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

+

Effect o f Incentive Payments
on H ou rly Earnings

Bulletin J^o, 742
[R e p r in te d fr o m t h e M o n t h l y L a b o r R e v i e w , M a y 1 9 43 ]

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1943

For sale by the Superintendent o f Documents, U . S. Governm ent Printing Office
Washington, D. C. - Price 5 cents




LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
U n it e d S tates D epartm ext of L abor ,
B u r e a u of L abor S tatistics ,

Washington} D. (7., May 24> 1943.
The S ecretary of L abo r :
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on the effect of
incentive payments on hourly earnings. Three manufacturing
industries—machine manufacture, cotton-textile manufacture, and
primary fabrication of nonferrous metals—are covered in this analysis
of hourly earnings of time and incentive workers in identical occupa­
tions. Data of this kind are of value in wage negotiations and in the
stabilization of wages.
The report was prepared by Edith M. Olsen, under the supervision
of Robert J. Myers and H. M. Douty, of the Bureau’s Division of
Wage Analysis.
A. F . H in r ic h s ,
Acting Commissioner.
Hon. F rances P e r k in s ,
Secretary of Labor.

CONTENTS
Summary______________________
Scope of study-------------------------Nature of basic material___
Machinery manufacture________
Cotton-goods manufacture______
Fabrication of nonferrous metals.

n




Page

1
1

2
3
7

8

Bulletin 7s[o. 742 o f the
U nited States Bureau o f Labor Statistics
[Reprinted from the M onthly L abor R eview , May 1943.]

EFFECT OF INCENTIVE PAYMENTS ON HOURLY
EARNINGS
Sum m ary

AN ANALYSIS of statistics on hourly earnings of time and incentive
workers in identical occupations in three important industries—
machinery manufacture, cotton-textile manufacture, and primary
fabrication of nonferrous metals—reveals a definite and substantial
margin in favor of the workers paid under incentive plans.1 The data
on median earnings show that this advantage ranged from 12.1 per­
cent in the primary fabrication of nonferrous metals to 18.2 percent
in the manufacture of machinery. These findings are of significance
for wage negotiations and in the stabilization of wages. They imply
the maintenance of substantially higher levels of production under
incentive systems than under systems of time payment. The higher
earnings of incentive workers may result from more intensive effort
by the workers themselves, or from greater efficiency on the part of
management, or from both of these influences.
There are many kinds of incentive plans, ranging from simple
piece-rate systems to complicated base-rate and bonus systems.
Although the material available did not permit analysis by type of
particular “ system,” it is probable that such analysis would reveal
significant differences in the amount of earnings derived by workers
under different methods of incentive pay, other things being equal.
Fragmentary evidence available for individual industries suggests
that the incentive-wage advantage is to be found in both union and
nonunion establishments, in both the North and the South, and
among woman workers as well as men.
In roughly half of the occupations in which comparisons were made,
incentive workers were earning, per hour, between 10 and 20 percent
more than the time workers. Differences of less than 5 percent or
more than 30 percent were but rarely encountered and appeared, in
most cases, to reflect deficiencies in the statistical data available for
analysis.
Scope o f Study

The primary object of most systems of incentive wages is to augment
the productivity of labor. This is accomplished by establishing a more
or less direct relationship between output and earnings, so that the
application of greater energy, dexterity, or skill will be rewarded by an
increase in pay.
The incentive worker may be expected to work harder and more
efficiently than the time worker, because the incentive payments
permit him to benefit directly from a high level of production. How­
1 See also Monthly Labor Review for July 1942: Incentive-Wage Plans and Collective Bargaining.
(Reprinted, with additional data, as Bulletin No. 717.)
5 3 1 4 8 4 ° — 43




1

2

EFFECT OF INCENTIVE PAY ON EARNINGS

ever, if the installation of an incentive system is accompanied by
increased management efficiency, such as the introduction of up-todate machinery, improved productive processes, and better supervision
and training, this may account for some of the increased individual
production of incentive workers. The result of these efficiencies
may be that workers can increase their production and earnings
without commensurate increases in actual work effort.
How much advantage in earnings incentive workers should enjoy
as a result of their special efforts has been the subject of much dis­
cussion among production managers and of many controversies be­
tween employers and unions. In recent months it has become apparent
that this is also an important question of public policy. In scores of
wage disputes in war industries Federal arbitrators have been required
to make definite monetary allowance for the extra effort induced by
incentive payment. During the first 6 months of wage stabilization
it was repeatedly necessary to determine whether the lower wages of
workers paid at hourly rates constituted “inequalities” and justified
wage increases. The Executive Order of April 8, 1943, specifically
mentioned the payment of incentive wages as one of the circumstances
under which wage adjustments might be authorized.
There are many varieties of incentive devices, ranging from the
straight piece rates common in the needle trades to elaborate structures
of base rates and bonuses. Some of these systems are designed to
stimulate only a moderate increase in the intensity of effort, whereas
others are intended to induce the very maximum of sustained produc­
tivity. Even the same “system,” moreover, may be interpreted very
differently in individual establishments. In the light of these facts
it is not surprising that the earnings of different groups of incentive
workers vary widely.
Most of the published material contrasting time and incentive
earnings relates to the experience of individual companies. This
material is typically of the “before and after” variety; that is, it
reports changes in earnings in particular establishments following the
installation of wage incentives. The significance of such information,
although often considerable, is impaired somewhat by its selective
character. The material presented in the present brief article,
although deficient in certain respects, has the advantage of covering
a large number of establishments within each industry.
NATURE OF BASIC MATERIAL

The material available for the present analysis consists of average
hourly earnings of time and incentive workers in selected occupations
in three important industries; namely, machinery manufacture,
cotton textiles, and the primaiy fabrication of nonferrous metals.
The three industries covered differ widely with respect to product,
processes, general level of wages, and dominant type of incentive
system. Both time work and incentive payments are common in
all of these industries, many of the individual occupations being paid
on a time basis in one plant and on an incentive basis in another.
All of the basic material used in this analysis was collected in con­
nection with regular wage surveys in the respective industries. For
present purposes, however, it has been subjected to additional sifting
and checking in order to increase the comparability of the respective




EFFECT OF INCENTIVE PAY ON EARNINGS

3

groups of workers.2 Thus, several distinctive industry branches in
which one method of wage payment predominates have been excluded
from the analysis. Many plants employing a particular method of
payment have also been excluded because they were not balanced by
similar plants using the alternative method. As a result of such
selection, the plants represented by incentive workers and those
represented by time workers are believed to be reasonably comparable
with respect to type of product, geographic location, and size. It seems
improbable that other differences in the types of plant represented
introduce any substantial bias into the comparisons of hourly earnings.
The workers included within the individual occupations are believed
to be closely comparable. All occupational classifications were
determined by the Bureau’s trained field representatives on the basis
of written job descriptions. A number of doubtful occupations and
some that are represented by relatively few workers have been omitted.
Not all plants are represented in each occupation, however, and this
fact accounts in part for the difference in the results obtained for
various occupations in the same industry.
All average hourly earnings presented exclude premium payments
for overtime and for work on late shifts. For time workers, therefore,
the figures are equivalent to straight-time hourly rates. The averages
presented for incentive workers represent actual straight-time earnings,
including all incentive payments and production bonuses, during one
representative pay-roll period. Although these earnings are thus
typically based on a period of only 1 or 2 weeks, the grouping of
numerous workers employed in different plants should minimize the
influence of fortuitous factors.
M achinery M anufacture

Of the three industries for which data are presented in the following
pages, the most suitable for purposes of a wage comparison of this type
is the manufacture of machinery.3 About 135 plants are covered in
this comparison, most of them situated in the East North Central,
Middle Atlantic, and New England States. Although these plants
engage in the manufacture of various types of industrial and electrical
machinery and equipment, many of their occupations are identical
and draw upon the same body of workers. Elaborate and complex
“systems” designed to stimulate a high intensity of effort are commonly
found in this industry, together with numerous simpler incentive
devices, including straight piece rates. The earnings data represent
primarily the summer and fall of 1942.
Average hourly earnings, by method of wage payment, for 42 occu­
pational groups in the machinery industry are presented in table 1.
The averages shown represent the earnings of male workers unless
otherwise indicated. In addition to the averages shown for all plants
combined, separate figures are given for union and nonunion plants.
This segregation has appeared desirable because of opposition to
incentive payment by some of the unions with membership in this
broad industry, and the consequent danger that the incentive workers
represented would be largely nonunion.4
2 The material available for the machinery industry permitted much more careful selection and control
than that for cotton textiles and for nonferrous metals. No special effort has been made to assure accurate
representation of wage levels in the respective industries. Persons interested in the level of wages should
refer to the original(studies cited below.
2 For information regarding the nature of the original study of this industry, see U. S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics Bulletin No. 720; Earnings in the Manufacture of Industrial Machinery, 1942.
4 Many of the companies with union agreements, however, paid on an incentive basis. This method of
payment is particularly common in the manufacture of electrical machinery and equipment.




T a b l e 1 .— Com parison o f Straight-Tim e Average H ourly Earnings o f Incentive and Tim e W orkers in Selected Occupations in Union and Nonunion
Plants in M achinery M anufacturing Industries, 1942

Union plants

Total

Occupation

Assemblers, bench, class A... ..................................
Assemblers, bench, class B .....................................
Assemblers, bench, class O, male............................
Assemblers, bench, class 0 , female.........................
Boring-mill operators, class A .................................
Boring-mill operators, class B .................................
Broaching-machine operators..................................
Buffers and polishers..............................................
Burrers, class B .......................................................
Casting cleaners......................................................
Craters, class B .......................................................
Drill-press operators, class A ..................................
Drill-press operators, class B ..................................
Drill-press operators, class 0 ..................................
Gear cutters.............................. ..............................
Heat treaters, class A__..........................................
Heat treaters, class B__..........................................
Lathe operators, engine, class A .............................
Lathe operators, engine, class B .............................
Lathe operators, turret, class A..............................
Lathe operators, turret, class B..............................
Metal-saw operators................................................
Milling-machine operators, class A .........................
Milling-machine operators, class B .........................
Packers, male..........................................................
Packers, female—
.....................................................
Painters, spray........................................................
Planer operators......................................................
Platers.....................................................................
Power-shear operators.............................................
Sandblast operators..................... -.........................




667
920
1,825
2,988
359
204
33
180
92
217
146
292
518
437
84
238
168
586
525
535
619
117
429
482
528
311
290
292
88
56
.69

$0,996
.835
.705
.560
1.040
.805
.819
.770
.769
.681
.776
.914
.804
.698
1.044
.954
.850
1.074
.809
1.018
.782
.747
1.009
.768
.710
.576
.830
.989
.783
.856
.795

345
1,445
1,447
2,508
253
156
77
289
66
176
106
381
770
856
69
44
88
431
433
531
506
65
453
497
164
128
244
192
49
127
56

$1,068
.985
.819
.716
1.229
.958
.940
1.016
.918
.832
.934
1.080
.950
.833
1.081
1.200
1.090
1.149
.946
1.120
.926
.877
1.128
.961
.981
.643
1.066
1.087
1.056
.960
1.004

7.2
18.0
16.2
27.9
18.2
11.0
14.8
32.0
19.4
22.2
20.4
18.2
18.2
19.4
3.5
25.8
28.2
7.0
16.9
10.0
18.4
17.4
11.8
25.1
38.2
11.6
28.4
9.9
34.9
12.2
26.3

403
648
1,587
2,112
222
125
(*)
94
(*)
196
132
174
390
276
(3)
163
(*)
425
340
352
415
80
263
312
353
179
152
225
<
3)
41
(*)

$1,098
.884
.724
.575
1.132
.815
(3)
.881
(*)
.689
.779
1.018
.835
.740
(3)
1.022
<
»)
1.125
.827
1.101
.802
.800
1.129
.817
.753
.593
.892
1.044
<*)
.893
<*)

Incentive pay­ Percent Time payment
ment
by
which
incen­
tive
Num­ Aver­ earn­ Num­ Aver­
ings
age
age
ber of
ber of
work­ hourly exceed work­ hourly
earn­ time
earn­
ers
ers
earn­
ings
ings
ings
278
1,235
1,285
2,081
241
134
(*)
181
(3)
104
71
326
674
696
(>)
30
(3)
304
349
433
399
39
301
391
147
107
209
177
(3)
103
(*)

$1,090
1.005
.827
.745
1.229
.947
(3)
1.076
(3)
.821
.911
1.100
.971
.875
(*)
1.189
(3)
1.138
.975
1.126
.952
.951
1.147
.978
1.010
.663
1.104
1.110
<)
>
1.000
<*)

10.7
13.7
14.2
29.6
8.6
16.2
<
3)
22.1
(*)
19.2
16.9
8.1
16.3
18.2
(>)
16.3
<*)
1.2
17.9
2.3
18.7
18.9
1.6
19.7
34.1
11.8
23.8
6.3
(*)
12.0
(*)

264
272
238
876
137
79
(3)
86
(3)
21
14
118
128
161
(3)
75
(»)
161
185
183
204
37
166
170
175
132
138
67
(>)
15
(*)

$0,840
.717
.579
.525
.891
.790
(3)
.649
(3)
.605
.747
.760
.709
.627
(*)
.807
(*)
.940
.774
.857
.741
.634
.820
.677
.622
.553
.762
.804
(*)
.755
(*)

Incentive pay­ Percent
ment
by
which
incen­
tive
Num­ Aver­ earn­
ings
age
ber of
work­ hourly exceed
earn­ time
ers
earn­
ings
ings
67
210
162
427
12
22
(*)
108
(3)
72
35
55
96
160
(*)
14
(*)
127
84
98
107
26
152
106
17
21
35
15
(3)
24
(*)

$0,977
.867
.757
.573
1.238
1.027
(3)
.916
(3)
.848
.982
.961
.801
.650
(3)
1.223
(3)
1.176
.822
1.095
.831
.765
1.092
.896
.731
.543
.843
.822
(•)
.789
(*)

16.3
20.9
30.7
9.1
39.0
30.0
(*)
41.1
(’)
40.2
31.5
26.5
13.0
3.7
(*)
51.6
(3)
25.1
6.2
27.8
12.2
20.7
33.2
32.4
17.5
i 1.8
10.6
2.2
(*)
4.5
C
3)

EFFECT OF INCENTIVE PAY ON EARNINGS

Incentive pay­ Percent Time payment
ment
by
which
incen­
tive
Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ earn­ Num­ Aver­
ings
age
age
age
ber of
ber of
ber of
work­ hourly work­ hourly exceed work­ hourly
earn­
earn­ time
earn­
ers
ers
ers
earn­
ings
ings
ings
ings

Time payment

Nonunion plants

8 crew-machine operators, class A ................. .........
Screw-machine operators, class B________ _____
Screw-machine operators, class 0 . ............. ............
Shaper operators.................. .................................
Testers, class B .......................................................
Testers, class 0 , female...........................................
Thread-milling-machine operators.........................
Welders, hand, class A...........................................
Welders, hand, class B ...........................................
Welders, machine...................................................
Winders, class 0 , female........................................
1 Incentive earnings less than time earnings.




195
266
115
125
289
200
29
186
201
156
166

1.132
.917
.706
.910
.843
.568
.894
1. Oil
.767
.767
.662

9.1
12.5
24.5
10.6
27.4
14.8
16.2
21.4
32.2
30.3
19.8

172
228
63

«
(*)
120
(»)
93
90
124
131

1.165
.931
.757
(3)
(>)
.591
(’)
1.068
.769
.793
.699

252
214
207
0)
(>)
22
(*)
278
227
129
401

1.249
1.050
.893
(’)
(»)
.754
(»)
1.242
1.058
1.023
.858

7.2
12.8
18.0
(*)
(’)
27.6
(>)
16.3
37.6
29.0
22.8

23
38
52

(3
)
(*)
80
(»)
93
111
32
35

3 Number of plants and/or workers insufficient to justify comparison.




.887
.829
.644
(’)
C
»)
.534
(J
)
.954
.766
.669
.523

30
37
21
(*)
(>)
29
(*)
82
66
40
130

1.121
.928
.746
(*)
0)
.574
(J
)
1.175
.863
.923
.591

26.4
11.9
15.8
(i)
(i)
7.5
(*)
23.2
12.7
38.0
13.0

EFFECT OF INCENTIVE PAY ON EARNINGS

1.235
1.032
.879
1.006
1.074
.652
1.039
1.227
1.014
.999
.793

Ox

EFFECT OF INCENTIVE PAY ON EARNINGS

6

It is apparent from this table that the average hourly earnings of
incentive workers in all plants combined were higher in every case
than those of time workers. The differences ranged from 3.5 percent
for male gear cutters to 38.2 percent for male packers; the median
difference was 18.2 percent. The averages for union plants were
consistently higher than those for nonunion plants, but each group
taken separately showed a pronounced excess of incentive earnings
over time rates. The median differences in favor of the incentive
workers amounted to 16.6 percent for union plants and 20.8 percent
for nonunion plants. Considering the influence of the unions in
raising the wages of the lower paid workers, this indication of a greater
spread between time and incentive earnings in nonunion plants is not
surprising. Definite establishment of this point, however, will require
confirmation from analysis of additional data.
In view of the fact that the various occupations were found in the
same group of plants, the wide range of earnings differences is deserv­
ing of comment. Although more than two-thirds of the occupations,
taking union and nonunion plants together, showed a margin of 10 to
30 percent in favor of incentive workers, no single 5-percent interval
included as many as one-third of the occupations. It is apparent from
the following tabulation that the spread was, in general, somewhat
greater for the union plants and nonunion plants taken separately.
N um ber of occupations 1
N onU nion
u nion
p la n ts
p lan ts

A ll
p la n ts

All occupations 1_________________________________________ 42

33

33

Incentive earnings less than time-work earnings__________ __
Incentive earnings more than time-work earnings by—
0.0-4.9 percent______________________________________ 1
5.0- 9.9 percent______________________________________ 4
10.0- 14.9 percent________
9
15.0- 19.9 percent__________________________________ 12
20.0- 24.9 percent__________________________________ 4
25.0- 29.9 percent__________________________________ 7
30.0- 34.9 percent__________________________________ 4
35.0- 39.9 percent__________________________________
1
40.0 percent and over_______________________________ __

1

1

3

3
3
6
3
3
4

4
5
12
3
3
1
1
__

5
2
3

1 Male and female workers in the same occupation have been counted as separate groups.

I t is, of course, to be expected that the excess of incentive over
time earnings will vary by occupation. The worker’s ability to
influence production, for example, is much greater in performing some
processes than in others. Individual or organized restriction of out­
put may affect production in certain jobs. The employer himself
may discourage work at top speed in some occupations, in order to
limit spoilage or for other reasons.
In the present case, however, deficiencies in the statistical data
undoubtedly contribute to the wide range of margins in earnings.
I t has been mentioned that some of the occupations were found in
only part of the plants, and it is probable that the conditions found in
a few large companies have unduly influenced some of the comparisons.
Such factors are believed to account for the two cases in which earn­
ings of time workers slightly exceed those of incentive workers, and
for several of the extreme differences noted.




7

EFFECT OF INCENTIVE PAY ON EARNINGS

Cotton-Goods M anufacture

The Bureau’s survey of wages in the cotton-goods industry in
September 1940 6 covered mills manufacturing yarn, thread, and
broad woven fabrics from cotton or spun rayon. The 251 mills
included in that survey employed approximately one-fifth of the
workers in the industry and represented all important cotton-goodsproducing areas in the United States. Approximately 42 percent
of the workers studied were employed under some form of incentivewage plan, as compared with 58 percent on time rates. A very large
proportion of the incentive workers received straight piece rates,
although a “piece-time” plan, combining some features of both piece
and time payment, was sometimes applied to spinners, twister tenders,
and battery hands. Complicated bonus systems were rarely found.
A comparison of time and incentive earnings in selected occupations
in this low-wage industry is presented in table 2. In view of the
wide difference in earnings between northern and southern mills it
has seemed unwise to combine the data for the North and South,
and these therefore appear separately in the table. There has been
little union opposition to incentive payment in this industry and
the combining of the data for union and nonunion establishments is
not believed to result in any appreciable bias.
T a ble 2.— Straight-Tim e Average H ourly Earnings o f Incentive and Tim e W orkers in
Selected Occupations, Southern and Northern Cotton-Textile M ills , September 1940

Southern mills

Northern mills

Per­ Time pay­
Incentive
cent
ment
payment
by
which
incen­
tive
Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ earn­ Num­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­
ber
ber
age
ber
age
age
age
ber
ings
of hourly of hourly
of hourly of hourly
work­ earn­ work­ earn­ exceed work­ earn­ work­ earn­
time
ers
ings earn­ ers
ers
ings
ings
ings
ers
ings

Per­
cent
by
which
incen­
tive
earn­
ings
exceed
time
earn­
ings

Time pay­
ment

Sex and occupation

Male workers:
Comber tenders...............
Creelers............. .............
Doffers— _____ _______
Drawing-frame tenders__
Lap-machine tenders___
Loom fixers..... ....... .......
Slubber tenders...............
Speeder tenders..............
Spinners, frame....... .......
Twister tenders...............
Warp-tying
machine
tenders.......... .............
Warper tenders...............
Winders, spoolers, and
reelers.........................
Female workers:
Creelers...........................
Doffers... .........................
Drawers-in, hand______
Drawing-frame tenders__
Spinners, frame...............
Twister tenders...............
Warper tenders...............
Weavers, plain loom.......
Winders, spoolers, and
reelers______________

Incentive
payment

110 $0,344
120
.344
1,793
.349
597
.336
110
.339
1,903
.528
123
.347
256
.342
16
.338
652
.341

74 $0,389
.414
53
.412
2,096
.404
410
.432
90
544
.573
.413
998
2,264
.401
.437
119
.423
348

13.1
20.4
18.1
20.2
27.4
8.5
19.0
17.3
29.3
24.1

25 $0,447
(0
0)
.453
135
.408
92
.425
39
.737
645
0)
0)
(0
0)
121
.450
0)
(9

71 $0,455
0)
0)
317
.503
58
.450
58
.446
111
.743
0)
(9
(9
0)
74
.539
<9
0)

1.8
0)
11.0
10.3
4.9
.8
(l)
(9
19.8
(9

36
0)

.570
(9

28
(9

.673
(9

18.1
(9

(0

(9

(9

0)

(9

.431
.445
.486
.424
.445
.417
.461
0)

12.5
21.3
10.0
14.0
6.0
4.8
6.7
0)

.424

11.0

242
316

.471
.373

81
57

.544
.481

15.5
29.0

100

.337

113

.370

9.8

274
0)
177
139
1,789
111
204
159

.339
0)
.353
.325
.336
.330
.356
.376

57
(0
274
71
2,558
122
51
1.827

.398
0)
.441
.356
.380
.376
.408
.430

17.4
(0
24.9
9.5
13.1
13.9
14.6
14.4

38
88
56
77
256
60
59
0)

.383
.367
.442
.372
.420
.398
.432
V)

33
127
109
47
540
70
54
(9

1,684

.334

3,889

.370

10.8

131

.382

886

1 Number of plants and/or workers insufficient to justify comparison.
6 See IT. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Serial No. R. 1414; Hours and Earnings in Manufacture of Cotton
Goods, September 1940 and April 1941.




8

EFFECT OF INCENTIVE PAY ON EARNINGS

It is evident from table 2 that in this industry, as in the manu­
facture of machinery, incentive workers enjoyed appreciably higher
earnings than time workers. In each of the occupational classes and
in each region the earnings of incentive workers were higher. In the
South the differences ranged from 8.5 percent for male loom fixers to
29.3 percent for male frame spinners, the median figure being 17.3
percent. In the North, for which fewer comparisons are possible, the
range was from 0.8 percent for male loom fixers to 21.3 percent for
female doffers, while the median was 10.3 percent.
Counting as separate groups the male and female workers in the
same occupation, it may be seen from the accompanying statement
that differences of 10 to 15 percent were more common, both in the
South and in the North, than those in any other 5 percent class. Sixsevenths of the occupational groups in the South and three-fifths of
those in the North showed a margin in earnings of between 10 and 30
percent.
N um ber o f occu p ation s1
South
N orth

All occupations 1....................................................................

21

15

Incentive earnings more than time-work earnings by—
0.0-4.9 percent___________________________________
5.09.9 percent______________________________
10.014.9 percent____________________________
15.019.9 p e rce n t____________________________
20.024.9 percent_____________________________
25.029.9 percent____________________________

__
3
6
5
4
3

4
2
6
2
1

i Male and female workers in the same occupation have been counted as separate groups.

Fabrication o f N onferrous M etals

The materials available for the comparison of time and incentive
earnings in the nonferrous-metals industry are those obtained from
the Bureau’s wage survey of August 1941.7 That survey covered the
following six branches of the nonferrous-metals fabricating industry:
Alloying, rolling and drawing of copper, brass, and bronze; alloying,
rolling and drawing of other nonferrous metals; foundries; secondary
smelters; machined products; and die casting. The large majority of
the 273 production units studied were in the eastern and east central
parts of the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the workers
covered were in plants operating under union agreements.
Slightly more than 70 percent of the workers in the plants surveyed
were paid straight hourly or daily rates. About one-twelfth of the
workers, concentrated largely in the die-casting branch, were employed
on a piece-work basis. Most of the incentive workers, however, were
paid under a bonus plan by which they received, in addition to guar­
anteed daily rates, bonus payments for production in excess of a fixed
standard of performance.
The comparisons shown in table 3 cover data for 28 occupations
selected from the six branches of the industry. These are the only
occupations in which a sufficient number of both time and incentive
workers were found to justify a comparison of earnings. Moreover,
the data unfortunately do not permit segregation either by region or by
union and nonunion plants. Regional variations, particularly, are
believed to disturb somewhat the comparability of the data.
7 See Monthly Labor Review, August 1942: Earnings in Primary Fabrication of Nonferrous Metals, 1941.




9

EFFECT OF INCENTIVE PAY ON EARNINGS

Nevertheless, the comparisons shown in table 3 seem reasonably
consistent and, as a supplement to the data for other industries, are
believed to be of value. The apparent wage advantage of time work­
ers over incentive workers in two occupations—packers and turretlathe operators—results from comparisons of doubtful validity and
may be discounted. Castings cleaners and filers paid on an incentive
basis earned 31.2 percent and 43.7 percent more, respectively, than
those paid on a time basis. The median difference in favor oi incen­
tive workers was 12.1 percent.
T a b l e 3.— Straight-Tim e Average H ou rly Earnings o f Incentive and T im e Workers in
Selected Occupations, in N onferrous-M etals Fabrication, August 1941

Time payment

Incentive payment Per cent
by which
incentive
Number Average Number Average earnings
exceed
of
hourly
of
hourly
time
workers earnings workers earnings earnings

Occupation

Break-down and mn-down rollers _

_
_
Casting cleaners........ .................-________________
Chippers____________________ _____ __________
Coremakers______ ___________ _________ _____
Crane operators....................... ........................ .........
Diemakers________ ________________ __________
Filers— . ........ ..........................................................
Foremen, process____ _________________________
Fumacemen...................................................... .......
Helpers__________________________________
Gas and oil fnmaee operators

Grinding-machine operators.................... ......... .......
Inspectors, final_____ _________________________
Inspectors, rough........ ............ .......... ............. .........
Loaders and unloaders

____

.

Packers______________________________________
Picklers_____________________________________
Polishers.________________ ________ ___________
Rod-straightener operators______________________
H elpers_________________________________
Rollers’ helpers_______________________________
Saw operators________________________________
Shear operators
.......
Helpers.____ _____________________________
Tractor drivers______ ___________ _____________
Tumbler operators____________________________
Turret-lathe operators....................................... .......
Weighers....................................................... ............

60
134
35
204
237
217
67
258
43
14
45
257
215
134
183
235
79
40
54
18
263
175
48
64
23
18
65
101

$1,037
.571
.720
.891
.838
1.172
.595
1.064
.948
.831
.806
.767
.798
.790
.705
.752
.799
.814
.832
.770
.747
.794
.825
.790
.777
.791
.857
.818

211
134
52
147
479
85
135
162
78
31
53
190
183
96
151
180
191
65
72
52
442
318
90
76
30
18
163
53

$1.196
.749
.890
.939
.943
1.210
.855
1.092
1.081
1.029
.880
.786
.817
.839
.908
.726
.909
1.013
.918
.823
.869
.904
.910
.837
.889
.871
.805
.914

16.3
31.2
23.6
5.4
12.5
3.2
43.7
2.6
14.0
23.8
9.2
2.5
2.4
6.2
28.8
i 3.5
13.8
24.5
10.3
6.9
16.3
13.9
10.3
6.0
14.4
10.1
16.1
11.7

1 Incentive earnings less than time earnings.

It is apparent from the accompanying tabulation that in this indus­
try, as in cotton textiles, the 10- to 15-percent interval included more
of the occupational averages than any other 5-percent class. Slightly
more than half of the occupations showed an excess of incentive over
time earnings between 10 and 30 percent.
N um ber o f
occupations

All occupations___________________ __________________________

28

Incentive earnings less than time-work earnings--------------------Incentive earnings more than time-work earnings by—
0.0-4.9 percent------------ ------------------------------------------- — 5.0- 9.9 percent_______ _____ ___________________ ________
10.0- 14.9 percent---------------------15.0- 19.9 percent_________ ____________________________ 20.0- 24.9 percent_____________________________
25.0- 29.9 percent_____________________
30.0- 34.9 percent_________________
35.0 percent and over_______ ___________________________

2




4
5
9
2
3
1
1
1




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