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any event the difference was so small as to make it possible to state for practical purposes that the prices are the same. No difference in conditions existed where there were private stores competing with the commissaries. The patronage of the commissary under conditions of competition with private stores thus may be ascribed to the element of compulsion already referred to.
RELATIONS BETWEEN EMPLOYEES.
The working, living, and social relations of employees in both mines and iron and steel plants depend to a very considerable extent upon the degree of segregation according to race. It should be noted that in every case, except that of pick miners at work, the native whites are always segregated from the negroes. Rare exceptions occur to this rule. The native whites are separated by occupations, by location in the industrial communities, and by very distinct social lines from the negro. Even in the case of pick mining the whites work on different levels or on different veins unless there is a case where the white miner works on a contract and employs negroes in a subordinate capacity.
This is the general rule for the relations between the two native races, but a different condition exists with regard to other races. Immigrants from southern Europe exhibit a tendency to work in gangs whenever possible, unless there is an effort on the part of the employer to prevent it. Segregation into gangs, however, only occurs in an appreciable degree in one or two of the larger plants and mines, as the total number of immigrants in any one race at one plant is comparatively small. Segregation of this kind is caused primarily by the employment of immigrant foremen, the presence of some local immigrant leader who exercises influence enough to bring in other immigrants of his own race, and the natural racial tendency to congregate.
In one of the larger iron plants the company has developed a policy of mixing races. Italians and negroes and native whites and Italians are purposely mixed in the skilled and unskilled occupations upon the theory that a class or race spirit in any one occupation is prevented and the individual is encouraged to develop his own efficiency. It is claimed that this policy has shown excellent results along the lines intended and has ultimately produced a more efficient workman. Some of the other effects, it is stated, are prevention of unionizing; the inculcating of permanence among the Italians (in this case the only immigrant race concerned) as to employment and residence; and the mutual assistance superinduced by interracial relations, such as the setting of a nonracial standard of efficiency. The last-named effect, as claimed by the employer who is making this experiment of race mixing, is interestingly exhibited, for example, in the interracial effect as between negroes and Italians. The negro's ability to perform hard work in spurts and the Italian's habit of slow, steady labor, in the blast furnaces and coke ovens, where these two races are mixed, in the unskilled occupations connected with this work, form a composite standard of rapidity and quality which is better than if the two races were segregated. In the skilled occupations, however, the percentage of immigrant labor is negligible, and the
individual immigrants who rise to this grade of employment are not segregated from the native whites in any case.
This is seen especially in the instance of skilled Scotch, English, Swedish, or other northern European races, even in the few mines and camps where any considerable number of these races are employed. As practically all of this class of immigrants are skilled, or at least as skilled as the native whites, there is never any segregation.
The relations in living conditions of the different races are exhibited in the location of residence. In communities not under control, the tendency of the members and families of a given immigrant race, as well of negroes, is to congregate in sections, but this is in part prevented by the difficulty of obtaining houses close enough for colony purposes, except in the case of negroes. The immigrant races employed in the coal, iron, and steel industries who live outside of company quarters are not only too few in numbers to form colonies, but they are, with the occasional exception of northern European races who do not segregate themselves to any great extent apart from native whites even when possible, too recent in their residence to have formed a community life of their own. In the company quarters and camps, however, a slightly different order exists. In the first place, the segregative tendency is at work here as elsewhere, and segregation according to race is, so employers state, a matter of preference. In the second place, race prejudice is a strong factor. Native whites, with English, Irish, Scotch, and other northern European races, exhibit a strong aversion toward being neighbors to negroes, Italians, Bulgarians, and other southern and eastern Europeans. Thirdly, the employer owners permit racial segregation, and in some cases require it. As a result, the average camp or quarters is made up of two distinct colonies: (1) The native white, with such English, Scotch, Irish, Welsh, or German immigrants as may be employed there; (2) the negroes. If other races are present, they form a third colony; and if any considerable number of any one or more races live in the community, the principle of racial segregation is still further carried out.
Two distinct racial lines are drawn in association of a social nature. One of these is the color line between whites of all races and negroes, and the other is the line drawn between native whites and northern European races on the one hand and southern European races on the other. These are well defined and practically universal. The only instance of a disregard of the color line is an occasional instance of association of a social nature between the South Italian and the negro. Several employers made statements to this effect, although instances of it were seldom seen in practice. In the same way, exceptions to the second racial line were noted. In the few instances when southern European immigrants had attained skilled occupations, it was stated that these skilled individuals associated more or less with the native whites and northern European races. A still further drawing of racial lines is evident between the various southern European races. Italians, for example, do not associate in a social way with Slovaks, nor Bulgarians with Poles. The same is true of practically all of what may be termed this class of races. There is no
racial distinction of any consequence, on the other hand, between the Scotch and the Welsh, or either of these with the English or the native white. Consequently company quarters or a camp containing several races presents a community singularly lacking in cohesiveness. They possess no more common aim, pride, or standard other than that of the predominant race, whatever that race may be. There is nothing, it is obviously true, to draw the different elements together with widely divergent habits, speech, standards of life, with not a little race prejudice to operate in the opposite direction.
WELFARE WORK BY THE EMPLOYERS.
The "welfare work" maintained by the employers in the Birmingham district may, for purposes of clearness, be considered under three heads, namely, medical attention to employees, hospital services, and welfare work of a general character. As regards medical attention, a distinction is made between medical services for illness caused by accident and illness caused by disease. The cost of the former is borne to varying extents by the companies, some companies allowing a longer period of free services than others. The great majority, however, provide for the cost of first aid to those injured while at work, the larger mining camps and the larger steel companies employing a regular physician for this purpose as well as for general medical attention, which is described below. The cost of medical attention for illness due to disease and prolonged effects of accidents is in all cases, except in that for one large mining company, borne by the employees through a system of assessments on wages by the company. The amounts are either 50 cents or 75 cents per month for unmarried employees, and 75 cents or $1 per month for married employees who have their families with them, the cheaper and the more expensive rates of assessments being about equally divided among the companies. This assessment covers all medical attention for all members of the families, except male members, other than the heads, over 18 years of age, and at all times, as long as they are in the employ of the company. The amount assessed is taken out of the wages due each employee at the end of the month or the payment period, and, it is claimed, is turned over to the physician, who does the work under a yearly contract.
There is no fixed rule regarding permanent disability from accident or disease. Some companies do not make any provision; others make liberal provisions for employees who, in the estimation of the employers, have been particularly faithful, either in the form of some employment of a light nature or a pension or the gift of a lump sum of money or a piece of property. The whole matter of assistance to this class of employees depends on the individual employee and the individual employer, even though the latter be a corporation. But medical attention usually continues in the case of long-continued or permanent illness from whatever cause until the patient, if he be an employee and unable to earn his wages, either dies or is known to become permanently incapacitated. In the case of the continued illness of one of the members of an employee's family, the medical attention continues as long as the head of the family continues in the employ of the company and is able to earn his wage.
Hospital service is rarely rendered except in cases of accident while in the employment of the company, and as a general rule is furnished free by the smaller companies. Only the larger mining camps and quarters maintain company hospitals; the smaller companies patronize the nearest public or private hospitals. In some cases, the companies have a yearly contract with some private hospital by which the rate of cost is lessened to the company.
It is interesting to note, however, that the larger companies make an assessment upon all employees for hospital service similar to that for medical service. The best examples of this are found in the case of the larger steel companies, where every employee is assessed 25 cents a month for hospital service, and this acts as a kind of insurance on the part of the employee against the time when an accident will require hospital attention. Nearly all of the companies protect themselves against damages for death or accident by insurance on their own part, and some of them insure themselves against the actual cost of providing medical and hospital attention to injured employees. The hospitals maintained by the larger operators are adequate for ordinary circumstances and are well equipped. Under extraordinary circumstances, such as in the case of a mine explosion, the city hospitals as well as the many private hospitals are available and accessible. Welfare work, other than that which may be included under medical and hospital attention and service, is confined entirely to the providing of school facilities, and church and lodge buildings. No welfare work in providing reading rooms, technical or other instruction schools or classes, beautifying grounds, or efforts of any kind toward cultural and esthetic development, is maintained or, so far as the employers themselves indicated, intended. The work of the companies in affording lodge and church buildings occurs entirely in the isolated mining camps, when the companies either build at their own expense a house for lodge meetings or supplement funds raised by the employees. The same is true of church buildings. In the company quarters on the outskirts of Birmingham and nearby towns even this is not always done by the larger steel companies and never in the case of companies owning no company houses. When the industrial community in the company quarters is large enough, there are churches of two or more denominations and several lodges. In these cases, the employees pay for their own buildings. The general principle governing all companies in this respect is the degree of isolation of the communities composed of their own employees.
The provision of schools by employees takes, in all instances, the form of supplementing the public school funds. In the establishment of a camp, for example, the company applies to the local educational authorities for a school which, on account of the number of available pupils, is usually given them. Should the local district school fund be insufficient to provide for a building either wholly or in part, the company usually provides the funds and in many cases makes an arrangement whereby the building can be used for purposes of religious and lodge meetings. Separate schools for whites and negroes are maintained, according to the Alabama laws, and separate buildings are thus provided.
The same policy is carried out in the supplementing of the public funds for the maintenance of these schools. The public rural schools
in Alabama are opened only four or five months in the year, but in practically every instance, when this condition applies, the companies supplement the funds so as to afford the children of the employees an eight or nine months' session. One instance was found where a company assisted a white parochial school. In two cases it was found that the cost of thus extending the term was borne by a method of pro rata assessment of employees, according to the number of children in a family, similar to that used in medical and hospital
In the case of industrial communities within immediate reach of large towns, such as Bessemer or of Birmingham, the school systems. afford facilities sufficient to take care of the children of all employees, and the companies do not contribute except through the regular channels of taxation.
THE IMMIGRANT AND ORGANIZED LABOR.
Labor unions are not recognized by employers in the Birmingham district and the extent of membership among employees is small. The following table shows, by general nativity and race of individual, the affiliation with trade unions of males in the households studied who were 21 years of age or over and who were working for wages: TABLE 686.-Affiliation with trade unions of males 21 years of age or over who are working for wages, by general nativity and race of individual.