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TABLE 54.-Approximate rate of payment per week, per day, and per month—Continued.
The scale of wages given in the above table is the one which is in use in the most important Community A collieries, and, with the exception of the positions of foreman, assistant foreman, and fire boss, whose pay varies in the different collieries according to individual experience and importance of position, it holds good for all other collieries in the locality.
In certain positions work is done on Sundays for which extra pay is given. This affects fire bosses, inside pumpmen, fan engineers, inside stablemen, and outside hoisting engineers, who generally have to work alternate Sundays. The weekly wages set down for these positions in the preceding table is the average of two weeks, one of which contains Sunday pay. The fire bosses receive time and a half for Sunday work.
The wages entered in the table by the week are subject, except where stated otherwise, to a percentage increase, which varies from month to month in accordance with the fluctuations in the wholesale price of coal. In past years it has varied from 0 per cent to 8 per cent, but the average for the year is generally in the neighborhood of 4 per cent.
In the case of one large class of mine workers the rate of pay is based on the number of cars of coal loaded, the number of yards a gangway has been advanced, or the number of sets of timber put up. This class comprises over one-half of all the inside employees and includes the following positions: Contract miner, breast; contract miner, robbing; contract miner, gangways; timberman (contractor). The contractors all employ gangs of miners and laborers whose wages are fixed by the companies and are found uniform throughout the several collieries.
The earnings of the contract miners themselves, however, vary greatly through differences in the thickness of the coal seam, amount of rock, and individual efficiency. During the year of June, 1907, June, 1908, the average per man, including contractors and their miners and laborers, in one colliery was $14.46, plus percentage, per week. The average for timbermen and their miners and laborers for the same period at the same colliery was $13.98, plus percentage, per week for each employee.
The actual number of days worked during the twelve months ending July 31, 1908, in the Community's collieries are presented in the following tables:
Table 55.-Number of days worked in collieries in Community A during the twelve months ending July 31, 1908.
TABLE 55.-Number of days worked in collieries in Community A during the twelve months ending July 31, 1908-Continued.
The time periods in the above tables are those in which the breaker machinery was run. Employees not dependent on the operation of the machinery averaged in some cases a greater number of hours for the total period, but the total working time for the year rarely exceeded 48 weeks.
In the breweries, the occupations, rates of pay per day, and hours of work per week are set forth in the statement presented below:
The breweries were not established until 1892, but they have made a pronounced development in the comparatively short period they have been operated. One large establishment was placed in operation in the year 1900.
The wages per day and hours per week in the principal occupations in the building trades are shown in the following statement:
The existence of coal in the Community A region was known as early as 1770, but no settlement was established until 1837, when the first house was built by one Peter Kehley out of hewn logs. The settlement grew very slowly at first. In 1862 a Philadelphia land company surveyed the section and laid out a town. In the same year the first colliery was built, and after it was placed in operation the growth of the town was rapid. The community was incorporated on January 16, 1866.
The industrial history of Community A is summed up in the history of its collieries, which were established in the following years:
There have been several changes in the original plants of these collieries. Within twenty years of their completion the output of Collieries B, E, F, and G began to fall off to such an extent that it was found more economical to abolish their breakers and to have their coal prepared in other near-by collieries. Collieries E and F are now only inside operations, their product being run through breaker at Colliery A. When the breaker at Colliery B was abandoned, its coal was shipped underground, part to Colliery G and part to Colliery A. Finally the breaker at Colliery G was given up and its coal was carried underground to a colliery located a mile and a quarter outside of the town. Colliery B now sends all of its coal to the same place, while its breaker has been converted into a washery, which is used in cleaning up the culm banks produced under the earlier and less efficient breaker methods. These changes have, however, in the long run not greatly affected the demand for labor, which has increased in spite of the retrenchments.
The descendants of native-born miners, as a rule, do not care to follow the occupation of their parents. In view of this fact it is safe to assume that if there had been no immigration the coal mining industry in the community would not have expanded to the degree that it has.
The immigrants, however, have done practically nothing in the way of initiating new industries. There are concerns, for example, like the two breweries, in which there are immigrant stockholders and officers, but in none have they obtained a controlling interest or full charge of the business. A few small candy and cigar factories and blacksmith shops have been established by foreigners, but these are insignificant in number and size.
There are no industrial establishments in this community which have been established because of the opportunity to employ immigrants.
In 1893 a concern was incorporated for the purpose of manufacturing hats, caps, and clothing. The capitalization was $25,000, and at one time the employees, mainly women, numbered nearly 150.
Disagreements arose among the stockholders, and there was difficulty in obtaining and keeping a sufficient supply of female labor, so that the concern was finally dissolved. The former manager of this concern, and other persons familiar with social conditions in the community, state that the girls of the Lithuanian, Polish, and other immigrant races marry very young. They are able to do so because of the constant incoming stream of young single men of their races, who quickly acquire sufficient prosperity to marry.
A decade or so ago there were several cap factories in Community A but they have all been dissolved because of the lack of female labor. Except in the mining of coal there are no skilled immigrants employed in Community A, and the foreign-born miners practically all acquired their skill in this country. The immigrants who have entered the town are not possessed of any industrial skill, and consequently no industries have been established which are dependent upon any particular training of the foreigners.
The only exceptions which can be noticed in this regard are a Ruthenian baker, who entered Community A after an apprenticeship in Brooklyn, and a few blacksmiths who learned their trade in European armies.
From an industrial standpoint, there are no immigrant employers in the community. There are a few immigrants in business, but these concerns are all very small, and the few employees are usually of the same race as the employer. Outside of the breweries there are also no industries in Community A which are dependent on the immigrant
INDUCEMENTS AND OBSTACLES TO IMMIGRATION.
The inducement which has brought, and is still bringing, to this community large numbers of European immigrants is the ready market it affords for the commodity in which they are richest muscle and time. The immigrants can get what seems at first a prodigious price for a service so simple that it can be indicated by a gesture. The great bulk of the labor connected with coal mining consists in lifting from one point to another an easily distinguished class of earthy objects, merely loading coal.
A feature of the occupation which enhances the reward is the element of danger, which, however, does not act deterrently upon the immigrants, as their limited imagination shields them from the fears which would harass a more sensitive class of persons in such hazardous employment.
The organization of mine employees into small gangs under the control of a skilled contract miner also works to the ignorant immigrant's advantage by facilitating his advance in the trade. Working so close to his skilled boss, who is frequently of his own race, it requires only observation and imitation for a comparatively short period of time, and then he himself becomes a full-fledged miner with the chance of greatly augmenting his earnings.
The number of men who can be put to work underground varies in accordance with the number of points at which the coal seams are exposed. As the exploitation of a coal bed proceeds these opportunities to get at the coal multiply rapidly. The ramifications of a mine bear a certain resemblance to those of a tree. The effect of this char