Three-Platoon Bill in St. Louis
Reports from St. Louis, Mo., state that the House of Delegates has passed a bill putting the Fire Department on an eight-hour day, or three platoon system, in order that the interpretation of the eight-hour section in the city’s new charter may be conformed to. The resolution directs that Director of Public Safety Swingley enforce the eight-hour rule in the fire department in accordance with the section of the charter reading: “Except in case of emergency, not to exceed eight hours shall constitute a day’s work for all mechanics and laborers employed by the city.” Director Swingley, who was chief of department before he became Director of Public Safety, has opposed the three platoon proposition and stated that it would mean the employment of double the 826 now in the department, to operate on the eight-hour basis. The pay of privates in the department is $105 a month, and the annual pay roll at present approximates $1,000,000. The men have every third day off. To operate three platoons with no off days would require double the force, without increasing the number on duty at any hour. A similar condition has existed in other cities in former years, and in several of them it has been sent to the courts for decision, and some, if not all, of them, decided that firemen are neither mechanics nor laborers and do not come under the laws made to benefit mechanics and laboring men.