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same trade did not ordinarily earn in the week in question as much as six dollars. We found in the stores and the shirt factories throughout the State, 937 married men who earned during the week in question less than ten dollars, and 434 widows who earned in the week in question less than six dollars. This may give you some notion of the actual earnings, weekly and annual, according to the various conditions of the persons in question.
The next point to be briefly treated is what these figures mean. I shall not develop this side of the work, which was done in the main by Professor Frank Streightoff. The principal facts under this head will be brought out in the discussions by Miss Packard and Mrs. Orenstein tomorrow morning.
Q. Professor Streightoff did his work for the Commission? A. Yes, sir.
Mr. ELKUS: He isn't able to be here today or tomorrow.
Dr. WOOLSTON: What do these people need? We have seen about what they get, now what should they have according to the judgment of persons who are supposed to know? The Factory Commission inquired of many people throughout the State - persons connected with trade and business organizations, with philanthrophic and educational institutions. It asked them what they be lieved was a reasonable amount for a young unmarried person in the city, and also for a family consisting of a man and wife and three little children. Most of these people agreed that to live decently, simply, efficiently, in our cities today, requires from eight to ten dollars a week for a self-supporting person. Professor Streightoff's investigations led him to believe that at least nine dollars is required for a young woman living independently in the city of New York. Eight dollars or more has been fixed as a minimum rate by wage commissions in four states in the United States. It is therefore about as low a figure as we can talk about on the basis of standardization. You will then remember that about three-fifths of the female employees in the stock and sales departments of the stores and the industrial lines in New York city earned less than eight dollars a week, and out of 15,000 women and girls in the factories that 8,000 earned less than six dollars and a half in a week.
Let me present an eight dollar budget and see what you think could be taken out of it. Clothes, $1.50; room, $2.00; breakfast and dinners, $2.00; six lunches at 15 cents, 90 cents; carfares at ten cents for six days, 60 cents; insurance and medical care, 25 cents; dues, reading and amusement 50 cents; savings 25 cents. Where will you cut?
Q. How much does that amount to? A. Eight dollars. Professor Streightoff has said that most women who receive less than ten dollars can not or do not save.
Q. That is assuming that they earn the eight dollars the year around ? A. Assuming they earned it the year around -- which is a very large assumption.
Now with regard to families: These same persons who were requested to give estimates say they believe it requires from 15 to 20 dollars a week to support the family of a working man; and the probability is that it would be over eighteen dollars. Professor Streightoff's studies lead him to believe that at least seventeen dollars is required for a man, housewife and three small children. It is then interesting to note that one-half of the married men in all lines studied in New York city, during the week considered received less than $15. These lower amounts mean crowded homes, poor food, insufficient clothing, no provision for medical care or insurance; no saving for a rainy day. And if people do get along, it is a make-shift existence that they lead.
Now, what can business afford ? I speak with much less assurance on this point because the firms were unwilling in many cases to give us their financial accounts, telling us quite frankly that it was none of our business. But in some cases they gave us a pretty definite notion.
Before I get to that, however, I should like to speak of a point that is connected with this matter of home conditions. That is the personal circumstances of the workers. How many of these women live at home? Counsel has asked for that.
Of 1,300 female employes in different lines in New York city, we found that 65 per cent. were living with their families; about 20 per cent. with their friends or relatives; approximately 15 per cent. were living independently or with strangers or friends. That is to say, 84 per cent. may be said to be within reach of assistance in case of dire necessity. We found however, that in half of the families of the wage earners in the stores, there was no male wage earner. We found, regarding earnings, that the median earnings of those who lived with relatives or friends was seven dollars; of those that lived independently, nine dollars. So that residence with or without ones family may be a matter of necessity as well as of choice.
Then as to contributions, we found by interviewing over 300 women who lived at home, that 75 per cent. of them turned over all of their wages to their families, and that more than 20 per cent. of all paid board in amounts varying from two to eight dollars. That is the “pin-money” idea is pretty well knocked in the head. Only 5 per cent. is left to be accounted for. The rest turned over their money to their families.
Q. What do you mean by the pin-money idea ? A. Some people say that many women work for pin-money. They haven't anything to do, and so they go into the factory or store, and spend the money they earn on dress and amusement.
Q. Do not contribute to the family? A. Do not contribute. As to self support, the returns from 500 factory workers show that 23 per cent. of these people had to be helped by their relatives.
Q. That is you took 500 cases and — A. Inquired into their circumstances. We found that 40 per cent. may be called selfsupporting (that is paying their way). Thirty-six per cent. or more than one-third, were helping to support some one else. Their earnings were actually necessary in order to carry on the family group. We found that the average family consists of about five persons. This is from an investigation of about 156 box workers' homes. The representative family consisted of about five persons
three wage earners, a housewife and a little child. When all the people were working, they brought in about $25 a week, of which the box worker contributed about $7, or 28 per cent. You can see that if the earnings of that box worker were subtracted, it would be difficult for the four adults and one child to live on the remainder.
Now then, what business can afford: First, we found a remarkable variation in the standard of wages paid. We found, for example, one New York department store paid 86 per cent. of
its saleswomen less than $10; another one paid 86 per cent. of its saleswomen $10 or more. The standard was perhaps somewhat due to the character of the trade and the ability of the woman. But it is a marked difference. We found paper cutters in Brooklyn in one factory were receiving from $10 to $15, and for about the same kind of work in another factory, from $15 to $20. We found in one wholesale candy factory in Manhattan that no laborer received $8; that no dipper received this amount; and that no fancy packer received as much as $6.50. We found in another wholesale factory that every laborer received over $8, and that the majority of dippers and packers received above the amounts mentioned.
There seems to be no standard in the trades. Let me quote you the difference in shirt rates. In New York City in the work-shirt line, the rates per dozen for a section of the work are from one to five cents a dozen. In the Troy district for a slightly better grade of work, it is from five to ten cents a dozen for all sections of the work. Some of the persons who came to see us and asked about our returns protested that no such rates as we had recorded were paid. We were abliged to go to the cards that were filled out by the workers and corrected in the office of the concern, to show them that there were persons entered in certain occupations at these rates. These men were unfamiliar with rates outside of their own factories, and did not believe that such low rates were paid. There is no standard.
Q. You mean one manufacturer would say that he did not believe that any other manufacturer paid such and such a rate? A. Paid so low a rate.
Q. You had to show them? A. We had to show them. Now what does labor do for the amount that it is paid? Let me take some typical rates, if I can, and illustrate what labor does. Strippers in a paper box factory get from five to fifteen cents a hundred for covering the sides of boxes with pasted paper. Suppose they averaged ten cents per hundred. That means 6,000 boxes for about $6 a week. That is about two a minute for fiftyfour hours.
Q. Is that hand work or on machine? A. That is all hand work. On the machines it is different. They were not classified as
strippers. In dipping a good chocolate dipper will cover 800 pounds of chocolates at a cent a pound for eight dollars a week.
Q. Tell us what dipping is? A. Dipping consists in taking the cream center of confectionery when it comes from the mold and dipping it into a paste of chocolate, thus covering the surface, and then making a little curlikew on the top. Sometimes it is done with the fingers and sometimes with a fork. It is usually thrown into the hand and covered, or dipped into a pot. Fifteen pounds an hour may thus be coated.
The proportionate labor costs in the various industries vary enormously. But first let me give you an idea of the earnings of clerks on the basis of their commissions. I am sorry I am obliged to confine myself to these excerpts, but I want to give you the figures as nearly correct as possible. In one New York City store we found that the commissions of the men for a week shortly before Christmas showed an average of $437 worth of sales. This was on a 1 per cent. basis. The women averaged about $309 for the week.
Q. That is they got 1 per cent. of that? A. They got 1 per cent. of that in addition to their salaries. According to the estimates of 227 saleswomen, their sales for a week will range between $30 and $200, depending upon the department, the season and the location of the store. The men range from $50 to $350.
Now as to the cost of labor: You probably know that the proportionate labor cost in the total expense of manufacture and sales varies enormously. According to the Federal statistics it ranges from 4 per cent. in the making of sugar to about 49 per cent. in the making of steel cars. We found from the financial returns of ten representative paper box factories in New York city, that the labor cost varies from 17 per cent. to 30 per cent. of the expenses, averaging about 25 per cent. of the value of the sales. To give you a more concrete example, a more vivid one, let us take the case of the blue chambray working shirt, such as motormen and carters wear, which retails for about 50 cents. It costs the manufacturer to make it, about $2.85 a dozen, and he sells it to the jobber for about $3 to $3.50 a dozen. Now the material that is in that shirt costs the manufacturer about twenty cents and the labor for cutting, sewing and packing costs a little less than five cents.