure those objectives, which will elevate the entire craft to the level of a professional status.

This is no reflection on the A. F. of L. We hold them in the highest esteem in their respective fields of endeavor, but we do contend that the watchmakers have no place in labor unions. Join your local horological association, and devote the time and money to their cause.

You will be able to go further, and attain success faster. N early every state in the union now has, some representative truly watchmakers' association functioning along the lines of the old time guilds, and after all, that is what we are all copying. The old horological guilds, where men of a common calling banded together for their mutual benefits and exchanged ideas to elevate their craft.

In joining an organization of horologists, be it in California, New York or any other state, be sure the association is one without the principal of a labor organization, thus you will be identified with an association, which wishes to uplift the craft beyond the level of labor, to one of a professional status. 

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