Lapas attēli


In the community wages are universally paid by check every two weeks.


There are no company houses in this community. None of the industrial concerns operate a store nor are they connected with the management of any. The lodging houses of the community are owned and conducted by the large immigrant mercantile establishments.


The companies do not operate their own stores nor are they connected with any of the stores of the town.


At work, the only place where the employer could readily influence the segregation of his employees, no attempt is made on his part to separate in any way the different races. Whatever segregation takes place comes about through the action of the employees themselves. In the steel industry, in the molding departments, immigrants work with native Americans and with other races of immigrants. In the finishing department the roughing and chipping is done almost entirely by immigrants and negroes, but here too the different races work together.

Apart from any influence originating with the employers, the recent immigrant races especially segregate themselves in their own boarding and living places. Some localities are inhabited almost exclusively by particular races. There seems to be but very little free association among the different races of recent immigrants after working hours. Men of each race associate largely with their countrymen, though the Poles and Magyars in some cases are beginning to associate quite freely with one another. The same is true of the Poles, the Slovaks, and the Croatians. In addition to not freely associating with one another, there is considerable friction between the Irish, Austrians, and Magyars, on the one hand, and the Macedonians, Bulgarians, Roumanians, and other southeastern European and Oriental races, on the other hand, growing out of the conditions under which employment is given. The unskilled and less skilled employees of the steel companies gather each morning at the gates of the different plants and are designated for work by the foremen. There is not much competition between the races so far as unskilled labor is concerned. The southeastern European peoples may be said to be practically without competition there. In the occupations which require some skill, however, and to which a large number of Macedonians and Bulgarians have attained, there is considerable direct competition. The Irish, Magyars, and Austrians frequently adopt the policy of driving the newcomers by force away from the mill gates. Oftentimes the recent arrivals resent such action and a general fight along racial lines ensues, the weapons employed being fists, stones, and other missiles, and, in some cases, revolvers. This tendency is, of course, much intensified in seasons of slack employment or curtailment of work. The immigrants, except the English, Germans, Irish,

and Welsh, do not associate freely with the natives, but stay largely in the colonies of their fellow-countrymen. There is a general dislike on the part of the English-speaking races for the "foreigner."

The Magyars, Poles, and Slovaks are brought more or less into contact with American people and their habits of living. Their children attend the public schools, and they sometimes join trade unions. With the Bulgarians, Roumanians, and Armenians the situation is different. A few representative men from among editors, mercantile proprietors, and educated men live in American sections according to American standards, but the majority of these races are either unmarried or without their families in this country. Very few attend school or are receiving instruction in English. Practically none are members of labor unions. In their present mode of living they have little contact with American churches, schools, or business houses.


No company investigated furnishes any medical or hospital service to its employees. These companies, however, have liability insurance, which provides that their employees injured at work shall be furnished free of cost medical and hospital service while such is needed. Further adjustments are made by agreements or by the


With one exception, no company undertakes any welfare work among its employees. This company sets apart a building for a boys' club and a school. The club members are almost entirely. natives. The classes in spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, and drawing are held every night except Saturday and Sunday. They are attended by natives and immigrants alike. About 10 per cent of their immigrant employees avail themselves of the opportunities offered. The Poles, of the recent immigrants, seem to take the greatest interest in these classes and make the greatest progress. The company also furnishes a small library of one hundred or more volumes for use of all employees. Current magazines are also kept on file.

One-half of this community is situated on very low land. The plants are all badly located, and in this respect are not sanitary. Aside from this, sanitary conditions are good. None of the immigrants are in occupations which make them specially liable to disease. Among the steel workers there is the special liability to accident incidental to all steel plants. In the corn-refining plants liability to accident is confined to machine workers.


No children are employed. In the corn-products refining establishment some immigrant girls are employed. Only a few of the recent immigrants are employed, however, and these are mostly Slovaks and Magyars. They work ten hours per day and receive 12 cents per hour. Women are employed because of their neatness and their good appearance. The sirup house furnishes work especially fitted to women. The recent immigrants were employed to increase the output, all the former employees being retained.


With the exception of the Magyars, practically none of the members of other races of southern and eastern Europe belong to or manifest any interest in the local labor organization. This fact is exhibited by the following table, which 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 working for wages: TABLE 609.-Affiliation with trade unions of males 21 years of age or over who are working for wages, by general nativity and race of individual.

[blocks in formation]

From computations based upon a total of 534 males it may be seen that only 2.6 per cent are affiliated with trade unions. Of the two races reporting, the Magyars show by far the largest proportion, or 9.4 per cent, as compared with 0.3 per cent of the Bulgarians.


Representative American laborers and labor leaders claim that the recent immigrants were originally employed as strike breakers at a lower wage than Americans, Germans, and Irish who had done the same work, and that since that time the races from southern and eastern Europe have been retained and their number increased because they have been willing to work at a lower wage than the former employees.

In the year 1904 a strike was declared by unions of unskilled employees. One of the steel plants imported negroes to take the place of their former employees, but the negroes were forced to leave. Four or five carloads of Bulgarians were then brought in during the night and placed in the positions which the strikers had left vacant. These races agreed to work for $1.25 to $1.35 per day and to do the same work as the strikers had formerly done and for which they received $2 to $2.50 per day. These immigrants were found by the company to be satisfactory. Others were secured, the strikers were defeated, a large number permanently losing their places in the steel works. Others went back to work at a reduced wage, and most of these have since risen in the industrial scale to more skilled occupations. It is claimed by the labor organizations that Americans, Germans, and Irish would willingly do the same work that the recent immigrants are now doing if they were paid higher wages.

On the other hand, the employers claim that the racial displacements in the local industries have been brought about by the natural

working of economic forces. The older races in point of residence, having acquired a knowledge of the English language and a sufficient knowledge of the working conditions of the industry in which they have been located, have been able to do better work and command higher wages, or, on the other hand, their industrial progress in other lines of work has grown out of the fact that older immigrants have had time to acquire the knowledge to enter upon another trade or occupation. For these reasons, they assert, the displacement of the races has been attended with but little friction, individual loss, or maladjustment. The steel companies unite in the statement that recent immigrants have been employed chiefly because of the expansion of business, which produced an urgent demand for labor and made vacant a large number of unskilled places which the Americans would not accept. Also there has been a demand for higher paid and more skilled operatives. The Germans, Irish, Welsh, and Americans who formerly performed the common labor had reached a point in their technical experience when the expansion developed which enabled them to go up in the industrial scale. They were therefore promoted. Their promotion left vacant the positions which had been filled by them, and not being able to get Americans, Germans, Irish, or Welsh to take their places, because of the scarcity of labor, the employer was forced to take what he could get, and recourse was had to the Bulgarians and other races of recent immigration. Other local manufacturers assert that they have been forced to use immigrants to do certain work because the Americans will not do it on account of its disagreeable and arduous nature. The company engaged in the manufacture of corn products also states that it employs immigrants because they are good workers.



Preferences of employers for the different races could be obtained only in very general terms. It seems to be the general consensus of opinion among employers here that recent immigrants in general fall below natives and the English-speaking races and Germans in all qualities except industriousness and sobriety. For all skilled work and work with machinery the English-speaking races and Germans are generally preferred. Practically none of the other races are found in the skilled occupations. For unskilled work the English-speaking races and Germans are again preferred. Next come the Poles. the recent immigrants, they are considered the most industrious; more industrious even than native Americans. In effectiveness they are also considered about on a par with the natives and lead the other races They are thought to be the most tractable, adaptable, progressive, and effective. After the Poles, the Magyars, in the opinion of the employers, have these qualities in the next highest degree. The general opinion seems to be that there is no difference among the races as regards sobriety. One employer states, however, that all the recent immigrants seem to be above the average American standard in sobriety. Again, all employers seem united in saying that the Bulgarians are least preferred of the immigrants in any occupation. They are not adaptable, require considerable supervision, and generally are the least effective of the immigrant races.


Immigrants have not affected methods of work. The employers claim that they have lowered the standard of efficiency and have made discipline harder, thus requiring a much greater degree of supervision. The employers also claim that wages have shown no change apparently attendant on the competition of immigrants. They have had no effect in causing machinery to be installed or in keeping it from being used. The hours of work have remained the same since the employment of immigrants.


According to the opinions of employers, immigrants are generally advancing in the scale of wages. The Poles and Magyars are perhaps making the greatest progress among recent immigrants in wage earning. Slovaks and Bohemians are also mentioned as progressive. The Bulgarians are still at work in the occupations that pay the lowest wages. They show less desire than any of the other races to advance themselves. With rare exceptions, none of the recent immigrants become foremen.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »