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To Seventh Avenue Construction Co., Inc., for station finish, Eoutes Nos. 4 and 38, Sections Nos. 1 and 4, $389,880.28.

To Seventh Avenue Construction Co., Inc., station finish, Routes Nos. 19 and 22, Sections Nos. 1 and la, $239,016.05.

To John B. Roberts, for station finish, Route Jsto. 48, Sections Nos. 1 and 2, $139,919.22.

To Snare & Triest Co., for station finish, Route No. 12, Sections Nos. la, 1, 2 and 3, $464,540.

To A. W. King, for station finish, 34th Street and Times Square station, $178,772.22.

To D. C. Serber, enclosures on stations, Route No. 5, Section No. 15, $24,175.80.

To P. J. Carlin Construction Co., station finish, Route No. 49, Sections Nos. 1 and 2, $731,124.

To D. O. Serber, completion of construction and station finish, Fourth Avenue subway, $69,084.69.

To Terry & Tench Co., Inc., track installation, Pelham line, $363,860.

To Empire Construction Co., track changes, Gun Hill Road station, $4,076.75.

To Kaufman & Garcey, shifting tracks, Manhattan bridge, $925.

To Ramapo Iron Works, special work, Order No. 13, $41,801.

To Bethlehem Steel Products Co., for special work, Order No. 11, $34,136.

To William Wharton, Jr. & Co., special work, Order No. 12, $37,205.

To Ramapo Iron Works, special work, Order No. 14, $32,395.

To Bethlehem Steel Products Co., special work, Order No. 15, $49,062.

To J. H. Burton & Co., untreated ties and timber, Order No. 4, $54,913.13.

To Upper Hudson Stone Co., ballast, Order No. 4, $47,800.

To Ramapo Iron Works, park Avenue crossovers, $4,985.

The Commission also let the following miscellaneous contracts:

To Snare & Triest Co., removal of stairway, Chambers Street station, $1,600.

To Thomas Crimrnins Contracting Co., relocation of tracks, New Utrecht avenue, $165,409.56.

To John W. Masury & Son, "Q " varnish, $2,550.

To D. C. Serber, temporary barricades on stations, $2,000.

To Pennsylvania Cement Co., cement, Eoutes Nos. 19 and 22, Section ISTo. 2, $25,000. •

To Central Foundry Co., castings, Eoutes Eos. 19 and 22, Section No. 2, $10,000.

To Seventh Avenue Construction Co., signal tower and battery room, 34th Street station, $1,999.99.

To P. J. Healey, test borings, $7,20-0.

To Shawmut Clay Manufacturing Co., ducts, Routes Nos. 19 and 22, Section No. 2, $25,000.

To J". H. Burton & Co., Inc., wooden piles, Eoutes Nos. 19 and 22, Section No. 2, $4,855.20.

To Phoenix Sand & Gravel Co., sand, Eoutes Nos. 19 and 22, Section No. 2, $9,405.

To Tompkins Cove Stone Co., broken stone, Eoutes Nos. 19 and 22, Section No. 2, $18,810.

To William H. Jackson & Co., tile werk, Eoutes Nos. 19 and 22, Section No. 2, $1,600.

To D. Donegan & Co., drainage sewer, Eoutes Nos. 36 and 37, Section No. 1, $2,150.

To W. G. Cooper, Inc., duct line, Eoute No. 31, $38,697.

To Lorain Steel Co., rails for trolley loop, Eoutes Nos. 19 and 22, Section No. 2, $2,318.90.

To Lorain iSteel Co., special work, Eoutes Nos. 19 and 22, Section No. 2, $8,479.30.

To Underpinning & Foundation Co., Bronx Eiver duct line, $47,108,75.

To D. Donegan & Co., drainage sewer, Eoutes Nos. 36 and 37, Section No. 2, $2,650.

Subway Expenditures Changes made in the First Subway during the year cost $133,308. This work included new entrances and exits and certain other work necessitated by Dual System construction. The total cost of the First Subway up to December 31, 1917, was $56,597,447.16. This sum covers the construction cost and the cost of the permanent improvements of the structure from Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, Brooklyn, to the termini of the Broadway and West Farms branches in The Bronx. The Auditor's report shows that up to December 31, 1917, The City of New York had also expended for construction on City-owned lines under Contract No. 3, with the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, $55,029,916.83, and for construction on City-owned lines under Contract No. 4, with the New York Municipal Railway Corporation, $82,177,605.77, making a total investment of the City in rapid transit railroads as represented by disbursements $193,804,969.76 up to the close of the year.

Labor Matters

The rapid transit construction work was relatively free of labor difficulties during 1917. A strike that took place in July among compressed air workers on Section No. 3 of Route No. 8 was finally adjusted, after the men had been out a month, by a settlement with the workers, giving them certain increases in pay, they, on their part, agreeing to abide by the wage scale then created until the completion of the contract. This agreement with the men was also extended to cover the tunnel construction work on Route No. 61.

Concrete workers, carpenters and carpenters' helpers employed in the Old Slip-Clark Street tunnel work went on strike early in November demanding increases in pay. The increases were not granted and the men eventually returned to work.

Chairman Oscar S. Straus was called upon several times to exercise his good offices as arbitrator of labor differences existing at various points on the rapid transit construction work. Record was made in the Annual Report of 1916 of strikes among laborers and other workmen in the subway construction, which occurred early in that year and threatened for a time to affect the work seriously. These strikes were brought to a conclusion as a result of the mediation of Chairman Straus, and an agreement was entered into between the men and the contractors by which the men received some increase in wages and an improvement in hours and working conditions was effected. It was understood, however, that the agreement between the men and the contractors should continue until the contracts were completed.

Late in 191G and early in 1917 representatives of the Tunnel and Subway Contractors International Union of North America raised the question that the agreement affected only the contracts which were let at the time it was signed and demanded an increase in wages for the employes on newer contracts. Chairman Straus again tendered his service to both sides as a possible arbitrator of their differences. It was soon seen that it would be inadvisable to permit an increase in wages to men employed on certain contracts and not to men employed on other contracts, hence after numerous conferences the contractors and the workmen entered into another agreement effecting a new scale of wages, providing a slight increase for the employes. This was signed on May 2, 1917.

The representatives of the men called upon Chairman Straus later in the year and stated that still another increase in wages was imperative if the men were to remain in the service of the contractors and not to be diverted to other employments paying higher wages. The Chairman informed the men that they could not well afford to break their agreement with the contractors and pointed out the efforts which had been made to obtain wage increases for them. He stated that the Commission was in no position to provide relief for the men indirectly by increasing the payments to contractors, many of whom were already losing large sums on their work. The matter of this proposed increase was still the subject of conferences at the end of the year.

In October the Commission received a communication from the Chief Engineer stating he had been advised that contractors holding contracts from the Commission on City-owned subway lines were working some of their employes ten hours per day instead of the legal day of eight hours. The Engineer stated that he had no specific instances to present. The matter was called to the attention of Chairman Oscar S. Straus, who asked the advice of Counp-el, Chief of Rapid Transit and others. At the instance of the Chairman it was decided to bring the matter to the attention of the State Industrial Commission, which promptly called a conference, attended by members of that Commission, representatives of the Public Service Commission, labor unions and contractors, at which a spokesman for the latter stated that violations had ceased and the law was being obeyed. This statement was concurred in by representatives of the labor unions and the conference was thereupon discontinued, it appearing that no further consideration of the matter was necessary at that time.

In addition to the above, a number of local labor disputes relating to single subway contracts were arbitrated and settled by Chairman Straus.

Grade Crossings In view of the very grave difficulty in obtaining labor and materials and because of the request of the national authorities that proposed public works be suspended, as far as possible, for the duration of the war, the Commission has decided not to ask your Honorable Body for any appropriation for the removal of grade crossings for the coming year. The Commission recognizes the vital importance of removing grade crossings from the streets of The City of New York, where there are about 400 crossings of high speed railroads, but it feels that the deferring of the schedule of crossing elimination for a year or two will not be harmful necessarily, especially as the task involved must take many years, at the very least, to accomplish. Balances remaining from prer vious grade crossing elimination appropriations by the State now amount to $539,173.08, which are available for meeting the State's one-quarter share in other elimination work that might be undertaken during the course of the war.

Pean To Prevent Strikes It will be recalled that the street car strikes of 1916 brought chaos into street surface railroad operation for a period of several weeks. The traveling public of New York City depending upon these lines, particularly in the outlying sections, suffered great inconvenience and considerable loss, while the employes themselves through loss of positions and loss of wages were seriously affected, and the companies suffered material financial loss and also some destruction of equipment and materials. The Annual Report for 1916 contained a statement, including the report to the Governor, made by the Commission in relation to these strikes, with the announcement that legislation was to be proposed which would tend to prevent a recurrence of similar labor difficulties in the future. In the aggregate the economic

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