« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
The company has an emergency hospital for the men employees, complete in every respect. Three trained nurses are employed and the company has made an arrangement with the leading city surgeons to send important cases to them. The hospital gives first aid to the injured and subsequent dressings.
As is usual in electrical works, much emphasis is placed on apprenticeships. There are over 400 trade and electrical apprentices. They are given four years of training and have a regular corps of instructors.
The employees of all the Edison interests have organized a mutual benefit association, and at Schenectady there is a branch association. Any person, employed by the Edison interests, over 18 years of age and under 45, may become a member. Persons over 15 and under 18 may become half-rate members. The initiation fees are $1 and 50 cents, respectively. No women are eligible to membership in the association. The dues are 50 cents and 25 cents a month until the funds are reduced to $3,000, whereupon the dues are increased to 60 and 30 cents. Should the sum in the treasury fall below $1,000 the members may be assessed, but not more than $1. Sick benefits are $6 or $3 a week, according to the class of membership. No member is entitled to benefits for more than 13 weeks in 12 consecutive months. In case of death, $100 or $50 is paid the deceased's family. The affairs of the association are administered by a president and board of directors chosen by the members.
WESTERN ELECTRIC CO.
The Western Electric Co. in 1906 set aside $400,000 as a pension fund. The president of the company may withdraw annually sums not over $150,000 to be devoted to pensions. Should the allowances exceed the amount available from the pension fund a new rate is to ke established. All employees who have reached 60 years of age and have been in the employ of the company for 20 years continuously may be retired and receive a pension. Any employee 30 years in the service of the company, or any employee of 55 years who has been 25 years with the company, may be pensioned. Any employee who has been 10 years or more in the company's employ, and who has become totally incapacitated through injury or sickness, may receive aid from the pension board, in the discretion of the board. The basis of the pension is 1 per cent for every year of service of the highest average earnings in any 10 years of service. In November, 1910, there were 46 persons on the pension roll receiving a total of $2,688.
In the New York office the welfare work for the stenographers is in charge of the chief stenographer. There is a comfortable lunch room on the cafeteria plan, where food is sold at cost. At one end of the room is the recreation room, with easy chairs, a cot for resting, etc. Off this room there is a balcony, where employees may take the fresh air at noon. There are wooden lockers to hold outer garments, etc.
The shops have no lunch rooms, but have lunch counters. The orders are taken in the morning and brought out to the employees in the shop.
At the gigantic works at Hawthorne, Ill., near Chicago, there is a large lunch and dining room, where food is served to employees at cost. One floor of this building is devoted to the restaurant and the other to amusements. There is an emergency hospital, with a physician and three nurses constantly in attendance, where first aid is given the injured. There are tennis courts, baseball diamonds, etc., with an athletic committee in charge. The employees have a band of 55 pieces. There is, besides, an orchestra and a mandolin club.
About 100 apprentices are at work here under a regular supervisor of apprentices. The boys are paid by the hour, working in the shops most of the time and attending school an hour a day.
The Talbot Mills, North Billerica, Mass., owns the houses in which nearly 200 of its employees live. Most of these are double tenements, but some have as many as six tenements. They are frame buildings, kept in excellent repair, and rent from $3.75 a month up to $14. The better houses have furnaces, hot water, bathtubs, etc., but all have a supply of running water with inside faucets and sanitary sewerage. Each house stands in a well-kept green lawn, with shrubs and flowers, and along the streets there are huge old elms. As there are no fences, the village looks like an expansive park. The company has further beautified the streets with grass plots and flower beds. To encourage the employees to plant flowers and make their lawns pretty, each year prizes are offered for the best-kept premises, for vines, window and porch gardens, flowers, and vegetable gardens. The prizes are from $1 to $5. The winners are further allowed to select a book or magazine on gardening. The company furnishes lawn mowers, trellises, and flower boxes. Each autumn the prizes are awarded at a stereopticon exhibition of the lawns of the winners. Persons desiring to enter the contest must give notice of their intention. Winners of prizes in one year are not allowed to compete for the same class of prizes the next year, but may, of course, compete for others. The company issues a handbook for planning and planting home grounds, to help employees in beautifying their premises. The village is further made attractive by the Thomas Talbot Me. morial Hall, founded in 1891 by the heirs of Thomas Talbot. The hall is a handsome stone and shingle building in a large expanse of green. It is fitted up for all sorts of entertainments, with an assembly hall, supper room, and kitchen, etc. The mill library and reading room is open in the evening after working hours. There are over 4,000 volumes. Books may be taken out twice a week at a small charge—50 cents a year. The company employs the librarian.
The company has provided a lunch room in the mill office for employees, where those who live too far away to return home for dinner may eat their lunch. Tea, coffee, and milk are furnished them at nominal rates. There are individual lockers.in part of the mill.
In 1903 the company inaugurated a system for pensioning old employees who become incapacitated for labor. No person is pensioned who has not been at least 15 years continuously in the employ of the company. The amount of the pension is 1 per cent for each year of service of the average yearly wages for the last 10 years of employment. If the employee has been over 35 years in the company's service, he is pensioned on half pay. No pension shall exceed $500. Employees on reaching 70 years of age may retire at pleasure and receive a pension. Further employment for pensioned employees must be with the company's approval. Up to 1910, 7 years after the system was introduced, 16 persons had been pensioned, receiving an average pension of $227 a year. At that time there were 8 pensioners on the roll: The company has further made every effort to interest the employees in the Massachusetts Savings Bank Insurance and Pension System and acts as agents for the banks issuing such policies.
AMERICAN WOOLEN CO.
The American Woolen Co., with its immense group of 35 mills, conducts welfare work for the employees at most of its establishments. The Wood Worsted Mill, at Lawrence, Mass., probably represents the most that is done in this way. The company makes it very plain that the welfare work is merely a part of good business policy, aiding it in securing labor. Across the street from the huge building, housing 5,300 persons, the company operates a restaurant in a single-storied unpretentious structure. Between 400 and 600 employees have their noonday dinner here daily at reasonable rates. A good dinner may be obtained for 15 cents. This department is run at a steady loss. At each end of the restaurant there are reoreation rooms, one side for men and the other for women. There is a piano in the women's room and magazines and periodicals in both rooms,
The company houses its employees to the extent of about 200 a partments in both apartment houses and cottages. These are situated in attractive streets laid off by the company after the most approved method of city planning. There are grass plots on each side of the sidewalks, trees, a sweep of small lawns unbroken by fences, etc. In one section there are as many as 42 apartments in brick houses; in another 36 apartments in wooden houses. All have modern conveniences. The 6-roomed apartments rent from $2.85 to $3.15 a week. There are 52 individual frame cottages, renting for $4.15 a week. These homes are occupied by skilled employees, the great bulk of the unskilled living elsewhere. The company contemplates further building.
Within the building there are no special comforts for employees, no individual lockers, no soap and towels, no special dressing rooms, etc. The employees' wearing apparel is hung about the large workrooms. The washbasins are troughs. There are shower baths for the firemen. Eight escalators, or moving stairways, transport the employees from the main floor to their workrooms, saving them the climb up several flights of stairs.
POCASSET WORSTED CO.
The Pocasset Worsted Co., near Providence, considers that the welfare work it has instituted has not evoked sufficient interest on the part of employees to warrant a large expenditure. The work started with a club for overseers, to compete with the saloons, and in 1907 the company built a handsome clubhouse, at an expenditure of seventeen or twenty thousand dollars. The house is a one-story, shingle building, with a wide veranda, in a small garden just off the street. There are reading rooms with periodicals, billiard rooms, bowling alleys, a piano, and an auditorium seating nearly 300 persons. To make the employees feel that the house was actually theirs and to be run as they desired, it was turned over to a board of governors consisting entirely of employees. At first it was free, but later it was considered wiser to charge the small fee of $2 a year for membership in the club. It was believed that this charge would induce the employees to take firmer hold and rid them of any possible feeling that they were objects of the company's bounty. The fee charged did not cover the cost. At one time the membership was 200, but it has dwindled to 60. The management considers that one of the difficulties has been the nearness to Providence. Employees can easily take the street car right into the city and find amusement and recreation there. Another and more radical trouble, it was explained, has been that the operatives are foreigners—Italiansmany of them girls, with no idea of club life; to an Italian parent the notion of a daughter going in the evening to a club in company with other young people is unthought of.
The company has built houses for its employees. These are double frame tenements, two stories high, with a small front porch in some instances. They usually have six rooms—four large and two small rooms—and rent for $1.50 to $2 a week. They are without bathtubs. At one time there were bathrooms in some of the houses, but as they were not used they were removed. The toilet rooms are outside in the yards. Each house has a small yard, which the company likes to see well kept. To encourage employees in keeping their premises neat and in planting flowers, the company offers prizes for the most attractive yards. These range from $70 to $5.
Like most textile mills, the mill itself is without adequate provision for the employees' clothes. There are no individual lockers, so that the employees must keep their outer garments or change of garments hanging about the walls of the room. The wash rooms are without soap and towels, nor is there a special matron to see that the rooms are kept in order.
CLEVELAND (OHIO) CLOTHING FACTORIES.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
Hitherto welfare work has been for the most part an individual matter with the employer and the business community has taken no concerted action. In Cleveland, Ohio, the chamber of commerce gave the impetus to welfare work, and so far as is known this is the first instance in America of an organization of business men taking up industrial betterment. In 1899 an industrial committee was appointed to assist in bettering the relations between employer and cmployee and to make it something more than dollars and cents. The committee has insisted that the “ fundamental basis of all welfare work must be found in fair wages, reasonable hours, and sanitary conditions of labor; that these provisions are not a matter of option with the employer, but that every employee has a right to expect them. No amount of special features can rightfully be substituted for fair wages and reasonable hours, clean, light, wellventilated workrooms, and adequate provisions for safety and sanitation; and any plans which endeavor to take their place are pretty certain to fail."
The plans have embraced the following features of welfare work:
“General improvement in the environment and surroundings of workmen being of greatest importance;
“Clean windows and floors, light and well ventilated workrooms, and adequate sanitary arrangements, forming the basis of further improvement. These are usually of small expense, but of greatest effectiveness;