Lapas attēli

Number of foreign-born employees and total number of employees for whom detailed information was secured, by locality.

















History of immigration-Period of residence in the United States of foreign born

employees and members of their households Racial classification of employees at the present time-Reasons for employing immigrants—[Text Tables 9 to 15 and General Tables 4 and 5).


The pioneer employees in the slaughtering and meat-packing industry were native American white persons and representatives of the Irish, German, English, Swedish, and French races.

Members of these races were employed in greatest numbers during the period 1875–1890. The Bohemians first entered the industry in the year 1882, and the Poles in 1887. Slovaks in considerable numbers, together with a few Ruthenians, Magyars, Slovenians, Servians, Syrians, and Croatians, were at work in the packing houses by the year 1890, but, with the exception of the Slovaks, Poles, Bohemians, and Croatians, races from southern and eastern Europe did not assume an important place in the operating forces of the industry until after the year 1900. The Lithuanians first appeared in the industry during the year last mentioned, and have steadily increased in numbers. During the past ten years, and especially since 1904, all the labor for the industry has been drawn from races of recent immigration from southern and eastern Europe. Within the past five years, the races seeking employment in greatest numbers have been the Greeks, Russians, Italians, Russian Hebrews, Japanese, Bulgarians, Armenians, and American negroes.

The meat packing and slaughtering industry was, as is well known, first established on its present basis in Chicago thirty-five years ago. As a consequence, this city has not only been the center of the industry itself but has been the point for distributing the supply of labor

localities where the industry was established at a later date. The establishment of new packing centers at South Omaha, Nebr.; Kansas City, Kans.; St. Joseph, Mo; Fort Worth, Tex.; and East St. Louis, H., has also been utilized by the pioneer employees to relieve themselves of the pressure and competition caused by the recurring advent of members of races of recent immigration. The Irish and Germans were the leading races in point of numbers employed in Chicago from 1875 to 1885, and were a strong element in the operating forces for several years later. After the Bohemians and Poles had entered the Chicago packing houses, however, the Irish and Germans began to leave the industry to enter other pursuits, and also commenced to follow the industry westward, seeking employment in large numbers in the establishments in Kansas City, South Omaha, and East St. Louis, in which cities the slaughtering and meat packing industry was established in the years 1880, 1887, and 1889, respectively.

As the result of the increasing influx of races of recent immigration into the Chicago packing houses, together with the recurrence of labor disputes and strikes, the native Americans and other pioneer employees continued to leave the industry until, at the present time, representatives of races of southern and eastern Europe form the largest proportion of employees. A considerable number of Poles and Bohemians migrated from Chicago to more westward and unexposed points in the industry, along with the Irish, Germans, and other early employees. Up to 1890, the operating forces in the establishments west of Chicago were, therefore, mainly composed of natives and the races of older immigration. With the beginning of the decade 1890–1900, the races of southern and eastern Europe began coming directly to Kansas City and South Omaha to seek employment in the packing houses, and during the past twenty years they have arrived in such large numbers as to outrank the races originally employed. As a consequence the Irish, Germans, Swedes, and Americans have in large proportions sought work in other industries, and no longer enter the packing houses.

The racial movements to the industry as a whole, together with the movements and displacements within the industry, may be best shown by referring to the history of the employment of foreign races in a number of representative establishments and localities. This showing is made in Parts II, III, and IV for Chicago, Kansas City, and South Omaha. The account of the racial movements to the industry in East St. Louis, follows:


The slaughtering and meat packing industry on its present basis was first established in this city in 1889. The first employees were Americans, Irish, and a comparatively small number of Germans and negroes. The Irish were largely in the majority, and were not strictly immigrants to East St. Louis, but came there from the packing houses in Chicago, South Omaha, and Kansas City: Bohemians were first employed about 1899, and about one year later Slovaks, Lithuanians, Croatians, and Poles began to enter the packing houses. During the past ten years the original employees, and especially the Irish, have been largely displaced by these races, the strikes which occurred in the industry in 1899 and 1903 greatly reducing the number of Irish. During the past five years a few Turks, Bulgarians, and Armenians have sought temporary employment, but have not permanently entered the industry. The history of racial substitution in the operating forces of several representative companies will afford a somewhat more detailed exhibit as to the changes which have occurred in the locality.

One company which was established in 1889 employed about 300 men, the majority of whom were Irish. The remainder of the workmen were American whites, with several negroes and a few Germans. The Irish workmen were not strictly immigrants to East St. Louis direct, but came there from packing houses of Chicago, Kansas City, and Omaha. By 1899 this plant was employing 1,000 men. Up to that time very few of the recent immigrants had entered the industry, but large numbers have come since that date. In 1899 and 1903 there were strikes which had the effect of greatly reducing the percentage of the Irish. The Bohemians were the first of the recent immigrants to be taken on, and Poles and Slovaks began coming about 1900. At the present time the labor force of the company is made up approximately of 400 to 500 Irish and American whites, and 500 to 550 recent immigrants, especially Poles, Slovaks, Bohemians, Lithuanians, and Croatians. Small numbers of Bulgarians, Turks, and Armenians also are employed. A few of these were taken on immediately after the strike in 1903, but practically no more were employed until the period of depression in the iron and steel industry in 1907. At present there are probably not over 50 men from these races among the employees.

Another company, which began operations in 1892, had as its original employees Irish, American whites, and a few negroes. This composition of the working force continued until 1899, when some Bohemians were given work. The Irish had already begun to leave the packing houses for other lines of work, and their numbers declined very rapidly. Their places were taken by Bohemians, Slovaks, Poles, Lithuanians, and Croatians. Following the strike of 1903, this change was very rapid, and at that time a few Greeks, Macedonians, and Armenians were employed. Since 1903 and 1904, the Bohemians have begun to leave the packing house and go principally into some form of commercial enterprise. At present the labor supply of this plant is composed of the following races:

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In order to ascertain to what extent early and recent immigration is represented in the slaughtering and meat-packing industry as a whole, an inquiry as to the length of residence in the United States was made of 26,169 foreign-born employees, and 2,325 persons in the households studied. The returns tabulated, according to sex, race, and locality, are represented in the series of tables which follows.

The first two tables and the accompanying charts show the per cent of the foreign-born employees in the United States each specified number of years, by sex and race.

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