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U. S. D E P A R T M E N T O F L A B O R JAMES J. DAVIS, SECRETARY WOMEN'S BUREAU MARY ANDERSON, Director BULLETIN OF T H E WOMEN'S BUREAU, NO. NEGRO WOMEN IN INDUSTRY WASHINGTON GOVERNMENT P R I N T I N G OFFICE ma 20 riEGRO WOMEN MAKING WEBBING. CONTENTS. Page. Negro women making webbing Frontispiece. Letter of transmittal v Introduction jI Scope and method of study. 2 CHAPTER I . Negro women i n industry before and during the war 5 Before the war : 5 During the war 5 CHAFTEK I I . Negro women i n industry since the war II Substitution of Negro women for white women and boys. 13 Retention of Negro women i n industry 14 CHAPTER I I I . Hours and conditions of emplo>Tnent 16 Hours of work 16 Daily—Weekly—Saturday half-hdliday&—Lunch periods—Nigjit work. General working conditions 22 ' Toilets—Washing facilities—Drinking facilities—Dressing: rooms—Rest rooms and lunch rooms—Health service—Posture at work—Cleanliness, ventilation, and lighting—Conclusion. CHAPTER IT^ The occupations of Negro women 31 The clothing industry—The food-products industry—The furniture industry—The glass industry—The leather-products industry—The metal i n d u s t r y - T h e paper-products industry—Peanut industry— The textile industry—The tobacco industry—The toy industry—The miscellaneous industries—Negro forewomen—Conclusion. CHAPTER V, Wages of Negro women workers 40 CHAPTER V I . Employment policies, methods of supendsion, education and ^ training of workers 4^ CHAPTER VIT. Virginia home study Hours of work—living, conditions—Age at beginning work—Years employed i n the tobacco industry—Wages—Dependents and home responsibilities—Conclusion. m TABLES. Page. Table 1. Number of establishments investigated, niimber of workers, male and female, and niimber and per cent of white and Negro women, by industry.. 3 Table 2. Number of establishments i n which Negro women were introduced before, during, or after the war, and number employing them to replace men, white women, or boys, and for other reasons 12 Table 3. Number of establishments aiad number of Negro women w i t h scheduled daily hours as specified, by industry 17 Table 4. Number of establishments and number of Negro women w i t h scheduled weekly hours as specified, by industry 18 Table 5. Occupations of 13,812 Negro women workers i n 150 establishments and 32 of 16,708 white women workers i n 101 of the same establishments Table 6. Employment policies and employers' opinions, 63 plants employing 13,493 white and 5,412 Negro women, by industry 50 Table 7. Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by weekly hours of , work, V i r g i n i a . . . . . . . . 55 Table 8. Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by living conditions and age group, Vii^inia : 56 Table 9. Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by age at which they , began gainful employment and age at time of investigation, Virginia 57 Table 10. Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by age at which they began gainful employment and years employed i n the industry, Virginia - . 59 Table 11. Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by age and weekly earnings, Virginia 60 Table 12. Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified b y weekly earnings and years employed i n the industry, Virginia • 61 Table 13. Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by conjugal condition and age group, Virginia 62 Table 14. Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by family contribution and age group, Virginia 63 Table 15. Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by family contribution and weekly earnings, Virginia 64 IV LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL, U . S , D E P A R T M E N T OF L A B O R , WOMEN'S BUREAU, ^Yash^ngton, July 21, 192L SIR: I have the honor to submit the report of Negro Women in Industry. This investigation was made by Miss Emma L. Shields, a member of the staff of the Women's Bureau, in conjunction with the Division of Negro Economics in the Department of Labor. The statistical work was done with the help and cooperation of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mis3 Shields also wrote the report. Respectfully submitted. M A R Y A N D E R S O N , Director. H o n . JAMES J . DAVIS, Secretary of Labor. NEGRO WOMEN IN INDUSTRY. INTRODUCTION. During the World War, when there was a wholesale recruiting of forces through wliich the great conflict might be speedily and victoriously ended, the opportunity and call came to Negro women to enter the growing army of American women workers. ^ ^ ^ This entrance of Negro women into industry brought ^vith it some acute economic problems which called forth many perplexing questions. Were they to be used as a marginal class, merely filling the gap caused by the labor shortage, or were diversified and equal opportunities for emploj-ment and promotion open to them? Were Negro women grasping successfully their industrial opportunity, or were they failing to measure up to the usual standards in the work which it had fallen to their lot to do? I n other words, Were they standing the test industrially in the quantity and quality of work which they produced as compared with their white coworkers ? Was the question of the retention of Negro women when the reduction of workers came durmg the reconstruction period one of industry or one of race ? To secure information answering these and related questions the Women's Bureau detailed a member of its staff to the Division of Negro Economics to make an investigation of conditions among Negro women i n industry in typical industrial centers during the months immediately following the close of the war. The facts and figures secured during this investigation form the basis for conclusions concerning the needs and problems which must be faced in order ''to foster, develop, and promote the welfare of the wage earners of the United States; to improve their working conditions and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment." ^ The data of this report could not have been so effectively gathered la the time available had i t not been for the cordial assistance and cooperation of social agencies and individuals in all of the cities visited during the survey. Special appreciation is here expressed to employers for their courtesy in giving interviews and in opening the doors of their workrooms; to State employment officials, and a number of private welfare and philanthropic organizations for * Organic act creating the United States Department of Labor. 2 ^TEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY. granting unrestricted access to data. in their files and for their cooperation in facilitating the actual investigation; and to leaders and other individuals whose interested responses were so helpful in throwing light on industrial or related conditions surrounding the life of Negro women workers. SCOPE AND M E T H O D OF STUDY. Since only a brief period of time, from September to December, 1920, was allotted for the field work of this report, i t was deemed wiser to gather facts from selected places over an extended territory rather than to make an intensive study of any special locality. Visits were made, therefore, to points in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia, and Nort^i Carolina. I n each locality the investigator visited as man}^ plants as possible. Effort was put forth to include especially those industries which were t3T)ical of the locality or of conditions under which Negro women were working. With few exceptions, the industries represented in the report are mechanical and manufacturing industries. Domestic and personal service occupations were not included unless they were definitely allied with some industry. The reason for this was threefold. In the first place, time would not permit an investigation of Negro women so employed, because the'numbers are so great. Second, such occupations embrace distinct and separate problems whose analyses could not be adequately treated in a report on industry. I n the third place, domestic and personal service does not represent new opportxmities for Negro women, with the exception of employment as elevator operators and stock girls in department stores. Although there has been a widening of scope for Negro women in domestic and personal service, this could not be called an industrial advance. This report therefore includes mainly those occupations in which Negro women were working in factories on mechanical and manufacturing processes. I n aU, 150 plants were visited, in 17 localities in nine States. These employed 70,409 persons. Of the workers 28,520 (40.5 per cent) were women, and 11,812 (16.8 per cent) were Negro women. The Negro women formed more than 40 per cent of all the women employed. The following table shows the number of establishments visited, the total number of workers employed therein, and the number and per cent of white and Negro women employed, by industry: 10 KEGRO W O M E N13S"I N D U S T R Y . TABLE 1.—Number of establishments investigated, number ofworhers, male and female, and number and per cent of while and Negro women, by industry. Niimhcr of establishments— Industry. Number of workers Xumber of Per cent women women work- form of total numers. ber of workers. Kmploying females. I Clothing Food products... Furniture Glass Leather products Metal Paper products.. Peanuts Textiles Tobacco Toys Miscellaneous Total 239 1,473 1,712 763 9,564 3,810 13,374 3,031 332 150 C63 331 1,910 304 904 2,S44 320 82 429 109 17,298 1,816 19,114 1.010 40 495 455 38 110 72 3,541 2,750 6,291 1,910 7,018 12,955 19,973 6,424 83 198 115 55 1,476 3,730 5,206 2,641 105 101 150 710 44.6 779 181 22.6 600 10.7 27 19.1 806 5.2 117 68.2 72 840 6,531 60 32.2 1,089 27.8 50.7 150 41,889 28,520 70,409 16,708 11,812 22.7 3 .4 6" " 41.5 86,1 5.8 28.5 49.9 27.3 31.8 21.1 25.4 6.3 4.2 , 9.4 91.8 23.6 65.5 65.5 43.8 13.4 32.7 58.1 30.3 20.9 71.6 W.9 16.8 40.5 According to the census of 1910,=® there were employed in the United States at that time, as laborers and semiskilled workers in the industries noted above, 16,835 Negro women. That Negro women secured a much larger place in industry during and since the war is indicated by the present investigation which, though covering only some of the principal industries in 17 cities of 9 States, found 11,812 Negro women to be employed. Figures are not available at the present time to show the total number of Negro women employed in manufacturing and mechanical occupations in the United States in 1920. The figures of this report, and the evolution in industry during and since the war,' make i t clear that there has been a marked transition of Negro women from domestic service and other home pursuits to factory work. As far as possible, detailed facts were secured concerning all labor conditions surrounding the life of Negro women workers. Interviews were obtained with officials of each factory visited and inspection of the workroom was made. Negro women employed in the factories were interviewed, through arranged or accidental meetings. Leaders of social agencies and other persons who were in close contact with the local industrial and community conditions were called ^pon. The answers to some of the questions asked employers" on the comparative efficiency, behavior, and reliability of Negro and white women workers were necessarily based only upon opinions, but these opinions are in themselves pertinent factors in the situa»Bureau of the Census, Negro population in the United States, 1790-1915, p. 521. 64092''—22 2 4 KEGKO WOjVIKN" IN INDUSTRY. • tion. So many peculiar problems have to be faced hy Negro workers in their effort to secure an equal chance with laborers of other races for industrial opportunities and promotions that opinions of employers who have had experience with them are important and valuable. Other employers may or may not feel confident when they think of engaging them, largely because of these opinions. One disadvantage of the investigation was that i t was made during a period when the industrial retrenchment following the boom of war production was just in progress. Many plants were closed, and the pohcy of the managements of these plants toward Negro women workers could not be ascertained. A reduction of the worldng force was being made in other plants, and the general depression left much to conjecture concerning the industrial destiny of these Negro workers. More than one-half (6,531) pf the Negro women represented in this survey were employed in the tobacco industry, an industry in which they have held a monopoly of the heavy and dusty labor since the institution of the factory method of rehandling tobacco. Of this number of tobacco workers, 5,517 Negro women were working in the tobacco factories of the State of Virginia. A n investigation made by the Women's Bureau in the autumn of 1919 revealed that of the 10,344 women employed in the tobacco industry of this State more than half were Negroes; of the 7,694 women employed in the three largest tobacco centers of the State, 4,504 were Negroes. So large a part of the working population of the industry in this State being of tibe Negro race, a follow-up study of these women was desirable. Accordingly, the conditions in the three largest tobacco centers of Virgirda were studied during the fall of 1920. Not only were visits made to the factories in these three cities, but visits were made to 85 homes of Negro women workers in the same places. The facts and conditions discovered through these home visits are included in this report. CHAPTER I . NEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY BEFORE AND DURING THE WAR. Before the war. Work for wages is much more widespread among Negro than among white women. I n 1910, -2,013,981 (or 54.7 per cent) of the 3^680,536 Negro women 10 years of age or over, and 6,043,709 (or 19.6 per cent) of the 30,769,641 white women 10 years of age or over, were gainfully employed. B y far the greatest number of these Negro women wage earners (1,904,494) were engaged i n agriculture and domestic and personal service.® , Negro wonuen workers have been so largely confined to agriculture and domestic and personal service for generations that these labors are conceded to be traditionally their own. I n these kinds of work they have been trained and have become experienced. I t is to these labors that they have been bound, and more than other women they, have been, lunited in engaging in other forms of gainful occupation. I n 1910, manufacturing and mechanical industries which employed 1,366,959 women employed only 16,835 Negro women. I t is significant that of the 16,835 Negro women in industrial occupations 10,672J or 63 per cent, were laborers and semiskilled operatives in cigar and tobacco factories, and 6,163, or 37 per cent, were general laborers and " n o t specified*' in manufactures. Thi^ indicates that the tobacco industry was the one in which Negro women had their strongest footing prior to the war. W i t h the exception of that industry, they had a very unimportant place and little industrial opportunity i n the manufacturing processes in general; where they were employed i n other industries than tobacco they were there simply to perform the unskilled manual work which i t was necessary to have done in the establishment. During the war. The can of industrial opportunity was directed toward Negro women for the first time during the period of the World War. Many causes made necessary at that time the mobilization of labor from any available source. An acute labor shortage was created by the drafting and. enlistment of men who served the Nation on the battlefields and by the cessation of immigration; at the same time, production of materials »Bureaa of the Census Negro populatioii in the UnUed States, 1290-1915, pp^ 523 and 525. 6 ^TEGRO W O M E N I N I N D U S T R Y . and implements necessary for the successful prosecution of the war had to be greatly increased. Besides these causes of the shortage of male workers, the war munitions and implements industries made heavy drafts upon the traditional woman-employing industries such as garment and textile making, where more than 75 per cent of all the women in manufacturing industries were concentrated before the war. As white women workers were advanced industrially into the more skilled and higher paid positions, because of the existing labor shortage, Negro women were recruited in large numbers to fill the places thus left open in the ranks of industry. This is indicated partly in Table 1, which shows that 75 per cent of the Negro women studied were working in industries which have been classified as the five principal woman-employing industries in the United States in the prewar period, namely, textiles, clothing, food products, tobacco products, and hand and foot wear. This fact is further brought out in that between 60 and 65 per cent of the 21,547 Negro women whose occupations were listed in 1919^ were engaged i n these five traditional woman-employing manufacturing industries. Although Negro women have entered other industries also, there is a definite indication that for the more skilled processes they were drafted in largest numbers in those industries which white women had left for new occupations. I n addition, many other industries for the first time opened their doors to a limited number of Negro women. There are no complete figures available to show to what extent Negro women did embrace the opportunities that were offered to them. The facts revealed in a bulletin of the United States Department of Labor® as a result of an investigation made in 1918 and 1919 give valuable information concerning the Negro woman at work during the war. According to this report in 152 plants distributed in aU sections of the country there were employed 21,547 Negro women. These women were working on many processes which were new to them and, in some industries, new to all women. Including those engaged in such war work as the making of shells, gas masks, and parts of airplanes, 15,157 Negro women were working in the manufacturing industries.. The remainder were i n some kind of clerical work or domestic and personal service. Included i n these industries were approximately 75 different kinds of work, much of it involving the use of hitherto imfamiliar power machinery. That this period wiU be far-reaching in the history of the Negro woman i n industry is further emphasized by several studies of local industrial situations. A New York study made during 1918 states < U . S. Department of Labor. 1921, p. 125. 6 U . S. Department of Labor. 1921. The Negro at W o r k during the World W a r and during Reconstruction, The Negro at Work during the World W a r and during Reconstruction, 7 KEGRO W O M E N13S"I N D U S T R Y . frankly that the ''Colored woman is a new-comer in the field of industry," ® and that during this period establishments which had formerly practiced an industrial boycott against Negro women inserted in their advertisement the word ''colored'' before the word ''wanted." So prevalent and urgent was the need in this and many other localities that employers eagerly sought the labor of Negro women. This investigation found Negro women in 217 establishments—in the garment trades, in paper box factories, in establishments making leather goods, fashioning hats, and dyeing furs, and in other kinds of work. The greatest number in any one industry, 892 of the Negro women represented, were employed on the several different operations of the garment trades. t The Consumers' League of Eastern Pennsylvania made a similar study of colored women as industrial workers in Philadelphia,^ which disclosed the employment of approximately 2,800,Negro women in 108 factories in that city. Here, too, the labor shortage was reflected and the use of the labor of Negro women was a result. The transition is indicated by stories which appeared in Philadelphia newspapers with such captions as the following: Use Negro woman labor to fill war workers' gaps. Negro women take place of men i n industry. Colored girls doing housework, Y . W. C. A. is placing many i n shops and factories. The prevailing occupations for the Negro women covered by this survey were in the manufacture of munitions, textiles, paper products, tobacco products, candy, glass, and clothing. Negro women in Philadelphia also received their greatest opportunity in the garment trades, which they entered in largest numbers. I n an article entitled "Reconstruction and the Colored Woman,"® by Forrester B. Washington, the middle western situation during the war period is well depicted. I t is pointed out that in Chicago, unlike other cities, Negro women made little progress into the s l ^ e d a^d semiskilled occupations in actual mantiacturing industries; that of 170 firms which employed Negro women for the first time during the war, 47 per cent gave them new or wider outlets i n domestic and personal service but only 7 per cent hired Negro women in those occupations which might give them a real place among ''women in industry." On the other hand, i t is shown that in Detroit considerable numbers of Negro women were working on machines in large automoT)ile factories, many of them in skilled or semiskilled occupations. They were employed as " assemblers, inspectors and shippers, «Consumers' League of the City of New York [and others), A New Day for the Colored Woman Worker, 1919. * Consumers' Iveaguo of Eastern Pennsylvania, Colored women as industrial workers i n Philadelphia, 1919-20. • Life and Labor, Vol. I X , No. 1, pp. 3-7. 8 KEGRO W O M E N 13S" I N D U S T R Y . in auto plants, as core makers and chippers in foundries, as shell makers in munition factories^ as plate makers in dental laboratoriesj as garment makera, and as armature winders in insulated wire factories/' This employment gave important, unprecedented openings to Negro women, and i t also meant opportunity in the more skilled, better paid work from which Negro women formerly had been barred. I t is estimated that at least 1,000 Negro women were in the skilled industries i n the Detroit district. The industrial tide which swept so many Negroes into sections of the country hitherto unknown to them, aroused in these women a desire to search for new gainful opportunities. Kecent releases of the census report of 1920 have shown this ebb and flow of the Negro populatioDu Negro women migrated in large numbei-s to those cities whieL they knew afforded a good chance for earning a living, sometimes because of family relationship^ sometimes because individually they were stirred with a fervent desire to better their conditions. I n some of the plants where they found employment the actual industrial operations were too heavy for the employment of any women; in others, where the operations were lighter and more suitable for women and where there was a labor shortage, Negro women were able to get work. I n some communities there were openings^ i n domestic service which were far more remunerative, agreeable, and healthful than those in the places from wliich these women came. I n such cases there was a happy solution of what might have been serious personal problems, for iudustrj^ Avas not ready to receive the large numbers of Negro women who moved North and West, following for the most part the movement of Negro men. There were many things which might have kept the Negro woman out of these new industrial opportunities. One of the first problems was to overcome the prevalent belief that she was capable of performing only domestic and persomil service. The woman herself was conscious of her own industrial inexperience and showed a timidity which was a drawback i n acquiring the assurance and speed so necessary i n the factory. Handicapped by industrial ignorance, inexperience, and an acute lack of factory sense,, she was suddenly launched into the world of industry during a time when " efficiency—maximum production" was the country's slogan.- A t the same time, industrial management had neither the time nor the experience effectively to direct and train such unprepared^ immature workers. I n spite of this fact^ the Negro woman, was under the necessity of holding her own among the white women who had the advantages of years of precedent and industrial experience and training. Such considerations as these must be borne in mind in any effort to- discover what employers think of the success or failure of their Negro women workers. Some idea of their opinions may be gleaned 9 KEGRO WOMEN 13S" INDUSTRY. from a summary statement made in an earlier report of the Department of Labor.® Realizing that the opinion of their employera would serionsly affect the future of Negro women i n indxistry, an attempt was made to secure the opinions of superintendents or other officials dealing w i t h Negro women i n these plants. Of 34 employers who expressed a definite opinion on this subject, 14 said that they found the work of Negro women as satisfactory as other women workers, and three found their work better than that of the white women they were working w i t h or had displaced. Of the 17 employers who felt that the work of Negro women d i d not compare satiafactoriiy w i t h that of the white women, 7 reported that irregularity of attendance was the main cause for dissatisfaction, and 7 otkers felt that the output of Negro women was less because they were slower workers. In ' ' A New Day for the Colored Woman Worker/' that— it is stated A n effort was made to discover what employers thought of the success or failure of their experiment. As was to be expected, their testimony was contradictory. I n many instances colored women have made good. I n other cases they have not. About half of the employers considered them as efficient as their white workers. These foimd them well-mannered and more courteous than the white girls, and found them steadier, although sJgweriQJfiovements. The other half considered them lazy, stupid, and unreliable, and declared tliat they would not have them i f white girls were obtainable. The following extracts from an article which appeared in Life and Labor" have the same tenor: There has been a lot of theorizing regarding colored working women, but the testimony of their worth has far outweighed the unfavorable criticism. ''More loyaK more cheerful and more intelligent than foreign girls,'' are some of the reports. So far as efficiency is concerned, there have been numerous cases where colored girls, given equal conditions, far excelled their white sisters. I n the cartridge factor}at Newark, N. J., the colored women working nights averaged fifteen huntked more shells per eight-hour shift than the white women who worked i n the day. J A t Decatur, III., a tent and awningcompany engaged i n making bags for the Government hired colored girls to take the place of white. According to the rate at which the white girls had been turning out the work, i t is estimated that i t would take the new force u n t i l Fcbruar>' to complete the contract. The colored girls worked so much faster than their white predecessors that the contract waa completed early i n December. These examples have no significance as to the comparative superiority of white or colored girls, but they do show that as many examples can be given of the colored girl's efficiency as of her inefficiency. I t has been suggested that colored girls, realizing that they were on trial, should have taken pains to be extra efficient. But isn't this expecting too much vision from a poor working girl? These bits of expert testimony from authorities who were in contact Avith the industrial situation during the war give ground for believing that the Negro woman in spite of the handicaps which S. Department of Labor, The Negro at Work during the World War and during Reconstruction, 1921, p. 130.^. "Consumers' League of the City of New York [and others], A New Day for the Colored Woman Worker, 1919, p. 25. " Life and Labor, Vol. I X , No. 1, pp. 3-7, 10 ^TEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY. surrounded her did make a record in the work which i t fell to her lot to do. The majority,of the criticisms directed against Negro women may be traced directly or indirectly to some of the living or working conditions surrounding them. They are slow,- unreliable, inexperienced? Long hours and low wages, menial, undesirable work, unhealthy working conditions, with a lack of welfare facilities— conditions which colored women as marginal workers had to face— underlie much of this criticism. The salient facts concerning the Negro woman in industry during the war may be very briefly summarized: 1. Labor shortage due to the mobilization of men for the Army, cessation of immigration, the drafting of white women from the traditional woman-employing industries into new occupations, and the war's demand for varied, increased production made necessary the employment of Negro women. 2. Although recruited for many industries, opportunity on the more skilled processes came to the largest numbers of Negro women in the traditional woman-employing industries from which white women had advanced into those industries which men had monopolized during the prewar period. 3. Considerable statistics point to the fact that large numbers of Negro women were employed on varied, semiskilled, and skilled processes in many industries not heretofore employing them. 4. Negro women migrated into remote industrial centers in their search for opportunity, but they were the marginal workers and had to fill the gap, either in domestic or industrial openings, wherever they were needed. 5. Skepticism about her utility on the one hand and her industrial ignorance and inexperience on the other, presented barriers to the success of the Negro woman in industry. 6. Examination of available data shows that the Negro woman was as successful as could reasonably be expected in view of her handicaps, the discrimination against her, and the dearth of industrial incentives. 7. I n inany cases the criticisms against her may be traced in the last analysis to the conditions under which she has lived and worked . more than to the Negro woman herself. . CHAPTER I I . NEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY'SINCE THE WAR. The readjustments of industry to the conditions of peace were not so sudden nor violent as were those which ^vrenched the whole industrial world during the days of the great war. There was a more gradual shift from war to peace-time production. The men returned from the front and adjusted themselves to the new industrial condition which prevailed in the United States. The manufacture of war munitions, implements, and supplies was discontinued. The facts and figures for this postwar period show labor conditions more normal than they could have been during the days of war. During the latter part of this survey industrial retrenclmaent was well under way. These conditions were especially significant in their relation to the Negro woman worker for they undoubtedly produced a crisis in her industrial career. The labor shortage and the needs for increased production to which she responded during the war no longer existed. Her retention then in industry, and the conditions which surround her, as shown by the studies which have been made, throw light on many pertinent disturbing questions concerning the future position of the Negro woman in industry. Although 11,812 Negro women were found in 150 .plants visited, 20 additional establishments which had employed Negro women during the period of the war were found to have entirely dismissed their Negro women workers. I n 40 of the 150 establishments the Negro women had been reduced to processes less skilled than those previously performed, and in two of these plants the management frankly acknowledged that the Negro women were gradually being weeded out. Some of the reasons given for such action were: White girls were obtainable; men had returned; changed conditions made them no longer needed; they didn't join the union in the allotted time— though as a matter of fact, " t h e union didn't bother to get them because i t didn't want them." The following statement from one firm, which had employed hundreds of Negro girls and had many times expressed its entire satisfaction with their work, is typical of the sentiment of several others: "They were employed solely on^ account of the shortage of labor and i t was not the intention of the management from the beginning to retain them when white girls were'available." Although at the present time her opportunities for industrial work are not increasing, the Negro woman's brief participation in industry has imbued her with an amount of industrial experience and knowledge of the routine working habits that is fitting her for future 64092''^22 3 , 11 KEGKO W O U E l ^ I N INDUSTRY. 12 usefulness to industry. She has gained a footing, however slippery, which will mak-e her an increasingly important factor in American industry i n the future. A study of the industrial opportunities open, the time at which employment began, and the reasons given for employment of the 11,812 Negro women employed in the 150 estabhshments included in this survey, indicates clearly that Negro women did not have a permanent footing in industry i n 1920. Table 2 gives the figures underlying the statements of the preceding discussion of the new opportunities which came to Negro women during the World War, I t shows the introduction of Negro women into specific industries before, during, and after the war, and their replacement of inen, white women," and boys. TABLE 'Number of establishments in which Negro women were introduced before^ during, or after ike war. and number employing them to replace men, white women, or boys, and for other reasons. Establishments which betran employing Nfigro women— Number Number of estabol Negro lishments After the war. , During the war. women Before the war. em* plo^-in? emNegro ployed women m 1920. in 1920. Number. Per cent. Number. Percent. Number. Percent. Industry. 710 779 181 600 27 806 117 72 840 6,531 60 1,089 Peanuts Textiles Tobacco Toys Miscellaneous ... Total 30 13 5 8 3 12 6 3 10 39 3 18 12 5 2 2 40.0 3&5 40.0 25.6 2 3 4 39 1 6 33.3 100.0 40.0 100.0 33.3 27.8 11,812 Clothing Food products Furniture Glass Leather products Metal 150 . 75 50.0 12 7 2 5 2 12 • 4 40.0 53.8 40.0 62.5 66.7 100.0 66,7 6 6 1 1 1 1 20.0 7.7 20.0 12.5 33.3 QUO 2 10 66.7 55. G 3 62 41.3 13 S.7 Establishments in which Negro womon were employed for other reasons. Establishments in which Ne>;ro women replafert— Industry. Men. White women. Boys. Number. Percent. Number. Percent. Number. Percent. Nimiber. Perecnt. Clothing...-". Food products Furniture Glass Leather products Metal Paper products Peanuts Textiles. Tobacco Miscellaneous Total 7 1 1 7.7 2ao 15 5 I 1 8.3 2 8 4 66.7 66.7 66.7 a 20.0 6 33.3 1 6 4.0 47 31.3 9 6.0 88 33.3 33.3 6 16.7 5C.0 1 87.5 2 15 7 3 1 1 1 2 3 3 30 1 12 50.0 38.5 20.0 5ao 63.8 eao 1Z5 , 33.3 &3 33.3 loao 30.0 100.0 33.3 66.7 58.7 13 KEGRO W O M E N13S"I N D U S T R Y . Table 2 shows that 75. establishments, or 50 per cent of the total number visited, began employing. Negro women before the war. I t must be noted, however, that the tobacco industry, which includes the greatest number of Negro women and the greatest number of establishments, is represented entirely in this prewar grouping, Rehandling tobacco has always been exclusively Negro women's work. The peanut industry, in which all three establishments started employing Negro women before the war, is also traditionally Negro women's work. Indeed, preparation of peanuts has evolved from an agricultural to a factory industry only because the operations which used to be performed in the peanut fields are now performed in factories. Excluding the tobacco and peanut industries, 33 establishments, or 22 per cent of the total number covered, began employing Negro women before the war. Too great significance must not be attached, however, to the proportion of firms employing Negro women before the war. Sometimes the number of women employed was small, only two or three persons whom a manager esteemed so highly that he made openings for them in some capacity or other. Consequently, though i t appears that all of the industries except the leather products and metal industries began employing Negro women before the war, i t was obvious from the interviews with managers that in many plants the number was relatively small. The new opportunity which came to Negro women is shown by the 62 establishments, 41 per cent of the total number, which began employing Negro women during the war. A l l of the industries except peanuts and tobacco show a considerable number of establishments which began employing them during this time. I n the clothing and furniture industries equal proportions of the establishments introduced Negro women before and during the war. A l l of the metal establishments visited began employing Negro women during the war. Thirteen establishments, or 9 per cent of the 150 firms, first employed Negro women after the war. This introduction of Negro women is significant because i t means the deliberate choice of employers rather than the hasty experiment of %var necessity. The duration of this postwar employment of Negro women ranged from three to 18 m o n t ^ . I t is noteworthy because i t represents extended openings i n some industries, notably clothing manufacturing, in which Negro women received their greatest opportunity and advances during the period of the World War. Substitution of Negro women for white women and boys. The remainder of Table 2 shows the number and per cent of establishments in which Negro women are employed as substitutes for men (white and Negro), for white women, and for boys. To a large 14 ^TEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY. extent tlie statements of the management as to what were and were not substitutions had to be accepted; therefore a number of firms in which Negro women were employed to meet the demands of expansion and increased production on processes which had been traditionally white women's work are classified as establishments in which Negro women were employed '^for other reasons.*' To this classification also were assigned the firms in which Negro women were employed on occupations which have been traditionally their work, the firms which have always maintained an open, liberal policy in their employment of Negro women, and the firms making no specific answer to this inquny. I n 62 establishments, or 41 per cent of the total number, the initial employment of Negro women was due to an existing labor shortage met by the replacement of former operatives \dtii now workers. I t is significant that in 47 of these firms (31 per cent of all) Negro women replaced white women. I n leather, metal, and paper products the extent of substitution was greatest, followed by the traditional woman-employing industries of clotliing and textiles. Tliis further substantiates the statement that in many cases Negro women filled the gap in industry which had been caused by the advancement of white women into the newer and more skilled occupations. Six firms (4 per cent) put Negro women on the work of men for their initial employment. This substitution was found in the food products, fiu-niture, metal, textile, and toy industries. The nine firms in which Negro women replaced boys were almost all in the glass industry. This replacement probably was due to the recent stringent enforcement of child-labor laws. Negro women were employed not directly as substitutes but for some other reason in 88 plants, 59 per cent of the total number. Excluding the tobacco and peanut industries because they involve operations which have always been exclusively and traditionally within the province of Negro women, 46 remaining establishments, 31. per cent of the entire number, either took on Negro women to meet the demands of increased production, on work that was new to them, or else had always employed them in relatively small numbers. Each of the industries investigated has one or more firms whose initial employment of Negro women may be attributed to these causes. Among them, the clothing, food, and furniture industries, and the 12 plants classified as miscellaneous, show the largest proportion of firms. Retention of Negro women in industry. The only basic data available for comparison of the labor forces of the war period and the postwar period were secured during this XEGRO I N INDUSTRY. 15 survey. Records from the New York Stale Bureau of Labor described in ''A New Day for tbe Colored Woman Worker'^ ^ were ^ examined in this study of that territory. Fifty-seven firms which had avowed their satisfaction ^vith Negro women at that time, and their intention of retaining them after the war emergency ended, were selected and visited. According to their records, there were 797 Negro women employed in these 57 establishments in 1918. Follow-up visits w^ere made in 1920 at the same time of the year as in 1918, because of the seasonal aspect of many of these industries. There were 11 establishments which had dismissed their Negro women workers and 5 establishments which had gone out of business. These 16 firms had employed 112 Negro women. The remaining 41 establishments, which had employed ^685 Negro women in 1918, were employing 395 Negro women in 1920, a reduction of 42 per cent. These figures appreciably strengthen the prevailing opinion and testimony that the ranks of Negro women in industry have been greatly reduced since the war. " Consumers' League of the City of New York [and others], A New D a r for the Colored Woman Worker, 1919. CHAPTER I I I . HOURS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT. There is a growing tendency in the United States toward industrial legislation insuring a high standard for the conditions of employment of women workers. Such labor legislation establishes a standard which prevents excessively long hours and- insanitaiy working conditions. The best establishments demonstrate the feasibility of such measures, having found that they mean greater efficiency and increased production and thus are profitable to both employer and employee. Yet there are many establishments which continue the bad industrial practices and make imperative the need for legislative action. The States in which were the localities covered by this survey ranged from those having the most detailed and best enforced legislation to those with very little. Some of the conditions found needed correction through provisions of law, but others could be corrected if the provisions of existing laws were enforced. Because of the ' Negro woman's inexperience her employment has been accompanied by many of those industrial practices generally conceded to be be' neath that standard which conserves the efficiency and health of women. The interdependence of all women workers requires that the regulations set forth for conditions of employment for women in industry should include all working women without regard to race. The entire group of women workers will be safe only when all of its elements are protected by adequate, impartially enforced law. Hours of work. Reduction in working hours throughout the country has been marked during the past decade. I n the census of manufactures for 1909 and 1914, working hours of about 7,000,000 wage earners were recorded. These figures show that in 1909, 69.4 per cent of the wage earners worked more than 54 hours per week, while in 1914 only 48.9 per cent of those for whom reports were received worked more than 54 hours per week. I n 1909 about 8.7 per cent of the wage earners worked 60 or more hours per week; in 1914 this number had been reduced to 5.8 per cent of the total number whose hours were reported.^® Daily hours.—T^q prevailing daily hours* for the 150 establishments visited in 1920, classified by industry, are shown in Table 3: " Bureau of the Census, Abstract of the Census of Manufactures, 1914, p. 4S2. 16 17KEGROW O M E N 13S" INDUSTRY. TABLE 3.—IVZTM^ER of estublishinents and number of Negro women with scheduled daily hours as syedji^d, by industry. Total. Over 8 and under 9 hours. Number Number of estabof lishwomen. ments. Industry. 8 hours or less. Number of estab- Number of lishwomen. ments. Number of estab- Number of lishments. women. Clothing Food products Furniture Glass Leather products Metal Paper products Peanuts Textiles Tobacco Toys Miscellaneous 30 13 5 8 3 13 6 3 10 39 3 18 160 Total Per cent'of women in each time group 710 779 181 600 27 806 117 72 840 6,531 60 1,089 11,812 100.0 20 6 274 423 3 181 6 2 4 2 470 23 181 56 1 250 o4 O130 1 10 3 30 804 235 o55 o2,391 20.2 12 ; S21 7.0 155 9 hours. Clothing Food products Furniture Glass Leather products Metal... Paper products Peanuts Textiles Tobacco 10 hours and over. Number Number of estabof lishwomenu ments. Industry. Over 9 and under 10 hours. Number of estab- Number of lishments. women. Number of estab- Number of lishments. women. 7 3 3 2 6 4 : : _ Total Per cent of women in each time group 1 9 2 2 30 1,919 30 75 I :;; Miscellaneous 255 266 106 130 4 363 61 . 40 1 2 10 75 1 12 6 1,369 1 1,521 12.9 80 3 5 21 72 680 3,008 32 3,840 32.5 55 11 3 o Including 1 establishment with 90 women workers whose hours of work per day were 6, Practically one-third of the women (3,840, or 32.5 per cent of all included in the survey) were working 10 hours or more per day. The next largest number, 3,239, or 27.4 per cent of the total, were working 9 hours daily. I n 55 establishments employing 2,391 Negro women, 20.2 per cent of the total number, the Negro women were working 8 hours per day. These figures indicate that there is a tendency toward standardizhxg the hours of employment. Although no State represented in the survey legally Ihnited the working day to 8 hours, i t is significant that one-fifth of the women workers were found in that grouping. This voluntary choice on the part of employers in shops where Negro women were working argues strongly that these employers were finding the shorter work day of value in increasing efiiciency. Three of the States, in which were 64 of the establishments covered by the survey, employing 2,045 Negro women, limited by law ^TEGRO W O M E N I N 18 INDUSTRY. the working day for women to 9 hours. There were 8,100 Nogro women in 70 establishments in three other States which had a legal working day of 10 hours; 1,144 Negro women were employed in 5 plants in another State having a legal ll-hour working day; and 523 Negro women were worldng in establishments in two States which have no limitation upon the working day of their women workers. The distribution of the Negro women workers in the daily hour groups as showoi in Table 3, compared -svith the latitude of the law, emphasizes the fact that managements have found i t profitable to reduce the working day without compulsion. Although 9,767 Negro women were employed in States where the law permitted women to work 10 hours and more each day, only 3,840 women were found so employed. ' The distribution by industries of the Negro women in the hourly groupings is also of interest. Peanuts, textiles, and tobacco make the worst showings. All of the employees in the peanut industry were found to be worlung 10 hours or more per day. Of a total of 840 Negro women in the textile industry, 680 were employed 10 hours or more, while the tobacco industry had nearly one-half (3,008 of a total of 6,531) of its Negro women employees in this group. Of the other women in the tobacco factories, 1,919 were in the 9-hour grouping and 1,369 worked between 9 and 10 hours a day. I t is noteworthy that all of the industries but three were represented in the 8-hour group. WeeTdy Tiours,—An equally vital factor in the life of women in industry is the length of the working week. Table 4 shows the distribution of the Negro women included in the survey in classified weekly hour groups, by industries: TABLE 4.—Number of establishments and number oj Negro women with scheduled weekly hours as specified^ by industry. Industry. 41 hours or less. Total num- Total ber of numestab- ber of NumUsh- women. ber of Numestab- ber Of mcnts. lish- women. ments. Clothing Food products... * . . Furniture Glass Leather products.... Metal... Paper products.. * . . Peanuts ....... Textiles Tobacco Toys ... Miscellaneous 30 13 5 8 3 12 6 3 10 39 3 18 710 779 181 600 27 806 117 72 840 6,531 60 1,089 Total Per cent of women in each time group. 150 11,812 fl4o o 1,474 100.0 12.5 21 1 275 118 3 2 4 2 ttl30 42 30 419 4Shojrs. Over 48 and under 50 hours. Number of Numestab- ber Of lish- women. ments. Number of Numestab- ber of lish- women. ments. Number of Numestab- ber of lish- women. ments. 200 23 181 56 «4 1 1 6 Over 44 and under 48 hours. 1 203 1.7 2 157 2 157 270 250 6 1 75 7 2 118 15 220 1 1 85 1 4 3 1 430 18 1,266 10.7 «Including 1 establishment with 90 women workers whose hours of work per week were 35. 1.3 19KEGROW O M E N13S"I N D U S T R Y . TABLE ^.—Number of establishmenis and nuniher of Negro women with scheduled weehlu hours as specified^ by inifw^/ri/—Continued. 50 hours. Industry. Over 50 and under 55 hours. NumNumber of Num- ber of Numestab- l>er of estab- ber of lish- women. lish- women. ments. ments. Clothing Food products Furniture Glass Leather products.... Metal Paper products Peanuts Textiles Tobacco Toys Misc^aneous Total Per cent of women incach time group 4 4 3 1 1 6 3 178 276 106 30 4 363 55 1 lo 2 2 30 3,288 30 68 2 4,418 7 274 NumNumber of Num- ber of Numestab- ber of estab- ber of lish- women. lish- women. ments. ments. i62 42 Over 55 and under 60 hours. 55 hours 37.4 2 75 Number of Ninnestab- ber of Ush- women. mcnts. 85 2 60 hours. 3 100 3 5 19 1 80 1 72 680 2,913 12 2.3 31 3,845 32.6 1 15 1 O S 2 95 0.8 1 ' 1 S O 80 0.7 The greatest number of women (4,418, or 37.4 per cent of the total number included in the survey) were employed 50 hours per week. The next largest number (3,845, or 32.6 per cent of the total) were working 55 hours per week. The remainder of the women for the most part fell within two main groups, in one of which 1,474 (or 12.5 per cent) were working 44 hoiu^s or less while in the other 1,266 (or 10.7 per cent) were working 48 hours per week. I t is significant that 2,943 Negro women (24.9 per cent of the total number) were working 48 hours and less each week, and that this number is distributed among all except the furniture and peanut industries. Of the women in the textile industiy 680 (81 per cent) were employed 55 hours a week. A l l of the women in the peanut industry, 72 in number, were in the group which was working 55 hours per week. I n the tobacco industry 2,913 Negro women workers were in the 55-hour group. This industry, however, had a greater number of Negro women (3,288) in the 50-hour group. I t is also noteworthy that 95 women workers in the tobacco industry were in the longest weeklyhour groupings found in the investigation—over 55 hours—and of this number 80 were working 60 hours per week. A tendency toward approved standards is indicated in many of these establishments by the prevalence of a shorter working week, than the law requires. There were 1,144 Negro women employed in 5 establishments in one State which limited its worldng week by law to 60 hours. Two States in which 7,696 Negro women were working in 68 establishments had a legal working week of 70 hours. I n two other States there was no legal limitation on the weekly working 64092®—22 4 20 NEGEO W m U ^ IK IXDUSTBY. hours, yet 523 Negro women were employed i n 11 establishments, in none of which the hours exceeded 60 a week. Standards which have been indorsed voluntarily by managements, as is sho\vn by comparison of these facts with figures presented in Table 4 need legislative support in order that they may be adopted in all establishments employing women. Although on the whole many industries were running shorter hours than those required by law, a considerable number of infringements of legal restrictions were noted during the survey. I n some cases the infringements were due to clauses i n the law interpreted so as to permit its easy evasion- Some typical examples will show the strain produced by such action. One group of laborers in a textile factory whose hours were from 6 a. m. to 8 p. m. were reported by the management to be working only the legitimate 10 hours per day because they were given 45 minutes each day for a midday dinner and were working only intermittently all during the day. According to the workers themselves, however, they had "plenty to do during the whole 14 hours, and must be on.the job all the time." I n a large tobacco factory where hundreds of Negro women were said to be employed during a legal 10-hour day, the management permitted as much overtime as desired. The workers told with pride of their thrift in working ''before hours, after hours, and often during the lunch period.'' The situation seems to be well described in the words of one woman who said: ' ' I f I have something I want to buy this weeky I start to work about 6.30 every morning and work until late at night.'' I n other tobacco factories women were foimd working all during the lunch horn'. Tliis condition was found so frequently as to suggest that the only possible remedy would be the stipulation in State labor laws for women that the midday rest and lunch period be compulsory. The- worst condition found was i n a glass factory—^located in a State which has no protective laws for its working women—where the management reported three 8-hour shifts daily for different groups of Negro women workers. Upon investigation i t was discovered that if it were not for the overtime of the women on the shifts there would scarcely be enough workers to supply the machines. I t was not infrequent i n this plant for women to work continuously for two shifts, or 16 hours. I n fact, one women interviewed said she had worked continuously 21 hours on one occasion, two shifts of 8 hours each and 5 hours on a third shift. So strictly were the women kept at work that only 10 minutes between slxifts was allowed for meals. To prevent cessation of work during the work period water was passed to them at intervals from a common bucket and common drinking cup by a water carrier. These are isolated cases, but they serve to illustrate the inaccuracy of some reports on hours (for NEGRO WOMEN IN INDUSTRY. . 2 1 example^ the glass factory described is reported as working an 8-h.aur day) and the methods of evasion that may be used to lengthen, the working: day for Negro women. In each of the cases cited the white women were found employe<l in separate workrooms and with much shorter hours^ a condition Justified, in the opinion of the managements, by the difference in. the operations performed by the two groups. These instances are sufficiently typical to illustrate the need for legislation which would eradicate such harmful conditions for all working women. Many States require that a schedule of hours be posted in each factory. Such a plan fortifies any manager against misunderstanding both on the part of factory inspectors and on the part of the employees in the plant, and reacts on the workers in making them feel protected from exploitation,, a feeling not always existing where workers are ignorant of the definite conditions of their employment. Of the 150 plants visited only a7, employing 2,369 of the total of 11,812 Negro women, had a record of hours posted i n the workroom. The worldng day of the majority of the Avomen interviewed during the survey was greatly lengthened because of home duties in addition to factory work. Ono case of a woman with five small children is typical. Rising at 5 o'clock, she cooked breakfast, dressed the children, and prepared food and made conditions around the house aa suitable as possible for the children for the day. She was at her place of employment by 7, and continued work until 5.3Q ia the evening. Returning home, there was a round of household duties—cookings laundering, cleaning, and caring for the children—^usually until near midnight. Frequentl}' she was " too tired to sleep.'' I t has for many years been recognized that long hours not only are injmious to the individual but are a serious menace to the welfare of the State. The Supreme Court of the United States has supported laws hnoiting houi^ of work, to the extent of justifying the use of the police power of the State as a method of enforcement. The main basis for the defense of such law is physiological, as stated before the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Bunting v, Oregon The experience of manufacturing countries has iUustiated the i l l effect o i overwork upon the general welfare. Health is the foundation of the State. No nation can progress if its workers are crippled by continuous overexertion. The loss of human energy^ due to excessive working hours, is a national loss, and must ine\itably result i n lowering the nation^s prosperity. - ^ y condition that reacts on the family, that institution upon which the present and future prosperity of the State rests, should be of vital interest to the State. The health and strength of women workers should be maintained and guarded not only because production is so largely dependent upon them but also because it is upon Banting v. Oregon, Brief for defendant i n error, vol. 1, p. 42S. ' 22 ^TEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY. many of these women that the maintenance of the family and the molding of the future citizens of the State depend. Saturday Jialf JioUdays.—With the exception of 12 estabhshments the Saturday half hohday was found to be obseiTed throughout the survey. These exceptions were for the most part in the glass and food products industries. The claim of some managers that the nature of these industries prohibits the allowance of the short Saturday conflicts with the action of others in the same industries who observed the half hohday. Lunch 'periods.—Of the 150 plants visited there wore two which had totally inadequate lunch periods, one 10 minutes and the other 20 minutes. There were 88 plants which had a half-hour period, 20 ^rith a 45-minute period, and 40 which allowed one hour for lunch. The establishments having an hour for lunch were in most cases the ones with the 8-hour day and the week of 48 hours or less. These estabhshments were nearly all concentrated in one State, wliich is conspicuous for the enactment and enforcement of its labor laws. • Thirty minutes for lunch is the minimum which could suffice for a worker who remains at the factory. I n such cases she should be provided m t h a comfortable rest room and lunch room. Wliere there are not these provisions, a longer period is necessary, so that employees may go home or outside for lunch. Great numbers of Negro women who were working, and were required to eat their lunches, in workrooms thick with dust, reported that they lost their appetites because of the choking atmosphere and insanitary conditions. They were forced, however, because of the shortness of the noon period and the lack of lunch facihties, to eat and to spend the time allowed for rest in surroundings perhaps unavoidably dusty or dirty as far as the work was concerned, but which were entirely unfit to be used as lunch or rest rooms. NigTit worh—Six establishments were running night shifts when visited. These were in the glass industry. Because the process of manufacturing was continuous, the management claimed that night work for women was necessary. Other plants in the same industry, however, did not follow this practice. women were permitt-ed to work on the-night shifts i t meant in many cases that they carried the double burden of caring for their families by day and laboring in the factory by night. For this and other reasons there should be laws forbidding the employment of women on night work. General working conditions. Next in importance to the hours of women workers are the general conditions under which the working hours are spent. Generally speaking, the standard of-working conditions in the factories employing Negro women was low. Yet there were many cases in which wide NEGRO WOMEIT I N I N D U S T R Y , 23 awako managers had surrounded their Negro employees with modem sanitary equipment and adequate facilities for their health and comfort. Other employers seemed to awake with surprise when standards of employment were discussed. Frequent was the remark, ''Well, I hadn*t thought of that.'' I n a number of cases managers requested a conference with the investigator as a means of obtaining definite advice and assistance in formulating plans and selecting equipment for the improvement of their plants. Sixteen large tobacco plants in one State visited were reconstructing and equipping their factories so as to improve working conditions. Toilets.—The inadequacy and insanitary condition of the toilets was one of the most serious conditions disclosed by the visits to the various factories. Of the 150 visited, 59 establishments, employing 5,447 Negro women (46 per cent of the entire number) were found to have inadequate toilet facilities. The accommodations varied, of course, but the worst examples of insufficiency were in three plants having but one toilet for 125, for 109, and 100 women, respectively. On the other hand, in some factories the toilets conformed to the best standards; they were adequate, completely separated from the workrooms and screened, scrupulous^ clean, and in a location \vhere fresh air and sunshine made them pleasant and sanitary. In the majority of cases insufficiency went hand in hand Avith the bad sanitation of the toilets. This phase of the factory management seemed to be very unsystematic. The toilets were not clean in 88 establishments, employing 7,653 Negro women. The cleaning in most of them had to be done by the women workers themselves. Sometimes 8 or 10 connected toilets were found with a single automatic flushing device which operated only every 15 or 18 minutes. I n some cases the toilets were not cleaned regularly and sometimes it was not clear whose ' H u m " i t was to clean them, under which circumstances, of course, ''everybody's business was nobody*s business." ^ o n g foremen and other officials there did not seem to be reasonable ' interest in the question of sanitary toilet surroundings. The toilets in 45 establishments, employing 4,535 Negro women, had no outside ventilation. They were screened from the workroom only by a partition which did not reach the ceiling. The only possible ventilation in such cases was from the workroom, which often needed ventilation almost as badly as did the toilets. Washing JaciUties.—^The nature of the industries in which the majority of the Negro women workers were employed made adequate washing facilities necessary as a safeguard to the public as well as for the health and comfort of the workers. A large number of the women , were employed in industries where the product is easily contaminated and in time reacts on the public health if there is a lack of provision for cleanliness. Yet in 104 establishments, employing 9,397 Negro 24 NEGRO W O M E N I K IXDTJSTRY. women (80 per cent of the total number), these facilities were either entirely lacking or very inadequate. A l l kinds of makeshift appliances were found in some establishments. One plant which had 300 Negro women rehandling tobacco^ a very dusty process at best, provided each of the four floors on which these women were distributed with one tin basin, and these were unclean on the day the investigator visited the factory. I n a large factory in which the women workers were pitting cherries, the only washing accommodation consisted of one basin, with no soap nor towels and no hot water. I n another factory the women workers followed the practice of washing their hands in pails from which the cherries had been taken before pitting. Often the only washing accommodation was a dirty iron sink situated in a remote corner of the workroom, this being the only provision for both men and women workers. In a candy factory where Negro women were hand dippers in the manufacture of the choicest chocolates, a sink with no hot water and neither soap nor towels furnished the only means of removing the thick coating of chocolate from their hands. The reaction of these conditions on the public health is unavoidable and the effect on the individual worker is uncomfortable and injurious. To go to lunch, and to go home after work, without being able ta remove from the person the dirt acquired in the work room is disagreeable and embarrassing to almost all workers. Many of the women probably have become so accustomed to this condition that they have lost much of their pride in tidiness and cleanliness. Some employers were ready to criticize their Negro women workers for untidiness, although they had not provided the facilities necessary for common decency, to say notliing of equipment so attractive as to serve as a suggestion or incentive for improving the personal appearance. A few plants were found which had modern wash rooms. Sometimes adequate and satisfactory washing facilities were found in the toilet room or in the cloakroom. One plant visited had a very attractive wash room—spacious, airy, and light. I n this room were six white enameled bowls, with running hot and cold water and liquid soap. Individual towels were attached to a rod. Three shower baths were provided also. Looking-glasses were hung at intervals around the room. The manager testified that this arrangement had resulted in the women paying more attention to their cleanliness and personal appearance. He believed this and other improvements in the plant had decreased his labor turnover and increased the efficiency of his Negro workers. Washing facilities, with hot and cold water, soap, and individual towels, should be provided in sufficient numbers and in accessible locations in every plant, first as a responsibifity in safeguarding pub KEGRO WOME]Sr I X INDUSTRY. 25 lie healthy and secondly, as an obligation to the workers themselves in promoting their comfort, health, and self-respect. Drinking facilities,—Quite as important as the washing facilities in an establishment is the provision of cool, pure drinking water. Insanitary and inadequate drinking facilities were found in 98 estab.lishments, employing 8,980 Negro women (76 per cent of the total number). I n view of the dust and heat under which these women work, it is a matter of great importance that cool, pure drinking water should be provided. The facilities reported were of various types. The majority of establishments furnished barrels containing water. I n some places tin cups were attached to the barrels by a chain; i n other places glasses were placed upon the tops of the barrels. The common drinking cup usually was in evidence. Sometimes the emplo^^ers stated that the employees were supposed to furnish their own drinking cups. I n other establishments the only means of securing water was from the sink faucet, beside which a glass usually was placed. The following quotation from the investigator's report describes a condition found in five establishments, employing 1,440 Negro women: " I n the workroom there was a bucket of water with a common drinking cup a4;tached, from which the workers drank.*' Dressing rooms.—Only 10 establishments visited had the sUghtest provision for a dressing room. Except in the plants which contained adequate wash rooms there were no facilities for dressing and changing clothing. One manager said he did not need a dressing room because ''Thej' are all women in my plant and they can easily change their clothing in the workroom." This naive statement of the employer indicated a point of view as well as a condition. Presumably this attitude on the part of the employers was the reason wh3-, in this and many other establishments, the hanging of wraps and hats around the workroom was common. The dust or heavy fumes with which the atmosphere was laden in so many establishments employing Negro women soon rendered their garments unpleasant, unclean, and unhealthful. I n other factories a worse plan was to hang such clothing in the toilet rooms. Where cloakrooms existed they were usually makeshifts only, being inadequate, untidy, and insanitary. Rest rooms and lunch rooins.—Comfortable, attractive rest rooms were found in four plants covered by this survey; in the others the managers made no provision for such accommodation. There were only 20 establishments Avhich had a room where lunches might be secured or where the employees might sit during the noon hour and eat lunches brought with them. I n many establishments women were seen during the noon hour in the dirty workrooms eating their lunches on chairs, boards, or other available seats. Long wooden, benches were found in the toilet rooms. Women were observed 26 NEGRO WOME-X IXDUSTBY. stretched out on these benches to get some rest during the noon hour; others were seated on the benches and—unattractive as their surroundings were—seemed glad to use this one means of escape from the workroom. The women in some of these establishments were working 10 hours or more every work day. They needed a place where they ' could procure a nourishing lunch in clean and pleasant surroundings, followed by a few minutes of wholesome rest and relaxation. Ten large establishments employing Negro women were remodeling their factories with a view toward establishing up-to-date cafeterias. The managers were enthusiastic over this venture and solicited the advice and assistance of the investigator in the selection of equipment. The words of the manager of a large tobacco factory indicate a growing consciousness of the relation between industrial standards and efficiency: ''The labor problems as they exist i n present-day industry are to be solved by the individual factories adopting a definite and improved labor policy. We are just beginning to work in that direction and the cafeteria and hospital are our first experiments. I n these we feel sure that we shall get the cooperation and appreciation of the employees. Although this equipment will cost the firm thousands of dollars, we feel positive that i t will also increase the industrial efficiency of our factory hands." Health service.—^Provisions for health service in the establishments visited varied from the best to the worst types. I n 18 establishments, employing 2,502 Negro women, adequate and sanitary first-aid dispensaries were found under the supervision of trained nurses. Employers were unanimous i n emphasizing the good results emanating from these arrangements. Not only could expert aid, quiet, and comfort be given the worker who had been taken i l l or who had met with accident in the factoiy, but in many cases the influence and the advice of the nurse had an effect on the daily habits of the workers, both in the factory and in their homes, and was being reflected in better living. I t may be remarked in passing that sympathy and understanding seemed to exist between Negro nui^es and the workers of their own race, giving these trained women a strong influence for good on the factory workers. I n one large hosiery mill the manager said that a very efficient Negro nurse had such strong influence over the girls that she had caused a decided decrease in his labor turnover. Here, as in some other places, a marked improvement in the personal appearance of the girls was attributed to the influence of the nurse. Through visits to these women this nurse had been successful also in improving the sanitation and economic management of their homes. She had secured the cooperation of the city health department in making and keeping clean the neglected surroundings of these KEGRO W O M E X I X IKDUSTRY. 27 workers' homes. Experience justifies the recommendation that a Negro nurse be emploj^ed as supervisor of the health service in establishments where large numbers of Negro women are employed. I n 132 establishments either there was no equipment for the treatment of illness and injuries or there was a nominal first-aid cabinet containing one or two medicines to be administered indiscriminately as the panacea for any ill. Some managers seemed surprised when equipment for health service was mentioned. I n many cases they replied that they had a standing agreement with a hofipital for treatment of their accidents and for ambulance service at top speed. I n many establishments managers had no health or accident records by which they might keep account of health conditions in their plants and ultimately reduce losses in labor caused by preventable illness or accident. The 18 establishments with proper health equipment showed that they realized the significance of this phase of factory management by keeping records of all sickness and accident cases. Posture at worZ:.—One of the most injurious conditions surrounding thousands of Negro women is the arrangement for seating them when at work. I t has been physiologically proved that continuous standing, or sitting on improperly adjusted chairs, is particularly injurious to the health of women, and that one of the best methods of relieving their fatigue and strain is to provide adjustable seats for use while at work. The managers of the plants included in this survey, however, seemed generally to have ignored this very important matter, as seen in the fact that 128 establishments, employing 10,115 Negro women (86 per cent of all) were found to have either makeshift seats or none at all. These makeshift seats usually were stools or wooden boxes, with no back supports. OccasionaUj^ the women had tried to relieve this latter situation themselves by nailing a straight board to a box. Even where better seating was provided there was apparently little adjustment possible between the height of the worktable and the chairs. A strained posture consequently was unavoidable. Continuous standing with no facilit}^ for sitting was quite common. Many managers were emphatic in their avowal that certain of the processes on which Negro women worked could not be performed while sitting, yet in other establishments women were comfortably seated while performing these same operations. Ten managers said the women would go to sleep if they provided them with seats, but there was no evidence that this happened in the places where seats were provided. The responses of employers to suggestions about such conditions showed clearly that many were eager to remedy them and were not ^ 64092^—22 5 28 ^TEGRO W O M E N I N INDUSTRY. deliberately forcing them upon their workers. Of course, there were the careless and the unwilling minority, but these for the most part would yield to a general trend when well under way. Cleanliness, ventilation, lighting—T^h.% general standard of cleanliness and sanitation was very low in some of the establishments visited. Ninety-three plants were in need of immediate cleaning, either as a whole or in part. The character of some industries made the cleanliness of the factory a matter of public concern, as in establishments where foods were manufactured, yet in some of these the lack of cleanliness was depressing. Nor is tliis less true of some establishments where cigars and cigarettes were manufactured. In many establisliments this condition was due to the fact that there was no definite cleaning force, cleaning was not done regularly and systematically, and when done was not properly supervised. Some managers seemed shocked at the idea of scrubbing the floors and walls of their buildings. The employees, however, were not unmindful of this condition. One woman remarked, I t just makes you sick to work in this filth." The dirty factory surroundings of Negro women were partly due, it seemed, to the fact that these women were left in the old factory buildings, which managers considered beyond the hope of cleaning, when new factory buildings were constructed for the Avhite women workers. Sometimes the managers frankly stated, ''The building is too old and the floors too rough to respond to cleaning, and the fumes have so saturated the walls and laden the atmosphere that the building can not be better ventilated." Fifteen examples of the employment of Negro women in quarters which had been vacated by white women, involving nearly 3,000 Negro women, were noted during the survey. Manufacturers would do well to consider that the surest way of stabilizing Negro women in industry is to surround them with clean and sanitary improvements such as have been found necessary and advisable for other women workers. I n tobacco factories conditions were particularly imsatisfactory. Sometimes the fumes were so strong that they were stifling and provoked incessant coughing from persons not accustomed to such conditions, Frequently the women wore handkerchiefs tied over their noses and mouths to prevent inhaling the heavy tobacco dust diffused throughout the room. One manager said new workers, often suffered from nausea and loss of appetite, but as soon as they got used to the tobacco they did not mind it. Dust was thick in the air in many of the factories, especially those in which the screener was operated in the general workroom without exhaust systems. I n 18 factories these conditions were so bad that ventilating systems to purify the air were needed. A strong contrast was noted in one NEGBO W O M E K I N INDUSTRY. 29 factory; the dust was taken off by electric fans, while humidifiers and a system of washing the air kept i t pure and fresh. The dust of the tobacco factories, however, was not so thick as the dust in a factory in which cement bags were being emptied and mended. Here the dust was so very heavy that the investigator put on a uniform before entering the workroom to prevent her clothing from being completely covered with dust during a short visit. Footprints in the thick layers of cement dust did not even disclose the surface of the floor. The machines for mending the bags had to be covered with an exhaust lest the dust gather so thickly upon the needles as to prevent stitching. Yet 110 Negro and foreign-born women were breathing daily this impure air. . The dust hoods and conveyors used in this factory were very inadequate, and there was no other arrangement for disposing of the dust or washing the air. The lighting of some factories was almost as inadequate as the ventilation. I n some cases the dust upon endows dimmed the light which otherwise would have entered the workroom. I n other plants clothing, burlap bags, and sometimes aprons were improvised as window shades to protect the workers against the glaring streams of light shining directly into their eyes. I n 43 plants the artificial light was improperly shaded or was hanging too low or too high. I n one factory 40 young Negro girls were employed in the manufacture of fiber-wood envelopes in a dark, damp cellar. Electric bulbs, the sole source of light, hung so nearly on a line with their eyes as to be almost blinding. Tlie resulting discomfort, to say nothing of injury to the sight, should be reason enough for correcting these conditions; in addition i t has been proved that the lighting facilities in a factory have a decided relation to production. The manager who permits bad lighting conditions is himself causing the inefficiency of his employees, and as a result is getting reduced production. Conclusion.—A. few establishments visited during the survey were impressive because of their immaculate sanitary working conditions and their service facilities. These places were greatly in the minority* y^t they represented successful experiments through which much dissatisfaction and many labor problems had been avoided, and inefficiency and turnover had been reduced. Conversely it was particularly noteworthy that complaints against the workers usually were greatest where the working conditions were the least desirable. Widely diverse conditions for Negro and white women workers were found to exist in some establishments. Excluding 39 factories m which Negro and white women were working together in the same workrooms and those which employed Negro women only, there remained 101 establishments which employed white and Negro women workers under different conditions. I n these inequality in 30 OTIGRO WOjMEN I N INDTJSTBY. facilities for the two races was the rule with only a few exceptions. The following report describes a typical contrast: The -white women were i n the newer sections of the factory. Their worlcrooma were commodious, well ventilated, and immaculat<;ly clean. T h e walls were clean and white. Workers were comfortably seated i n adjustable seats, w i t h backs. Drinking water was supplied from a bubble fountain cooled from an automatic refrigerating system. Toilet was clean and adequate. Washrooms contained shower baths and white enameled bowls, w i t h hot and cold water. L i q u i d soap and indi\'idual towels were provided. Dressing rooms w i t h indi-vddual lockers and keys were i n charge of a matron. A dispensary suite tinder the supervision of a doctor and t^vo nurses, and a cafeteria excellently equipped also were pro\aded, A splendid new, attractive rest room adjoined the cafeteria. Two welfare workers promoted recreational activities among the girls. The Negro women were i n the old part of the building w h i c h the manager said waa b u i l t i n 1850. There were practically no service facilities. T h e y were seated on stools without backs w i t h makeshift worktables fashioned l i k e a trough. The workroom was clear of loose dirt but was greatly i n need of scrubbing. The walls needed whitening. The rooms looked worn, and smelled old and stuffy. The ventilation was poor. Drinking water was furnished from a barrel, beside w h i c h himg a common drinking cup. Toilets were adequate and clean, b u t were w i t h i n the workrooms and had no outside ventilation. A dingy lunch room was pro\'ided, t o which food waa brought for sale from the main cafeteria. The doctor rendered first aid i n case of accident. A n inadequate cloakroom w i t h nails for the wraps was pro\'ided, but cloaks were also observed hanging i n the workroom. I n some factories conditions were worse than those just described. I n some they were better. I n most cases the Negro woman has no alternative but must accept these industrial handicaps and discriminations. Interviews with many of the women revealed the fact that they had fully observed the differences and felt humiliated and discouraged as a result. Frequently they reacted against such neglect and gave in return less effort and therefore less elFiciency. CHAPTER IV. THE OCCUPATIONS OF NEGRO WOMEN. The Negro woman's position in present-day industry is strikingly sho^vn by the various occupations upon Tv^hich she was employed in the 150 establishments visited in 1920. Her claim to a real place among women in industry is strongly supported by the long list of processes upon which she was working, compared with those on which were employed white women whose position in similar industries had been established years before industrial opportunity was given to Negro women. The comparative occupational groupings of Negro and white women workers in the industries studied are sho^vn in detail in Table 5, which gives the occupations of the 11,812 Negro women workers in the 150 establishments studied and of 16,708 white women workers who were employed in 101 of the same establishments. I t must be borne in mind in analyzing Table 5 that although the occupations of Negro and white women workers arc shown to be similar in many industries, the actual number of Negro women employed in the various processes of an occupation, as compared with the number of white women, makes a considerable contrast. The numbers of Negro women working on the lighter and more skilled processes were invariably less than the numbers of white women employed. Often there were only two or three Negro women, reported to be exceptionally efficient or well trained, who were working on the more skilled operations in an establishment. Although figures to substantiate this observation are not available, i t is supported by the difference in the wages of Negro and white women workers. The small number of Negro women being paid the higher wages i n some industries indicates that there were comparatively few of them employed in the more skilled and higher paid operations. I n spite of this fact, the satisfaction given by this minority of Negro women workers is significant and valuable in judging the industrial success and progress of the group. 31 TABLE 5.—Occupations of 11^812 Negro women tvorhers in 150 establishments and of 16,708 white women worhera in 101 of the sams esiahlishments. CO to Number of eatablbhments employing— Industry. \Vhite Negro women. Clothing 26 30 Food products. - 12 13 Furniture. Glass Leather products.. Metal.. 11 Paper products. Peanuts Textiles Tobacco.. Number of women employed. Occupations at which white women weroemployeMi. ir. 1 2 Occupatlona at which Negro women were employed. Total. Assembllfi^, assorting, cutting, design- (Assembling, assorting, cutting, designing, draping, embroidering, examining, drapmg, embroidering, examining, finishing, hat making, operating, finishing, hat making, operating, pasting, pressing, trimming. ing, trimming. 13 Assorting, boxingandcanning, casing, Assorting, cleaning, dipping, machine feeding and packing, filling, peanut sausage cleaning, candy dipping, hulling, packing, seeding, stamping, filling, labeling, packing, preserving, tying, trimming, washing, Avrappli^. fruit seeding, mcfit tying, trimming, washing, ^vrapping. Assembling, assorting, cleaning, knotMattreas knotting, polishing ting, veneer laying, polishing, weaving, winding. Assorting, etching, packing, painting, Blowing, carrying and shoving of glass, wrappmg. machine feeding and operating. Feeding, linishing, binding, pressing, Binding, operating, packing, pafrting.. plove making, machine operating, mspecting, pasting, sorting, stamping, stitching. 12 Assembling, core making, drill and Assembling, core making, dipping, foot press operating, inspecting, drill and foot press operating, filing, making of briLshes and carbons for general labor, making of brushes and arclights, operating, packing, polishcarbons for arclights, molding, opering, shippmg, soldering, welding, ating, packing, painting, punch wrapping, press, polishing, soldering, welding, \\-mpping. Bhiding, cutting, labeling, operating, Binding, cutting, labeling, examining, pasting. operating, pa-sting. Assorting, cleaning, shelling, storing peanuts. Assorting, binding, dnming. mending, Assorting, binding, cleaning, darning, operating, packing, pairing, reeling, feeding/ nicndlnfj, operating, pac: sewing, spuming, spooling, weaving, ing, pairing, reeling, spinning, sowwinding. ingi spooling, weavfng! winding. Cigar, cigarette, and smoking tobacco Casing, filling bagsof tobacco, hanging, making, labeling, operating; packing. picking, and separating tobacco, stemming, stripping, tying, twisting. \Vhtte. Negro. Total. 7G3 710 3,031 779 150 181 331 304 GO O 904 82 27 109 1,010 30 80fi 1,810 1,473 i w d • i 338 117 455 72 72 1,910 &10 2,750 6,424 0,531 12,955 Toys,...,,... . 2 3 3 JUacellaneoua, 12 18 18 101 150 160 Total....... t Operating, packing, pressing on maehines, soldering. Assorting, bookbinding, clerical work, bookkeeping, rubber goods making, wig making, machine operating, switch-board operating, salesmanship, stock keeping, circular letter typing, Operating, packing, pressing on machines, soldering. Assorting^ addressograph operating, • book bmdingj bookkeeping, automobile cleamng, other cleaning, clerical work, lamp-shade making, maid service, wig making, mixing and packing, marking and tying, elevator operating, switchboard operating, packing, stock" keeping, bead strmgmg, typing, waiting. 55 60 115 2,G41 1,089 3,7C0 1C,708 11,812 28,520 § o § C O eg 34 ^TEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY. The clothing industry.—According to the Census of Negro Population the number of Negro women gainfully employed in 1910 as dressmakers not in factories was 38,148. This indicates that when the clothing manufacturers were forced by dire necessity to open their doors to Negro women, many entered who had some idea of the trade although the factory sense was lacking. Negro women were recruited in large numbers for the clothing industry in some cities, and in some plants they were found doing all of the various operations necessary for the completion of a garment. Negro women were represented in each occupation in the clothing industry, although white women were employed more largely on the skilled and better paid work. The majority of Negro women were employed on the semiskilled operations, but approximately one-fifth of them were working on more skilled processes such as machine operating. Frequently managers discriminated in favor of Negro women as pressers, because , they felt that their work was more satisfactory. The clothing upon which Negro women were working varied from the most expensive to the cheapest, made from the finest and the coarsest materials. They were making ladies' silk,muslin, and cotton dresses; the choicest and poorest lingerie; waists, children's dresses, undersvear, hats, men's shirts, trousers, and essentials and accessories of attire of almost every kind. The food-products industry,—The occupations in the manufacture of food products noted in Table 5 may be divided into three main groups—^meat products, candy, and canned and ciystallized fruits. The comparative numbers of Negro and white women employed in the different processes of this industry indicate that opportunity in the more desirable operations was for the most part denied to Negro women. Although there were individual establishments in which Negro women were employed, on all of the operations, two-thirds of the firms drew a sharp line between the occupations of Negroes and those of white women. I n abattoirs and stockyards, Negro women trimmed, sorted, graded, and stamped different portions of the carcasses, separated and cleaned the viscera, and prepared the meat for curing and canning. However, they were barred from the more desirable work of canning and wrapping meat and its by-products. The work of Negro women was usually in the wet, slippery part of the establishment where unpleasant odors filled the air and where marked variations in temperature and humidity made the surroundings hazardous to health. Wherever Negro women were employed in candy factories, they were, without exception, employed on the same occupations as white women workers—in hand dipping of chocolates, machine tending, assorting, wrapping, and boxing candies. ^ Bureau of the Census, Negro Population in the United States, 1790-1916, p. 621. KEGRO W O M E N I K m D U S T E Y , - 35 The opportunity of Negro women in canning and crystallizing fruits was limited to one occupation—seeding or pitting the fruit preparatory to the other processes. Although white women were employed on the seeding and pitting processes also, all other occupations in the industry were open to them. The furniture industry,—In the two establishments manufacturing lumber products in which Negro and white women were both employed their occupations were the same. I n one plant they were knotting mattresses^ and in another they were polishing Victrolas. In the remaining establishments in the furniture industry, the manufacture of school supplies, chairs, file cases, and wicker furniture, only Negro women were employed. The glass industry,—The occupations of Negro and white women workers in the glass industry were entirely different. White women were found assorting the glass products, etching or hand-painting glass globes and other products, and inspecting, packing, and wrapping finished glass products. Negro women, on the other hand, were in the most dangerous part of the establishment, where at times bits of broken glass were flying in all directions. They were in rapid continuous movement, heavily laden with glass products which they were conveying from the blowers to the ovens to be tempered. They were employed in opening and closing the molds in which the hot glass is placed to be blown. I n on§ establishment three Negro women were working as glass blowers, although the manager said it was a temporary arrangement to answer that day's emergency. The lifting and carrying of heavy weights, the unhealthful and hazardous , conditions in the workroom, and the prevalence of night work made this employment especially undesirable for any group of women workers. The leather-products industry.—Negro and white women workers were employed in the same occupations in one of three establishments which manufactured leather products; the Negro women, however, were not promoted to the more skilled work which white women were performing, except in one instance where three Negro girls were employed as machine operators. Binding and pasting, which Negro women were doing for the most part, is a semiskilled ^ occupation ''which called for cheap labor and therefore Negro Women were employed,'' as one manager said. They contributed in this way to the manufacture of some very choice leather products—gloves, pocketbooks, bags, bill folders, belts, traveling cases, and other small leather goods. The metal industry,—^When managers in the metal industry included Negro women among, their employees they generally gave to them the same opportunity and treatment which they gave to other women workers. Only one exception to this was noted, and 36 ^TEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY. that involved 12 Negro women workers who were employed as assemblers and molders in a factory in which they were surrounded by very harmful working conditions with a very low return in wages. I n the same plant 290 white women were working on practically the same processes in healthful surroundings and were receiving much higher wages. This, however, was an exceptional case in the metal industry. By far the largest number of Negro and white women working in the other establishments in the metal industry were making cores., Cores are parts of molds occupying the spaces that are hollow on finished castings, and they are made either by hand or by machinery. The weight of the core differs, of coui'se, according to the type of casting which i t completes. I n the majority of establishments women were making cores of light weight, but in others they were making heavy cores for stove and automobile castings. Both Negro and white women were observed to be occupied in drilling/polishing, painting, punch-press operating, molding, welding, soldering, and filing parts of metal products in the manufacture of automobiles, brushes, and carbons for arc lights, stove parts, implements, hardware, enamel products, nuts, bolts, files, springs, and other metal and steel products and their parts. The paper-'products industry,—One establisliment manufacturing paper products employed Negro women only. I n this plant they were performing all operations in finishing the product. I n the remaining establishments both Negro and white women were distributed in all of the occupations in the industry. They were employed on handwork, packing, and folding paper, and were operating the machines, taping, and stitching the paper goods. The work of operating machinery calls for quickness and speed and is the better paid work in this industry. I n the establisliments visited the proportionate numbers of Negro and white women working in the different occupations were nearly the same. Paper boxes of all kinds and fiber-stock envelopes were the products m a n u f a c t i u ' e d in these establishments. The peanut industry,—Negro women exclusively were employed m the peanut industry. They rehandled the peanuts which had been brought from the fields; assorted them according to grade and quality; cleaned and sometimes shelled them, and packed them in coarse bags for storage or shipment. The lifting of heavy weights required by these operations, particularly in storing the bags, as well as the dust from the shaking and sorting, make the present conditions in this industry undesirable and unhealthful for any group of women workers. The simplest adjustments would remedy these conditions. NEGRO W O M E K I N IKDTJSTEY. 37 The textile industry.—There were six establishments in textile manufacture that were employing both white and Negro women, and with one exception they separated the occupations which the women were to perform. I n five establishments Negro women were working in the imskUled operations, such as cleaning floors, and were cleaning the lint and cotton from macliines. The skilled operations in this industry were performed by white women, nor was promotion to these occupations held out as a hope to Negro women. The one firm which formed the exception employed Negro and white women workers mthout separation or discrimination on all operations in the industry. The remaining four establishments visited in this industry employed only Negro women workers. They were' working on all processes, including the skilled work from which they were barred in establishments employing both white and Negro women. The women working in the textile industry were manufacturing cotton materials, such as carpets, lawn, cotton duck, hose, and twine. The tobacco industry,-—^A decidedly sharp line was drawn between the occupations of Negroes and those of white women in the tobacco industry. Negro women were employed exclusively in the rehandling of tobacco; white women were employed e^iclusively in manufacturing the tobacco after the sorting and preparation of the rehandling process. Negro women were doing mostly handwork, although a few establishments had installed machinery for stemming tobacco. They were separating the compact cases of tobacco as they were brought from the warehouses, picking and separating the good tobacco leaves from the bad as they came by on a huge moving belt. Many Negro women were employed in stemming or stripping the midrib from the tobacco leaf. This process requires considerable dexterity and speed, and is one of the most important in the rehandling of tobacco. Negro women were occupied also in tying and twisting the tobacco leaves and in hanging bunches of tobacco leaves on frames preparatory to sending them to the drier. I n one establishment they were employed filling bags, with tobacco. This last^ however, was unusual among the tobacco firms visited. White women were operating all kinds of machinery in the manufacture of cigars, cigarettes, and smoking tobacco of all sorts and brands. They were also packing in boxes and labeling cigars and cigarettes for sale and for shipment. For the most part their working conditions and wages wxre in striking contrast to those of Negro women workers. Their separation and isolation to prevent any contact was apparent in the 16 establishments in which both races were employed. 38 ^TEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY. Three managers very frankly expressed their desire to increase the opportunities for Negro women in the tobacco industry so that they would include all processes in manufacturing which are now performed solely by white women workers. One manager told of his experience in employing Negro women in the manufacture of cigars in a southern town during an emergency, and the success of the experiment is described in his own words, ''They made the prettiest, most perfect cigars you ever saw." Protests from the Tobacco Manufacturers' Union and objection from the central office forced him to discontinue the practice. Opposition to such promotion of Negro women is so strongly fortified that it will take patient, persistent effort to weaken it, and to make possible the employment of Negi'o women in the manufacture of cigars and cigarettes. The toy industry.—The same occupations for Negro and white women workers prevailed throughout the toy industry. One establishment visited employed Negro women only, and where the groups were mixed they were similarly occupied in soldering, in operating machinery and foot presses in the manufacture of parts of toys, beads, and dolls' eyes, and in packing the dolls, blocks, animals, and other finished toy products for shipment. The miscellaneous industries.—The miscellaneous industries may be divided to include four main branches of industry—department stores, mail-order and publishing houses, lamp-shade factories, and novelty factories. The occupations of Negro and white women workers in department stores were different. Negro women were employed as stock girls, elevator operators, store maids, and cafeteria waitresses. The white women workers were employed for the most part as sales girls, although they held jobs as stock girls, elevator operators, and waitresses. I n some department stores and in a few other establishments Negro girls were gradually being dismissed from these jobs and white girls were being employed. Opportunity as sales girls, however, was not extended any^vhere to Negro women. I n one large department store 125 Negro girls were packing goods in the mail-order department. Discrimination in wages and in service facilities characterized most of the department stores in which -Negro girls were employed. Negro and white women workers were doing exactly the same work but in separate houses i n the three mail-order and publishing firms visited. They were employed as typists, stenographers, bookkeepers, clerks, switchboard operators, addressograph operators, bookbinders, and packers. An interesting and friendly competition had arisen between the Negro and white women workers in doing NEGRO W O M E K I N INDUSTRY. 39 this work. The splendid results from the Negro women were partly attributed to the fact that Negro forewomen supervised the work in these houses. The lamp-shade industry was unique in its employment of skilled, well-trained Negro girls. They had replaced white girls in two establishments. The work involved not only knowledge of drawing and drafting, which was done by the Negro forewomen, but skill in the use of the needle. Silk shades for electric lamps were being made, some of which were afterwards hand painted by Negro women. No white women were observed working in the establishments visited in this industry. Wages were good, but working conditions were not. Managers invariably defended themselves by saying that the product was a fad which might pass out of favor at any time, and so they were reluctant to improve their plants. The only occupation common to Negro and white women workers in the novelty factories was wigmaking. This was handwork which required skill and patience. The wigs ^vere made from human hair. All operations in the manufacture of beads and earrings were being performed by Negro women workers. I n one large establishment classified among the miscellaneous industriea the white women were employed in the manufacture of small rubber products, such as heels, gloves, tubes, erasers, and nibber rings. Negro women had been employed on this work, but at the time of the survey had been either dismissed or reduced to such occupations as cleaning up the waste incidental to the industry. I n another large firm Negro women were employed in cleaning the automobiles which provided most of the city with motor service. Negro forewomen,—^The employment of Negroes as forewomen of units of Negro women is of such great importance that it is given special notice in another chapter of this report. I t is to be noted here, however, that 12 Negro women were employed as forewomen in 12 establishments visited. They were distributed in tobacco, clothing, hat, paper products, food products, toy, and lamp-shade factories, in mail-order and publishing houses, and in the shipping section of a department store. Conclusion.—The occupational groupings described in the foregoing show the new avenues of employment which have been opened to Negro women during and since the period of the war. They indicate that Negro women arc gradually advancing from the occupations in domestic and personal service and in agriculture to which they have been inured throughout their generations of toil. These advances mean that Negro women, in spite of handicaps, are giving a measure of satisfaction in their new fields'of industrial opportunity. CHAPTER V. WAGES OF NEGRO WOMEN WORKERS. There are many important influences which must be considered in any study of the wages of Negro women in industry. Perhaps the most significant of these is the discrimination and variation among employers in determining the reward which the Negro women should receive for her labor. Although the time devoted to this survey did not permit of a scientific and accurate wage study, certain facts developed through interviews and occasional examinations of pay rolls which are most significant. While Negro women were performing the same operations in different establishments in an industry, there was often a \vide diversity in the wages paid within the group. There was an even wider difference in the wages of Negro and white women workers who were doing identically the same work in separate and different factories. Only 30 firms were employing Negro and white women (2,110 and 4,876, respectively) without separation and with equal opportunities on any operation, and seven of these firms made a discrimination in the wages paid the two racial groups. The just principle of giving equal pay for equal work is urgently in need of application by a great many firms employing Negro women. The right to equality of wages should be established on the basis of occupation and not on the basis of either sex or color. The adoption of wage standards depends to a great extent upon the voluntary agreement of employers and workers. Because the Negro woman is so generally employed on casual and unstandardized work managers may, with little regard to her desires or productive capacity, offer what they choose, with a corresponding effect upon her efficiency and enthusiasm. I n the words of one Negro woman, You never know what you are going to gei; you just take what they give you and go.'' The inequality of the wages is accompanied by another prevalent condition—their inadequacy. The cost of living should be the first consideration in determining the minimum wage of any group. Where States have not enacted minimimi wage legislation, there should be very definite consideration by managers and workers, in promoting that wage agreement, of the minimum which would cover the cost of subsistence. The minimum wage board of the District of Columbia recently set forth $16.50 per week as the least sum upon which a self-supporting woman could maintain herself according to prevailing standards and the cost of living. Yet, according to the statements of their employers, thousands of Negro w^omen represented in this survey were getting far less than that amount. 40 KEGE.0 WOMEVK I K II^T>XJSTRY. 41 I t must also be borae in mind that at least per cent of the Negro women included in this survey were employed on occupations, whose performance is very definitely divided inta a busy and a dull season. Sometimes the working force is. cut almost in half during the dull season^ sometimes there is employment for part time only^ and sometimes there is no employment at all. The fluctuation i n wages and the reduction or cessation of earnings is therefore another problem which the Negro woman must face^ as she is usually the last hired and the first laid off/' Among the so-called seasonal trades is the clothing industry^ with its busy season preparatory to the fall and spring demands for new clothing and new styles. The food products industry has similar fluctuations where fruits are prepared during the harvest season and where candies are manufactured to meet seasonal demands, such as those of Christmas and Easter holidays. The toy industry has its busiest season preceding Christmas. The seasonal aspect of the tobacco industry ia especially important because the largest number of Negro women are employed therein. The rehandling process in this industry is discontinued almost entirely in most plants between May and September, the season during which tobacco is grown; nor is employmtot regular during the other nine months of the year. This is no less true of the peanut industry, the lowest paid of all the industries, which, like the tobacco industry, closes down during the time the raw product is being grown. I n addition, i t furnishes irregular employment even during the manufacturing season. The earnings of Negro women in industry are seriously affected by this irregularity of employment, which may reduce their yearly income in some years one-fourth, in others one-third, and sometimes more. Employment in another industry during the slack season of their own trade increases the small income of some of the workers,, but this substitution resolves itself into work of a makeshift type,, such as house work, laundering, day's work in housecleaning, and other kinds of uncertain employment. Managers were almost unanimous in their expressed ignorance of the employment of their Negro \rorkers during the time their own establishments were closed. Not only is there a psychical reaction on the worker herself because of this shifting of jobs, and a tenseness provoked by the irregularity of her earnings, but there is that reaction upon the standard of living which such loss of earnings produces. Home visits made during this survey justify the generalization that the majority of Negro women workers are responsible for the support of others besides themselves. The necessities of living have to be provided throughout the year. The woman worker must have shelter, food, clothing, and car fare, and should have a surplus for health and amusement. Her con 42 NEGRO WOME23' I X INDUSTRY. tribution to the family fund is as sorely needed during the slack season as at other times; her dependents are as vitally in need of her. One girl summed up the situation when she said, " Y o u need money to lire on in the summer just like you do in the winter." As already suggested, this inadequacy of wages is further accentuated by the irregularity of employment ^vithin the normally busy season. I t is impossible for the workers to foresee the days of a week or the hours of a day during which work will be discontinued and the wages thereby reduced below the amount required to meet the weekly expenses and responsibilities. These seasonal industries, therefore, not only levy a toll upon the health of the worker, but in many cases take severe toll from the fundamental family unit, forcing its maintenance beneath the standard requisite for health and decency. Complaints among Negro women workers concerning the methods used by employers in computing their wages and impeding their progress on piecework were too numerous and grave to bo ignored. Women on piecework complained that employers provided them with raw material upon which work necessarily was slow and would so rate their work that i t would be impossible to make high wages, and that the white workers were given the better material and machinery which would expedite their piecework. Making allowance for the exaggeration of some of these complaints, i t still would appear that some managers are ignoring the human element in their wage policies and are nourishing a discontent which can not produce efficiency in their plants. I t is but natural that workers should respond to employers whom they regard as frank and square in the rewarding of effort and skill on the job, and the good results of such administrative methods were noted in a number of plants. I n one large establishment where Negro and white girls were working in friendly competition in making cores and filing castings the efficiency of the Negro girls was commented upon with pride by the manager. He spoke of one Negro girl whom he cited as the best worker in the plant. He showed the investigator her pay envelope for the preceding week, which contained S38, and said her earnings on one occasion had been $42. Another typical case of considering the human element in wage adjustment was cited by the superintendent of a very large meatpacking plant. He employed Negro women to take the place of men in cutting hog ears, with the definite understanding that they would be paid men's wages if they produced equivalent o u t p u t * The following is the statement of the result as made by the m a n a g e r : They are paid men's wages and they do the work much better than men didThey seem to be inspired because no difference was made i n the wages, and their efficiency and regularity on the job has been 100 per cent. CHAPTER V I . EMPLOYMENT POLICIES, METHODS OF SUPERVISION, EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF WORKERS. The future success of the Negro woman in. industry depends largely upon the cooperation of employers who understand the special problems attending her employment and who will make adjustments and establish policies accordingly. The various methods and the experiments in industrial management which were being promoted by some managers gave basis for recommendations whereby conditions in other establishments might be improved. These are summarized in Table 6 (see p. 50), together with some expressions of opinion as to the value of the work of Negro women. I n spite of the growing recognition among manufacturers of the importance of the proper conservation, adaptation, and supervision of the labor force in the different occupations of an industry, employers of Negro women were giving very little attention to.these phases of industrial management. Yet the workers themselves showed a human tendency to react to these conditions, influencing not only the attitude of the management toward their industrial groups but also the employer's conclusions concerning their industrial efficiency and worth. Employment policies. According to the table on page 50, 26 plants had employment managers who directed the hiring, transferring, and discharging within the establishment, but only 2,602 Negro women were employed in these plants. The great majority of the plants visited had no definite employment policy. I n these establishments the foreman did the hiring, after which the success or failure of the worker on the job was left entirely to his direction and the retention of the worker to his judgment or whim. I n the plants employing Negro women there was an especial need of instituting some system whereby the new worker might be intelligently and carefully placed in the establishment and transferred from one occupation to another until she was successfully adapted to the job which she could best perform. This adjustment would eliminate much of the discharging which was so largely controlled by the impulse of the foreman. However, because of the restriction in opportunities open to Negro women, a scientific employment policy 43 44 KEGRO W O M E X I^T I N D U S T R Y . is not applied to them in all of the plants having employment directors. I n establishments where limited occupations were open to Negro women they were automatically discharged if they failed upon the one process, and consequently they were judged as imsuccessful and inefficient in their work. Their labor turnover thus was apparently greater, and they were considered an industrial liability, whereas their wise and careful placement and adjustment ui the industiy might have made them steady and efficient workers. Frequently new workers were recruited by the employees themselves. When additional hands were needed the foreman posted a card in the workroom or one of the reliable employees was informed of the need so that the ne^vs might become widespread. Where these methods Avere used managers often complained of the difficulty in getting desirable workers. This was probably due to a lack of discretion and choice in their selection. These same plants reported that they had the greatest difficulty i n keeping their workers, and deplored the instability of labor. One foreman reported that he employed women in groups of three because i t was his experience that only one out of tliree women was a success on her job. This substantiated his poor opmion of Negro women as a group, and his deduction that their turnover was very great because two out of three workers were discharged or left. He reported that of 36 workers employed at one time 12 remained with the firm. The installation of an employment department to supervise this important phase of factory management would eliminate many discharges and- thereby reduce turnover and industrial loss. An interesting feature of the employment policy of 10 of the establishments was that of employing Negro girls whose racial identity could not easily be recognized. These managements emphasized their own willingness to emploj^ Negro women, but reported that they used this method in catering to public opinion, to their patrons, or else to the white girls who were emploj^ed. The manager of a large hat manufacturing establishment reported that he had two Negro girls whose racial identity was not apparent and who had been employed with white girls during eight seasons and as forewomen and instructors of the colored division when the plant for them was recently opened. Closely allied to the above-described feature of the e m p l o y m e n t policy in 10 plants were the varied methods of employers in locating the Negro women workers in their establishments. The managements visited placed the Negro women in separate buildings, workrooms, or groups and in mixed groups with workers of other racesWhere separate buildings were provided there were invariably employed large numbers of Negro women, in some instances on different occupations and in others on the same occupations as the white I^KGRO WOMEIs^ IK INDUSTRY. 45 women. The underlying reasons for such separation were reported as— '^Separation because of lack of space, and because it wouldn't be ' pohcy. By policy, I mean that mixed groups wouldn't get "VSTiite girls resent proximity to colored gh^ls." ''We are afraid there may be trouble." "Our patrons wouldn't like i t . " According to Table 6 there were 26 establishments among the 63 tabulated which had no separation of the workers cither in buildings, workrooms, or groups, and 25 of these firms reported that relations between the two groups were harmonious and agreeable in every respect. The one exception was noted as ''tense" and this was because colored girls were being paid a lower wage than the white workers for similar and equal work, and in their resentment a feeling of hostility had arisen between the two groups. I t was generally noted that employers who did not advocate and promote separation of the two racial groups were more sympathetic and liberal in their pohcies toward Negro women workers and in extending to them equal opportunities for employment and promotion. Conspicuous among the comments of managers concerning the location of their Negro women workers were the two following: " I have no separation because i t is the policy of the management to promote better racial understanding, and that can come only through contact." " I have no separation because where colored and white girls are mixed there is not so much time wasted in visiting. The white girls socialized all the time xmtil I mixed the groups, and now they work and get along beautifully." The Negro woman worker suffers in many ways because of her separation from other working groups. I t was observed during this survey that unequal working conditions, and sometimes unequal pay for the same work or else a wide divergence in the wage scale, accompanied this condition. Another disadvantage is that it tends to minimize the Negro woman's claim to promotion in the establishment. The employer will not promote individual workers however much they may merit it, because it would entail mixing them with groups of white women workers. One manager frankly stated: " I can not promote Negro women workers because I can't afford to provide separate accommodations for them." Because the reaction of the Negro worker whose segregation at work indicates her inferiority to other groups would be reflected in her work and because separation involves great expense and invites a difference in working conditions, occupations, and compensation, the experiments which 26 firms have made and found profitable would seem to show that employment in mixed groups was a practicable and advisable way of handling Negro women workers. 46 XKORO WOMEN IX INDUSTRY. Methods of supervision* The managers of 12 establishnicMUs in which Xrfjro forewomen were emplo3'C(l to supennso units of Xc»;ro women workers were unanimous in their praise and recommenclation of this experiment. One manager told of his experience in employing, (hiring the absence of the Negro forewoman, a white women to supervise the Xegro handw^orkers in a phmt where himp shades were designed and made, \rith the partial intention of retaining her. She was so unsuccessful in inspiring the women to work and everything became so chaotic that he was most glad to welcome the Negro forewoman upon her retuni. Another manager of a large mail-order house in which 340 Negro women were employed reported that when he placed a white supervisor over the group they stopped work for a half holiday. lie emphasized how very much more comfortable, interested, and energetic the women were under a supervisor of their own racc. I n this establishment the Negro forewoman also instructed the girls, and their efliciencj' had greatly increased because she had inspired them with the slogan, *'Make good, 100 per cent/' Another employer said absenteeism in his plant had decreased from 20 per cent to 4 per cent since a Negro forcw*oman had been placed over the colored unit of 260 girls. Not only have the Negro supervisors serv^ed their employers in the capacities for which they were employed, but also as advisers and friends to the women in their work and play. Only three plants visited during this survey had labor advisers, and in two cases these were men and in all cases they were serving the m a n a g e m e n t in other capacities. Negro supervisors and forewomen supplied this need of direction and guidance in industrj' in the 12 plants employing them, because they were imbued with a patient, s y m p a t h e t i c understanding of the Negro woman and her problems. The m a r k e d success of this experiment substantiates the recommendation that Negro forewomen be employed to supervise units of Negro w o m e n workers. THE WORKERS. Of primary importance in any investigation of industrial c o n d i tions aro the reactions of the worker herself to the many direct and related problems which surround her. Only through her interest and assistance in analyzing and improving her ow^n situation can there be made such sifting of causes and effects as should underlie the inauguration of a strong, constructive program for industrial betterment. I n many cases Negro w^omen have given to industry tb® best that they had to offer. Complaints against them have g e n e r a l l y been the result of industrial inexperience and lack of training, ^^^ NEGRO W O M E N I N INDUSTRY. 4T the failure of nianngers to give to Negro women the encouragement and guidance which they have so sorely needed during their period of initiation into industry. On the other hand, in spite of these impediments, and in many cases because of improved industrial conditions and incentives, there have been many outstanding examples of strength and efiiciency among groups of Negro women workers. Efficiency. Conspicuous among the citations of efficiency which have been emphasized in interviews with employers are the following, taken from the investigator's reports: Negro labor is just as important as any i n the manufacture of twine now. Tlie colored girls here have renewed the test of their worth and are very efficient. One colored woman has been with the firm nearly 10 years, and she is now holding a most important place i n the factory. She is very reliable, and if she is not on the job when the factory opens i n the mornings, you may rest assured that she w i l l telephone i n a few momenta the reason why. In a plant in which automobile castings were made and the women were employed in the manufacture of cores the manager thus expressed his appreciation: XegTo women workers are dandies; they are much more regular and dependable than tlie men whom they replaced. I expect to retain them because they have made good on the job. A manager of a large cement factory in which Negro and white women workers were employed in the manufacture of bags said: The management finds,Negro women workers better, faster, and more satisfactory than the white foreign-born women formerly employed. They are paid the same wages, and we expect to employ them entirely i n the future. They are generally more productive than the white women workers, but their turnover is greater. A manufacturer of clothing said: We have promoted an experiment i n our factory i n employing Kc^gro women to make trousers. Negro women have proved themselves to be industrial assets. We have done all we could to direct and encourage them and they are now as efficient as any white girls i n our other shops. I n fact, some of them are faster. There is one colored girl working on a button machine who is the fastest worker i n any of our three The superintendent of a large meat-packing house made the follovring statement: We are proud of our colored girls and of their splendid work. Of course, there are bad ones on the job as there are i n all groups, regardless of color; but as a whole they ^0 exceptionally well. Here is a colored girl who was just an ordinary factory hand, but because of her excellent work she has been promoted to timekeeper and office girl on this floor. There is another colored girl who has been w i t h the firm for four years—ever since we began employing colored women—|ind she has not lost a day nor been tardy since first employed. 48 KEGRO WOMEI?: I N INDUSTRY. The following testimony came from the manager of a large factory in which Negro women were employed in the manufacture of spring cushions for automobiles: Our colored girls are all right, and now that they are more experienced'we can stake t h e m against any other labor i n the factory. I n indi^'idual cases some are better than white girls. We thought at first that we should have to dismiss them, for they gave us all kinds of trouble. As a matter of fact, i t was our fault. We employed the girls at a weekly wage of S9, and promised to raise them and let them go on piecework after two weeks. Of course they resented i t when we took our time about keeping the promise, and they raised havoc, giving absolute dissatisfaction. Since they have been put on piece rates we have been entirely satisfied w i t h them. The statements following contrast the viewpoints of the managers of two tobacco factories in the same city and show the difference in industrial response which their attitudes evoked. These are not isolated cases, but are typical of the response which the Negro woman makes to different kinds of treatment in the same industry. I. We keep our Negro labor as bound and subservient as possible, because i t doesn't pay to do otherwise. They give so much trouble i n being unreliable and irregular that they don't deserve any comforts and rewards. There is no need of gi\'ing them decent wages, because they do not know what to do w i t h them. Intelligence and skill is entirely lacking among most of them everywhere, so we promote the policy of rating them by muscle. The stronger the women are, the more wages they get. They are terribly indolent, careless, and stubborn, but we know how to handle them because we are used to them. Whenever they give trouble, we give them rough treatment and that quells them for a while. Rough treatment is the only thing that w i l l reach them. II. I can depend on the labor of m y Negro women workers first of all, and I let them know how much I appreciate their allegiance and loyalty to me. They are very trustworthy and efficient and we pay them and treat them i n an appreciative way. Y o u never saw any group of people so responsive to kindness and a square deal. They remember any l i t t l e injustices even after you have forgotten them. They get angry sometimes when you give them inferior tobacco to stem, because i t is slow work and lowers their wages, so they feel that i t is unfair. I n this new plant we are going to have every modern factory convenience for the comfort and health of the women, and they are just tickled over the prospect. We shall employ 800 Negro women as stemmersin this new factory, and we'll not have any trouble getting them either, as our plant is always a drawing card because of our wages and k i n d treatment. One of the best evidences of the satisfaction given by the Negro woman worker is the fact that she was employed in the 150 p l a n t s visited during the course of this investigation. I t was not u n u s u a l for employers to reply, when interrogated concerning the efficiency of their Negro women workers,'' We wouldn't continue to employ them if their production were not satisfactory." Four-fifths of the managers who were interviewed expressed themselves as finding the labor of Negro women sati^actory and characterized in general only by the industrial faults common to all other labor. Approximately 90 per cent of the managers expressed their intention of retaining Negro KEGRO W O M E X IK INDUSTRY. . 49 women workers, which indicates that the grierances noted by some employers were not great enough to warrant the dismissal of these women from • industry or that employers were finding their labor profitable regardless of the weaknesses of which they complained. An attempt has been made in Table 6 to set forth the opinions of employers of Negro women on some of the most fundamental points of their industrial response. Like any opinion, it is undoubtedly influenced to a large extent by personal relations. However, the Negro woman's industrial opportunity and destiny are so largely controlled by public opinion that it becomes a matter of great importance that attitudes toward her be properly recognized. Part I of the table gives the comparative industrial response of Negro and white women workers as shown in the opinion of managers of 42 establishments, in which 6,828 white women and 2,751 Negro women were employed on the same occupations. Part I I gives the opinion of managers of 21 firms which employed 6,665 white women and 2,661 Negro women on absolutely different occupations. Because of the difference of occupations of the Negro and white women in Part I I , there can be no accurate comparison of the two groups. I t is shown in this table that of the 42 managers whose opinions are noted in Part I , 24 stated that there was no difference in the quantity and quality of the finished product of their Negro and white women workers and 34 that the Negro workers caused no greater loss of material in the processes of production. Of the 63 managers reporting in Parts I and I I of the table^ 54 found no difference in the punctuality of the two groups. Many of the employers expressed the opinion that their Negro women workers were ambitious and enthusiastic in their work, and where this condition was lacking i t was sometimes attributed by them to the fact that the women knew there was no opportunity for promotion and this dulled their ambition and enthusiasm on the job. The majority of the managers considered that the labor turnover was about equah The stability of Negro women workers was emphasized in some cases and instances were cited of workers who had remained with the firm for many years. The complaints of nianagers against Negro women have been, for the most part, that they were slow^, habitually irregular, unpunctual, and unreliable, the last being proved by instability, the frequent changing of jobs, and the prevalence of the custom of ''laying off" after pay day. Tlie lack of industrial experience and routine working habits among them might reasonably account for these conditions. Turnover and the apparent unreliability often were attributed by the women themselves to undesirable conditions on a job which was simply taken to tide over a period until something better could be found. Or O TABLE 6.—Emplo\jm€jit polidcs and employers^ opinions, 6S plants^ employing Jt3^493 white and 5/i 12 Negro womm, by ind^istry. Part I.—(Firms employing Negro and white women on the same occupations). Number of plants. Grand total. Clothing. Totftl number reportinp Having employment director Having colorod labor adviser Separating Negro from white workers Having welfare work for Negro women Reporting work done by Negro women a s Greater in quantity and quality than white Less in quantity and quality than white Equal in quantity and quality to white Reporting material lost through defective work by Negro women asMore than white Less than white Same as white Reporting Negro women as— Alorc punctual than white LeSvS punctual than white Kqual m punctuality tg white.. Expecting to retain Negro women. Not expecting to retain Negro women Food products. Furniture» Metal. Paper products. Textiles. Toys. Food products. Glass. Leather Paper prod- products. ucts. Textiles. Tobacco. Total. 21 7 6 20 3 4 g W o ^ o 3 2 n3 5 w 62 c7 1 h-t M o d cn 1 11 rfll 2 10 K 0 f6 2 1 ^ 7, I « I n one plant it was reported that Negroes "talk so much and waste so much time on the job." & Not so great because of lack of expcricnce in the industry. c I n one plant it was reported that Negroes took longer to learn. Miscellaneous. Total. Part 2.—(Firms employing Negro and white women on dilierent occupations). I ^ Of the 12 plants in this group one Wtvs undccidod on its future policy. « Of the 8 plants in this gioup one was undecidcd on its future policy, 51 KEGRO W O M E N13S"I N D U S T R Y . Another reasgn for this condition may be found in the example of irregularity and unreliability set by the firms themselves in some industries, which often cease work without warning, or discontinue work seasonally. This unstable, irregular employment reacts on the working habits of the women employed and invites the very conditions of which some managers are so ready to complain. Though there are reasonable excuses for some of the defects among Negro women workers commented upon by managei-s, they only emphasize the fact that there is a great need of conscious, directed effort in improving these conditions. The Negro woman must give all that her white coworker gives if she expects to maintain her place in industry. Education. The general schooling of the women was surprisingly high, especially in some garment shops and in the mail-order and publishing houses visited. Of the 125 Negro women whose education was noted 70 were high-school graduates, and in 10 cases college women were found in this work. I n the other industries, where the work was less skilled, the schooling of the women ranged from none at all to high school training, concentrating for the most part in elementary school training. In the case of some Negro women the new occupations open to them were by no means commensurate with their training. I t is interesting that they should have been so persistent in overcoming the obstacles and hardships which most of them had to endure in their training, when they knew that the chances of appropriate employment and financial return were so smaU. No definite study of the background of Negro women in industry was made during this survey, but interviews with a number of women disclosed important facts whose influence upon the industrial career of the workers could not be ignored in a study of this kind. The conditions revealed varied with the locality and its dominant industry. Trammg for industry. The majority of the Negro women interviewed had had no previous training in the work which they were doing. Twent^^-five women had been to school for special training but were obliged to accept, because of restricted industrial openings, a difi'erent kind of work from that for which they had been trained. These persons had entered factories in both skilled and unskilled occupations, discouraged and dispirited because obliged to forfeit their training on account of race prejudice. I n the clothing industry Negro women had a background for their work because of their experience in home sewing, but they needed training in those routine factory habits with which generally they were not imbued. 52 ^TEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY. According to interviews with the women themselves, the need of some carefully devised plan of industrial training for' this class, comparatively new to industry and largely ignorant of the standards under which factory work is done, was obvious and urgent. Unfortunately, under our present system of education, vocation^ training in public schools is denied to many Negro youths. Not until there are equal educational facilities, with such extended courses as are needed to prepare women for the industrial positions into which they have recently gone, will Negroes be prepared to take their place as potent assets i n the Nation's industry. A more conscientious training for efficiency in public schools^ through the fostering of pride in achievement, increasing personal and family thrifty and encouraging the attitude of constancy toward a given task, would insure that '^preparation for-life" which is the purpose ofdl education. To meet existing problems continuation classes or night schools are being conducted in some places, but the admission of Negro women to these schools and their opportunities therein are in many cases restricted. Employers could very effectively advocate t k introduction of such com^ses in their localities, with equal opportunities to Negro women. Six managers interviewed had very successfully promoted such a plan, and with their encouragement 324 Negroes had availed themselves of the opportunity. I n one city extension work was given i n a privately controlled industrial school which cooperated with the vocational bureau of the public schools. Here courses were offered to housemaids, cafeteria workers, butchers, core makers, motor mechanics, and garment workers. This opportimity had been enthusiastically welcomed by the Negro women workers, and managers commented upon the efficiency of the work of the women as a result of their attendance at this school. I n some places where the public consciousness has not been aroused to meet such industrial problems—Avhich are also essentially social problems—^managers have to a greater or less extent promoted industrial traioing within theic factories. However, the methods used and the importance given to this phase of factory m a n a g e m e n t have been extremely varied. Negro women have neeiied patientj, careful training during their period of industrial initiation; yet most managers have ignored this need of training and have left these new workers groping blindly, to find their way accidentally in the work they were to do. Ten managers interviewed acknowledged the absurdity of such procedure, and one manager said to the investigator, ' ' I have just realized something which I should have realized in 1918— that the thing needed was some one to train and advise these girlsI am looking for a woman of the proper type now.. If you find one, KEG-Ra W O M E N I X INDUSTRY. 53 please put me in toucli with her." Other examples of unsystematized training were observed in establishments in which forewomen, foremen, or fellow workers would assist the women ia their struggle to learn their jobs. These establishments are conspicuous in their complaints of the inefficiency,. slo\vness, and turnover of the Negro women workers. Twenty-five managers had definite '' break-in'' and training courses in their factories. Such training, m t h the opportunities to advance to more skilled work as efficiency increases, has been found very profitable by most employers who are awake to the possibihties of Negro women as workers. Five managers stated that i t took longer to break in a Negro than a white woman worker, but all concurred in thinking that she was just as good after she had been trained. The general affirmation among these managers of the efficiency and loyalty of their Negro women workers shows the value of some organized method of training. Much good also was resulting from the shop meetings which were being held during the noon hour,, from once to three times a week^ in of the places visited. Here educational talks on industrial standards and policies were given the workers, either by representatives of community agencies with which the management was affiliated or by officials and welfare workers within the plant. I n five plants the managements were offering ti-aining to women in the Red Cross home-nursing and fii-st-aid courses, with the intention of extending the work to include training in home economics. Recreational activities formed a very important part of the program* Their value in stimulating the women to enthusiasm and happiness i n their work was emphasized by the 25 managements who promoted these activities. Such programs as these were being elaborately and scientifically executed in the 18 plants visited which employed welfare workers to plan and promote this important part of industrial and educational training. Forty plants were visited which seemingly appreciated the importance of welfare work but were affording this means of inspiration and training to white women only. lu' 10 other plants, where Negro women also were given these privileges, their programs were not so complete, because of a lack of facilities and the smaller number of hours which the welfare worker was permitted to give to them. However, i n 19 plants social and community agencies were doing very effective work in their cooperation with the managements.' Their efforts to organize women i n industry into clubs and recreational groups after work hours, was resulting in much good to those women who availed themselves of the opportunity. 54 ^TEGRO WOMEN I N INDUSTRY. Community life. I t was significantly evident in friendly talks with Negro women workers, that their life in the community was very largely controlled by the hours and conditions of their employment i n industry. Long hours, unhealthful posture at work or continuous standing all day, followed by home duties which had to be' performed, so entirely absorbed their energy that they were rendered physically unable to attend meetings, clubs, and other community activities for progress. love to go to the Y. W. C. A., but I ' m so tired at night I cm scarcely get to bed." A condition is implied in these words which is typical of the Negro woman worker. I n this state of fatigue the instructive, purposeful club loses its appeal, and instead the young women workers seek a more thrilling, exciting recreation, as is well shown"in the words of another woman who said, " I f I go out at night I go somewhere where there is lots of life and lots of fun; I ' d go to sleep if I went to a lecture or a club meeting.'' I t was therefore onl}^ the exceptional worker who had vision and fortitude enough to grasp those outlets for improvement. This result makes emphatic the need and importance of a well-designed program for the welfare and improvement of the workers within the establishments where they are employed. There ^vere seven communities visited in which efforts for the betterment of conditions of Negro women workers were conspicuous by their absence. These cases were of especial interest because in them were employed the largest numbers of Negro women represented in the survey. This condition became deplorable when i t was discovered that the factories located i n these places also were entirely lacking in any industrial, educational, or recreational means of improving their workers. Maladjustments to community life obviously were more serious and more numerous i n these locahties. CHAPTER V I I . VIRGINIA HOME STUDY. Realizing the importance of establishing an understanding and sympathetic relationship Avith the workers themselves whose welfare it was the aim of this investigation to promote, visits were made to the homes of 85 Negro women in the tobacco industry of the State of Virginia. These visits were supplementary to the factory investigation, wliich disclosed the employment of 5,517 Negro women in 33 plants manufacturing tobacco. The women represented in the facts and figures herein disclosed were seen in their homes after work hours, although other groups of women were interviewed at work and at meetings. The relation between the working and the living conditions of Negro women workers could not be definitely studied throughout the survey, but the facts presented in the followng section concerning the 85 Negro women, whose homes were visited are typical of conditions which surrounded many thousands of Negro women workers. The interest and enthusiasm of these workers in any endeavor which they felt was for their benefit was indeed impressive. Their eager responses and their questions showed that there was a gro\\dng consciousness among them of their industrial needs, and of their own inabihty to make laio\vn those grievances which they were feehng. so keenly. Hours of work. The following table shows the number of Negro tobacco workers to whose homes visits were made and their weekly hours of work: TABLE 1.—Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by weekly hours of work, Virginia. Hours of work per week. 44 hours. 49 hours. 50 hours. 54 hours. 55 hours. Total. Number of women 1 1 32 2 49 85 Forty-nine (58 per cent) of the women visited worked 55 hours a week, or 10 hours daily, the maximum number of daily hours permitted in the State law. The next largest group, 32 women, were working 50 hours a week, or 9 hours daily. These figures, however, do not represent the whole story, for the hours reported were those which were designated by the daily schedule. Hours often were lengthened by overtime. I t was interesting to watch the continuous stream of workers approaching some factories before 6.30 in the morning and 56 KEGRO WOMEN IK INDUSTRY. leaving as late as 7 o'clock at night. The reason for this and for" another practice, that of continuing to work throughout the lunch recess, as given by ten of the persons interviewed, may be stated in the words of one of them, '^You just can't make-ends meet unless you do extra work and often you are left in a hole even then." I n the tobacco industry of the State of Virginia a standard of hours which would safeguard the health and efficiency of these workers is greatly needed. Not only would such a standard be reflected in greater efficiency i n the industry itself but in the status of the home the family, and ultimately the future citizens of the State. Sixty-six per cent of the women visited were responsible for the entire upkeep and care of homes, and 30 per cent, although not entirely responsible, had some home cares and duties which had to be performed earlj in the morning before work, or late at night after the daily toil at the factory was ended. The stories of some women, as told to the investigator, show the hardships of their long hours in industry. Besides the typical story of the mother who must leave her home and children in quest of some means of livelihood, and yet has to assume all of the cares of housekeeping and child-raising, there are the stories of young girls who are responsible for the care and support of sisters and brothers or of aged and feeble parents who are totally dependent. One of these girls said: am so tired when I reach home that I can scarcely stand up, and then I have so much to do that i t just exhausts me. I jump in m y sleep all night, my nerves are so bad.'^ Another girl who was keeping house for herself said: ''My knees tremble so from standing all day that many nights I do not eat supper because i t is so exerting to fix it. Living conditions* Tlie table which follows shows the living conditions of the women visited, and that their home responsibilities and obligations were distributed in all the age groups: TABLE: S.—Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by living age groupj Virginia. Age group. Number of women reporting. conditions, and hy Number of women who were Uvmg— IndepenWith A t home. relatives, dently. 16 and under ISyeara. 18and under 20 years. 20and under 25 years. 25'and. under 30 years. 30and under 35years. 35and imder 40 years. 40 and imder 45 years. 46 and under-50 years. 50 and under 55 years. 55 and under60 years. 60 years and over Total Per cent distributioa-. 85 100.0 56 65.9 23 27.1 U NEGRO AVOMEN I X IIs^DUSTEY. 57 Of the 56 Negro women (65.9 per cent of those visited) who were responsible for the provision and care of homes, the greatest number in one age grouping was 10; this figure appears in the groupings of 25 to 30 years, 35 to 40 years, and 50 to 55 years. Of the 23 women (27.1 per cent) who were found to be living with relatives, 19 were under 30 years of age. Only 6 women (7.1 per cent) were boarding; aU but one of them were between 18 and 35 years of age. Although 27 per cent of the women visited were living with relatives, not by any means was i t true that they were without home responsibiUties. Beside^ contributing large amounts in proportion to their wages, they had distinct home duties devolving upon them' which had to be performed after the heavy strain of the workday, for it often happened that the relatives with whom they lived also were away from home all day in some kind of gainful employment. The conditions which surrounded the tobacco worker both at home and at work were conducive to a low, unwholesome standard of living. Confronted with the need for food, clothmg, and shelter, and placed in an environment which was unhealthful and sometimes even degrading, they were seen to have lost themselves in the'struggle for bare existence. Many conditions which savored of indecent, unlawful living were observed during the course of the investigation, but the cause of such conditions does not rest solely or chiefly with the persons involved. The histor}^ of each generation of tobacco workers too often repeats itself. Born into homes of poverty, the children grow up unavoidably neglected by their mothers, who are struggling daily to supply theh' elemental wants, until they too find it necessary to begin work in order that they may add their small earnings to the inadequate family fund. Age at beginning work. Table 9 shows the age at which the women visited began gainful employment, according to theii* age grouping in 1920: • TABLE Negro tobacco workers irUerviewed, classified by age at which they began gainful employment and age at time of investigation, Virginia. Number of women who began work at the age of— Age groap. Number of women reporting. la II 12 13 14 15 16 and under 18 year 18aiiduiidEt20years 20 and under 2a years 2a and under 30 year M and under 35 year 35 and under 40 yea f_ and under 45 yea fc and under SO yea g a n d under 55 yea ® and under eo years 60 years and over. Totat 85 23 15 16 17 18 19 20 25 30 and and years under under and 30. over. 25. 58 l^BG-RO W0ME2T I N INDTJSTEY. Twenty-three of the 85 persons visited began work at the age of 12 years. Three women began work at the age of 11 years, 8 at 10 years, and 1 each at 9 and 8 years. Thus 36 of the 85 women visited began working before they were 13 years of age, and 64 women, or 75 per cent of the whole, began working before they were 16. The remaining women, with the exception of 5, were forced to begin gainful employment after becoming widowed. The effect of child labor legislation during the past few years appears in the fact that no woman under 20 years of age began gainful work before she was 12. The women interviewed told of the custom among mothers in the 'tobacco industry of securing employment for their children in the factories with them, as soon as they could legally or otherwise answer the age requisite for employment in that State. This accounted for the prevalence of the employment of mothers and their children which was observed in many factories and emphasized in interviews with managers. Life in each generation was then bounded on all sides by the same influences. I n the factory, nothing elevating or improving was afforded the workers; home influences were no better, for the wages were so low that the workers were forced to select the poorest of homes, in localities so undesirable and unhealthful that the envii'onment naturally would react on the lives of the persons' within it. There thus resulted a class consciousness among those workers, which was expressed in their suspicion of other groups, their concentration on their own interests, and their maladjustment to the communities in which they lived. Higher wages, better working conditions, and a sympathetic relationship among the employers, the community, and the workers would do much toward leading and inspiring these people to better living. Years employed in the tobacco industry. No less interesting than the age at which the women began gainful employment is the number of their years of service in the industry, as shown in Table 10. The women visited had been employed in the tobacco industry from a minimum of six months to a maximum of 42 years. The fact that 7 women, 4 of whom had begun work- at 12 years of age, had given service in the tobacco industry for 30 yeaxs, and that 6 women, aU of whom began work between the ages of 9 and 14, had rernained in the industry more than 30 years^ is especially noteworthy as indicating the long periods of service which managers stressed as characteristic of Negro women in the tobacco industry. Many women bent with toil and age were daily wendmg then- way to. the factory, where they earned any small amount which they could as a means of subsistence. One factory visited was called the ''Old Folks' Home'' because i t employed so many old women who had NEGRO WOIMEN IN 59 INDUSTRY. given tlieir youth and ihe best part of their lives in the service of the tobacco industry of the State. TABLE l^i.—Negro tobacco worhrs interviewed, classified hy age at which they began gainful employment and years employed in the industry, Virginia, Number of women who began work at the ago of— NumYears employetl in the iDcrof women industry. reporting. 10 11 12 13 11 15 16 17 18 19 20 25 30 and and years under under and 25. 30. over; Less than 1 year land under 2 years.. 2and under 3 years.. 3and under 4 years... 4 and under 5 years.., Sand under G years.. 6and under 7 years.. 7and under 8 years.. Sand under 9 years.. 9and under 10 years., 10and under 12 years, 12 and under 14 years 14 and under 16 years, 16 and under 18 years. ISand under 20 years, 20 and under 25 years. 25 and under 30 years. 30 years. Over 30 years Total 86 23 15 Wages. Inadequacy of wages was a general complaint among the women visited in this survey. Two wage rates were paid in all tobacco factories—a daily rate varying from $1.50 to $2.25 in different cities for hanging and packing tobacco, and a piece rate for stemming. The same workers were employed at times on each of these processes. I n complaining of the inadequacy of wages, the women also emphasized the hardship entailed by the irregularity of employment and their corresponding inability to foretell the amount of their weekly income. There was a strong feeling among many employees that they were not getting a just return from their labor. The day hands felt that they were not receiving a living wage commensurate vnth their services, and the stemmers felt that the scales were wrong on which their finished work was weighed or that they had been deliberately cheated in the computation of their wages. Ignorance of the method of computmg wages'on a piece-rate basis and the attitude of suspicion which years of servitude have stamped into the lives of these workers were responsible for this feeling. However, i t would seem wise for employers in the tobacco industry to facilitate a better understanding with their Negro women workers and make them feel that their labor was not being exploited, but that they were a respected and important m NEGRO W O M K N I X industry. part of the industry in which they were employed. This human touch, so sorely lacking in the tobacco industry, would counteract a good many of the problems which present themselves to the employer in terms of dollars and cents. As before expressed, the inadequacy of wages is accentuated by the seasonal aspect of the industry. Many were the wishes expressed that there might be a readjustment of their work so that employment might last throughout the year. Even when received regularly the wages in many cases were so low that they were not sufficient to provide the barest necessities of life^ and there could be no provision for the season during which work would discontinue. These conditions presented a very serious problem to many Kegro women workers. The weekly wages received were said to be as low as S4 and a a high as $18.50. These figures were n o t secured from examination of the pay rolls, but are the amounts reported by the women interviewed as the contents of their pay envelopes during a normal worldng week. The range of earnings is shown in the table following; TABLE 11.—Negra tobacco- workers internieived, clmdfied. by age and weekly earnings Virginia. J^umber of women whose age in years was— Weekly earnings. and under $5 $0 and undfiT S6 $6 and under $7 87 and under S8 $8 and under and under S10__ $16 and under 311 J l l and imdcr J12 $12-and under S K K f l 3 and under $14 $14 and under $15 $15 and under $1& $16fand over Total Number of women 16 report- and uning. der IS. 1 1 2 7 5 16 12 17 9 18 and under 20. 35 and under 40. 40 and under 45. 45 and under 60. 50 and under 55. 65 60 and un- and der overr 60. I 3 1 1 4 1 1 I 2 2 2 2 3 9 1 6 1 85 20 30 25 and. . and , a n d unununder der , der 30. 25. 35. 1 1 1 1 « 3 4 1 3 1 1 I 1 2 6 . 8 14 4 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 10 2 1 1 2 1 1 2 5 2 t t "T 1 2 9 8 - 10 2 Sixty-one (72 per cent of those interviewed) reported weekly earnings of less than $12, 16 of them less than Only one woman, reporting the exceptional earnings of $18.50 a week, was receiving a wage as high as the minimum set hy the District of Columbia ($1^.50) as the lowest amount sufficient to cover the present-day cost of the necessities of life. Managers did not emphasi^^e the importance of experience i n tb& rehandling of tobacco, but the following table shows some relation between the wages received and the years employed i n the industry: NEGRO W O M E N IN 61 INDUSTBY. TABLE 12.—-Negro tohacca worhen interviewed, classified by weekly earnings and years employed in the industry, t^irginia. Number of women who had worked in the industry— "Weeklv earnings. Si and iinjder 1 ^ and under 5 J6and under f7 and under ind under S!) $9 and under 110 $10 nnd under Sll $11 and under $12 $12 and under S13 $13 and under $14^.* $11 and under $15 $15 and under $16 $16 and over Number of women report- 1 1 2 7 5 16 12 17 S 9 1 6 7 8 and and and unun- under der der 7 8 9 years. yc4rs. years. L 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 I 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 t 2 1 ^ 2 1 1 1 L 1 1 1 1 1 85 Total 1 3 6 2 4 Tin- and and and and and der unununun- un1 der der der der der year. 2 6 3 4 5 years. y 8.113. years. years. years. 3 5 7 6 5 7 3 2 2 Number of vro men who had work edinthe industry- Weekly' earnings. $4 and under S5 $5 and under S O JO and under $7 $7 and under 58 $S and under $9$9 and under $10 510 and under $11 $11 and under $12 $12 and under ?13 Sia and under Sl4 $H and under $15 $15 and under $1©and over. Total 9 and under 10 years. 10 and under 12 years. 12 and under 14 years. 14 and under le years. 16 and under IS years. 20 25 18 and and and un- un- un30 Over der der years. 30 der years. 25 30 20 years. years. years. 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 4 I 3 7 7 I 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 T 6 1 i I 1 4 3 1 1 1 2 1 1 i 1 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 I 3 The woman worker wlio reported that she was receiving only §4 had been in the industiy one year, and seven other women receiving between $5 and S8 a week had been in the industry from one to five years. Conversely, the person reporting the highest amount ($18.50) had been employed in the tobacco industry 18 years, and six other women whose earnings were i n the higher groups, between $14 and $1&, had been i n the industry from 14 to more than SO years. The ^ m e n in the medium wage groupings, however, had been rehandling tobacco for a period of from one year to more than 30 years, the longest service for any worker having been 42 years. This indicates that in only certain cases did experience mean an increased wage, for 17 women who had been in the industry for 20 years and more were m the medium wage groupings. I t must be borne in mind in any 62 ^TEGRO W O M E N I N INDUSTRY. analysis of tlic wages of tobacco workers that regularity and stability of employment are stronger factors in determining the earnings of tlie workers than is their comparative efficiency while at work. Dependents and home responsibUities. An important element in an}'' consideration of wages is the extent of family dependency upon the earnings of the woman who is working. Often the women reported that the fact that they were married did not alleviate their responsibility in supporting-the family. In the typical family it took all of the earnings of every wage earner, regardless of conjugal condition or age, to meet the family expenses. Table 13 shows the conjugal condition of the women visited, classified by age groups: TABLE 13.—Negro tobacco workers interviewed, classified by conjugal age group^ Virginia. condition and Number of women who were— Number of women reporting. Age group. 16 and under 18 vears 18 and under 20 years 20and under 25years. 25 and under 30 years S and under 35 years O 35 and under 40 years 40 and under 45 vears 45 and under 50 years 50 and under 55 years 55 and under 60 years 60 years and over Total Percent distribution ........... 6 h 9 14 4 10 q 8 10 2 5 85 100.0 Single. c 8 8 8 2 1 2 1 1 37 43.5 iMarried. Wido^ved. Separated or divorced. 1 3 2 6 3 4 4 2 1 2 3 2 4 3 1 26 30.6 14 16.5 8 9.4 This table shows that 48 of the 85 women interviewed were or had been married. I n the case of single women also, however, when there were others in the family partially or wholly dependent upon them for subsistence the condition resolved itself into a vitally serious problem. Certainly the extent of dependency as detailed in the interviews with this group of women wage earners reveals the need of higher wages for women in the tobacco industry. Among the 85 women visited there were 15 who had no families, and 16 others who had only themselves to support. The remaining 54 women either had relatives who were entirely dependent upon them, or were contributing a definite amount weekly toward the maintenance of the family. Twenty-eight women who contributed to the family fund had children who were dependent, and in 20 of these cases the children were entirely dependent. Eleven of the 20 women referred to had one dependent child, 4 had two dependent children, 3 had three dependent children, and 2 women had four NEGRO W O M E N I N INDUSTRY. 63, dependent children. Twenty-six women having dependent" children were in the wage groups varying between S7 and S14. Twenty-five of the women visited who contributed to the family fund had husbands, but of this number one woman had a husband who was entirely dependent. She was receiving a weekly wage of about S l l . Of the persons contributing to the family support, two women whose weekly wages were $9 and'810, respectively, had fathers who were entirely dependent upon them for support. One woman whose weekly wage was S13 had a mother whose maintenance fell solely upon her, one whose wage was $7 had two nieces for whom to provide, and five others whose wages were between S9 and $12 had grandchildren for whose support they were entirely responsible. In nine cases dependency was due to sicloiess, involving not only the financial support of the dependent but also provisions for medical attention, making a double drain on the small family income. One girl whose father had been i l l for three years said: ' ' I am so worried and worn in my strength that I feel at times as if I can not stand i t any longer. I t is not only the need of money that burdens me but the responsibility of being nurse and housekeeper and wage earner at one time." The following tables show the amount contributed to the family expenses, classified first according to age and second according to weekly wage: TABLE 14.—Negro tobacco workers interviewed, claussified by family age groups Virginia. contribution and Number of women who contributed to tbe family each week— Num- Number of ber of women women All report- with Noth* no «7 earnS6 S5 $2 $3 $4 ing. family. ing. ings. Age group. -t 16 and under 18 years 18and under20 W s . . ' ^ a n d under 25 years... 2oand under 30 years.. ^ a n d under 35 years Soand under 40 years.. . «and under 45 years Ja and under 50 years.... ^ a n d under 55 years.. . ^ a n d under 60 years..;. C years and over O Total ' ' 6 8 9 U 4 10 "' ' 9 g 10 1 3 i 1 4 1 2 2 2 2 5 15 3 1 3 1 2 3 2 85 2 3 1 1 2 8 1 2 5 2 6 1 1 2 5 5 4 2 2 1 1 1 1 16 1 1 1 1 1 5 2 1 35 . ]srEGRO W O M E K IN 64 INDUSTEY. TABLE 15.—Negro tohacco workers interviewed, classijkd by family weekly earnings^ Virginia. Weekly earnings. S4 and under ..... $0- aii<l under 80-$6and under$7 J7 and under J8. .... .... $S and under 59 • • • Sd and under SIO.... ..... SlO and under $11 $11 and uiider S12 S12 and under $13 S13 and under S14.... $14 and under S15 $15and under $16.... $16and over, v . . . Total contribution and Number of women who contributed to the family each w e e k Num- Number of ber of women women with reportAH Noth- $2 no $5 $6 $3 $7 earning. family. ing. ings. 1 1 2 7 0 1 1 1 1 1 2 5 1 16 12 17 8 & 1 5 1 2 2 3 15 le i 2 1 1 3 1 2 1 2 1 85 1 t 1 3 i 2 2 1 1 1 1 11 6 9 2 i 1 35 i 1 1 1 2 S 5 2 Thirty-fivo of the women interviewed contributed all of their earnings—ranging from $4 to $14 a week—to the family expenses. Sixteen women contributed from $4 to $7 a week, their weekly earnings ranging from S9 to $15. The 15 women who had no family relations were solely responsible for their own maintenance and the 16 other women who did not contribute to the family expenses emphasized that they used their earnings for their own support because their families were provided for without their assistance. Conclusion. Better wages to that large group of working women of which the examples given are typical would react very definitely upon industry as well as upon the home and community life. Ultimately the standard of living within these families would be raised and health and efficiency would be safeguarded. As it is, the struggle for improvement among these people is a rugged, persistent one. Their homes, many of them houses of two and three rooms in which five and six persons were housed, had the marks of neglect, misery, and poverty. Three-room houses, one inhabited by nine, another by eight, and another by seven persons, told the story of that congestion which involves bad sanitation and poor health, so prevalent in the houses visited in VirginiaThe lack of any civic or community effort in. improving the locality populated by this class of workers was very marked. These workers were concentrated and isolated in the districts where drainage was poor, where streets were merely roads, where the failure to remove refuse of all kinds nourished conditions which were inimical to health. As a matter of fact, interest was taken in cleaning and sewering these sections in exact proportion to their proximity to localities NEGRO WOMEN IN INDUSTRY. 65 inhabited by wliite people. Of the 85 homes visited, 47 had sewerage and water supply and 38 had neither of these facilities. Eleven of the homes visited were owned by the workers inhabiting them, and of this number three had sewerage and water supply and eight had none. There was a sincere desire and effort among many of the women visited to save and invest some portion of their small weekly earnings. Their enterprise in buying homes was an example of this. Although the houses were largely makeshifts, some, which had been owned a number of years, showed the marks of persistent toil in improving them in every way possible. One woman visited, who was bent low with the weight of her 63 years of toil, told a pitiful story of her struggle in buying a home on an average weekly wage of $5. The house cost S250; and by paying a dollar a week she had succeeded in liquidating one-half of her indebtedness. Another characteristic investment of these women was insurance. Ninety-five per cent of the women visited were carrying some form of sick benefit or life insurance. Insurance agents who were interviewed emphasized the large numbers of workers in the tobacco industry who had affiliations \ n t h their companies. There was something of beauty in the attitude of the women toward their work. Their patient trust and belief in the better day that should come to them as workers was pathetic. I n spite of the unpleasant conditions which surrounded them at work, they continued to express their consolation and hope, as they sang and chanted their own songs during the long hours of the day. One employer told the investigator that a new foreman tried to stop their singing during his initiation in the factory, and the employer told him there was no need of this, because the women worked better when they sang. Although so largely bound by ignorance,^® yet the hard school of adversity had taught them many beautiful life lessons— they had that simple faith and trust with which religion, their one unrestricted outlet, had imbued them. wOftho 85 women visited, 21 had never attended school, 12 had stopped in the second grade, 7 in the third, 21 in the fourth, 11 i n the fifth, 6 i n the sixth, 2 in the seventh, and 2 i n the eighth grade. Three ere graduates of high schools. 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