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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
WOMEN’S BUREAU
Bulletin No. 174

JOB HISTORIES OF WOMEN WORKERS
AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS




1931-34 AND 1938

/

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
FRANCES PERKINS, Secretary

WOMEN’S BUREAU
MARY ANDERSON, Director

+

JOB HISTORIES OF WOMEN WORKERS
AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS
1931-34 AND 1938

ELEANOR M. SNYDER

^res q*.

Bulletin or

the

Women’s Bureau, No. 174

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1939

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




Price 10 cents




CONTENTS
Letter of transmittal___________________________
Foreword________________________________
Part I.—The summer schools for workers and their influence
Purpose and method of the study_____________ _
__ "
The summer schools for women workers__ _ _
“
Method of teaching at workers’ schools_______
Aim of the summer schools_____________ HUH..
~ _
The “average student”________________ 11IIIII I III II
Individual work histories________________ .IIIHII '
Part II.—Facts about the students and their industrial"experience
Geographic distribution ______________________________ ------­
Nativity___________________________IIIII'H'”
II
Age------------------IIIIIII..IIIIIH II
Marital status______________________________
Age at entering industry________________ H I__
Years in industry_______________________.IIIIIH
"_
Number of jobs held_______________________ H_
"
Industry of last regular job_______________ H___HI
“
Union membership_______________________
Type of shop of last job____________________ HUH ”HHI”
Weekly wage rate on last job________________ II~__ HI
Earnings in preceding year_____________________H I
Money from sources other than wages in preceding year " _
I
Causes of leaving jobs______________________
Part-time employment in preceding year______H -1H
III
Unemployment in preceding year_______________
Major cause of unemployment in preceding year__ HI.
"
Overtime work in preceding year_____________
Daily hours in preceding year_____________ II11
~
Appendix A.—General tablesI
H
HI
Appendix B.—Form of questionnaire_____________IIIIIIH

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TEXT TABLES

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2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.

Scope of study, by school______________________
Geographic distribution—all schools_______ HH II HI
Nativity—all schools_____________________ IIIII_ ""
"I
Age—all schools________________________ IIHIHII"
Age at entering industry—all schools________ H” II
_
Number of former jobs—all schools_______ IIIII " IH"." "~
Industry of last regular job—all schools________Hill H
H
Union membership—all schools________________ HI
"I. "
Type of shop of last job—all schools_______H I
II"HI
Median weekly wages in last job of all students andof union members—
all schools_____________________________________
Median annual earnings, by industry—all schools__II
""
Median annual earnings—by school______________ H I
Causes of leaving jobs—all schoolsHill" I.
HUH
Part-time employment in preceding year—all schools. I" "
_
Causes of unemployment in preceding year—all schools.'II'""I
.
Unemployment in preceding year due to lack of work—all schools."""
Major cause of unemployment in preceding year—all schools

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APPENDIX TABLES

I. Weekly wages on last job—all schools_____
II. Earnings in preceding year—all school's___ III.II"...........
III. Causes of leaving jobs—all schools_________
HI




"

in

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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
United States Department of Labor,
Women’s Bureau,

Washington, July 28, 1939.
I have the honor to transmit for publication a report on
the industrial experience of some 700 women who attended the
various summer schools for workers in 1931-34 and 1938.
1 his report indicates that tne industrial woman is awakening more
and more to her responsibilities in the development of wise social
and economic policies. In this the workers’ schools, to which there
is no counterpart anywhere within the framework of the standard
adequat><fparfStem’ great y assist tbe woman worker to take a more
Madam:

Ihe report was written by Eleanor M. Snyder as a part of her work
lor the master s degree, under the direction of Dr. Carter Goodrich
professor of economic history, Columbia University, and United
^ C’ rtirins Sion or at Geneva. Prepared in consultation
vvith Miss Eleanor Coit, director of the Affiliated Schools for Workers
the report reviews the data as to their own experience supplied by
ScZo?sTor0WoJkeras
SCh°°IS associated with the Affiliated
Respectfully submitted.
Hon. Fbawcs PmHS,
Secretary of Labor.




MiIir

mec‘°r-




FOREWORD
Miss Snyder’s study presents the industrial background and experi­
ence of a group of women workers. Its special value, as the author
points out, comes not from the size of the sample covered but rather
from the unique relationship between those who collected and those
who furnished the information. The data were secured as a part of
6 r*efl11-ar
process in the summer schools associated with
the Affiliated Schools for Workers. In these institutions, as those
who .have had the good fortune to teach in them can testify, the
relationship between teacher and student has been one of unusual
frankness and confidence. It was this fact that made it possible to
secure.such full detail, for example, on changes from job to job and
that gives an authentic autobiographical quality to the statements
quoted m part I. It is this, in short, that makes the “Ann” of this
stuhy so different from the Jane Doe of a mass statistical inquiry.
The present bulletin follows in large part the methods, and makes
use of the results, of Dr. Palmer’s valuable earlier study covering the
1928T30- The new material is for the four depression years
1931-34, with the addition of some material for 1938. As might be
expected, the contrasts in the various periods are strikingly reflected
m the series of tables on earnings and unemployment. A change of a
different sort is shown in the proportion of union membership which
was 35 to 40 percent for the first 6 years, rose suddenly to 53 percent
in 1934, and had reached 87 percent in 1938.
If these studies are continued in the coming years, still further
changes will no doubt become apparent. The movement out of which
they have grown has itself become larger and more broadly repre­
sentative In the summer of 1938 there were not four summer schools
associated with the Affiliated Schools, but five: The Bryn Mawr Sum­
mer School (now called the Hudson Shore Labor School), the School
for Workers at the University of Wisconsin, the Southern Summer
bciiool at Asheville, tho Pacific Coast School at Berkeley, and the
Summer School for Office Workers at Chicago. The addition of the
1 acme Coast School represents a wider geographical distribution
and there has been an even more significant broadening of the
recruiting policy. All but the first of the schools now admit men
as well as women.. The growth of labor organization continues to
be reflected m an increase in the proportion of union members. A
number of new groups, including agricultural workers, are represented
e students and the organization of the Summer School for
Office Workers, which includes a number of professional and govern­
ment workers, reflects a significant growth of self-consciousness on
the part of white-collar workers.i
i
H 5°,* th,e place to comment on the widening activities of the
Affiliated Schools for Workers or the relationship between the growth
of trade-unionism and the notable advances of the workers’ education
movement as a whole. But students of the labor question mav well
h°:pe that the initiative of the Affiliated Schools and the cooperation
of the Women’s Bureau will continue to provide—as a byproduct of
these larger movements—increasingly useful studies of the experience
of individual women workers.




Carter Goodrich,

United States Labor Commissioner,
Geneva, Switzerland.
VII

JOB HISTORIES OF WOMEN WORKERS AT
THE SUMMER SCHOOLS, 1931-34 AND 1938
Part I.—THE SUMMER SCHOOLS FOR WORKERS AND
THEIR INFLUENCE
Purpose and method of the study.

The purpose of this study is to present a detailed survey of the
background and the industrial experience of a selected group of women
workers. Too generally, less is known about the workers than about
the products of their labor. To many of us, the girls who work in
factories, who serve us in restaurants, who type our letters, in short,
who perform the endless tasks that insure the continuance of our
industrial system, are devoid of personality. They are thought of in
vague, impersonal terms—perhaps only as an array of statistical
data. By presenting in some detail the industrial experience of
both the individual and the group, a more definite picture of these
girls is obtained.
Many studies have been made of the industrial experiences of women
workers, but they differ from the present report in several respects.
Usually the sample studied is larger and the range of material included
is more limited. Though in most cases objectivity is essential, here
the subjective nature of the data and the fact that the schedules were
made out in personal interviews give unique value to the report.
The material presented in this study was obtained through the
offices of the Affiliated Schools for Workers, Inc., which has its head­
quarters in New York City. This organization, with the cooperation
of four of the summer schools for women workers, secured a compre­
hensive history of the working life of each student from an examina­
tion of the detailed questionnaires filled out each year by the students
in attendance at the schools. All completed questionnaires were used
but those of male or Negro workers, omitted because too few in
number. The data obtained in the first 3 years, 1928 to 1930, formed
the basis of a report written by Dr. Gladys L. Palmer and published
by the Women’s Bureau in 1931.1 Dr. Palmer’s statistics are quoted
freely in the present study as a background for the later figures.
The data supplied by the students of the next 4 years, 1931 to 1934,
and certain incomplete information made available for 1938, are the
subject matter of the present report. Unfortunately, the incomplete­
ness of the records for the period 1935 to 1937 makes it impossible to
include those years, important though they are in labor history.
Writing a continuous history of all jobs held during a worker’s
industrial life required the expenditure of unusual care on the part of
1 Palmer, Gladys L. The Industrial Experience of Women Workers at the Summer Schools, 1828 to
1930. IT. S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, Bui. 89, 1931.
181107°—39-----2




1

2

WOMEN WORKERS AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

each individual supplying or recording the information. To insure
accuracy, it was essential that the complete cooperation of the
students be enlisted, and this was simplified by the fact that the
students were acquainted personally with the instructors responsible
for the completion of the questionnaires. Under other circumstances
it would have been difficult to secure the detailed accounts necessary
for this analysis.
The summer schools for women workers.

The four schools cooperating in this study began their educational
activities more than 10 years ago. The functions of one of them, the
Barnard Summer School, were not continued after 1934, when the
school helped to establish the W. P. A. workers’ education program in
New York City. One of the schools is on the campus of a university—
the School for Workers at the University of Wisconsin.2 Another,
though it has long been associated with Bryn Mawr College and is so
referred to in the present report, now has its home at West Park, N. Y.
It has changed its name from the Bryn Mawr Summer School to the
Hudson Shore Labor School. The fourth, the Southern Summer
School, at present is at the Normal and Teachers’ College in Asheville,
N. C.
.
.
Though the schools do not attempt to obtain a national cross section
of women workers, a fairly broad representation is secured. There
are few far western students, chiefly because of the geographic location
of the four schools. Southern draws its students exclusively from the
southern States, with North Carolina and Virginia supplying the
largest numbers. Wisconsin students are all from the Middle West,
the majority from Wisconsin. Since Barnard was a nonresident
school, it could accept only girls living in New York City or its
vicinity. Bryn Mawr, which was established as a national school,
is the only one that attempts to secure a broader distribution. Three
sections of the country supply most of its students, the Middle Atlantic
States, the Middle West, and New England, though the Southern and
Pacific sections also are represented.
Since 1934 two more summer schools have been established that
are associated with Affiliated Schools—the Summer School for Office
Workers in Chicago and the Pacific Coast School for Workers at Berke­
ley, Calif. However, they are not represented in the 1938 sample,
because they would introduce geographic and industrial distributions
not comparable with those of the earlier years. The Chicago school
has white-collar workers exclusively and the Pacific Coast School has
agricultural workers and others not found in the older schools.
Each school recruits new students from such organizations as the
trade-unions, the Y. W. C. A., civic clubs, and similar groups. Girls
are selected on the basis of their interest in workers’ education and the
labor movement, their qualities for leadership, their age, and the
amount of schooling they have had. Union representation is increas­
ingly important. In conjunction with the rapid development in
trade-unionism since 1933, union representation at the schools also
has grown during this later period. In 1938 two-thirds of the Southern
Summer School students were union members, as were four-fifths of
2 The work of the School for Workers at the University of Wisconsin was discontinued in August of 1939
due to the decision of the Legislature to eliminate its funds from the budget.




THE SUMMER SCHOOLS AND THEIR INFLUENCE

3

the full-term-session students at Wisconsin. All students attending
the special 2-week session at Wisconsin for the International Ladies’
Garment Workers’ Union belonged to that union. The very great
majority of the Bryn Mawr applicants were union members. Bryn
Mawr had formerly aimed specifically toward a 50-50 ratio of union
and nonunion students, but no other school has set a definite pro­
portion.
Since few workers could afford to attend the summer schools without
assistance, scholarships are provided to cover the expenses incurred.
Even with this aid, attendance at a summer session represents a
considerable financial drain on the student because of the loss of
earnings.. Though some are so fortunate as to obtain leave of absence
from their employers, others are forced to give up their jobs and must
look for employment when they return home.
Method of teaching at workers’ schools.

There is no counterpart to a workers’ school anywhere in the
framework of the standard educational system. Experience gained
by experimentation is the chief guide in formulating the program of
these specialized schools and each year sees some change in the curricu­
lum and the teaching methods used. The social sciences form the
nucleus of the study program, and allied subjects are added to present
a well-rounded picture of the social order and its attendant problems.
In planning classes the aim is to select teaching material that is related
to the experiences of the students.
It is by no means a simple task to conduct a school for workers.
These students arrive equipped with an intensely serious attitude
toward the work they are about to undertake. Many of them will
regard their summer-school experience as the greatest thrill of their
lives. They are eager to learn, but no ordinary methods of teaching
would serve their needs. They are accustomed to dealing with
realities, with objects and events related directly to everyday living.
Intangibles and abstractions hold no interest nor any real meaning
for them. They come with a definite purpose in mind—to leam how
they may best develop their own lives and the lives of other workers
Under such conditions, ordinary lecture methods of teaching are of
little value.
Conducting the classes largely by the discussion method has been
found to be the best means for the needs of this type of student.
By decreasing the emphasis on the role of the teacher and increasing
the part taken by the students, an informal atmosphere is created
in which the girls are encouraged to speak freely and soon find them­
selves exchanging experiences.. Thus they slowly see the fundamental
unity underlying any superficial differences in their industrial experi­
ences. In the round-table discussions they tell each other about
their jobs, their working conditions, their troubles with the “boss ”
their difficulties in getting jobs, and the strikes in which they have
actively participated.
. If we imagine ourselves eavesdropping during one of these discus­
sions, we may hear such revealing comments as these: 3
? From job-history questionnaires on file at the offices of the Affiliated Schools for Workers, in New York




4

WOMEN WORKERS AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

A millinery worker speaks first:
In the last job I worked I had to press the hats on a wooden block with a
heavy iron which weighed about 30 pounds at least. I had to stand over a
kettle of steam at the stove to steam the hats. The steam would go into my
face and burn my fingers many times. I began to get thin and run-down.
The boss was very exacting and made me rip so many times. She made me
make the whole hat from beginning to end, and she exploited me very much.
Yet if I did one little thing wrong she scolded me and yelled at me and was
very mean. When I left she couldn’t understand why I did so. She thought
she was a good boss. For the $10 she paid me she got $100 worth out of me—
if not more.

The next student, an operator on organdy dresses, speaks tersely:
Tried to organize the shop and was squealed on by the other operators.

This student, a worker in the laundry department of a hospital,
manages to convey her distaste for her job in very few words:
I mangle wet clothes and heavy spreads. I iron everything a person can
think of. I operate a press machine which is hot like the devil, and after
working in the heat of the laundry I have to sweep the whole place and wash
the machinery.

The fourth girl is a household employee. Her comments reveal a
pride in her work in spite of the attendant fatigue:
My job includes all the work that goes to making a home out of a house.
Getting good meals at the proper time, serving them, and cleaning everything
up afterwards. Keeping the house clean and orderly is a big job. Answering
doorbells and telephones is also my job. Entertainments always mean extra
work and very seldom extra pay. The work is such as keeps me on my feet
practically all the time. Even my meals are interrupted and very little time
allowed for them.

The last student we overhear is one of many who find it necessary to
seek work outside the industry in which they are habitually employed.
This girl, who normally operates a power machine in a clothing
factory, explains:
The job I am now doing is cook in a restaurant. Doing this work because
of the unemployment situation in factories that I have worked in before. I
find this the only work I can get to keep up with expenses.

In addition to the informal method of teaching through discussion
classes, group recreational activities, such as dramatics, games, and
community singing, are coordinated in an effort to develop individual
initiative as well as a healthy cooperative spirit. The realization by
the students that their experiences and problems are not unique, but
are duplicated in the case of thousands of other workers throughout
the country, is greatly enhanced by their contacts at a workers’ school.
In a way, "the success of the summer schools can be measured by the
extent to which this unity is recognized by the worker-students and
by their acceptance of the necessity for common action to gain
individual advances.
Aim of the summer schools.

It has been implied that the aim of the summer-school program is
dual in nature: To offer educational advantages to individual
students and to benefit the labor movement by training workers for




THE SUMMER SCHOOLS AND THEIR INFLUENCE

5

active participation and leadership. Since it is believed that these
ends can be served best by recruiting as students women who alreadv
have evidenced an interest in workers’ problems, such girls have been
selected each year.
The passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933
gieatly stimulated union organization. Given Government sanction
unions were quick to press their advantage and recruit new members'
At the 1934 summer schools for workers the students were asked to
supplement the job-history questionnaire by putting down some of
their thoughts about the N. R. A. The results were varied. As was
natural, students approved or disapproved of the industrial codes
according to the way they were affected by the code adopted in their
own industry There were no dissenters, however, from the enthuslastm approval of the famous section 7 (a) which granted workers
the right to organize.
The N R A affected industries and the various classes of skilled
and unskilled labor differently. Though it raised wages for very
many women, there were cases in which the weekly wage rates of
skilled, unionized workers were lowered to conform to the standard
rates of pay set for the industry as a whole. Thus a number of the
higher-paid students felt that their wages were lowered to pay the
code minimum, and that the work was speeded up to maintain the
same unit cost of production previously in effect under longer hours.
A millinery copyist wrote the following rather disgruntled report:
I belong to the union and we have an agreement. The N. R. A. weakened
f,agJ'eemen^ by giving much lower rates, so that we feel more the pressure
• .u . 088 and R is very hard to settle prices. The only help of the N R A
system ^ St°P at ^ ° Cl°Ck sharp- We are n0W affectedby the speed-up

The “average student.”

To gam a clear picture of the problems confronting the adminis­
tration of the workers’ schools, one must be familiar with the type of
student attracted to them. Is she different from other women workers?
Why does she desire to attend a summer school? In what is she
interested? What are her connections with the labor movement?
is tnere likely to be any change in that relation because of her attend­
ance at a workers’ school? If she is not a member of a labor organi­
zation at present, will she be stimulated by her experiences at the
school to become an active participant in such an organization?
Regardless of the year of attendance, certain general characteristics
and industrial experiences are common to the summer-school groups
r ™denng the type of student attracted to these classes, a picture
oi the average student” will be useful as a preliminary background
to a more detailed study. _ This hypothetical worker will be given
the characteristics most typical of the entire group of students studied
bhe will be used to represent singly the background and the industrial
experience of a large number of actual students.4
average student (let us call her Ann) is an industrial worker
ohe is 24 years old, a native-born American, and single. Her industrial
f,,‘'rie,maior part °1
following description was taken directly from the iob-historv auestioxmnires
as pSsibT theB flrare? meliwSi
°,SS,??“1Ual leaflets and bulletins of the participating7schools. As far
and in Appendix A? presented are m«dian averages computed from the tables accompanying the text




6

WOMEN WORKERS AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

experience, broadly speaking, is similar to that of thousands of women
throughout the country. Ann is an experienced worker, well qualified
to perform operations requiring a considerable degree of skill. Shortly
after her sixteenth birthday, home conditions made it necessary for
her to go to work, so she has been either employed or employable for
approximately 8 years.
.
For a variety of reasons, but chiefly because of the scarcity oi jobs,
she has been unable to work steadily. As a result, her annual earnings
have fluctuated from year to year. They were very meager during
the period 1930 to 1934. Because of the lack of available work and
the low wage rates during this time, Ann found that she could not
maintain herself at a decent standard of living solely by her own efforts.
Her year’s earnings, which were $668 in 1931, were only $364 in 1933.
Because she was single and either lived with her family or received
some assistance from them, she was not carried permanently on the
relief roll.
Though Ann’s industrial background corresponds roughly to that
of many of her fellow workers, she cannot be considered as representa­
tive of the entire group of women in industry. The fact that she was
accepted as a student at one of the four schools is proof in itself that
she possesses some qualities not common to all women workers. The
recruiting policy of the summer schools has been directed toward
securing interesting girls who already were outstanding in their com­
munities or who were considered potentially capable of developing
into leaders of local activities. To this end attention was centered
on the past record of Ann’s affiliations outside the confines of her job.
During the earlier years her membership in the local Y. W. C. A. and
her attendance at the working women’s classes held there qualified
her for admission to a summer school.5 If she came to the school
after 1933, probably she was a member of a trade-union and genuinely
interested in the labor movement.
Through these activities and, more vividly, through her own per­
sonal experience with low wages, unemployment, strikes, and lock­
outs, Ann has decided that she wants to know more about working
conditions and difficulties. What are the causes of these economic
evils which constantly confront her? Why do they exist? Can they
be avoided or their disastrous effects lessened? What can she do to
make this world a pleasanter place for herself and other workers to
enjoy and a happier place for the generations to follow?
It is to discover the answers to these questions that she comes to
summer school. It will be a great adventure for her—an adventure
for which she has already paid heavily. In order to come to school,
she leaves home without being sure of a job to which she may return.
She sacrifices the wages she might have earned during the 8 weeks of
the summer-school session. Will she feel, after she returns home, that
the new experiences gathered at school were worth the cost? For
many of the girls, this question is answered by one of their group,
Anne Butler, a laundry worker:
6 The Y. W. C. A. was selected arbitrarily as representative of the various clubs and organizations for
working women that cooperate with the resident schools for workers in recruiting students for the sum­
mer schools.




8t«A« T«*chers College UtBW

THE SUMMER SCHOOLS AND THEIR INFLUENCE

7

BRYN MAWR»
To you I came athirst for knowledge,
Knowledge to ease the burden of my tired heart and brain,
tiuen a useless thing was I,
Living my own selfish life,
Wrapped closely in my friends, my family, myself—
Yet knowing the needs of people,
Black people, white people,
Wanting so much to help them,
To be able to lead their blind, erring, faltering footsteps
I owards a path of understanding so that they might
Gam fresh courage, new hope in themselves,
A measure of fulfilled happiness.
And you, Bryn Mawr,
Oh gracious haven where my troubled soul has found
ouch sweet peace,
Have made plain my once bewildered desires.
I am content.

Individual work histories.

A perusal of the job-history questionnaires shows that moving about
from industry to industry was frequent even in periods of normal
prosperity. Girls changed their jobs for an infinite variety of reasons—
they were discharged, the busmess moved or failed, they disliked the
work or the conditions within the shop, they did not get along with
the boss, the wages were too small. A few questionnaires have been
selected at random to illustrate typical changes that were made.
• . 34-year-old student at the Wisconsin Summer School had been
m mdustpr for 19 years. During this time she had held 12 different
jobs, havmg stayed at each place for periods varying from 3 months
to 5 years. She started work as a waitress, and then became a tele­
phone operator for 5 years. This was followed by filling orders for a
seed company, returning to telephone operating, then filling boxes
with face powder, and later acting as inspector in a textile factory.
ruKW6aAu11'8 Slle forked as a Packer and box stitcher in a
ubber mill. At the end of that time she became a waitress in a tea­
room, then a power-machine operator in a ladies’ garment shop, and
7 * J°b iShe wala f.)0,k ln a Private home.
During all this
•T i1? afweek was *ke highest pay she received. The best-paid
tha* of Power-machine operator, she left after 3 months because
the work was “too hard.
A Barnard Summer School student stated that she had been in
i idustry for 8 years, starting m 1924. She reported on nine jobs held
during this period, adding that she had had other short jobs. She
started work as a filing clerk m a department store, then combined
clerical work and sewing m a dress-making shop. For a while she did
needlework only, then m the next two jobs shifted back to filing
She tired of doing this work and made lamp shades for a time. Her
reduced, so she left to try selling in a department store.
lhis work was only temporary, however, so at the end of 2 months
WomrWoMnZtstry^New^oJrfmo1?

reP°rt’ bU* “ilUkrat-tha




Mawr

S<*“

8

WOMEN WORKERS AX THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

she left to take a job making women’s hats. This was the last job
she had before coming to the summer school. Her reasons for leaving
the various positions present an interesting variety. Long bouis com­
bined with low wages; the company went out of business; working
conditions were poor; seasonal work; personal illness; wages were re­
duced; work was temporary; these and others were given as causes
for her job changes.
. ,
. ,
Many girls working in the clothing trades do not hold any one job
for very long. The seasonal nature of the industry accounts for much
of the shifting from job to job. It seems to be true, however that
garment workers make fewer industry changes than do the students
in the miscellaneous-manufacturing trades. The operations involved
in making articles of clothing require a special typo of skill that is
not easily transferable, whereas girls in the miscellaneous-manufac­
turing trades can transfer from one industry to another without losing
much time learning the new operation. Alertness, dexterity, and
muscular coordination are attributes required for machine operating,
regardless of the product manufactured. Moreover, the ratio ol
union members to unorganized workers is high in the clothing industry.
This fact partially explains why garment workers are less willing to
seek jobs in other fields. The industry itself is large enough to otter
considerable opportunity to move about from job to job. An operator
on silk dresses may change to a job making cotton underwear, the
two products are different but the operations involved are essentially
SuclTshifting is illustrated by the history of a Bryn Mawr student
who started working in 1925 as a learner in a dressmaking establish­
ment. She “didn’t like the way the boss spoke to the workers, so
she left soon and next worked as an operator on silk blouses, She
was bored with this work, and then tried a job as cutter m an under­
wear factoiw. This she liked, but as she gained experience she wanted
more money, so she moved to another underwear factory. Here the
work was hard and the hours were long, and after a year she took a
iob as trimmer of women’s hats. In 1932 she had been on this job
for 2 years and expected to return to it at the end of summer school.
Another student had had eight jobs over a period of 18 years and
six of them were in the clothing industry. She started working tor
a jewelry firm making mesh handbags. Three years later the product
was out of style and the company ceased production Her next jobs
were making silk blouses, sewing on dresses, boys shirts, children s
dresses, and millinery. She was rather unfortunate m her selection
of employers. Three failed and went out of business, one moved to
another town, and two were “unpleasant.” She quit another job
because of eyestrain, and was discharged from her last job because ol
lack of work.




Part II.—FACTS ABOUT THE STUDENTS AND THEIR
INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE
A summary picture of the industrial background of these workerstudents is obtained by presenting in tabular form the data assembled
from the job-history questionnaires. Though the figures thus derived
are sufficiently accurate for the purpose of this report, the general
statistical value of the material is somewhat limited for several reasons.
Most important is the fact that the source of the data is not strictly
reliable; few workers keep detailed records of their work histories, so
some allowance must be made for inaccuracies due to imperfect
recollection. In addition, the sample obtained is comparatively small,
and the number of questionnaires returned varies from year to year.
For the various schools the numbers of students with information
reported were as follows:
Table 1.—Scope

of study, by school
Students represented in—

School
1931

1932

1933

1934

1938

Total.....................................................................

140

172

111

172

117

Bryn Mawr................................................... ............ .
Barnard 2 __________________________
Wisconsin___ _____ __________ ______
Southern.____ ___________ _________ ______ ___

90

105
32
18
17

89

93

i 56

4
18

25
34

43
18

36
14

1 In this case applications.
2 Did not report in 1931 and 1933 and had ceased to function by 1938.

It is unfortunate that complete records are not available for all four
schools in each year. The Barnard school, for example, did not report
in 1931 nor 1933 and was no longer functioning by 1938; the Wisconsin
school returned only four questionnaires in 1933; in 1938 no question­
naires were returned for Bryn Mawr students, but comparable in­
formation along certain lines was secured from the applications of 56
students and is included in the report. Another limitation in the
1938 data is that 28 of the Wisconsin students attended only a special
2-week session for members of the International Ladies’" Garment
Workers’ Union. For the study as a whole, then, records were
obtained for 712 students, but as changes in the 1938 questionnaire
frequently made it impracticable to include that year’s students,
most of the report is based on the 595 questionnaires returned for the
first 4 years.
This part of the report is divided into short sections dealing with the
racial background, general characteristics, and industrial experience
of these worker-students. Attention is called to the fact that the
materia] is wholly valid only for the period ending in 1934. Subse181107°—39----- 3




q

10

WOMEN WORKERS AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

quent changes in the policies of the individual schools and in the
composition of the student groups have produced some deviation
from the conclusions based on the 1931-34 period.
Geographic distribution.

Because each school draws its students from particular areas, the
geographic distribution of the students in the study is influenced by
the schools reporting in each year. In 1931 and 1933 the Barnard
school did not report, and in 1933 the Wisconsin school returned only
four questionnaires. In the years in which all four schools are rep­
resented in the sample (1932 and 1934) about half the women came
from the Middle Atlantic States, one-fifth from the Middle West,
another fifth from the South, one-ninth from New England, and a
negligible proportion from the Pacific States. The fluctuation from
year to year depends not only on the schools reporting but on the
relative number of questionnaires returned by each school.
Table 2.—Geographic distribution—all schools
Place of residence

1931

1932

1933

1934

140
100.0

Middle West_______ _______ _______ ___________ _____

171
100.0

111
100.0

172
100.0

7.1
40.7
35.0
1.4
15.7

11.1
53.8
18.1
1.8
15.2

21.6
46.8
9.9
1.8
19.8

11. 6
43.6
21. 5
.6
22.7

Nativity.

During the 4 years 1931-34, the majority of the students were
native-born, about one-third having native-born parents and onethird having at least one foreign-bom parent. As in the 1928-30
period, so between 1931 and 1934 well over one-half of the foreignbom students were from Russia and Poland, and practically all these
students attended Barnard or Bryn Mawr Summer School.
Table 3.—Nativity—all schools
Nativity

1931

1932

1933

1934

140
100.0

172
100.0

111
100.0

171
100.0

35.7
29.3
35.0

27.3
28.5
44.2

30.6
39.6
29.7

37.4
40.4
22.2

The Southern School, with only two foreign-born students and two
of foreign extraction in a 4-year total of 83, faced a type of problem
different from that of the other schools because of this difference in
the background of the students. Bryn Mawr and Barnard, whose
students were of various nationalities, faced a language problem,
whereas in the Southern School the difficulty was likely to be one
of less adequate educational background. In 1938 the picture was




STUDENTS AND THEIR INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE

H

changed by the small representation from Bryn Mawr, which reduced
the proportion of foreign-born.
Age.

In each year approximately one-lialf of the students are 21 to 25
years of age. In general, the recruiting policies of the four schools
are similar, in that preference is given to girls who are between 18
and 35. The median age for the 4-year period is approximately 24,
with variations among the schools. The significance of this average
is lessened by the fact that the degree of dispersion is large. In the
four schools combined the total range in age in the 4 years 1931-34
was from 16 to 51 years.
Table 4.—Age—all schools
Age (in years)
Students reporting—Number__________
Percent.. ...........
16 to 20............. .
21 to 25—............ ...........
26 to 30................. ............ .
31 to 35—___ ______
36 to 51-................. ........

1931

1932

140
100.0

172
100.0

24.3
50.7
15.7
7.9
1.4

1933

1934

23.8

111
100.0

100.0
- ,

--------------------------------- ------------------- ----------------

Marital status.

In her report covering the 1928-30 period, Dr. Palmer points out
that this question probably was not answered accurately because of
fear of discrimination against married women workers in the summer
schools. It seems fairly safe to assume that this hesitancy on the
part of the students to reveal their true marital status has been over­
come, judging by the relatively stable averages since 1930. In each
year of the 1931-34 period approximately 85 percent of the students
reported that they were single, and roughly 6 percent that they were
married. The remainder were widowed or divorced. The figures
for 1938 show much the same distribution.
Age at entering industry.

-

. An examination of the table following shows some interesting varia­
tions. The total range in age at which these students entered industry
is comparatively uniform from year to year and cannot be considered
a factor m explaining the differences in the annual distributions. But
the large proportion in the 1933 group who entered before they were
16 years old is due to the few questionnaires received from Wisconsin
m that year. The entrance age is higher for Wisconsin than for
Bryn Mawr students, who greatly dominate the 1933 sample and
bias the distribution for that year. The significant fact is that about
nme-tenths of the individuals in the study had started to work before
they were 19 years old, half of this group before they were 16 and the
other half at 16 to 18. A much larger proportion in 1934 than in
any other year had not begun work until more than 18.




12

WOMEN WORKERS AX THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

Table 5.—Age at entering industry—all schools
Percent entering industry—
Number of
student
reporting

School year

582
138
168
109
172

At less than
16 years
of age

At 16 to 18
years of age

47.1
39.1
47.6
53.2
37.2

41.6
47.8
41.0
40.4
44.8

At 19 to 33
years of age
11.3
13.0
11.3
6.4
18.0

Years in industry.

Analysis of yearly averages (medians) shows comparatively little
variation in amount of industrial experience. From 1928 to 1931 the
average rose from slightly under to slightly over 8 years. In 1932 it
approached 9 years, but by 1934 had dropped to 8. The figures for
the two schools reporting in 1938 were 7% years for Wisconsin and
7% years for Southern. These averages are based on industrial experi­
ence in the United States and do not include employment in other
countries.
Number of jobs held.

Again it is illustrated that the industrial background of the girls
coming to the summer schools was somewhat the same from year to
year. Further, the average (mean) number of jobs reported by the
students, which had been 4.6 for the period 1928-30, varied only from
4.2 to 4.8 in the subsequent years. Here again, only jobs in the United
States were counted.
Except for a few students who reported having had 17, 25, and even
56 jobs, the reports for 1931-34 covered a range of 1 to 14 jobs.
Twenty-seven girls reported an indefinite number because they either
“couldn’t remember” or had had “too many to count.” In all, 2,570
past jobs were reported by the 568 students reporting in the school
years 1931 to 1934.
Table 6.—Number of former jobs—all schools
Percent that had had—
School year

1931

______ ___________

1934

_________________

students
reporting

581
133
162
105
168

1 to 4 jobs
61.6
55.7
59.3
60.0
67.9

5 to 8 jobs
26.7
36.8
30.9
32.4
23.2

9 to 12 jobs
8.3
5.3
6.8
1.0
7.1

More than
12 jobs
3.4
2.3
3.1
6.7
1.8

No comparison was made between the number of jobs held and the
industry in which the students habitually worked, but such an inquiry,




13

STUDENTS AND THEIR INDUSTRIAL, EXPERIENCE

in a field that is relatively unexplored, should yield interesting data.
It is difficult to make comparisons among the four schools because
in each case the range in the number of jobs varied, and also because
of certain changes in the composition of the schools. Barnard, for
example, in 1932 had more than twice as large a proportion of her
students from the clothing trades as she had in 1934—seven-tenths in
contrast to three-tenths. The foregoing table shows that for the four
schools combined, more students in 1934 than in earlier years had
had only 1 to 4 jobs.
Industry of last regular job.

These students at the summer schools did not represent a national
cross section of working women in the United States, because many
occupational classes were not represented in the group. Students of
the schools are recruited chiefly from industrial workers, though girls
in domestic and personal service have been admitted in gradually
increasing numbers. In 1937, when agricultural workers were ad­
mitted, a new category of workers was added at the Southern Summer
School. Before that, the majority of girls attending Southern were
in the textile and clothing industries. Bryn Mawr, representing a
broad geographic distribution of students and a large student body,
had a diversified industrial group of workers. Clothing, miscellaneous
manufacturing, and textiles were the industries most frequently rep­
resented. Barnard, situated in the great clothing center of New York
City, had many students from that industry, though in 1934 the
occupational classification of its students was quite varied. Wisconsin
students, on the other hand, were mainly from manufacturing indus­
tries other than clothing and textiles. They covered a wide range,
and the students were not concentrated in any one of them.
The table following gives the distribution of the students of all the
schools combined according to the industry in which they had last
worked. It is clear that from 75 to 85 percent of them were from the
manufacturing industries. Bryn Mawr’s recruiting policy—that of
attempting to emphasize one or two special geographic areas in their
student representation—accounts in part for the changed industrial
distribution in 1938. This year the Pennsylvania and Ohio areas
were those in which Bryn Mawr was particularly interested.
Table 7.—Industry of last regular job—all schools
Industry

1928-30

1931

1932

1933

1934

1938

Students reporting—Number. ----------------Percent...........................

609
100.0

140
100.0

172
100.0

111
100.0

172
100.0

116
100.0

Clothing----- ---------------------- -------------------------

47.0
15.9
24.1
6.1
6.9

40.0
17.9
25.7
13.6
2.9

47.7
16.3
17.4
5.2
13.4

40.5
16.2
21.6
9.0
12.6

29.7
23.3
20.9
15.1
11.0

49.1
11.2
18.1
10.3
11.2

Miscellaneous manufacturing------------------- ------Domestic and personal service.................. ...........
Other 1________________ __________
1 Trade, transportation, clerical, and so forth.




14

WOMEN WORKERS AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

The types of job held by the students varied widely. In the clothing
trades girls were operators on all kinds of garments, some were custom
dressmakers, others worked on only one part of the garment, and
some did fancy work and the sewing that must be done by hand.
A number of the girls were millinery workers, draping, shaping, and
sewing; some worked on men’s hats. In the textile industries girls
operated weaving, spinning, spooling, winding, looping, and topping
machines. In the other manufacturing trades students had jobs
that ranged from making candy to operating a glass-blowing ma­
chine, from packing cigarettes to printing birthday cards.
Union membership.

Yearly averages for the question of union membership were influ­
enced particularly by the absence of data from Barnard for the years
1931 and 1933. The trades represented by Barnard students are
more highly organized in New York than in smaller or less indus­
trialized cities. Almost certainly the percent of students belonging
to unions was smaller in these 2 years than it would have been had
Barnard figures been included.
Table 8.— Union membership—all schools
School year

Number of
students
reporting

1928
1929
1930_______________________
1931________________________
1932...................... ........... ........... .
1933_________________ ______
19341938-.______________________

152
202
203
129
168
95
156
117

Percent
belonging to
unions
35.5
39.1
42.4
1 34.1
38.1
i 37.9
53.2
87.2

It must be remembered that Barnard was not included in 1931 and 1933.

The table indicates little change in the proportion trade-union
members formed of the groups attending the summer schools from
1931 to 1933. In 1934, however, there was an approximately 15-point
increase over 1933, and in 1938 the proportion had more than doubled
the 1933 figure. In 1938 two-thirds of the Wisconsin students at­
tended a special session held there for the International Ladies’ Gar­
ment Workers’ Union, which greatly increased the proportion of union
members at Wisconsin in that year. Though the figures in this table
cannot be said to be representative of women workers as a whole,
because of the selective nature of the sample, there is a correlation
between this group and all women. To some degree the proportion
of trade-union members attending the summer schools depends on
the extent to which women workers as a whole have been organized.
In recruiting students the summer schools definitely attempt to secure
union members, but often in the past there have been no unions in
existence from which students could be obtained. This was par­
ticularly true in the South before the N. R. A. and before the organi­
zation drive of the textile workers. The general increase in union
membership and the added support given the summer schools by the
unions undoubtedly caused the rise in the proportion of students
belonging to trade-unions in 1938.



15

STUDENTS AND THEIR INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE

Type of shop of last job.

For the purpose of this question, a union shop was defined as one in
which there had been an agreement with a trade-union at any time
during the student’s employment.
Table 9.—Type of shop of last job—all schools
Type of shop

19311

1932

19331

132
100.0
Nonunion shop....... I.................................................. .

164
100.0

104
100.0

25.0
.8
74.2

27.4

24.0

72.6

76.0

1934

1938 2

151
100.0
45.7
5.3 }
49.0

61
100.0
63.9
36.1

i It must be remembered that Barnard is not included in 1931 and 1933.
3 Only Wisconsin and Southern reported.

It is interesting to observe that there was relatively little increase
in the proportion of union shops until 1934. In that year the pro­
portion of students reporting that they worked in a union shop was
more than 20 points higher than in 1933. Since this increase occurred
after the advent of the N. R. A., unquestionably the government
policy regarding labor organization was partly responsible.
Weekly wage rate on last job.

The purpose of table 10 is to show the wide fluctuation in weekly
earnings of similar groups of students. Assuming that the general
level of skill has remained about the same from year to year, the
changes in the wages received represent a profound influence in the
lives of the girls studied. In the predepression years the students
averaged higher wages than industrial women in general. Likewise,
in subsequent years their wages still were slightly higher than average,
but the drop in actual wages during the years of the depression was
tremendous.
The comparison between the median wages of each yearly group
and the median wages of the union members within the group shows
interesting variations.
Table 10.—Median weekly wages in last job of all students and of union members-—

all schools
Median wages of—
School year

1928
1929___________ ____________
1930
1931.................... ........................
1932__________________ ____
1933__________________ _____
1934__________ _____________

All students
$21.67
23.15
20.15
18.28
14.93
13. 50
14.78

Union members
g
(’)

$23.00
18.32
13.24
15.80

1 Not reported.

Why the union average in 1933 is lower than the average for the
entire group cannot be explained fully. Probably it is due partly to
the fact that in that year there were fewer students from the clothing




16

WOMEN WORKERS AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

trades. A proportionately greater number of union members from
the lower-paid industries naturally would lower the average for the
union group as a whole. Classified by industry, union membership
reported in the period 1931-34 was as follows: Clothing, 131; textiles,
26; miscellaneous manufacturing, 26;. others, 8.
The immediate effect of the industrial depression is revealed in the
changes in the average weekly earnings. Again it is shown that the
N. R. A. benefited many workers in higher earnings for 1934. In a
separate question asking the effects of the N. R. A. on weekly wages,
74 students in a total of 112 reporting replied that their wages had
been increased; no increase was reported by 31; and 7 reported an
actual decrease. The decrease in weekly earnings was reported by
piece-rate workers. Piece rates were increased but, because of a
reduction in hours, weekly earnings were slightly lower than formerly.
It is not possible to observe the changes that followed the collapse of
the N. R. A., since questionnaires for 1935 to 1937 are not available.
Low weekly earnings were reported at all four schools. In general,
the highest individual earnings were those of Barnard and Bryn Mawr
students, due partly to differences in standard of living and partly to
the representation of industries.
The range of weekly wages reported was broad, running from less
than $5 to $60. In most cases students reporting wages under $10
a week were part-tune workers who did not give a full-time figure.
Only 11 students reported earning as much as $34 a week. Of these,
some were custom dressmakers and two were art designers.
Earnings in preceding year.1

The significance of the annual-earnings figures is limited by the
fact that in most cases they are approximations. As a rule, workers
do not keep a record of yearly earnings. A number of students arrived
at their total yearly earnings by multiplying their weekly average—
itself an estimate—by the number of weeks they worked.
The medians computed from these approximations are shown in
table 11. The same trend in earnings is observed if a percentage
distribution is prepared. Such a table shows that three-fourths of
the students earned less than $900 in 1931, less than $700 in 1932, less
than $500 in 1933, and less than $600 in 1934. In 1938 the Southern
and the Wisconsin school reported the preceding year’s earnings, and
in both cases the median was substantially higher than the 1934
figure.
When one realizes that the majority of these students are exper­
ienced workers, many of them skilled, others semiskilled, the serious­
ness of the exceedingly low annual earnings is more apparent. One
wonders how they managed to live during the worst years of the
depression. In every year of the 4 studied, two-thirds or more of the
students reporting had had some part-time work, either because they
worked in seasonal trades or because of the scarcity of work during
the depressed period.
An unusual opportunity to compare the financial position of similar
groups of women workers during periods of prosperity and depression
is made possible by the ability to contrast the data contained in
Dr. Palmer’s report of the years 1928-30 with the 4-year period
1 In each case the “preceding year" is the 12-month period ending with May 31 of the school year.




STUDENTS AND THEIR INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE

17

following. No comparison is possible with 1938 figures, because too
few were employed in any one industry to compute median earnings.
Below is a table of median average earnings by industry, 1928 to 1934,
which illustrates the wide variation that did occur. Only 33 students
of the 524 reporting for the 4 separate years earned $1,000 or more.
Earnings ranged from below $100 to $1,400 and under $1,500. The
decline in annual earnings from 1930 to 1933 illustrates the effect of
the economic depression. Earnings were curtailed, of course, because
of the fewer weeks of employment and the decreased weekly wages.
In 1934 the major occupational classes showed a higher median
figure, which may be attributed in part to the effects of the N. R. A.
Table 11.—Median annual earnings, by industry—all schools
Median earnings in the years ended May 31—
Industry
1928-30
All industries.................... ............ ......

1931

1932

1933

1934

$838

$688

$464

$364

$396

888
745
821
757
842

Clothing___________ ___________
Textiles___________________ _____
Miscellaneous manufacturing,.....................
Domestic and personal service........................
Other 2_____ ____________

723
494
775
617
0)

450
430
540

333
375
467
(l)
300

420
422
550
188
300

0)
390

1 Too few questionnaires for the computation of a median.
2 Trade, transportation, clerical, and so forth.

It is interesting to see that though the textile industry in 1928-31
paid the lowest median earnings, in 1932-34 it paid better than some
other industries. The proportion of textile workers among all
students decreased in 1932, but by 1934 there was a substantial
increase; clothing workers decreased in 1933 and 1934, workers in
the miscellaneous manufacturing group and in domestic and personal
service increased after 1932, and those in other industries fluctuated
from year to year.
Table 12.—Median annual earnings, by school
Median earnings in the year ended May 31—
School
1928
Bryn Mawr,.................................
Barnard...................................
Wisconsin......... ........... ..............
Southern........................................... .

$922
963
788
713

1929
$908
994
906
642

1930
$778
811
817
(2)

1931
$681
(')
713
m

1932
$488
350
600
463

1933
$376
(?)
250

1934
$467
250
317
275

1938

8$504

303

1 School did not report in this year.
! Too few questionnaires lor the computation of a median.

Interschool variations are indicative of sectional differences in the
representation of industries. At Bryn Mawr and Barnard many of
the students were in the clothing industry, whereas at Southern a
greater proportion of girls were in the textile industry. Wisconsin
students were chiefly in miscellaneous manufacturing or domestic and
personal service.




18

WOMEN WORKERS AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

Money from sources other than wages in preceding year.

Of a total of 595 students in the 4 years 1931-34, 121 reported the
receipt of money other than wages and gave the amount received.
The average amount received in 1928-30 had been $77; in 1931 it was
$43; in 1932, $57; in 1933, $54; and in 1934, $24. The substantial
drop in 1934 probably was due to the higher earnings in that year,
making help less necessary, and the fact that in the fourth year of
the depression private sources of additional money, such as gifts,
family assistance, and so forth, were materially diminished. The
sources of extra income varied from family assistance, strike benefits,
workmen’s compensation, relief money, to a few cases of interest on
investments. Some students not reporting a specific amount received
help in the form of relief in kind and “maintenance” from their
families.
Causes of leaving jobs.

There was space on the questionnaires for only one-or-two-word
answers to the inquiry as to causes of leaving past jobs, and this
limitation may have resulted in some distortion in the classification.
It is simpler to say lay-off, for example, than to give a more specific
reason. Moreover, some inexactness may be explained by the fact
that the causes, given by the students themselves, involved a certain
amount of rationalization where the job was left for personal reasons.
There were 2,570 jobs in the students’ industrial histories, but for
only 2,167 was the cause of leaving reported.
Table 13.—Causes of leaving jobs—all schools
Causes reported in—
Causes
1931

1932

1933

1934

All causes—Number.
Percent.

517
100.0

647
100.0

391
100.0

612
100.0

Working conditions1.........
Involuntary reasons1-----Industrial disputes 8------Personal reasons1......... - - 4***
2*
Other............................... .

40.2
31.3
4.1
18.8
5.6

29.4
43.0
6.6
15.8
5.3

27.4
43.0
3.1
19.9
6.6

23.7
45.3
5.1
18.1
7.8

1 Low wages and long hours; poor working conditions; dislike of work or management.
2 Lay-off, slack or seasonal work; business failed, burned, or moved; discharge; introduction of machinery.
8 Strike or lock-out; union activities.
. .,
.
. ..
4 Illness (personal or family); to go to school; change of residence; marriage or family reasons.

With each year of the depression a smaller proportion of jobs were
given up because of working conditions. This result was to he ex­
pected, because at a time when the number of available jobs is steadily
decreasing, people are afraid to give up the jobs they have. In such
periods it is possible for management to lower standards with less
ensuing protest from the workers than would result in prosperous times,
particularly in unorganized plants.
.
.
The proportion of jobs left because of involuntary reasons increased
from 31 percent in 1931 to 45 percent in 1934. In a large proportion
of cases, lay-off was the cause.




STUDENTS AND THEIR INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE

19

Part-time employment in preceding year.

In each of the school years covered, two-thirds or more of the
students reporting on part-time employment in the preceding 12
months stated that they had done some part-time work. The largest
proportion having had some part-time work was reported by the small
group in 1938, when only Wisconsin and Southern were represented
followed by 1933 and 1932. Workers with 41 or more weeks of part­
time employment were few and comprised only 4 or 5 percent of each
year's group but that of 1931, when they were 11 percent of the
sample. Those with 25 to 40 weeks of part-time work ranged from
9 to 17 percent of the various groups. From these proportions it is
seen that experience of 24 or fewer weeks of part-time employment was
most common among the summer-school workers.
Table 14.—Part-time employment in preceding year—all schools
Number of part-time weeks worked
Students reporting—Number ___
Percent____ ________
None-________ _ __
1 to 8_____________ __________
9 to 24_____________________
25 to 40________________________
41 to 52__________________

1931

1932

1933

1934

1938 1

133
100.0

161
100.0

95
100.0

152
100.0

47
100.0

35.3
18.0
22.6
13.5
10.5

29.2
17.4

28.4
14.7

17.4
5.0

23.4
25.5
38.3

5.3

34.9
21.7
28.3
11.2
3.9

4.3

1 Only Wisconsin and Southern reported.

Unemployment in preceding year.

The table following is presented to illustrate the general trend of
causes of unemployment. The effects of the depression are shown
clearly. Lack of work was by far the principal cause of unemploy­
ment from 1931 to 1934, especially the second half of such period.
In these last 2 years, also, fewer persons than in 1931 and 1932 took
vacations without pay or stayed at home without pay in cases of
illness or accident. An increase in strikes and lock-outs as a cause
of unemployment in 1934 indicates the industrial unrest accompany­
ing the union-organizing campaign after the low point of the depres­
sion and the passage of the N. R. A.
Table 15.—Causes of unemployment in preceding year—all schools
Causes reported in—
Causes of unemployment
1931
All causes—Number____
Percent......... ...........
Lack o work___ _____
Strike or lockout_______
Illness or accident without pay.__
Vacation without pay___
Attending school..............
Other___________




1932

1933

149
100.0

197
100.0

125

42.3
10.1
22.1
17.4
3.4

15.7

11.2

3.6

6.4

1934
188

4.3
8.0

20

WOMEN WORKERS AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

When each cause is analyzed according to the number of weeks of
unemployment resulting, some interesting points are brought out.
Vacations without pay never caused more than 8 weeks of unemploy­
ment; illness or accident rarely more than 12 wreeks. In each year
but 1931, at least four-fifths of the cases of unemployment caused
by strikes or lock-outs lasted less than 13 weeks; in 1931 the propor­
tion was three-fifths. Unemployment because of lack of work, how­
ever, shows interesting variations, which can be illustrated best by
the following percentages.
Table 16.— Unemployment in preceding year due to lack of work—all schools
Number of weeks unemployed through lack of work

1931

1932

1933

1934

63
100.0
1 to 12................................ ..........................—............. ................. .
13 to 28....................................... .................................... -...............
29 to 62..............................................................................................

108
100.0

78
100.0

112
100.0

46.0
39.7
14.3

38.0
29.6
32.4

38.5
32.1
29.6

39.3
28.8
33.9

Over the 4-year period, the duration of unemployment increased.
In only one-seventh of the cases reported in 1931, in contrast to onethird in 1934, did unemployment due to lack of work last more than
28 weeks.
Major cause of unemployment in preceding year.

The table following was compiled by transcribing for each student
the cause of her longest period of unemployment. Students who
had been affected to the same extent by two or more causes—that
is, wTho had more than one “major cause”—were not included. Lack
of work was the major cause in three-fifths to more than four-fifths
of the cases reported in the 4 years.
Table 17.—Major

cause of unemployment in preceding year—all schools

Major cause of unemployment

1931

1932

1933

1934

97
100.0

142
100.0

89
100.0

124
100.0

60.8
4.1
13.4
13.4
8.2

69. 7
2.1
12.7
9.9
5.6

84.3
4.5
3.4
5. 6
2.2

75.0
8.9
3.2
4.8
8.1

Overtime work in preceding year.

In the period 1928-30, about 60 percent of the students reporting
on this question had worked some overtime in the various years. In
the following years the figures were these:
Percent

1931____________ _____ _______________ _____ -____
1932_ ______ _____ _____ ________________________
_
1933
1934




58.7
47.9
44. 7
29. 2

STUDENTS AND THEIR INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE

21

As shown by these figures, the proportion of students working some
overtime decreased steadily from 1931 to 1934. Slightly more than
one-half of those doing overtime work reported 1 to 4 weeks of such
work except in 1931, when 42 percent so reported.
Daily hours in preceding year.

Daily hours of work are defined as including the lunch period. In
1928-30, according to Dr. Palmer’s report, the proportion of students
whose daily hours in the past year had been 9 or less was 68 percent.
In 1931-33 it was 73 percent. By 1934, however, the N. R. A. codes
and the share-the-work program had reduced hours materially, and
92 percent of the students reporting had worked not more than 9 hours
a day. The lunch period, which was an hour or more in about half
the cases reported, showed very little change from 1928 to 1934.
Data on the daily hours of the 1938 students are not available




Appendix A.—General Tables
Table

I.—Weekly wages on last job—all schools
1931

Wages
~ Percent--------------------- ---------- ----$5, under $10
$10, under $16
$16, under $22__
$22, under $28
$28, under $34

- __________________ ________ _________

$40^ under $60
Table

1932

1933

1934

139
100.0

171
100.0

110
100.0

159
100.0

0.7
7.2
35.3
25.9
16.5
6.5
6.5
1.4

4.7
14.6
39.2
21.1
11.1
5.3
2.3
1.8

7.3
17.3
43.6
20.0
5.5
3.6
1.8
.9

7.5
6.3
52.8
19.5
9.4
2.5
1.3
.6

II.-—Earnings in -preceding year—all schools
Year ending with May 31—

Year’s earnings
1932

1931

1933

1934

127
100.0
Under $200 _________________________________ __________
$800, under $1,100. _

- - - ___ __ ___ _________________ ____

Table

154
100.0

90
100.0

153
100.0

5.5
18.9
40.9
26.0
7.1
1.6

16.2
39.0
34.4
9.1
.6
.6

17.8
55.6
23.3
3.3

23.5
39.9
29.4
6.2
1.3
.7

III.—Causes of leaving jobs—all schools
Causes reported in
1931

Causes

Num­
ber
All causes...................................

Per­
cent

Num­
ber

517

100.0

647

Low wages, long hours-----------------Lay-off, slack or seasonal work (temporary job)
Discharged_________ __________
Strike or lock-out....... ............. —........
Business failed, moved, burned.----

82
99
16
15
47

19.1
3.1
2.9
9.1

Dislike of management----------------Dislike of work, better job elsewhere
Unhealthful, disagreeable working
conditions..------------- ----------- Illness_____________________ ____
To go to school. -----------------------Change of residence------------------Marriage and family____________ Union activity, to get into union

13
89

Other causes______

___

22




______

1933

1932

15.9

62

Per­
cent
100.0
9.6

Num­
ber

1934
Per­
cent

Num­
ber
612

Per­
cent
100.0

391

100.0

38

9.7

53

8.7

190
32
23
48
7
34
43

31.0
5.2
3.8
7.8
1.1
5.6
7.0

2.5
17.2

179
14
29
81
4
8
89

27.7
2.2
4.5
12.5
.6
1.2
13.8

105
19
5
37
7
9
48

26.9
4.9
1.3
9.5
1.8
2.3
12.3

24
15
54
18
10

4.6
2.9
10.4
3.6
1.9

31
23
34
31
14

4.8
3.6
5.3
4.8
2.2

12
20
32
14
12

3.1
6.1
8.2
3.6
3.1

15
24
35
32
20

2. 5
3.9
5.7
5.2
3.3

6
29

1.2
5.6

14
34

2.2
5.3

7
26

1.8
6.6

8
48

1.3
7.8

Appendix B.—Form of Questionnaire
AFFILIATED SCHOOLS FOR WORKERS, INC.
SUMMER SCHOOLS FOR WORKERS IN INDUSTRY

INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCE RECORD
Date----------------------- 1934
Residence
Name of school
(City)

Present age ... (years)

Name

(State)

How long have you lived in the United States?
(Years)

Your birthplace--------

(Country)

Birthplace of father_____

(Country)

Birthplace of mother

(Country)

Occupation of father Occupation of mother
Are you married?_____ Single?_____ Widowed or divorced?
How old were you when you entered industry?
(Years)

Last grade of school completed?
In what country was school located?
RECORD OF JOBS

Put in the table below a record of all the jobs you have held, even if you cannot
supply all the details requested in the columns. Number these in the order
held, including your first job and all others up to June 1, 1934.

Industry

Give year of—
Local­ Process
or op­
ity
eration Begin­ Quit­
ning
ting




Length of time State
job was held specifi­ Wages per week Was
cally
the
why
shop
Years Months you left Begin­ Quit­ union?
this job ning
ting

23

Were
you a
mem­
ber?

24

WOMEN WORKERS AT THE SUMMER SCHOOLS

ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR EMPLOYMENT
DURING THE PAST YEAR

(From June 1, 1933, to May 31, 1934)
During how many weeks of the year were you employed full time?_____ weeks.
During how many weeks of the year were you employed only part time? —weeks.
During how many weeks of the year were you entirely out of work on account of:
1. Personal illness or accident (with pay)

_

2. Personal illness or accident (without pay)
3. Lack of work

----- ---

-

-------

..

weeks.

__ _. - weeks.

— -----

4. Vacation (with pay)

----------------------- -----___weeks.

5. Strike or lock-out____

-

6. Other causes_

_

_

- -

. _-weeks.

----- -- .

.

Total. .. --------- ------------ -----------

weeks
52 weeks

What were the regular opening and closing hours at your last job?
On week days-------- ------- ------------- On Saturdays
How much time was allowed for lunch? _

--------

----------------------------------

What w'ere the regular weeklv total hours? __ .

— —

On your last job were you paid on a piece-work basis?

.. _ -

-----

During how many weeks of the year did you w7ork some overtime? —.
If you worked overtime on your last job, were you paid beyond the regular rate?
At what rate?
What were your highest full-time weekly earnings during the year? -------------Lowest full-time?
What were your total earnings during the year? ----------------------------------------Have there been fines or deductions* from your pay during the year? ------------How7 much?_________________
(•For insurance, etc.)

For what purposes?______ ________

How much money did you receive last year from sources other than wages on
your regular job?




questionnaire

25

Did you receive some of this money from a relief agency?_______
how much?--------------

If so,

From what agency?

Specify from what other sources this extra money came__________
How much have you saved from your own earnings this year? ____
How much did you pay in insurance premiums this year?________
Did you borrow money last year?_________

If so, how much?

Are you still in debt?_______________
Do you live at home?----------------------room?----------------------

How much?
If S0) do you pay for board and

How much weekly?

How much do you contribute toward the family budget besides board and room?
(Give total amount during the year)___________________
If you do not live at home, what did you pay for room?dollars a week.
For board, including lunches?

____ __________________ dollars a week.

If any of your family lives abroad, do you send them any money? _____

How

much?
What is the principal product of the shop in which you work?
How did you secure your present job?_______ __
Describe briefly what you do at your present job:

Have your wage rates been increased under the N. It. A.?_________
Has your shop collective bargaining?--------------

If SOj js it under a company

union or a trade union?__________________________
If you have worked for a year at the same job before the N. R. A., how do your
hours compare with what they were before?
(Hours before)

What do you consider your regular trade?___________________
Do you have a job when you leave the summer school this year?




o

(Hours after) ~