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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Frances Perkins, Secretary
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Isador Lubin, Commissioner (on leave)
A . F. H inrichs, A cting Commissioner

+

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum
Industry, A pril 1943
Prepared in the

DIVISION OF WAGE ANALYSIS
RO BERT J. MYERS, C hief

Bulletin

762

{Reprinted from the M onthly L abor R eview , January and February 1944}

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON : 1944
For sale by the Superintendent o f Documents, U . S. Governm ent Printing Office
Washington 25, D . C« - Price 10 cents




Letter of Transmittal
U

n it e d

States D epartm ent of L abo r,
B u r e a u of L a b o r S t a t is t ic s ,

Washington, D. <7., February 23, 1944The Secretary of L abor :
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on earnings in oil-well drilling
and crude-petroleum production and refineries in the Southwest, April 1943.
This report was prepared in the Bureau’s Division of Wage Analysis, Region X II,
Dallas, Tex. The first part of the report, which deals with oil-well drilling and
crude-petroleum production, was prepared by!Joe E. Brown; and the second part,
which covers petroleum refineries, was prepared by C. Wilson Randle.
The Bureau is indebted to the many officials of cooperating companies through
whose courtesy these data were made available. Preliminary editions (mimeo­
graphed) of these articles were issued earlier by the Bureau, and these materials
were made use of in articles in the December 1943 and January 1944 issues of the
Petroleum Engineer.
A. F. H inrichs, Acting Commissioner.
Hon. F rances P erkins ,
Secretary of Labor.

Contents
Oil-well drilling and crude-petroleum production:
PageSummary------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1
Scope and method of survey__________________________________________
1
Characteristics of the industry________________________________________
2
Drilling and production__________________________________________
3
The labor force_______________________________________________________
5
Occupational composition________________________________________
5
Method of wage payment________________________________________
6
Unionization_________________________________
7
Average hourly earnings, April 1943------------------------------------7
Occupational differences_________________________________________
8
Petroleum refineries:
Summary____________________________________________________________
14
Characteristics of the industry-------------------------------------------14
Scope and method of survey___________
19
The labor force_____ ______
20
Average hourly earnings, April 1943---------------------------------------------------- 21
Occupational differences__________________________________________ 22
Regional differences___________________
23
Wage variations by size of plant________________________
28
Other factors influencing wage levels. ______________
28
U




Bulletin l^o. 762 o f the
United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics
[Reprinted from the M

on th ly

L abor R e v ie w , January and February 1944]

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum
Industry, April 1943
Oil-Well Drilling and Crude-Petroleum Production
Summary
A study of 21,805 males in selected occupations, employed in 401
companies engaged in petroleum production and the drilling of oil
and gas wells, in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, reveals that 58
percent of these workers were in jobs which showed straight-time
average hourly earnings of $1.00 or more. Approximately 8 percent
were m occupations paying $1.25 or more per hour. As a group the
employees studied averaged $1.02 per hour in April 1943.
Hourly earnings of workers in Texas averaged $1.03, in Louisiana
$1.02, and in Oklahoma 99 cents. The highest average hourly wage
($1.06) was paid in the Texas Gulf Coast area and the lowest (95
cents) in North Texas. The wages paid by large companies were
consistently higher than those paid by the small ones. Companies
operating under bargaining agreements with unions—generally the
larger companies— paid higher wages than those without such
agreements.
Among the 18 individual key occupations studied, that of rotary
driller showed the highest average wage, $1.52 per hour. Cable
drillers averaged only $1.15, and ranked below class A machinists
($1.33), class A electricians ($1.31), class A carpenters ($1.19), and
gang pushers ($1.17). Watchmen (63 cents) earned the lowest wages.

Scope and Method o f Survey
This study of wages in the production and drilling branches of the
petroleum industry was undertaken by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
primarily to provide data for use by the War Labor Board in its ad­
ministration of the national wage-stabilization program. In view of
the fact that this is the most comprehensive study of wages ever made
of the petroleum industry in the Southwest, its results should be o f
interest to management and labor also.
The companies included in the survey fall into three categories:
(1) Those which engage in production only, maintaining no drilling
department; (2) those which engage in production and maintain a
drilling department which does all or part of the drilling; and (3) those
which do drilling exclusively. Of the 401 companies studied, 71 were



l

2

,

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum Industry A p ril 1943

engaged exclusively in drilling, whereas the remaining 330 either pos­
sessed drilling divisions in connection with production activities or
were engaged solely in production. The Bureau’s study covered both
oil-well drilling and production but not rig building.1
The companies studied represent approximately 90 percent of those
employing 9 or more workers which were in operation at the time
this study was made. More than nine-tenths of the workers employed
in the drilling and production branches of the oil industry in Texas,
Oklahoma, and Louisiana were found in these companies.
As is characteristic of the oil industry, many of the companies
studied were engaged in multiple operations.2 The 401 companies
included in the study were found to control a total of 730 separate
operations in the Southwest, and many of them were operating in
more than one of the areas referred to. Of the total operations, 501
were in Texas, 157 in Oklahoma, and 72 in Louisiana.
The wage data used in this report were taken directly from pay-roll
records by trained agents of the Bureau, and relate to the pay-roll
period ending nearest April 15, 1943. Care was taken to insure
comparability of occupation from company to company through the
use of standard job descriptions, each employee being classified
according to the duties he performed rather than by his occupational
title.
Average hourly earnings, exclusive of premium overtime payments
and shift differentials, were obtained for 18 key occupations in the
industry. Of the approximately 40,000 workers employed by the
companies surveyed, 21,805 plant employees were studied. Several
criteria were used in the selection of these occupations: (1) Definite­
ness and clarity of the occupational classification; (2) numerical
importance; (3) critical importance to the war effort; (4) importance
from the standpoint of collective bargaining; and (5) representative­
ness of range of rates. It is apparent that all these requirements are
not equally satisfied by the occupations selected. Considered as a
whole, however, they are believed to present an adequate picture
of the wage structure of the industry.

Characteristics o f the Industry
In 1942 the States of Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana produced
53.3 percent of the Nation’s oil.3 Texas produced approximately
35 percent, Oklahoma accounted for 10 percent, and Louisiana over
8 percent. Of the producing wells at the end of 1942, this Southwest
region possessed nearly 40 percent— approximately 25 percent in
Texas, 13 percent in Oklahoma, and nearly 2 percent in Louisiana.
During this same year, these three States produced 739,572,000
barrels of crude oil. Of this amount, Texas produced approximately
65 percent, Oklahoma 19 percent, and Louisiana almost 16 percent.
At the close of the year the boundaries of the three States contained
159,750 producing wells. Sixty-three percent of these wells were*
1 Recognition is given to the fact that rig building is broadly considered a part of drilling operations.
Technically, however, it exists as a separate phase of the industry and has therefore been excluded from
this study. A comprehensive study of waees prevailing in the refining industry of the Southwest appeared
in the Monthly Labor Review for January 1944 (p. 124).
* An “ operation” is considered to include all the drilling and/or production activities of a company which
are within any one of the areas designated for purposes of this study. For example, there are six designated
areas in Texas, and this would be the maximum number of operations which any one company would be
considered to have in this State.
* Figures based on Bureau of Mines annual petroleum statement, No. P-241.




O il-W ell D rilling and Crude-Petroleum Production

3

in Texas, 33 percent in Oklahoma, and approximately 4 percent in
Louisiana. Production figures for areas within the State of Texas
show that approximately 30 percent of the State’s production comes
from the Texas Gulf Coast, about 25 percent from East Texas, 17
percent from West Texas, 13 percent from Southwest Texas, 9 per­
cent from North Texas, and 6 percent from the Panhandle. Of
Louisiana’s total production, the Louisiana Gulf Coast accounts for
75 percent and North Louisiana for the remainder.
Differentiation among the various drilling and production areas
appears to be based upon variations in such factors as geological
structure, depth of production, type of oil produced, gas pressures,
refining quality of oil, and amount and type of production.
At the end of 1942, oil and gas operations were found in every
county in Texas; 168 counties of the State, produced oil or gas, and
leasing and drilling activities were to be found in the remaining 86
counties. There are over 750 separate oil fields in Texas. These
fields are grouped, however, and the industry generally recognizes 6
distinct production and drilling areas (designated in table 2). Wells
in Texas, especially in the Texas Gulf Coast and Southwest Texas
areas, are generally deeper than those in Oklahoma. Slightly less
than 40 percent of the wells in Texas flow while the remainder are on
pump. Approximately 32 percent of the Texas wells are “ strippers,” 4
the majority of these being in the North Texas area.
The Louisiana oil fields are generally in the northern and southern
areas of the State, with few fields in the central region. There are
two general concentrations of oil fields in North Louisiana— one
in the western section near the Texas border and the other in the
east central portion. The South Louisiana fields are scattered
•throughout the southern part of the State, and, as is characteristic of
wells along the Gulf Coast, are of the deeper type, contain high gas
pressures, and consequently require heavier rigs and more highly
skilled labor than the wells farther north. Approximately 45 percent
of the wells in Louisiana are of the stripper class, North Louisiana
possessing most of these.
Although the industry recognizes no particular difference in areas
of production and drilling in Oklahoma (and consequently none are
made for purposes of this study), the northeastern part of the State
is characterized by older and generally shallower deposits. Wells
in the central part of the State, an area which embraces fields in the
Seminole and Oklahoma City region, are deeper and probably more
active from a drilling standpoint. No great differences in drilling
problems appear to exist, however, throughout the State of Oklahoma.
Production is characterized by a low per-well productivity, 95 percent
of the wells producing less than 25 barrels per day. Approximately
88 percent of the wells in Oklahoma are of the “ stripper” type.
D R IL L IN G A N D PRODU CTION

The policy regarding drilling varies from company to company.
Some companies maintain drilling departments adequate to carry on
all of their drilling operations while others make use of the services of
contract drilling companies. It is common practice, even among those
companies with their own drilling departments, to contract for a large*
* The term “ stripper’ * is applied to any well producing less than 5 barrels per day, which is taking from
the reservoir sand the last oil which can be mechanically and physically pumped out. Many of these wells
are operated on an extremely narrow niargin of profit.




4

,

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum Industry A p ril 1943

amount of drilling. In general, the tendency seems to be towards a
greater utilization by all companies of contract drilling service.
Cable-tool and rotary drilling are the two methods in use. Cabletool drilling, the older of the two, is used primarily for shallow drilling
and is becoming less and less important as it is necessary to tap deeper
oil deposits. This method involves dropping a sharp digging instru­
ment, attached to the end of a cable, repeatedly into the hole being
dug. It has been estimated that, as late as 1918, about 95 percent
of the oil wells were drilled by this method.
Relatively little cable-tool drilling is found in Texas and Louisiana,
but about 40 percent of the wells in Oklahoma are drilled by this
method.
The rotary method of drilling involves the use of a revolving bit
which bores into the earth. The development of this method of
drilling, along with heavier and stronger materials such as casings,
drill stems, and larger derricks and power units, has made possible
the deeper wells of the present-day oil industry.
Most drilling rigs are operated by steam, although diesel and electric
power are becoming more and more common. A rotary drilling rig
consists of the derrick, including the crown block, cables, moving
block, drill stem, and drilling machinery, the power unit (steam,
diesel, or electric), mud pumps, pipe, and pipe racks, and a crew house.
Near the derrick is a series of slush pits from which mud of varying
thickness and weight is pumped for circulation through the well,
the thickness and weight of the mud depending on the gas pressure
existing or likely to be encountered in the well.
When drilling takes place in a proved field or territory, data on the
sand stratum from which production is expected are usually obtained
in advance. In such cases the distance from the earth’s surfaceto the sand is known within rather close limits, and drilling goes
forward rapidly, usually without benefit of “ coring” operations
(i. e., extraction of sand, for analysis) until the oil sand is approached.
In a “ wildcat” operation there is usually no accurate information
available as to what sand strata, if any, lie beneath the surface, nor
the depth to or between them. In such operations coring may be
required throughout the entire depth of the hole, thereby slowing
completion of the well. It is common practice in wildcat wells for
drilling to be carried through one or more sands which normally
would have been considered “ pay” sand. This is done for purposes
of securing information concerning the sands present in the area, their
quality, and the depths to be drilled in order to reach them.
Whether or not drilling takes place in a proved field, if it is deter­
mined that production is possible and economically practical from any
of the sands encountered, steps are taken to “ bring in” the well.
The “ bringing in” of an oil well, primarily a responsibility of the driller,
requires both skill and patience. The exact technique employed
varies with the type of production which is expected, i. e., flowing,
pump, or air or gas lift. In any event the casing must be set and
tubing run. After these operations are completed, the well which is
expected to flow is equipped with a “ Christmas tree” — an elaborate
arrangement of outlets, valves, and gauges essential to test the
pressure of the well and control its flow. At this point the well is
ready for swabbing or some other technique designed to start the
flow of oil from the well.



O il-W ell D rilling and Crude-Petroleum Production

5

The production of petroleum involves the bringing of the oil to
the surface and its diversion to storage or appropriate transportation
facilities. Also involved are such items as maintenance of wells,
lease grounds, and other lease property.

The Labor Force
The labor force engaged in drilling and production activities in
this region consists almost entirely of male workers. Even under
pressure of the present labor shortage there is as yet no indication
that this characteristic will be altered. Workers engaged in drilling
activities are generally considered more mobile as a group than are
production workers. The drilling crew usually follows the rig from
area to area and, in general, remains intact. Wages paid to these
workers are not ordinarily affected by labor conditions common to
the locality in which the rig happens to be operating. Production
employees, on the other hand, who do not move from place to place
so frequently, often receive wages characteristic of the community
in which they work. The effect of the labor situation in the individual
community on wages paid to these employees is influenced consider­
ably, however, by such factors as size and policy of the company
involved and type of production.
The movement of labor in the drilling and production segments
of the oil industry is, in general, confined to areas similar with respect
to such factors as depth of the deposit and gas pressures. An example
of this is found in the characteristic movement of workers among the
oil-producing regions along the Gulf Coast and the relative lack of
such movement between the coastal regions and the northern areas
possessing shallower deposits and lower gas pressures.
O C C U P A T IO N A L C O M P O S IT IO N

The make-up of the crew usually required to operate a rig depends
on the drilling method and power being used. A typical crew for
a steam-driven rotary rig consists of a rotary driller, a fireman, two
rotary floormen, a derrickman, and a tool pusher.5 The driller is
the key man in any drilling crew. On him rests responsibility not
only for the safety of his crew, but also for the care of the expensive
equipment of which the rig is composed. He must be continually
alert for the particular formations in which he is drilling, in order
not to overlook desirable oil sands. He must keep an accurate log
of his drilling activities and be ready to meet emergencies created
by high gas pressures, broken cables, and the finding of unusual
geological formations. Both the skill involved and the inherent
responsibility of this occupation are reflected in the wages received
by drillers.
Throughout the oil industry rotary firemen, rotary floormen, and
derrickmen are referred to as “ roughnecks.” An increasing number
of smaller companies make no distinction in the duties of these three
occupational classifications, paying the same rate for each. For
purposes of this study these workers, when assigned a variety of
duties, have been classified as “ rotary driller helpers, not elsewhere
classified.” Average hourly earnings of such workers, since they
reflect primarily the wage levels of small companies, have a tendency*
* Roustabouts are com m only employed in the preparation of a drilling site and in setting up and removing
equipment other than the derrick. However, they are not usually considered part of the drilling crew.




6

,

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum Industry A p ril 1943

to be somewhat lower than the corresponding earnings of rotary fire­
men, rotary floormen, and derrickmen employed by larger companies.
Some of the larger companies, also, have tended toward less specializa­
tion of such workers in recent years. The trend in this direction will
no doubt be influenced by the degree to which diesel engines or elec­
tricity replace steam power, thus removing the need for a fireman and
reducing the range of skills required to handle work of the floor, der­
rick, and power unit.
The tool pusher, whose principal duty consists of keeping a supply
of sharp bits and other materials on hand, usually divides his time
among a number of rigs operating in the same vicinity.
The duties of drilling-crew workers are usually strenuous and con­
tinually expose them to varying degrees of danger. Heavy blocks,
cables, and tongs are in continuous movement overhead. The danger
of blowouts, which sometimes result in fire, is always present. A
derrickman must spend much of his time far up in the derrick. Dur­
ing recent years improved equipment and drilling techniques, accom­
panied by such safety devices as blowout preventers and weight indi­
cators, have made the job somewhat less hazardous.
Once the well is producing, the job of the drilling crew is over.
The rig is moved to other drilling sites and the care of the well becomes
the responsibility of production workers, chief of which are pumpers
and/or switchers and roustabouts.
Activities relating to the bringing of the oil to the surface and regu­
lating its flow to storage or transportation facilities are carried on by
pumpers and/or switchers; the pumpers normally tend wells which
are pumped and the switchers tend those which flow under natural
reservoir pressure. The pumpers and switchers together constitute
the largest occupational group in oil drilling and production.
Roustabouts, who perform those duties of lease and well mainte­
nance requiring relatively little skill, are often referred to as the “ com­
mon labor” of the oil industry. The duties of roustabouts, however,
are ordinarily more responsible than those of common laborers and
involve work which is consistently heavy and frequently dangerous;
the wages paid to roustabouts are generally considerably higher than
those paid to ordinary common labor. It should be noted that the
use of roustabout labor is not confined exclusively to production ac­
tivities; roustabouts are frequently employed in pipe-lining and well
servicing, and occasionally in drilling operations (particularly in the
preparation of slush pits, laying of water and fuel lines, and moving
equipment onto and off the drilling site).
The skill required and the responsibility involved in production, as
well as in drilling activities, vary with the characteristics of the pro­
ducing area involved. In fields where little or no gas pressure is pres­
ent and wells are characterized by low productivity, relatively less
skill and responsibility is required as compared with fields character­
ized by extremely high gas pressures, high productivity, and deep
wells.
M ETHOD O F W A G E P A Y M E N T

Workers in the drilling and petroleum production industry are
almost universally paid on a time basis. With negligible exceptions,
overtime is paid for at the rate of time and a half, after 40 hours a
week or 8 hours a day. A considerable amount of overtime was
being worked at the time of the Bureau’s study. Incentive systems.of



O il-W ell D rilling and Crude-Petroleum Production

7

pay are not generally found in the drilling and production phases
of the oil industry. Oil-well drilling and production ordinarily
proceed continuously, requiring 3 shifts for some occupations.
Premium payments for late-shift work, however, are uncommon.
U N IO N IZA TIO N

Of the 401 companies surveyed for this study only 17, or 4.2 per­
cent, were found to have bargaining agreements with unions. Of
these 17 firms, 9 were affiliated with the Oil Workers' International
Union (C. I. O.), and 2 with the International Union of Operating
Engineers (A. F. of L .); 6 were independent unions. The 17 com­
panies having union agreements, although constituting only 4.2
percent of the total companies covered, conducted more than 11
percent of the total operations in the Southwest and employed more
than 30 percent of the employees, thus indicating that unionization
is most prevalent among the larger companies. Thirteen percent of
the operations in Oklahoma were conducted by companies with
union* agreements; the corresponding ratio for Texas was 10 percent,
whereas in Louisiana only 1 percent of the operations were so classified.

,

Average H ourly Earnings A pril 1943
The 21,805 employees covered by this survey earned an average of
$1.02 in April 1943. Evidence available from other Bureau wage
surveys in the Southwest indicates that earnings in this industry are
relatively higher than those prevailing in most other industries in this
area.
Regional variations in wages within the Southwest were not marked.
A study of average earnings for each State, as shown in the accom­
panying tabulation, reveals a difference of 1 cent per hour in earnings
of workers in Texas and Louisiana ($1.03 and $1.02, respectively).
In Oklahoma, with its relatively shallow fields and high percentage of
cable-tool drilling, as well as its characteristic low productivity per
well and high degree of stripper activity, workers averaged 99 cents
per hour.
More specific area comparisons indicate slightly greater wage
differences. In North Louisiana workers averaged 99 cents per hour,
while in the Louisiana Gulf Coast they earned an average of $1.05.
This difference is probably the result of variations in such factors as
depth of production and gas pressures, as well as degree of activity of
the larger oil companies. The majority of Louisiana's stripper wells
are in North Louisiana.
Average hourly
earnings1

Southwest-----------------$1. 02
Texas--------- ------1. 03
Panhandle_________
1. 01
West T e x a s _____________________
1. 03
North T exas.----------------------------------------------------. 95
East Central Texas..................
1. 04
Southwest T ex a s._____ ________
1. 04
Gulf Coast___________________ ______ _____ _____________
1.06
Louisiana..._ ____________________________________________
_
1. 02
North Louisiana________________________________________
. 99
Gulf Coast................................................................................... 1. 05
Oklahoma______ _____
. 99
i Exclusive of premiums for overtime and night-shift work. In preparing these area averages, constant
occupational weights were used, based on the distribution of workers b y occupations in the Southwest as
a whole,
669294-44------ 2




8

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum Industry, A p ril 1943

The average wage paid to workers in Texas ranged from 95 cents
per hour in North Texas to $1.06 per hour in the Texas Gulf Coast
area. This range can be explained only in terms of a complex inter­
play of several influences. For example, rates in the Texas Gulf
Coast and Southwest Texas areas reflect the presence of very deep
drilling and production, extremely high gas pressures, and a high
proportion of major companies. On the other hand, the average
earnings received by workers in North Texas reflect the absence of
the factors mentioned above and the influence of low per-well produc­
tivity, a high percentage of stripper wells, and high per-barrel pro­
duction cost. The major oil companies have under lease large unde­
veloped acreages in this area, but their present activity is confined
largely to exploratory operations; hence drilling and production are
dominated by the smaller independent companies.
In East Central Texas, workers received an average of $1.04 per
hour, in West Texas, $1.03, and in the Texas Panhandle, $1.01. It
should be noted that both the area with the highest average wage and
that with the lowest are in Texas.
OCCUPATIONAL DIFFERENCES

The average for individual occupations in the Southwest ranged
from 63 cents per hour for watchmen to $1.52 for rotary drillers
(table 1). Of the 18 occupations studied, only that of watchmen
(including less than 1 percent of the total number of workers) showed
average hourly earnings of less than 80 cents in the region as a whole.
Five occupations, pumpers and switchers, rotary driller helpers not
otherwise classified, rotary floormen, roustabouts, and truck drivers
(under 2)4 tons), accounted for 77 percent of the workers and had
average earnings ranging from 80 cents to $1 per hour.
Twentytwo percent of the workers were employed in the 12 remaining occupa­
tions which showed average hourly earnings of $1 and over.
Pumpers and switchers, the occupational classification in which the
largest number of workers (36.4 percent) were employed, averaged
99 cents per hour, while roustabouts, accounting for the next largest
group (24.2 percent) averaged 94 cents. Cable drillers averaged only
$1.15 per hour, as compared with the $1.52 for rotary drillers. Derrickmen and rotary firemen each showed an average of $1.03 an hour,
while the average for rotary floormen was 99 cents. Rotary driller
helpers not otherwise classified, employed primarily in small opera­
tions, earned an average of 93 cents an hour.
The distribution of employees according to operation averages for
the various occupations reveals that approximately 12 percent were
in jobs averaging less than 80 cents per horn*, about 30 percent were
in those averaging from 80 cents to $1, and 58 percent were in jobs
paying $1 and over. Approximately 8 percent were in occupations
that averaged $1.25 or more.
Relatively few rotary drillers or class A machinists, it will be noted,
received less than $1.40 per hour, while comparatively few watchmen
received more than 80 cents. In view of the rather modest geo­
graphical differences in the general average wages previously given,
the marked dispersion of wage rates in some occupations is, however,
rather surprising. Extreme differences involving only a few workers,
to be sure, may reflect the influence of unusual circumstances and




9

O il-W ell D rilling and Crude-Petroleum Production

should Dot bo regarded as highly significant. It is of interest to note,
however, that substantial numbers of pumpers and switchers were
found in both the lower and higher wage ranges. Nearly 1,200
roustabouts were paid less than 80 cents per hour, while more than
1,000 others received $1.10 or more. The wide range of wages found
within the same occupational classification reflects, in addition to the
area differences noted above, differences in size and policy of company,
differences with respect to unionization, and other factors.
T a b l e 1.— Distribution o f M ale O il-W ell Drilling and Production W orkers in Selected
Occupations in the Southwest, b y Operation Average H ourly E a r n i n g s A p r i l 1943

Occupation

Total
workers
Number of
opera­ Num­
tions ber of Per­
work­ cent
ers

All workers:
Number ____________________
Percent. T., „
__

21,805

narppntArSj elass A _ __________ __
Carpenters class "R
_ _
Derrickmen..........................................
Drillers, ftfthlA____________________
Drillers' rntary
ElefetrieVans, niass A
Electrician^ class R _ r . __ _
Gang pushers.....................t ................
Machinists, class A
__ _
Maintenance men. .............................
Pumpers and switchers......................
Rotary driller helpers, not otherwise
classified...........................................
Rotary firemen nr
- _
_ _
Rotary floormen..................................
Roustabouts........................................
Truck drivers, under 2H tons............
Truck drivers, 2^ tons and over.___
Watchmen_____________________ __

Number of workers in operations
Aver­ where hourly earnings averaged—
age
hourly
earn­
$0.80 $0.85 $0.90 $0.95
and
and
and
ings Under and
$0.80 under under under under
$0.85 $0.90 $0.95 $1.00

3,325
15.2

2,590
11.9

100.0

16
20
144
58
225
17
9
243
12
77
570

25
41
1,012
198
1,353
25
15
947
18
167
7,945

.1
.2
4.6
.9
6.2
.1
.1
4.3
.1
.8
36.4

1,539
785
1,836
5,271
284
196
148

7.1
3.6
8.4
24.2
1.3
.9
.7

.93
1.03
.99
.94
.86
1.02
.63

1,029
4.7

1,878
8.6

5
8

3

44
3

2
83
3
1

29

15

14

1
38

7
2

40
988

8
232

2
312

17
450

13
1,069

60

44
3
3
125
4
30
4

343
22
154
124
7
1
3

331
72
409
448
5
14
4

477
224
650
545
18
20

$1.19
1.03
1.03
1.15
1.52
1.31
1.05
1.17
1.33
1.00
.99

88
108
134
440
98
75
70

471
2.2

16
1,181
121
17
125

1
4
295

Number of workers in operations where hourly earnings
averagedOccupation

$1.00 $1.05 $1.10 $1.15 $1.20 $1.25 $1.30 $1.35 $1. w
and
and
and
and
and
and
and
and
under under under under under under under under and
$1.05 $1.10 $1.15 $1.20 $1.25 $1.30 $1.35 $1.40 over

AU workers:
Number......................................... 3,039
Percent................. ........................ 13.9

2,858
13.1

2,782
12.8

1,764
8.1
3
68

1
43

20
56
58
a
3
4
113

13
2,228

6
1,173
58
68
185
1,016
1
18

12
161
294
5
16
53

—

Carpenters, class A ______________ —
Carpenters, class R
__
7
Derrickmen _
__
275
Drillers, cable
_ _
48
Drillers, rntary
_
16
Electricians, class A
1
Electricians, class R
46
Gang pushers................. ....................
Machinists, class A ,
3
Msintenanee men
8
Piimners and swit.ehers
639
Rotary driller helpers, not otherwise*
classified . . . .
, __
214
Rotary firemen _ _
____
206
Rotary floormen, ^
__
98
RnUStabnnta
1,445
20
Truck drivers, under 2J4 tons____. . .
11
Truck drivers, 2J4 tons and over
1
Watchmen..._____________________

3~
11
22

11
27
382
90
16
11

T

2~

114
0.5

65
0.3

200
0.9

1,284
5.9

10
30
1
1
15
1
2
3

8
83

12
1,186
14
1
53
14

11

13
4

149
14
3
1

20
20
18
1

300

144

27

29
799

21
45

7
4

1 Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work.




406
1.9

108
1

3
___ i

12
2
13

6

2

i

10

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum

Industry, A p ril

1943

Inter-area differences in occupational rates, although more pro­
nounced than the differences in the regional averages, are, in most
cases, moderate (table 2). Watchmen received the lowest wages in
each of the 3 States represented and rotary drillers the highest rates.
The greatest differences reflected, for the most part, variations in the
earnings of relatively small numbers of workers.
T a b l e 2.— Average H ourly Earnings1 o f M ale O il-W ell Drilling and Production W orkers
in Selected Occupations in the Southwest, b y Area , A p ril 1943
Texas
Texas Pan­ West Texas
handle

Entire State
Occupation

Num­ Num­
ber of ber of
opera­ work­
tions ers
Carpenters, class A .....................................
Carpenters, class B___................................
Derrickmen................................................
Drillers, cable. ...........................................
Drillers, rotary..........................................
Electricians, class A ...................................
Electricians, class B__................................
Gang pushers ...........................................
Machinists, class A .....................................
Maintenance men.......................................
Pumpers and switchers............................. .
Rotary driller helpers, not otherwise
classified..................................................
Rotary firemen.......................................... .
Rotary floormen.........................................
Roustabouts............... .............................. .
Truck drivers, under 2}4 tons....................
Truck drivers, 2H tons and over...............
Watchmen______ ______ _______________

Gen­ Lowest Highest Num­ Gen­ Num­ Gen­
eral opera­ opera­ ber of eral ber of eral
tion work­ aver­ work­ aver­
aver­ tion
age
age average average ers
age
ers

18 $1.21
10
32 1.03
16
683 1.06
99
144 1.17
39
943 1.54
163
20 1.30
13
8
14 1.06
620 1.18
161
14 1.32
8
77 1.05
45
406 5,151 1.00
68 1,277
551
76
88 1,186
295 3,104
183
66
122
53
123
52

.93
1.05
1.01
.95
.87
1.04
.63

$0.98
.75
.65
1.00
.90
1.10
.96
.56
1.00
.49
.32

$1.27
1.15
1.27
1.77
1.87
1.42
1.42
1.58
1.42
1.30
1.40

.71
.85
.68
.36
.40
.54
.30

1.18
1.27
1.18
1.15
1.16
1.44
1.08

(2
)
(2
)
(2
)
(2
)
34 $0.99
70 1.22
36 1.48
(2
)
(2
)
(2
)
(2
)
49 1.15

(2
)
(2
)
151
24
220
(2
)

(2
)
(2
)
$1.05
1.07
1.50
<)
2

(2
)
428

(2
)
1.00

88
(2
)
15
663

1.17
(2
)
1.04
1.01

39
27
42
313
14
10
(2
)

.95
.97
.96
.95
.88
1.02
(2
)

372
113
228
384
32
19
9

.94
1.04
.99
.95
.80
.95
.64

Texas

North Texas
Occupation

East Central
Texas

Southwest
Texas

Texas Gulf
Coast

Num­ Gen­ Num­ Gen­ Num­ Gen­ Num­ Gen­
ber of eral ber of eral ber of eral ber of eral
work­ aver­ work­ aver­ work­ aver­ work­ aver­
age
ers
age
age
ers
ers
age
ers
Carpenters, class A ..........................................
Carpenters, class B ..........................................
Derrickmen......................................................
Drillers, cable________________ __________
Drillers, rotary................................................
Electricians, class A ........................................
Electricians, class B ........................................
Gang pushers .................................................
Machinists, class A ..........................................
Maintenance men............................................
Pumpers and switchers...................................
Rotary driller helpers, not otherwise classifled.
Rotary firemen.................................................
Rotary floormen...............................................
Roustabouts....................................................
Truck drivers, under 2H to n s .-....................
Truck drivers, 2M tons and over....................
Watchmen........................................................

7
89
43
165
(2
)
(2
)
90
(?)
11
810
250
58
173
528
28
33
13

$1.08
.94
1.16
1.44
(2
)
(2
)
1.13
(2
)
.99
.91
.90
.95
.92
.90
.78
.99
.45

4 $1.22
1.11
3
65
1.08
1.09
7
86
1.58
(2
)
(2
)
(2
)
(2
)
126
1.20
(2
)
(2
)
25
1.08
1,350
1.01
74
.93
52
1.08
1.04
129
689
.96
.94
44
1.14
13
18’
.59

4
76

(2
)
$1.10
1.09

8
16
268

$1.26
.97
1.09

86
(2
)
(2
)
82
<)
2
4
527
101
65
133
358
20
4
9

1.61
(2
)
(2
)
1.25
(2
)
1.13
1.01
.88
1.10
1.05
.93
.94
1.24
.61

350
11
9
185
6
20
1,373
441
236
481
832
45
43
72

1.58
1.26
.99
1.18
1.21
1.04
1.04
.95
1.07
1.04
.99
.88
1.06
.68

(?)

i Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work.
* N um ber of plants and/or workers too small to justify presentation of an average.




11

O il-W ell D rilling and Crude-Petroleum Production

T a b l e 2 .— Average H ou rly Earnings o f M ale O il-W ell Drilling and Production Workers
in Selected Occupations in the Southwest, b y A rea , A p ril 1943 — Continued
Louisiana
North
Louisiana

Entire State
Occupation
Num­
ber of
opera­
tions
Carpenters; class A ...........................................
Carpenters, class B...........................................
Derrick m en.................................................. .
Drillers, cable....................................................
Drillers, rotary......................... ...... .................
Electricians, class A
____
_____
Electricians, class B „ .......................................
Gang pushers....................................................
Machinists, class A . . .......................................
Maintenance men.............................................
Pumpers and switchers....................................
Rotary driller helpers, not otherwise classified.
Rotary firemen..................................................
Rotary doormen................................................
Roustabouts......................................................
Truck drivers, under 2H tons..........................
Truck drivers, 2H tons and over.....................
Watchmen.........................................................

Num­
ber Of
work­
ers

P )3
21
3
30

172
4
195

823 891
®u
49
8
15
20
37
13
5
9

(2
)
44
715
93
151
372
530
54
7
14

Gen­
eral
aver­
age
(2
)
$1.02
1.01
1.06
1.52
(*)
<)
2
1.20
(2
>
.92
1.02
.98
1.01
.98
.92
.82
1.14
.66

Louisiana

Lowest Highest Num­
opera­ opera* ber of
tion
tion
aver­
aver-. work­
ers
age
age
(2
)
$0.90
.85
1.01
1.00

<)
2
(2
)
28
4
39

8 8
1.62
.60
(2
)
1.37
1.24
1.12
1.18
1.16
1.11
1.24
1.16
1.08

8
$1.02

(2
)
43
(2
)
30
357
(2
)
16
42
284
37

1.24
1.08
1.82

(2
)
.76
.38
.88
.92
.85
.50
.50
1.05
.40

Gen­
eral
aver­
age

(2
)
1.14
(2
)
.85
.99

(,)<

1.00
1.50

.94
.89
.70
(2
)
.40

Ok:lahoma

Louisiana
Gulf Coast

Entire State

Occupation
Lowest Highest
opera­ opera­
tion
tion
aver­
aver­
age
age

Num­
ber of
work­
ers
Carpenters, class A ...........................................
Carpenters, class B...........................................
Derrickmen.......................................................
Drillers, cable
Drillers, rotary.................................................
Electricians, class A ..........................................
Electricians, class B_
_ _
__ __
Gang pushers....................................................
Machinists, class A
__
Maintenance men.............................................
Pumpers and switchers..................................
Rotary driller helpers, not otherwise classified.
Rotary firemen..................................................
Rotary floormen...............................................
Roustabouts......................................................
Truck drivers, under 2\i tons..........................
Truck drivers, 2H tons and over.....................
Watchmen........................................................

Gen­
eral
aver­
age

Num­
ber of
opera­
tions

Num­
ber of
work­
ers

Gen­
eral
aver­
age

(\
144

(2
)
$1.04
1.01
1.52
(2
)

5
(2
)
157
50
215
3

$1.10
(a
)
.95
1.08
1.45
1.34

$1.00

156
(2
)

4
(2
)
24
16
42
3

W82
.89
1.00
1.00

$1.18
(2
)
1.19
1.33
1.88
1.58

48

1.26

14
358
81
135
330
246
17
6
10

1 06
•1.04
1.00
1.01
.99
.96
1.07
1.14
.73

59
3
21
116
. 12
17
26
108
19
17
9

236
3
46
2,079
169
83
278
1,637
47
67
11

1.13
1.40
1.00
.97
.93
.97
.94
.92
.89
.97
.65

.61
1.40
.68
.45
.64
.82
.60
.45
.43
.75
.30

1.87
1.40
1.30
1.14
1.12
1.14
1.12
1.10
1.08
1.16
1.04

s Number of plants and/or workers too small to justify presentation of an average.

A more important factor which contributes to interplant variation
in wage rates is difference in the size of companies involved (table 3).
Quite commonly, the major oil companies, operating over a wide area,
follow the policy o'f paying one rate for each occupational classification
in all the areas in which the company operates. Because of the need
for attracting and maintaining a labor force in all areas regardless o f




12

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum

Industry, A p ril

1943

local labor conditions, the wage rates paid by these companies are
generally higher than those paid by smaller companies with more or
less local operations. It follows that areas in which the major oil
companies are particularly active tend to have a higher level of wages
than those in which operations are largely confined to small independ­
ent companies.
Occupational averages were consistently higher in the medium-size
companies than they were in small companies. Likewise, averages
in the large companies were consistently higher than those in the
medium-size group. Pumpers and switchers, for example, averaged
80 cents an hour in small companies, 94 cents in medium-size com­
panies, and $1.07 in the large ones. Roustabouts averaged 73 cents
in small companies, as compared with 86 cents in medium-size com­
panies and $1.03 in the large-size group. Rotary drillers averaged
$1.46, $1.48, and $1.61, respectively, while for gangpushers the corre­
sponding averages were $1.06, $1.12, and $1.21.
T a b l e 3 .— Average H ourly Earnings o f M ale O il-W ell Drilling and Production W orkers
in Selected Occupations in the Southwest, by Size o f Com pany, A p ril 1943 1
Small companies
(9-50 employees)

Medium com­
panies (51-250
employees)

Large companies
(251 or more em­
ployees)

Occupation
Number Average Number Average Number Average
of em­ hourly of em­ houily
of em­ hourly
ployees earnings ployees earnings ployees earnings
Carpenters, class A ................................................
Carpenters, class B ................................................
Derriekmen............................................................
Drillers, cable........................................................
Drillers, rotary.....................................................
Electricians, class A__..........................................
Electricians, class B ___________________ ______
Gang pushers.........................................................
Machinists, class A ______________________ ___
Maintenance men.................................................
Pumpers and switchers.........................................
Rotary driller helpers, not otherwise classified. _
Rotary firemen.....................................................
Rotary floormen....................................................
Roustabouts...........................................................
Truck drivers, under
tons............................. .
Truck drivers, 2H tons and over.........................
Watchmen..............................................................

4
5
205
136
338
2

$1.04
.75
.95
1.11
1.43
1.06

126

1.06
(*)
.96
.80
.91
.96
.96
.73
.69
.88
.50

W 33
1, 554
548
151
344
1,157
57
27
33

4
338
27
475
6
(2
)
181

(2
)
$1.01
1.00
1.21
1.48
1.18
(a)
1.12

49
1,333
666
240
559
899
61
48
58

1.01
.94
.93
.98
.93
.86
.70
.99
.64

<*)

20
32
469
35
540
17
14
640
17
85
5,058
325
394
933
3,215
166
121
57

$1.23
1.07
1.09
1.23
1.61
1.40
1.03
1.21
1.35
1.02
1.07
.98
1.09
1.05
1.03
.99
1.06
.72

» Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work.
* Number of workers too small to justify presentatidn of an average.

Wage rates in companies having union agreements were consistently
higher than those in companies without such agreements (table 4):
Roustabouts averaged $1.06 per hour in union companies as compared
with 86 cents in nonunion establishments. Rotary drillers averaged
$1.80 in union companies and $1.47 in those with no union. The
hourly average in union companies for pumpers and switchers was
$1.08 while in nonunion firms it was 93 cents. As the union companies
included in this study were generally the large organizations, the
precise influence of these two factors individually is uncertain. A
special comparison of the largest companies by presence or absence
of unionization, however, reveals slightly higher rates among those
having union agreements.




O il-W ell D rilling and Crude-Petroleum Production

13

T a b l e 4 .— Average H ou rly Earnings o f M ale O il-W ell Drilling and Production Workers
in Union and N onunion Companies in the Southwest, A p ril 1 9 4 3 1
Companies with union
agreements

Companies without
union agreements

Occupation
Number of
workers
Carpenters, class A _
_
______
Carpenters, class B _________________________________
Derrickmen_______________________________________
Drillers, cable__________ ______ ____________________
Drillers, rntary
Electricians, class A .........................................................
Electricians, class B....... .............................. ......... .........
■Clang pushers
___
_ _
_
Machinists, class A ____ _
Maintenance men
___ _
Pumpers and switchers_____ _______________________
Rotary driller helpers, not otherwise classified.......... .
Rotary firemen
_ _ _ _ ____ __ __ _ __ _ ____
Rotary fioormen___
__ _ _ _ ____
_____
Roustabouts
____
_ __
Truck drivers, under
tons
_
____
Truck drivers, 2H tons and over_____________________
Watchmen ________ ___ _ ............................... . T

15
22
186
10
203
15
6
449
is
71
3,222
5
194
408
2,127
133
52
24

> Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work.




Average
hourly
earnings
$1.22
1.10
1.22
1.40
1.80
1.42
1.16
1.20
1.39
.98
1.08
.71
1.17
1.14
1.06
.98
1.10
.84

Number of
workers
10
19
826
188
1,150
10
9
498
3
96
4,723
1,534
591
1,428
3,144
151
144
124

Average
hourly
earnings
$1.15
.94
.99
1.13
1.47
1.15
.99
1.14
1.02
1.02
.93
.93
.99
.95
.86
.76
.98
.60

14

,

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum Industry A p ril 1943

Petroleum Refineries
Summary
A detailed study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of 10,583
male workers in selected occupations— about 40 percent of the total
labor force of 117 petroleum refineries in Texas, Oklahoma, and
Louisiana— disclosed that nearly four-fifths were classified in jobs
which showed straight-time average hourly earnings of $1.00 or more.
As a group, these employees earned an average of $1.16 per hour in
April 1943. Workers in Texas and Louisiana earned an average of
$1.18 an hour as compared with $1.05 in Oklahoma. The highest
hourly earnings ($1.24) were found in the Gulf Coast area of Texas,
while the average for the inland Texas area ($1.00) was the lowest.
These regional variations are, in large part, a reflection of differences
in size of operation and technological processes, both of which appear
to have pronounced effects on levels of earnings. Of the 34 specific
occupational groups studied in detail, only 7 showed average hourly
earnings below $1.00; less than a fifth of the workers covered were
classified in these 7 groups. The averages for 9 occupational groups,
which included more than a fourth of the workers studied, amounted
to $1.25 or more per hour. The apparent upward trend of earnings
in Southwestern petroleum refineries during the past 18 months is m
part a reflection of the closing of disproportionate numbers of small
and relatively lower-wage operations as a result of changes largely
occasioned by the war.

Characteristics of the Industry
According to standard trade directories, at the close of 1942 there
were in operation in the United States 412 petroleum refineries with
a daily crude-petroleum capacity of 4,780,025 barrels. Texas, Okla­
homa, and Louisiana accounted for 129 of these, with a daily capacity
of 1,853,030 barrels— 31 percent of the total number of refineries and
39 percent of the Nation’s refinery capacity.
The expansion of the petroleum-refining industry was accompanied
in peacetime by the processing of such tremendous quantities of crude
oil that inadequate attention w as given to the effective utilization of
7
the full range of petroleum products. This resulted in the lack of
development of certain petroleum derivatives, with a consequent
neglect of their potentialities as sources of fuel and chemical products.
The requirements of the war, however, ma*de extraordinary demands
on the refining industry. The need for tremendous quantities of
aviation gasoline and special lubricants for the thousands of fighting
planes, the importance of breaking the explosives bottleneck by pro­




Petroleum Refineries

15

ducing toluene from petroleum, the urgency of the new syntheticrubber industry, and the need of the Army and Navy for emergency
technical advice all provided a tremendous incentive for research and
development in petroleum refining. N ew techniques have been devel­
oped, making available fuel types that would normally require years
to produce. The art of oil refining has advanced so rapidly that there
is little exaggeration in the statement that expensive equipment some­
times beoome& obsolete, almost before its construction is completed.
Petroleum-refining technology has expanded the oil business into a
highly developed type of chemical industry.
Modern refineries may be divided into two broad types, the dis­
tillation plant and the cracking plant. Distillation, the oldest process
for separating petroleum into its constituents, consists of the simple
physical separation of a liquid hydrocarbon into fractions with
different boiling points. Distillation plants range from the simple
skimming or topping plant to the establishment equipped for com­
plete distillation. Cracking is of more recent origin and involves
the actual chemical rearrangement or breaking down of heavy hydro­
carbons into lighter hydrocarbons and carbon. All varieties of com­
binations of distillation and cracking plants exist in the petroleum
industry today.
In the skimming or topping plant, the gasoline and/or kerosene
fractions of the crude oil are removed by a simple distillation process
utilizing heat but little or no pressure. After the gasoline and kero­
sene fractions are removed, the remaining heavy oil is usually marketed
as fuel oil. In the complete distillation plant, not only are the gaso­
line and kerosene fractions removed, but various other fractions are
distilled off and refined into lubricants, greases, and other special
products. Coke and/or asphalt remain as a residual product in this
type of refinery operation. The complete distillation plants are
usually large-scale operations, while the skimming plants are ordi­
narily designed to supply local needs. It is estimated that approxi­
mately half of the gasoline used in peacetime was derived from
distillation operations.
The cracking plant utilizes a process for converting the higher into
lower molecular-weight hydrocarbons. This process can be ac­
complished by the application of heat and pressure (thermal cracking)
or by the action of catalysts under conditions which give negligible
thermal cracking (catalytic cracking). The catalyst not only ac­
celerates but also directs the course of the cracking reaction to give
better yields of higher quality products. It is to the improvement
in “ cracking” methods that much of the credit should go for the recent
outstanding accomplishments of the petroleum-refining industry.
Thermal cracking produces approximately half of the 600,000,000
barrels of gasoline refined annually in the United States. On the basis of
output, it may thus be considered as the most important form of
processing by cracking. On the other hand, catalytic cracking is so
important in the production of such war materials as aviation gaso
line, butane-butylene hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, and
butadiene, that enormous impetus has been given this more recent
form of cracking. At the end of 1942, according to reliable estimates,




16

,

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum Industry A pril 1943

about 30,000,000 barrels of cracked gas were being produced annually
by the catalytic process, and this type of operation was being sub­
jected to rapid extension. Today, of the 412 refineries of the United
States, 77 are equipped for catalytic cracking. Development of this
type of processing is currently restricted to units of large capacity,
chiefly because of the operating economies accruing to volume opera­
tions and the saving of steel and other critical materials.
According to trade journals, the number of operating refineries in
the United States decreased by 39 during the year ended in March
1943. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, from March 1942
to September 1943, 25 refineries in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana
ceased operations. Sixteen of these were in Texas, 8 in Oklahoma,
and 1 in Louisiana.
The closing of these plants resulted largely from war conditions,
such as lack of transportation facilities, restrictions on the use of
critical materials, inability to obtain labor, and, in some sections,
the growing lack of crude oil. Contributing to this influence is the
“ big inch” pipeline, recently completed, which transports crude oil
to the East Coast and thus reduces the refinery operations in the
producing regions. Perhaps more important than these factors, how­
ever, is the trend toward larger refineries, as a result of the more
efficient use of critical materials in the larger refineries equipped for
cracking and the fact that the small skimming plants turn out only
inferior gasoline and have a rather low recovery ratio of gasoline to
crude oil processed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that
17 of the 25 refineries which have closed in Texas, Oklahoma, and
Louisiana since March 1942 were small plants employing skimming
operations only. The decreased crude supply and the demand for
superior grades of petroleum products have thus been a potent
combination in closing the smaller and less efficient refineries.
The location of petroleum refineries is determined primarily by the
most favorable combination of two factors— proximity or low-cost
access to a supply of crude petroleum and the location and nature of
the consuming market. One would thus expect refineries to be
situated near “ feeder” pipelines, railroad centers, water-transporta­
tion facilities, producing fields, or large centers of population. Refer­
ence to the distribution of refinery operations in Texas, Oklahoma,
and Louisiana confirms such an assumption. (See map, p. 17.)
Concentrations of refineries occur near Corpus Christi, Houston,
Beaumont— Port Arthur, Dallas—Fort Worth, San Antonio, Wichita
Falls, Shreveport, and New Orleans. Other refineries in these States
are rather widely dispersed over a considerable area, but in the main
are small skimming or topping plants taking advantage of local
production and catering almost exclusively to local demands.
Refining practice in various areas has been influenced by the
demands of the market in which the products of the refinery are sold.
For example, cracking is more important on the Gulf Coast, where
there is a growing demand for high-octane gasoline, toluene, or buta­
diene for war uses, than in inland areas, where there is a greater
demand for lower-octane gasoline for motor-car use or for fuel oil
because of the high cost of coal. The type of crude oil produced
within a region may also influence refinery operations. By way of







17

(HAVING 9 OR MORE EMPLOYEES)

Petroleum Refineries

18

,

Earnings in Southivestem Petroleum Industry A p ril 1943

illustration, the refining techniques utilized in processing the “ sweet”
oils of the Texas Gulf Coast would necessarily have to be modified
and supplemented by additional processes if the “ sour” crude oils of
West Texas were used as base stock.6 Again, the presence of paraf­
fin-base oils might require processing methods somewhat different
from those utilized for asphalt-base oils. In brief, refining practices
must be modified to meet the need of the type of crude petroleum
currently being processed.
The various characteristics of petroleum refining set forth in the
preceding paragraphs necessarily influence wage rates and occupa­
tional structures. In general, a more skilled type of labor is required
for cracking processes than for skimming or topping operations. As
a consequence, wage rates show a distinct tendency to be higher in
areas where there is a predominance of plants equipped for cracking
than in areas where simple distillation is relatively more important.
As evidence of this tendency, wage rates are significantly higher along
the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana where cracking plants are
concentrated than in the inland areas of these States where skimming
and topping are more prevalent. Large establishments, for a variety
of reasons, generally pay higher wages than do the smaller ones.
Consequently, the predominance of large refinery units within an
area tends to create higher wage levels than would prevail in sections
where there are greater proportions of smaller units. The presence
of large refinery units in the Louisiana Gulf Coast region has doubtless
contributed to a wage level distinctly higher than in North Louisiana
where the units are smaller. In this same connection, the significant
number of small and relatively low-wage plants which have closed in
recent months in the Southwest has probably contributed to the rise
in the general level of refinery wages.
The occupational structures of petroleum refineries are also in­
fluenced by certain of the factors previously mentioned. Large plants
with a more extended division of labor usually have a greater number
of occupations than do the smaller establishments. More and differ­
ent occupations are generally found in plants equipped for cracking
than in plants employing only topping operations. Processing of
paraffin-base crude oils may give rise to occupations not found in
plants processing asphalt-base oils. West Texas refineries utilizing
sour oils have different occupations from those found in Gulf
Coast refineries which process sweet oils, as well as a greater
number of jobs. Modern refineries with a large proportion of auto­
matic equipment use fewer employees than older-type establishments.
In addition, these employees tend to have more varied duties than
those in older types of refineries where the equipment being utilized
enforces strict division of labor. The same tendency is also apparent
in the smaller refineries where several jobs may be done by one em­
ployee. Apparently in both the more modern refineries and in the
smaller refineries there appears to be no strict adherence to a very
fine division of labor.
Practices and characteristics of the petroleum-refining industry
thus appear to be significant influences with regard to the level of
wages, the occupational structure of the industry and, to a less extent,
the method of labor utilization.•
•Sonr crudp oils are usually defined as those which possess some compound of sulphur or some other
Ingredient which imparts corrosive characteristics to the crude petroleum stock. Sweet crude oils are
those which do not possess oorrosive qualities.




Petroleum Refineries

19

Scope and Method o f Survey
This survey of wages paid in the petroleum-refining industry in the
Southwest was undertaken by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part
of its program of securing basic wage information for use in the wagestabilization program.7 Included in the survey were 33,923 employees
in 117 refineries in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. These establish­
ments represent all of the petroleum refineries in these States which
had 9 or more employees and were operating in April 1943, the time
of the survey. Of the refineries studied, 78 employing 20,626 persons
were in Texas, 23 employing 5,131 workers were in Oklahoma, and 16
employing 8,166 workers were in Louisiana. Detailed wage infor­
mation was obtained for 34 selected plant occupations covering 10,583
workers, or approximately 40 percent of the total plant employment.
No attempt was made to cover all occupations in the industry.
The intent was to cover such key occupations as would adequately
represent the wage structure of the industry. The choice of occupa­
tions was guided by consideration of the following criteria: (1) Sta­
bility and definiteness of the occupation; (2) strategic importance
from the standpoint of collective bargaining; (3) numerical impor­
tance; (4) critical importance from the standpoint of war effort;
(5) representativeness of the range of earnings. Needless to say, the
occupations selected do not satisfy all these requirements equally
well. Considered as a whole, however, they are believed to provide
an adequate picture of the wage structure.
The majority of refineries in the Southwest work a partial or skele­
ton night and “ swing” shift. This tendency has become increasingly
evident as the pressure of war demands has necessitated longer pro­
ducing hours. Any differential amount that is paid for such shifts
has been excluded from the data. Extra earnings from premium pay
for overtime were also eliminated.8 As a result, the average earnings
presented in this report are straight-time hourly earniogs, exclusive
o f premium overtime and shift-differential payments. It should also
be emphasized that the averages shown are occupational averages
and do not necessarily reflect the range of earnings of individual
workers.
The wage data were taken from pay-roll and other plant records
b y experienced representatives of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who
used a standard set of occupational definitions in classifying the em­
ployees of each company studied.
For purposes of indicating differences in wage levels, the Gulf Coast
areas of both Texas and Louisiana have been tabulated separately in
this study. This is not intended to imply that geographical consid­
erations are a primary cause of these differences. Such variations as
exist in petroleum refining in the Southwest are apparently due to size
of establishment and processing method rather than to geographical
influences. Proximity to a source of crude oil and to cheap transporta­
tion facilities has resulted in the location along the Gulf Coast, of the
larger refineries using intricate processing methods requiring a more
skilled type of labor. The regional distinctions are therefore in
7 Reports of earlier studies of this industry made by the Bureau in 1920 and 1934 may be found in the
Monthly Labor Review for May 1921 (p. 50); August 1922 (p. 87); July 1935 (p. 13); and November 1935
With negligible exceptions, time and a half after 40 hours a week or 8 hours a day was paid by Southwest
petroleum refineries. Incentive systems are nonexistent in the petroleum-refining industry of the South­
west; consequently all wages shown are actually hourly wage rates.




20

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum Indu stry, A p ril 1943

reality differences resulting from size of establishment and type o f
process rather than from geography.

The Labor Force
The majority of occupations in petroleum refineries require a high
degree of skill, which can ordinarily be acquired only after a consider­
able period of experience. As technological advance is made in the
industry and processes become more complex, an even greater pre­
mium is placed upon experience and skill. Efforts have been made,
therefore, to reduce labor turnover to an absolute minimum. Per­
sonnel policies, high wage rates, and the obviously essential character
of the work have contributed to the success of this endeavor. It may
be noted in this connection that the petroleum-refining industry of the
Southwest does not employ many women. The survey disclosed that,
in spite of a serious manpower shortage, less than 1 percent of the total
number of plant employees found in selected occupations were
women.9 Further, all the female employees found were working as
janitresses, routine testers, and stock clerks—jobs requiring compara­
tively little skill. However, women are being hired in increasing
numbers,1 mainly for work in the offices of the refineries. The Bureau
0
of Labor Statistics found that approximately 74 percent of the
refinery office forces were women.
The greatest employee concentration was found in the occupational
classifications of stillmen’s helpers No. 1; stillmen, other; and pump­
men. This was to be expected, since not only are these workers needed
in appreciable numbers, but these occupations are common to prac­
tically all refineries. The smallest numbers of employees were found
in the occupational classifications of compounders, chillermen, and
wax operators. This was also to be expected. Compounder is a
somewhat unusual occupational classification and is seldom found
except in the largest refineries. Chillermen and wax operators are
commonly found only where paraffin exists in the crude petroleum base
stock; there is little paraffin to be found in southwestern crude oils.
•The Southwest is generally regarded as being one of the less union­
ized sections of the United States. This generalization, however,
does not appear strictly applicable to the petroleum-refining industry
of this area. In the 117 companies scheduled, 28,491 employees (or
84 percent of the 33,923 workers employed) were working for com­
panies having union agreements with their employees. Of the
28,491 employees in union companies, 15,026, or approximately 53
percent, were under agreements with unions affiliated with either the
C. I. O. or the A. F. of L.,1 whereas 13, 465, or about 47 percent, were in
1
companies having agreements with independent unions of various
types.
As would be expected, the larger refineries of the Southwest were
more highly unionized than the smaller establishments. Evidence of
this may be seen in the fact that the 58 union plants surveyed con­
tained 84 percent of the total refinery employment, whereas the 59
nonunion establishments employed only 16 percent of the total work­
• Because of the negligible number of women employees in plant occupations and because of their wide
disnersion through so many plants, they have been excluded from the averages shown for plant occupations.
1 See Monthly Labor Review, August 1943 (p. 197): Employment of Women in Petroleum Refineries.
0
1 Affiliation was with the International Oil Workers Union, C. I. O., and the International Union of
1
Operating Engineers, an A. F. of L. union.




21

Petroleum Refineries

ing force of refineries in the Southwest. Almost 91 percent of the
refinery employees of Oklahoma were in companies having union
agreements, whereas about 85 percent of Texas refinery employees and
78 percent of Louisiana employees were in union plants.

,

Average Hourly Earnings A pril 1943
Indicative of the high level of wages prevailing in the petroleum­
refining industry is the fact that, of the 10,583 workers studied, who
constitute 40 percent of plant refinery employees in these operations,,
only about 14 percent received less than 95 cents an hour (table 5).
On the other hand, approximately 55 percent received more than
$1.15 an hour, and 22 percent received more than $1.25 an hour. Thirty
percent of the plant employees surveyed were grouped in the wage
range from $1.15 to $1.30 an hour and 50 percent in the range from
$1.15 to $1.40 an hour. These rates, in comparison with other data
accumulated from comprehensive Bureau of Labor Statistics wage
surveys in the Southwest, indicate that the level of wages prevailing
in the petroleum-refining industry is substantially higher than that
in the majority of other industries in this area.
T able 5.— Distribution o f M ale Em ployees in Selected Occupations in Petroleum
Refineries in the Southwest, b y Plant Average H ou rly Earnings J A p ril 1943
Total workers
Occupation and class

Num­
ber of Num­
plants ber of
work­
ers

All workers:
Number______________________
Percent..........................................
Carpenters, class A
_
__
class "R
Centrifuge operators
Chillermen
___
Compounders _
______
_____
"Electricians, class A
Electricians, class "B
Eiltermen
Firemen, stills____________________
Guards.................................. ..............
Janitors................................................
Machinists, class A
Machinists, 'class B
Packers, hand or machine...................
Pipefitters, class A
Pipefitters, class B..............................
Pressmen, paraffin.
_
__
Pumpmen............................................
Pumpmen helpers...............................
Routine testers, laboratory.................
Stillman, cracking
Stillmen, other;..................................
Stillmen’s helpers No. 1......................
Stillmen’s helpers No. 2......................
Stock clerks.........................................
Treaters...............................................
Treaters’ helpers__________________
Truck drivers:
Under 2)4 tons..............................
2)4 tons and over..........................
Watchmen...........................................
Wax operators
W^ldAfQpViorirt (croft ondi C L /j />owQrx.m
If vivid D iicUlvl \ cO(UiV ftPfil vlC<S A *
l
Uw 1 O
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class B__
Working foremen, processing depart­
ments

5

10,583

Per­
cent

Number of workers in plants where
hourly earnings averaged—
Average
hourly
$0.80 $0.85 $0.90 $0.95
earn­ Under and
and
and
and
ings
$0.80 under under under under
$0.85 $0.90 $0.95 $1.00

723
6.8

100.0

26
16
11
11
17
44
28
16
60
42
49
60
36
14
49
38
12
80
29
77
66
93
66
41
46
77
34

124
68
76
50
57
221
102
93
536
463
183
460
261
90
319
307
122
868
471
681
463
712
988
410
126
393
313

1.2
.5
.7
.5
.5
2.1
1.0
.9
5.1
4.4
1.7
4.3
2.4
.8
3.0
2.9
1.2
8.1
4.5
6.4
4.4
6.7
9.3
3.9
1.2
3.7
3.0

$1.32
1.15
1.27
1.23
1.21
1.37
1.18
1.19 '
1.13
.93
.78
1.36
1.18
.90
1.32
1.15
1.11
1.22
1.15
1.07
1.36
1/25
1.19
1.13
.98
1.24
1.17

48
34
38
9
62
36

227
198
481
45
460
155

2.1
1.9
4.5
.4
4.3
1.5

.90
.92
.93
1.17
1.34
1.09

31

92

.9

1.26

8

i Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work.




196
1.9
-------- 1

245
2.3

1

1

2
4
4
38

2
15

5

599
5.7
2

10
39
1
25
1
4

5
i
1
5
8
22
66
6
5

2
2
31
114
2
2
12
6
5
12
11
19
76
11
21
19
16
5
3
7

15
21
4
10
7

12
6
5
16
12
2

13
8
21
3
52
10
16
9
20
2
10
30

48
47
106

1
6
14

43
3
25

10
7
29

20
8
175

6

5

2
4

11

12
39
22
52
2
66
28
35
28
15
15

4
16
19
4
18

365
3.4

3

1

23
76
76

:

22
1
11

1

7

22

,

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum Industry A p ril 1943

T a b l e 5.— Distribution o f M ale Em ployees in Selected Occupations in Petroleum
Refineries in the Southwest, b y Plant Average H ourly Earnings, A p ril 1943 .— Con.
Number of workers in plants where hourly earnings averaged—
$1.00 $1.05 $1.10 $1.15 $1.20 $1.25 $1.30 $1.35
and
and
and
and
and
and
and
and
under under under under under under under under
$1.05 $1.10 $1.15 $1.20 $1.25 $1.30 $1.35 $1.40

Occupation and class

All workers,4
Number.........................................
Percent..........................................
Carpenters, class A ________________
Carpenters, el ass B . __ .
Centrifuge operators_______________
Chiller men .1 _____________________
Compounders......................................
Electricians, class A ............................
Electricians, class B ______ _ _
Filter m e n ________________________
Firemen, stills
Onards
_
.
Janitors__________ ________________
Machinists, class A .............................
Machinists, class B ________________
Packers, hand or machine__________
Pipefitters, class A ..............................
Pipefitters, class B___________ _____
Pressmen, paraffin_________________
Pumpmen....................... ...................
Pumpmen helpers_________________
Routine testers, laboratory........ ........
Stillmen, cracking...............................
Stillmen, other....................................
Stillmen’s helpers No. 1____ _______
Stillmen's helpers No. 2
Stock clerks________________ ______
Treaters...............................................
Treaters' helpers
_
_
Truck drivers:
Under 214 tons..............
..... _
2H tons and over______________
Watchmen________________________
Wax operators____________________
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class A__
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class B__
Working foremen, processing depart­
ments_______________ ___________

625
5.9
4
4
3
1
12
9
22
107
4
11
3
3
5
15
50
11
20
15
19
27
5
11
44
3

738
7.0
5
1
13
8
3
3
1
17
101
1
4
25
5
3
35
14
116
11
8
122
21
13
10
17

64
74
43
7
5
22

8
30
89

2

16

6
32

$1.40
and
over

471
4.5

858
8.1

1,724
16.3

631
6.0

1,233
11.6

824
7.8

1,351
12.7

16
40

14
1
4

7
2
32

37

17
4
1
11
48

1
7
19
4
108

1
4
4
17
7
2
40
17
257

42

2

1
17
11
15
9

3
30
14
21

15
11
33

18
5
7
121

2
6

16
73

11
149

25

64

178

157

8
39
5
32
41
47
23
30
36
25
6
7
12

27
32
4
23
230
4
18
26
67
50
5
42
3

9
161
34
22
76
279
22
75
183
101
2
19
93

43
29

52

91

74

28
378

120

47

39
50
4
40
263
2
24
29

1
64
15
183
120
23
10
102

5
29
54
8
95

254
315
24
2
95

1

32
23
9
4
1

7
3

1
17
21

20
66
51

4

2

9
2

8
76

136

139

1

51

OCCU PATION AL DIFFE R E N C E S

The averages for individual occupations ranged from 78 cents an
hour for janitors to $1.37 for class A electricians. Of the 34 occupa­
tional groups studied, only 7 showed average earnings below $1.00
per hour; approximately 17 percent of the workers covered were
classified in these groups. At the other end of the distribution were
9 occupational groups, which included more than a fourth (28 per­
cent) of the workers, with averages of $1.25 or more per hour. A
little more than half the workers in these higher-paid groups were
doing maintenance work; included were class A carpenters, elec­
tricians, machinists, pipefitters, and hand welders.
Substantial interplant variations in wage rates are apparent in
the ranges shown in table 6. These ranges reflect differences in
location, size and type of operation, unionization, and other plant
characteristics which are frequently associated with variations in
wage levels. These factors are discussed in greater detail below. It
should be noted that the lowest and highest averages shown in table
6 are plant averages and do not necessarily reflect the full range of
the earnings of individual workers.



23

Petroleum Refineries
T

able

6 . — Average H ou rly Earnings 1 o f M ale W orkers in Selected Occupations in

Petroleum Refineries in the Southwest, A p ril 1943
Hourly earnings
Occupation and class

Carpenters, class A .......................................................
Carpenters, class B.......................................................
Centrifuge operators.....................................................
Chillermen................................................... ...............
Compounders..............................................................
Electricians, class A ......................................................
Electricians, class B ......................................................
Filtermen......................................................................
Firemen, stills...............................................................
Guards___ _______________ _____ ________________
Janitors................................ ........................................
Machinists, class A ...................... .......................... .
Machinists, class B......................................................
Packers, hand or machine
___.
Pipefitters, class A ................................... ...................
Pipefitters, class B ........ .....................................
Pressmen, paraffin........................................................
Pumpmen_________ _________________ ______ _____
Pumpmen helpers _ _ _ ____ . .
Routine testers, laboratory___ _____ ______________
Stillmen, cracking.........................................................
Stillmen, other..............................................................
Still men’s helpers No. 1__________________________
Stillmen’s helpers No. 2................................................
Stock clerks__ _______ _______________ _________ _
Treaters.________ ______ _____ ______________ ___
Treaters’ helpers...........................................................
Truck drivers, under 21^ tons
_______
Truck drivers, 2H tons and over.................................
Watchmen.....................................................................
Wax operators...............................................................
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class A
„ .
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class B
Working foremen, processing departments................

Number Number
of
of
plants
workers

26
16
11
11
17
44
28
16
60
42
49
60
36
14
49
38
12
80
29
77
66
93
66
41
46
77
34
48
34
38
9
62
36
31

124
68
76
60
67
221
102
93
636
463
183
460
261
90
319
307
122
868
471
681
463
712
988
410
125
393
313
227
198
481
45
460
156
92

General
average

Lowest
plant
average

$1.32
1.15
1.27
1.23
1.21
1.37
1.18
1.19
1.13
.93
.78
1.36
1.18
.90
1.32
1.15
1.11
1.22
1.15
1.07
1.36
1.25
1.19
1.13
.98
1.24
1.17
.90
.92
.93
1.17
1.34
1.09
1.26

$0.95
.80
1.03
.94
.78
.94
.76
.80
.58
.33
.30
.95
.75
.45
.89
.40
.81
.44
.45
.40
.74
.46
.40
.35
.47
.50
.40
.36
.35
.34
1.00
.90
.49
.67

Highest
plant
average
$1.44
1.30
1. 42
1.42
1.43
1.50
1.32
1.36
1.35
1.08
.95
1.50
1.24
1.08
1.50
1.29
1.30
1.45
1.28
1.37
1.55
1.60
1.51
1.38
1.71
1.56
1.34
1.39
1.14
1.08
1.30
1.50
1.26
1 73

1 Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work.
R E G I O N A L D IF F E R E N C E S

The average straight-time earnings of plant employees in the 117
petroleum refineries included in the survey amounted to $1.16 in
April 1943. Further analysis discloses significant regional varia­
tions in hourly earnings in the industry. On a State-wide basis,
wage earners in Texas and Louisiana showed an average of $1.18 an
hour for the occupations covered as compared with $1.05 an hour in
Oklahoma. More detailed computations show that the highest aver­
age hourly earnings ($1.24) were paid in the Gulf Coast area of
Texas, whereas the lowest average earnings ($1.00) were found in the
inland Texas area. Refinery workers in the Louisiana Gulf Coast
area received average wages of $1.22 an hour, those in northern
Louisiana $1.06, and those in Oklahoma $1.05 an hour.
Average hourly earnings 1

Southwest_______________________________________ $1.16
Oklahoma......... .............................................................. 1. 05
Louisiana________________________________________
1. 18
Northern Louisiana__________________________ 1. 06
Gulf Coast—........................................................... 1. 22
Texas____________________ ___________________ ___ 1.18
Inland______________________________________
1.00
Gulf Coast........................ ................................ ...... 1. 24
i Regional and State averages computed b y using constant employee weights, as shown in table 1. This
method of weighting prevents distortion of area averages by differences in occupational structure. AH
data are exclusive of premiums for overtime and night-shift work.




24

,

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum Industry A p ril 1943

In Texas, average earnings ranged from 79 cents an hour for janitors
to $1.40 for cracking stillmen (table 7); in Oklahoma, earnings were
lowest for watchmen at 78 cents an hour and highest for working
foremen in the processing departments with $1.39 (table 8); the range
of earnings in Louisiana was from 64 cents an hour for janitors to
$1.70 an hour for working foremen (table 9). Thus both the lowest
and highest occupational average hourly earnings were found in
Louisiana.
In Texas, 6 occupational classifications showed averages below
$1.00; in contrast with Oklahoma where average hourly earnings were
less than $1.00 in 13 cases, and Louisiana where only 4 classifications
received less than that amount. In Texas, 13 occupational groups
received $1.25 or more an hour; in Louisiana 9, and in Oklahoma only
2, were in this class. In general, this is indicative of the wage levels
of the respective areas.
T o a considerable extent, these differences reflect industrial rather
than geographical variations. Differences in size of plant and in
technological processes are important in this connection.
T a b l e 7.— Average H ou rly Earnings1 o f M ale W orkers in Selected Occupations in Texas
Petroleum Refineries, A p ril 1943
State

Occupation and class

Carpenters, class A ......................................................
Carpenters, class B .......................................................
Centrifuge operators.....................................................
Chillermen....................................................................
Compounders................................................................
Electricians, class A ......................................................
Electricians, class B ......................................................
Filtermen..................................................................... .
Firemen, stills...............................................................
Guards...........................................................................
Janitors.........................................................................
Machinists, class A .......................................................
Machinists, class B .......................................................
Packers, hand or machine............................................
Pipefitters, class A ........................................................
Pipefitters, class B ........................................................
Pressmen, paraffin........................................................
Pumpmen..... ............................................................. .
Pumpmen helpers.........................................................
Routine testers, laboratory..........................................
Stillmen, cracking.........................................................
Stillmen, other..............................................................
Stillmen’s helpers No. 1...............................................
Still men’s helpers No. 2...............................................
Stock clerks...................................................................
Treaters.........................................................................
Treaters’ helpers...........................................................
Truck drivers, under 2H tons......................................
Truck drivers, 2)4 tons and over.................................
Watchmen.....................................................................
Wax operators...............................................................
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class A...........................
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class B ...........................
Working foremen, processing departments.................

See footnotes at end of table.




Hourly earnings
Number Number
of
of
plants
workers

16
10
4
5
7
25
18
6
28
25
32
28
22
8
29
24
5
50
22
48
38
59
45
27
27
48
23
29
21
22
4
37
21
24

56
15
32
20
29
146
78
43
355
372
142
336
170
51
233
219
77
647
391
420
270
428
767
290
82
267
243
163
155
325
19
283
89
61

General
average

Lowest
plant
average

$1.33
1.14
1.28
1.33
1.30
1.38
1.18
1.25
1.16
.94
.79
1.36
1.20
.89
1.36
1.17
1.14
1.25
1.15
1.08
1.40
1.24
1.20
1.16
1.02
1.29
1.22
.94
.93
.97
1.23
1.36
1.10
1.18

$0.95
.80
1.07
1.22
.78
.94
.86
.92
.58
.33
.30
.95
.75
.45
.96
.40
.81
.44
.45
.48
.74
.47
.40
.35
.47
.50
.46
.40
.35
.50
1.12
.90
.49
.67

Highest
plant
average
$1.44
1.30
1.32
1.37
1.42
1.50
1.25
1.36
1.35
1.08
.93
1.50
L24
1.08
1.50
1.29
1.30
1.45
1.28
1.37
1.55
1.60
1.51
1.38
1.56
1.56
1.34
1.39
1.12
1.08
1.30
1.50
1.22
1.73

25

Petroleum Refineries

T a b l e 7.— Average H ourly E a rn in gs 1o f M ale Workers in Selected Occupations in Texas
Petroleum Refineries, A p ril 1943 — Continued
Inland3

Occupation and class

Gulf Coast3

Hourly earnings

Hourly earnings

General Lowest Highest General Lowest Highest
plant
plant
plant
average average average average plant average
average
Carpenters, elass A _
. _ _. _
. _. _
_
Carpenters, elass B
___
...... _
_
Centrifuge operators
Chillermen.______________________________________
Cnmpnnn tiers _
_
__
_
_
El ectricians, el ass A
Electricians, class B ___ .
_ . __ _
__
. Filtermen _
.
_ __ ______
Firemen, stills ,, T
,
Guards
__
_
_ ..
_
Janitors
.
Machinists, class A _______________________________
Machinists, class B _ _ _.T . . . .
__
Packers, hand nr machine
.
Pipefitters, el ass A _
_ __
___
Pipefitters, class B
Pressmen, paraffin__
...
Pum pm en.,______________________________________
Pumpmen helpers, ,
■Routine testers, laboratory. . . . . _
__ _
Stillman, cracking
. ...
_ _
.... _ _ _
Stillman, other . _
_ _
.......
Stillman's helpers, No. 1
Stillman’s helpers No. 2 .
Stock clerks
. ____ . .
.
_ _ ......
Treaters
.
.
.
Treaters* helpers
__ _
_
Truck drivers, under 2H tons______________________
Truck drivers,
tons and over _
Watchmen_______________________________________
Wax operators____________________________________
Welders, hand (pas and are), elass A _
Welders, hand (gas and are), elass B
Working foremen, processing departments.

$1.18
1.07
(3
)

$0.95
.80
<)
3

$1.34
1.25
(3
)

(3
)
1.19
1.09
(3
)
1.01
.86
.60
1.23
1.06
.72
1.19
.89
(3
)
1.01
.83
.92
1.28
1.04
1.03
.99
.90
1.08
.97
.79
.58
.85
(3
>
1.23
.97
1.13

(3
)
.97
.90
<)
3
.58
.50
.30
.95
.75
.45
.97
.40
<)
3
.44
.45
.48
.96
.48
.40
.35
.47
.56
.65
.40
.35
.50
(3
)
.90
.49
.74

(3
)
1.34
1.25
(3
)
1.35
1.03
.78
1.34
1.17
1.02
1.44
1.17
(3
)
1.30
1.12
1.10
1.51
1.60
1.30
1.20
1.29
1.32
1.32
1.39
.96
.96
(3
)
1.38
1.17
1.73

$1.38
1.18
1.31
1.33
1.31
1.40
1.20
1.29
1.19
.97
.84
1.38
1.22
(3
)
1.39
1.22
1.15
1.31
1.18
1.14
1.48
1.35
1.26
1.23
1.06
1.38
1.25
1.01
1.04
.99
1.26
1.37
1.18
1.24

$1.32
.88
1.30
1.22
.78
.94
.86
1.20
.60
.33
.44
1.20
1.20
(3
)
.96
.88
.84
.67
.95
.66
.74
.47
.63
.37
.52
.50
.46
.44
.68
.50
1.22
.94
.72
.67

$1.44
1.30
1.32
1.37
1.42
1.50
1.25
1.36
1.26
1.08
.93
1.50
1.24
(3
)
1.50
1.29
1.30
1.45
1.28
1.37
1.55
1.53
1.51
1.38
1.56
1.56
1.34
1.14
1.12
1.08
1.30
1.50
1.22
1.51

* Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work.
3 For reasons of economy of printing space, columns showing number of plants and number of workers
have been deleted from this section; they are, however, available in mimeographed form for persons desiring
this information.
* Number of plants and/or workers too small to justify presentation of an average.




26

,

Earnings in Southivestem Petroleum Industry A p ril 1943

T able 8.— Average H ou rly Earnings 1 o f M ale Workers in Selected Occupations in
Oklahoma Petroleum Refineries, A p ril 1943
Hourly earnings
Occupation and class

Carpenters, class A ______________________________
Carpenters, class B ______________________________
Centrifuge operators_____________________________
Chiller men-I____________________________________
Compounders___________________________________
Electricians, class A _____________________________
Electricians, class B _____________________________
Filtermen. ______________________________________
Firemen, stills___________________________________
Guards_________________________________________
Janitors_______ _________________________ ________
Machinists, class A ______________________________
Machinists, class B ______________________________
Packers, hand or machine_______________________ Pipefitters, class A _______________ ______ ______ __
Pipefitters, class B __ . . . . _____________ __________
Pressmen, paraffin_______________________________
Pum pm en______________________________________
__ _ _
Pnmpmen helpers
_ ___
Routine testers, laboratory_______________________
Stillmen, cracking______________________________
Stillmen, other______________________ ___________
Stillmen’s helpers No. 1......... .............. ................ ......
Stillmen’s helpers No. 2______ _____ ________ ____
Rt-rtek clerks
_
_
.
Treaters___________ _____ _______________________
Treater’s helpers. _„ ______________________________
Truck drivers, under 2^ tons __ _ . . . . . . . . . . . .
_______
Trunk drivers, 2J^ tons and over ... _
Watchmen______________________________________
Wax operators___ ________ ______________________
Welders, hand (gas and are), elass A
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class B___________ ___
Working foremen, processing departments_______ —

Number Number
of
of
plants
workers

5
3
6
5
7
11
7
7
15
11
11
15
11
5
12
6
6
18
4
17
20
20
15
10
14
21
7
13
12
11
5
19
12
4

* Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work,




21
3
25
26
24
27
8
36
108
48
27
35
35
38
52
63
37
105
19
120
113
134
128
61
35
81
36
47
40
104
26
97
63
28

General
average

Lowest
plant
average

$1.19
.94
1.15
1.15
1.09
1.26
.98
1.15
1.04
.88
.80
1.21
1.10
.90
1.17
1.12
1.01
1.05
.95
.98
1.21
1.16
1.08
.97
.88
1.08
.94
.83
.88
.78
1.13
1.22
1.08
1.39

$1.05
.88
1.03
.94
.96
1.08
.76
1.00
.72
.59
.50
1.00
.75
.72
.89
.94
.92
.67
.68
.61
.92
.70
.60
.72
.63
.76
.69
.61
.50
.50
1.00
1.00
.80
.99

Highest
plant
average
$1.261.05
1.30
1.42
1.26
1.42
1.12
1.30
1.17
1.00
.95
1.34
1.18
.98
1.26
1.16
1.17
i.30
1.06
1.24
1.48
1.42
1.26
1.16
1.71
1.32
1.09
1.06
1.14
.92
1.24
1.45
1.26
1.49

Petroleum Refineries

27

T a b l e 9.— Average H ou rly Earnings1 o f M ale W orkers in Selected Occupations in
Louisiana Petroleum Refineries, A p ril 1943
State
Hourly earnings

Occupationand class

Number Number
of
of plants workers

Carpenters, class A .......................................................
Carpenters, class B .......... ...........................................
Compounders........................ .......................................
Electricians, class A ......................................................
Electricians, class B ......................................................
Firemen, stills...............................................................
Guards...........................................................................
Janitors..........................................................................
Machinists, class A .......................................................
Machinists, class B .......................................................
Pipefitters, class A __....................................................
Pipefitters, class B __....................................................
Pumpmen.....................................................................
Pumpmen helpers................. .............................. .......
Routine testers, laboratory..........................................
Stillmen, cracking.........................................................
Stillmen, other..............................................................
Stillmen’s helpers No. 1__............................................
Stillmen’s helpers No. 2................................................
Stock clerks...................................................................
Treaters.........................................................................
Treaters’ helpers...........................................................
Truck drivers, under 2^ tons......................................
Watchmen..................................... ..............................
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class A ...........................
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class B...........................
Working foremen, processing departments.................

5
3
3
8
3
7
6
6
7
3
8
8
12
3
12
7
14
6
4
5
8
4
6
5
6
3
3

General
average

Lowest
plant
average

$1.38
1.17
1.22
1.41
1.29
1.14
.89
.64
1.40
1.18
1.29
1.00
1.18
1.20
1.13
1.43
1.36
1.23
1.15
1.04
1.23
1.06
.67
.94
1.41
1.14
1.70

$1.24
1.00
.87
1.15
1.00
.90
.53
.37
1.00
1.00
1.18
.65
.60
.99
.40
1.00
.46
.81
.60
.81
.80
.40
.36
.34
1.10
1.00
1.67

47
40
4
48
16
73
43
14
89
46
34
25
106
61
141
80
150
93
59
8
45
34
17
52
80
3
3

Highest
plant
average
$1.40
1.18
1.43
1.44
1.32
1.23
.95
.80
1.42
1.18
1.40
1.26
1.44
1.26
1.23
1.50
1.50
1.29
1.22
1.24
1.49
1.29
.96
1.04
1.44
1.25
1.73

North Louisiana2
Hourly earnings

Occupation and class

Gulf Coast2
Hourly earnings

General Lowest Highest General Lowest Highest
plant
plant
plant
plant
average average average average average average
Carpenters, class A .....................................
Carpenters, class B ..................................... .
Compounders...... ............................... .......
Electricians, class A __................................ .
Electricians, class B ._ ................................ .
Firemen, stills............................................. .
Guards......................................................... .
Janitors........................................................ .
Machinists, class A ..................................... .
Machinists, class B ................... ................. .
Pipefitters, class A ...................................... .
Pipefitters, class B........................................
Pumpmen.....................................................
Pumpmen helpers....................................... .
Routine testers, laboratory..........................
Stillmen, cracking- ..................................... .
Stillmen, other..............................................
Stillmen’s helpers No. 1.............................. .
Stillmen’s helpers No. 2............................. .
Stock clerks...................................................
Treaters....................................................... .
Treaters’ helpers...........................................
Truck drivers, under 2H tons.................... .
Watchmen................................................... .
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class A ..........
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class B ..........
Working foremen, processing departments.

•
.
•

•
•
•

•
•
.
•

(3
)
00
(3
)
$1.29

(3
)
(3
)
(3
)
$1.24

(3
)
(3
)
(3
)
$1.33

00
.81
.50
1.25
(3
)
1.31
(3
)
1.C2
(3
)
.94
1.40
1.12
1.07
(3
)
(3
)
1.15
(3
)
(3
)
(3
)
1.23
(3
)
(3
)

00
.53
.37
1.00
(3
)
1.24
(3
)
.70
(3
)
.71
1.33
.80
.81
(3
)
(3
)
.89
(8
)
(3
)
(3
)
1.10
(3
)
(3
)

(3
)
.91
.60
1.33
(3
)
1.33
(3
)
1.23
(3
)
1.21
1.45
1.33
1.17
(3
)
(3
)
1.23
(3
)
(3
)
(3
)
1.33
(3
)
(3
)

$1.38
1.17
1.34
1.42
1.29
1.16
.93
.75
1.41
(3
)
1.29
.98
1.22
(3
)
1.16
1.44
1.43
1.28
1.17
1.05
1.31
1.09
.72
.96
1.42
(3
)
(3
)

$1.26
(3
)
(3
)
1.15
1.00
.90
.65
.45
1.25
(3
)
1.18
.65
.60
(3
)
.40
1.00
.46
1.27
.60
.81
.80
.40
.36
.34
(3
)
(3
)
(3
)

$1.40
(3
)
(3
)
1.44
1.32
1.20
.95
.80
1.42
(3
)
1.40
1.26
1.44
00
1.23
1.50
1.50
1.29
1.22
1.24
1.49
1.29
.96
1.04
(3
)
00
00

* Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work.
2 For reasons of economy of printing space, columns showing number of plants and number of workers
have beehdeleted from this section; they are, however, available in mimeographed form for persons desiring
this information.
* Number of plants and/or workers too small to justify presentation of an average.




28

,

Earnings in Southwestern Petroleum Industry A p ril 1943
W A G E V A R I A T IO N S B Y

S IZ E O F P L A N T

Of the 22 occupational groups analyzed in table 10, average earnings
in the smallest plants were well below those in both groups of larger
operations for 21 occupations; the single exception was the packers.
In the comparison between the plants with 51 to 250 employees and
those with more than 250 workers, the same type of relationship is
apparent. For each of the 34 occupational groups, average earnings
in the middle-size plants were below those for the largest establish­
ments. As might be expected, the differences in some cases were
less pronounced than those between the largest and smallest plants*
*
T a b l e 10.— Average H ou rly Earnings 1 o f M alew orkers in Selected Occupations in
W
Petroleum Refineries in the Southwest, by Size o f Plant, A p ril 1943
Small plants (9-60
employees)

Medium-sized plants Large plants (251
(51-250 employees)
or more employees)

Number
of em­
ployees

Average
hourly
earnings

Number
of em­
ployees

Average
hourly
earnings

Number
of em­
ployees

(2
)
(2
)

(2
)
(2
)

(2
)
(2
)
(2
)

(2
)
(2
)
(2
)

$1.25
1.00
1.06
.94
1.08
1.22
1.06
.93
1.05
.80
.69
1.26
1.06
.69
1.22
.97
.99
1.11
.95
.93
1.29
1.18
1.12
1.06
.92
1.12
.95
.90
.83
.83
1.16
1.27
.99

103
51
67
45
52
190
85
79
376
301
124
409
220
63
254
249
114
596
401
480
267
425
792
261
65
235
256
136
131
364
31
389
114

$1.34
1.17
1.30
1.20
1.22
1.40
1.21
1.23
1.18
1.01
.85
1.37
1.20
.97
1.35
1.20
1.12
1.30
1.19
1.14
1.44
1.41
1.23
1.22
1.12
1.36
1.23
1.01
1.04
.97
1.18
1.35
1.14

1.20

38

1.45

Occupation and class

Carpenters, class A ..................................
Carpenters, class B ..................................
Centrifuge operators................................
Chi llermen..................—..........................
Compounders...........................................
Electricians, class A .................................
Electricians, class B .................................
Filtermen__________________ . . . . _____
Firemen, stills................................ : ........
Guards......................................................
Janitors.....................................................
Machinists, class A ..................................
Machinists, class B ..................................
Packers, hand or machine.......................
Pipefitters, class A ............................ ......
Pipefitters, class B ...................................
Pressmen, paraffin___________________
Pumpmen.................................................
Pumpmen helpers...................................
Routine testers, laboratory.....................
StiIlmen, cracking....................................
Stillmen, other. - .....................................
Stillmen’s helpers No. 1..........................
StiUmen’s helpers No. 2..........................
Stock clerks...... ......................................
Treaters....................................................
Treaters’ helpers......................................
Truck drivers, under 2\k tons.................
Truck drivers, 2$$ tons and over............
Watchmen................................................
Wax operators___________ ________ __
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class A ___
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class B ___
Working foremen, processing depart­
ments.....................................................

7
4
12

$0.79
.60
.41
(2
)
(2
)
.80
1.20
.70

60
12
22
39
167
67
26
17
32
8
38
30
16

.75
.73
.84
1.08
.89
.74
.49
.59
.85
.78
.50
.50
.56

7
9

1.15
.79

20
6
8
5
4
30
16
14
141
150
46
48
28
20
61
46
8
202
58
179
157
130
139
123
43
126
49
53
37
101
14
64
32

17

.99

37

19
12
13
(2
)
(2
)

Average
hourly
earnings

1 Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work.
* Number of workers too small to justify presentation of an average.
O T H E R F A C T O R S IN F L U E N C I N G W A G E

LEVELS

Wide differences also appear in the comparison of earnings in refin­
eries with cracking units and those operating with simpler processes.
With the single exception of class B machinists, average earnings in
the cracking plants are significantly above those for the other opera­
tions in the 26 occupational groups for which data are shown in
table 11. It is thus apparent that the predominance of large refinery
units and/or cracking processes within an area would consequently
result in higher wage levels than those found in an area where such



29

Petroleum Refineries

influences were less in evidence. For example, the presence of large
plants equipped for cracking, in the Gulf Coast areas of Louisiana and
Texas, is principally responsible for higher wage rates there than in
the inland areas of these States.
T able 11.— Average H ou rly Earnings 1 o f M ale W orkers in Selected Occupations in
Refineries with Cracking Units and in Other Refineries in the Southwest, A p ril 1943
Refineries possessing
cracking units

Other refineries

Occupation and class
Number of
workers
Carpenters, class A __________________ _________ _____
Carpenters, class B________ ______ __________________
Centrifuge operators..........................................................
Chillermen.........................................................................
Compounders......................... ..........................................
Electricians, class A ....... ...................................................
Electricians, class B ............... ..........................................
Filtermen.......................................................................
Firemen, stills_________________________ ______ _____
Guards___ ____________ ____ ______________________
Janitors__________ ________________________________
Machinists, class A ..................... .................................. .
Machinists, class B.............. ................................... .......
Packers, hand or machine......... .......................................
Pipefitters, class A ........................................................ .
Pipefitters, class B ....... - ..................................................
Pressmen, paraffin......... .................................................
Pumpmen________________________________________
Pumpmen helpers..................... - ........... .........................
Routine testers, laboratory...............................................
Stillmen, cracking...................................... ......................
Stillmen, other............ .......................................... ..........
Stillmen’s helpers No. 1....................................................
Stillmen’s helpers No. 2............ .......................................
Stock clerks.................... ........... .............. ........................
Treaters.............................................................................
Treaters’ helpers...............................................................
Truck drivers, under
tons_____ ___________ ______
Truck drivers, 2H tons and over........... ..........................
Watchmen..................................................... ...............
Wax operators_____________________________________
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class A ...............................
Welders, hand (gas and arc), class B ______ __________
Working foremen, processing departments____________

120
52
75
50
55
216
101
89
518
447
171
451
247
88
311
291
122
798
452
634
463
561
947
388
106
367
304
188
182
465
45
446
150
79

Average
hourly
earnings
$1.33
1.16
1.27
1.23
1.21
1.37
1.18
1.20
1.15
.94
.81
1.36
1.18
.90
1.33
1.17
1.11
1.25
1.15
1.09
1.36
1.34
1.21
1.16
1.02
1.27
1.19
.97
.95
.93
1.18
1.34
1.10
1.27

Number of
workers
4
6
(*)

5

Average
hourly
earnings
$1.29
1.08
(2
)
(*)

1.20

<
’>

4
18
16
12
9
4

<
’>

8
16

(,>L29

60
19
47

.85
.91
.91

151
41
22
19
26
9
39
16
16

.91
.76
.60
.73
.81
.62
.57
.60
.62

14
5
13

1.28
.84
1.20

.80
.78
.64
.45
1.29
1.22
.79

» Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night-shift work.
* Number of workers too small to justify presentation of an average.

Local labor-market conditions and unionization have also con­
tributed to area wage differentials. Union plants in general pay
higher wages than do nonunion establishments. Consequently, the
degree of plant unionization within an area would affect the level of
wages.
It is exceedingly difficult to estimate the influence of local labormarket conditions. Critical manpower shortages in certain areas
have doubtless affected wage rates, but, on the other hand, the wagestabilization program has presumably operated as a counteracting
influence. From evidence available in Bureau of Labor Statistics
files, it appears that area wage differences in petroleum refining are
primarily the result of size of establishment and the processing tech­
nique utilized, and only secondarily the result of differences in union­
ization, local labor conditions, and other industrial characteristics.




FQ&yiCTORY




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UNITED
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WAR
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STAMPS