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houses are usually 2, 3, or 4 room single houses, or double houses containing from 6 to 12 rooms, built of cheap lumber and painted. The prevailing type of house in the Birmingham district is a one-story frame 4 or 5 room house with sufficient ground for garden or yard. The houses are in fair condition and repair. The rooms average about 10 by 12 or 12 by 12, with one or two windows of ordinary size. Almost every house has a front, and some have a rear, porch. The interiors are ceiled or whitewashed. In the Middle West most of the houses are small square or oblong structures of a temporary nature, having 3 or 4 rooms and costing from $300 to $400, while in the SouthWest one-story frame structures, cheaply built, usually of the same size, containing from 3 to 5 rooms, are the rule in the isolated districts. The rooms in these houses vary in size, the average being 14 by 14 feet.
Where the mines are near towns the company houses are better. The usual monthly rental in all localities is from $1.50 to $2 a room.
THE COMPANY-STORE SYSTEM.
The laws of Pennsylvania prohibit a coal-mining company from owning or operating a “company store.” As a consequence such stores, found in practically all mining communities, are usually organized as a separate corporation, the stockholders of which are invariably officials of the coal mining company; or, on the other hand, company stores, together with the mining company, are often operated by a holding company organized for that purpose. In a few instances the stores are owned by individuals who are members of the mining company. In all cases, however, there is a working agreement between the mining company and the store, the former deducting from the wages of the employee for all items purchased. In isolated communities, where the company store” is the only available place for the employee to make his purchases, it has been charged that the prices at the store were too high and that stock of an inferior quality was carried. In the majority of cases, however, the reverse is true, the employee being able to secure from the company store as good, if not better, articles for the same or a less price than would be charged by an independent store. For the convenience of the employees, "checks," rarely in excess of the wages due, and good only at the company store, are furnished between pay days by the company. Many of the companies issue store books to the employees, the items purchased being recorded, and deductions for these items, as in the case of the checks, are made from the wages of the employee on pay day.
It is maintained that patronage of the company store is not compulsory, but the system of paying wages does not bear out this contention. This applies more or less to all localities. In the Southwest the miners are compelled to purchase their powder and other explosives from the stores only. In the Middle West and South patronage is said to be not compulsory; at the same time, when only scrip or store orders are obtainable between pay days, and these scrip or store orders are good only at company stores, it is apparent that patronage is practically compulsory. The same policy in making deductions is followed in all localities. Outside of Pennsylvania, however, the mining company either owns and operates the store or has an agreement with some individual whereby the scrip or store order is honored, the amount to be deducted from the wages, as in cases previously cited.
BENEFITS RECEIVED BY EMPLOYEES IN ADDITION TO WAGES.
Benefits in one form or another, in addition to wages, are received by the operatives. Each company has its own method of dealing with the situation, some giving more liberally than others. Among these benefits may be mentioned medical and hospital service.
In Pennsylvania, for example, the majority of companies pay all the cost of treating a workman injured while on duty, and furnish whatever hospital service may be necessary; others pay these items only when the man himself is unable to pay them, while still others pay only for the first treatment. Again, some of the coal companies maintain benefit societies for their workmen, paying stipulated weekly benefits for injuries suffered while at work, and if the accident prove fatal a specified sum is paid. In other localities the companies assess each employee a small sum monthly for medical and hospital service, the assessment being larger for the married than for the unmarried man for the reason that the family of the married man is also entitled to this service. Another plan of paying for accidents is followed in cases where the company carries insurance on its employees in some liability company, deducting for this purpose a nominal sum from the wages of each employee. One company in the Birmingham district gives a certain sum each year toward the maintenance of churches and schools; another provides the land on which these institutions may be erected; others erect and maintain buildings free of cost for these purposes. With an occasional exception, however, no organized or concerted welfare work is done by the mining companies.
REGULARITY OF EMPLOYMENT.
The operation of coal mines, because of conditions peculiar to the technical side of the industry itself, as well as by reason of seasonal and other fluctuations in the demand for coal, is irregular and, as a consequence, it is difficult to form any conclusions regarding the regularity of employment offered or the relative industriousness of employees of different races. In this connection, however, data were secured as to the time worked by the members of the house holds studied, during the twelve months immediately preceding the collection of the information. The results are presented in the following tables, showing, by general nativity and race of individual, the number of months worked during the past year by males 16 years of age or over employed away from home. The totals are for all races, but the showing for the individual races is confined to those with 20 or more males reporting. The information covers the entire industry, and the tabulations show what proportion of each race worked twelve, nine, six, and three months, respectively.
TABLE 59. — Months worked during the past year by males 16 years of age or over employed away from home, by general nativity and race of individual.
(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.) [This table includes only races with 20 or more males reporting. The totals, however, are for all races.)
It will be seen from the foregoing table that 19.9 per cent of the whites native-born of native father had steady employment throughout the year. On the other hand, none of the negroes native-born of native father had employment for as much as nine months. Of the native-born of foreign father, 19.1 per cent were employed during the entire year, while the foreign-born fall below the other two divisions and report only 16.6 per cent of their number as having been so employed. From these comparisons, it is evident that the whites native-born of native father lead all other race groups in securing steady employment, while persons native-born of foreign father occupy an intermediate position, and the foreign-born employees come last.
Of those reporting employment for nine months or more, the persons native-born of foreign father stand first, with a percentage of 50; the whites native-born of native father follow with 47.7 per cent, and the foreign-born report 47.1 per cent.
Among the persons of foreign birth it will be observed that the Roumanians and Ruthenians report the highest averages, the former reporting 91.9 per cent of their number, and the latter 77.1 per cent, employed for nine months or over. This very high percentage is due largely to the fact that these two races are employed in certain localities in Pennsylvania in which the mines are operated regularly, The Slovaks, Croatians, Germans, Poles, and Bohemians and Moravians report from 58.9 to 50 per cent of their number working nine months or more; the South Italians, Irish, and North Italians show from 46.4 to 40.6 per cent employed for that period, and the English, Lithuanians, Russians, Magyars, and Welsh, from 37.8 to 32.6 per cent. The Mexicans, with only 1.7 per cent of their number employed as long as nine months, show the least regularity in work.
Ås regards employment for six months or over, the whites nativeborn of native father have 81.5 per cent of their number so reported; the negroes have 56.3 per cent and the native-born of foreign father 87.2 per cent, while the foreign-born, 88.8 per cent, is the highest of all. Among the foreign-born, the Roumanians, Germans, Bohemians and Moravians, South Italians, Polish, English, Slovaks, Magyars, and Russians, report from 100 to 90.6 per cent, the Lithuanians, Ruthenians, Croatians, and Irish, from 89.6 to 80 per cent, the North Italians and Welsh 76.9 and 74.4 per cent, respectively, and the Mexicans 63.8 per cent.
Ten of the 21 races reporting show all their males to have worked at least three months of the year. One per cent of the foreign-born, 1.1 per cent of the native-born of foreign father, and 1.3 per cent of the native-born of native father white, worked less than that time. Among the foreign-born, 0.2 per cent of the North Italians, 0.6 per cent of the Slovaks, 0.7 per cent of the Magyars, 1 per cent each of the Croatians and Polish, 1.7 per cent each of the Irish and Mexicans, 2.1 per cent of the Russians, 2.3 per cent of the Welsh, and 4.8 per cent of the Lithuanians, the highest per cent reported, had employment for less than three months.
As showing additional information relative to the regularity of work among the numerous races studied, and also as affording a comparison of the same kind among the bituminous coal-producing sections of the country, the table next presented exhibits by localities, and by general nativity and race of individual, the percentage of employees who worked nine months or over during the year studied. This table includes only those races with 20 or more males reporting in each of two or more localities, but the totals are for all races studied. Table 60.- Per cent of males 16 years of age or over working 9 months or over, by locality
and by general nativity and race of individual.
(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.) [This table includes only races with 20 or more males reporting in each of two or more localities. The
totals, however, are for all races.)
General nativity and race of individual.
Total bituminous coa! mining.
Native-born of native father, White..
70.0 73.6 (6)
47.7 Foreign-born: Croatian..
523 Italian, North
40.6 Italian, South
11.1 66.7 50. 4
62.7 43. 4 38.9
36 4 Magyar..
38.8 32.4 (0)
4. 3 64.0 44. 4
15.0 35. 1
68. 7 23.3
589 Grand total...
52.0 59.5 42,0 15. 8
46.9 Total native-born of foreign father.
50.0 Total native-born.
68.2 63.2 )
19.0 Total foreign-born.
44.7 49.7 59. 2
41.8 14.9 47.1 a This total includes households not given in the localities, because within a locality no race was tabulated unless 10 or more schedules were secured.
o Not computed, owing to small number involved.
The North Italians, South Italians, Lithuanians, and Poles are the only races for which percentages are shown in all four of the different localities, while percentages for the whites native-born of native father and for foreign-born Slovaks run through three of the localities.
In the Middle West 76.9 per cent of the North Italians reporting worked for nine months or more, in Pennsylvania 40.7 per cent of this race worked for the same period, in the South 64.5 per cent, and in the Southwest 19.4 per cent, showing, in general, that 40.6 per cent of all North Italians reporting in the entire bituminous coalmining industry worked for nine months or longer. On the other hand, it is found that of the South Italians reporting from the Middle West only 11.1 per cent, and of those in the Southwest none, worked for nine months or more, while in Pennsylvania the proportion is 66.7 per cent, and in the South 50.4 per cent.
In the Middle West 62.7 per cent of the Lithuanians worked nine months or more, in Pennsylvania 43.4 per cent of their number worked for a like period, in the South 38.9 per cent, and in the Southwest 2.9 per cent. In Pennsylvania 64 per cent of the Poles worked for nine months or more, while in the Middle West only 4.3 per cent are so reported, in the South 44.4 per cent, and in the Southwest 4.2 per cent.
In the Middle West 70 per cent of the whites native-born of native father worked for nine months or more, in Pennsylvania 73.6 per cent, and in the Southwest 21.7 per cent. In the South the number of American white operatives reporting was not sufficiently large for computation and comparison with other localities.
The Slovaks report 68.7 per cent in Pennsylvania, 23.3 per cent in the South, and 5.5 per cent in the Southwest as working nine
months or more.
The table next presented shows, by locality and by general nativity and race of individual, the proportion of males who worked six or more months during the year studied. It includes only those races with 20 or more males reporting in each of two or more localities, but contains the totals for all races.
TABLE 61.-Per cent of males 16 years of age or over working 6 months or over, by locality and by general nativity and race of individual.
General nativity and race of individual.
(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)
[This table includes only races with 20 or more males reporting in each of two or more localities. The totals, however, are for all races.]
Native-born of native father, White..
Total native-born of foreign father
Total bituminous coal mining.a
This total includes households not given in the localities, because within a locality no race was tabulated unless 10 or more schedules were secured.
Not computed, owing to small number involved.