Events of May 11, 1902-New York Times
New York Times, May 12, 1902
EAST SIDE BUTCHERS WILL BOYCOTT MEATS.
Fifteen Hundred “Kosher” Dealers Agree to Quit Selling.
Exciting Meeting at New Irving Hall, Where It Is Decided to Suspend Business Until Wholesalers Lower Prices.
There will not be a particle of “kosher” meat on sale in any of the east side butcher’s shops to-day and to-morrow, a boycott having been declared yesterday by more that 1,500 retail dealers.
This action was reached at a meeting yesterday in New Irving Hall when 1,500 “kosher” butchers assembled to form a plan of action for the purpose of forcing the wholesale “kosher” butchers to lower the exhorbitant [sic] price of meat. Many plans were discussed to compel the wholesalers to come to terms, but it was finally unanimously decided to declare a boycott, and every one of the 1,500 retailers agreed not to buy an ounce of meat from the wholesale dealers, or to place any on sale for at least two days. By that time it is thought, the boycott will have proved so disastrous for the wholesalers that they will be willing to come to terms.
By the action of the retail “kosher” butchers in declaring a boycott thousands of east side Hebrews will suffer, but they are all in sympathy with the retailers and are willing to put up with the inconvenience of going without meat so long as the extortionate rates are charged.
New Irving Hall on Broome Street was crowded yesterday when the 1,500 “kosher” butchers held an indignation meeting to formulate some plan by which they could enforce the lowering of the price of meat. Various means were suggested to bring the wholesale dealers to an understanding of the dire situation, but after the matter had been fully discussed every one of the retailers became of the opinion that nothing could be gained unless a boycott was immediately declared. It was explained that the price of meat was so high that the poor of the east side could not afford to buy any, and that consequently thousands of Hebrews were suffering from sheer want.
The retail butchers are unable to alleviate the suffering of the poor, as they are compelled to pay such exorbitant prices for “kosher” meat that they cannot sell it at reasonable prices unless at a loss, which would inevitably put them out of business entirely.
The situation became so grave that all the east side butchers got up in arms, and in sheer desperation they have resorted to drastic measures in an effort to appraise the wholesale dealers of the exact state of affairs.
The determination of the retail dealers is apparent from the action of a number of them after the meeting yesterday. A large number of them had already gone to the wholesale dealers and selected their meat for the week, and as is customary after making their selections, they placed tags on the stock which they had ordered and which is delivered every Monday morning. When the final decision was reached yesterday every one of the butchers who had ordered his meal for the week rushed to the wholesalers and rescinded their orders. They even went so far as to tear the tags from the meat after giving explicit orders that that meat should not be delivered. They explained that if it was sent to them it would be sent back immediately, adding that they intended to buy no meat until the price is lowered. …
Another meeting was held in New Suffolk Hall, 84 Suffolk Street, in the evening …
Then there were yells of “Let the Beef Trust know what we want!” … Henry Schumacher, a salesman for Schwarzschild & Sulzberger, members of the so-called Beef Trust, was finally permitted to speak, and he said:
“Messrs. Schwarzschild & Sulzberger did not get any notification of the intention of the butchers until after they had killed the usual amount of cattle to-day. They were surprised then to find that no one called to purchase their meat. When Mr. Sulzberger learned what had happened he asked me to tell you that if a committee were sent to him he, for the firm, would grant all reasonable demands.”
There was a good deal of mumbling and some cheering, but the excitement was quelled long enough to listen to Louis Rose, a salesman for H. Rothman, the large veal dealer. He said he did not know what action the butchers intended and had killed seventy calves yesterday morning and sold them, but if he had known the intentions of the butchers he said he would rather have cut off his arm than injure them by selling meat to some butchers who might sell it to the people.
Everybody then talked of co-operating on every block in the lower east side so only one butcher store would be on a block. It was said this plan might be hurt by some butchers starting another store on the block, and the Committee of Thirty was told to ask the wholesalers not to sell meats to any new butcher till after the fight. A few butchers protested that it would be ridiculous to ask those against whom they are fighting not to injure them, but the resolution to ask the committee to make the request was carried.