Beneficiary Features of American Trade Unions Part 13

The National a.s.sociation of Letter Carriers, at the time of organizing the Benefit a.s.sociation, on August 7, 1891, incorporated the a.s.sociation under the laws of the state of New Jersey. But less than one year later, on February 26, 1892, the a.s.sociation was reincorporated under the laws of the state of Tennessee. This change was made, according to Collector Dunn,[237] in order that both the National a.s.sociation and the Mutual Benefit a.s.sociation might operate under a single charter.

[Footnote 237: Letter to the author, February 14, 1905.]

The unions that pay benefits as distinguished from insurance are less subject to legal regulation. They do not issue beneficiary certificates as do the railway unions, the Letter Carriers' a.s.sociation, and the large cla.s.s of fraternal beneficiary societies, and hence are not deemed to be maintaining insurance departments. With one exception, the Brotherhood of Painters,[238] the unions of this group have neither taken out charters of incorporation nor in any way obtained authority to operate benefit departments within their respective states. These unions cannot be said to operate their beneficiary systems irrespective of state laws. In all the states the laws define the scope and functions of such organizations.

[Footnote 238: Const.i.tution, 1901 (La Fayette, n.d.), p. 1. Chartered under the laws of the State of Indiana.]

The Brotherhood of Painters, in the incorporation of its organization, has taken a step beyond the practices of unions of its type. On December 7, 1894, the Secretary of State of Indiana issued a certificate of incorporation to the Brotherhood under the state law ent.i.tled "An act to authorize the formation of voluntary a.s.sociations;" and in order to conform more strictly to the state laws the corporate name was changed, in December, 1899, to the present name.[239] Incorporation, however, has not proved satisfactory. For many years the Brotherhood maintained one general fund from which local unions received a.s.sistance in time of strikes, or in other cases of need. As a chartered inst.i.tution the funds were liable at legal action and all payments from them subject to injunction. This state of affairs led the officials to urge complete separation of protective and benevolent funds, thereby offering greater protection to the membership. Consequently in 1904 the Brotherhood adopted the recommendations of the national officials and apportioned the national receipts into separate funds to be used only as specified.

[Footnote 239: Const.i.tution of the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers of America, 1899 (La Fayette, n.d.), pp. 2-5.]

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