« PreviousContinue »
RAILWAY LABOR DURING REPUBLICAN AND DEMO
CRATIC ADMINISTRATIONS. There is no better index to the industrial condition of a country than the amount of business done by the railways, and, as the railways in this country employ over one million persons, the increase or decrease in traffic materially affects a large proportion of the population.
During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1896 (Cleveland's administration), there were 826,620 railway employees in the United States receiving a total yearly compensation of $468,824,531. In 1900 there were 1,017,653 railway employees receiving a total yearly compensation of $577,264,841. This shows an increase in four years of 191,033 railway employees and of $108,440,310 in aggregate salaries and wages. In other words, nearly 200,000 more persons were employed by the railways in the United States on June 30, 1900, than on June 30, 1896, when the Democratic party was in power, and over $100,000,000 more were paid in wages and salaries. The following table shows the number of railway employees of each class for each of the years, 1896 to 1900:
America has only just begun to assume that commanding position in the international business world which we believe will more and more be hers. It is of the utmost importance that this position be not jeoparded, especially at a time when the overflowing abundance of our own natural resources and the skill, business energy, and mechanical aptitude of our people make foreign markets essential. Under such conditions it would be most unwise to cramp or to fetter the youthful strength of our Nation.President Roosevelt, in message to Congress, December 3, 1901.
We have but little room among our people for the timid, the irresolute, and the idle; and it is no less true that there is scant room in the world at large for the nation with mighty thews that dares not to be great.-Theodore Roosevelt, in speech at Minneapolis, September 2, 1901.
Shipping lines, if established to the principal countries with which we have dealings, would be of political as well as commercial benefit. From every standpoint it is unwise for the United States to continue to rely upon the ships of competing nations for the distribution of our goods. It should be made advantageous to carry American goods in American-built ships.-President Roosevelt, in Message to Congress, December 3, 1901.
Comparative summary of railway employees, by class and per 100 miles of line, for the years ending June 30, 1896 to 1900. [From the Report on Statistics of Railways in the United States, 1900, published by the Interstate Commerce Commission.]
TRUSTS AND LABOR.
A STUDY OF INDUSTRIAL COMBINATIONS AND THEIR EFFECT ON WAGES,
EMPLOYMENT, AND PRICES.
The United States Department of Labor published in its bulletin for July, 1900, the results of a careful investigation of 41 trusts and industrial combinations, the investigation covering, among other subjects, the dates of formation, capitalization, amount and character of stocks and bonds issued, profits, wages, number of employees, and prices before and after the combination, etc. The report was prepared by Prof. J. W. Jenks, of Cornell University, the trust expert of the United States Industrial Commission, and the material was collected by special agents and experts of the United States Department of Labor.
As far as statistics were available the report shows in general a greater number of persons employed and higher wages paid in the same establishment after the combination than before. Owing to the fact that the books of many corporations before they entered into the combination were not accessible, only a portion of the combinations were able to furnish statistics of wages and persons employed before and after the combination.
The report shows that of 14 establishments giving returns 9 show an increase in the average wages of superintendents and foremen, 4 show a decrease, and in 1 there has been no change. Out of these 14 companies 10 were formed in the years 1898 and 1899, so that the comparison of conditions before and after is a very direct one.
In 7 cases out of the 14 the wages of traveling salesmen increased, in 2 they decreased, and in 1 they remained the same. In 2 cases no traveling salesmen had been employed by the companies entering into the combination, whereas after the combination was made such men were put to work. In one case in which traveling salesmen had been employed by the separate companies their services were dispensed with after the combination. One establishment reported none employed before or after.
The average annual wages of skilled laborers have increased in 10 cases and decreased in 2. The average annual wages of unskilled laborers have increased in 10 cases, decreased in 1, and remained the same in 1, after the combination.
Taking the employees as a whole, the results show that out of 12 cases reporting there had been an increase of wages in 9 cases and a decrease in 3.
Taking all employees collectively in each of the 13 combinations reporting, there have been but two cases of a decrease in the number of employees and but one case of a decrease in the total annual wages paid.
The following table shows the annual average wages paid before and after the formation of the combinations and the per cent of increase or decrease in the average annual wages, as well as the per cent of increase or decrease in the number of employees and the total amount of wages paid, by classes of employees:
Average annual wages paid before and after the formation of the combinations,
and per cent of increase or decrease in wag:8, and the number of employees.
This table shows an increase in the average annual wages paid to skilled laborers, to unskilled laborers, and to clerks, and a decrease in the average annual wages paid to superintendents and foremen, traveling salesmen, and the unclassified employees. Taking all of the employees together, the percentage of increase of average annual wages has been 12.61.
In all lines, taking together all the establishments which have reported, there has been a decided increase in the number of employees, and in all cases, with the exception of the traveling salesmen, there has been also an increase in the to'al amount of wages paid.
A table giving the total amount of gross sales, number of employees and total annual wages in the case of eight combinations reporting, shows a decided increase in the efficiency of the employees, the average increase of gross sales being 47.32 per cent, as compared with an increase of 27.59 per cent in the number of employees, and 38.19 per cent in the total annual wages paid. The increase of 38.19 per cent in the annual wages as compared with the increase of 27.59 per cent in the number of employees, shows that the benefit of this increase of efficiency did not go entirely to the employers, but was divided between them and the employees.
PROTECTED LABOR IN AMERICA vs. FREE-TRADE LABOR
IN GREAT BRITAIN.
HIGHER WAGES AND LOWER PRICES IN THE UNITED STATES.
The most complete comparative statistics of wages in the United States and Europe that have ever been collected in any country were obtained by the United States Department of Labor and published in the September (1898) bulletin of that Department.
To secure this information a personal canvass was made of the wage pay rolls of establishments doing business continually since 1870 in this country and Europe. Thus continuous and accurate returns have been obtained from 1870 to 1896 for the various countries considered. In this country the information was collected by agents of the United States Department of Labor, and in Great Britain by persons acting under the supervision of the British labor department. The work was done simultaneously, according to the same plan of schedules, and at the expense of the United States Department of Labor. There can thus be no cavil as to the accuracy and comparability of the wage statistics presented in this official publication.
These statistics show a remarkable difference between wage conditions in the United States and Great Britain, a difference amounting to nearly 100 per cent in favor of the American workingman. As the statistics of Great Britain cover only three cities, viz: London, Glasgow, and Manchester, it would be useless in this connection to reproduce the wage data for all the American cities, especially as to the wage rates shown in the report differ but slightly in the various Am can cities. In our comparison of American and British wage rates we have therefore selected the three American cities which, on account of their population, are most nearly comparable with the above-named British cities, namely, New York, Chicago, and St. Louis, respectively.
The comparative figures given below show the wage rates for the entire period of 1870 to 1896, inclusive. A comparison of these wage rates will show at a glance that protection America is decidedly preferable to free-trade England, and that notwithstanding the erroneous statements often made by politicians and agitators that wages in this country are approaching those of European pauper labor, there has been up to the last Cleveland régime, an almost steady increase in wages in this country, and there has not been at any time the slightest tendency toward the low rates with which the British workingman must content himself.
A comparison of the average wage rates during the last year shown in each of the tables, namely, 1896, gives the following interesting results: