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U N IT E D S T A T E S D E P A R T M E N T OF L A B O R
Frances Perkins, Secretary
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Isador Lubin. Commissioner (on leave)
A. F. Hinrichs, Acting Commissioner

♦

Earnings in Eastern and Midwestern
Airframe Plants, 1942
♦

B y LOUIS M . SOLOM O N and N. A R N O L D TOLLES
o f the
Bureau o f Labor Statistics

Bulletin 7s[o. 728
‘ (Reprinted from the M onthly Labor. Rbvibw, July,
August, and October, 1942, with additional data}

UNITED STATES
GOVERNM ENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1943

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.




Price 10 cents

CONTENTS
Page

Scope of report_____________________________________________________
The Eastern region—April 1942______________________________________
Recent history of wage rates_____________________________________
Average hourly earnings_________________________ _______________
The Michigan and Buffalo (N. Y.) regions— May 1942__________________
Average hourly earnings________________________________________
The Midcontinent region—June 1942________________________________
Recent history of wage rates_______________________________ ;____
Average hourly earnings_________________________________________
Comparison of average hourly #
earnings, by region____________________

1
2
2
4
8
9
13
14
15
23

Letter o f Transmittal
U n it e d S t a t e s D e p a r t m e n t o f L a b o r ,
B u r e a u o f L a b o r S t a t is t ic s ,

Washington, D. C., December 17, 1942.
The S e c r e t a r y o f L a b o r :
I
have the honor to transmit herewith a report on earnings in
eastern and midwestern airframe plants, 1942, by Louis M. Solomon
and N. Arnold Tolies, of the Bureau’s Working Conditions and In­
dustrial Relations Branch. The authors are indebted to Toivo Kanninen, of the Division of Wage Analysis, for his assistance in the
compilation of the statistical material.
A.
Hon.

F r a n c e s P e r k in s ,

Secretary of Labor.

ii




F . H in r ic h s ,

Acting Commissioner.

PREFACE
This bulletin has been compiled from three articles which appeared
in the Monthly Labor Review in July, August, and October 1942.
Another article, Wage Rates in the California Airframe Industry, 1941,
has been printed separately as Bulletin No. 704 of the Bureau of
Labor Statistics.
Only relatively minor changes have been made in the text for each
of the three regions represented. Interregional comparisons between
wages in the regions discussed in this bulletin and wages in the Cali­
fornia area are given in the last section of the bulletin. Caution is
urged in the use of these comparisons because of the different periods
to which the data in the various regions relate. The rapid expansion
of the airframe industry has made for frequent changes in rates and
earnings which, while probably insufficient to alter regional compara­
bility from month to month, may affect comparisons over longer
periods. So far as is known, however, no changes of sufficient magni­
tude to alter the broad relationships shown occurred during the months
between December 1941, the period to which the California data
relate, and June 1942, the latest period covered in this bulletin.
The absence of data on average earnings in the industry as a whole
is accounted for in part by the difficulty of presenting wage informa­
tion for the northwestern region of the United States. The distribu­
tion of the industry in that area is such that data cannot be shown
without disclosure of information for an individual plant.
Substantial variations in wage rates exist from plant to plant and
from region to region, although fairly well defined wage levels for
workers of different degrees of skill are found. While complete
standardization of wage rates for experienced workers appears to be
far off, the recent wage stabilization conferences in California may
mark the beginning of a comprehensive effort toward standardization.
Moreover, a 60-cent starting rate for beginners was rather generally
adopted early in 1942 in all except the Michigan area, where the rate
is 75 cents.
Some of the plants represented in this bulletin were scheduled
before the dates for which regional information is presented. Thus,
data for a plant in the eastern region, scheduled in August 1941, would
appear in this bulletin as of April 1942. In this and similar cases,
wage data were revised on the basis of information on wage rate
changes which occurred between the time at which the plant was
actually scheduled and the period used in combining the data for this
and other plants in the region. This procedure had to be employed
in a number of cases, and sufficient plants were revisited by field
representatives to determine that the corrections made were rea­
sonably accurate.
A. F. H i n r i c h s ,
Acting Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
m







Bulletin 7S£o. 728 o f the
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
[Reprinted from the M onthly L ab or R ev iew , July, August, and October 1942, with additional data]

EARNINGS IN EASTERN AND MIDWESTERN
AIRFRAME PLANTS, 1942
SCOPE OF REPORT
The wage data for airframe plants on which this report is based
were obtained in the course of a comprehensive Nation-wide study
which embraces three major divisions of the industry—airframes,
aircraft engines, and propellers. An earlier report1 dealt with earn­
ings of airframe workers in California. Subsequent reports will
present data for workers in aircraft-engine and propeller plants.
The wage data used in the present report were obtained through
visits by the Bureau's staff of trained representatives, who transcribed
the information directly from pay rolls or other records. The Bureau’s
representatives obtained wage data for first-shift workers in each of
a selected group of occupations. These selected occupations, although
representing less than half of the very numerous jobs found in the
industry, do account for all of the important ones and include about
75 percent of the workers. This method of obtaining information
was adopted as a means of expediting the collection and tabulation
of the data.
In the eastern area, material was originally obtained for a pay
period in the autumn of 1941 but, because of the fluid nature of the
wage structure, it was found necessary to secure more recent informa­
tion. Representatives revisited and rescheduled three establishments
which had experienced broad and irregular rate changes since the
original period surveyed. The remaining companies had held wages
constant or had applied a general and uniform adjustment. From
these latter plants, information on the nature of the changes was
obtained and, where necessary, corrections of the original data were
made. The wage data as revised now reflect the wage structure of
the industry in April 1942.
Wage data for one pay-roll period in May 1942 were obtained from
the Michigan plants. Information covering a February period was
secured for the Buffalo establishments, but a later check with officials
of these plants disclosed no change in entrance or occupational rates
since the schedule date. Hence, the Buffalo data, as well as those
for Michigan, may be accepted as reflecting the wage structure in
May 1942. In the Midcontinent area, information for most of the
establishments was obtained for one pay-roll period in June; in the
remainder, a May pay-roll period was covered.
i Monthly Labor Review, March 1942; reprinted as Bulletin No. 704.




2

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

THE EASTERN REGION—APRIL 1942
The Atlantic coast of the United States, the scene of man's first
controlled flight, no longer dominates, as it once did, the aircraft in­
dustry of the Nation. New areas of production have been created.
Names famous in aircraft history have moved westward. Dramatic
conversions of other facilities to aircraft have captured attention.
The eastern aircraft industry, however, remains a potent force.
Despite the focusing of the spotlight on other regions, the East has
recently increased in importance as a source of supply for the air arms.
Thousands of workers find their livelihood in the seaboard plants now
producing trainers, fighters, and bombers.
Many of these workers are new to the industry. Many indeed
have come directly from school or home and are without previous
industrial experience. What do these workers earn? What can new
employees expect in the way of compensation? How do earnings in
the East compare with those for similar work in other areas? These
questions the Bureau of Labor Statistics has sought to answer in its
present report.
The field of inquiry of this report is the earnings of employees in
airframe plants (establishments producing complete aircraft) located
along the Atlantic seacoast north of the Potomac. The eastern air­
frame industry, defined here to exclude the Buffalo (N. Y.) area,
is made up of eight establishments of widely varying characteristics.
The plants are scattered from Maryland to Connecticut. They vary
in size in the ratio of 1 to 20. Some are in rural areas, others in large
metropolitan districts. The product ranges from small primary
trainers, through speedy fighters, to huge, complex bombers. And yet,
because of present-day labor mobility, and the relatively small dis­
tances involved, it is not unrealistic to consider these plants as falling
within a competitive labor market.
There is some direct evidence to support this conclusion. A study
of the employees in two of the companies covered by the report shows
that workers at these plants were drawn from every one of the Eastern
States containing an airframe plant. Among the remaining establish­
ments, although no detailed analysis was made, examination reveals a
widespread recruitment of labor from throughout the eastern area.

Recent History of Wage Rates
The average hourly earnings of workers in eastern aircraft-frame
plants have exhibited a steady and continuous increase during the last
18 months. In December 1940, the average hourly wage stood at
71.3 cents. The average had increased to 74.2 cents by March 1941,
and in June 1941 had advanced to 79.3 cents. The level of earnings
in September 1941 was 83.7 cents, in December of that year, 85.8
cents. A larger increase took place over the next 3 months, so that by
March 1942 the average had reached 93.3 cents. This figure, to be
sure, included substantial payments for overtime at penalty rates;
without such payments the increase in hourly earnings would be less
pronounced.
The increase in the regional average did not result from an areawide uniform adjustment of rates. Establishments which had been
compensating employees at rates above the average tended to grant



EASTERN REGION— APRIL 1942

3

larger and more frequent increases than the lower-wage plants,
although without exception every eastern establishment did adjust
wages upward during the period in question. This lack of uniformity
in wage adjustments, however, had the effect of exaggerating the
differences in plant averages referred to below.
Plant average hourly earnings in each month since June 1941 are
available for six of the eight plants included in the study. In June
1941, the spread in earnings between the highest- and lowest-average
plants was 15.4 cents. The differential had increased to 34.8 cents by
November 1941, but has since narrowed slightly, falling to 30.1 cents
in March 1942. It should be recognized at the outset that this rather
wide dispersion reflects other factors besides the level of basic wage
rates. The amount of overtime worked, the proportion of employees
on extra shifts, the number of beginners at lower rates of pay, all play
a role in determining the over-all average pay.
Over and above these influences, however, it is obvious that con­
siderable variation exists in basic earnings. The average earnings in
April 1942 of first-shift workers in selected occupations, representing
roughly three-fourths of plant employment, varied by 25.8 cents as
between the highest- and lowest-paying establishments. As will be
shown later, plant averages for workers in identical occupations gen­
erally display somewhat less divergence. Hence, it appears that part
of the difference in the plant over-all averages results from a variation
in the composition of the respective labor forces.
There is some reason to believe that earnings from plant to plant
will display less dispersion in the near future. In the early part
of 1942, the eastern airframe producers adopted a nearly uniform
scale of entrance rates. Except in one plant, new workers are hired
at 60 cents and progress by regular and automatic adjustment of
rates to 75 cents per hour. Generally the adjustment takes the form of
a 5-cent increase for each month of service, the 75-cent scale thus being
attained after 3 months, corresponding with the entrance-wage
schedule introduced at North American Aviation some 9 months
earlier. In two of the plants, workers advance to 70 cents after 2
months7service and receive the remaining 5-cent increase after 2 more
months, making the total period of adjustment 4 months. In the
company representing the exception to the 60-cent entrance rate,
workers are hired at 50 cents2and advance in 5-cent monthly increases
until 65 cents is attained.
Inasmuch as beginners represent a large proportion of the presentday total working force, the application recently of these nearly uni­
form entrance scales will undoubtedly result in a narrowing of the
spread in plant averages. As yet, there has been no move toward
stabilizing the rates for the larger group of workers who have pro­
gressed beyond the learning period. As will be shown later, earnings of
experienced workers in specific occupations vary considerably from
one plant to the next.
* Applicants with previous experience receive 55 cents.




4

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

Average Hourly Earnings
FACTORS AFFECTIN G A V E R A G E EARN ING S

As has been stated earlier, the gross pay of wage earners is influ­
enced by at least two other determinants than that of base hourly
rate—the amount of time worked on extra shifts for which additional
pay is granted and the amount of overtime worked at extra rates of
pay.
The shift differentials now in effect among eastern airframe manu­
facturers exhibit little uniformity. Table 1 presents the provisions
for such extra compensation.
T a b l e 1.— Scale of Wages for Second and Third Shifts, by Company

Company

Company A.
Company B.
Company C.
Company D.
Company E.
Company F_
Company G.
Company H.

Number
of shifts
worked

Second shift

110 percent of base wage plus 5 per­
cent of total earnings.
Base rate plus 5 cents an hour............
Base rate plus 9 cents an hour............
Base rate plus 9 cents an hour............
Base rate plus 10 cents an hour..........
Base rate plus 10 cents an hour..........
118 percent of base rate.......................
Base rate plus 5 cents an hour............

Third shift

110 percent of base wage plus
5 percent of total earnings.
114 percent of base rate.

The limitations imposed by the method used in collecting the
wage data do not permit a comparison of earnings between first- and
second- and third-shift workers. The study of the California area
indicated that second-shift employees average about 6 percent more
and third-shift workers about 20 percent more than first-shift em­
ployees in identical occupations. Inspection of the data above sug­
gests that eastern employees working the extra shifts would average
roughly 10 percent more than first-shift workers in the same occupa­
tions. However, because of the tendency for the more highly skilled
workers to be disproportionately represented on the first shift, the
average earnings of all second- and third-shift workers are somewhat
less than might be expected from the provisions established for their
compensation.
All of the 8 eastern airframe plants pay one and one-half times the
regular rate for daily hours in excess of 8 and for weekly hours over
40. Three of the establishments pay time and one-half tor Saturday
and double time for Sunday work. Another company pays double
time for the seventh consecutive day of work. In the remaining
four plants no special provisions for compensating for Saturday and
Sunday work have been established.
The hours worked by employees of the eastern plants average more
than 53 a week. As a consequence, a considerable proportion of the
total pay of these workers represents the extra payment due to over­
time. The effect of overtime compensation and shift differentials on
average earnings can be seen in the following tabulation, which pre­
sents the difference between straight-time earnings of first shift




5

EASTERN REGION— APRIL 1942

workers in April 1942 and the gross average pay of all workers includ­
ing extra-shift and overtime compensation in each of four plants:
Company
Company
Company
Company

I _______________________
II______________________
III____ __________ ______
IV______________________

Difference in
earnings
(cents)

3. 8
9. 2
10. 3
13. 1

It will be seen that the average “ take-home” in three of the plants
was considerably higher than the straight-time earnings of the workers.
Even in company I, where a very small amount of overtime was
worked, overtime and shift premiums served to raise hourly pay by
an average of nearly 4 cents. It is estimated that for the region as a
whole, gross average earnings were about 9 cents higher than the
straight-time average for first-shift workers.
Like the west coast industry, the eastern airframe producers pay
most of their workers a straight hourly or daily wage. In only one
plant was there any departure from this rule; in that establishment a
small proportion of the total working force was paid a production
bonus in addition to the base hourly rate. The wage data presented
in this report include the premium earnings of these bonus workers.
S T R A IG H T-TIM E EARN IN G S i n

TH E R E G IO N AS A W HOLE

The average hourly earnings exclusive of overtime payment of
first-shift workers in eastern airframe plants were 84.1 cents in April
1942. These earnings may be compared with average straight-time
pay of 82.9 cents earned by first-shift workers in California plants
in December 1941.
Except for establishing the relation of the general wage level in one
area to that in effect in another, or as an instrument for comparison
with other industries, a single figure such as that cited above has
little utility. Earnings within a single region not only vary sub­
stantially, from plant to plant, but also mirror differences in skill and
experience from occupation to occupation. Table 2 illustrates the
influence exerted upon earnings by varying degrees of skill. Em­
ployees have been classified according to the length of training and
experience that would normally be required for a given occupation
and grade. It should be pointed out, however, that the demands of
a vastly increased production schedule have forced employers to
assign workers to occupations ordinarily requiring considerable
training much sooner than would normally be the case.
T a b le

2 . — Average

Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Eastern Airframe
Industry by Length of Required Training, April 1942

Length of training required for occupation

Percent
of
employees

Average
hourly
earnings

Less than 6 months________ _______ ______________ _______________ ______
6 months and under t year...................... ...................................... ..................
1 year and under 2 years_______________ ____ ___________________________
2 years and under 3 years_________ ______ ______________________________
3 years and under 4 years______________________________________________
4 years and over...........................- ........................ ............... ..................... ......

19.1
25.5
2fi 8
8.4
8.3
11.9

$0,681
.772
.849
.927
.973
1.075

All workers............. .................................................................... .............

100.0

.841

502639°—43-----2




6

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

As shown by table 2, earnings ranged from 68.1 cents for workers in
jobs normally requiring less than 6 months’ experience to $1,075
averaged by employees in occupations demanding 4 years or more ex­
perience. It will be noted that the increases in earnings accompanying
each successive experience level are consistent and fairly regular.
From the clear-cut differences in earnings among the various classes,
it might appear that each comprises a coherent, homogeneous group
of workers. Such, however, is not the case. A very considerable
variation in earnings exists even within a single skill class.
AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS BY LENGTH OF REQUIRED TRAINING PERIOD,
OCCUPATION, GRADE, AND PLANT

Table 3 presents the average straight-time hourly earnings of firstshift workers in the eastern airframe industry by length-of-service
class and occupational grade for the region as a whole and for each
plant separately. The plant averages have been arranged in descend­
ing order; the data withm one column do not relate to the same estab­
lishment. Kegional averages have been presented for each selected
occupation in which 50 wage earners distributed over at least two
establishments were found. Individual plant averages are shown
only for three or more workers. These limitations were imposed to
avoid statistical instability in the data.
As shown by table 3, average earnings of workers are determined
not alone by degree of skill, but by the specific occupation at which
thej work as well. Thus, among the 16 occupational grades for
which 4 years’ or more experience is required, average earnings ranged
from $1,252 for tool and die makers, grade A, to 79.6 cents for service
and flight inspectors, grade C. In the 12 occupations requiring be­
tween 3 and 4 years of experience the range was from $1,076 to 83.4
cents. The 2-to-3-year group varied from 81.8 cents to $1,116, the
l-to-2-year occupations from 75.8 to 95.2 cents, and the 6-months-to1-year group from 74.2 to 90.2 cents. The wage earners in occupa­
tions demanding less than 6 months’ experience had average earnings
ranging from 61.4 to 79.2 cents.
Table 3 also shows the variation in occupational averages from
plant to plant. Here, too, the differences in earnings are quite sub­
stantial. Among tool and die makers, grade A, for example, the
range was from $1.05 to $1.29, a difference of 24 cents. General
assemblers, grade A, ranged from 80 cents to $1,045, a 24.5-cent differ­
ential. Inspection will reveal that these are not extreme cases; rather,
the entire tabulation is characterized by a very considerable dispersion
in plant averages for each of the occupations studied.
A noteworthy feature of the plant occupational averages is their
lack of consistency. Establishments with relatively high wage levels
may pay ra’ther low wages to some occupational groups. Conversely,
Iow-wage establishments pay some occupations well above the average.
This is typified by the experience of one plant selected at random. It
will be noted that there are 10 occupational grades in which all of the
plants are represented. The relative position of the selected company
in these 10 grades is as follows: first in one occupation, second in one
occupation, fourth in four occupations, fifth in three occupations, and
sixth in one occupation. Thus, in these 10 occupations the relative
rank of the workers in the selected company ranged from first to
next to last.



EASTERN REGION— APRIL 1942
T a b l e 3 . —Average

Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Eastern Airframe
Plants9by Length of Training Period and Occupation April 1942

,

Individual plant averages in descending
order of average

Length of training period and occupation

4 years or more
Tool and die makers, grade A.................... ...
Pattern makers, wood, grade A ....................
Inspectors, templates, tools and dies, grade A
Milling-machine operators, grade A ..............
Turret-lathe operators, grade A .................
Jig builders, assembly, metal, grade A _____
Tool and die makers, grade B ....................... .
Working supervisors, productive.................. .
Electricians, maintenance, grade A .............. .
Bench machinists, grade A .............................
Engine-lathe operators, grade A .....................
Sheet-metal workers, bench, grade A .............
Carpenters, maintenance, grade A ............ ....
Mechanics, maintenance, grade A ................ .
Tool and die makers, grade C....................... .
Inspectors, service ana flight, grade C ______

0.5 $1,252 $1,290 $1,281 $1,275 $1,220 $1,158 $1,050
.2 1.188 1.252 1.140 1.067
.2 1.162 1.288 1.275 1.237 .975
.2 1.135 1.230 1.118 1.108
.2 1.124 1.253 1.105 1.043
.5 1.123 1.275 1.183 1.136 1. I ll 1.071 1.056
.3 1.087 1.164 1.142 1.106 .983
5.8 1.081 1.220 1.199 1.188 1.120 1.049 1.046 $0,918
.2 1.063 1.075 1.048 1.044
.6 1.052 1.203 1.138 1.030 .999
.2 1.043 1.235 .994 .943
1.3 1.039 1.086 1.086 1.045 .972 .875
.2 1.010 1.023 1.016 .973
.2
.999 1.072 1.043 .930
.2
.940 1.017 .958 .912
.2
.796 .798 .775

S and under 4 years
Metal fitters, grade A .....................................
Assemblers, precision, bench, grade A _____
Inspectors, assembly, general, grade A .........
Assemblers, general, grade A*.......................
Milling-machine operators, grade B ..............
Inspectors, assembly, final, grade B ..............
Turret-lathe operators, grade B ....................
Loftsmen........................................................
Engine-lathe operators, grade B .....................
Lay-out men............................................ .......
Jig builders, assembly, metal, grade B ......... .
Inspectors, machined parts, grade C ............ .

.6
.4
.3
2.2
.4
.2
.2
.6
.2
.7
1.3
.2

1.076
1.058
1.010
.995
.972
.965
.963
.952
.939
.926
.897
.834

1.087
1.075
1.130
1.045
1.079
.967
.917
1.275
1.088
1.118
1.075
.900

t and under S years
Installers, electrical, grade A ......................... .
Welders, gas (aluminum and steel), grade A.
Installers, power plant, grade A .....................
Field and service mechanics, grade B ............
Installers, general, grade A ............................ .
Mechanics, maintenance, grade B ................ .
Inspectors, assembly, general, grade B ......... .
Punch-press operators, grade A .............. .......
Sheet-metal workers, bench, grade B .............
Bench machinists, grade B _______ ________
•Painters, aircraft, grade A . ........................... .
Electricians, maintenance, grade B ...............
Inspectors, detail, grade B ..............................
Inspectors, assembly, final, grade O...............

.3
.0
.3
.2
1.0
.2
.4
.3
1.7
.9
.4
.2
.2
.4

1.116
1.093
.985
.969
.948
.928
.916
.911
.903
.876
.865
.851
.831
.818

1.175 1.070 1.063 1.032
1.159 1.140 1.106 1.083
1.057 .975
1.075 .918
1.063 .930 .922 .767
.975 .938 .936
.975 .938 .901 .840
.985 .951 .928 .917
.939 .931 .927 .856
1.064 .911 .903 .865
1.078 1.038 .975 .971
.973 .937 .900 .790
.963 .938 .844 .717
.842 .815

1 year and under 2 years
Craters, grade A ..............................................
Metal fitters, grade B ......................................
Assemblers, precision, bench, grade B__.......
Power-shear operators, grade A ......................
Riveters, grade A ....... ....................................
Welders, gas (aluminum and steel), grade B_.
Drill-press operators, grade A .........................
Assemblers, general, grade B ..........................
Coverers, fabric, grade A__............................
Installed, power plant, grade B .....................
Installers, general, grade B .............................
Power-brake operators, grade B .....................
Tool-crib attendants, grade A............... ........
Milling-machine operators, grade C...............
Painters, aircraft, grade B ........... ..................
Inspectors, assembly, general, grade C ..........
Jig builders, assembly, metal, grade C ..........
Spot welders, grade B .....................................
Punch-press operators, grade B ......................
Sheet-metal workers, bench, grade C .............
Inspectors, receiving, grade C.........................
Clerks, shipping and receiving.......................
Inspectors, detail, grade C ..............................
Field and service mechanics, grade C ............
Clerks, stock and stores...................................

.2
.4
1.8
.2
2.7
.3
.2
7.3
.2
.2
1.5
.2
.3
.5
.4
.9
1.1
.3
.4
2.3
.3
.4
.3
.2
2.5

.952 1.007
.931 .975
.916 .921
.913 .993
.904 .964
.891 .955
.887 .957
.884 .934
.860 .923
.859 .916
.847 .899
.843 .916
.841 .971
.830 .930
.815 .932
.814 .876
.809 .877
.809 .897
.802 .833
.794 .848
.790 .857
.783 .842
.766 .832
.760 .825
.758 .881




•
1.077
1.052
1.117 1.075 1.056
1.040 1,039 1.032
1.000 .975 .953
.930 .918
1.112
.975
1.117
1.000
.826

.950
.937
.825
.941
.949
.945
.926
.934
.905
.825
.895
.883
.970
.883
.930
.833
.876
.832
.820
.832
.820
.820
.830
.757
.820

.990
.933
.930
.995

.817
.883
.886
.980

.957
.875 "’ .875 ” .'800

.960

.864

.713

.692 .........
.813
.940 .693

---

.936
.934
.887
.675
.844
.925
.850

.886
.869

.864

.804

.898
.779

.880

.786

.682

.688
.813
.850

.739

.876
.742
.820

.600
.702 .........
.796

...

.781
.825
.872
.835
.890
.818
.825
.764
.814
.809
.691
.812
.825

.720
.791

.572

.775
.813

.774
.633

.795

.752

.750

.‘750

.571

EARNINGS IN AIEFEAME PLANTS

8
T

3 . — Average Hourly Earnings oj First-Shift Workers in Eastern Airframe
Plants, by Length of Training Period and Occupation, April 1942— Continued

able

Length of training period and occupation

Percent
of
total
select­
ed
em­
ploy-

Aver­
age
hour­
ly
earn­
ings,
all
plants

Individual plant averages in descending
order of average

6 months and under 1 year
Assemblers, electrical and radio, bench, grade
B .................................................................. .
Anodizers, grade A ..........................................
Tube benders, bench, grade B ...................... .
Saw operators, grade A ...................................
Router operators, grade A ............................. .
Installers, electrical, grade C..u.................... .
Drill-press operators, grade B .................... .
Welders, gas (aluminum and steel), grade C_.
Electricians, maintenance, grade C .............. .
Craters, grade B ............................................. .
Drop-hammer operators, grade C ................. .
Riveters, grade B ........................................... .
Tool-crib attendants, grade B ............... ........
Metal fitters, grade C......................................
Painters, aircraft, grade C ............................. .
Bench machinists, grade C............................ .
Assemblers, precision, bench, grade C...........
Assemblers, general, grade O..........................
Carpenters, maintenance, grade C .................
Guards and watchmen...................................
Installers, general, grade C............................ .

0.3
.2
.2
.3
.2
.3
.4
.2
.2

.3
.3
4.6
.6

.9
.8
1.4
2.4

8
.2
.2
1.2
1.4

1.902 $0. 927 $0,820
917 .889 $0,883
.887
.859 .890 .871
.859 .054 .954 .900 $0,863 $0,775
.835 .937 .911 .825 .817 .750
.833 .844 .825
.828 .857 .826 .817
.822 .827 .817
.817 .835 .807
.814 .839 .810 .808
.799 .798
.789 .857 .832 .826 .805 .775 $0,767 $0,583
.772 .855 .831 .830 .775 .752
.769 .867 .847 .778 .572
.767 .880 .829 .789 .763 .763
.762 .882 .867 .816 .775 .756 .753 .620
.757 .775 .755
.755 .852 .841 .806 .775 .748 .554
.750 .838 .803 .718
.746 .836 .805 .794 .775 .756 .705 .538
.742 .804 .775 .723 .563

Less than 6 months
Saw operators, grade B .................................. .
Anodizers, grade B ..........................................
Janitors............................................................
Laborers_______ _______________ __________
Helpers, general............................................. .
Punch-press operators, learner...................... .
Drill-press operators, grade C_____________
Jig builders, assembly, metal, learner............
Truckers, hand and warehousemen.............. .
Craters, grade C....... ......................................
Assemblers, general,, learner.......................... .
Sheet-metal workers, bench, learner............. .
DriU-press operators, learner......................... .
Inspectors, assembly, general, learner.......... .
Tube benders, bench, learner.........................
Installers, general, learner...............................
Riveters, learner..............................................
Painters, aircraft, learner................................

.4
.2
1.5
1.3

1
.8
.3

1
.0

.3
4.0
.7
.4
.2
.2

1
.1
1.4
.2

.792
.783
.729
.727
.717
.709
.706
.705
.702
.681
.663
.662
.658
.653
.652
.645
.629
.614

.798
.807
.768
.803
.800
.700
.783
.750
.744
.667
.710
.676
.708
.660
.670
.648
.711
.627

.797
.800
.760
.788
.775
.660
.700
.675
.719

.775
.767
.752
.733
.775

.667
.653
.615
.657
.638
.641
.641

.736
.750
.712
.741

.735
.707
.686

.700

.698

.667

.663
.627

.656

.644

.627
.600

.600

.727
.517
.613

.529
.544

.662

.633
.634
.610

.500

THE MICHIGAN AND BUFFALO (N. Y.) REGIONS—
M A Y 19423
The iake cities of Buffalo and Detroit constitute central points in
two increasingly important aircraft production areas. Even in World
War I, Buffalo was an important source of supply to the air services;
today its planes claim an enviable reputation in all the theaters of
war. Detroit and its adjacent territory long have been recognized
as the source of an almost unlimited stream of goods flowing from
highly efficient conveyor lines. It was only natural that, in the face
of an immediate need for tremendous quantities of arms, the vast
productive equipment of this area should be looked to for the tools
of war.
3 Two areas of the airframe industry are treated here for reasons of editorial convenience and not on account
of any decision as to the appropriate grouping of airframe plants for official purposes.




MICHIGAN AND BUFFALO

(N . Y .) — MAY 1942

9

To those unfamiliar with the mechanical processes involved, the
conversion of automobile plants to the production of tanks, aircraft,
and ordnance seemed an altogether logical and simple development.
Actually, of course, such a diversion of facilities and manpower
requires a long period of preparation and adjustment. It is note­
worthy, therefore, that thousands of former automotive industry
workers are actively engaged in the production of military materiel.
This report is concerned with the earnings of the Michigan and
Buffalo workers who are producing airframes and frame subassemblies.
The airframe plants in these two areas differ in their origin, the
Michigan plants having been converted largely from the production
of automobiles and the Buffalo plants having been originally designed
for aircraft. Nevertheless, each constitutes a homogeneous group in
many respects. All of the units, for example, are in large metropolitan
districts—areas with long histories of heavy-industry production and
with adequate reservoirs of skilled workers. All axe large employers
of labor, although in the case of several of the Michigan plants, the
number of wage earners working on aircraft is relatively small. With
but one exception, all of the plants have entered into agreements with
the United Automobile Workers, a C. I. O. affiliate. Finally, as will
be shown later, the wage rates in effect in both areas are substantially
above the levels prevailing in other sections of the country.
From the standpoint of product, however, the two States display
less uniformity. The majority of the operations in Michigan consist
of subassemblies, although a limited amount of final assembly work
is performed; the plants in western New York are producing complete
aircraft, even to the provision of machine guns and service insignia.
To date, both regions have enjoyed a reasonably adequate labor
supply. The automobile plants, still in the process of conversion,
have not yet absorbed all of their former workers. The Buffalo plants
likewise have had a reserve of former automobile workers to draw
upon and have also instituted an effective pre-service training program.
Women constitute a fairly large proportion of the total working force
in the Michigan plants, accounting for about 10 percent of the total.
The number of women appearing on the Buffalo pay rolls is much
smaller, representing less than 1 percent of the labor force.

Average Hourly Earnings
FACTORS AFFE C TIN G A V E R AG E EARNINGS

The amount of money received by a wage earner is influenced by
several variable factors in addition to his basic wage. These factors
include such items as the amount of work performed on late shifts
for which extra compensation is paid, the number of overtime hours
worked at extra rates of pay, and the productivity (if a piece or bonus
worker) of the employee himself.
In several of these particulars a pronounced difference is apparent
between the Detroit and Buffalo areas. The minimum entrance rate
in effect in Michigan for inexperienced male adult workers is 75 cents.
This rate, which is found in 5 of the 9 Michigan establishments, is
increased automatically in 4 of these plants to 85 cents after 6 months'
service and in one to $1.15 after 5 weeks' employment. In one other
Michigan company, males hired for productive work receive a mini­



10

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

mum of $1.02, which is increased to $1.07 after 30 days. In the 3
remaining plants, new workers are hired at rates 10 cents lower than
the going job rate in the occupation, resulting in an effective minimum
of about $1 an hour. The entrance rate prevailing in the Buffalo area
is much lower. Two of the plants have a minimum of 65 cents which,
after 60 days, is advanced to 75 cents. The third Buffalo establish­
ment hires new inexperienced workers at 60 cents and raises them
5 cents at monthly intervals until a 75-cent rate is attained. An
additional 5 cents is paid at the end of 6 months’ service.
Shift differentials effective in the Buffalo region are somewhat more
liberal than those found in the Michigan area. All of the Buffalo
establishments pay second-shift workers 5 cents more than is paid to
daylight workers on identical jobs; third-shift employees work only
6% hours but are paid for 8 hours at second-shift rates. Two of the
Michigan plants also pay 5 cents additional to second-shift workers;
third-shift workers, however, receive the same rates as those on the
second shift. The remaining seven Michigan plants pay second- and
third-shift workers 5 percent above basic day rates. .
Almost complete uniformity is found in the provisions for com­
pensating for overtime and Sunday work. Workers in all of the estab­
lishments receive time and a half for all hours in excess of 8 a day or
40 a week, and for work on Saturday or on the sixth consecutive day.
Employees working on Sunday (in one plant, the seventh consecutive
day) receive twice their regular rate.
Like airframe plants in other sections, the majority of the North
central establishments pay their employees a straight hourly wage.
However, a small proportion of the employees in two Michigan plants
are paid on a piece-work basis, and workers in one Buffalo plant
receive a production bonus in addition to their basic rate. These
premium earnings are included in the wage data here presented.
EARN ING S IN THE M ICHIGAN A R E A

Earnings in Michigan airframe plants display less dispersion than
is typical of other sections of the industry. The average earnings of all
first-shift workers in selected occupations varied by only 16.6 cent’s as
between the highest- and lowest-paying establishments. These gen­
eral averages are influenced by the composition of the labor force,
some of the plants being represented by only a few occupations, and
other more complete units having nearly all occupations on the pay
roU.
As would be expected, employees in the highly skilled occupations
earned considerably more than those in the less skilled jobs. Earn­
ings ranged from $1,471, paid to form and model builders, to the 89.2
cents received by laborers (table 4). Over 90 percent of the workers
were in occupations averaging $1.00 or more, and about one-seventh
(14.1 percent) were in jobs paying $1.25 or more.
Table 4 also shows variation by plant in the wages paid to workers
in identical occupations. It should be emphasized that in table 4
the individual plant averages are arranged in descending order and
that the data within a single column do not relate to the same estab­
lishment. Occupations, likewise, have been arranged in descending
order of average earnings. In a few occupations, notably hydraulic
installers and electricians, the variation in earnings is relatively small.
In most cases, however, the spread in earnings is considerably higher,
ranging up to 40 cents and averaging about 20 cents.



MICHIGAN AND BUFFALO

11

(N. Y .) — MAY 1942

Table 4.— Average Straight-Time Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Michigan
Airframe Plants, by Occupation, May 1942
Aver­
Percent age
of total hourly Individual plant averages, in descending order of
employ­ earnaverage
ees
studied *3?
plants

Occupation

Form and model builders, wood___
Lay-out men......................................
Pattern makers, wood.......................
Tool and die makers.......................
Inspectors—
templates, tools, and dies.
Template makers...................... . —
Form block makers, metal and wood.
Welders, maintenance and jig...........
Jig builders, assembly, metal..........
Inspectors, assembly, final...............
Working supervisors, productive. ~
Welders, gas (aluminum and steel).
Electricians, maintenance...............
Inspectors, assembly, general..........
Small-tool repairmen........................
Mechanics, maintenance.................
Engine-lathe operators.....................
Inspectors, machined parts..............
Inspectors, detail..............................
Carpenters, maintenance................
Saw operators...................................
Inspectors, receiving.......................
Power-brake operators. ...................
Heat treaters (alum., alloy, and steel)
Metal fitters.....................................
Sheet-metal workers, bench.............
M illing-machine .operators.............
Tube benders, bench.......................
Installers, controls............................
Installers, hydraulic........................
Painters, aircraft..............................
Router operators..............................
Riveters............................................
Guards and watchmen....................
Spot welders.....................................
Installers, general.............................
Assemblers, precision, bench............
Installers, electrical.......................... .
Bench machinists.............................
Power-shear operators.......................
Truckers, power................................
Punch-press operators.......................
Clerical, shipping and receiving___
Assemblers, general...........................
Hydro-press operators......................
Tool-crib attendants...... ................. .
Drill-press operators..........................
Clerical, stock and stores..................
Craters...............................................
Anodizers...........................................
Hydro-press loaders (parts handlers).
Truckers, hand and warehousemen..
Coverers, fabric............ ......... ......... .
Assemblers, electrical and radio,
bench.................... .........................
Janitors..............................................
Laborers............................................

0.4 $1,471 $1,516 $1,480 $1,470 $1,442 $1,430
.4 1.394 1.450 1.400 1."‘ 1.350
.
.4 1.383 1.510 1.420 1
. 1.430 1.405 1.400 1.365 $1,310 $1,234
2.4 1.343 1
.T 1.300 1.280
1.3 1.334 1.550 1.530 1.467 1.450 1
.4 1.329 1.420 1.400 1.370 1.320 1.270 1.200
.2 1.328 1.510 1.340 1.248
.3 1.307 1.400 1.330 1.300 1.273 1.250 1.230
1.
1.234 $1,200
1.340 1.285 1.:
2.6 1.279 1.490 1.
.6 1.271 1.390 1.250 1.224 1.130
4.5 1.261 1.550 1.505 1.400 1.220 1.180 1.180 1.130
.1 0
.6 1.258 1.280 1.270 1.268 1.250 1.230 1 2
.2 0
.9 1.242 1.280 1.240 1.230 1.226 1.220 1 1
.1 0
1.228 1.283 1.250 1.250 1.244 1.226 1 2
1.6
.3 1.225 1.270 1.230 1.200 1.139
1.6 1.202 1.300 1.253 1.230 1.216 1.200 1.199 1.050
. 1.280 1.250 1.173 1.087
.2 1.193 1
.1 0
.1
.6 1.170 1.550 1.290 1.221 1 2 1.117 1
1.9 1.168 1.250 1.217 1.186 1.185 1.170 1.133 1.060
.9 1.161 1.180 1.170 1.166 1.150 1.100
J 1.000
.6 1.147 1.230 1.230 1.140 1.130 1.107 1
.1
1.0 1.146 1.250 1.242 1.196 1. Ill 1. Ill 1.060 1
.8 1.138 1.180 1.180 1.140 1.090 1.080 1.020
1.070 1.012
0.2 1.136 1.230 1.200 1.
.4 1.132 1.200 1.160 1.080
1.080 1.055 0.980
4.0 1.132 1.270 1.200 1.
1.6 1.121 1.350 1.230 1.190 1.171 1.165 1.084 1.070 1.060
1.050 .924
.7 1.120 1.180 1.
.1 0
.5 1.115 1.170 1 2 1.080 1.070
.9 1.114 1.120 1.118 1.
1.052 1.050
' . 9 1.104 1.230 1.130 1.
.1 0 .1
.984
.5 1.102 1.130 1.130 1.130 1 0 1
.1 1
.950
18.3 1.101 1.150 1.118 1 0 1.064 1.005
. 1.093 1.093 1.019 1.007
.978
2.5 1.101 1.151 1
1.078 1.060 1.050 1.040
.8 1.099 1.148 1.090 1.
1.8 1.092 1.145 1.120 1.080 1.070
.4 1.087 1.140 1.100 1.060 1.020
. 1.070 1.070 1.054
.7 1.085 1.250 1
.4 1.068 1.171 1.010
.1 0
.7 1.068 1.130 1.110 1 0 1.060 1.047 1.030 1.020
.9 1.068 1.170 1.100 1.100 1.070 .986 .980
1.7 1.063 1.157 1.090 1.080 1.043 1.030 .942
2.3 1.041 1.073 1.060 1.000 .990 .990 .980 .980
16.8 1.037 1.117 1.046 1.035 1.024 1.004 .970 .900
.1
.2 1.032 1.130 1.130 1
.960 .946
1.8 1.025 1.100 1.051 1.050
.1 1 .1 1.077 1.050 .978 .930 .925
1.2 1.017 1.142 1 1 1
. 1
.1 .980
.951 .950
3.8 1.008 1.060 1
.9 1.005 1.120 1.025 .956 .950 .920
.974 1.130 1.030 .986
.949 .930
.7
.965 1.030 .S
.820
.1
3.4
.961 1.060 l.G
.970 .930 ".’ 900 .850
.4
.959 1.238
1.4
2.4
.6

.950 1.109 1.057
.909 .970 .880
.892 .970 .970

.920
.872
.930

.841
.850
.855

.850
.850

.850

.850

EARNINGS IN THE BUFFALO AREA

The single average of 98.2 cents, cited earlier as prevailing in the
Buffalo region, conceals a considerable variation in earnings from plant
to plant, and from one occupation to another. As shown by table 5,
which presents occupational averages grouped on the basis of the
length of training and experience normally required to achieve com­
petence,4 earnings in specific occupations ranged from 62.5 cents to
$1,307. Considerable variation exists even within a single length-of4The estimates of required training and experience were prepared by a representative group of western
airframe companies. The recent increase in production schedules, however, has necessitated the assignment
of workers to tasks normally requiring considerable experience much sooner than is indicated by table 5.




12

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

training group. Thus, in the group of occupations normally requiring
4 years or more of service, average earnings varied from 88.3 cents re­
ceived by tool and die workers, grade C, to $1,304 paid to grade A
workers in the same occupation. Workers in occupations requiring
between 3 and 4 years’ experience received earnings ranging from 95.1
cents to $1,237. An even greater spread in earnings is apparent in
the group of jobs for which 2 to 3 years’ experience is necessary, the
averages ranging from 88.0 cents to $1,307. Earnings in occupations
requiring 1 to 2 years’ experience extend from 83.9 cents to $1,039,
those in jobs demanding 6 months’ to a year’s training from 82.8 cents
to $1,066, and among occupations calling for less than 6 month’s
training, from 62.5 to 93.5 cents.
T a b l e 5 . — Average

Straight-Time Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in BuffaloArea Airframe Plants, by Length of Training Period and Occupation, June 1942

Length of training period and
occupation

4 years or more
Tool and die makers, grade A ........
Working supervisors, productive..
Inspectors, assembly, final, grade
A ................................ — - ...........
Pattern makers, wood, grade A —
Grinder operators, grade A ..........
Jig builders, a sse m b ly , m etal,
grade A .................. ....................
Sheet-metal workers, bench, grade
A ........ ......... - ............................
Carpenters, maintenance, grade A.
Electricians, maintenance, grade
A .................. -........... - ......... ........
Mttling-machine operators, grade
Tool and die makers, grade B ........
Tool and die makers, grade C ........
S and under 4 years
Loftsmen....................................
Assemblers, general, grade A .........
Assemblers, p re c is io n , b e n ch ,
grade A ...................................... .
Inspectors, receiving, grade A ....... .
Inspectors, a ss e m b ly , gen eral,

Percent Averape
of total
em­ hourly
ployees earn­
studied ings

1
.1

$1,304
1.242

.5

1.218
1.206
1.180

2.5

1.163
1.5
.4

1.109

1
.1

1.073
1.049

.3

1.237
1.115

.7

2
.8

1.103
1.085

££L A
Tic q

1.034

Jig builders, a ss e m b ly , m e ta l,
grade B.._*.................................
Lay-out men...................................
Metal fitters, grade A ................... .
Grinder operators, grade B ...........
2 and under S years
Welders, m a in te n a n ce and jig,
grade A ...... ................................ .
Painters, aircraft, grade A ............ .
Welders, gas (aluminum and steel),
grade A ...................................
Installers, general, grade A ........
Punch-press operators, grade A ___
Installers, electrical, grade A........ .
Sheet-metal workers, bench, grade
B .................................................
Welders, arc, grade A .....................
Assemblers, electrical and radio,
bench, grade A ..........................
Mechanics, maintenance, grade B
Field and service mechanics, grade
B __________________________ _
Inspectors, receiving, grade B ____
Inspectors, assembly, precision,
grade B ....................................... .
Inspectors, a s s e m b ly , general,
grade B ....................................... .




1.144
1 .11 2

1.024
1.013
.951

1.307
1.196
1.164
1.155
1.147
1.076
2.3
.3

1.025
1.008
.965
.928

.2
1.0

.918
.913

.4

.905

1.6

Length of training period and
occupation

1 year and under $ years
Drill-press operators, grade A........
Painters, aircraft, grade B ..............
Tube benders, bench, grade A .......
Assemblers, general, grade B .........
Riveters, grade A ........ ..................
Punch-press operators, grade B___
Installers, hydraulic, grade B........
Installers, power plant, grade B__.
Installers, controls, grade B...........
Installers, electrical, grade B .........
Spot welders, grade B ................
Milling-machine operators, grade
C_____________________ ______
Installers, general, grade B ............
Tool-crib attendants, grade A .......
Welders, gas (aluminum and steel),
grade B ......... .......................... .
Clerical, shipping and receiving...
Sheet-metal workers, bench, grade
C__________________________
Assemblers, p r e c is io n , b e n ch ,
grade B ............................ ..........
Inspectors, a ss e m b ly , general,
grade C ......... ...... ........................
Grinder operators, grade C ............
Clerical, stock and stores...............
6 months and under 1 year
Spot welders, grade C ................... .
Craters, grade B............................ .
Router operators........................... .
Drill-press operators, grade B ........
Assemblers, general, grade C ____
Assemblers, electrical and radio,
bench, grade B ........................... .
Painters, aircraft, grade C ............ .
Riveters, grade B.......................... .
Truckers, power.............................
Metal fitters, grade C ................... .
Assemblers, p r e c is io n , bench,
grade C ........................................
Tube benders, bench, grade B___
Bench machinists, grade C ............
Installers, general, grade C ............
Tool-crib attendants, grade B ____
Guards and watchmen...................
Less than 6 months
Drill-press operators, grade C........
Helpers, general..............................
Saw operators, grade B ................. .
Laborers.........................................
Janitors.......................................... .
Assemblers, general, learner......... .
Milling-machine operators, learner

Percent
of total
em­
ployees
studied

Aver­
age
hourly
earn­
ings

0.5
.5
.3
7.3
3.9
.4
.4
.5
.3
1.8
.3

$1,039
1.034
1.031
1.020
1.014

.7
2.5
.5

.943
.939
.938

.4
.9

.929
.925

1.1

.924

1.011

.980
.967
.964
.962
.946

1.0

.913

1.6
.2
3.0

.905
.848
.839

.2
.8
.6
.7
13.8

1.000

.3
1.3
8.2
.3
.5

.949
.932
.923
.901
.899

1.1
.2
.3
1.7
.4
1.4

.891
.891
.875
.855
.830
.828

1.0
1.3
.3
1.4
1.4
.4
.3

.935
.915
.894
.849
.796
.654
.625

1.066
1.052
.972
.969

13

MIDCONTINENT REGION— JUNE 1942

Table 6 presents averages for the 14 occupations found in all 3
Buffalo-area plants. As in table 4, the plant averages are arranged
in descending order and the data within a column do not relate to the
same establishment. It may be seen that even in this small homo­
geneous group of plants considerable variation in plant occupational
averages exists. Averages for grade A general installers, for example,
vary by 21.2 cents as between the high- and low-paying plants. The
majority of the differences, however, are somewhat smaller, averaging
about 14 cents.
T a b l e 6.— Average Straight-Time Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Buffalo-

Area Airframe Plants, by Length of Training and Selected Occupation, June 1942
Length of training period and occupation
3 and under 4 years:
Assemblers, general, grade A ____ ______ ______ ___
2 and under 3 years:
Installers, general, grade A __ ______ _____________
Inspectors, assembly, general, grade B ___________
I year and under 2 years:
Assemblers, general, grade B ________ ___________
Riveters, grade A ......................... .............................
Installers, electrical, grade B ____________________
Installers, general, grade B ______________________
Clerical, stock ana stores___________________ ____
6 months and under 1 year:
Assemblers, general, grade C____________________
Painters, aircraft, grade C______________________
Riveters, grade B ___ _________________________
Installers, general, grade C______________________
nuards ann watchman
Less than 6 months:
Janitors_______________________________________

Average,
all plants

Individual plant averages in de­
scending order of average

$1,115

$1.163

$1,105

$1,025

1.155
.880

1.304
.893

1.175
.889

1.092
.861

1.020
1.014
.962
.939
.839

1.120
1.098
1.027
1.035
.901

.895
.933
.870
.901
.806

.889
.932
.844
.900
.740

.969
.932
.923
.855
.828

.991
.982
.965
.909
.852

.836
.808
.855
.838
.808'

.832
.792
.849
.832
.805

.796

.817

.808

.767

THE MIDCONTINENT REGION—JUNE 1942
No region of the country has been more greatly affected by the war
production program than has the great drainage basin of the Missouri
and Mississippi Rivers. Huge “ black-out’' plants6 have sprung up
from the empty plains. Thousands of workers are learning new
phrases—stress, tolerance, vernier, camber—the language of produc­
tion. They are learning the uses of micrometers, of welding torches,
and of riveting guns, and are learning to shape and cut the duralumin,
the plexiglass, the steel, and other materials of production.
Most of these workers are new to industry; they have been drawn
from home, school, farm, and office. The wages paid by airframe
companies to these new workers and the relationship of their earnings
to the wage level of similar workers in other regions are particulars
which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has endeavored to determine
in its present study.
The 11 airframe plants covered by this report are in an area (re­
ferred to here as the Midcontinent region) the limits of which are
Nebraska on the northwest, Texas on the southwesjb, Ohio on the
northeast, and Tennessee on the southeast. It is readily seen that
the establishments are widely scattered geographically.
Four of the 11 establishments surveyed have contracts with the
International Association of Machinists, an A. F. of L. affiliate. A
fifth has entered into an agreement with the United Automobile
81, e., plants without windows.




14

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

Workers, affiliated with the C. I. O. The remaining 6 plants have no
agreement with any union organization. There is considerable varia­
tion also in the product of these establishments. Although all except
one of the plants are producing complete aircraft, the product ranges
from small trainers to huge bombers. The remaining plant is man­
ufacturing large-unit subassemblies.
The establishments surveyed are all of about the same size, meas­
ured by number of employees. All of thejn are new plants, situated
at a considerable distance from both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Most of them are branches of or affiliates of parent companies well
established in the industry. All have been faced with the necessity of
training large numbers of inexperienced workers (including many
women, who at present constitute more than 10 percent of the total
employment). All of them pay their workers a straight hourly rate,
although employees of one establishment participate in the firm's
earnings, under a profit-sharing plan. Finally, as will be shown later,
the provisions for overtime pay, the shift differentials, and the en­
trance rates in effect exhibit a considerable degree of uniformity.

Recent History of Wage Rates
The airframe industry in the Midcontinent region is a new industry;
no long historical pattern of rates can bq established. There are
available in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, data on gross
average hourly earnings of a sufficient number of plants in the area
to trace the movement of earnings there since July 1941. At that
time, the hourly earnings of airframe workers averaged 69.2 cents,
including overtime pay. In each month thereafter, until January
1942, the average rose, as indicated below:
1941

July___________________ __________
August___________________________
September________________________
October__________________________
November________________________
December________________________

1H2

January__________________________

Average
hourly
earnings
{cents)

69. 2
72. 1
72. 9
74. 0
79. 7
83. 2
87. 0

The level of earnings since January has remained fairly stable, the
average in May 1942 standing at 86.7 cents.
Several factors have contributed to the increase of 17.5 cents an
hour in the average since July 1941. Of prime importance was the
upward adjustment in basic hourly rates since that date made by
each of the plants in the area. A second important influence was the
adoption by one company of a profit-sharing bonus. Instituted in
November 1944, this factor alone was sufficient to raise the regional
average in a recent month by 5 cents. The third element contributing
to the rise in the average since July 1941 was the increase in weekly
hours worked (from 45.0 to 46.9), with a corresponding increase in the
number of overtime hours paid for at punitive rates.
The relatively homogeneous structure of the Midcontinent industry
is reflected in a comparatively small variation in general plant average
hourly earnings. In July 1941, the spread in earnings between the



MIDCONTINENT REGION— JUNE 1942

15

highest- and lowest-paying establishments was 16.0 cents an hour.
The amount of the plant-average difference has declined since that
time, resting at 12.2 cents in May 1942.6
Part of this difference in the plant averages may be charged to
variations in the composition of the working force, to aifferences in the
number of overtime hours worked at extra rates of pay, and to the
varying proportion of workers on late shifts commanding differential
rates. It is apparent, however, that the principal element contribut­
ing to the variation in earnings is the difference in basic hourly rates.
The average hourly earnings (excluding overtime compensation) of
first-shift workers in selected occupations embracing about threefourths of the employees, varied by 11.4 cents as between the highand low-paying establishments.

Average Hourly Earnings
FACTORS AFFECTING AVERAGE EARNINGS

The elements determining the gross weekly pay of any worker are
his basic hourly rate, the total hours worked, the number of overtime
hours paid for at extra rates, and the number of hours worked on late
shifts for which a differential is paid. The midcontinent airframe
plants exhibit considerable uniformity in the minimum entrance rate
paid to inexperienced male adult workers. Eight of the establish­
ments pay new male workers on the “ North American” pattern, now
generally adopted in all sections of the country except Michigan.
This scale provides for an entrance rate of 60 cents, which is increased
automatically in 5-cent monthly stages until earnings reach 75 cents.
The ninth establishment also pays new workers a minimum of 60
cents, but has no provision for automatic increases. The two re­
maining establishments start new workers at 55 cents. This rate
advances in one plant to 60 cents after 2 months and to 65 cents upon
the completion of 6 months' service. In the remaining plant, em­
ployees are increased 5 cents for each 60 days’ service until a 70-cent
rate is attained.
Somewhat more variation is found in the provisions for compen­
sating work performed on extra shifts. The data contained in table 7,
which show the provisions in effect, indicate that workers on the
second shift average about 9 percent more and workers on the third
shift about 15 percent more than the earnings received by daylightshift workers in identical occupations.
T a b le

7 . — Scale

of Wages for Second and Third Shifts, in Midcontinent Airframe
Plants
Differential paid for—

Number of
plants

3 .................
2
.................
2......................
1..............
1..............
1..............
i ......................

Second shift
5 cents an hour_________ __
....... do....................................
....... do....................................
6 cents an hour_____ ______
7 cents an hour_____ ______
8 cents an hour_______ ____
5 percent of base rate, plus
pay for H hour.

Third shift
10 cents an hour.
5 cents an hour.
8 hours’ pay, at second-shift rates, for 6H hours' work.
0 cents an hour.
8 hours’ pay, at second-shift rates, for 6H hours’ work.
8 hours’ pay, at second-shift rates, for 6H hours’ work.
5 percent of base rate, plus pay for H hour.

• For the purposes of this comparison, the plant with the profit-sharing bonus has been included.




16

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

AH but one of the establishments in the area pay time and a half
for hours in excess of 8 per day or 40 per week. The exception like­
wise pays time and a half after 40 hours a week, but begins payment
of this extra rate after only 7){ hours a day. Eight plants paid time
and a half for Saturday work and three others paid at that rate for
work done on the sixth consecutive day. Sunday work was paid for
at double the regular rates by 4 of the plants and at time and a half
by the remaining establishments. One of the latter paid double
time for the seventh consecutive day of work.
Wage earners in the area were working an average of 46.9 hours a
week in June 1942, and as a consequence, overtime earnings represent
a considerable proportion of the total pay. The cumulative effect of
overtime pay and shift differentials on earnings can be seen in the
following tabulation which presents the difference between average
straight-time hourly earnings and the average gross hourly earnings,
including overtime and shift premiums, in each of the 7 plants for
which data were available at the time this report was prepared:
Difference in
earnings
(cents)

Company
Company
Company
Company
Company
Company
Company

I _______________________
II______________________
III_____________________
IV______________________
V_.............................. .........
VI....................................
VII.............................. .......

2. 1
5. 2
8. 4
11. 1
11. 3
12. 7
15. 3

It will be seen that, in most of the establishments, extra overtime and
shift compensation increased average earnings by substantial amounts.
Even in companies I and II, where little overtime was worked, these
extra payments were sufficient to raise average hourly earnings by
2.1 and 5.2 cents, respectively. For the region as a wnole, it is esti­
mated that the average gross earnings of workers on all three shifts
were about 8 cents higher than equivalent first-shift straight-time
earnings.
As stated earlier, all midcontinent establishments, except one, pay
their workers a straight hourly rate. However, the profit-sharing
bonus paid to the workers of one company represents a substantial
increment to their earnings and this bonus has been included in the
wage data presented in this report.
ST RA IG H T-TIM E E ARN IN G S IN THE R EGION AS A W H OLE

Straight-time hourly earnings of first-shift workers in the 10
midcontinent plants making complete aircraft 80.3 cents an hour.
These averages conceal a very considerable variation in the earnings
of individual workers.
Workers in the 10 plants manufacturing complete airframes have
been classified on the basis of the length of training and experience
normally required to achieve competence at their tasks.7 As shown
by table 8, average hourly earnings ranged from 67.7 cents for workers
in occupations normally requiring less than 6 months’ training to
$1,096 for workers in occupations for which 4 years’ or more experience
7 The estimates of necessary training and experience were prepared by a representative group of airframe
manufacturers. The demands of the war program, however, nave forced employers to assign workers to
occupations normally requiring considerable training much sooner than would ordinarily be the case.




17

MIDCONTINENT REGION— JUNE 1942

is necessary. It will be noted that average earnings progress regu­
larly and consistently with each increase in the length of training
period. From this it might appear that each class comprises a homo­
geneous group of employees. Actually, however, considerable varia­
tion in earnings exists even among workers with similar skills.
T a b l e 8.— Average Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Midcontinent Airframe

Industry, by Length of Required Training, June 1942

Length of training required for occupation

Percent of
employees
in specified
training
group

Average
hourly
earnings

Less than 6 months___ _____________________ ____ _____ . . . ____ ____________
6 months and under 1 year______________ _______ ____ _____ _________________
1 vear and under 2 years__________________ _____ ___________________________
2 years and under 3 years_____. ____________________________________________
3 years and under 4 years________ . ________________________________________
M years and over_________________- ______________________ __________________

30.5
22.4
25.8
8.3
5.0
8.0

$0,677
.759
.840
.883
.978
1.096

All workers________ . . . . . __ _____ _________________________ _______ ___

100.0

.803

AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS BY LENGTH OF REQUIRED TRAINING PERIOD,
OCCUPATION, GRADE, AND PLANT

Table 9 presents the average hourly earnings of first-shift workers
in 10 midcontinent frame plants by length-of-service class, occupa­
tion, and plant; the occupational pattern in^ the remaining plant, a
subassembly producer, did not lend itself to combination with the
others. In table 9 the occupational and plant averages have been
arranged in descending order; the data within any one column do not
relate to the same establishment.
Examination of table 9 reveals that earnings of airframe workers
are determined largely by the specific job at which they work, rather
than by the length of training declared to be a normal requirement.
The considerable extent to which earnings of workers in the several
length-of-service groups overlap is immediately apparent. Among the
group of occupations requiring 4 years’ or more training, average earn­
ings ranged from 88.0 cents to $1,298, a spread of more than 40 cents.
A similar range in earnings is found in each of the other length-oftraining classes: in the 3 to 4 year group, from 83.5 cents to $1,203; in
the 2 to 3 year group, from 76.6 cents to $1,070; in the 1 to 2 year
class, from 72.0 cents to $1,017; in the 6 months to 1 year group, from
70.0 to 86.5 cents; and in the occupations requiring less than 6 months'
training, from 60.3 to 86.8 cents.
Table 9 reveals also the considerable variation in wages paid by the
several establishments to workers in identical occupations. The
differences in earnings for given occupations between the low- and
high-paying estabhshments are substantial, in some instances running
to more than 40 cents, and averaging about 20 cents. However,
there is little consistency in the relative position occupied by the rates
in any given establishment. A plant with wages above the regional
average may pay workers in some of its occupations at levels well below
the regional average for those jobs. Conversely, some low-paying
establishments may pay a few occupations a relatively high scale of
wages. This is exemplified by the occupational rates in one establish­
ment selected at random. The selected plant is one whose average
earnings are slightly below the area average. However, in one occupa­



18

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

tion, its rate was the highest in the region. Among the 19 occupations
in which the selected plant and at least 6 other establishments were
represented, the rates paid by the selected company had the following
rankings: First in one occupation, second in one occupation, third in
2 occupations, fourth in one occupation, fifth in 2 occupations, sixth
in 6 occupations, and seventh in 6 occupations.
T a b le

9 . — Average Straight-Time Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Midcontinent Airframe Plants, by Training Period and Occupation, June 1942

[Letters, A, B, and C, indicate occupational grade]
Per­
cent
of
Length of training period total
em­
and occupation
ploy­
ees
stud­
ied

Aver­
age
hourly
earn-

Individual plant averages in descending order of average

*9

plants

4 year$ or more

Tool and die makers, A ..
0.7 $1,298 $1.340 $1,819 $1,308 $1,273 $1,210 $1,200 $1,183
.1 1.278 1.200 1.050
Pattern makers, wood, A .
Jig builders, assembly,
metal, A ....................... . .3 1.235 1.425 1.214 1.175 1.128 1.087
Milling-machine opera­
tors, A ..........................
.3 1.194 1.214 1.195 1.170
Inspectors,
assembly,
.2 1.117 1.125 1.110 1.100 1.060
final, A ______________
Turret-lathe operators, A.
.3 1.099 1.198 1.110 1.033 1.000
Electricians,
mainte­
.4 1.088 1.278 1.117 1.088 1.047 1.030 1.000 1.000
nance, A .......................
Tool and die makers, B__
.5 1.085 1.154 1.135 1.130 1.108 1.095 1.063 1.025 $0,938 ...
Engine-lathe operators,
.3 1.084 1.222 1.150 1.130 1.075 .970
Form and model builders,
.1 1.061 1.088 1.050 .938
wood, A ...................... .
Inspectors,
machined
.1 1.060 1.200 1.150 1.100 1.100
parts, A .................. .
W orking supervisors, pro­
ductive.........................
2.7 1.051 1.297 1.042 1.040 1.025 .,932
Bench machinists, A ___
.2 1.026 1.117 1.000 1.000
Carpenters, maintenance,
.1 1.012 1.135 1.116
Mechanics, maintenance,
A ..................................
.2 1.009 1.070 ’ 1.065 1.010 1.010 .950
Sheet-metal
workers,
bench, A..................... .
.7
.948 .963 .903 .850
Inspectors,
machined
.2
.924 1.133 .997 .980 .867 .767
parts, B..................
Inspectors, templates,
.1
.884 .950 .917 .854
tools and dies, C.......—
.3
.880 .950 .918 .862 .833
Tool and die makers, C „

...

S and under 4 years
Inspectors—
Receiving, A ........
Assembly, general, A .
Detail, A ...................
Jig builders, assembly,
metal, B .......................
Field and service mechan<
ics, A ............................
Assemblers, general, A ...
Inspectors,
assembly,
final, B .........................
Turret-lathe operators,
B ___________ _______
Milling-machine opera­
tors, B ...........................
Engine-lathe operators,
B _____. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grinder operators, B .......
Small-tool repairmen, A .
Lay-out men.................. .
Inspectors,
machined
parts, C........................




.1
.4
.1

1.203 1.307 1.113
1.057 1.394 1.017
1.020 1.025

.970

.925

1.0

1.009 1.132 1.105

.985

.982

.937

.877

.875

.1
,1.0

.997 1.083 1.014
.982 1.169 1.000

.950
.986

.980

.938

.918

.818

.3

.981 1.040 1.014

.975

.975

.966

.950

.4

.955 1.010 1.009

.896

.783

.3

.921 1.000

.957

.953

.883

.3
.1
.1
.2

.908 1.005
.897 1.000
.875 .890
.858 .950

.880
.997
.883
.857

.840
.835
.829
.850

.823

.1

.835

.750

.890

... ... ...

19

MIDCONTINENT REGION— JUNE 1942

a b l e 9 . — Average Straight-Time Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Midcontinent Airframe Plants, by Training Period and Occupation, June 1942— Continued

T

[Letters, A, B, and C, indicate occupational grade]
Per­
cent
of
Length of training period total
em­
and occupation
ploy­
ees
stud­
ied

Aver­
age
hourly
earn-

Individual plant averages in descending order of average

‘ off’

plants

2 and under S years
Welders, maintenance
and jig, A.................... .
Template makers, B ___
Welders, gas (aluminum
and steel), A ............... .
Installers, controls, A —
Inspectors, receiving, B__
Painters, aircraft, A ........
Inspectors, assembly,
general, B .....................
Field and service me­
chanics, B....................
Mechanics,maintenance,
B ...................................
Bench machinists, B .......
Installers, electrical, A ...
Carpenters, maintenance,
B_._____________. . . . .
Electricians,
mainte­
nance, B.......................
Assemblers,
electrical
and radio, bench, A ___
Sheet-metal
workers,
bench, B...... ................
Installers, general, A .......
Inspectors—
Assembly, final, C.._
Detail, B ....... ..........
Form and model build­
ers, wood, C .................

0
.1

1.150 $1,097 $1,000
L . 071

.1

.7
.2
.1

.4

.971
.915
.915

.243 .. 127 1.041 $1,017 $0,970
.950 .816
.921 .900
.921 .917 .900 .867 $0,842

.890

.894

.879

.1

.887

.940

.831

.3
.4
.2

.874
.372
.867

.938
.015
.917

.909
.885

.838

.862

.900

.861

.925

.911

.1

.854

.872

.845
.843

.063
.950

.950
.932

.4
.6

.824
.811

.950

.1

.766

.775

.784

.898

.892

.892

.700

.950
.900

.868
.800

.810

.761 $0,759 $0,742 $0,700 ...

.806
.733

.793

.830

2.7
.3

.833
.840

.792

.4

.866
.846

.816
.887

.3

.876
.850
.808

.868

.730

1 year and under t years
Welders—
Arc, B .......................
Gas (aluminum and
steel), B ........... ......
Maintenance and jig,
Drop-hammer operators,
B_______ . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Riveters, A......................
Assemblers, general, B ...
Power-brake operators, B
Assemblers, precision,
bench, B..................... .
Drill-press operators, A ..
Shaper operators, metal,
B ...................................
Assemblers,
general,
wood, B ........................
Painters, aircraft, B........
Coverers, fabric, A ..........
Tool-crib attendant?, A ..
Form-block makers, metal
and wood, B................ j
Puneh-press operators,B.
Installers, general, B .......I




.2 1.017 1.073 1.052

.830
.922

.850

.810
.849

.815

.802

.788

.743

.720 ......... ......... .........

.800

.805

.792

.0

1.012 1.132 1.050 1.017 1.000

.931

.2

1.012 1.075 1.043

.995

.983

.915

10 12
.0 0 .1 0

.875
.850
.876
.767

.833
.859
.750

.819
.850

.838

.750

.700

.745
.817

.742
.816

.1
.4

6.0

.940 1.087
.918 1 .1
.915 1.050

.925
.883
.892
.850

.914
.865

.850
.783

.876
.873

.863

.824
.853
.700

.828
.830
.861

.802
.850

.769 $0,720

.843

.852 1.078
.850 .856
.840 .830
.837 .960

.776

.829
.824

20

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

T a b l e 9 . — Average Straight-Time Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Mid­
continent Airframe Plants, by Training Period and Occupation, June 1942— Continued

[Letters, A, B, and C, indicate occupational grade]

Aver­
age
hourly
earn­
ings,
all
plants

Length of training period
and occupation

Individual plant averages in descending order of average

1 year and under 8
years—Continued
Jig builders, assembly,
metal, C ......................
Mechanics, maintenance,
C ............
Spot welders, B ...............
Installers, electrical, B _ _.
Power-shear operators,B.
Turret-lathe operators,C_
Grinder operators, C.......
Field and service me­
chanics, C ....................
Installers, power plant, B.
Milling-machine operaators, C............... .........
Installers, controls, B _
_
Inspectors, receiving, C..
Engine-lathe operators,
C ---------- -----------------Inspectors—
Assembly, general, C.
Detail, C ................. .
Sheet-metal workers,
bench, C _______ - ____
Metal fitters, B....... .......
Clerks, stock and stores..
Inspectors, assembly, pre­
cision, C............. .........
Clerks, shipping and re­
ceiving..........................

$0,823 $0,855 $0.842 $0.821 $0.817 $0,790 $0.781
.822
.818
.817
.813
.810

.925
.827
.971
.792
.869
.875

.783
.800
.906
.780
.800
.813

.778
.750
.862
.767
.710
.783

.776

.761

.824

.823

.739 $0,717

.1
.3

.807
.805

.925

.825
.850

.817
.725

.750
.714

1.0
.4
.4

.797
.793
.789

.875
.838

.831
.823
.795

.830
.809
.775

.805
.763
.750

..775
.740

.726

.2

.789

.875

.875

.800

.725

.4
.2

.786
.781

.806
.806

.800
.788

.779
.779

.775
.765

.2
3.5

1
.8

.772
.762
.738

.857
.930
.847

.827
.867
.761

.817
.750
.758

.782 .761 .728 .700 .694
.731
.736 '."720 \‘ 7i2 \'7ii ‘ ."707

.1

.729

.845

.675

1
.0

.720

.767

.763

.802

.800
.770

.750

.814 .800
.804 1.050
.804 .826
.802 .800

.800
.850
.813
.700

.810
.714

.800

.750

.715

.800

.903

.815

.791

.740

.713

.814
.783

.783
.725

.754
.710

.700
.700

.2

.1

.6

.3
.4
.2

.868

.713 $0.713

.750

.730

.670

6 months and under 1 year
Welders, arc, C ..........
Router operators, A ........
Assemblers, precision,
bench, C..................... .
Drill-press operators, B ..
Saw operators, A_ _....... .
Craters, B ....... .............. .
Welders, gas (aluminum
and steel), C .......... —
Assemblers, electrical
and radio, bench, B.__.
Tube benders, bench, B .
Carpenters, maintenance,
C.................................
Drop-hammer operators,

C
......................




.1
.2
.2

1
.1
.2
.1

.956

.789
.786

10
.0 0

.827

.784

.794

.788

.749

.783

.800! .782

.723

.700

21

MIDCONTINENT REGION— JUNE 1942

T a b l e 9 . — Average Straight-Time Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Mid­
continent Airframe Plants, by Training Period and Occupation, June 1942— Continued

[Letters, A, B, and C, indicate occupational grade]
Per­
cent
of
Length of training period total
em­
and occupation
ploy­
ees
stud­
ied

Aver­
age
hourly
earn­
ings,
all
plants

Individual plant averages in descending order of average

6 months and under 1
year—Continued
Installers, electrical, C ..
Tool-crib attendants, B..
Bench machinists, C ___
Assemblers, general, 0 ._
Riveters, B .................... .
Installers—
General, O...............
Hydraulic, 0 ...........
Power plant, O....... .
Painters, aircraft, C........
F orm -block m akers,
metal and wood, O___
Truckers, power_______
Electricians, m ainte­
nance, C.......................
Metal fitters, O..............
Guards and watchmen...
Installers, controls, C—

$0.795 $0,775 $0.750 $0,681 $0,650
.760 .758 .750 .750 .747 $0,710
.821 .777 .762 .760 .740 .725 $0,717 $0,700
.800 .783 .764 .757 .725 .715 .713
673 $0,671
.788 .764 .753 .750 .731

0.5 $0,762
.762
.7
.5
.761
6.3
.754
5.2
.752

.865
.840
.861
.975

1.4
.1
.3
.7

.751
.743
.738
.737

.783
.775
.850
.800

.775
.700
.800
.758

.759

.758

.700

.790
.750

.734
.733

.700
.713

.2
.3

.736
.735

.800
.773

. 750
.756

.750
.700

.717
.700

.672

.1
.1
1.4
.2

.734
.728
.725
.700

.767
.793
.759
.759

.758
.700
.742
.750

.743
.683
.733
675

.730
.642

.704

.700

.868 1.003
.784 .961

.733
.756

.667
.750

.725

.743

.600
.675

Under 6 months
Saw operators, B ........... .
Coverers, fabric, B ........ .
Tool and die makers,
learner......................... .
Drill-press operators, C_.
Assem blers, general,
wood, C ...................... .
Craters, C...................... .
Anodizers, B................ .
Inspectors, machined
parts, learner................
Punch-press operators,
learner....................—
Router operators, learner.
Sheet-metal workers,
bench, learner..............
Helpers, general_____ _
Assemblers, general,
learner..........................
Laborers.......................
Assemblers, electrical
and radio, t)ench,
learner...........................
Jig builders, assembly,
metal, learner.. . ..........
Assemblers, general,
wood, learner...............
Inspectors, detail, learner
Riveters, learner..............
In sta lle rs, g en era l,
learner...........................




.1
.4
.2
1.3

.765
.737

.770
.750

%
767
.721

.5
.3
.1

.732
.722
.720

.750
.750
.742

.716
.700
.671

.1

.718

.744

.650

.2
.1

.718
.709

.745
.750

.700
.680

.640

1.7
4.9

.702
.685

.747
.748

.734

.670
.733

.662
.717

.625
.714

.600
.704

4.6
1.4

.685
.684

.796
.773

.747
.750

.700
.723

.672
.710

.633
.703

.600
.654

.4

.679

.706

.9

.675

.775

.738

.655

.4
.1
2.4

-.672
.670
.670

.771
.700
.708

.683
.660
.698

.646
.650
.696

.669

.624

.600

2.5

.667

.690

.674

.625

.600

.590
.600

.600

22

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

a b l e 9 . — Average Straight-Time Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Mid­
continent Airframe Pldnts, by Training Period and Occupation, June 1942— Continued

T

[Letters, A, B, and C, indicate occupational grade]
Per­
cent
of
Length of training period total
em­
and occupation
ploy­
ees
stud­
ied

Aver­
age
hourly
earn-

Individual plant averages in descending order of average

in
aff’
plants

Under 6 months—Con.
Tube benders, bench,
learner.................. .......
Assemblers, precision,
bench, learner. ............
Field and service me­
chanics, learner............
Janitors............................
Painters, aircraft, learner.
Installers, electrical,
learner.................... —
Pattern makers, plaster,
learner............. ............
Inspectors—
Assembly, general,
learner........... ........
Receiving, learner. _.
Installers—
Power plant, leamer.
Controls, learner.......
Hydraulic, learner...
Craters, learner............. .
Tool-crib attendants,
learner.......... ...............
Truckers, hand, and ware­
housemen.....................
Heat treaters (aluminum
alloy and steel), learner.
Milling-machine opera­
tors, learner..................
F orm -b lock makers,
m e ta l and w o o d ,
learner..... .............. ......
B e n c h m a c h in is t s ,
learner----------------------

0.3 $0,665 $0,743 0.641
.3

.664

.747

.648

.1
2.1

.664
.662
.661

.735
.784
.746

.638
.722 $0,722 $0,686 $0,681 $0,610 $0,600 $0,600 $0.574 $0,565
.683 .636 .600 .550

.659

.702

.659

.615

.659

.767

.694

.675

.600

.656
.655

.680
.700

.655
.650

.650
.650

.633
.645

.646
.644
.643
.641

.750
.649
.646
.679

.650

.649

.625

.635
.679

.550

.637

.660

.653

.600

.625

.625
.617

.583

.640

.633

.616
.604

.650

.603

.603

.600

.600

COMPARISON OF AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS
B Y REGION

,

Average hourly earnings in the various regions were as follows:
Midcontinent, 80.3 cents (June 1942); southern California, 82.9 cents
(December 1941); East Coast, 84.1 cents (April 1942); Buffalo, 98.2
cents and Michigan $1,093 (May 1942). The average in southern
California is believed to have advanced to approximately 84 cents
by May 1942, leaving the Midcontinent region about 3% cents below
the California average.
Table 10 presents a comparison of average hourly earnings of workers
grouped according to the indicated necessary length of training for
each of 4 regions. A similar tabulation for the Michigan workers
cannot be presented because the converted automgbile plants have not
adopted the grade classification within an occupation which is typical
of the remainder of the industry. Occupational averages in the Mich­
igan area vary from 89.2 cents per hour to $1,471, with over 90 percent
of the workers earning $1 per hour or more. The average of all
workers is $1,093.
It will be seen that almost without exception the midcontinent
average for a specific length-of-training group is lower than the average



23

COMPARISON OF AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS

for comparable workers in the other areas. Of equal importance,
however, is the large proportion of midcontinent workers found in
less-skilled categories. This, of course, is a reflection of the newness
of the industry m the area. It is stilt expanding at a rapid rate, and
many of the workers have not yet achieved the skill necessary for
assignment to more complex tasks. Class for class, it may be seen
that earnings of midcontinent workers were nearly on a par with,
and in fact were higher in one class than, the wages of east-coast
workers. Most of the 4-cent difference between the midcontinent
and east-coast averages can therefore be attributed to the larger pro­
portion of new workers in the midcontinent plants. A similarity in
this respect with the California data may be noted. Information for
the California workers was obtained at a time when employees were
being added in laj-ge numbers. In contrast, the smaller proportions
of less-skilled workers in the Buffalo and East Coast areas mirror a
lower accession rate in these regions at the time of the study.
T a b le

10.— Straight-Time Average Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Airframe
Industry, by Length of Required Training and Area
Midcontinent,
June 1942

Length of training required for
occupation

Per­
cent
of em­
ployees

Buffalo,
May 1942

Aver­
Per­
age
cent
hourly of em­‘
earn­ ployees
ings

East Coast,
April 1942

California,
December 1941

Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Per­
Per
age
age
age
cent
cent
hourly of em­ hourly of em­ hourly
earn­ ployees earn­ ployees earn­
ings
ings
ings

Less than 6 months.......... .................
6 months and under 1 year................
1 year and under 2 years....................
2 and under 3 years........ ...................
3 and under 4 years............................
4 years and over.................................

30.5
22.4
25.8
8.3
5.0
8.0

$0,677
.759
.840
, .883
.978
1.096

7.2
32.1
29.7
11.3
8.3
11.4

$0,826
.940
.965
1.020
1.061
1.153

19.1
25.5
26.8
8.4
8.3
11.9

$0,681
.772
.849
.927
.973
1.075

34.0
24.7
19.3
5.4
5.4
11.2

$0,702
.771
.827
.987
.970
1.128

All workers...............................

100.0

.803

100.0

.982

100.0

.841

100.0

.829

Table 11 shows the average earnings for specific occupations in the
four regions. As would naturally follow from the similarity in the
general regional averages, the earnings received by midcontinent
workers parallel closely those paid to workers in the same occupations
in the California and East Coast areas. For most occupations, how­
ever, the midcontinent averages are considerably below the wages
paid to the workers in Buffalo.




24

EARNINGS IN AIRFRAME PLANTS

T a b l e 1 1 . — Straight-Time

Average Hourly Earnings of First-Shift Employees in Selected
Occupations in Airframe Industry, by Occupation and Region
Midcon­
tinent,
June 1942

Occupation

AjfmtmfrlArp, general, grad ft A _ _ ___T____ „ , „

___

Buffalo, East Coast, California,
May 1942 April 1942 December
1941

$0,982
.918
.764
.685
.914
.814
.761
1.012
niftrks, shipping and receiving
_ _
____ ______
.720
Clerks, stock and stores____________________________
.738
Drill-press operators, grade A _______ ________________
.865
Drill-press operators, grade B _______________________
.804
.737
Drill-press operators, grade C _______________________
"TClpetnciftTiS, maintenance, grade A _ .
___
1.088
Field and service mechanics, grade B _____ ______ ____
.887
Onards find watchmen
_
_ _ _
.725
Helpers, general ___________________ ___ __________
.685
Inspectors, assembly, general, grade A ______ _________
1.057
Inspectors, assembly, general, grade B _______________
.890
Inspectors, assembly, general, grade C _______________
.786
.843
Installers, general, grade A __________________________
Installers, general, grade B _________________________
.824
Installers, general, grade C
__ _
A
.751
Installers, power plant, grade B _____________________
.805
.662
Janitors__________________________________________
Jig builders, assembly, metal, grade A ________________
1.235
Jig builders, assembly, metal, grade B _______________
1.009
.684
Laborers_________________________________ ______ __
Lay-out m e n _____________________________________
.858
.874
Mechanics, maintenance, grade B ___________________
Metal fitters, grade C______________________________
.728
1.194
Milling-machine operators, grade A _________________
Milling-machine operators, grade C _________________
.797
.915
Painters, aircraft, grade A __________________________
Painters, aircraft, grade B__________________________
.850
.737
Painters, aircraft, grade C__________________________
1.278
Pattern makers, wood, grade A _____________________
.829
Punch-press operators, grade B ____________________
.940
Riveters, grade A __________________________________
.752
Riveters, grade B __________________________________
.868
Saw operators, grade B _____________________________
.948
Sheet-metal workers, bench, grade A ________________
.845
Sheet-metal workers, bench, grade B ________________
.772
Sheet-metal workers, bench, grade C
________________
.818
Spot welders, grade B ___________________ __________
1.298
Tool and die makers, grade A _______________________
1.085
Tool and die makers, grade B _______________________
.880
Tool and die makers, grade C ___________ ____ _______
.837
Tool-crib attendants, grade A ___________ ____ _______
.762
Tool-crib attendants, grade B _______________________
.786
Tube benders, bench, grade B ______________________
1.039
Welders, gas (aluminum and steel), grade A__.......... ....
1.012
Welders, gas (aluminum and steel), grade B ..................
1.051
Working supervisors_______________________________

Assemblers, general, grade B ________________________
Assemblers, general, grade C ________________________
Assemblers, general, learner____ ____ ________________
Assemblers, precision, bench, grade B ...........................
Assemblers, precision, bench, grade 0 _______________
Bench machinists, grade 0 __________ _______________
Carpenters, maintenance, grade A ____ ______ ______

$1.115
1.020
.969
.654
.913
.891
.875
1.112
.925
.839
1.039
.972
.935
1.109
.918
.828
.915
1.034
.880
.905
1.155
.939
.855
.967
.796
1.163
1.024
.849
1.013
.928
.899
1.073
.943
1.196
1.034
.932
1.206
1.011
1.014
.923
.894
1.144
1.025
.924
.946
1.304
1.049
.883
.938
.830
.891
1.164
.929
1.242

$0,995
.884
.755
.663
.916
.757
.762
1.010
.783
.758
.887
.828
.706
1.063
.969
.746
.717
1.010
.916
.814
.948
.847
.742
.859
.729
1.123
.897
.727
.926
.928
.769
1.135
.830
.865
.815
.767
1.188
.802
.904
.789
.792
1.039
.903
.794
.809
1.252
1.087
.940
.841
.772
.859
1.093
.891
1.081

$0,992
.845
.770
.711
.890
.808
*775
1.059
.732
.765
.761
.818
.698
1.169
.907
.764
.698
1.039
.939
.835
.966
.834
.759
.861
.734
1.103
.950
.713
.747
.951
.836
1.153
.792
.972
.783
.771
1.352
.817
.841
.772
.810
1.047
.904
.806
.833
1.281
1.042
.918
.862
.699
.785
1.262
1.012
1.119

A special comparison can be made between earnings in the Michigan
plants and the Midcontinent establishments. Table 12 presents the
average wage paid by Michigan plants to all workers within the vari­
ous occupations shown in the table, and the average wage paid by
Midcontinent plants to grade A workers and to all workers found in
an occupation. It will be recalled that Michigan plants have not
adopted the grade break-down found in the remainder of the industry.
For these plants, therefore, only the all-worker average has been pre­
sented. The table thus permits of a dual comparison, each of which
has considerable justification for its use.




COMPARISON OF AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS

25

The Michigan establishments have so far been manned almost
entirely by the more skilled workers formerly employed by them before
the conversion of their facilities. Consequently, a comparison of the
Michigan average with the midcontinent grade A average has a con­
siderable degree of validity. On the other hand, it should be noted
that the Michigan averages also reflect the earnings of many workers
who are performing operations comparable to those performed by
grade B or grade C workers in the other area.
The table reveals a very substantial earnings differential between
“ all workers” in the midcontinent plants and the wage earners in the
Michigan establishments. These differences, which without excep­
tion are all in favor of the Michigan region, extend to more than
50 cents in some occupations, and average about 30 cents.
However, the spread between the averages of the grade A workers and
the Michigan employees is much smaller. In several occupations,
the midcontinent average is even higher than the Michigan wage level,
and in others only a few cents separate the two.
T a b l e 12.— Average Straight-Time Earnings of First-Shift Workers in Midcontinent

and Michigan Airframe Plants, by Occupation and Region
Midcontinent, June 1942

Michigan,
May 1942

Occupation
All workers
Tool and die makers_____________________________________
Working supervisors, productive__________________________
Inspectors, templates, tools, and dies.... _
____ ___
Welders, maintenance and jig_______ _____________________
Pattern makers, wood____________________________________
Welders, gas (aluminum and steel)________________________
Electricians, maintenance_________________________________
Mechanics, maintenance__________________________________
Engine-1athe operators___________________________________
Carpenters, maintenance_________________________ ________
Jig builders, assembly, metal______________________________
Inspectors, assembly, final_________ - _____________________
Inspectors, machined p a rts........
.
. .
_
M fiiing-TnftfthinA operators_______ _________ ______ ________
Lay-out men____________________________________________
Form and model builders, wood___________________________
Inspectors, assembly, general___ - _______ - _________________
Inspectors, receiving_____________________________________
Saw operators___________________________________________
Inspectors, detail
_____________________________________
Bench machinists_______________________________________
Assemblers, general______________________________________
Sheet-metal workers, bench _ __________ _________________
Router operators
_____________________________________
Small-tool repairmfvn_____ ........
Installers, controls_______________________________________
Painters, aircraft_________________________________________
Installers, general___________________________ _________ - _
Drill-press operators. _____________________________________
Installers, electrical___ ___ _______ _______________________
Tool-crib attendants_____________________________________
Assemblers, electricial and radio, bench____________________
Truckers, power _ ____________ ___________ _____________
Clerks, stock and stores___________________________________
Guards and watchmen,_________________________________ _
Coverers, fabric__________________________. - ___________ _
Clerks, snipping and receiving________________________ ____
Riveters__ — _______________________^
__________________
Janitors — __________ ___________________- _- ______-___
Laborers..______________________________________________




$1,089
1.051
.973
.972
.958
.951
.950
.906
.902
.857
.870
.924
.891
.874
.858
.852
.862
.832
.827
.812
.813
.810
.802
.798
.777
.777
.785
.729
.773
.761
.755
.755
.735
.738
.725
.738
.720
.737
.662
.684

Grade A
workers
$1,298
1.051
1.255
1.070
1.278
1.039
1.088
1.009
1.084
1.012
1.235
1.117
1.060
1.194
.858
1.061
1.057
1.203
.804
1.020
1.026
.982
.948
.838
.875
.971
.915
.843
.865
.867
.837
.854
.735
.738
.725
.840
.720
.940
.662
.684

All workers
$1.343
1.261
1.334
1.307
1.383
1.258
1.242
1.202
1.193
1.161
1.279
1.271
1.170
1.121
L394
1.471
1.228
1.146
1.147
1.168
1.068
1.037
1.132
1.102
1.225
1.115
1.104
1.092
1.017
1.085
L025
.950
1.068
1.008
1.101
.959
1.041
L101
.909
.892