« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
without an assigned excuse, she goes to their homes to be of service in case of sickness. This feature of betterment work has more than paid for itself in reducing absences.
There are about 100 women employed in the shops on the presses which take off extra useless parts of iron. These are Krainers and Poles for the most part and represent an unskilled grade of labor. As the machinery is profusely oiled, the work is dirty and greasy, necessitating a change of clothing before leaving the works. The company has accordingly provided a spacious room with individual steel lockers. There are wash basins with hot and cold water and soap and towels furnished by the company. The room is in charge of a woman employed by the company who likewise has charge of the unpretentious dining room. This room simply provides a place for the women employees to eat their lunch out of the workroom. Here hot coffee is furnished them for 1 cent a cup. The men employees have similar wash rooms, but no dining rooms.
BROWN & SHARPE MANUFACTURING CO.
The welfare work of the Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co., of Providence, takes the form of improved shop conditions and greater comforts for employees. The workrooms are artificially ventilated, the air being changed once every 40 minutes. The emery wheels are all supplied with blow pipes. The wash rooms are in charge of a janitor, who also cares for the special rooms where the employees keep their clothes. Here there are racks on which the men may lay their clothes. Some such arrangement as this is a necessity where the work requires a change of clothing. In the foundry, shower baths have been installed; elsewhere in the shops the washing facilities are long iron troughs with faucets at intervals.
There are no lunch or recreation rooms. In the office there is a retiring room for the 150 women employed.
As the workmen are machinists and mechanics--skilled laborers—it is to be expected that a library would attract them. The company maintains one for its employees and allows every employee the privilege of taking out books free. These may be kept two weeks. To make the library easy of access to the men it is in charge of the timekeeping department, by which all of them must pass, and is open once a week.
The employees have organized the Brown & Sharpe Mutual Relief Association to pay disability and death benefits. The dues are of two classes, according to the wages received. Persons whose weekly pay is $8 or more contribute 5 cents a week. Those whose pay is less than $8 contribute 24 cents a week. At the death of a member the members are assessed 10 cents each to pay a benefit of $100 to the family of the deceased. When, however, a reserve of $500 has been accumulated, the assessments for death benefits cease until the reserve is diminished. The members may be further assessed in the discretion of its board of directors, but not more than twice a year. The assessment may not exceed 50 cents for members of the first class and 25 cents for second-class members. The disability benefits are $1 a day or 50 cents, according to membership, for a period not exceeding 13 weeks. The administration of affairs is entirely by the members, who elect president, vice president, and all the other officers. The association has a membership of 3,259 out of 4,800 employees.
The company has 170 apprentices taking a four-year course. Besides the shopwork, they attend a special school two hours a day, where they are taught mathematics, mechanical drawing, and kindred subjects. A schoolroom is regularly fitted up in the building. A boy, in order to be apprenticed, must be between the ages of 16 and 18, and shall have received an education equivalent to that required for graduation from the grammar schools of Providence. The apprentices are paid for their work 8, 10, 12, and 14 cents per hour, according to the number of years' service.
WALKER & PRATT MANUFACTURING CO.
The foundries of the Walker & Pratt Manufacturing Co., manufacturers of stoves, at Watertown, Mass., are built in the midst of a beautiful and spacious lawn, dotted with clumps of shrubs and flowers. The grounds have been laid off by a landscape gardener. Adjacent to the lawn are several attractive cottages, built by the company for their employees. These are rented more cheaply to employees than similar houses in the neighborhood. The plan has not met with sufficient success, however, to justify the company in building more of them, as was originally intended. Its failure may be due to the fact that the laborers are highly organized. Union labor has steadfastly opposed itself to employers' welfare work, holding that the aim and tendency of such work are to shackle labor with gratitude and to diminish its freedom in the bargaining process.
The union shop has worked well; in 10 or 12 years there have been no strikes. In the molding department there is a shop committee of three or five men appointed by the members to meet the management and discuss their difficulties. In the event of their failure to come to an agreement the employers send for their representatives, the Stove Founders National Defense Association, and the men for their central union.
The shops are light and sanitary and are equipped with the necessary washing facilities. There are shower baths for foundrymen and molders. Each employee has his own individual metal locker for his change of clothing. A Boston firm supplies the men with fresh towels and soap for 5 cents a week. There is no lunch room, but hot coffee is brought to the men in the shops at a small cost—about 2 cents a cup
The employees have organized the Walker & Pratt Mutual Benefit Association with the administration entirely within their own hands. All employees may become members. Each member is assessed 35 cents a month and may be further assessed should it become necessary. Sick and disability benefits are $5 a week for a period not exceeding 12 weeks in any one year. On the death of a member his beneficiaries receive $100, one-half of which is contributed by the company. The president of the association appoints two members of the board of directors to investigate each case asking benefits.
UNITED SHOE MACHINERY CO.
The United Shoe Machinery Co., at Beverly, Mass., has no welfare department in name, but turns over work of that character in large measure to the secretary of the United Shoe Machinery Mutual Relief Association, whose salary the company pays.
The relief association pays sick, disability, and death benefits to its members. The dues are of four classes, dependent upon the wages of members, and range from 10 cents a week down to 10 cents every fifth week. The benefits are $9 a week for members of the first class, $6, $3, and $1.50 for the second, third, and fourth classes, for a period not exceeding 13 weeks. Unlike most associations, a member who has received benefits for 13 weeks may, after three months' work, draw further benefits. Should the disability fund be more than $2,000, dues cease until it is reduced to $1,000. Each member is assessed 25 cents at the death of a member to pay a benefit to his family. Not over $200, however, is paid in such cases. The dues are deducted from the weekly wages by the paymaster of the company. The affairs of the association are administered by its own elected officers. There is further a charity fund to help cases of need not covered by the insurance. This fund is maintained by the proceeds of various entertainments, a minstrel show, opera, etc., and a news stand in the factory. Whenever the fund amounts to more than $500 the surplus is turned over to the disability fund. There are about 1,700 members of the association, including some of the women employees.
The company looks after the comfort of employees by providing them with individual lockers, wash rooms, and bathtubs. Soap and towels are also furnished. There is a recreation room for the women employees. It is provided with couches and a piano. A restaurant supplies food to employees at low prices.
The welfare manager has organized various social clubs. The musical club, open to all employees, furnishes talent for the minstrel show. There is, besides, a band of 24 pieces which meets for weekly practice. An instructor, paid by the company, has charge of it. The employees have a football team and twice a week the members of the team stop work earlier for practice. On Saturday afternoon they play match games. There are cricket and baseball teams also.
The company has started the United Shoe Athletic Association and has just completed a very handsome country clubhouse at an expense of nearly $28,000. The building has an auditorium with a stage, bowling alleys, reading room, card, pool, and billard rooms. There are tennis courts and near by is the gun club, with trap shooting. The membership fee, $2 a year, is considered within the means of every employee that wants to join. Twenty-five per cent of the members of both organizations may be outside of the United Shoe Machinery Co.
The company runs a farm to supply vegetables for the restaurant. A certain amount of land is set aside for the employees who want to raise vegetables, etc., and each man may have 5,000 square feet. The company plows and fertilizes the plot and charges a small percentage. In 1910 about 65 employees cultivated plots.
The United Shoe Machinery Co., in cooperation with the publicschool authorities of Beverly, has organized the Beverly Independent Industrial School, in accordance with the recommendations of the recent Massachusetts Commission on Industrial Education. In the factory the company has organized a separate department and equipped it with all the necessary machine tools to accommodate 30 boys at a time. There are two groups of 30 boys, one at school and one in the shop each week. In the shop they are under the charge of the machinist instructor, elected by the school authorities, but whose salary is paid by the United Shoe Machinery Co. The boys receive piece wages for all product that is passed on by the regular factory inspector at one-half the factory's regular piece price. The company supplies all the material for the shopwork, but has no authority or supervision over the school. A representative of the company is a member of the board of trustees and supervises the department of the factory used by the school, but he is subject to the authority of the board of trustees. If the company should become dissatisfied with the management of the school, the only means of expressing its dissatisfaction would be by the withdrawal of its cooperation. The pupils are taught drawing, shop mathematics, machineshop practice, the art of keeping records of the work done in the shop, science, business and social practice, civics, etc., in the town high school by regular instructors. They are not indentured, but are free to leave when they see fit. The introductory course covers two years, after which additional courses may be offered. The only requirement is that the pupils must be 14 years of age and shall have completed the sixth grade.
Like many other employers in Massachusetts, the company has endeavored to get the employees to join the Massachusetts Sa Bank Insurance and Pension System, and has acted as agent for banks issuing such policies. Over 400 men have taken out pension insurance.
INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER CO.
Too often welfare work is whimsical, the outcome of the particular fad of the president of the company, emphasizing unimportant details and failing to see the significance of such work. This charge can not be made against the International Harvester Co.'s welfare work. Recently it was recognized as a regular department of the manufacturing department, with a superintendent and assistant in charge. For some years previous to that time the work had been rather left to the individual plants, and it was found that the superintendents in many cases objected to having the expense charged to the plants, so that the welfare interests did not receive the attention desired. Accordingly, in the reorganization it was decided to make the superintendents of the 20 plants an advisory board to organize and promote welfare work. Out of their number an executive committee of five, composed of representatives from the various localities, was selected. The superintendent and assistant are regularly paid officials appointed by the advisory board. Their duties are to cooperate with the officers at the various works in promoting welfare work, to make the necessary investigations and inspections, and to collect information on what is being done at other manufacturing establishments. The welfare department seeks to promote protection against injury, sanitation and health, educational work, charities, recreation, savings and loans, and civics. Besides these activities, the International Harvester Co. conducts other welfare work independent of the welfare department, such as old-age pensions, industrial accident insurance, and an employees' benefit association.
The protection against injury has been very thorough. A general standard for guarding each type of machine has been adopted throughout all the 20 plants, and each plant is required to come up to the standard. Belts, gears, sprockets, and chains are guarded in every way.
In front of dangerous machines provision is made to prevent slipping. Each emery wheel has a hooded steel covering and an exhaust fan and the operator must wear glasses to protect bis eyes. Foundrymen are told to wear congress shoes and hard cloth trousers to protect the feet and legs from burns. An exhaustive