« AnteriorContinuar »
Q. What was the largest product at any time?-A. 1875. I don't know the statistics of the last two years.
Q. Do you think it has fallen off or increased since 1876?—A. I would like to ask one favor: allow me to make my statement in full. After I have finished my statement, I am ready to answer all questions. I think it is taking an unfair advantage of a man who has to work ten hours a day for his living to be asking him questions from three or four sides. I am ready to reply to everything after I get through with my statement, and to give the number employed in the various cities of the United States during six months, and to prove the cause of depression, and at the same time I propose to prove a practical remedy between the limits and between the laws of the United States. I will also state that during these times of depression the manufacturers of New York and New Orleans started to export cigars. They are sending cigars now to England, Belgium, Canada, and the greatest portion is sent to Germany. So we are now in the condition of underselling the so-called pauper labor of Europe. I will give you here a few statistics about the unemployed in the various cities of the United States.
For instance, Philadelphia has 3,000 cigar-makers. In the month of February there were 500 unemployed; in the month of March there were 600 unemployed; in the month of April, 500; in the month of May, 1,000; in the month of June, 3,00; in the month of July, 300. Take Utica, having 100 cigar-makers: In the month of February there were 20 unemployed; in the month of March, 20; in the month of April, 20; May, 30; June, 20; and July, 16. New Haven, having 65 cigar-makers, there were in the month of February unemployed, 22; March, 20; April, 26; May, 65; June, 58; and July 58. Here is the city of Brooklyn, having 500 cigar-makers: In the month of February there were unemployed, 70; in the month of March, 90; April, 60; May, 60; June, 20; and July, 20. In Denver, Colo., there are 20 cigar-makers. In February there were three unemployed; March, 3; April, 3; May, 3; June, 5; and July, 6. Detroit has 600 cigar-makers. In February there were unemployed, 200; March, 200; April, 150; May, 125; June, 120 ; and July, 100.
This is about the condition of every city of the United States. I see the monthly reports from every place where we have a local union, which is about in every city in the United States, and at the same time there are a great many tramping the country in search of employment. I could show you by the Cigar-Makers' Journal that every report says: “Tramps keep away; there is no employment.” Outside of these I will show you how the cigar-makers have suffered last year. In one month there were four suicides for the want of employment, and in this State, in about nine months, there were 27 suicides of cigar-makers, besides a great many in outside States. I will show that about a few years ago they contemplated emigration to Europe. At least, it was discussed in our Journal. I will show that the number that emigrated to Europe was larger than those that came here. At that time when it was discussed, we received a communication from the secretary of the cigar-makers' mutual association of London. He stated that during three years 40 men emigrated from England to Australia and America, and 97 returned from America. I have no official reports from other countries, but it shows the condition of the cigar-makers of Europe must have been far better than that of the cigar-makers of America. There are two causes for it. I will also say something about the condition of the cigar-makers of Ohio. By the first report of the bureau of labor statistics made to the general assembly of Ohio for the year 1877, you can judge of the condition of the cigar-makers in America.
"It is doubtful if the employés of any trade or calling in the State, or in the United States, have been reduced to greater extremities than have been the cigar-makers.
“ Previous to the year 1861, no class of employés were more absolutely independent of employers than were the cigar-makers; large manufactories were the exception; the retailer of cigars was, as a rule, the manufacturer. A journeyman cigar-maker, if dissatisfied with his wages or conditions of labor, required but a very small capital to become his own employer, and sold directly to the public without the intervention of middlemen. Every town and village with a consuming population large enough to consume the product of the labor of one cigar-maker had that cigar-maker in their midst.
“Since 1861, however, the whole system has changed, not by the introduction of machinery or a division of labor that has caused sucb radical chauges in other occupations, but the entire change has been bronght about by the action of the general government in devising a system of taxation that drove the business into large mayufactories, and compelled the cigar-maker to become an employé, working for wages, or a mere retailer without the privilege of making his own stock. Machinery has been introduced into the manufacture of the commoner grades of cigars, but it is neither so expensive nor creates such a division of labor as to prevent the individual cigar-maker from purchasing and operating it, if the government restrictions were removed, or modified. As it is, men and women are huddled together in manufactories, under conditions that tend neither to health nor morality, and at wages that will barely keep starvation away.”
That is the condition of the cigar-makers in Ohio. In 1872 a selector received $15 a week; in 1875, $18, and in 1877 he received $10. This is one of the better branches of the trade; while the cigar-makers in the State are earning about between $5 and $8 a week, and they have to support a family at the same time. Although the production has increased nearly donble and treble, during the panic, still the condition of the cigar-maker became worse. It shows a bad condition in spite of all the theories of the political economist.
Now, as to the causes. On one side there was introduced the coolie labor; 3,000 coolies are working in the city of San Francisco at the present moment at cigar-mak. ing, and in New York there is another evil quite as bad as the coolies in San Francisco, and that is the tenement-house cigar-making, a shame and a dark spot on our cigarmaking, well known to every one in the city. I will say how many families have been employed in that way during our struggle: Ch Bardy, 112; Stratton & Storm, 192; Lichtenstein Bros., 150; Hirschborn, 1:20; Holzman & Deutschberger, 74; Kerbs & Spiess, 75; Sutro & Newmark, 52; Levy Bros., 52; George Bense, 72; Mendel Bros., 25; Dansky, 20; Waugler & Hahn, 10; Foster & Hilson, 32; Kohn & Kander, 12; Meyer, Feist, & Levy, 14; Heilbronner & Joseph, 40; Kautman Bros., 8; Schwarzkopf, 24; Adler & Laudoner, 9; Engel, 8; Lindheimner, 16; Solomon, Fortieth street, 16; Simon Bros., 9; Bernhard Wittich, 17; Jansen, 8; Weigner, 8; Jacoby, Ridge street, 50; Blasskopf, 24; Edward Smith, 18; Total, 1,268 families, of which about 125 have been scabbing since the last four weeks. Now, I have been, myself, in these honses during our strike. I went into a room of a house or a so-called factory owned by the president of the Cigar Manufacturers' Association, Edward Smith, No. 11 Bowery. The furniture in that room was not worth, to my estimation, $5. It was on a Sunday morning ; the children ragged; the man and wife looking as tramps, or worse looking than tramps-paupers. And these people are working day and night from 14 to 18 hours-children, man and wife--and Sundays included, and they are hardly able to make a living; and they were so in the power of these capitalists that during our strike the so-called partners of capital and labor, the one side of the partnership, dismissed 1,000 families; 1,000 familes were thrown out into the public streets by the constable. This is a condition of things which should not be tolerated, and the government, I claim, has the power to remedy that evil. I will read to the committee a letter dated November 22, 1877:
“ TREASURY DEPARTMENT,
" Washington, D. C., November 22, 1877. “J. H. HALE, Esq., Revenue Agent, Buffalo, N. Y. :
“Sır: This office is in receipt of your letter of the 19th instant, asking for its opinion as to what constitutes premises or apartments of a cigar manufacturer. I reply that it cannot be anything less than an entire room separated from the other parts of the building by actual and permanent partitions. The law does not allow the sale of cigars at retail in quantities less than an entire unbroken box of 25, 50, 100, 250, or 500 cigars at the factory or place where they are made. This provision of the law cannot, with the sanction of this office, be rendered null and void by permitting a manufacturer to use one-half of the room as his factory, and the other half as his salesroom or store, siniply dividing or separating the two kinds of business by an imaginary line, or by a temporary railing or fence, or by any other like expedient. (See sections 3387, 3392, and 3297, Revised Statutes of the United States; also Form 361, and Special Number 85, Revised, page 20, paragraphs 18 and 19.) “ Yours, respectfully,
“GREEN B. RAUM, Commissioner."
On Jannary 10, 1878, a communication, of which the annexed is a copy, was sent to the varions internal-revenue collectors throughout the country:
" Washington, D. C., January 10, 1878. “Sir: Referring to the letter from this office, under date of November 22, 1877, addressed to Revenue Agent Hale, and published in the Internal Revenue Record, December 10, 1877, in which it was held that the premises or apartments of a cigar manufacturer cannot be anything less than an entire room, separated from all other parts of the building by actual and permanent partitions, l'have to inform you that since the issue of that letter I am in receipt of numerous communications from collectors and others, going to show that, in the large cities at least, a very large proportion of cigar manufaeturers have only a temporary partition, in many cases a slight railing, in some cases no dividing line whatever, except, perhaps, an imaginary one
between the part of the room used for manufacturing and that part used as a store for retailing; that many of those manufacturers have leased their present prentises with a view of carrying on the business in that way, these leases generally expiring on the 1st of May, or at the end of the special-tax year. And, further, it has been represented that it would be, in many cases, a great hardship to require, at the present time, such a change to be made as would be necessary in order to carry into effect the rule laid down in the letter of Revenue Agent Hale.
" You are therefore instructed not to require in your district, at the present time, nor until the commencement of another special-tax year, the enforcement of that rule. except in cases where you have strong reason to believe that frauds are being committed. “Respectfully,
GREEN B. RAUM, Commissioner."
Afterward he was interviewed by the president of the Manufacturers' Association, and another member of that associaton, and he wrote this letter:
“ TREASURY DEPARTMENT,
* Washington, D. C., January 11, 1878. “ EDWARD A. SMITH, Esq.,
President National Cigar Manufacturers' Association, 11 Bowery, New York: “Sir: Your letter of the 9th instant, with an article taken from the New York World, entitled “Tenement Cigar Manufacturing,' has been received and duly considered, and in reply I have to state that the article in the World misrepresents the purport of the conversation I have had upon the subject of tenement-house cigar-making. i have stated that if this was a new question, I would be strongly inclined not to allow the bonding of a block of tenement houses as one factory; but that under the rulings of this office allowing the system to be adopted, large interests had been built up, and I was not disposed to disturb existing arrangemeuts (good fellow!]. The difficulties of cigar manufacturers are great enough already without being aggravated by the hasty or harsh action of this office. “ Very respectfully,
“GREEN B. RAUM, Commissioner."
Now, he simply writes a document stating it is a shame and a disgrace and unhealthy but at the same time he states that he has it in his power to disturb those interests, but he is not inclined to do so. Another thing I would say, how the interests of the manufacturers are guarded, and the interests of the cigar-maker are not considered at all. They are only existing as so many slaves. I will show that the Internal Revenue Department is protecting the interests of the employer, and not protecting the interests of the workmen. Stratton, Storm & Sons sent some gools to London, some samples of tobacco. These samples of tobacco were confiscated for some reason or other. Mr. Evarts and our minister to England have been acting as clerks of that firm in order to recover those few samples of tobacco. I claim that what is done in the interest of 40 or 50 cigar manufacturers should be done in the interest of the cigar-makers, to the interest of the workmen. I simply claim that those special interests of the cigar-makers should be considered just as well as the interests of the manufacturers. That is my claim.
Now, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I stated here that the cause of the ruin of the cigar-makers was the introduction of coolies into San Francisco on the one side, and the tenement-house system of New York on the other; but I can state that, not only the cigar-makers are opposed to the tenement-house system of New York-I can state that all manufacturers outside of the city are opposed to the system, and I can prove it ; for I have a trunk full of letters. Every cigar manufaeturer in the United States outside of the city is opposed to the system. The cigar manufacturers of Detroit have held several public meetings denouncing that system, and not only that, but over half of the leading manufacturers of this city are also opposed to the system. They have published a communication in a number of the s• Tobacco Lear,” stating that the government through that system is suffering a loss of revenue. How? Those cigar-makers are receiving such low wages. That is, they are not really working in the factory of the employer; they are working in their own rooms. Although the Commissioner says one room should be a factory, he says a whole block would be a factory, and they pay license for only one block in spite of his official communication. Now, those cigar-makers receive too low wages, and they get a certain amount of tobacco. They work all day, and for 1,000 cigars they make 1,100, and that 100 is sold without paying taxes. They go around to the butchers, grocers, and bakers and give cigars as payment for bread, groceries, and meat. Sach a thing could not occur iu a factory. The factory is closed at six o'clock. No cigar-maker can take along 100 cigars; there is no show for it, and no chance; they are under entire control. But there they are not under control, and I say the government loses millions by that.
There are two sides. On one side the government loses revenue through that system, and on the other side all the cigar manufacturers of the United States outside of those twenty are opposed to it, and all these small manufacturers. In fact, not only cigar-makers are opposed, but the whole city of New York is opposed to that system, and has expressed it in our strike in the sympathy we have received from the community. The whole city is opposed to it, and I believe there should be action on the part of Congress; and how? What I propose as a remedy against that system is that after the 1st of May, 1879, no license shall be granted any more to tenement-house factories. This will give a chance to employers to rent new factories, and their leases are running out loy the 1st of May, so there will be no loss on either side. Another thing, it will give additional employment to those cigarmakers out of work. These people are now working from 14 to 18 hours a day. If you go there at 12 o'clock you will find them making cigars, and if you go there in the morning you will find them making cigars, Sundays included. The cigars they are making would give employment, if the tenement-house system was abolished, to 500 cigar-makers. I showed you the industry has increased to such an enormous extent during the past that we are underselling pauper labor in Europe, and at the same time cigar-makers are unemployed through our system, becanse one does the work of tive. I claim that the government should step in, and I say there is plenty of time to do it by the 1st of May, 1879; and by that way I believe prosperity will increase, and no cigar manufacturer will go bankrupt through this system, and will have a chance to start in trade again; and I think the cigar-manufacturers in general would be more satisfied with their condition than they are now. I am ready now, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, to reply to all questions you may have to ask me.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. What is the authority for the statistics you have given us of the number of cigarmakers employed and unemployed in the country?-A. Local unions of the organization of cigar-makers.
Q. I noticed, in giving figures, you almost always gave even numbers, rarely ever giving odd numbers. Are those the returns actually made to you?-A. Yes, sir; they are returns received.
Q. I ask you if those even numbers are the returns received ?--A. Yes, sir.
Q. And of the number unemployed in the same way, I noticed very often they were 50 and 100.-A. Every month a blank is sent around to every local union: “State how many cigar-makers in your city; how many cigar-makers belong to your union; how many cigar-makers are out of employment; what is the lowest price for which you work ; what is the highest price; and state all particulars in relation to the trade.” Now, this blank is received monthly from all over the United States by mail.
Q. And they come back to you in the form of even numbers 1-A. I have stated in the neighborhood of the number. I don't say it may not be 301 or 290. That is the estimate, judging by those who have been discharged, and judging by those who belong to the organization. I think we know our business in that line best, and I don't think any one is better able to give any information in regard to that than those engaged in the trade as to how many are employed and unemployed.
Q. You say the origin of your troubles is twofold; first, the coolie system, and, second, the tenement-honse system ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would you prohibit coolies from being employed in the manufacture of cigars !-A. I ain not opposed to the Chinaman, or any nationality; but I am opposed that John Chinaman or any one else should be imported here as a coolie under contract. I don't agree that the Chinaman must go. I cannot agree with-that, because you might as well say that some one else minst go. That is wrong; I cannot agree to that. I am not in favor of that; but I am in favor not to tolerate the direct importation of coolies by contract.
Q. Is there anything in the law in this country which prevents one of these Chinamen from going where he will ?-A. I don't think there is.
Q. Suppose a silk merchant wanted to get people to work in his silk factory, would you oppose his employing them under a contract for five years 1-A. I would.
Q. You think he should not be allowed to introduce skilled operatives into this country 1-A. No; I am in favor of that, but opposed to their being bronght here as slaves.
Q. Under a contract that he will employ them for five years, and that they will work for five years, and that he will pay them a certain rate of wages during that time, are you opposed to that?-A. The coolie is not brought here under that system. You state a new question.
Q. I am trying to define what your views are.-A. I suppose you have read the reply of Senator Sargent.
Q. I have. I want to see what limits you are going to put upon the employment of the industry of foreigners.-A. I am not proposing any limits. I don't care if 500 Chinamen came to this country on their own hook. I don't oppose them, or any one else, if they are not sold or kidnaped, as it is done in China.
Q. When they get here, what law is there of the United States which holds them in slavery when they get here? Why are they not as free as you and I, or anybody else ? -A. I suppose you should know something about history.
Q. I do know something about history. I ask you what law of the United States we can amend, or alter, or repeal so as to make the Chinaman any more free than he is to-day?-A. I don't suppose there are any laws here which force him; but the Chinaman, his religion and his habits are his law.
Q. Are you opposed to the importation of a Chinaman ?–A. I am opposed to the importation of Chinamen as coolies.
Q. When he comes here, is he a coolie ?--A. Undoubtedly he is.
Q. There is no law of the United States which makes him so. It is contrary to it.A. It is contrary to the laws of the United States to import these Chinamen as coolies. Why do you tolerate it?
Q. Point out some law of the United States which we can amend. We don't allow coolies to be iinported. They are not coolies when they get here; they are as free as you and I to go where they will.-A. I would say simply not tolerate such contracts that would make men slaves.
Q. Wonld you have us make a law in regard to contracts made in China between Chinese ?-A. I don't suppose our jurisdiction goes over China; I suppose the question is superfluous.
Q. You say you would not tolerate such contracts; but the contracts are made in China ?-A. I am only opposed to bringing them here under contract.
Q. You would not allow Chinamen to be brought here under any contract?–A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would you object to Frenchmen being brought here under contract to introduce the silk business ?--A. Yes, sir.
Q. You won't allow any one to be brought here under contract ?-A. I am opposed to it.
Q. You are opposed to the importation of foreign artisans on contracts ?-A. Yes, sir; as coolies.
Q: Would not the same trouble be experienced anywhere if cheaper labor was found to do that work ?-A. There is no other country that a system of tenement-houses exists in.
Q. Would you keep those who live in tenement-houses from work ?-A. I would give them increased employinent. My idea is that those manufacturers having now the tenement-honses shoull be compelled to start regular factories.
Q. You mean that they should not work in their tenement-houses ?-A. No, sir; the government should not grant any license to tenement-house cigar faetories.
Q. Tako a tailor who makes overalls and sells then. Suppose ho sends the work out-piec-work, to women to do in the tenemont housag-would that not lead to the same ile pression in that business that the making of cigars does in the way you speak of ?-A. I am no tailor; I am a cigar-maker, and I intend to contine myself directly to the cigar trade and nothing else. I don't know anything about the tailoring business.
Q. I was inquiring for the purpose of seeing whether you could give any reason, or enlighten us in any way so that we could see, if tenement-honse work was prohibited in the matter of cigar-making, whether other tra les might not call upon the law-makers to make laws prohibiting work being done in the houses in their respective trades or kin:ls of work. You have represented yourclass admirably well. There is no doubt abont that; we see the diffi'ultios; but the question is whether your trouble dou't arise from the fact that those who employed you heretofore, for some reason or other, have found a way by which they tan get the work done cheaper?-A. Did you ever see the proprietor of an iron foundery representing the interests of the tailors! Can you show ine, in the history of the legislation of this country, that the owner of the silk mills in Paterson ever represented the interests of the tailors or the shoemakers? I represent that one indus:ry, and I came here asking measures for that industry alone. "If the tailors are in favor of legislation, let them step up here and represent their interests.
Q. You would not expect laws to be marle to protect one single kind of article, when the same difficulty existed in other manufactures which would have to be protected if that was protected, would you?-A. I am surprised that a legislator should ask that question. The legislation of this country, your protective tariik legislation, and other legislation, shows that certain interests have been protected. I claim the same thing; I claim the protection of my interests.
Q. You want cigar-makers to be protected, and others to be taken care of, or not, according as it may happen. You want some special legislation for cigar-makers ?-A. Yes, sir; I cannot represent anything else. If I was a tailor, I would represent the tailors. All business is under the control of the government, to a great degree, as you have seen by the report from Ohio. Therefore, as this industry is under their control,