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PART V. THE CIGAR AND TOBACCO MANUFACTURING

INDUSTRY IN TAMPA, FLA.

183

PART V. THE CIGAR AND TOBACCO MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY IN

TAMPA, FLA.

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION.

Industrial significance of Tampa as a cigar and tobacco manufacturing centerTransportation facilities-Establishment of cigar industry-Immigrant races employed in cigar industry-Households studied-Members of households for whom detailed information was secured-Employees for whom information was secured[Text Tables 121 to 125 and General Tables 65 to 67].

INDUSTRIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF TAMPA AS A CIGAR AND TOBACCO MANUFACTURING CENTER.

Upon the entrance of the first railroad into the village, in 1884, the industrial development of Tampa was undertaken. The earliest significant measure looking toward expansion was the organization during the spring of the following year of the pioneer board of trade. The members of this body immediately set about securing the dredging of a channel in Hillsborough Bay of sufficient depth to make the water front accessible to seagoing vessels. In this way they hoped not only to provide an ample outlet for the enormous and rapid increase in the volume of the products of local industries, which they confidently expected, but also to take the initial step toward making Tampa the distributing point for all of the peninsula to the south, as well as for a large section to the north. Development along the lines which these men had in mind, although rather slower in coming than at first expected, was large, and within a quarter of a century the town has become the commercial center of the region. In 1908 the city supported 42 wholesale and jobbing houses, representing an annual business of over $11,000,000, while the recently increased railroad facilities has tended to divert to Tampa the bulk of the phosphate which in the past has been shipped through the Atlantic coast ports. The total production of phosphate in the State of Florida in 1907 was 1,704,000 long tons. Of this amount only 602,000 tons were shipped through Tampa, although 90 per cent of the remainder was produced in territory which is considered tributary to the port. Since there is a saving of $1 a ton in shipping phosphate through Tampa, it is expected that the competition of the eastern ports will soon cease.

The Tampa Board of Trade in an argument before the Statutory Board of Engineers in 1908, advocated the deepening of the channel to 24 feet. It maintained that the port of Tampa is the natural outlet for a territory capable of producing 220,000,000 feet of lumber annually for seventy years; 10,000,000 to 20,000,000 cross-ties annually for a number of years; 50,000 head of cattle for an indefinite period, and a total output of 40,000,000 barrels of naval stores.

TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES.

Three railroad systems have made Tampa their southern terminal. In 1908 the Seaboard Air Line Railway completed improvements valued at $1,500,000, while the Tampa Northern Railway expended $250,000 in the same manner. Steamship lines connect the city with New York, Habana, Key West, Mobile, New Orleans, and Galveston. Sailing vessels offer means of transportation to and from points on the coasts of Central and South America. One steamship company has recently built wharves and warehouses requiring an expenditure of over $300,000.

ESTABLISHMENT OF CIGAR INDUSTRY.

That the cigar industry should have sought Tampa shortly after the organization of the board of trade in the spring of 1885 was a coincidence, and was in no way attributable to the initiative of that body. Key West had been for twenty-five years the center in the United States for the manufacture of clear Havana cigars. This industry had left Habana, Cuba, because of the constant political unheavals and the consequent injury to its prosperity. For a number of years the industry prospered in Key West, but as the labor unions grew in strength, misunderstanding and trouble arose between them and the manufacturers. The older workmen found that they were gradually being supplanted by Spanish workmen, who were coming into Key West in constantly increasing numbers. The unions. believed that these men were being imported by the manufacturers for the sole purpose of breaking the power of the labor organizations. It was not long, therefore, before the unions demanded that discrimination in favor of imported labor should cease. To this demand it seems the manufacturers paid no attention. In the end a particularly flagrant disregard of the feeling of the men precipitated a general strike, and in the riotous demonstrations which followed several factories were wrecked and the city made untenable for the Spanish workmen.

A committee representing the manufacturers called upon the local authorities and demanded protection for themselves and their properties. This they failed to obtain. Naturally alarmed by the insecurity of their position, and by the danger of a repetition of their recent experiences, some of them determined to withdraw their factories from Key West. Following the advice of friends, these men visited Tampa with the view of locating their plants there. They were met accidentally by a member of the board of trade, who at once became interested in their mission. The transportation facilities by land and water were pointed out to them, adequate police protection was promised, and a bonus of land worth $4,000 was offered. They were accordingly persuaded to transfer their factories, employees, and homes to Tampa.

IMMIGRANT RACES EMPLOYED IN CIGAR INDUSTRY.

The cigar industry in Tampa is thus an exotic. It came to the city by way of Key West with all of its customs, prejudices, and traditions already developed. Ybor City, where nearly half the population of Tampa lives, is Cuban, and not American, in character; its language is Spanish and not English. The bulk of the Italian immigrants learn the former language rather than the latter. The custom of employing Spaniards in certain positions in preference to men of other races still exists. Race prejudice continues to be effective against Americans. The tradition that skill is a question of race remains the fundamental idea of the Cuban cigar maker, As the dominant race in Cuba, the Spaniards seem to have relegated the Cubans to such positions as they were pleased to consider inferior. That is why the cigar makers of the island were Cubans, and it helps to explain how after generations of employment in the same occupation the Cubans came to believe that skill in cigar making is their peculiar possession. Unfortunately for them, managers and foremen have in recent years been persuaded that skill is not in any way a matter of race. The Cubans and Spaniards depend altogether on the cigar trade for employment. The Italians have shown themselves able to survive in other callings, but the majority of them are also dependent upon the industry. Comparatively few of the persons found among the other races in the community are employed in the cigar factories. The industry has been instrumental in adding large numbers to the population of the city, and has been by far its greatest distributer of wealth. The value of cigars manufactured in the year 1908 was $17,175,000. Ten thousand five hundred employees received an average weekly wage of $200,000, or 75 per cent of the total pay roll of the city. The order of numerical strength among the races employed in the cigar factories is: First, Spanish; second, Italian; third, Cuban; fourth, all other races, including Creoles from New Orleans, whites and negroes from Nassau, Porto Ricans, German Hebrews, French, Chinese, Russian Hebrews, Greeks, and Americans. There are certain characteristics which are possessed in common by the Spaniards, Italians, and Cubans. In religion they are all Catholics; but, while they are careful to adhere to the traditions of the church governing the baptism of infants, marriage, and the burial of the dead, the men, especially, absent themselves as a body from its services. Sunday is usually given over to picnics and other forms of recreation. The Spanish foregather at their casinos and sanatoriums; the Cubans and Italians, with their families, in the various parks belonging to the trolley systems. Another very common characteristic is the absence in the homes of books and newspapers.

48296°-VOL 15-11-13

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