Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employes of America


Opening Ceremonies

Three Raps of the Gavel.
We are about to open this Division Association; all not members will please retire. The officers will assume their respective pests of duty.
The Vice-President will see that the Conductor, Warden and Sentinel are at their proper places and are correct in the signals, and report.
The President will now make such pro term appointments as are necessary.
Brother President, the Conductor, Warden and Sentinel are correct.
The Conductor and Warden will examine all present, and see that they are qualified to remain, and report.
Brother President, all present are entitled to remain.
Two Raps of Gavel.
Brother workmen, we have met again for the purpose of promoting, the objects of this Association. I wish to remind you that to preside over this meeting is my duty, and also to conduct such business as comes before us with promptitude and dispatch. It is your duty as members to be courteous and gentlemanly in your actions. We are here to work for our mutual good; let us do so and advance the cause of organized labor.
One Rap of the Gavel.

The meeting is now open for the transaction of business. The Warden will request any qualified members in the ante-room to enter.


Presidents of Local Divisions are authorized to deputize Local Secretaries, Business Agents and members of the Executive Board, to administer the obligation and instructions of the Association to candidates where candidates are isolated and to facilitate the business of the Local Divisions in accordance with the Constitution and General Laws. Under the present laws no secret work is used, but they will use the instructions as are printed in this Ritual.
The Recording Secretary will retire to the ante-room and ascertain if there are any candidates in waiting, make the proper examinations and report their names in full, their occupation, and where and by whom employed. Please be prompt in your report.
Secretary retires, ascertains and reports.
SECRETARY, to Candidate:

1. Have you ever belonged to a union of street or electric railway employes?
Candidate replies.

2. Have you belonged to any other Labor organization? If so, what was it? And are you now a member in good standing?
Candidate answers, giving full account of his union record.

3. Will you be obedient to all the laws and rules of this Association, they not conflicting with your duty to your family, your country or your religious creed?
Candidate answers:
I will.
4. Are you willing to bind yourself to a pledge of honor that you will not divulge any of the workings of this Association to those who are not members?
Candidate answers:
I am.
The Secretary will return to center of room, face the President and report the candidate’s previous relations to labor unions and the following:
Bro. President, the initiation fees have been paid, the questions properly answered, and the candidate awaits admission.
We are now about to extend the fraternal hand of fellowship to another workman. During the initiation Let nothing else attract your attention. You will avoid all needless movements or whispering, and do all in your power to make the ceremony impressive, that the candidate may better appreciate the object, dignity and power of our organization.
The Conductor will now retire and introduce the candidate.
Conductor retires; raps for admission.
Bro. President, there are those who desire admission to our counsels.
Admit them.
Brother President, allow me to introduce Mr. …, Mr. …, all street or electric railway employes of America, who now come, of their own free will, soliciting admission to membership in this Division of the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employes of America.
My friend, we give you a cordial welcome; we are pleased that you have expressed a desire to identify yourself with your fellow-workmen in this organization, and that henceforth your labors and influence will be with us and for us. This Association is dedicated to the laudable purpose of defense, self-protection, the improvement of our mental, moral and social condition, and the elevation of our occupation. You see here this fraternal circle fully determined to defend the hire of their labor from the oppression of capital as manipulated by the selfishness of human nature.
To resist such oppression and maintain the dignity of labor, will require our best efforts.
In considering the difference between ourselves and our employers, we aim to exercise discretion and good judgment, and do all in our power to maintain peace and harmony.
In our mutual work we unite the moral and social elements of society to learn the lesson of love, and our hands are open to aid members to find employment and care for the needy.
You will be required to take upon yourself a solemn obligation not to divulge any of the workings of this Association to those not entitled to the same, and bind yourself to our laws; but rest assured there is nothing in this obligation inconsistent with your duties arising from any of the relations of life.
With this understanding, are you willing to take an obligation which binds you upon your honor as a man to keep the same as long as life remains? If so, answer "I am."
Candidate answers.

You will raise your right hand and repeat after me the following obligation, using your name where I use mine.


In the presence of the members (or member) assembled, I solemnly promise and pledge my sacred word of honor that, without any reservation or evasion, I will support the Constitution and Laws of this Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employes of America; that I will keep myself in good standing by the paying of all dues, fines and assessments that the Constitution and Laws of this Association require; that I will solicit and encourage my fellow-workers to become members of the same. I further promise and pledge that I will not take, the place of any member of this organization or any other union worker who may be on strike or is locked out, and that I will work to promote and advance the best interests of this Association on all occasions; that I will not allow matters of a political or religious difference to interfere with the discharge of my duties to this Association; that I will not reveal any of the private business of this Association to anyone not entitled to know the same; that I will not countenance or join in slander or abuse of the officers or members of this Association; that I will report to the duly authorized officers or to the meetings of this Association any false or slanderous stories that may be circulated to the injury of the officers or members of this Association. I also promise that I will not knowingly wrong a member or see one wronged without giving him due notice, if in my power so to do; that I will never appeal to any legal authority in matters pertaining to this Association until I have exhausted all other means of redress provided by the laws of this Association; that I will keep inviolate the traditional principles of the American laborer; to be respectful in word and action to every woman, and be considerate to the widow and orphan, the weak and defenseless, and never discriminate against a fellow worker on account of creed, color or nationality. I further promise to do all in my power to promote the cause of trade unionism and defend freedom of thought and trade union principles, whether expressed by tongue or pen, with all the power at my command. This obligation I take upon my honor as a man and solemnly promise to keep the same as long as life remains.
It now remains for me to instruct you in the work of this Association. You will be expected from now on to become an active and working member of this organization, and in order that you may understand our aims and objects and be acquainted with the laws governing this Association, I hereby present you with copies of our International Constitution and By-Laws Here the President will present to the candidate copies of the Constitution and By-Laws, which you will carefully study and familiarize yourself with. To enter this Division Association when in session a paid-up working card will be necessary. These cards you will secure from the Financial Secretary or through your Dues Collector. President will instruct the candidate if it be the Financial Secretary or Dues Collector from whom he will receive his card monthly. It is your duty to secure this card yourself from those, who are duly authorized to issue them to you. You will remember that this in a voluntary Association and it does not pay collectors to look after the collection of the dues of its members, but it is the duty of each member to look after and pay his own dues and to see that he is always in good standing, as the laws of the Association provide. A member in arrears for his dues, fines and assessments after the 15th day of the month is not in good standing and not entitled to sick, death or disability benefits, or to the protection of this Association in any manner whatsoever, and where a member allows his arrearage in dues, fines and assessments to run into the second month before paying the same, he shall be debarred from benefits for one month after the payment of his arrearage, and where a member allows himself to become two months in arrears for dues, fines and assessments he does thereby suspend himself from membership in this Association. These are facts that you must remember for your own good, for you, yourself, are responsible for maintaining your standing in this Organization. Your dues in this Division are … per month, and they must be paid as above specified. Your working card is your passport at all times. If you want to enter the Division while in session, you will give a signal at the door by giving three distinct raps, and to the Sentinel in charge you will show your working card. This will admit you to the room. If there be an ante-room used, you will again show to the warden of the door your working card, which will admit you to the hall. Once in the hall you will advance to the center and face the Vice-President and salute him by a bow and a wave of the right hand, to which he will respond by a wave of his right hand, which is recognition that you are acceptable, and then you will be seated. Should you desire to retire before the meeting is closed, you will ask permission of the President. Should any person seek to discuss matters regarding this Organization with you, you will first ascertain if they are in good standing by having their paid-up working card to date, and in no case will you discuss the affairs of the Association in a general way until you have satisfied yourself as to who the brother is or what his object may be. The regular meetings of this Division ate held on …, at the hour of ….
You are expected whenever possible to be in attendance at these meetings and to participate in the work of this Association. The gavel in the hand of the Presiding Officer is the emblem of authority. Three raps calls the Division to order; two raps calls the members to their feet, and one rap seats the members or calls the members to order.
Two Raps.

And now by the authority of this Division of the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employes of America, I proclaim this person a member of the said Association, and hereby entitled to all the rights and privileges guaranteed to members by our Constitution, By-Laws and usages.
One Rap of the Gavel.

The Conductor will now show you to your seat and you will enter upon your duties as a member.
One Rap of the Gavel.

Proceed with the regular order of business.