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The facts as to the industrial condition of the foreign-born coalmining employees prior to their emigration from their native lands having been set forth, it will be next in order to present briefly their general industrial condition in the Southwest and their status in the coal-mining industry at the present time.
GENERAL OCCUPATION OF WOMEN AT THE PRESENT TIME, IN THE HOUSEHOLDS STUDIED.
As regards the general industrial status of women in the households studied in the Southwest, and especially the tendencies exhibited by the children of native and immigrant households, the following table is instructive. It shows, by general nativity and race, the principal occupations of females 16 years of age or over.
TABLE 402.-General occupation of females 16 years of age or over, by general nativity and race of individual.
(STUDY OF HOUSEHOLDS.)
[This table includes only races with 20 or more females reporting. The totals, however, are for all races.]
As regards the females of the households studied, 82.5 per cent of the native-born are at home, as compared with 98.4 per cent of the foreign-born. The immigrant races uniformly show a higher percentage of their girls at home, only 1.1 per cent being employed and 0.5 per cent at school. It is also noticeable that few females of the foreign households are engaged in domestic service.
GENERAL OCCUPATION OF MALES AT THE PRESENT TIME, IN THE HOUSEHOLDS STUDIED.
TABLE 403.-General occupation of males 16 years of age or over, 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.]
Upon reference to the table covering male members of the households, it is seen that less than 4 out of each 100 reporting are engaged in other occupations than bituminous coal mining. In the case of the foreign-born, the proportion is even smaller. The members of three races-the Croatian, Irish, and Slovak-are all engaged in coal mining.
The smallness of the percentages of males of foreign birth who are in school is also noteworthy. The native negroes have none at school.
OCCUPATIONS OF IMMIGRANTS IN BITUMINOUS MINES OF THE SOUTH
As a matter of fact most of the immigrants in Kansas and Oklahoma have been drawn to the two States by the chance to secure work in the coal mines. The employment available to immigrants through Oklahoma is not varied, as coal mining is the only industry employing a large amount of labor. There are only a few factories and these are very small, employing from 15 to 20 men. They are ice factories, brick plants, planing mills, and other small establishments. Besides the above-mentioned plants the only other opportunities for immigrants to secure work are the section gangs on the various railroad lines.
Immigrants rarely apply for work in the manufacturing plants, and when employed soon leave and return to coal mining. In summer,
when work is not steady in the mines, a few work as section hands, but as soon as the mines resume operations they leave the railroads. Though there is a demand for female house servants, no immigrant women seek employment, and only in very rare instances is one found working as a domestic.
In the coal-mining districts of Kansas conditions are slightly different, for the reason that there are more and larger factories than in Oklahoma and a few immigrants are employed in these establishments. There were formerly several large smelters near Pittsburg, Kansas, and here a large force of immigrants was employed, but since the smelters have been removed these immigrants have engaged in mining. In both Kansas and Oklahoma, therefore, most of the foreign population will be found working in or around the mines.
In coal mining there are two sharply defined classes of labor-(1) the miners, who are engaged directly in the production of coal and are piece workers, being paid by the ton for the amount of coal produced, and (2) the company or day men, who are engaged in various capacities in the mine, such as mule drivers, fire runners, gas men, trackmen, hoisting engineers, etc., and who are paid a certain wage per day.
The newly arrived immigrant almost without exception begins work as a miner and few ever leave this branch of work. It is generally a fact that the great majority of company or day men are Americans, English, Irish, Scotch, or Welsh. A discussion of requirements of the different occupations will show why newly arrived immigrants are engaged almost exclusively as miners.
In most of the coal mines in Kansas and Oklahoma the mining is done by pick work. On account of the pitch of the coal, the danger of shooting from the solid, and other adverse conditions, machine mining has never been extensively practiced. During 1908 only 17 machines were in use in Kansas, and only 31,352 short tons of coal were produced in Oklahoma by this method during the same year. In pick mining it is necessary for a miner to have had experience in the work to insure good results. If the cutting is not first made with the pick to a certain depth, according to the length of the hole drilled for the blast, it will require much more powder to throw the coal down than if the shot were properly mined. It can be readily seen that an extremely large charge of powder will blow the coal to pieces and that a large percentage of it will be slack or fine coal.
The English, Irish, Scotch, Welsh, French, and Americans are experienced in the methods of mining required and the coal produced by men of these races is of much better quality for marketing_than that gotten out by more recent immigrants. Immigrants from Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia, as already shown, have had little experience before coming to this country and go into the mines ignorant of practical mining. The coal produced by these miners is very much shot up and is not of a good grade.
The percentage of Americans and English-speaking races engaged as miners is small, and most of these now working in the mines are company men. The reasons for this situation are as follows: Americans, English, Irish, Scotch, Welsh, and Germans are employed as pump men, hoisting engineers, slope engineers, motormen, and electricians, because the more recent immigrant knows little about machinery; as gas men, because the safety of the miners depends upon the mine
being thoroughly tested for gas and warnings posted as to its presence, and the above-mentioned races are considered more reliable for this position than the more recent immigrants; as timbermen, because it is important that all weak places in the roof be carefully timbered to prevent accidents due to falls of rock or slate, and it has been found that the immigrant is not so careful as the first-mentioned races in this work. The brattice men have charge of the ventilation of the mine, and their duty is to see that all working places are well supplied with air. It has been found that few immigrants are fitted for this work.
Some superintendents declare that in places of danger, and where a cool head is required, they never put South Italians, as this race is too nervous and excitable. The Lithuanians are much more calm in an emergency, and are given positions which Italians are not permitted to hold. For positions of responsibility most mine officials prefer Americans, Irish, Scotch, English, and Welsh first; Lithuanians second; Magyars and North Italians third; South Italians and Slovaks fourth; Poles, Russians, and negroes fifth; and Mexicans sixth.
From the standpoint of the immigrant the occupation of mining is also more desirable for the reason that there is no fixed daily wage payment, and with the piece-rate method of payment the amount of his earnings is limited only by his industriousness and efficiency. As a consequence, the recent immigrant tends to remain in the mining occupation even when it is possible for him to become a company or day employee. On the other hand, the predominance of recent immigrants in the occupations of digging and loading coal in itself tends to leave them in exclusive control of these occupations, for the reason that the races of older immigration prefer the day occupations, with the smaller earning possibilities, to intimate working relations with races of recent arrival.
The table next presented shows, by general nativity and race, the per cent of employees 18 years of age or over earning each specified amount per day.
TABLE 404.-Per cent of male employees 18 years of age or over earning each specified amount per day, by general nativity and race.*
(STUDY OF EMPLOYEES.)
[This table includes only races with 80 or more males reporting. The totals, however, are for all races.]
*This table shows wages or earnings for the period indicated, but no account is taken of voluntary lost time or lost time from shutdowns or other causes. In the various tables in this report showing annual earnings allowance is made for time lost during the year.
TABLE 404.-Per cent of male employees 18 years of age or over earning each specified amount per day, by general nativity and race-Continued.
In comparing the earning capacity of native and foreign born miners it will be seen that there is little difference between the races until the percentage earning $2.50 per day or over is reached. Here foreign-born employees make a much better showing, 88.1 per cent earning $2.50 per day or over, as compared with 76.4 per cent of those of native birth earning the same wage. The percentage still continues in favor of the foreign-born through the $3 and $3.50 or over daily earnings.
In making a study of the table, by races, it is found that the Lithuanians have the highest earning capacity, with the South Italians second and the Germans third. Mexicans show the smallest proportions earning the higher amounts. North Italians show a better average when compared with South Italians, up to between $2.50 and $3 per day, but the percentage earning over $3.50 per day falls far below the other race. This is accounted for by the fact that a larger number are employed as day men and receive a specified daily wage, which is not the case with immigrants from southern Italy, most of whom are miners.
In comparing Americans, English, and Scotch, it is seen that the Scotch have the largest percentage earning $3.50 per day or over, with the English second, American whites third, and American negroes fourth, the percentage ranging from 9.1 of the Scotch down to 6.1 of the American negroes.
Of the Slavic races, the Poles show 6.7 per cent earning $3.50 per day or over; Slovaks are second with 6.5 per cent, and Russians third with a percentage of 4.9, while only 2.8 per cent of the Slovenians earn $3.50 per day or over.
French and Mexicans make a poor showing when compared with other races, only 2.9 per cent of the French and 1.9 per cent of the Mexicans earning $3.50 or over.