« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
and the secretary of the society is secretary to the board, the will of the employees is represented. The Fanny Myers Fund is supported by its own earnings, contributions designated for the fund and 10 per cent of all moneys received, except dues and interest on other funds. It is used for the relief of the sick and distressed. The other bequests are used in the same way.
The Lyman G. Bloomingdale Vacation Fund is maintained to give female members of the society a vacation during the summer, and is supported by contributions from the employees. Every woman employee, after being with the company, i. e., a member of the society, for one year, has one week's vacation with board, wages, and transportation. By means of the funds the society cares for tuberculous members. All the officers of the society are elected by the members.
The accommodations for employees in the store are adequate. The company, as is essential in a city of distances, when the lunch period is short, provides a lunch room for employees where they can get lunch at cost or eat the lunches they bring with them. There are lockers for some of the employees but not for all. The lavatories are in charge of a janitress.
The welfare work of Greenhut-Siegel-Cooper Co., of New York City, is in charge of a special secretary who devotes her entire time to the employees' interests. She is given large powers and stands ready to give assistance whenever it is sought. The management has laid special emphasis upon the fact that the secretary should not seek to help unless employees want help; in other words, nothing should be done to cause them to feel that their independence is being encroached on. The secretary visits the employees in the homes in cases of illness or distress, or at the hospitals. A small fund is placed at her disposal to be used where it is most needed. At one time when the company maintained a summer cottage for the women employees, she had charge of it, and acted as hostess. One of her chief duties is to aid employees in increasing their efficiency. A list of employees who stand at the foot of their department in sales is sent to her, and she then endeavors in a tactful way to find out the cause of their shortcomings. As often happens, she learns of cases where she can be of assistance. The secretary represents the efforts of a big corporation, employing thousands, to get at the individual and try to bring about personal relations such as exist in a small business between employer and employee.
The company provides a recreation room with comfortable chairs, books, and attractive surroundings. There is a branch of the New
York Public Library here, so that books can be procured easily. The lavatories are in charge of a maid, who sees that they are in order. There are lockers for the employees, one for two or three persons. The lockers are disinfected every week. A lunch room supplies employees with lunches at cost. The company gives lunches free to their young employees, the children who earn $3 and $3.50 a week. In many cases it was found that these children were improperly nourished at home, so the company decided to give them their food twice a day if necessary. An emergency hospital with a special employee in charge is provided. All employees who have been with the company one year are given one week's vacation with pay.
The Siegel-Cooper Co. Employees' Association cares for employees when they are ill or in distress. All employees are members of this association, although it is not obligatory upon them. The dues are graded according to salary, and are 10, 20, 30, and 40 cents a month. These are collected by the paymaster of the company. A permanent fund of $10,000 must be always in the treasury, and should it fall below that amount the members may be assessed. The sick benefits are half pay, except for persons who receive more than $25 a week, in which case they receive $12.50 a week. Benefits in no case extend over six weeks in a consecutive year and are not paid for less than one week's illness. Death benefits of $50 and $100 are paid to the legal heirs of the deceased. If the deceased employee had not been a full year with the company a fractional part only of the benefit is paid. The board of directors may, in its discretion, make loans to members needing such assistance, but it may not lend more than $100 in a year or $50 at one time. These are repaid in installments, deducted from the borrower's pay. They further may turn over a special monthly allowance of $25 to the welfare secretary, to be used by her for the benefit of members. When a member is in poor health, needing a change, the directors, upon the recommendation of the physician, may send him away and pay all expenses, not over $100, however; or they may assume the hospital expenses of a sick or disabled member needing treatment, up to $100. The association employs a physician to attend the members in the store free, and his prescriptions are filled for members on the premises of the company free of charge. He is on hand all day and may be consulted by employees. The employees elect all the officers, thus putting the organization within their hands, with one limitation, however-that no person other than the head of a department is eligible to the office of director.
MARSHALL FIELD & CO.
Welfare work at Marshall Field & Co.'s large department store in Chicago is not organized, but from time to time there have been adopted such ideas as seemed desirable. Indeed, there seems to be a very evident desire to avoid the name welfare work from fear of its being construed as paternalistic. It became, however, very evident that an establishment employing 5,000 women should have a woman in the office to whom the women employees might apply, and so about three years ago such an office was created, but without a title. The woman in charge advises the women employees on any matter they ask about, and makes herself useful in a thousand little delicate adjustments.
Great care has been taken for the comfort and health of employees. Everywhere the ventilation is good. Practically all the tenth floor has been devoted to their interests. A splendid lunch room, where employees may bring their luncheons or be served at a very low cost, has been provided for their use. The culinary department is under the same manager as the tea room and restaurant for customers, so that the quality of the food is exceptional. In the employees' department the company endeavors simply to break even. Near by is the rest room, attractively furnished with comfortable easy-chairs, a pianola, and copies of excellent pictures, where the employees may lounge during the noon hour. Every two weeks recitals or dramatic readings are held here at noon. There is a reading room adjoining for the use of both men and women, with periodicals, newspapers, and several cases of books. The Chicago Public Library is made accessible to them by the company's signing slips for them. The toilet room is magnificently equipped and employees have their own lockers in a locker room. Two splendid medical rooms, one for men and one for women, in charge of a nurse, are also provided for those who may be taken suddenly ill. The nurse is often sent out to look up the sick. The company has wards in one or two hospitals. During illness employees receive one-half pay.
The choral society is a large organization, with 160 members. These rehearse every week after working hours, and once a year they give a concert, with a very pretentious program. They have rendered “The Creation," "King Olaf," " Mendelssohn's IIymn of Praise," and Coleridge-Taylor's “Hiawatha's Wedding Feast ”_ which may indicate the character of the organization. This society also puts up a cup to be played for by the four baseball teams.
A two weeks' holiday, with full pay, is given every employee who has been with the company for a year, and one week when the employee has been there only six months. During the summer the annual picnic of both the retail and wholesale house, numbering about 8,000 persons, takes place jointly, and the baseball teams from both branches of the business play match games. Employees are paid for practicable suggestions and rewarded for errors detected in the company's advertisements. They also are allowed to purchase goods at special prices, which means a very considerable reduction. If the boys employed by the company desire to join the Y. M. C. A. the company pays one-half of the membership fee. Women report for duty half an hour later than the men and leave 10 minutes earlier in the afternoon.
Of more lasting value than the welfare work in the ordinary acceptation of the term are the efforts made by the company to train and advance employees. A preliminary training is given applicants before beginning work, and during the busy season a beginners' meeting is held, to which all the new employees are sent. They are taught by means of charts and later are examined on what they have learned. For the regular employees there are salesmanship conferences, where they are taught effective and intelligent salesmanship, which of course ultimately increases their earning capacity. Special care is bestowed on the younger boys and girls, the junior help, to enable them to advance. One of the superintendents has the juniors in charge, and the boys and men feel free to go to him at any time with their requests and complaints, while the women and girls go to the social secretary.
Wanamaker's handsome department store, in Philadelphia, makes many special provisions for the physical comfort of the employees. There are lavatories—with soap and towels—in charge of a maid, for the women employees; also, individual lockers, etc. The lunch room provides wholesome food at moderate prices, 10 cents for a meal, and there is also provision made for employees bringing their lunches with them. An emergency hospital, fully equipped, in charge of a trained nurse and a house physician constantly in attendance insures the care of employees in case of illness or accident. By way of further health precaution, the physician makes a physical examination of employees.
Of the various forms of welfare work the John Wanamaker Commercial Institute is the most unusual. This is the name given the school for younger employees. It is held morning and evening, and a staff of 25 instructors teach reading, writing, arithmetic, stenography, correspondence, bookkeeping, commercial geography, and law and business methods. Children under 16 years of age, cash boys and girls and beginners, are required to attend school two hours a day, from half past 7 to half past 9, and are taught the commonschool branches. There are about 300 children in this department. Boys from 16 to 18 years attend evening school twice a week. They are given their supper in the store after working hours and then go to school. Each year diplomas are awarded and commencement week is a time of much ceremony. Graduating exercises are held in Egyptian hall, the magnificent auditorium in the store. The alumnæ and alumni of the school have formed associations. The idea in starting the school was to give those children who could not continue their education an opportunity to learn while earning their living. The management is of the opinion that the employer owes to the employee a social service.
Connected with the school are various organizations, like the Wanamaker band for men and boys. There are 80 in the band, and these are uniformed and taught at the expense of the store. A cadet battalion of 300, uniformed also, is another feature of the school. The children are all taught singing, calisthenics, and military drill. A junior savings fund has been started, with nearly 2,000 accounts of the young people.
It has long been a policy of the company to give employees who have been in the service some time a summer vacation with pay. A camp in New Jersey, on Barnegat Bay, the Barracks, is maintained by the store for this purpose. There is a house for the women and army tents for the boys, and ample grounds for drilling, tennis, and land sports of all kinds, besides the pleasures of boating, sailing, fishing, etc. The cost of a week's visit, including board and railway transportation, is $3.25. The main expenses are borne by the store, but the cadets have a camp fund, made up from the proceeds of concerts, entertainments, and subscriptions of friends.
The woman's league is an educational organization for the older women. The membership fee is 50 cents a year, which entitles the member to join any of the score of classes. These are in dressmaking, millinery, stenography, physical culture, dancing, etc. Regular classrooms have been set aside for the work. The John Wanamaker Choral Society is an organization for all employees. The members are taught by a trained musician. There is a library of several thousand volumes for the employees, and a magazine, The Wanamaker Originator, is published at irregular intervals and distributed free among them.
The salaries of employees are advanced every six months according to merit. A record of each employee is kept on a card for the purpose, and at the end of six months the cards are examined and if the individual merits it, the salary is advanced. A bonus or commission on the sales of employees during December is given. The delivery men receive a bonus in February, according to length of service and rate of salary. At one time there was profit sharing among employees, but that gave way to half-yearly salary advances.
The employees have an insurance society, the Wanamaker Mutual Insurance Association, of Philadelphia, to which any employee may belong. There are five sections of members, graded according to salary, from those receiving $3 a week and less up to $10 a week