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and trickery on the part of the private Labor Committee, illustrated this point employment agency:
by quoting two flagrant cases which “One contractor had hired three hun- had come to the attention of his sodred men one week and sent them out ciety. about one hundred miles on the rail- A group of eight men were sent out road, had kept them three days, and by an employment agency of New discharged them. These men were York to a steel mill in Pennsylvania. charged two dollars for their registra- They had been promised, according to tion. One dollar each for the three their contracts, “construction, machinhundred—which made three hundred ist, and contract work," and given asdollars—went to the men who hired surance that adequate provision for them, and the other one dollar
board and lodging had been each—three hundred dol
made. On arrival they lars for the three hun
were placed in front of dred employes—went to
furnaces. Since most the private agencies.
of them were physiThen he sent to the
cally unable to do agency and said: 'Send
such work, they apme more men; I cannot
plied to the associated use these any longer'.
charities in the vicinity So he made another
for assistance in obchange and during the
taining work at their week his fee was six
regular occupations. hundred dollars, and the
One of these men had contractor of the railroad
been a printer, another got six hundred dollars
a painter, and the third a out of it. We do not
clerk. Although an inknow how we are
vestigation was made, going to reach them,
New York State was powbecause the con
erless to take any action, as tractors from an
none of the complainants other State come
was within its jurisin and send their
diction. orders across the
Again, an immiborder line.”
grant in Chicago, The problem is
Illinois, wrote to peculiarly aggra
Mr. Mayper's vated in the case
association that of immigrant
he was sent to aliens who land at
North Carolina by the great ports of
an agency in New entry on the At
York. Conditions VICTOR MURDOCK HAS INTRODUCED A BILL TO DEAL lantic and Pacific.
were so utterly Ignorance of the
misrepresented language and of conditions in the that he left his employment, gradually United States makes the immigrant working his way back to Illinois. singularly susceptible to fraud on the The reason fraudulent agencies can part of the private agencies.
exist and wring dollars from almost . Joseph Mayper, representing the dollarless men is that there are menless legislative committee of the North jobs and jobless men who should be American Civic League for Immi- brought together. For example, congrants, testifying before the House sider the agricultural situation this
COPYRINTHARRIS & TWING
WITH THE PROBLEM
million bustes Departmatest in the ch of so
Nebraska, me country. Carest in the nu
year in the middle west. The wheat market in the seaport cities, instead of crop of the state of Kansas this year, supplying the needs of the fields. instead of being the normal seventy-five And just behind, pressing hard on million bushels, is, according to the the problem of bringing the manless United States Department of Agricul- job and the jobless man together, is the ture estimates, the greatest in the his- general problem of unemployment; the tory of the country. The States of social and economic fact that there are Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, adver- times when there are not enough jobs tising in the St. Louis papers on the to go around. eve of the harvest, pleaded for some In 1901 the Federal Bureau of Labor eighty-five thousand extra harvest made an investigation of twenty-five hands to save the crops. This may be thousand families to obtain statistics an unusual number, due to the unprece- as to the cost of living. As an incident dented crops, but every summer is at to that investigation, the agents of the tended by a similarly imperative cry bureau found that out of twenty-five from the farming districts for harvest thousand heads of families, forty-nine hands to save the crops. At the same per cent were idle part of the year. time in our great cities there are many These were all able-bodied citizens, men capable of doing the work which classified by the bureau as receiving needs to be done in the fields. Very less than twelve hundred dollars a many of the foreigners coming to the year. United States are agriculturists and The Commission on Unemployment tilled the land in their home countries. of New York in 1909 made a report on But because no system exists for the conditions in New York City. bringing these men into touch with the Their conclusion was that in normal waiting jobs, most of them remain in times of business activity, in all seathe ports of entry, glutting the labor sons of the year, except winter, the average unemployment among able- private profit; the state agency because bodied men is three per cent. During it lacks power outside the boundaries of the winter the percentage is estimated the State. by the commission at from eight to ten T he private employment bureau per cent, and during periods of indus- agent is interested solely in collecting trial depression the figures range from his fee for furnishing the job. These fifteen per cent up as high as thirty fees, as shown by statistics from per cent. These percentages are given United States Labor Bulletin No. 109, for skilled workers—for unemployed, run from fifty cents up as high as fournot for the unemployable.
teen dollars for securHow to reduce the percentage of the
ing a position. unemployed is the problem. In at
Out of tempting to solve it, two methods
fiftyhave been tried—the private employment agency and the state employment agency. Both these have failed.
The private agency has failed because it is run for
NEXT DOOR TO THE GIRLS' IMMI
GRANT HOME The employment agency is the first thing that would be noticeable to the
nine agencies listed, three charged fees from eleven to fourteen dollars for securing a position; twelve charged from six to ten dollars ; twenty-three agencies charged from three to five dollars; three charged between two and three dollars; thirty-eight charged from one to two dollars; while fifteen charged between fifty cents and one dollar. Employment agencies perform a social service; they are supposed to put the man and the job in
ESERVANTS touch with one another to the mutual advantage of employer
AUSTRIAN and employe. But a social service performed for private profit always results in abuses in many of the agencies, as shown in
SERVANTS exorbitant charges, fraudulent acts, and impositions of all kinds.
Seventeen of the States have sought to mitigate the evils of private employment agencies by establishing state agencies. The
BRINGING THE JOB AND THE MAN TOGETHER difficulty which they meet is the "The reason fraudulent agencies can exist and wring dollars from fact that they have no control
who should be brought together." over laborers sent across state lines. Interstate commerce in labor is field of such legislation. While the beyond their jurisdiction.
other suggested legislation covers The problem is clearly a national merely the establishment of an employone, and the remedy is one which can ment bureau within the Department of be applied by the federal government Labor, which would seek to cooperate alone. And there is at the present time with the various private and state emevery indication that the House Com- ployment bureaus, the MacDonald bill mittee on Labor will report out and proposes, at practically no considerable bring up on the floor some bill for a additional cost, to utilize the already national labor exchange, under the jur- existing machinery of the postoffice deisdiction of the Secretary of Labor. partment to establish 57,839 labor ex
Three propositions are actually be- changes in the postoffices of the counfore the committee. One is a series of try. The plan is entirely new, but apsuggestions made by the United States parently so practicable, that it seems Commission on Industrial Relations, of certain the Labor Committee will which Frank Walsh of Kansas City is adopt the main features of the bill. Chairman; the second is a bill intro- This is also indicated by the fact that duced by Representative Victor Mur- MacDonald has been made chairman of dock of Kansas; and the third is the the sub-committee to consider the legbill introduced by Representative Mac- islation. Donald of Michigan.
The MacDonald law would create a The MacDonald bill is unique in the National Employment Bureau, with
almost dollarless men is that there are menless jobs and jobless
headquarters in Washington, and ress or pending in the establishment branches in large labor centers, under where the work is to be done. the jurisdiction of the National Em- On the other hand, any person, male ployment Bureau Commission of three or female, over sixteen years of age, members, two to be appointed by the may make similar application for work, Secretary of Labor and the third by on blanks provided, containing means the Postmaster General. Every post- of identification, the work desired, and office in the United States would be other information required. For permade a labor exchange, and the post- sons not having an immediate income masters would be constituted "labor of one dollar per day, the service is exchange agents”. The United States, free. For others, the fee is to be fifty under this bill, would be divided into cents for each application. The exzones not greater than ten thousand change agent at the postoffice posts square miles in area. Certain post- daily in a conspicuous place the two offices within these zones would be lists-one of jobs open for applicants; designated central labor exchanges, the other of persons seeking jobs. with jurisdiction over the other offices A ny application not filled within within the zone. The bill provides twenty-four hours from filing is autothat any person, company, or corpora- matically forwarded to the central tion may make application, on payment labor exchange of the particular zone of a fee of fifty cents, and ten cents involved. The central exchange tabuextra for each employe additional, for lates and sends to every postoffice in the services of any trade, calling, pro- its district every day the lists that fession, or occupation, to the nearest come in to it. Thus the applicant for postoffice, stating the nature of the work is given an opportunity to find labor required, the compensation, the a job near at home; if he fails in this, hours of labor, and a declaration his opportunity is extended to all the whether a strike or lockout is in prog- other points within the zone in which