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The new home of the New York Nursery and Child's Hospital is the latest of several buildings in which the institution has been
housed since its founding in 1854. Among the new features of the present hospital none has attracted more interest than the
method of bathing the babies shown on the preceding page; by using the spray the danger of infection involved in the use of one



From a photograph taken on April 8, 1916 THE GARMENT TRADE AND THE MINIMUM WAGE


the neighborhood which attracted immigrant in case he wanted to overwork. If any labor--the people had to live near their work. worker could work as long as he pleased, the Therefore this garment-making industry and working conditions established by the workthe conditions of work in the industry twenty- ers as an organized body would be underfive or thirty years ago had a great deal to mined, and there would be brought about do with the development of the East Side overwork for everybody and unscrupulous itself. The people who lived there were competition through the exploitation of greedy mainly those who worked in the needle-work- workers. It abolished the last remnant of ing industries.

home work in tenements. This agreement Have the conditions under which these peo- also brought about a very decided improveple worked improved in your lifetime ?

ment in the sanitary conditions of the workers. Very decidedly. And this has been brought For the first time in the history of American about chiefly through the organization of the industry a board of sanitary control was organunions, which have improved standards ized. This board consisted of representatives through agreements with employers.

of the union and the manufacturers in addition How have they done this?

to representatives of the public. This board Until 1910 they did it through constant established standards, not alone of sanitation, guerrilla warfare or strikes. These industries, but of fire safety, light and illumination, and as I have said, are seasonal. During the cleanliness in general. The board has its busy season the workers have the upper own force of inspectors. It makes semihand, when the employer needs labor. Dur- annual inspections. Through the associaing the slack season the employer has the tion of manufacturers it brought about comupper hand. The workers therefore would pliance with its orders in case any manufacstrike during the busy season and get their turer violated the standards. And the union concessions then. Not infrequently, when sometimes enforced its standards in one or the employer had the upper hand, he would two cases through a strike against employers reduce the standards gained by the workers who were not members of the association. during the busy season. And so there was There was thus a tendency to improve the a constant Aluctuation between progress and standard in the smaller shops, which needed retrogression from year to year. But, in spite most improvement in this respect. This of that, there has been an upward tendency. represents, not welfare work from above,

What has been the nature of these improve but democratic co-operation in industrial imments ?

provement. The representatives of the pubSince 1910 the guerrilla warfare has been lic on this board are Dr. William J. Schieffelin, growing less and less because a collective Chairman, Miss Lillian D. Wald, and the agreement was made between the union and Secretary. We have served on this board the association of employers--not with an since 1910, and it was working in two indusindividual employer, but with a group of tries, the cloak and the waist industries. employers in an association. This is called Since the abrogation of the agreement in collective bargaining. And in 1910 the the cloak industry it is working only in the union for the first time had a collective agree- waist industry, where the protocol still exment with a responsible association of manu- ists. This board is introducing health cerfacturers. This agreement brought about a tification in industry. It will make periodic great many interesting changes. First, it physical examinations, and will give to the actually decreased the number of working workers in the union certificates which will hours from fifty-hour, and in some cases indicate whether they are in good physical over fifty-four, to fifty hours a week. It condition or not. Then, too, the board carreduced the amount of overtime to not over ries on a great deal of education through the one and a half hours a day above the normal newspapers and lectures on health subjects during the busy season ; in the dress and among the workers and the manufacturers. waist industry not more than one hour a day. How has the improvement been made since The employer cannot require the employee 19101 to work more than one hour above the usual Since 1910 there has been a marked imworking period of the day. This is an impor- provement in the following respects : First, tant change, because it not only checked the the improvement of sanitary conditions of employer from overworking his worker, but

i The Secretary is Dr. Moskowitz himself.,THE checked the worker from exploiting himself EDITORS.

wage law?

factories; second, the doing away with the

There is, then, a standard of wages agreed making of garments in homes where there is upon ? contagious disease and in crowded quarters ; There is a standard of wages called for in third, the reduction in the hours of labor. I the agreement. But the employers who pay remember a time when people worked sixty, the union standards are not guaranteed that and sometimes seventy, hours a week. I their competitors are doing the same, and myself as a boy worked ten and twelve hours frequently the good employer is penalized a day. I worked from eight o'clock in the because an unscrupulous employer, who is morning until six or seven at night. During not controlled or is imperfectly controlled the busy season fifteen or twenty years ago by the union, has cheap labor. people worked from very early in the morn- In connection with these waist and cloak ing until late at night. There was no regula

There was no regula- makers, we hear a great deal about the minition of hours, and seventy hours a week was mum wage. What is meant by that ? not too long for many people. This was In these industries there are minimum working in an overcrowded shop, with stilling weekly wages and minimum rates for pieceair, with operators working like mad over work—that is, wages below which the manumachines which they had to drive with their facturer is not allowed to go, although he is own feet.

Now the foot power has been not limited in paying more if he wishes to; completely eliminated. The sewing-machines

The sewing

machines and, in fact, he does pay the skilled worker are run by electricity, and even ironing- more than the minimum. machines for the pressing of garments have In the waist and cloak industries there has been introduced which are being run by elec- been a minimum wage, then, established by tricity. Through the efforts of the union and agreement ? the improvement in methods of manufacture Minimum prices for labor have been estabthese standards have been raised.

lished by agreement. Has this board succeeded in setting a stand- Why should we need, then, a minimum ard not only of health but of wages ?

No. A wages board has not yet been What we need in this industry, as well as established in these industries. This is the in other industries, is information concerning next big step which must be made, and the business conditions of the industry as which has been made in the dress and waist well as the needs of the workers, so as to industry through the creation of a board for ascertain what a proper minimum is, under the control of protocol standards.

competitive conditions. For example: A What do you mean by protocol standards ? manufacturer in New York who is forced to

By protocol standards I mean those stand- pay a minimun very much higher than his ards in wages, hours, labor, sanitary condi- competitor in the Philadelphia or Chicago tions, and other standards affecting the work market will not be able to compete very long. ing conditions, established by the agreement The other day the workers in the shops surbetween the organized workers and the em- rounding The Outlook's office went out on ployers, which has been called the protocol. strike. They got an increase in minimum

There are thus two boards—one that has wages. The Board of Arbitration, consisting to do with conditions of health, and the other of Judge Julian W. Mack, Chairman, Mr. that has to do with the wages or other pay- Robert Bruère, and Mr. Hamilton Holt, gave ments for labor, hours of labor, and certain increases to the industry. Young girls, for conditions and methods of manufacture. example, over fourteen, cannot receive less

Has this second board established any wage than six dollars a week and when they reach standards at all ?

sixteen they cannot receive less than eight This second board has just been organized. dollars and fifty cents in certain kinds of Its purpose is to gather information concern- work. Operators, examiners, cutters, and ing conditions of labor, wages, and hours, other workers were increased. If the inwhich will form the basis of recommenda- creases which were given are very much tion to the manufacturers and the organized higher than those given in Philadelphia and workers regarding increases or improvements Chicago, for instance, then the manufacturers in these directions. The second object of in these markets will make a cheaper product, this board is to enforce the standards of and the industry may in part be driven out wages agreed upon between the association of the city of New York simply because the and the union throughout the entire industry. wages have been so increased here and not




average skill.

in other parts of the country that the cost of ployers in a competitive industry, they juggle manufacture is cheaper, and reflects itself in with property in ignorance. On the other cheaper prices. Such conditions as this can- hand, they may be unfair to the workers by not be completely controlled by a voluntary not awarding them enough. They cannot arrangement, and therefore we need the au- just by pure reasoning come to a sound conthority of the State and the sovereignty of the clusion concerning these important matters State, first, in finding out what these condi- unless they have a sense of the reality of the tions are, and upon the basis of that knowl- industry. For example : The union asked, in edge a fair minimum wage enforcing it the cloak and suit industry, a standard of equally.

seventy-five cents an hour for an operator of How would such a minimum wiige law

This demand was granted by operate?

the Council of Conciliation appointed by the First, it must establish machinery for getting Mayor recently. We are told by the manuthe facts relevant to wages, cost of living facturers that many of them have been unable cost of manufacture, prices of manufacture, to pay this sum, and as a result their cloaks cost of material, and any other necessary were made under conditions which the union factors.

could not control, or in outside markets How would it do this?

where the price was lower. Whether seventyThis it could do through its own investi- five cents an hour is a fair price to pay in the gating departments of the Bureau of Labor, light of competition can be discovered only or through special boards established for the by very careful study of the facts. consideration of certain specified industries; The law itself, then, would not set a minior, better still, by co-operating with the mum wage ? machinery which has been established by . I do not believe in having an arbitrary these voluntary agreements.

minimum wage.

I believe in having boards Having ascertained all these facts, what to study the conditions of the various induswould be the next thing for the law to do? tries, and upon this study of special condi

Having ascertained the facts, then both tions work out a minimum. parties to the agreement can, through the The desirable law, then, is not so much a machinery established by this agreement, minimum wage law as a law for establishing confer concerning the increases in wages boards to decide what is a fair minimum wage ? which the workers may demand.

The repre

Exactly. sentatives of the public—either the arbitra- But a moment ago you mentioned a strike tors or the representatives of the Govern- of girls in the neighborhood of The Outlook's ment, or the board established for the office which resulted in paying bigger wages consideration of the increase in wages—will than the concerns in Philadelphia or Chicago. be in a better position to judge whether the How could a minimum wage board in New demands of the workers are fair upon the York deal with that I basis of this study. The next thing would It could not. Therefore the regulation be to present those facts to any board of must be wider than any State. arbitration established by the agreement be- But does not what you say about wages tween the workers and the employers, or any apply to other things as well ? other board established in any other way to Absolutely. We are forced to take the settle any specific dispute. For instance, the position of National control in this as in many board of arbitration which sat for five years other industries. in the cloak and suit industry, and for three How could such a control be brought about? years in the dress and waist industry, has I think chiefly at first by getting the cities frequently been forced to make its decisions and the States to co-operate with the volunupon very little basis in fact, but only upon tary arrangements already made between the basis of advocates' contention. This has

This has employers and employees. National manubeen in large measure a method of compro- facturing associations believing in collective mise between the demands of both sides. agreements should deal with National unions. And sometimes it has been a process of This would help bring about equalization of benevolent guesswork. Very often boards competition between various cities, and then, of arbitration take leaps in the dark. If they through co-operation with the various State make a mistake in business judgment by Departments of Labor of the different States, granting increases which are unfair to em bring about a basis for the development of a

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