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Mr. ELKUS: And correction?
Dr. WOOLSTON : Yes, sir.
Mr. ELKUS: Did any of them avail themselves of your permission?
Dr. WOOLSTON: They did. A number of men from the stores came and looked over the records and made suggestions which we were glad to carry out.
Mr. ELKUS: So that you have taken into consideration every correction they wanted to make ?
Dr. WOOLSTON: So far as we were able.
Mr. ELKUS: Those figures were open to each manufacturer and each store where you obtained them?
Dr. WOOLSTON: Yes, sir.
Now as to time lost and the causes. This is an important matter. Let me give you a summary lest I weary you with a mass of figures. Of 1,500 women employed in different lines in New York City, two-thirds had lost during the preceding year on an average about one month. Two or three weeks of this time was due to industrial causes. That is slack work or no job. One to two weeks were attributed to personal causes. That is, to personal illness or trouble in the family. Even holidays and vacations caused loss in the industrial lines, because they are not paid for, and in some cases there were enforced vacations. Of course a holiday is always a loss to a piece worker. In the stores the majority have one or two weeks' vacations at half or full pay. That depends on how long they have been with the firm. So much, then, for lost time.
I have tried to show you the variation from rates and the causes thereof. Now as to the annual earnings. It is important to know not merely what a man or woman gets in one week, but what that man or woman gets for an entire year. You realize that the only way to find the annual earnings of a person is to tag her around with a little book and take her earnings every single week in a year. That, of course, is manifestly impossible.
But we did take from the books of the concerns where we were able to find such memoranda, the earnings of all persons who had worked there for 43 weeks or more; calculated their annual earnings; and found their average weekly earnings on this basis. May I then summarize by saying that out of some 3,000 persons from whom we were able to obtain this data half of the men earned less than $700 for a year's work, and half of the women earned less than $400 during the year. These are the steady workers. These are the better paid employes. These are are foremen and cutters. A great number of less skilled hands come and go; but the people who remain with the firms are the better paid employes. Now upon this basis the average earnings of the men was under $14 a week, and the average earnings for the women under $8 a week.
Of course these amounts vary in the different trades. then give you for two trades, the boxes and the candy concerns, the average weekly earnings on the basis of their annual receipts. The men
the males, I should say, get about $11 a week; the females about $6 a week. So much for annual earnings.
The next question is as to whether these people were worth any more. Maybe they were young and inexperienced; maybe they were just beginners. I have some facts then as to the relations between earnings and experience. The typical employes in the lines studied are young persons who have worked ever since leaving school. About one-half of their working years have been spent in the trade where they were found, and approximately one-half of their trade experience has been spent with the firm where they were recorded. Girls begin at about $4 or $5 a week. I am now giving median figures. Boys begin at about $6 or $7. Men arrive at their average of $14 or $15 after about five years experience in the trade. The women and girls arrive at their average rate of $6 or $7 after about two or three years in the trade. After this the advancement is much slower and the dropping off is very rapid. Most skilled men — for we studied not only the whole mass of employes, but also certain skilled trades as those of cutters and candy makers — most skilled men do not arrive at $20 after thirty years experience in these trades.
Mr. ELKUS: After thirty years of age?
Dr. WOOLSTON: Thirty years of experience in the trades. I have already given figures as to years of age. I am now giving the age in the trades. For a person may be young in years and old in a trade or vice versa. Most skilled women do not rise to a wage of $10 after the same length of experience — thirty years in the trade. Comparatively few gain such levels, because there is a very rapid dropping off. In stores it is true that there are women who receive $15 (mostly those in charge of stock or heads of small departments) after twenty years.
But these constitute only about 2 per cent. of the employes.
The chances, then, of promotion are slight. The rise is slow and uncertain. About 15 per cent. of the forces that we studied received a rise during the year preceding our investigation. This amounted generally to a dollar or two during the year. We took the statements of 210 women in the New York City stores regarding this matter. We found that those women who had always been with the firm where we found thein — who had always been in the one firm — had secured a rise on an average of about fifty cents a year during their incumbency. The promotion is manifestly slow. When we asked these women how they secured the rise they said, in the main, by asking for it. Some of them (approximately a half) said they believed their length of service and their efficiency had something to do with it. Others said a rise was to be secured by jumping, that is by threatening to leave and saying they would receive more in another place. So much for the experience.
In these lines there is competition between certain persons who live at home, and in the shirt trade between prison labor and free labor. We found “extras” in the stores, and made a study of some 800 of them throughout the State. sons are on duty certain days of the week or certain hours of day. In the main they were young women in the sales departments. The majority worked for a day or half a day, and received for their work about seventy-five cents or a dollar. There are also some men who work at special sales, and who receive ordinarily $2 for a day's service, unless they happened to be on straight commission.
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In shirts we found a good deal of home work. We studied 100 home workers in the Troy shirt district. They were engaged in turning cuffs and collar bands. That is, the material, after it has been sewed on the wrong side is turned and the edges are pressed for the final stitching. The workers are mostly married women that live at home. They the paid 5 cents a bunch of two dozen, and they can earn a dollar a day, minus collection charges, which the driver abstracts from their envelope before he returns it to them from the factory.
Mr. ELKUS: How many hours a day do they have to work?
Dr. WOOLSTON: That means working a full day. Some women to earn more than that will neglect their household and work at night. The work is uncertain in the main. The average weekly earnings for the 100 cases that we found, in a week in June amounted to $3.23. Obviously this is not sufficient for the worker. But the system does put into the market forces competing with independent labor.
There is an aspect of the condition to which I wish to call your attention. That is, these goods go out of the factory into the homes of the workers and are then returned to the factory, with all the sanitary danger that this transfer causes.
The law says that this is allowable for the class of goods that are subject to a laundering process. This class of goods is not always subjected to a laundering process.
The shirt trade also suffers from competition with prison labor. We have reports from five State institutions employing about 1100 persons, who worked ordinarily from eight to nine hours a day in the shirt shops. The institutions are paid from 30 to 50 cents a dozen for making these work shirts, or they are paid from 45 to 66 2/3 cents for a worker per day. Obviously this is less than a free worker could work on.
Mr. ELKUS: In what prisons are these made?
Dr. WOOLSTON: I can find that for you. The competition in shirts comes largely from Rhode Island, Vermont and Maryland prisons. There are also large institutions in the west. The state furnishes everything except materials and machines. To give you a notion of the output of these factories — two institutions pro duced 195,000 dozen shirts in 1913. Now this is a serious competition in the market with free labor. A manufacturer must either come to the terms of contractors who sell these prison-made shirts, or else cease selling that line of goods.
We also found some home work in the box making trade, but comparatively little, so I will not stop to mention that.
Two other points as to the conditions of these people: How about their earnings with regard to their marital conditions and with regard to their nativity? In other words do foreigners earn more or less than natives, and do married people earn more or less than single persons. I shall now speak of earnings — median weekly earnings.
By Mr. ELKUS:
Q. Before you take that up will you at some time bring before the Commission what facts you have with reference to the number of people who live at home, that is girls who live at home? A. I have that coming.
Q. Go right ahead ? A. As to earnings and nativity: Immigrants, especially those who do not speak English, as has already been stated, tend to fall into the less skilled trades, and in general receive low rates of wages. This is well marked in the confectionery and shirt industries, where, for example, the native men usually earn eleven dollars, the foreign men will earn ten dollars. However, this is marked in the case of the stores, where the immigrants are generally English speaking people. There, on the other hand, because of their greater age, the foreigners earn slightly more than the natives.
Now as to home relations and marital condition, let me in an equally brief way summarize. Married persons do, fortunately, earn more than single persons. This is due in the main to the fact that they are older and are usually more experienced. Whereas single men ordinarily earn from eight to eleven dollars a week, a married man in these lines will ordinarily earn from twelve to sixteen dollars a week. A single woman will ordinarily earn from six to seven dollars and a married woman may earn from six to eight dollars. Of coitrse this varies in the different trades. The married men in the confectionery trade did not earn in the week in question an average of twelve dollars. Married women in this