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TRACTABILITY OF THE IMMIGRANT
To the characteristics of recent immigrant wageearners already described, should be added one other. The members of the larger number of races of recent entrance to the mines, mills and factories have been tractable and easily managed. This quality seems to be a temperamental one, acquired through past conditions of life in their native lands. In the normal life of the mines, mills and factories, the southern and eastern Europeans have exhibited a pronounced tendency toward being easily managed by employers and toward being imposed upon without protest, which has created the impression of subserviency. This characteristic, while strong, is confined, however, to the immigrant wage-earners of comparatively short residence in this country, and results from their lack of training or experience abroad, and from the difference between their standards and aspirations and those of older immigrant employees and native American industrial workers.
If the characteristics of the recent immigrant labor supply to the United States, as outlined above, be carefully borne in mind, the conditions which have been produced by their employment may be quickly realized.
The Inefficiency of the Immigrants Has Encouraged the Use of Machinery
As regards the general industrial effects, it may be said, in the first place, that the lack of skill and industrial training of the recent immigrant to the United States has stimulated the invention of mechanical
methods and processes which might be conducted by unskilled industrial workers as a substitute for the skilled operatives formerly required. This condition of affairs obviously must have been true, or the expansion of American industry within recent years would not have been possible. A large number of illustrations of this tendency might be cited. Probably three of the best, however, are the automatic looms and ring spindles in the cotton-goods manufacturing industry, the bottle-blowing and casting machines in bottle and other glass factories, and the machines for mining coal.
The Employment of the Immigrant Has Changed the Form of Industrial Organization
Another, but more minor, general industrial effect of the employment of the southern and eastern Europeans is observable in the increase in the number of foremen in many industries. This situation arises principally from the fact that the recent immigrants are usually of non-English-speaking races, and therefore require a larger amount of supervision than the native Americans and older immigrants from Great Britain and northern Europe. The function of the subordinate foremen is chiefly that of an interpreter.
As regards other changes in industrial organization and methods, probably the most important effect observable is seen in the creation of a number of special occupations, the incumbents of which perform all the dangerous or responsible work which before the employment of southern and eastern Europeans was distributed over the entire operating force. The best example of this tendency is to be found in the newly
developed occupation of "shot-firer" in bituminous and anthracite coal mines. The mine worker in this occupation prepares and discharges the blasts or shots for bringing down the coal. Until within recent years each miner did his own blasting, but with the employment of the untrained southern and eastern Europeans in the mines, it was soon found that the safety of the operating forces and the maintenance of the quality of the output required that blasting should be done by experienced native American or older immigrant employees. The relation between industrial accidents and the employment of recent immigrants, as well as the effect upon wages and conditions of employment arising from the entrance of a large body of southern and eastern Europeans into the American industrial system, is set forth in detail at a later point.
Immigration Has Produced Unsatisfactory Conditions of Employment
Relative to the effect of recent immigration upon native American and older immigrant wage-earners in the United States, it may be stated, in the first place, that the lack of industrial training and experience of the recent immigrant before coming to the United States, together with his illiteracy and inability to speak English, has had the effect of exposing the original employees to unsafe and unsanitary working conditions, or has led to the imposition of conditions of employment which the native American or older immigrant employees have considered unsatisfactory and in some cases unbearable. When the older employees have found dangerous and unhealthy conditions prevailing in the mines and manufacturing establishments
and have protested, the recent immigrant employees, usually through ignorance of mining or other working methods, have manifested a willingness to accept the alleged unsatisfactory conditions. In a large number of cases the lack of training and experience of the southern and eastern European affects only his own safety. On the other hand, his ignorant acquiescence in dangerous and unsanitary working conditions may make the continuance of such conditions possible and become a menace to a part or to the whole of an operating force of an industrial establishment. In mining, the presence of an untrained employee may constitute an element of danger to the entire body of workmen. There seems to be a direct causal relation between the extensive employment of recent immigrants in American mines and the extraordinary increase within recent years in the number of mining accidents. It is an undisputed fact that the greatest number of accidents in bituminous coal mines arise from two causes : (1) the recklessness, and (2) the ignorance and inexperience, of employees. When the lack of training of the recent immigrant abroad is considered in connection with the fact that he becomes a workman in the mines immediately upon his arrival in this country, and when it is recalled that a large proportion of the new arrivals are not only illiterate and unable to read any precautionary notices posted in the mines, but also unable to speak English and consequently without ability to comprehend instructions intelligently, the inference is plain that the employment of recent immigrants has caused a deterioration in working conditions.
No complete statistics have been compiled as to the connection between accidents and races employed, but
the figures available clearly indicate the conclusion that there has been a direct relation between the employment of untrained foreigners and the prevalence of mining casualties. The mining inspectors of the several coal-producing States, the United States Geological Survey, and the older employees in the industry, also bear testimony in this respect to the effect of the employment of the southern and eastern European. The opinion of the Geological Survey is of especial interest and may be briefly quoted:
"Another important factor in the United States is to be found in the nationality of the miners. Most of the men are foreign-born, a large proportion of them are unable to understand English freely, and a still larger number are unable to read or write that language. Some of them are inexperienced, and do not take proper precautions either for their own safety or that of others. This becomes a most serious menace unless they are restrained by properly enforced regulations."*
THE EFFECT OF THE RECENT IMMIGRANT UPON
STANDARDS OF LIVING
The extensive employment of recent immigrants has brought about living conditions and a standard of living with which the older employees have been unable or have found it extremely difficult to compete. This fact may be readily inferred from what has already been said relative to the methods of domestic economy of immigrant households and the cost of living of their members.
Bulletin 333 of the United States Geological Survey, entitled "Coal Mining Accidents: Their Causes and Prevention."