Boston Daily Globe March 8, 1878
Four Years Waiting For Wages.
Two Hundred Laboring Men in West Roxbury to Bring Suits for Money Due at Time of Annexation - The Law's Delays and Circumlocutions.
When West Roxbury was annexed to Boston, among other matters brought to the city for settlement were the claims of 200 laborers of the town who asked that their unpaid wages might be given to them from the city treasury. Upon application to the City Hall the opinion was expressed that the workingmen should present their claims to the City Council directly; and accordingly, a hearing was granted, when the arguments why these laboring men should be paid their wages were presented at length. It was thought that the City Council would pass a special act, granting them the money which they had earned; but, in spite of much expression of sympathy, nothing definite was done. Tired of the long delay, the workingmen met together, and it was finally decided to bring the matter into the Courts. From inquiries made it was understood by them that if certain test cases were brought, the city would abide by the decision in this matter should this be favorable to the claims of the laborers in these instances, and without delay would settle the claims of the others. Readers of the records of Court business will perhaps remember that two cases have been brought, one to the highest tribunal, the Superior Court, and that the decision in these instances has been in favor of the plaintiffs, who have consequently received their wages. But contrary to expectation the city authorities have not considered these decisions to be precedents. No action has been taken towards
Meeting The Clains Of Other Laborers,
who base their demands for wages upon, presumably, the evidence that gained the victory for their co-workers in the so-called "test" cases. Much indignation is expressed by the men, who declare that the city is endeavoring to evade its lawful obligation, and that it intends to compel every laborer to bring his own case in court, hoping that some will be too poor to push the matter and get what they think to be their rights. The counsel of several of these men declares that he means to carry these cases into Court as soon as possible. One of them has been placed upon the docket for the next week, but there is an effort to defer it, which the counsel on behalf of the plaintiff declares he will prevent if possible. Aside from his professional interest in the matter, the counsel says that the policy of delay in the trial in these cases is most unjustifiable. These men have waited for years to receive the money which they earned in doing work in what is now one of the wards of the city. In all justice, he thinks these test cases, so earnestly fought, and so plainly decided in the interest of these laborers, should be accepted by the city, and these long-deferred claims paid in full. As there seems to be no intention of doing this, he thinks that, at the least, no obstruction should be allowed to prevent the speedy adjudication of claims to come.